There have been a lot of emotions this week 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 a Phish-themed version, to just plain silly, like Letterle.
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.)
For the creatives
If classic Wordle leaves you wanting more, create your own Wordle at mywordle.strivemath.com and share with your friends. This game was created by Bloomberg engineer, Pallav Agarwal.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
For hockey fans
This hockey-inspired game Gordle was created 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.