Play Go Tetris! 1.1

Below is the latest version of Go Tetris! (1.1), created by Martin Grider. This page will be update periodically with new versions. Thanks for playing!

Controls and Instructions:

Rotate Pieces clockwise: Up Arrow or “i”
Rotate Pieces counter-clockwise: “u”
Move Pieces Left: “Left Arrow” or “j”
Move Pieces Right: “Right Arrow” or “l”
Pause game: “P” or “SPACEBAR”
Move Pieces Down (faster): “Down Arrow” or “k”


Gameplay is a lot like Tetris, but instead of lines, the pieces break like Go captures. In Go, a stone is captured by surrounding it by stones of the opposing color (or by the edge of the gameboard). More than one stone may be surrounded in this way, and the more stones you capture at once, the more points you receive.

Groups of stones are also removed from the gameboard when they surround two or more eyes. Stones removed from the board this way are counted as “Territory”. See the in-game for more details.

You also get more points at higher levels.


After you play a game or two, you can see the high scores you’ve submitted on the High Scores page.

63 Responses to “Play Go Tetris! 1.1”

  1. Marathon Says:

    Two things:

    1) Bug: The name field for the “submit your score” will not accept the letter “M”.

    2) What is the precedence rule if placement of a tile causes more than one string to change to a “remove” state (either surrounded by strings of the opposite color, or at least two eyes.)? I’ve placed tiles thinking it would kill (surround) one string — which it did, but it is one of the other strings that gets removed. Removal of the other string had precedence.

  2. Marathon Says:

    I experienced some more bugs — all in one game.

    1) From an earlier post, I thought that proximity to an edge limited the ability to rotate a falling set. It is possible to rotate a new set while it is on the first or second line from the top, causing one or two stones momentarily to vanish. (If visible, it/they would be above the top line.)
    I did this with a “straight” block, and an “L” block.

    2) I had “straight” block stop falling just short of touching something. This left 4 stones suspended “in mid-air. I’m not sure, but I think it was one of the sets I had rotated so a stone was off the board.

    3) When I removed supporting stones from a group which contained the set from (2), the stones in that group didn’t drop. This left additional stones suspended.

    4) When I rotated an “L” set so that a stone went off the top of the board, the game “froze”, and the score and (black) capture count started increasing. (I also experienced a degrease in system performance, as though this was placing a high demand for CPU time.)

  3. Martin Says:

    Heya Marathon,

    Thanks for taking the time to write these great bug descriptions,
    especially this last one is very useful, thanks!

    I will be working on fixing this very soon.

    In response to your earlier comment, precedence of captures: The board is
    checked from the upper left-hand corner across and then down (as you would
    read a book, assuming you’re reading English), first for captures, and
    then for “Territory” (or two-eye groups of stones). The first one it comes
    to is removed, and then the process starts over again.

    I have thought about removing all groups at once (both captures and
    territory), but it would require re-writing a lot of my code that does the
    checking, and so far it’s been a low priority for me. Do you have an
    opinion about how it should work?

  4. Marathon Says:

    No, no opinion. I was just wondering how I might predict which strings go, in case of a conflict.

    Not that I am able to help, but I noticed, on another page, that you were wondering if anyone wanted to help develop Go Tetris. I was curious (and I think others are), what skill set would you be looking for?

  5. Martin Says:

    Ahhh, good question. I am mostly looking for a designer who can work in flash, who might be interested in helping with the look of it. But anyone who knows their way around actionscript and wanted to take a stab at adding features or helping fix bugs would be most welcome to email/comment about their interest.

    Frankly, I’d love to talk to anyone who is interested in developing unique or interesting puzzle games (with any skillset). I love to talk and think about puzzle games, and have yet to find a good venue for talking about the kind of puzzle games I love. (If you know of anywhere, let me know!)

  6. Marathon Says:

    Another clarification: The “two (or more) eyes” rule seems to require a single string to make up the eyes. For example, if the group below is in the upper left corner, it consists of two strings. It is not removed.


  7. Marathon Says:

    OK, I know that such a group would not be in either UPPER corner. This being a form of Tetris, the gravity rule would prevent that. It was just easier for me to draw it there.

  8. Beverly Says:

    Why can’t I type in my high scores–when I type the first number, I’m thrown immediately into the next game? Just wondering. B

  9. Marathon Says:

    “when I type the first *number* …”

    You don’t type in your score — it will be sent automatically. You do type in your name.

    This doesn’t answer your question, though.

  10. Matt Hayes Says:

    Hey this game idea is really cool. Any plans to make it two player alternating? That would be great! Thanks for all the hard work.

  11. Beverly Says:

    I think that the most frustrating thing about playing the game is the inconsistency of the falling stones–the stones will fall at a consistent rate, then suddenly the speed changes for just one set of stones coming down. Another problem is that often after landing a piece, the next piece will start to fall and I’m moving that piece around, but my manuevering will change the piece I just landed, thus blocking an opening or creating a new setup that is harmful to my game and which I didn’t intend.

    This is the most difficult tetris-like game I’ve encountered. The peaks and valleys seem very difficult to control; and the more groups of stones that are wiped out the more difficult it is to control the deep valleys and I just can’t seem to figure out a strategy since I often don’t know why a certain placement wiped out a whole section–mostly when there are “eyes” and it is a territory that has been taken.

    Thanks, Bev

  12. Marathon Says:

    I’ve not experienced the speed of the stones falling changing inconsistently. Sometimes, when there are stones near the top of the board, there seems to be an illusion that the stones are falling faster. And, there seems to be a big jump in speed somewhere around level 13.

    It may be more difficult, but this is my favorite variation on Tetris. I especially like that the board is larger than on other Tetris variants.

  13. Beverly Says:

    Do you have any special tips for strategy? And yes, I agree. It is my favorite, too. I’m pretty obsessed with it actually. I’ve tried various ways of placing the stones. I usually start in the middle with the first block of stones and build around that. I try to create an “eye” but that doesn’t always happen. I like the fast mode–I build one color, surround, then alternate with the next color, clearing as much as possible. Like I said in an earlier comment though, I seem to create a lot of really deep valleys after a couple of times clearing out a group of stones.

  14. Marathon Says:

    I play the “normal” mode. It could be that the bugs you describe exist in the “fast” mode but not the “normal.”

    My strategy is to try to segregate colors — for example, build a black group on the left and a white one on the right (or vice-versa). This means there will be a lot of little captures before big ones. I also try to keep the top fairly level. I try to get a single eye in both groups, then try to get the second eye for each group when the pile gets about half-way up the board. Often, when a large group is removed, the other color will dominate the board for a while.

  15. Beverly Says:

    Thanks, I’ll try what you’ve suggested. B

  16. Marathon Says:

    I should ask *you* (Beverly) for advice — apparently, you are on the high score list, and I’m not!

    Teasing aside, congrats!

  17. Beverly Says:


    Your advice about white on one side and black on the other helped. Its easier to keep track of what’s happening.

    Was wondering if its my imagination, but does white seem to fall more randomly than the black?

    Also, is there any way to fix a mistake like a black and white mixed eye? It seems not, but I thought I’d ask.


  18. Beverly Says:

    Actually Marathon, I’m just now discovering ways to actually play the game. Before I just laid down the stones, trying to figure out how to clear them. Now, at least, I see that by doing a double eye in the same color, the stones are cleared and it kind of gives you a new lease on the game. So my new strategy is to take what you told me, create eyes in each block of color and then create another eye in each as soon as possible. It is harder than it seems, but it’s a lot easier than what I was doing.


  19. Marathon Says:

    I tried “fast mode.” When I made a large kill, the speed changed drastically, corresponding with a sudden jump in the level. I suspect this isn’t a bug, but an intended feature. However, I was unable to confirm a subsequent speed change: When the speed of the falling tiles increased, it was too high for a relatively inexperienced player like me to control. I wasn’t able to make a subsequent capture in the game, so it ended at that level. It may be that a subsequent decrease in the speed, if this occurs, is a bug.

    Regarding the “fix a mistake” (black and white mixed eye) subject: It is possible, but can be difficult in some situations. You need to expand the strings surrounding the “mixed eye” so those strings become part of strings with two eyes. You may have to try clearing strings above the problem strings so you can get to them.

    (Go players don’t use the term “mixed eye”, but it seems to have meaning in Go Tetris.)

    Remember that you can kill even large strings by taking away all their liberties.

  20. Beverly Says:

    Hi Marathon,

    FYI, I always play the fast mode and though I consider myself a pretty good tetris player, I’ve never been able to control the tiles once I’ve made a huge kill. But sometimes, the score is high enough to make it worth playing the fast mode. I’m not able to analyze why the score is so high sometimes, but it seems to be the size of the black and/or white territories.


  21. Trish Says:

    I am a HUGE fan of this game. I’m the kinda person that lived on tetris, got it on my phone, favorites on the computer, even a hand held. I played all different kinds of tetris, sounds korney, but it’s true. This game takes tetris to a whole new level, it’s kinda with an arthellow twist. The only critisism I have on this game is how when you make a space your game is over, in tetris you have to stratigies to get rid of those “spaces” .. I’ve even read those stupid little blurps bout how to get rid of them, when the links wont take me to the game.. and they don’t help. But besides that.. Im obsessed

  22. Marathon Says:

    Hi, Beverly.

    I don’t know what formula Marty used, and I can’t pretend to speak for him, but you are right — the size of the kills influences the score. If you kill one stone, you get one point. If you kill two stones, one at a time, you get two points — one for each stone. If you kill two stones at once, you get more than two points. I suspect that P(m+n) > P(m) + P(n) ) where P is a function that gives the number of points, and m and n are numbers of stones killed. The P for fast mode gives larger results than the P for normal mode.

  23. Marathon Says:

    Hi, Marty.

    A suggestion: How about separate “high scores” for each mode?
    All 10 of the top scores are now “fast mode”.

  24. Martin Says:

    @Marathon & Beverly: The score is actually capture (c) times capture times level (l)… so on the first level, a two stone capture is worth four points (2 x 2 x 1) or (c x c x l)… this formula changes for fast mode, but I can’t remember offhand how right now other than that it’s the same on the first level… so maybe it’s (c x c x l x l)… I’ll look it up next time I think of it while I’m at home and post again.

    A separate high-score list for all the different game modes is a great idea. I’ll work on that next time I get a chance.

    @Trish: Read the tutorial on “Territory”, and you might find a way to dig back down to those holes!

    I’m actually very close to having a new version of Go Tetris! ready for general consumption. It doesn’t change all that much, but does fix some outstanding bugs, and adds a couple of new features. It’s been “almost done” for months though, so don’t hold your breath! ;)

  25. Marathon Says:

    Hi Trish.

    In some of my earlier posts, I used the term “string”. “String” is not a standard term in go — other would use “unit” or “chain”. A string (unit or chain) is a contiguous set of stones of the same color. If it is possible to go from stone “A” to stone “B” following the lines on the board, with all intersections and stones “A” and “B” being occupied with stones of the same color, “A” and “B” are in the same string (unit or chain). A string may consist of a single stone.

    If you have an empty space on the board, try to link the strings surrounding it into a single string, if possible. Then try to surround another empty space with the same string.

    However, if the empty space is surrounded by stones/strings of more than one color, you might have a “mixed eye.” These are more difficult to get rid of, but it can be done.

  26. Martin Says:

    @Marathon: I generally refer to these “strings” as “groups” of stones. This is true in the in-game tutorial also.

    @everybody: What do you (both?) think of the in-game tutorial? Does it make sense? Not make sense? Is any of it confusing? (If so, what parts?)

  27. Marathon Says:


    When playing go, I distinguish between “strings” and “groups”. However, now that you mentioned it, I need to recognize that in go-tetris, there is no reason to distinguish between the two.

    The tutorial is OK by me. But, I’m already a go player. Also, I learned of this site when the only way to remove a string, er, group was to kill it by surrounding it entirely, so I’ve been here for the introduction of the removal by life with single-point-eyes version and the current version. I wonder what non-go players who come to this site think.

  28. Marathon Says:

    Trish, Beverly: Any comments on the tutorial?

  29. Marathon Says:

    Is it my breath? It has been a while since we heard from Trish, Beverly or Matt.

    I was wondering if an animated demo would help. Maybe one that shows capture of strings, basic removal by living, then digging down to get to empty areas bounded by both black and white stones.

  30. Marathon Says:

    Marty: The gray background on the high scores table is missing — I see it as white. (It could be my browser.) (It makes the white statistics hard to read.

  31. Marathon Says:

    By the way, when playing more than once in a session, I click “refresh” between games. I don’t know if it makes a difference or just seems like it does, but it may reduce the number of incidents where a tile does not fall completely.

  32. Marathon Says:

    FYI: It was I who got that score of 12,351,144 on May 08, 2008. I must have made a typo when entering my handle. (It didn’t register.)

  33. Martin Says:

    Impressive! The IP matches, so I went ahead and fixed your name. You now have all 10 top scores. I’ll have to play again sometime this weekend or something and see if I can beat your score.

    I also fixed the high score list background color. I forgot I was using the default WP theme, and the style got overwritten when I upgraded.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions Marathon.

  34. Marathon Says:

    Possible bug? The “last 10″ scores show I played a game with the following time stamp: 2008-05-23 19:40:58. In the half hour following that game, I played some others, (including one that should have been added to the top 10 list), but these are not showing in the lists.

  35. Marathon Says:

    Sorry — the missing scores have appeared. I guess it was just a delay.

  36. Marathon Says:

    Beverly: Regarding your post on Jan. 28:

    It is possible that inconsistency of the speed of the falling tiles has to do with other processes on your computer. If your CPU is suddenly busy, it could give less attention to handling Go-Tetris. Then, when your CPU “catches up”, Go-Tetris goes back to normal. This might also delay moving keyboard inputs to the Go-Tetris process, resulting in something like the other problem.

  37. Marathon Says:

    Weird: I installed AdBlock Plus on Mozilla Firefox for Linux, and it disabled the Go Tetris game on this page. It continues to be disabled when I tell AdBlock Plus I don’t want to block anything at It continues to to be disabled when I tell AdBlock Plus to turn itself off. It continues to be disabled when I tell Firefox to turn off AdBlock Plus. It continues to be disabled when I use Konqueror, which shouldn’t be affected by AdBlock Plus at all. However, it works fin on Windows Firefox where I don’t use ad block software.

    Has anyone had an experience like this?

  38. Marathon Says:

    I fixed it by un-installing and re-installing Flash.

  39. Marathon Says:

    Marty: Ordinarily, in Go-Tetris, there is no need to distinguish between “string” (chain, unit) and “group”, However, when discussing the differences between Go-Tetris and Go, the distinction may need to be made.

    Here is another example in which a group which is living in Go, but not removed as a living group in Go-Tetris:

    If this example is in the lower left corner, it is not removed. The group consists of two strings of the same color.


    In this case, the stone in the lower left corner is not necessary for life in Go but having it there doesn’t hurt, while in Go-Tetris, it prevents immediate removal of the group. By contrast, the corner stone in my example from December 15, the single stone is necessary to “make life” in Go, but prevents immediate removal of the group.

    I said “immediate removal” because, in both cases, removal of the larger string is possible by adding to it to form a third eye.

  40. Marathon Says:

    Marty: If I go to, it isn’t obvious how to go from that page to a page that allows one to play the current version (presumably, this page). How about putting up a nice link from that page to this one?

  41. Martin Says:

    Heya Marathon, thanks for the reminder. Whenever I upgrade wordpress my banner disappears. Someday maybe I’ll stop using the default theme, and fix that… ;)

  42. Ben Says:

    I thank i found a glitch in the game. I just don’t know if i found the magic combo or what but my score is 23,000,000,000 and going up. It keeps going up and it won’t stop. I am at level 1477 and counting. I just went to tell you this. First the game froze then the score shoot up and the piece at the top moves back and forth. The black captures are the ones that are going up and the white are at two captures and no territory’s.

  43. Marathon Says:

    Level 34 and a score of only 2.6 million. Such is the risk of “one color” mode!

  44. ernst Says:

    is there a way to view the high scores? I would like to know how I am doing (compared to others!).
    Congratulations for a great game!

  45. Marathon Says:

    I’d like to ask members of the Go-Tetris community “How did we learn about this game? How long have we been here?”

    I came here as a result of something in the American Go Association’s electronic newsletter. I’m not sure if it was an ad, or what. But, it said something like “Is playing Tetris interfering with your playing go? Now you can do both. …” I don’t know when that was. Maybe 2 or 3 years ago???

    Back then, the only way to remove a string (“group”) was to capture it. Leaving an eye could mean your group (string) was unremovable.

  46. Martin Says:

    @ernst, you should be able to save your high score after each game. I should add a link from here to the high score list, I’ll do that just under the google ads that show up under the game. (But you can also find the link in the right-hand navigation on the homepage.)

  47. Andreas Says:

    I experienced the bug that moving an L to the last line where the corner piece of the L should vanish the game was frozen in a way that this corner piece did not vanish although having zero liberties. At the same time the new top falling piece was not falling down but stayed at the very top. I was still able to move it right and left but it didn t drop anymore. Also the score and the captures are increasing every second. By now I have like 5 captures for white and 1000 captures for black (still increasing). The not vanishing corner piece of the L was black. This bug is probably the same like point 4 of Marathon.

    Marathon Says:
    December 2nd, 2007 at 4:33 pm

  48. Andreas Says:

    I added a link to a screenshot:


  49. Andreas Says:

    It would be cool to make a highscore for each mode – one for fast one for normal and one for one color. Also a personal highscore List where only your own highscores are shown would be nice.

  50. daniel Says:

    This is actually not to easy at some point, smart game idea.

  51. Marathon Says:

    I noticed scores of zero are not being recorded.

    I had a couple of games recently in which I reached a level above 20, but I was in one color mode, and ended up with a score of zero. (Had zero not been the minimum, it would have been negative.)

  52. .... Says:

    this is just so bad….

    you have too many difficult shapes compared to easy shapes (maybe 75% hard shapes and 25% easy shapes). peices moves too fast, the board is as wide as it’s tall, not like in tetris, makes the game hard for beginners.
    there are misstakes that cannot be corrected, which makes the game very flawed, you cannot make any big moves, you’re bound to take small points since 1 misstake can lock away 50% of the board permanently….

    this game is not anything like tetris, remove the name “tetris” from it. I do not support that people takes a good game with a good concept and makes bullshit out of it.

    // disappointed and offended player.

  53. Marathon Says:

    I disagree. This is a great Tetris variant.

    The shape of the falling tiles is random. Whether a tile shape is easy or hard depends on what it is falling over.

    I think the 19×19 go board format is an improvement.

    Just as in other Tetris variants, you might be challenged to avoid getting into problem situations, and, if you do make a mistake, you are challenged to fix it.

    I think the speed of the falling tiles is fine in fast mode.

  54. Marathon Says:

    I saw, again, the bug where a piece is stuck at the top. It won’t fall, but it can be rotated left and right and the score and level keep going up. Something different, I noticed, though. Just before it happened, I was positioning either an “s” or a “z” piece with 2 black and 2 white stones. It touched another stone, some of the stones in the falling piece shifted, so it became a block.

  55. zomgfrank Says:

    Marathon, you are a beast.

    (But I will catch you one day!)

    Any speculation on scoring calculations for Fast Mode?

    Martin mentioned something about it being (c x c x l x l) where c = captures and l = level for normal mode.

  56. Marathon Says:

    As far as I can tell, the scoring for fast mode and normal mode is the same, but the levels increase faster. By the way, one color mode appears to be a form of fast mode.

  57. Marathon Says:

    I misunderstood. It looks like you are right. The formula in fast mode seems to be C^2 * L^2.

  58. Marathon Says:

    I wonder what the rules/formulas are for level advancement.

  59. Martin Says:

    OK, I did a little digging, because I wasn’t sure (it’s been a long time!), and here’s what it looks like:

    For Normal mode, levels advance when total captures (TC) + total living stones removed (TL) is greater than level * level * 10. So:
    if ( TC+TL >= level * level * 10 ) level++;

    The formula for Hard Mode & Single Color Mode is just:
    if ( TC + TL >= level * 10 ) level ++;

    …so it just takes a lot longer for your level to change in normal mode. You’ve probably also noticed that when you remove a particularly large group, you might jump lots of levels. The function that checks whether you’ve advanced a level is recursive, so it keeps calling itself until you are at the level you “should” be at, (hopefully that makes any sense).

    There was some speculation earlier about score calculation. Here are the formulas:

    Normal: level * score * score
    Hard & single color: level * level * score * score

  60. Marathon Says:

    I assume for single color, it keeps track of what the score would have been if the same game had been played in fast mode instead, and adjusts the level according to the “fast mode score.” Would my assumption be correct?

  61. Marathon Says:

    AAAAHHHHHH! I updated my software this morning and the updates included a Flash update. Now Flash doesn’t work on my computer at all! I hope I can go back to the previous version.

    By the way, Adobe says there will be no more Flash versions for Linux.

  62. Marathon Says:

    I was able to put Flash back to an older version.

  63. Marathon Says:

    Updating my Operating System (as a new installation), the repositories had only the latest version of Flash that will not work on my system. Since older versions of Flash have known security issues, I thought I’d try gnash before getting an out-of-date version of Flash.

    The game will run under gnash, but has frequent pauses. The pauses are especially long when there is a removal. Overall, I found playing Go-Tetris under gnash annoying.