If you’ve seen a lot of posts on Twitter with a lot of colored boxes, then you’ve come across the latest word game sweeping (sections of) the internet: a fun little brain teaser called wordle†
What is Wordle and how do I play?
Simply put, Wordle is a free word guessing game available online: Guess the five-letter word in six attempts or less. Wordle explains the rules in a handy popup when you first load the game, but it’s all pretty simple: if the letter of your guess isn’t in the target word, that letter will turn gray. If it’s in the word, but not in the right place, it turns yellow. When it’s in the word and in the right place, it takes on a nice green hue. You have six times to get it right – and if you do it right the first time, that’s weird/basically impossible.
There’s only one puzzle a day for everyone – a newspaper crossword or sudoku of sorts – so once you’ve completed the puzzle, you’ll have to wait for the next one.
Sounds simple. Why is it so popular?
Everyone guesses the same word and thus competes with each other every day – the reason it’s so popular is that you can easily share your results (an occasional bug notwithstanding):
Above you can see how many guesses I made, which letters I got wrong and right, and even reverse engineered how i got the answer† Crucially, the results are spoiler-free; it tells you how i went without really giving the solution. It’s also a bit of a knowing joke for those already playing, with outsiders asking “what’s with all those box emoji?”
It’s quick to play, easy to share, and sparks online conversations about the solution – and how well everyone did.
Who made it†
Wordle is a project by Josh Wardle, an engineer at Reddit, who (as Mark Serrels remembers for CNET) have previously made some interesting experiments – including those of the platform Knob and Place† wordle originally launched in mid-October, and only really started to gain popularity last week after Wardle added the ability to share results.
Now everyone plays it – and you can come too†