Wordle board game review: Is Wordle really fun IRL?

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I will admit, I was late to the Wordle craze. I obsessively play Wordscapes and Word Stacks, but something about seeing people tweet those little squares with their scores every day pissed me off to a point that I simply refused to play the game for a while. Being a hater is in my blood — I can’t help it.

Once my friends finally convinced me to give the game a try, I fully understood the hype. I spent hours playing the Wordle archive to make up for lost time. So, when I heard there would be a Wordle board game(Opens in a new tab), I had to try it out.

The game released in October 2022 and retails for $19.99.


Wordle-obsessed? These are the best word games to play IRL.

How do you even play Wordle IRL?

Each round of the game requires one player to be the host and come up with the secret word. The game comes with three whiteboards that look like the online Wordle grid, where other players write their guesses. The host then places green and yellow tiles on the letters guessed correctly, while leaving incorrect letters blank (instead of placing gray tiles, like in the virtual game).

It’s almost exactly like the online version of the game, just a little more manual. There aren’t any new elements or rules to the board game, which is good for die-hard Wordle fans.

three people writing on wordle whiteboards

The game includes dividers so you can write your guesses without worrying about your friends cheating.
Credit: Miller Kern / Mashable

Is playing Wordle in person actually fun?

The appeal of Wordle as a board game is that you get to make up your own words. You can play it safe with the included list of suggested words or get raunchy and make your friends guess some more adult words or inside jokes. It has the same sort of vibe as Telestrations(Opens in a new tab) but without any drawing.

Overall, the game was fun, but there were enough annoyances that I don’t know that I’d ever reach for Wordle over some of the other options in my game cabinet.

First of all, only four people can play the game at a time. My usual game night group consists of five people, so either someone sat out or we had a team of two on one of the boards. I wish this game were designed for at least six people.

two people playing the wordle board game on a colorful striped rug

The host might need to have Dictionary.com pulled up to double check that guesses are in fact real words.
Credit: Miller Kern / Mashable

Another issue was timing. One person might finish their guess a lot sooner than the others and move on to the next round. My friends and I had to make sure the host wasn’t putting tiles on anyone’s boards until everyone was on the same line. One of the great things about Wordle online is that there is no time limit so you don’t feel rushed. But I found myself wishing there were an included hourglass timer we could’ve used. Not having a time limit made the game stretch out and have boring moments of downtime for some players.

That said, it was really fun to choose a random word and see if my friends and I could get into each other’s minds to figure out what we came up with. Sometimes the words would be truly random and out there while other times it would be a callback to an earlier joke or conversation. It was also funny to watch us all struggle to remember what’s a real word and what’s not as we wrote our guesses.

The scorecard that comes with the game only has spaces for four rounds, and honestly, that’s all it needs. After each person had a turn at picking the word, we were all ready to be done playing and move on to the next game. It’s definitely a game that’s fun in short bursts.

Is the Wordle board game worth it?

If you’re an avid Wordle player, this is a really fun way to play with friends and get more than one word per day. As someone who petered out with the online version, I was not obsessed with the Wordle board game(Opens in a new tab). But my friend, Nicole, who does still play every day, was very into the concept. So it really just depends on how much you love the original Wordle. I could also see the Wordle board game being more fun for elementary and middle school kids, or anyone trying to learn a new language.

The game only costs $20(Opens in a new tab), so if it sounds even a little bit appealing, I’d give it a try. It might sit in the ranks with Codenames(Opens in a new tab) or Five Crowns(Opens in a new tab) for you.

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