10 alternative word games to play online and in person

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A few weeks ago several of my friends started posting weird tweets that featured a grid of random color blocks. At the top of the tweet, it was always written “Wordle” followed by several numbers. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me, and that’s how I discovered Wordle, the daily word puzzle that has exploded in popularity over the past few months.

If you don’t know it, the concept is simple: you have six chances to guess the five-letter word of the day. After each guess, each letter you type is highlighted in a certain color. Gray means the letter is not in the puzzle word, yellow means the color is in the word but not there, and green means you put the right letter in the right place. There’s a new puzzle available every day, and although the idea is basic, the game is oddly addictive.

The only real downside to Wordle is that you can only play once a day, so if you’re in the mood for more mind-bending word puzzles, here are 10 similar word games that will keep you going until tomorrow, including IRL games like Boggle and Bananagrams.

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1. Byrdle

Wordle Alternatives: Byrdle & Hello Wordl.

If you thought, “Hm, Byrdle sounds like Wordle,” that’s because it’s the exact same game. Yes, this self-proclaimed parody works exactly the same as the original, giving you six guesses the five-letter word of the day.

There are also several other Wordle knockoffs. For example, there’s also Hello Wordl, which has the same concept but lets you choose the number of letters in the word, ranging from four to 11. Plus, you can play Hello Wordl as much as you want – there’s no there is no daily limit.

2. Bananagrams

Bananagrams.

If you like Scrabble but want it to be a little faster, Bananagrams is the perfect alternative. In this award-winning game, each person rushes to create their own word grid using all of their tiles. Once someone uses all of their letters, they shout “Peel!” and everyone is forced to take a new tile. The game continues like this until there are no more tiles, and the person who uses all their letters successfully is the winner. Bananagrams can be played with one to eight players, and it’s incredibly entertaining for all ages.

Get Bananagrams from Amazon for $14.99

3. Change of type

Type change.

As you become an expert in anagrams, be sure to try Typeshift, a free word puzzle app. The concept is quite unique: there are multiple columns of letters that you can move up and down to create words in the center row. The goal is to use each letter in each column at least once, and there is a puzzle available each day. Plus, the puzzles get progressively harder throughout the week.

Download Typeshift from the App Store

4. Boggle

Get moving.

This one is a major throwback from my childhood – my brother and I used to play Boggle at our grandparents’ house. It’s a classic word search game that you can play alone or in a group. Basically there are 16 letter cubes inside the base, and after shaking it you have 90 seconds to create as many words as possible using face up letters on the grid. At the end of the round, you count your scores, but be careful, if two or more players find the same word, this word does not count.

There are also a few variations of Boggle, including Big Boggle and Super Big Boggle, both of which feature more letter cubes.

Get Boggle from Amazon for $11.97

5. Wordscapes

Wordscapes.

There are plenty of apps that offer word games to play on your phone, and Wordscapes is popular. It’s basically a hybrid between a crossword puzzle and an anagram – you get a number of random letters and you have to create words to fill in the spaces of the crossword puzzle. Wordscapes is free and there are over 6,000 puzzles to solve, so it’s sure to keep you busy for a while.

Download Wordscapes from the App Store

6. Play four

Play four.

Play Four is like a mini crossword puzzle that you complete in a four-by-four grid. There are eight different words for you to guess – four horizontal and four vertical – and you receive a hint for each word. You’re scored on how many moves and how long it takes you to complete the puzzle, and there are normal and expert modes (the former highlights the wrong letters on your grid). Similar to Wordle, there is only one Play Four puzzle available per day.

Play Play Four at Merriam-Webster

7. Splash around

Splash around.

Dabble is a fun spelling game you can play with the whole family. It supports two to four players ages 8 and up. Each player receives 20 tiles, and it’s a race to create five words using your letters. However, you must compose a two-letter word, a three-letter word, a four-letter word, a five-letter word, and a six-letter word. If no one uses all of their letters in five minutes, players are allowed to swap tiles for new ones, and scoring works the same as in Scrabble, with each letter earning certain points.

Get Dabble from Amazon for $29.95

8. Kitty Letter

Cat letter.

Kitty Letter, from the creators of popular card game Exploding Kittens, puts a competitive spin on a classic anagram game. In the free app, you compete against another player trying to create words using your letters. Every word you speak releases an army of cats to fight your opponent – bigger words give you more cats – and the first person to destroy the opposing player’s house wins.

Download Kitty Letter from the App Store

9. Turn Words

Rotate the word.

You can keep your family busy on the go with Word Spin, a classic game that’s over 25 years old. It comes with eight magnetic wheels, each with 10 letters, and the goal is to spin, change and rearrange your wheels to create words – the longer and more complex, the better! It can be played by one or two people, and it’s compact enough to play on a bus or plane.

Get Word Spin from Amazon for $17.99

10. The New York Times Spelling Bee

The New York Times Spelling Bee.

Spelling Bee is another word game that you can play right in your web browser. Each puzzle contains seven letters arranged in a honeycomb shape and you must create words using them. It’s not that simple, however, each word must have at least four letters and must include the central letter, which is highlighted in yellow. You can use letters more than once, and you get points for each word you find, earning you a rank somewhere between “beginner” and “genius”.

play spelling

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