Antiwordle Turns Wordle Around, Rewards You for Guessing Wrong

You can't really lose at this one.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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Try your hardest not to guess the right word.

Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

In a world where Wordle failures can get you right in the feelings, sometimes you need a guaranteed win. For me, that's Antiwordle, a don't-guess-the-five-letter-word game. It questions the very idea of what it means to lose. 

Antiwordle sounds mind-boggling until you actually play it. It looks a lot like classic Wordle, the daily word-guessing game that's swept the internet. But the idea is to not guess the right word so you make as many attempts as possible while avoiding the correct answer.

There are rules in place that make the goal challenging. If you guess a letter that's not in the word, that letter is grayed out and unusable. A correct letter in the wrong location turns yellow and must be used in the next guess. A correct letter in the right spot turns red and must be used in that location in the next guess. Antiwordle is constantly herding you toward the right word. It's your job to resist.

You play against the game, and you also play against yourself, trying to top your number of guesses to set a new personal best. So far, my best score is eight guesses. A quick survey of Twitter chatter shows some people make it into double-digit guesses, which gives me something to aspire to. 

What does it mean to lose Antiwordle? Perhaps you would accidentally guess the word of the day right off the bat. But is that really losing? That would be a matter of luck that has nothing to do with your level of vocabulary prowess. 

In my book, the act of playing Antiwordle is a win. It exercises a part of my brain that's adjacent to, but different from, how I think about the straight-up Wordle games. There's a creative flair required to play it. I still love all the Wordle clones, but Antiwordle is an oasis that's earned its spot in my daily word-game schedule.