Wordle produces more variants than the most prolific of viruses, with new ones finding their way to wider popularity every day. The one I’ve most recently caught is Hurdle, where you have to complete five of the five-letter word puzzles in a row.
One of Wordle’s most important USPs is that there’s only one of them a day. It’s been a key to its success, that the whole world is playing the same puzzle together (well, apart from when it goes wrong), and thus the experience becomes shared. The downside is it only occupies five minutes of your day, and so many are seeking out alternative versions to better occupy a commute or idle tea break. The latest to join my ever-growing list of daily tasks is Hurdle, which introduces some unique challenges.
In this variant you begin with a bog-standard Wordle game, with six guesses to identify a five-letter word. As ever, correct letters are marked yellow, correct letters in the correct position are marked green. Except here, when you find the answer, you’re only over the first, well, hurdle. That correct solution then becomes your first guess on the second puzzle.
Depending on that day’s randomly selected group of words, this can be super-helpful, or supremely unhelpful. Today’s, for instance, gives you not a single yellow tile on the second round. Sure, it eliminates a bunch of letters, but it’s still a touch harder. You then repeat this pattern four times, creating four correct solutions, which are then placed as your first four guesses on the final round.
That’s right, for the fifth and final section, you only get two guesses at the last word, and the information those previous four words happen to provide.
This might at first sound like there’s too much luck involved, and to an extent, that’s not entirely wrong. However, despite this, I’ve succeeded at Hurdle more often than failed. Apart from on Wednesday. When this happened.
“Fuck this shit,” I so wittily informed my fellow players in our definitely-not-nerdish WhatsApp group.
Today? Today I found glorious victory. It was pretty close, but very pleasingly my final guess on that last round felt properly deduced, rather than hopelessly guessed.
This is the work of Arkadium, a twenty-year-old casual gaming site that appears phenomenally successful despite the fact you’ve never heard of it. It does keep suggesting I create an account, but I never have, and that so far hasn’t proved to be an issue. So it’s as free as the rest of the variants.