Y’all should know by now that, like the rest of the world, we here at Paste dig Wordle. We’ve written about it a lot at this point, as well as our favorite knockoffs and homages. Our Wordle love is deep and true, and thoroughly well-documented, so when we criticize it, it’s from a place of respect and appreciation. When I say that Wordle has gotten a little boring, a little repetitive, a little too laser-focused to really support a long-term daily commitment, I say it from the heart. I’m getting bored with Wordle, because there’s just not enough to it. The conundrum is that Wordle would be ruined if they did try to make it more complex. It’s a fragile thing, this Wordle.
Fortunately I found something better to be my new daily guessing game of choice. And yes, it’s about baseball—the favorite sport of almost all middle-aged white dudes with writing jobs.
, the brainchild of Jeremy Frank and Zach Ellis, takes the basic concept of Wordle and makes it a little deeper, a little harder, and way more about baseball. Named after WAR (Wins Above Replacement player), one of the key stats in the world of sabermetrics, WARdle tasks you with guessing a different major leaguer every day. You start by guessing any active player, and the game gives you color-coded hints across seven data points—Team, League/Division, Bats, Throws, Country, Age, and Position.
Say you start with Ozzie Albies, the star second baseman for your World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. Like Wordle, WARdle uses green to let you know if one of the data points is a match. If today’s player also plays for Atlanta, or is a second baseman, or throws with his right arm, that field will turn green, and you now have a little bit more information to go on while guessing today’s player.
If your guess is in the same league or division as the answer, but not in the same league AND division, that field will be yellow. Albies is in the NL East, so if the correct answer plays in any other NL division, or in the AL East, you’d see that yellow field. If you see yellow in the Age field, it means your guess is within two years of the actual player’s age; if you see yellow in the Position field, it means the player played at least 10 games at that position, but it is not where they primarily play. You get eight guesses total before failing for the day.
As you can see, there are way more options here than Wordle. Yes, that spoils the beautiful simplicity of the word game, but that beautiful simplicity has already worn thin for me due to how simple it is. (Also, there’s way too much luck involved with Wordle, especially now that it uses words with double letters so often.) WARdle relies less on guess work and more on actual knowledge, although admittedly a very specialized kind of knowledge that ensures the game will only appeal to a fairly small niche. It’s basically impossible unless you’re the kind of obsessive baseball fan who can name most of the rosters for all 30 teams—in other words, the typical fantasy baseball player. I’ve yet to fail out in WARdle, but I almost always need at least six guesses to get it right. It takes a little bit more time than Wordle, but no more than a couple of minutes a day, so each daily hit lasts a little bit longer. Despite being about sports, it’s still exponentially nerdier than Wordle; everybody knows words, but you need to be high-level obsessed with a sport that most young people don’t care about in order to do well at WARdle. Baseball is already the nerdiest of the major pro sports, though—the one most fascinated with numbers and stats and history. That makes it the best sport to support a game like this, and WARdle does a fantastic job of capitalizing on my innate and outsized love of baseball.
If you haven’t played WARdle yet, you can find it here.