Worldle, Semantle, Heardle and 9 other Wordle alternatives

(Washington Post illustration)
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correction

In a previous version of this story, we identified Sean McIndoe as the creator of Gordle. He raised the idea on a podcast, after which the game was created by a listener, Jay Aasiaat.

There have been a lot of emotions around the New York Times’s seven-figure acquisition of the word deduction game, Wordle — especially on Twitter. The reactions range from frustration to glee to snark.

The game has become a ritual for the millions who play it daily. Our brains crave the pattern-seeking custom Wordle humbly provides, helping it become a perfect pandemic game. The interface is simple, free from ads and has a heartwarming origin story.

But what does the future hold for Wordle? The Times says the game will “initially remain free to new and existing players.” But it’s not clear what the time frame for “initially” really is, and some have theorized that the game will eventually end up behind The Times’s paywall.

In case that happens, I’ve scoured the Internet and crowdsourced friends for free Wordle-inspired adaptations. They range from NSFW options like Lewdle (like, seriously NSFW), to music-inspired alternatives like this Phish-themed version, to just plain silly, like Letterle.

Found one you like that wasn’t mentioned? Tell us in the comments.

1

For the geographers

Beyond being a mouthful, Worldle is a popular tribute to the original that tasks users with guessing a country or territory based on a picture of its outline. After every incorrect guess, users are given two hints: how far their guess is from the correct answer, and in what direction they’d have to move on the map to reach the right answer, relative to their guess. Each day, the country is chosen at random. If you’re struggling, don’t sweat it: Worldle’s creator, Antoine Teuf, readily admits that he often lost at his own game when he first released it. One good guess to start with is Egypt, as its central position on the map can help isolate the hemisphere of the answer early on.

Meet Worldle, the geography guessing game its creator calls a ‘tribute’ to Wordle

2

For those who think more is better

If you’re a regular Wordle solver, give Quordle a spin. The core mechanic is exactly the same, except you’re solving four Wordles at once, and have nine guesses to complete the puzzle. Every word you guess is applied to all four puzzles, each of which has a unique solution. Quordle was designed in response to Dordle, a form of Wordle with two puzzles. If Quordle is too easy, there’s also (sigh) Octordle and (groan) Sedecordle.

3

For the music lover

If you can identify a piece of music just from the first few seconds, Heardle is the puzzle for you. The app plays the first second of a song, drawing from a list of popular music from streaming platforms, then asks you to guess what song it is. If you don’t know, you can ask to reveal more of the song, second by second, until you guess correctly or reach the last of your six tries.

4

For the masochists

Like Wordle, Semantle is a word game. The similarities end there, for the most part. In Semantle, you input words — of any length — and are told how close your input is in meaning to the solution. The game is magnitudes more challenging than Wordle. (Our write up describes it as “the Dark Souls of Wordle” and “deeply unfair,” and its players as “masochists.”)

Semantle is like the Dark Souls of Wordle

5

For the obsessed

Can’t get enough Wordle? Once per day not enough? Wordle Unlimited is for you. Or you can use this unlimited version as practice for the “real” game. If the standard 5-letter word isn’t challenging enough, this version lets you increase the number of letters to 11. (Personally, no thank you — five is enough.)

6

For the creatives

If classic Wordle leaves you wanting more, create your own Wordle and share with your friends. This game was created by Bloomberg engineer Pallav Agarwal. A fun idea for an inspired answer: Use an inside joke among family and friends as the answer and see if anyone can guess correctly.

Your Wordle questions answered. Plus, Tips!

7

For the math nerds

If you want to move on from mastering the English lexicon or if numbers are just more up your alley, check out Nerdle, a math game developed by data scientist Richard Mann with help from his daughter and son. Nerdle subs out words for eight tiles representing mathematical calculations (e.g. 1+9+6=16) but otherwise functions in the same way as Wordle, with correct numbers or symbols changing colors when they’re present in the equation or locked in the right place.

8

For the economists

Tradle is heavily inspired by Worldle, but instead of showing an outline of a country, it presents a chart of the target country’s exports. Armed with that information, players have six chances to guess the country represented in the export chart. Sometimes, these can be big clues, like when a country exports a lot of cars. In other cases, it’s a bit more obtuse: 19.3% of total exports in the form of “Reaction and Catalytic Products” might stump even the most seasoned trade economist.

9

For Spanish speakers

Music-inspired versions of Wordle are definitely a trend. Vox developer, Lucio Villa created La Palabra, a Bad Bunny-inspired version for fans of the Puerto Rican singer and songwriter. Each day there’s a hint at the top that tells you in which Bad Bunny song the Spanish word appears (extremely helpful), as well as a Spotify link to listen to the song. Also, this game features six-letter words instead of the standard five-letters.

10

For frequent fliers

In one of the more clever adaptations, Airportle was created by travel deal website, Scott’s Cheap Flights. In this version of the game, you have six tries to guess the three-digit airport IATA (International Air Transport Association) code. Is there a reason to need to know so many airport codes? Doubtful, but it’s still fun to guess.

8 ways to find free or subsidized travel in 2022

11

For Swifties

Of course there is a Taylor Swift-inspired Wordle, called Taylordle. I mean, she’s got a blank space, baby, and this version asks players to fill them in with anything ranging from song titles to lyrics to pop-culture references. When I played and miserably lost, the answer was “Kanye.”

12

For environmentalists

As Scott’s Cheap Flights showed above, Wordle is so popular even companies are getting in on it. Do you have a green thumb? Try A Greener Wordle and find out. All the answers are related to climate change and the environment and harder than you might think. I went the obvious route and started with “Earth” and failed to guess correctly.

13

For hockey fans

This hockey-inspired game Gordle was created by Jay Aasiaat, inspired by an idea raised by Sean McIndoe of The Athletic — another recent New York Times acquisition. The game asks for hockey players, past or present, with five-letter last names and will provide a test for even the most savvy puck-lover.

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