What Is ‘Nerdle’? New Online Math Game Compared to ‘Wordle’ and Rules Explained

Wordle has inspired a fad of online puzzles, with new guessing game websites being set up for all kinds of different topics.

Lewdle has you trying to figure out raunchy terms, Worldle is a geography-themed variant of the game and Taylordle gives Swifties a chance to show off their specialist knowledge. While most of these imitators still have you trying to identify five letter words (just with slightly more niche parameters), there is one for math buffs.

Nerdle takes the well-worn formula and applies it to numbers. As a player, your job is to find the correct sum of the day using the same numerical digits and arithmetic symbols (plus, minus, divide, multiply and equals) that you would find on a calculator.

However, you cannot just put in any random characters and hit submit, as your equation needs to actually make sense. While this might sound like homework, it can be fun once you get into the rhythm of it.

To help you wrap your head around Nerdle and its rules, Newsweek has prepared a quick guide.

How to Play ‘Nerdle’

Although it is focused on math and not letters, the basic premise of Nerdle ought to be familiar to any Wordle veterans.

Just like with The New York Times‘ game, you are given six attempts to guess the answer of the day. Once you have submitted your first try, you will then be told how close you were via a series of color-coded hints.

Characters that do not appear in the sum at all will display as black, while those that are in the sum but are in the wrong place will turn red. Finally, if you managed to put any numbers or signs in exactly the right position, they show up as green.

You then take a second crack at the puzzle, equipped with the information from your last guess, and keep going until you either find the solution or run out of tries.

Image shows a game of “Nerdle.” For February 18, the answer is “88-25=63”.

How ‘Nerdle’ Compares to ‘Wordle’

Provided that you’ve got decent numeracy comprehension, the new game is actually a little bit easier than Wordle.

For a start, there are fewer characters that you need to whittle down (with only 10 numbers and 5 arithmetic symbols) and you can always guarantee that the equals sign will be placed somewhere near the end of the calculation.

Seeing as there is room for eight characters per row, you can also eliminate a lot of possibilities in your first couple of guesses. A good strategy would be to try out sums that have both the plus and minus sign, or ones that involve division followed by multiplication.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that an arithmetic symbol can appear in the sum more than once. For example, you could have something like: “10 – 6 – 2 = 2”.

If you do get the answer right, then you will be presented with an option to share your results in one of those social-media friendly grids that have become ubiquitous on Twitter since the rise of Wordle.

Also, like with Wordle, there is a hard mode option of sorts, as you can head into Nerdle’s settings and deactivate commutative answers. This means that you must get the numbers in the exact right order to win (so “7 + 8” is no longer acceptable if the right answer is technically “8+7”).

According to the Nerdle website, there are 17,723 puzzles stored in the game’s database. This dwarfs Wordle’s comparatively small 2,500 answer bank.

Nerdle is free to play on its own website, where the daily puzzle refreshes every 24 hours at 7 p.m. ET.


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