You know who you are.
You’re the one who STAYS up UNTIL 12:01 EVERY NIGHT just waiting for TODAY so you can START a new puzzle. Or you’re the one who ROLLS over in bed EARLY EVERY morning and GRABS your PHONE to BEGIN the day RIGHT.
You’re also the one who hasn’t questioned why on EARTH I WOULD type EVERY single five-letter word in capital letters because it WOULD no longer OCCUR to you that five-letter WORDS can be written any OTHER way.
I REFER, of course (okay, okay, I’ll stop now; that’s annoying even me), to the phenomenon known as WORDLE: the now-viral word game created by Josh Wardle in the word-nerd love story of the century that ended in the handsome prince selling the game to The New York Times for an amount in the low seven figures.
It seems the entire planet has embraced the delightful little puzzle – which, for the uninitiated, asks you to deduce a five-letter word in a series of six guesses that reveal information about which of your guessed letters are correct and where they belong (or don’t).
But, you know, guessing one word in six tries has maybe become a little too – dare I suggest it? – easy. Yes, yes, I too remember "knoll" and "caulk"; that furor notwithstanding, you may be looking for a bigger challenge for your late-night procrastination or your early-morning coffee.
You’ve come to the right place. Thanks to several days of illness (a.k.a. mind-numbing hours of endless phone scrolling), I have taken it upon myself to produce this, your Definitely Definitive List of Harder (and Nerdier) Alternatives to Wordle.
For the word nerds: DORDLE, QUORDLE, OCTORDLE, SEDECORDLE
Solving one word is too simple? How about solving two at a time? Or four? Or eight?
Not bad enough yet? Try the mind-bending Octordle, with 13 tries to solve eight words.
And if that’s not challenging enough, there’s even Sedecordle, in which the brave puzzle-solver gets 21 tries to solve 16 words simultaneously.
For what it’s worth, I find Quordle the most challenging of all the alternatives; having more guesses to eliminate or include more letters makes Octordle and Sedecordle a teeny touch easier to solve.
That said, if anyone comes up with Trigintaduordle, I may draw the line at trying to solve 32 words at once. Maybe.
For the fandom nerds: STAR WORLDE, LORDLE OF THE RINGS, MOXLE and more
If you embrace the moniker “geek” in the classic fandom sense, then there’s a Wordle clone for you.
For some entry-level nerding, you might want to try your hand at Star Wordle or SWordle, both based on the Star Wars world. Or what about Lordle of the Rings, which uses only five-letter words – including names – that appear in the main text of Lord of the Rings. (Anyone who remembers how densely J.R.R. Tolkien likes to pack his text may not find that limitation vey limiting.)
If knowing your DARTH from your DOOKU or your BILBO from your SHIRE seems too mainstream for your taste, then you may want to delve a little deeper.
If all of this actually makes sense to you, then you should go deep into this list offered up by Nerdist.
For the Shakespeare nerds: BARDLE
If you like to strut and fret your hour upon your phone in search of minor characters from Shakespeare plays or obscure words created by the Bard, then this one’s for you.
Bardle (what else could it be called, really?) draws its vocabulary from the plays of William Shakespeare, including the names of characters and places.
This one’s not for the casual fan who can only dredge up such options as ROMEO and ARIEL. But if OSRIC, FESTE and EGEUS roll trippingly off the tongue for you, this one may just be right up your alley.
For the choir nerds: BYRDLE
If you immediately intuited that Byrdle was named for English composer William Byrd, then you’ve got a head start at this choral music-themed offering.
Most days, however, that level of expertise isn’t required. Anyone with a decent knowledge of classical music generally has a good shot at finding the daily solution. Answers may be in the common vernacular – think CHOIR, ALTOS or NOTES (the go-to starting word that allowed me to win Byrdle #24 on that rarely seen first try). The odd time answers may be a little more specialized; I didn’t know who FINZI was till Byrdle forced me to look it up.
For added fun, the game likes to serve up some excellent music snark (“helps to watch the conductor,” it gripes at me when I take more than four turns to solve it). And Byrdle owner Robert Brignall keeps a running daily Twitter thread explaining the previous day’s answers.
For the math nerds: NERDLE
Why should word nerds have all the fun? Those whose brains run to the mathematical over the literary should enjoy a daily dose of Nerdle, which gives you six tries to arrive at a correct equation.
Instead of using letters to create words, you’re required to use a combination of numbers and operators (+, -, x, /) to build equations.
Yes, your equations must be mathematically correct, and, yes, they must use standard order of operations.
And a late addition to the list: Courtesy of a reader (thanks, Lynn!), I've got one more for the math nerds: Mathler. It offers you up three choices each day: easy, medium or hard. "Easy" gives you five squares and one operator; "medium" gives you six squares and up to two operators; "hard" gives you eight squares and up to three operators. Why not challenge yourself by trying all three?
If for some reason solving math problems in your spare time sounds fun to you, then, sure, give these a whirl. Otherwise, maybe skip on to the next one.
For the semantics nerds: SEMANTLE
If you like to ponder what words really mean and how they relate to other words, then this one’s for you.
Warning: Semantle is no gentle little six-try guessing game.
It’s a potentially time-consuming puzzle that asks you to deduce a daily secret word of any length whatsoever. You simply guess a random word, and Semantle will tell you how “semantically similar” it is to the secret word. Keep guessing until you arrive at a solution.
Once you start getting closer to the solution – which is defined as being within the one thousand closest words – then your guess will be scored out of 1000. With 1000/1000 being the secret word itself, 999/1000 means you’ve found the next-closest word in meaning, and so on down the line.
Don’t give yourself two minutes for this one. You might, hypothetically, need an entire day of working your way through 259 erroneous guesses before getting to the secret word.
Or you might, hypothetically, feel like an absolute genius the one day you manage to solve it in a mere 47 tries.
Go on, dive in. I triple-dog-dare you.
For the geography nerds: WORLDLE
How well do you remember elementary school geography? Can you pinpoint countries accurately on a map of the world?
WORLDLE tests your geographic knowledge by presenting you with a daily image: the outline of one country, with no context.
You do your best, within six guesses, to pinpoint what country it is, as WORLDLE guides you by telling you how far away your guess is from the actual country, and in which direction.
And here's another late addition to the list, courtesy of a reader (thanks, Amy!): Globle. The premise is similar to Worldle, in that you're trying to pinpoint a mystery country. But you start with a blank globe, and it's up to you to guess countries – the game uses a light-to-dark-red colour scheme to tell you if your guess is close or far, and it'll tell you how many kilometres away you are from the nearest border with that country.
Think you know your world geography? Give these both a whirl.
For the hosers and other north-of-49 nerds: CANUCKLE
Last but not least, for all my fellow Canadians, is the sweet-as-maple-syrup version devoted to all things Canuck.
Like Wordle, Canuckle gives you six tries to arrive at a secret five-letter word.
The only limitation? The word must be something Canadian.
If your brain immediately heads to words like BACON, MAPLE, LEAFS, IGLOO and CANOE, then you’re in the right place.
If it doesn’t – well, take off, eh?
Got another nerdy option to add to the list? Email Julie, firstname.lastname@example.org.