If you are on almost any social media platform, it’s likely you’ve been seeing little colored squares that look like this:
Is it some secret code? Um, no! It’s Wordle — a new word game — and this is how we share our daily results without spilling the beans (revealing the word to others who have not yet solved the puzzle).
In the example above, 296 is the puzzle number, and 3/6 means I only used three of the six guesses allowed, which is pretty good and what I call a “birdie.” But more on my golf-scoring analogy later.
Rather than explain what the colors of the squares mean, here’s a short tutorial that will show you how to play the game:
Now that you know HOW to play the game, here are five reasons why you’ll want to:
1. It’s Easy to Play
When it comes to word games, I think Wordle is easy to play because:
- You only use 5-letter words.
- It will tell you if you enter a word (or non-word) that isn’t in the master word list (and it won’t count as one of your six guesses).
- Most of the words are in our everyday vocabulary; no names or tv/movie trivia like with crosswords.
- The handy QWERTY keyboard at the bottom shows the status of all letters as you go.
Most useful, however, are the squares that turn green, yellow, or gray once you enter your word guess. And if you forget what the colors mean, click on the question mark in the upper left of the title bar. Wordle will display the same one-page help screen displayed when you accessed the website the first time.
2. It’s Challenging
Wordle may be easy to play, but it’s also challenging.
As Claudia explained in her video, a good strategy is to start with a word that has three vowels. She used ABOUT, but R, S, and D appear more frequently in 5-letter words than B. So a better choice would be to start with ARISE, RADIO, and even her second suggestion of AUDIO since it has four vowels.
When choosing consonants, many like to prioritize the Wheel of Fortune list of R, S, T, L, and N. Those are good choices because ALL are in the top 10 letter frequency list of 5-letter words.
There are other strategies that you can use to tip the odds in your favor, and I’ll be sharing some of my favorites, along with examples, in an upcoming post. So keep an eye out for that! Better still, follow my blog, and I’ll email you whenever I publish new posts or share other occasional info.
3. It’s Binge-Proof
The official Wordle game, played from the NY Times website, only has ONE puzzle (word) per day. That’s it! When you solve the puzzle (or fail, and they show you the word), the system pops up the Statistics page. In the lower-left of that page, there’s a countdown clock under Next Wordle that tells you how long you have to wait for the next puzzle. (It happens at midnight.)
You can open Statistics any time by clicking on the 3-columns icon in the upper right of the title bar.
In her video above, Claudia said that she hopes they come out with an app so she can solve more than one puzzle per day. There ARE apps available that I call Wordle-lookalikes. I have friends who use them, but I haven’t, and I don’t plan to.
When I open my iPad to play Wordle (usually each morning while drinking my protein smoothie), I like that I’m solving the same puzzle as everyone else. And when I do, I’m done. I’ve had my Wordle fix for the day. No bingeing for me — at least not on Wordle.
4. It’s Free!
Right now, you can play Wordle for free. Just open any browser on your computer, tablet, or phone, search for Wordle NY Times, click the link, and start playing. You don’t even have to give them your email or create a login or password.
But since the Times paid Josh Wardle a handsome amount for the popular game, everyone expects that eventually, it is going to want a return on its investment. They as much as said so in their article, The NY Times Buys Wordle, published Jan 31, 2022.
So play away for free — while you still can!
5. It’s Fun!
There’s a reason that Wordle has become such a hit with so many folks: It’s FUN!
As I explained at the beginning of this post, the little colored squares that you see popping up all over Facebook and Twitter are how we Wordlers share our results. And it’s easy to do. Just click the Share button from the Statistics page (see #3 above). Wordle copies your results to the clipboard. You then paste the contents wherever you want – social media, email, a text, etc.
Something fun I’ve recently begun to do when sharing my results on Facebook is to use a golf analogy with Wordle. I add things like “this was my 16th birdie,” “only my fifth eagle,” or “another par, but I played it safe.” I have never played golf, but I know enough about the game to equate my goal of solving Wordle puzzles in four tries or less to hitting par on a par-4 golf hole.
So whenever I solve the puzzle in four guesses, it’s par. Three, a birdie. Two, an eagle. And one — unlike an actual hole-in-one in golf, requiring significant strength and skill — would be merely a lucky guess. Of course, five guesses would then be a bogey; six, a double-bogey; and failing to guess the correct word? I’m not sure what that equates to in golf. But you get the idea.
Don’t want to share your results with anyone? No problem. You can play the game and keep it all to yourself. With Wordle — you make it what YOU want it to be.
So there you have it. I hope you at least give this easy-to-learn, challenging, binge-proof, free, and fun game a try. And if you do, let me know what you think.
While a Wordle-a-day may not keep the doctor away, it may at least put a smile on your face. And who knows? Maybe it WILL keep the doctor away because, as the Scripture says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine …” Prov 17:22 NLT