Wordle Word Game: How To Play and Strategy
The omnipresent Wordle game seemingly came out of nowhere. Perhaps you’ve seen Wordle scoreboards on friends’ Facebook posts, in texts, on Twitter, or even the New York Times.
The graphic Wordle image showcases a series of grey, yellow, and green boxes and is essentially a shareable scoreboard icon for players after they finish a game.
What is the Wordle game, and why has it suddenly become so popular? We’ll address that and give you some tips for impressing your friends in this fun word game.
1.) What is Wordle?
Wordle is an online word game that can be played daily. There’s just one puzzle a day. Every 24 hours, there’s a new puzzle to solve.
As a player, your goal is to guess the five-letter, common word in six attempts or fewer.
All players play the same puzzle. You only get one try at solving a puzzle in six guesses per day. Are you ready to solve another puzzle? You have to wait until tomorrow.
2.) What are the rules of Wordle?
Unlike crossword puzzles, with Wordle, there’s no initial clue as to what is the chosen word. But, Wordle provides feedback on the correct solution based on your initial guess.
Here’s what the opening screen looks like.
Your first-word guess is vital as your initial set of clues will come directly from the letters you featured in your opening word guess.
A correct letter in the right spot is shown with a green background. A yellow background shows when you have a letter that is in the word but not in the right spot. A gray background shows when the letter you’ve guessed is not in the word anywhere.
Your guesses must be actual words. For instance, you couldn’t guess all of the vowels, “AEIOU.”
Each of your guesses provides clues about the letters featured and their placements.
3.) Who invented Wordle?
Josh Wardle, a software engineer, invented Wordle. While the name “Wordle” sounds like a mix between “word” and “puzzle,” it’s really just a play on the words of Josh’s last name.
The British-raised New Yorker created Wordle for his partner, a word puzzle fan, for them to play. He then shared the game with family and some friends. From there, the game’s popularity skyrocketed in a viral way growing from fewer than one thousand players to over 2 million in a manner of a few weeks.
Wardle’s intention with the game was to make it feel like a croissant – a delightful snack is enjoyed on an occasional basis. “Enjoyed too often,” he said, “and they lose their charm.”
The game challenges even the creator.
“I feel smart when I get a Wordle, even though I made the game. It’s about the journey, especially on days like today where I’m like really stumped, and I like have to think about it,” Wardle told Techcrunch in an interview.
4.) Why is it so popular?
When a word game becomes the talk of the town, everyone seems to want to analyze why it’s so successful. Here are a few thoughts.
One puzzle, one day, played by everyone
Having only one puzzle a day prevents players from going down a rabbit hole and playing endlessly. Is Wordle addictive? You better believe it. But, it only takes a few minutes out of a day to play.
There’s a universality as all players attempt to solve the same puzzle. There wouldn’t be a common interest if players solved a different puzzle.
Wordle is only giving; not taking
There’s no registration on the site and no advertising. They are not tracking any user information.
For many of us, there is something authentic and admirable about a site that isn’t requiring anything from the player.
The game is a quick read. The rules are simple, and it’s easy to play if you’re familiar with the English language.
In everyone’s hectic day, it’s easy to carve out a few minutes to play. For many players, it’s an opportunity to think about our language in a fun way.
Easy and fun to share
Wordle really took off in popularity when the share feature was added. At the completion of each game, players are given the opportunity to share their results with friends, family, and via social media.
The shareable icon shows the coded score of your guesses without showing the actual letters — so that your contacts gain no advantage.
Chance to show off
If you’re able to guess a difficult puzzle or do it in just a couple of guesses, here’s your opportunity to let friends know that you know a thing or two. Bragging rights are yours!
5.) How do I start playing Wordle?
The game is hosted at The New York Times. Visit the site, read the rules, and make your first guess of a five-letter word. Remember, there’s no clue for the initial guess.
6.) What are some good tips and tricks for playing Wordle?
Players can take a formula-like approach to deductively solving the puzzle or wing it and shoot from the hip. We suggest you take the path that brings you the most joy (after all, it’s an amusement game).
Understand letter frequency
The most common letters used in the dictionary are E, A, R, I, O, T, N, and S. Knowing this, one or two of your early guesses should include many of these letters.
Lead with a First Word Vowel-Focused guess
Most so-called Wordle experts agree that your first guess is the most important.
Since half of the four most-common letters are vowels, this strategy entails selecting the first word with several vowels. For example, you might try “ADIEU,” “RATES,” “AEROS,” or “ORATE.”
Hopefully, you’ll get at least a couple of colored squares with an opening guess like this.
Lead with a First Word Consonant-Focused guess
If half of the eight most common words are vowels, the other half are consonants. So, try an opening guess of a word with several popular consonants, like “SNORT,” “STARE,” “DORMY,” or “DIMLY.”
You might like this approach if you have an easier time guessing vowels after a few letters have been identified. Plus, all that time playing Wheel of Fortune will not have gone to waste.
Apply word knowledge from the English language
We all know that the letter “E” is frequently at the end of words and that “C,” “W,” and “S” often precede the letter “H” in a word — “GHOST” is a one-off. Look for patterns from familiar words and apply them to the puzzle.
Avoid replaying gray-scored letters
If you know the letter is not a part of the word, don’t reuse it. Ok, this one probably could’ve gone without noting, but we’re trying to be thorough.
Play Wordle Golf with friends
Same gameplay as regular Wordle but note your score in golf terms:
Solved in 4 guesses = Par.
3 guesses = Birdie.
2 guesses = Eagle.
1 guess = Hole in one.
5 guesses = Bogie.
6 guesses = Double Bogie.
7.) What are some other popular word games like Wordle?
The last word game that generated this much interest was Words With Friends. The New York Times features two daily puzzles that can also be quite addicting: Spelling Bee and The Mini (Crossword Puzzle).
As I completed the Wordle puzzle first thing in the morning, I’m just killing time now until the next puzzle comes out tomorrow.
By Mike O’Halloran
Mike is the co-founder of ListCaboodle and past president of Magnetic Poetry – another popular word game.
You are on our Wordle: 7 Things You Need To Know About This Popular Word Game page.
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