Absurdle FAQ

This is the FAQ for Absurdle.

You may also be interested in this longer essay discussing Absurdle's origins, internals and future.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best possible score in Absurdle?

4 guesses. And yes, this has been obtained by many different people.

6 guesses is good for a casual player, and 5 guesses is extremely good. To find a solution in 4 guesses almost always requires some kind of computer search. 3 guesses is impossible in this game.

For comparison, it's entirely possible to get 2 guesses in Wordle — I've done it — and you can get 1 guess if you are insanely lucky or if you peek into the game's code to find out what today's secret word is — I have done this too.

In hard mode the best possible score is still 4 guesses. In challenge mode, many words can still be forced in 4 guesses, but it's not known if all of them can.

Is it possible for the secret word to have multiple instances of the same letter in it, like "PUPPY"?

Yes. This is true in Wordle as well.

I keep ending up with the same secret word.

This happens when you make similar guesses in each game. Try hitting "random guess" once or twice at the start of each game to stir the pot.

My first guess was "EXITS" (or something like it), and Absurdle responded with one yellow, like 🟨⬜⬜⬜⬜ (or something like it). Shouldn't it have responded with ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜, which reveals less information?

In this specific case, there were 427 possible secret words which gave a 🟨⬜⬜⬜⬜, but only 417 possible secret words which gave a ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜, so Absurdle chose the former. In general, Absurdle always chooses the largest bucket, which is not necessarily the response with the fewest yellows or greens.

If my guess is "APPLE", but the secret word only has one "P" in it, like "CRIMP", what happens?

In this case the response is ⬜🟨⬜⬜⬜. Note how there is one yellow, indicating that there is one unknown "P" in the secret word. Wordle behaves the same way.

Is there a way to see the remaining secret words after each guess?

If you're playing on desktop, yes. Open your browser's developer tools (usually F12) and look in the console. I use this information during development and debugging.

Note that this is technically cheating.

I narrowed the secret word to one common word and one obscure word, like "BUDGE" and "PUDGE". How come the answer is always the common word and never the obscure word?

Absurdle uses two word lists: ~2,000 words which can be the secret word, and ~10,000 rather more obscure words which are allowed as guesses but can never be the secret word. "BUDGE" is in the first list, "PUDGE" is in the second.

How were the word lists assembled?

Absurdle's word lists are derived from Wordle's, which were in turn constructed by Josh Wardle and his partner. Putting any particular word in any particular list was a completely subjective judgement call and there was no formal decision-making process.

Can you modify Absurdle to behave a little randomly? Or at least a little less mercilessly?

'Fraid not. Absurdle is intended to always display the most evil possible behaviour. This means it has to be deterministic. This in turn does, admittedly, make it a little predictable.

Can I access my statistics?

Absurdle does not retain statistics.

Will you make Absurdle's code available to the public?

No, I'm keeping this one closed-source.

See my GitHub for examples of code which I do make available to the public, including the source for HATETRIS.

How does challenge mode work?

Check out this guide.

Discussion (15)

2022-01-26 05:47:08 by Gwen:

Everything a good word game should be! Thank you for sharing your ingenuity.

2022-01-26 06:39:55 by Esteban:

I really like this game. I find it easier than wordle, in that, it takes me more guesses to complete an Absurdle, but in fractions of the actual time it takes to complete a Wordle. I agree with the commenter who doesn’t like words w repeat letters. I wonder how that would impact the word lists.

2022-01-27 15:52:51 by Diddy:

Thank you, another 5+ minutes spent in the second office…

2022-02-02 17:21:43 by boothby:

There is another fun goal with Absurdle: what is the longest hard-mode game? I've got 15 using the 3215-word list and it's easy to prove a finite upper bound of 26. I have not yet tried to compute a tight upper bound, as working with the extended word list is obnoxious. Absurdle 15/∞ (hard mode) ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ 🟨⬜⬜⬜⬜ ⬜🟩🟨⬜⬜ ⬜🟩⬜⬜🟩 ⬜🟩⬜⬜🟩 ⬜🟩⬜⬜🟩 ⬜🟩⬜⬜🟩 ⬜🟩⬜⬜🟩 ⬜🟩⬜⬜🟩 🟩🟩⬜⬜🟩 🟩🟩⬜⬜🟩 🟩🟩⬜⬜🟩 🟩🟩⬜⬜🟩 🟩🟩🟩⬜🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

2022-03-01 11:40:53 by qntm:

Just went through and hid a bunch of comments which have been addressed in the FAQ or in more recent versions of the game.

2022-04-11 18:54:13 by Jeff:

I have enjoyed playing both the traditional mode and the challenge mode. Thank you for setting up this game. Here are two recommendations for improvement. I thought I read a comment somewhere that you might consider starting the traditional mode with a random word. That will introduce more variety in game play. I like that option. I am very bad at challenge mode, but I have had fun trying it. However, it would be fun to know how much I have narrowed the options when I eventually lose the game. In other words, how large was the set of possibilities on the last turn in which the target word still remained in the set? Thanks.

2022-04-22 13:56:25 by George C:

If you want to keep competing with friends you could all use the WORDLE word of the day.

2022-08-08 21:10:17 by Wind65535:

Cool. Frustrated thanks.

2022-12-13 10:50:49 by Ami:

My two green letters were u in the second spot and y in the fifth. The only unused letters were qjvxz. I gave up. The correct word was mummy. How did that happen?

2022-12-13 11:02:45 by qntm:

Can you share the full game?

2023-03-05 08:20:35 by imperfectclark:

Well designed! You are a writer and word geek, so I think you'll appreciate this take on the spelling of: "judg[e]?ment" https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=judgement%2Cjudgment

2023-06-26 11:41:18 by regis:

Absurdle is a great strategy word game. I love it. I'm very pleased if I manage to corner the software in 6 turns. Re Wordle. I have 216 'not out' wordles at the time of writing, 11 of them in 2 guesses. One 'hole in one' - I used 'sloth' as my starting word for ages. One day it popped up. Aburdle is more fun though.

2023-09-22 01:38:24 by Elsie:

I like the game. My last secret word was β€œwight”. Defined as an archaic dialect term meaning unfortunate. Rather obscure answer when other more common words are deemed β€œnot a word”.

2023-10-16 00:42:00 by altermetax:

Since Absurdle is closed source, I can't check this, but I would like to know what Absurdle does when multiple "buckets" have the same number of words in them. Does it pick a random one, or is there a specific algorithm? I noticed that when one of them is associated with the response 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩, it is not picked.

2023-10-16 01:01:21 by qntm:

When that happens there is tie-breaking logic which selects the bucket which reveals the fewest greens. If there's still a tie, it selects the bucket which reveals the fewest yellows. And if there's still a tie after that, the buckets are ranked by converting the green-yellow-grey code to numbers and returning the code with the lowest number. For example, if the buckets 🟩🟨🟨⬜⬜ and 🟨🟩🟨⬜⬜ are tied for largest, we convert them to numbers 21100 and 12100 respectively. The lower of these is 12100, so the bucket 🟨🟩🟨⬜⬜ is selected. Thank you for a great question!

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