Wordle needs no grand intro as, by this point, it has become a household name with its compelling and modest game formula. It could be likened to a waterfall that has nurtured a foundation for many clones and variants to spring, even ones that could outshine it in format and concept.
But, today, our focus won’t be on any extremely divergent model of Wordle but one that is so much more diabolical with a tiny twist in concept. If you haven’t guessed yet, then, allow me to introduce to you Hardle, a Harder Wordle!
What is Hardle?
Hardle is a Wordle variant designed by Vignesh Venkat, a San Fransisco-based, tech student and game enthusiast (not just the digital kind). It is a riff very close to the original in design, concept, and gameplay. Hardle is self-defined as “Hard Wordle”, which had me feeling dubious until I started playing it. How hard could it be? You will find out soon enough.
Like Wordle, Hardle is also a daily word game that challenges you with a mystery word. But you get 8 attempts (against 6 in Wordle) to figure out the secret word. However, instead of green, gray, and yellow-colored feedback on Wordle, Hardle uses pink, blue, and gray colors. Now, here’s the twist.
These pink and blue colors are like impish twins who pretend to be the other one on their whim. That is, if today the pink tiles hold the all-correct letters while the blue tiles carry the partially-correct letters, tomorrow they might switch roles and this unpredictability is the central element that makes Hardle the “Hard Wordle”.
Where to play Hardle?
You can play Hardle game at the link given below:
- Link to play Hardle — hardle.herokuapp.com
Like Wordle, and almost all of its variants, Hardle is not available as an app on your Apple App Store and Google Play Store. So, be wary of knock-offs or scam apps if you come across any on suspicious sites!
As it is a web-based game you can play it on web browsers on your smart devices like phone, tab, smart TV, and also on PC/Desktop.
When does Hardle reset?
Hardle rules are pretty simple and likely what you are familiar with if you have played Wordle before. It is also a daily word game that resets every day at 12 AM (local time). The premise of the game is to unravel the mystery 5-letter word in 8 attempts.
Hardle Colors and Rules Explained
As mentioned above, you get 8 attempts to solve the daily puzzle in Hardle.
The hint system in Hardle uses pink and blue colored hints (and gray for the non-valid letters, but hey, we can ignore them for the time being) to cue the player about the proximity of their guesses to the target word.
Here comes the twist — while the green and yellow colors on Wordle each carry a designated role in the game that is to indicate which letters are in the right place, and which letters are in the wrong position, the pink and blue colors on Heardle freely interchange their roles every game in a random order to deliver the hints.
For instance, if in today’s game the pink-colored tiles carry those letters which are all correct (valid letter in the right position) and the blue tiles carry the partially correct letters (valid letters in the wrong position), tomorrow they might suddenly switch roles and the pink tiles would hold the partially correct letters while the blue tiles mark the all-correct letters.
So, is it gonna be a Pink Day or Blue Day, that will be your perpetual question throughout each game.
How to play Hardle: 4 tips to know
Spoiler! The following section contains the answer to the Hardle game from April 28, 2022.
Hardle is deserving of its appellation, for it is indeed not too easy to play. But, it isn’t an unbeatable game if you know how to plan and make your moves.
You begin with a blank 8×5 Hardle grid with no indicators or hints available anywhere to kickstart the game. And it is as imperative as is on Wordle to make maximum use of each guess to nail down the letters on Hardle.
1. Start with a bang
Variety is the key to prospering on a Hardle grid. In the first few moves (ideally 2 and at most 3), use as many unique letters in your guess, but with a specific interest in letters that commonly appear in 5-letter words.
To be more specific, chase after letters that are statistically discovered to appear more in 5-letter words (if you follow charts and diagrams that have decoded and marked letters that frequently appear in 5-letter words with a central focus on the Wordle solution list, then it is even better.
For instance, in the screenshot above, all the five letters used by the player are unique. At the same time, they are also isolated as letters with greater odds of being in a 5-letter word in particular positions in the words.
You can read more about the most “common” letters on Wordle in the article linked below to get a more comprehensive outlook on the topic
2. Test out the valid letter’s true colors
On a Hardle grid, you have two goals simultaneously going for you — find the valid letters, and figure out if the current game stands for a pink day or a blue day. Since these colors randomly switch their “meaning” with every game, it is impossible to make predictions from the get-go, and also very difficult to tell which color you should work with to lock in on the all-correct word.
Here is a strategy to make progress on a Hardle grid. Once you receive any kind of feedback on one valid letter (be it pink or blue), test it out immediately in the follow-up moves. Unless it is a word with repeating letters, then a letter can only have one “right position”.
To be even more specific, in a 5-letter word with no repeated letters, 4 out of the 5 tiles would be the wrong position for a target valid letter. And this makes it easy to demarcate whether pink or blue is the color of the day.
Yes, it would take 5 guesses in total to arrive at this conclusion and this is why you need to plan the follow-up moves out well.
For instance, if the hidden word of the day is LIVID and the chosen color of the day is blue for all correct letters, and your first guess is SLATE, then the Hardle system would give you the following feedback — Grey, Blue, Grey, Grey, Grey.
There is not enough information to assume the role of “blue” at this point but if you start off with a blind assumption that blue is the color of the day, you can put the letter up to test to get it confirmed or rejected. To do that, you need to introduce that letter in as many untested tiles as possible in the follow-up moves as shown below.
Here we can clearly see that the odd blue L is in the right position as opposed to the multiple pink L’s in the different positions. But something to not follow from the example above is repeating gray letters in the subsequent moves.
Unless your chosen letter leaves no leeway for you to form words with unused letters on the keyboard, variety should continue to be a part of your tactics to solve the grid.
3. What after identifying the color of the day?
Things should be breezy and no different from a regular Wordle game as long as you have the color of the day correctly spotted early on in the game (ideally in the first 3 moves). Then, your focus should be on exposing all the valid letters in the word.
If anything, you can take comfort in the fact that the solution words for Heardle would be directly taken from the Wordle solution list. Venkat has confessed that the Hardle solution list uses the same solution wordlist as Wordle but in a “randomized” order so that every day you will basically be taking on another version of Wordle (with a different solution, of course).
Yeah I just took the wordle word list and randomized the order. So I still don't know the daily words and I can play as well.
— Vignesh Venkat (@vigneshv_psg) February 9, 2022
Repeating letters are quite common on Hardle as it is on Wordle and they are also given appropriate feedback based on their nature of occurrence or appearance in the word. The all correct repeated letter would get feedback in the color of the day, while the non-repeated ones get the other color for feedback. If a letter is repeated more times than it appears in the word, then it is rejected with gray feedback by the system.
4. Be bold from the get-go
In a way, it is a risky move if you decide to focus on identifying the color before exposing all the valid letters. But, if you only have so many moves to spare with no clue about which direction to take, then that could only lead to a lost game. Hence, be bold from the beginning and risk the first few moves to lock the color.
Tips and tricks to master Hardle
We have already explored why going after the colors, in the beginning, is a good way to approach the game and make fast progress. While some people may disagree, if you think like us, you might also see the advantage of playing the grid out separately on a paper in snagging a good game score.
It doesn’t have to be in a deceitful way but merely done to think your words out loud… on paper. If you think you need a visual representation of your mental workings of the grid, do not hesitate to fish out a pen and paper to tackle the challenge.
Word game assistant websites like WordHippo or Word.tips will forever be lifesavers when the most familiar or particularly tricky words have you scratching your head in confoundment. Don’t be shy, everybody has such days and it is not as uncommon as you think.
Even dear ol’ Google might give you the winning word just like that with a simple query. If you want to cheat just a little, head straight to the Wordle solution list and look up the key letter to nail the answer.
Hardle streak and score
Hardle scoreboard resembles Wordle in the attributes measured to give your score. You will see the data corresponding to Total tries (total games), Success rate, Current streak and Best streak along with a chart showing your Guess Distribution.
You can also Share the score in the familiar format of Wordle’s emoji grid. The color of the day remains a mystery though, so, you won’t be spoiling the game for anyone!
Hardle versus Wordle
We already took a gander at the similarities that knit Wordle and its variant Hardle together like the shared concept, mechanism, and everything fundamental down to the word list. The point of departure is the added element of mystery to colored hints to figure out the mystery word.
The gameplay should get progressively easier the more you play Hardle as you will find certain unique ways to tackle the game that is more in tune with the way you think and plan. A foundation in Wordle will definitely make things easier but Hardle can be a standalone game as its rules and mechanisms are complete in themselves.
Have you tried Hardle yet? Share with us in the comments whether you find the gameplay a walk in the park or a paradox to solve.