By Max Marinelli (Editor-in-Chief, ‘22)
By now, we all know of the incredible success that Josh Wardle’s Wordle has found across the globe. You’ve definitely heard of it, probably played it yourself, and maybe have even adopted it as a part of your morning routine. For those who don’t know what Wordle is, I’ll explain. You open the game (linked above) on the New York Times’ website and are met with a board consisting of six rows of five tiles. The six rows represent your six guesses, and the five tiles represent the letters of the said guesses. The goal is that, by or before you input your sixth attempt, you would have correctly guessed that day’s five-letter Wordle word. When you input a word, the letters in it will either show up gray or light up yellow or green. If the letter is grayed out, it will not be present in that day’s word; if the letter is yellow, it is present in the answer but not in that specific position; if the letter lights up green, you’ve found the correct spot for one of the letters in the answer. Attached below is an example of my Wordle board from 3/22/22:
I like to open with the sequence “nasty” and “oiler,” although, according to mathematical analysis, the optimal opening word is “salet” (a mid-fifteenth-century combat helmet worn throughout parts of Europe). I believe that “crate” and “crane” are also said to be quite effective.
For those who are already proficient in the art of Wordle, or are looking to expand their interests to new horizons, this article is for you. I’m going to detail some of my favorite Wordle spin-offs below, grouped by category (hyperlinks will be embedded in all of the games’ titles). With all of these variations, there’s bound to be a perfect Wordle for everyone.
Both of these games allow players to bypass the once-daily limit of traditional Wordle. Devang Thakkar’s Wordle Archive provides access to a collection of all of the previous Wordle puzzles—so don’t feel too bad if you’re ever without wifi for a day, as you can do your catching up here. Wordle Unlimited works just as its name suggests: you can play an infinite amount of Wordle puzzles at this site, though the program can use any English word, not just the words used in previous puzzles.
All of these games run along the same vein. In Dordle, one must solve two Wordle puzzles simultaneously before their guesses run out (the game does generously allot you seven guesses, though, unlike traditional Wordle which grants you six). Quordle works the same, except with four simultaneous puzzles and nine guesses to solve them. Sensing the pattern? Octordle tasks players with cracking the codes for eight puzzles, and Sedecordle presents the tough assignment of sixteen puzzles.
Nerdle and Mathdle are both solved by correctly solving for the day’s equation. Any guessed equation must be mathematically true and include one or more of the following operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In these games, the equations are not meant to equal a specific number. In Mathler, however, players must come up with the correct equation that amounts to a specific target number. For instance, that number may be 24, in which case a possible correct answer could be “4 * 2 + 16”.
Worldle presents players with the outline of a country or territory that they have six attempts to guess. After each incorrect attempt, Worldle presents players with the distance and direction that the target country is from the previous attempt. In Globle, players have unlimited attempts to find that day’s chosen country. When a country is guessed, it will light up a color from white to orange to crimson, with darker highlights indicating that you are getting close to the correct answer. It feels like some sort of hot-and-cold game. Countryle functions like Globle, except it gives hints regarding hemisphere, continent, average temperature, population, and coordinates.
Poeltl (named after San Antonio Spurs’ center, Jakob Poeltl) and Weddle (after Eric Weddle, retired NFL safety) are basketball- and football-themed Wordle spinoffs, respectively. Each game gives users eight attempts to guess that day’s chosen player, with hints given regarding the player’s team, position, age, etc. While Poeltl’s answer can be any player from any team, Weddle is currently limited to offensive skill positions (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end).
Heardle gives players increasingly long snippets of a song, from one second up to fifteen seconds. The goal is to guess the song title from the shortest snippet possible, with each incorrect guess begetting extra bits of the song to use as a hint. Weezle plays out just like the original Wordle, except all of the answers are words that feature in a Weezer song.
7. For the competitors: Squabble
It seems that every new game has some sort of Battle Royale mode. Why should Wordle be any different? Squabble presents players with the opportunity to go head-to-head with friends or random online players in a quick-thinking, Wordle-inspired battle royale, with the final person standing claiming vocabulary supremacy.
Crosswordle: Sudoku meets Wordle is one of my personal favorite Wordle spinoffs. Instead of starting from scratch and working toward the target word, you work backwards from the answer. Below is a picture from one of my games, to illustrate the backwards nature of the game. One of the cool aspects of the game is that there are often multiple solutions to the same puzzle, so you can try to solve it in more ways than one. The other Crosswordle tasks players with solving a five-by-five crossword puzzle with six guesses for each row and column. After each guess, tiles will light up gray, yellow, or green, just as in normal Wordle. Try to solve it in as few guesses as possible!