WORDLE: The 15 best spinoffs for harder, brainier puzzles


So you laughed in the face of “caulk” and “knoll”? These games are for you.

You know who you are.

You are the one who KEEPS UP UNTIL 12:01 AM EVERY NIGHT waiting for TODAY so you can START a new puzzle. Or it’s you who rolls to bed EARLY EVERY morning and GRIP your PHONE to START the day off right.

You are also the one who has not wondered why on EARTH I WOULD TYPE ALL five-letter words in capitals because it would no longer happen to you that five-letter WORDS could be written ANY OTHER WAY.

I’M REFERRING, of course (okay, okay, I’m quitting now; it’s annoying even me), to the phenomenon known as WORDLE: the now-viral word game created by Josh Wardle in the love story of the century that ended with the handsome prince selling the game to The New York Times for an amount in the seven figures.

It seems the whole planet has embraced the delightful little puzzle – which, for the uninitiated, asks you to deduce a five-letter word from a series of six guesses that reveal information about which of your guessed letters are correct and where they belong (or not).

But, you know, guessing a word in six tries might have gotten a little too much – dare I suggest that? – easy. Yes, yes, I also remember “knoll” and “caulk”; Despite this fury, you may be looking for a bigger challenge to your late-night procrastination or your early-morning coffee.

You have come to the right place. Thanks to several sick days (i.e. mind-numbing hours of endless phone scrolling), I’ve taken it upon myself to produce this, your definitely definitive list of harder (and nerdier) alternatives to Wordle .


Solving a word is too simple? How about solving two at once? Or four? Or eight?

Yes, Wordle fans, you can now enjoy Dordle, which gives you seven guesses to solve two words at once. Then there’s Quordle, which gives you nine tries to solve four words.

Not bad enough yet? Try the amazing Octordle, with 13 tries to solve eight words.

And if that’s not difficult 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 difficult of all the alternatives; having more guesses to eliminate or include more letters makes Octordle and Sedecordle a little touch easier to solve.

That said, if anyone finds Trigintaduordle, I can draw the line trying to solve 32 words at a time. May be.

For fandom nerds: STAR WORLDE, LORDLE OF THE RINGS, MOXLE and more

If you adopt the moniker “geek” in the classic fandom sense, then there’s a Wordle clone for you.

For some entry-level nerds, you might want to try your hand at Star Wordle or SWordle, both based on the world of Star Wars. Or what about Lordle of the Rings, which only uses five-letter words – including names – that appear in the main text of the Lord of the Rings. (Anyone who remembers the density with which JRR Tolkien likes to pack his text may not find this limitation very limiting.)

If knowing your DARTH from your DOOKU or your BILBO from your SHIRE seems too mainstream for your liking, then you might want to dig a little deeper.

There’s also Moxle, a Wordle takeoff based on Magic: The Gathering. Or what about Squirdle, the adorably named Pokemon-themed option?

If any of this really makes sense to you, then you should dig deeper into this list offered by Nerdist.

For Shakespeare nerds: BARDLE

If you like to strut around and spend your hour on your phone looking up minor characters from Shakespeare’s plays or obscure words created by the bard, then this is the one for you.

Bardle (what else could you call it, 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 options like ROMEO and ARIEL. But if OSRIC, FESTE, and EGEUS stick out the tongue for you, this one might be right up your alley.

For choir nerds: BYRDLE

If you immediately guessed that Byrdle is named after English composer William Byrd, then you’re way ahead of this choral music-themed offering.

Most of the time, however, this level of expertise is not required. Anyone with a decent knowledge of classical music usually has a good chance of finding the daily solution. Answers can be in the common vernacular – think CHOIR, ALTOS or NOTES (the go-to seed word that got me Byrdle #24 on that rarely seen first try). Point responses can be a bit more specialized; I didn’t know who FINZI was until Byrdle forced me to search.

For added enjoyment, the game likes to serve up great musical snark (“helps to watch the conductor”, it pinches me when I take more than four turns to solve it). And Byrdle owner Robert Brignall keeps a daily twitter feed explaining yesterday’s answers.

For math freaks: NERDLE

Why should word nerds have fun? Those whose brains are more math than literature 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 must use a combination of numbers and operators (+, -, x, /) to create equations.

Yes, your equations must be mathematically correct, and yes, they must use the standard order of operations.

If for some reason solving math problems in your spare time sounds like fun, then of course give it a try. If not, maybe move on to the next one.

For semantics enthusiasts: SEMANTLE

If you like wondering what words really mean and how they relate to other words, then this one’s for you.

Disclaimer: Semantle is not a nice little six-trial guessing game.

It’s a potentially time-consuming puzzle that asks you to deduce a daily secret word of any length. You simply guess a random word, and Semantle will tell you how “semantically similar” it is to the secret word. Keep guessing until you come to a solution.

Once you start to get closer to the solution – which is defined as being within the nearest thousand words – your guess will be scored out of 1000. With 1000/1000 being the secret word itself, 999/1000 means you found the next closest word in meaning, and so on down the line.

Don’t give yourself two minutes for this one. You could, hypothetically, need a whole day to work your way through 259 wrong guesses before you get to the secret word.

Or you could, hypothetically, feel like an absolute genius the day you manage to crack it in just 47 tries.

Go ahead, dive in. I challenge you three times.

For geography buffs: WORLDLE

How do you remember the geography of elementary school? Can you identify countries accurately on a world map?

WORLDLE tests your geographical knowledge by presenting you with a daily image: the outline of a country, without context.

You do your best, in the six guesses, to identify which country it is, because WORLDLE guides you by telling you how far your estimate is from the real country and in which direction.

For the cops and other nerds of north 49: CANUCKLE

Last but not least, for all of my fellow Canadians, is the sweet-as-maple-syrup version devoted to all things Canuck.

Like Wordle, Canuckle gives you six tries to come up with a five-letter secret word.

The only limit? The word must be something Canadian.

If your brain immediately goes to words like BACON, MAPLE, LEAVES, IGLOO, and CANOE, then you’ve come to the right place.

If not, well, take off, huh?

Got another corny option to add to the list? Email Julie, [email protected]

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, [email protected]


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