Wordle has brought us a lot of wonderfle things, not least a surge of freely available, one-a-day puzzles to enjoy, without the faff of having to install apps or register accounts. Played in a browser, whether on your phone or laptop, Wordle and the many, many games it’s inspired have become a part of people’s daily routines. We’ve compiled a collection of the best of the rest, the Wordle clones and spin-offs that will improve your commute and coffee break.
Within the list are all manner of different approaches to reinventing the theme. There are those that simply have you solve two, four, eight, 16 or 32 Wordles at once, and those that extend the idea to attempting to guess a country on the planet. Nerdle adds maths, while Fibble adds lies, and yet more have you chaining word puzzles together.
We should start at the start. Of course you already know Wordle, because it became as unavoidable as breathing air or hearing about a slap at the Oscars. There’s a five-letter word to guess, and six guesses to find it. Get a right letter and it highlights yellow, get a right letter in the right place and it turns green. With this data, you can find that word.
This is the pattern on which the majority of these similar games are based, with Mastermind-like hints to deduce a solution. The best examples don’t deviate too far from it, instead finding a unique twist that adds intrigue.
Read on to find a whole bunch of games that you should add to your daily routine.
People have developed a lot of trust with Wordle. It’s why there’s such absolute uproar every time anything goes vaguely wrong, whether it’s two different answers being served up to different people, or the entire game being bought by a megacorp. So what better than a variant of the game that deliberately lies to you?!
Fibble does just that, giving you a starter word, then eight further guesses to get the solution, except in every result it’s lying about one of the letters.
So if you’ve got a starter saying “TRIBE”, with a yellow T and green I, the rest grey, any one of those pieces of information could be rubbish. There might well be a B in the answer. Or the I might not be in the right place, or even in the word at all. You have to figure out a route through this based on guessing what it’s fibbing about.
Obviously you can find your way to such information by repeating letters in given squares, and seeing if there are contradictions. For instance, after “TRIBE” I tried “STICK”, and this time was told that the I was a yellow, and the rest of the letters are grey. Which tells me one of two things: Either the first row was lying about there being a T at all, or lying about the I being in the right place. So therefore the second row is lying about one of the same two letters.
As you go you can mark the tiles you suspect to be false in each answer, to try to keep track of things. But gosh, yeah, no, this is not simple. It is, however, rather brilliant.
Dordle, Quordle, Octordle…
The easiest way to get more Wordle into your life is to get more Wordle into each puzzle. Starting with Dordle, a peculiar arms race began to produce workable Wordle clones where you simultaneously solved more than one word at a time.
Dordle does the obvious, and has two puzzles side-by-side. Each letter guessed applies to both puzzles, and accordingly you’re given more guesses to get there — in this case, seven.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Next up is Sedecordle with its 16 words to find, via 21 attempts. And yes, there’s Duotrigordle, sporting a ridiculous 32 puzzles to solve at once, and a daft 37 tries.
As it happens, this is a concept that peaks and then suddenly drops off. Octordle’s eight words is my favourite, where there’s still the element of danger of not getting there. But once you’re at 16, it becomes a fairly simple process of elimination. You plug in your four favourite starter words, using 16 different letters, and after that you can work out most of the words just from the resulting clues. Odd as it seems, the more puzzles you solve at once, the easier it starts to get.
But those first three are tabs well worth leaving open on your phone’s browser.
While we all delight in the knowledge that Wordle was created by Josh Wardle as a gift to his girlfriend, we can also deploy some “Aaawwwwww”s toward Nerdle, created by a father and his teenage children. Richard Mann was driving his daughter home from a hockey match, and came up with the idea while stuck in traffic!
Perhaps the best thing about maths-based Nerdle is just how unlikely it seems that it should be possible, and yet how very satisfying it is to successfully complete. Here, instead of letters, you’re guessing numbers and mathematical symbols to correctly match that day’s piece of simple arithmetic.
There are eight elements to the sum, one of which will be an equals sign, and the rest made of the numbers 0 to 9, and any of plus, minus, multiply and divide. In six guesses, it seems like it should be wholly impossible to deduce the matching combination, and yet in months of playing, I’ve never missed.
It turns out that with the Wordle-like clues (in this case purple for correct but in the wrong place, green for correct and in the right place), you can find a route to a sum in a very satisfying way. More often than not, I complete these in three or four turns, and yet never with it feeling too easy.
I recommend having a starting sum, like you might have a starting word for the letter-based variants. Mine is “1 + 8 / 2 = 0 5″. (The game would never have a zero before a number like that in its actual solution, but it gets me five unique numbers along with two symbols.) From this, you can often work out right away if the correct solution will be of that sort of layout, or if it’s going to be something more like “1 0 8 – 9 = 9 9,” or “4 * 7 / 1 4 = 2.”
“It’s like Wordle, right, but with…” is pretty much the pitch for everything here. But Globle likely takes it to the extremes. “It’s like Wordle, right, but with the entire planet.”
Thankfully you’re not guessing words from all of Earth’s 7,151 languages, but rather the slightly more simple feat of guessing the name of one of Earth’s 195 countries. Since highlighting bits of the guess wouldn’t help here, Globle instead opts for a hot/cold system, with your guesses marked in increasingly deep shades of red depending upon how geographically close it is to that day’s destination.
It also gives you as many guesses as you need, meaning you could — and now I desperately want to — deliberately attempt 194 incorrect guesses before seeing the correct nation turn green.
There are some flaws with Globle which are yet to be addressed, despite the game’s enormous popularity. Large countries really flummox its heat-map approach, with Russia especially causing problems. (Please, no.) And, well, there’s a fair amount of luck involved in picking the right part of the planet to start in.
Alternatively, there’s Worldle, a game you have to really convince Google to let you search for. This appeared before Globle, and requires that you recognise a country by its outline shape.
This time the hint system is used to show you how close you are to the correct location, telling you how many kilometers away you are, and in which direction to head.
Frankly, kudos to anyone capable of this feat, because unless it’s Italy or Great Britain, I’m pretty stuffed.
Xordle is a sister game of Fibble’s, insomuch as it shares the same coder, one “keldor.” This is keldor’s own project, and it’s another superb variant that feels like it should be too hard, yet is definitely possible. This time you have to guess two completely different words in one single puzzle.
Neither word shares any letters, so the results you’re getting for each of your eight guesses (with a given starter word) apply to both at the same time. It’s about trying to eliminate things in the fewest moves possible.
Clearly you’re getting a lot of conflicting information, but you just have to be defiant, pursue a word hard, and once you’ve successfully found one, you’ve then got abundant clues for the second. Anything above which contradicts the first correct word is now vital information, along with the elimination of all five of those letters.
The game is programmed very well, such that once you’ve found a word, the virtual keyboard’s highlighted letters grey out the first solution, doubly helping you toward your goal.
Primel almost doesn’t deserve inclusion because of its nigh-blasphemous failure to spell its name “Primle.” It definitely doesn’t deserve inclusion because it’s a game in which you have to correctly guess a five-digit prime number. And I am not a robot.
Yet include it I have, because I know we have a lot of robot readers, and I’m not one to discriminate. And, as it happens, this is very achievable to us mere mortals too.
If anything, Primel reduces the concept back to its Mastermind-like origins, essentially letting the ten possible numbers be ten different colour pegs, but with the added restriction that your solution’s probably going to end in a 7.
There are in fact at least two variants called Hurdle, and we may as well include them both!
First up is Arkadium’s Hurdle, which strings together five games of Wordle, where the solution for the previous round becomes the starter word for the next. Except in the fifth round, where the four previous solutions are put in, and you only have two guesses to get the correct solution based on the clues given by those four words.
It’s an enjoyable version, because it requires you to successfully complete four standard Wordles in a row, where any failure means the whole thing is over. That really raises the stakes. That final round is where things get really sticky, since sometimes you just don’t have enough good information — and yet, I’ve completed it more often than not. So you will too!
The other Hurdle leans even further into the Mastermind approach to marking guesses, where instead of telling you which particular letters are correct, it just tells you that there are so many correctly placed, and so many correct but in the wrong place.
Accordingly, it gives you eight guesses instead of the usual six, but make no mistake: this makes it a far harder puzzle.
OK, let’s be honest, this has barely anything to do with Wordle. Heardle is a game about recognising a song from its intro, in as few seconds as you can.
Created by a group of friends, and then suddenly finding viral fame to millions of players, this uses the aesthetics and once-a-day principles of Wordle, but that’s about it. Yet it’s fantastic, and fits right in.
At the start, you’re given one second of a song’s intro to recognise it by. If you think you know it, you can type in its name or artist into a text box, and then pick it out from the list of hundreds of possible answers. Submit it to find out if you’re right or not. Get it wrong, and the game adds another second of audio.
You can also skip if you just don’t know, with a second wrong answer adding another two seconds, then three, four, and so on. You have six guesses, and if you get it right, you can listen to the first 30 seconds of the track to celebrate. (30 seconds, of course, because that’s what you can get away with without having to pay royalties.)
It’s very satisfying, capturing that ancient Name That Tune vibe in a very modern way.
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