The independent news organization of Duke University

Winning at Wordle: A comprehensive guide to being the best player there ever was

You’ve been Wordling the wrong way. 

If you’ve opened Twitter this week, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Wordle. In this once-a-day word game, you get six chances to guess a randomly selected five-letter word, and if you somehow complete it, you get to spend the rest of the day with a serotonin boost that masks the undeniable, soul-crushing despair we’ve grown accustomed to as human beings living in a corporate-style apocalypse. We all seek the sweet sensation of achieving something meaningful for once in our lives – that is, if you can actually solve the puzzle. I imagine too many of you getting stumped and searching Twitter tirelessly for that one guy who spoils the word each day out of self-hatred, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to stoop to that level anymore. With my passionate heart and dictionary-infused brain, I took it upon myself to create a strategy guide for this fun-filled word game. If you want to get better, follow my tips to the very last wordle.

First, realize that this is the most important thing you’ll ever do. Pause your already-sped-up lecture recording (you’re not taking anything in from that anyway) and mute your project group for the time being. They’ll understand that Wordle is more important than their When2meet polls.

Misguided and unspontaneous Wordlers – the ones you don’t invite to game night – will tell you to maximize the value of your first word by choosing words with three vowels and five different letters. They’ll suggest words like IRATE, RADIO and AISLE (some will even go so far as to use ADIEU everyday – you’ll hate yourself if you go down that road, trust me). The real strategy is to choose your words based on themes because themes are clever, and you’re a clever person. My guide will honor our great university. Therefore, your first word should always be DUKES, obviously because you owe Dukes University a lot for the gifts it has given you, my favorites being STRESS and TEARS (words two and three, respectively).

Halfway into your first Wordle, you should be feeling pretty good. People might say you’re repeating letters or not playing the game right, but who gave them the authority to be your Wordle warden? Tell them to save that audacity for their required seminar class while you work toward victory. It’s way cooler to stick to the theme and honor our great Dukes than sweat over math and probability – it’s a word game, nerds.

Words four and five are more seasonal, based off what we’re going through during the semester. Normally at the beginning of the semester, I’d suggest SMILE and EXAMS. In the middle: PANIC and EXAMS. For the end of the semester, go for two out of the three here: UTTER, SHAME and EXAMS. I believe this variety helps you reconnect with Dukes’ wonderful college atmosphere.

But this semester is special. Tenting season is back and it couldn’t be more exciting to see K-ville at its most lively. Your next words should be TENTS and SLEEP, in honor of our lovely tradition where students forgo the comfort of their dorms, reliable power and a healthy sleep schedule because their friend group said, “C’mon, it’ll be fun!” If you fell into this trap, I pity you, but I’m glad you’re here trying to make better decisions.

All that’s left is to guess the word, and by now you should have nearly all the letters you need. My advice? Guess the right word, please. You’ll look so cool if you do. If you successfully followed the tips above, congratulations! It is now your obligation to share your score with everyone you know and remotely care about.

That is, unless you failed – nobody wants to see that.

It’s important to note that within seconds of sharing your Wordle score, you will be invited to three or four separate Wordle group chats, from friends to coworkers to people you’ve never seen or spoken to before. Your inclusion in the group relies solely on sharing your Wordle score every day and keeping conversation to an absolute minimum – follow this exactly or you will get kicked out from the group. If this seems strange to you, it is. This is the new normal, and it’s the only way people will interact with each other until a new game comes along and sweep kicks us by our ankles.

Wordle will inevitably come to an end, and we’ll have to resort back to cheap Panera coffee and funny TikToks for our daily serotonin. When that day comes, don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that for a very brief moment in your life, you were undoubtedly better than all your friends at a daily online word game.

But let’s be realistic, when the inevitable Wordle 2 starts dishing out six letter words like SNAZZY, COCCYX and QUAGGA, be assured I’ll have a step-by-step guide that’ll not only have you solving puzzles in your sleep, but also feeling and being better than your friends, coworkers and that ominous group chat of strangers who invited you in that one time. Isn’t that what Wordle is all about?

Discussion

Share and discuss “Winning at Wordle: A comprehensive guide to being the best player there ever was” on social media.