Wordle is a free puzzle game covering the internet in little squares
You might have noticed the internet being peppered by little green, white and yellow squares over the past week. They’re from Wordle, a free once-a-day word puzzle where everyone is trying to guess the same five letter word. I’ve been hooked on it since Christmas – and you should be playing it, too.
It really is simple. Wordle presents you with a blank grid of squares, into which you type letters. You’ve got six guesses to get the word. Personally I like to begin with what I call “the farts gambit”, and always use FARTS as my first word. It helps to find, or rule out, a common vowel and some of the most common consonants.
If a letter in a word you enter contains a correct letter, it turns yellow. If it’s the correct letter in the correct place, it turns green. Make your way to the end, and you’re offered a chance to share your completed grid stripped of any letters. Since everyone is playing the same puzzle, and there’s only one a day, it’s oddly compelling to compare colour grids with other players.
I’ve been playing Wordle daily and comparing results with friends every day for a couple of weeks now. I’m having a lovely time – although I admit I’m still not sure whether or not Wordle is even a good game.
There is a lot of luck involved, in how many letters and positions you find with your first guess or any subsequent guesses. It doesn’t even necessarily reward having a large vocabulary: it’s easy to have four correct letters and still have four or more possible winning words, at which point there’s no way to tell which is correct beyond just guessing and hoping you get it right before you run out of tries.
Yet it’s undeniably compelling. No matter how much luck is involved, it feels skillful to shape your guesses around each discovered letter. That it can only be played once a day also adds tension; I’ve yet to fail a puzzle and I want to keep my streak going.
Not that there’s any in-game recognition of that streak. Wordle is wonderfully barebones, playable via a simple webpage. No sign-in, no rewards, nothing to make it “sticky” other than the fun of it. As reported by the New York Times, Wordle was designed by a man called Josh Wardle as a gift for his wife, and it shows in the best way.
Here’s how I did with today’s. Wordle 201 5/6: