An epic Triple Town player story

Some background info: unscrupulous players will occasionally hack their Triple Town scores to get ludicrously high rankings on the leaderboards. To combat this, we have placed an upper limit on the leaderboard scores–any score above this threshold is assumed to be submitted by a hacker and automatically dropped. At the time of the events in this story, the threshold was 30M. Even the best players usually don’t score anywhere near this threshold, but apparently there are some players good enough to actually exceed it.

This is the story of one player who is good enough to exceed the score limit and was screwed (twice) by it, and who decided to take extraordinary measures to ensure his place at the top of the leaderboard.

The Story, Part 1

On 2012-06-16, Triple Town player Kim Hyo Jin emailed us to say that his 30M+ score had disappeared from the iOS leaderboard. At the time, we couldn’t figure out what went wrong and hoped it was a temporary glitch in either the leaderboard or the internet.

On 2012-12-09, Kim Hyo Jin emailed us again to report the same problem. This time, we realized that the issue was a 30M score cap on the iOS leaderboards–any score over 30M would get dropped. We emailed him back to let him know what was happening.

On 2012-12-14, in an email acknowledging our explanation of what was going on, Kim Hyo Jin also declared the following:

“P.S. I’m trying to make my score up to exactly 30M haha”

The Story, Part 2

Here at Spry Fox, we didn’t think about this much for the next 6 months. Then, on 2013-06-01, we received another email from Kim Hyo Jin:

“Hi! You remember me? I finally made my score of exact 30M hahahaha!!!!!”

This is epic for two reasons. First, 30M is a really high score–many players are still working on breaking 1M for the first time, and some haven’t even set their sights that high yet. Second, ending on a particular score is not easy, either, because of the random elements of the game.

What follows are the screenshots Kim Hyo Jin sent us detailing the final moments of his 30M-exact game.

The Screenshots


The final moments begin here. Kim Hyo Jin has 3 spaces left on the board and is 60 points away from 30M.


In this picture, the coin balance is 75 lower than it was previously, suggesting that an Undo was purchased.


Purchasing a Bush–one of three remaining in inventory. Notice that Kim Hyo Jin is also already out of Crystals, Imperial Bots, and Trees.


That was smart! Bushes give 20 points. The Grass he had in-hand would have given him only 5.


A second Bush is purchased…


…and placed for another 20 points. One more space, 20 points to go…


Purchasing a third Bush, the last one in his in-game store’s inventory.


The Bush is placed for 20 points, and fills the last empty space on the board. Success! Game Over with 30M points exactly!


Here he is, tied at 30M with a number of other players at the top of the iOS All-Time Standard Map Leaderboard.



  • Out of Bots, Crystals, and Trees, and down to his very last Bush, Kim Hyo Jin pulls off the exact 30M Game Over!
  • The final game lasted in excess of 67,000 turns.
  • Our heartfelt congratulations to Kim Hyo Jin, whose year-long pursuit of the top of the leaderboard eventually ended in success!


  • In September 2013, we increased the upper limit on the iOS leaderboards from 30M to 40M.
  • Kim Hyo Jin followed a similar approach to finish a game with a score of exactly 40M and is currently alone at the top of the Standard Map leaderboard on iOS. The screenshots he shared indicate a game that lasted over 117,000 turns.

7 Comments in 'An epic Triple Town player story'

  • weaslygrizzly
    October 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Strange screenshots for such a good player 😀

  • AshWhiz
    October 6, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Wow, that is impressive gameplay! I’ve broken 1M a couple of times; but to still have anything left in your inventory at 29,999,060 is incredible. And, of course, he strategically left 3×20 bushes there so he could make the 30M exactly. We bow at the feet of the master, Kim Hyo Jin.

  • Aili
    October 9, 2014 at 3:00 am

    How did this happen? I don’t understand, you should have some golden castles to get this high score.

  • Scott (Spry Fox Support)
    October 15, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I’ve seen screenshots like this from several of our very good players. (Of course, the folks who send us screenshots of many Triple Castles on the same board are also very good!)

    I imagine that the strategy employed here is to destroy the high-level structures so as to never run out of room on the board. The point penalty for destroying a structure is large–in the base case you should actually lose points–but there are ways to come out ahead despite the penalty.

    • conwood
      October 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      “but there are ways to come out ahead despite the penalty”

      — I’d really love to know the details. I tried to Google, but I found nothing.

      • Scott (Spry Fox Support)
        October 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm

        The botting penalties are described here: https://spryfox.zendesk.com/entries/22264993-What-are-the-point-penalties-for-botting-structures- . As you’ll note, they only consider what the destroyed object is and whether it is super. This gives several possible ways of coming out ahead, including these:

        1) As an example, building “3 Grass make a Bush, 3 Bushes make a Tree…” up to Triple Castle and then destroying it would result in a net loss. However, building “4 Grass make a Super Bush, 4 Super Bushes make a Super Tree…”, up to Triple Castle and then destroying it would result in a net gain. The botting penalty is the same in both cases (both cases destroy a non-super Triple Castle), but you earn many more points in the second case because at each of the lower levels you make super objects rather than normal objects.

        2) At the end of the bear-farming progression are chests which disappear from the board when opened. But you keep all the points from the Churches, etc. built along the way, so you gain points without permanently taking up any space on the board. If you can get lots of points through bear farming, this can offset or potentially outweigh the penalty you take when you eventually decide to destroy a structure.

        Note that the spirit of the game is to build the best town in an ever-decreasing amount of space–not to destroy the town you’ve worked so hard to build!–but my point in this comment is to give some insight into how one might possibly get high points without high-level structures and without cheating.

  • conwood
    October 21, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Thanks Scott, this helps a lot, I’ll try to break my personal best score soon~~~

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