If you start your day by plugging five-letter words into a grid and waiting for green, gray and yellow boxes to pop up, you’re not alone. Wordle, the free viral word game, has hooked millions of users, each trying to guess the daily word and then often sharing their results on social media.
Kelli Dunlap, a clinical psychologist and adjunct professor in the American University Game Lab, isn’t surprised that Wordle became a global phenomenon, noting that the game’s digital format and “one and done” element allow you to play anywhere. Posting results on social media creates a feeling of connectedness, and some studies have found that word games can improve memory and cognition for older adults.
“Puzzles feel like productive play,” Dunlap says. “One of the coolest things about word games is that anyone can do them.”
While some users are drawn to Wordle precisely because it offers just one daily puzzle, others want more opportunities to test the pattern recognition and deductive and spatial reasoning skills it takes to solve puzzles. Not surprisingly, Wordle’s popularity has spawned a number of similar games designed to test your knowledge of everything from words to geography and numbers.
Consider adding these 11 free web-based games to your daily routine.
Absurdle: Unlike Wordle, which has one correct answer (and all players are trying to guess the same word each day), Absurdle is designed to make it almost impossible to solve the puzzle. How? The algorithm chooses words that are as dissimilar from the user’s first guess as possible, and the correct answer changes with each subsequent guess until there is only one possible word left.
Crosswordle: Like Wordle, this game uses green, yellow and gray boxes to guide you toward the solution. But instead of a single word, Crosswordle serves up two related words that cross over each other (similar to a crossword puzzle). Players are given a clue after each guess.
Dordle: Think Wordle is too easy? Double your fun with Dordle. The game features two side-by-side word boards (using the same green/yellow/gray letter blocks to indicate when guesses are correct), and players have six chances to guess both words. There are two options: Daily Dordle (one new game each day) and Unlimited Dordle.
Hello Wordl: What sets Hello Wordl apart from the original game is that players can choose the length of the secret word. Use a slider to increase the number of letters — ranging from four to 11 — in your daily puzzle.
Nerdle: Even if you’re not a numbers person, this might be the game to try. Nerdle offers six chances to guess a math equation and solution, using colored boxes to provide feedback on those guesses. Green indicates the number is both in the puzzle and in the right place, yellow means the number is in the puzzle but not in the right place, and gray numbers are not part of the puzzle. Good news for Nerdlers: A new puzzle becomes available every eight hours.
Quordle: Logophiles, unite! Think of Quordle as extreme Wordle. Players enter letters and attempt to guess five-letter words on four different boards at the same time. Each guess puts the correct (and incorrect) letters up on the boards, and players have nine tries to solve all four puzzles. New puzzles are released once a day.
Star Wordle: Fans of Star Wars can play their own version of the popular word game, with five-letter words drawn from the sci-fi franchise. The “how to play” example includes “saber,” “Vader” and “grogu” as possible words.
Sweardle: If you love four-letter words, this one’s for you. It’s the exact same concept as Wordle, but the answers consist of curse words and expletives. Colorful, to say the least, but definitely not suitable for playing at work, in public or around the grandkids!
Wizarding Wordle: Head over to MuggleNet to access a Harry Potter version of the game. There’s a new puzzle every day, and each features a five-letter wizarding word like “squib,” “filch,” “cloak” or “broom.” (Potterheads can also check out Hogwartle.)
Words with Friends: The original online word game has been a fan favorite since it was introduced in 2009. It’s essentially a two-player virtual game of Scrabble. Invite a friend or connect with another player on the platform, and use the letters provided to make words on the board. The player who racks up the most points wins. This game also is accessible by app.
Worldle: This puzzle tests your knowledge of world geography. Players are shown a shaded cutout of a map and asked to guess the country or territory. With each guess, players learn how far away (and in which direction) the correct country is located and have six chances to correctly identify the country.
Bonus: If you’re looking for more games that will keep your brain active, check out AARP’s Staying Sharp brain games or AARP’s full menu of online games, including Mahjongg, FreeCell, arcade games and more.
Jodi Helmer is a contributing writer who covers gardening, health and the environment. She has also written for Scientific American, National Geographic Traveler and NPR.