If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, you’ve undoubtedly seen someone post the results of their daily Wordle — if you haven’t played it yourself. The simple but addicting game has taken the internet by storm over the past few weeks and, if you’re among the many people who not only play, but want to show off their success to friends, having a sound Wordle strategy will go a long way to getting you more green squares in fewer guesses.
Wordle first launched a few months ago, but has taken off in the last few weeks as sharing features allow players to introduce the game to others on social media.
Getting started with Wordle
If you’re new to Wordle, here’s a quick breakdown of the game. Each day, the game’s website produces one puzzle in which you have six chances to guess a five-letter word. Every player in the world is playing the same puzzle, which adds to the fun when sharing with friends.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) January 4, 2022
When you make your first guess, you will receive clues to the answer. If you guess a correct letter in the correct spot, the game will shade the letter green. Use a correct letter in the wrong location, and it will turn yellow instead. By using these clues, you can narrow down the potential answers and eventually find the solution.
While you can play Wordle successfully with no strategy whatsoever, the internet has put a lot of work into trying to optimize the best approach. And while there’s still no perfect consensus on how to play, there are a few clear tips for getting the most out of your guesses.
Choosing your first word
The bulk of Wordle strategy discussion has boiled down to one question: what should you use as your first word? While just about anyone can come up with something reasonable – you’ll want to use a word with common letters, much like a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” hunting for clues – some have put more time into finding the very best starters.
Perhaps the most commonly advised word is ADIEU. This starting word boasts one major advantage: by using four vowels, you are almost certain to get a clue right off the bat. If there comes a day when you don’t, then you’ll get lots of information that way, too.
Over at Reddit, user Dehaka attempted to optimize the first word by finding out how often each letter is used in five-letter English words (all guesses must be in the Wordle dictionary – you can’t just use a random string of letters). The result: AROSE emerged as the top choice, with other words like RAISE, STARE, STEAL, and LASER not far behind.
Using (or not using) clues
The most straightforward way to play Wordle involves using the clues you’ve earned in your subsequent guesses to close in on the answer. But you don’t have to play this way unless you choose to enable the “hard mode” option.
Instead, consider using your second word to gather more information rather than pushing towards the answer. Some players use two-word starts that are designed to get as many hits as possible. In that same thread, Reddit user Deivore suggested starting with IRATE and following with LOUNS – a combination that should virtually always land at least one hit.
That said, your strategy from the second guess forward will depend greatly on how much information you’ve revealed. If you think you know the answer, don’t be afraid to guess it early. And if there are a couple of letters you want to confirm or eliminate, it can be worth spending a guess just to do that, even if it has no chance of winning you the game immediately.