has captured the attention of millions across the globe, but what is a Wordle? Seen all those on social media? Yep, that’s Wordle.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) January 4, 2022
What is Wordle?
Wordle is a daily word game you can find online here. It’s fun, simple and, like a crossword, can only be played once a day. Every 24 hours there’s a new word of the day, and it’s up to you to figure out what it is. The site itself does a fantastic job of explaining the rules:
Wordle gives players six chances to guess a randomly selected five-letter word. As shown above, if you have the right letter in the right spot, it shows up green. A correct letter in the wrong spot shows up yellow. A letter that isn’t in the word in any spot shows up grey.
You can enter a total of six words, meaning you can enter five-burner words from which you can learn hints about the letters and their placements. Then you get one chance to put those hints to use. Or you can try for performance and guess the word of the day in three, two or even one go.
Simple stuff, but also incredibly compelling.
So it’s a word game? Big deal…
Yeah, it’s just a word game. But it’s super popular: Over 300,000 people play it daily, according to The New York Times. That popularity may sound perplexing, but there are a few tiny details that have resulted in everyone going absolutely bonkers for it.
There’s only one puzzle per day: This creates a certain level of stakes. You only get one shot at the Wordle. If you mess up, you have to wait until tomorrow to get a brand new puzzle.
Everyone is playing the exact same puzzle: This is crucial, as it makes it easier to ping your buddy and chat about the day’s puzzle. “Today’s was tough!” “How did you get on?” “Did you get it?” This takes us to the next point…
It’s easy to share your results: Once you’ve successfully or unsuccessfully done the puzzle for the day, you’re invited to share your Wordle journey for the day. If you tweet the image, it looks like this…
Wordle 184 5/6
Started to sweat a bit on this one!
— Paul is Happening (@paulpuccio) December 21, 2021
Note that the word and letters you chose are obscured. All that’s shown is your journey toward the word in a series of yellow, green and grey boxes.
It’s very compelling. If you get it easily, maybe on the second or third try, there’s a gloating element whereby you must show your followers how smart you are and share.
If you get it by the skin of your teeth in the sixth go, that’s also a cool story. But most importantly, the puzzle itself isn’t spoiled.
OMG IT HAPPENED
Wordle 184 1/6
— Jason Imms 🅽🅸🅲🅴 (@jasonimms) December 21, 2021
So Wordle isn’t just a word game, it’s a conversation starter and a chance to show off on social media. That’s why it’s going viral.
Tips and tricks
If you’re a word game purist, you may want to avoid the following tips and rely entirely on your own instincts. For everyone else who’s sick of seeing grey boxes, here are some tips that you may find helpful.
Choosing your first word: The first word is arguably the most important. To maximize the value of your opening gambit, choose a word with three vowels and five different letters. Some examples: orate, media, radio. I always use “adieu” for some reason. It’s a habit and I’m refusing to break it.
Avoid reusing greys: There’s a keyboard at the bottom of the Wordle board that shows what letters are green, yellow and grey. Avoid reusing letters that have come up grey. Yes, this sounds obvious. But it can take time and effort to think of five-letter words that don’t use letters you’ve already tried. That effort will pay off.
Letters can appear twice: This complicates matters, especially when you’re running out of letters to try on words four or five. But letters often recur, as with words like chill, sissy and ferry having been the correct answers in the past.
Who made Wordle?
Wordle is the work of software engineer Josh Wardle, who originally created the game for his partner, a fan of word games.