Wordle variations: the green, the yellow and the gray

by Cadia Warner, Feature Editor

We’ve found ourselves in a Wordle craze. Some of us use it to kill free time while others are passionately addicted to it. We now live in a society where “What’s your starting word?” is our go-to icebreaker. For anyone who doesn’t know what Wordle is, it’s a word game created by software engineer Josh Wardle (who’s since sold it to the New York Times for over $1 million) that involves guessing (mostly) common five letter words. If you guess a correct letter, it appears yellow and if you guess a correct letter with correct placement within the word, it appears green. Everything else that’s incorrect remains gray. Your keyboard letters are correspondingly color coded as you guess to help you keep track of which letters are in the word and what you’ve guessed already.

Since Wordle swept the nation and stole our hearts (and free time), many variations of the game have been released and have gained popularity. I tested a handful of over 70 variations of our beloved Wordle, and here’s what I thought about each one: Everything has its pros and cons, so feel free to skip around or read the whole thing!

Nerdle: It’s not a secret that math just isn’t my subject. With that being said, Nerdle, the equation based variation of Wordle, wasn’t really my thing. I liked how it told me which guesses were accurate, but replacing letters with numbers and symbols just made things harder for me. However, since there are 26 letters and just ten numbers and four symbols (I’m counting the “=” as a freebie) you can knock everything out in a few guesses. Once you figure out what numbers and symbols are in the equation itself, it’s just a matter of making sense of them…Or if you’re like me, it’s a matter of punching things into your calculator. You get six tries to get all eight boxes correct. To my own surprise, I completed the Nerdle in four tries. It was a fun challenge and I was pretty proud of myself for getting it right, but I’ll stick to writing.

WordleCup:Wish you could play Wordle more competitively? WordleCup has your back. This play on “World Cup” allows you to join a public game with other players or even create your own room to play with your friends. Normally, I like to take my time with these games to really let myself think before I guess, so the timed rounds which last about two minutes each felt like they were rushing me. WordleCup has seven rounds, so I didn’t have any sense of accomplishment once I guessed one correct word. Like I said, math isn’t my thing, but that’s 56 guesses to complete just one game. It seemed endless, taking away what I love about the original game. That being said, I do think that if you had a group of friends to make a room with, it could be a fun competition.

Crosswordle:If making words out of thin air isn’t your thing, you can just play Crosswordle. “Crosswordle” is misleading, because it isn’t really a crossword at all. With this variation, players are given the final word and the board, which is filled with gray, yellow and green spaces and their corresponding implications. Given the lines above, you need to complete the guesses that lead up to the final word. I liked that it tells you when you’re wrong as well as what about your guess is wrong. If you click the red box below the board, it explains that maybe you repeated a previously used letter or perhaps you put a “green” letter in a “gray” spot. It’s also a little bit easier to solve because you only need to make three guesses.

While I’m content with the daily satisfaction of just one puzzle, other people crave more. If this sounds like you, take a stab at Dordle. Dordle is the same thing as Wordle, but with two puzzles at once. You have seven guesses to find the correct word, but here’s the twist: each of your guesses count for each puzzle! I think it’s super helpful that the keyboard indicates which letters are gray, yellow or green for both puzzles. This way, it’s easier to keep track of what you’ve guessed already and what letters are in the word. 

Multiple Puzzles: Similar to Dordle is Quordle. You’ve probably guessed by now, but Quordle is four Wordles at once. Using all the rules applied to Wordle and Dordle, you now have nine guesses to get four words correctly. I did this in just over five minutes last time, but everyone has their own pace. Again, the division in each letter key on the keyboard really helps me sort out which words contain which letters. If you’re looking for even more of a challenge, Sedordle is 16 puzzles at a time with 21 guesses available. I think it’s a fun challenge to do multiple puzzles at once, but I also feel like it’s defeating the purpose of the original game. We’re so addicted to the original Wordle because it’s just one a day, giving us both the gratification of completing it and the anticipation of the next day’s puzzle.

Evil Wordle: If you told me a month ago that I’d be writing about something called “Evil Wordle” I probably wouldn’t have believed you, yet here we are. Evil Wordle is frustrating to say the least. From my understanding, it changes the correct word (the final, totally green word) with each time you guess. Why? Nobody knows. The fact that there is no set correct word makes it difficult to play with friends, however you get a seemingly unlimited amount of guesses. The algorithm will use your guess pattern to make a final word that will maximize the amount of guesses you’ll use to get it. This game is genius, but it also made me want to rip my hair out. If you’re brave enough to give this game a try, you can also attempt Absurdle. It’s the same concept, only slightly less wicked.

Heardle: I live for music. Listening to it, playing it, watching it, whatever it is- I’m there. Heardle combined the love of my life with my favorite game. Each guess is equivalent to a second of the song intro. If you don’t know it, you can skip your guess to jump another second into the song. Players have six guesses to name the song. If they get it right or strikeout, the first 20 seconds of the song will play. As a music lover, this game is a blast…when I know the song. Heardle songs have no limits, so as someone who doesn’t listen to a wide variety of music, it can be hard. I normally listen to one or two genres and have a small circle of artists I’m familiar with. I look forward to doing it everyday, and especially if you’re more musically open minded than me, you will too.

Wordle: I saved the best for last. Wordle is the true role model that every variation aspires to be. It manages to give me daily satisfaction and leave me wanting more. Something else I really love about the game is that the correct word is the same for everyone everyday (hopefully I’m not the only one with a family group chat dedicated to bragging about our daily scores). It’s a simple concept to grasp, and once you do you’re hooked. So here are my picks. Hopefully you’ve found a new game to attempt to widen your horizons. Happy guessing!