The five-letter, sixguess, green-andyellow-squared online word game Wordle (nytimes. com/games/wordle) has taken the globe by storm since it launched late last year.
Its viral popularity has been put down to its simplicity (as you try to guess the word, the squares turn different colours to reveal if the letters you have used are correct and in the right place, correct but in the wrong place, or absent entirely) and its scarcity (you can only play one puzzle per day).
But if either of those ingredients does not appeal, then have a bash at one of the many spin-offs that offer an array of further word-based fun (all free online). Whether you’re a geography buff or an aspiring Hobbit, there is a variant for you…
Online word game wordle has taken the globe by storm since launching last year. Etan Smallman explains why the game has become so popular with so many
BRAVE NEW WORLDLE
After each turn, you will be told how far off you are (in km) and given a percentage score for proximity to the target country, while an arrow will point you in the direction you should be heading for
For: Atlas addicts.
Worldle also offers you six guesses. It presents you with the silhouette of a country, and you need to guess which one you think it is.
After each turn, you will be told how far off you are (in km) and given a percentage score for proximity to the target country, while an arrow will point you in the direction you should be heading for.
For example, if the answer is Laos in South-East Asia and you guess the UK, you will get a score of only 54 per cent for proximity because you are 9,169km off, and an arrow pointing south-east. Bon voyage.
GAME THAT’S TAYLOR-MADE
For: Taylor Swift fans.
Taylordle is more similar to the original, with six wordbased guesses, but the number of letters is not fixed. All the answers are related in some way to U.S. singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, with recent ones including Breathe (a rather obscure 2008 single) and London (her 2019 song London Boy was thought to be an ode to her British boyfriend Joe Alwyn).
Taylordle is more similar to the original, with six wordbased guesses, but the number of letters is not fixed. All the answers are related in some way to U.S. singer-songwriter Taylor Swift (pictured)
Starwordle is perfect for Jedi wordsmiths with its 20,000-strong dictionary, with previous answers including Vader (Darth) and Sadow (the Sith Lord)
For: Jedi wordsmiths.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, players confined themselves to Wordle. Now Star Wars devotees have Star Wordle. Its dictionary is 20,000-strong, with previous answers including Vader (Darth) and Sadow (the Sith Lord).
If all of that is too easy, head to the settings and select Hard Mode to tap in your guesses using Galactic Basic, the lingua franca of the Star Wars universe. The Force is strong with this one.
LORDLE OF THE RINGS
Digital Tolkien is great for those who want to go on a quest to become a word-wizard of Middle-earth
For: Members of The Fellowship of the Lingo.
‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us,’ opined the great wizard and the bearer of one of the Three Rings, Gandalf. So why not fritter it away on a quest to become a word-game wizard of Middle-earth?
You know the drill: six guesses, five-letter words — but only ones used in the main text of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings. Think names such as Bilbo (a hobbit of the Shire), Arwen (the half-elven) and Cairn (a mound of stones).
TUNE IN FOR MUSICAL SQUARES
For: Gamers going for a song.
Rest your eyes and let your ears do the work for this one. Heardle, a kind of Name That Tune for the 21st century, plays a snippet of the opening to a song ‘plucked from a long list of popularly streamed artists’ — from A-ha to Jay-Z.
You have to find the correct artist and title in the list, with each incorrect answer unlocking extra segments of the intro. If you can guess the song within one second, you get to share a prized single green square on social media.
PERSONALISE YOUR PUZZLE
As you try to guess the word, the squares turn different colours to reveal if the letters you have used are correct and in the right place, correct but in the wrong place, or absent entirely
For: Customised conundrums.
Many pals have set up Whats-App groups to share their Wordle triumphs and woes. But with Word Rodeo, you can go one better, and create your own puzzle for your friends to crack.
Choose from one of eight languages, decide whether guesses must be real words, how many goes are allowed, offer a hint if you like, and write a congratulatory message for solvers.
DOUBLE THE FUN, OR TWICE AS HARD?
For: Exponential brainteasers.
Dordle is identical to Wordle, except you have six guesses to find two words at once— and as many plays as you like. Or raise your game with Quordle.com — by guessing four words simultaneously with nine tries.
Or dive in the deep end with Octordle.com — solving eight puzzles in 13 goes. Alternatively, make your head explode with Sedecordle.com — 16 words in 21 tries. Just don’t expect to find anyone else smart enough to compete with you.