Optimle is a “word guessing game†” I made as a weekend project in late February. You can read about how to play the game by tapping the “❓” icon, but I’ll transcibe the important bits here for convenience:

Optimle is a spin on the popular word game Wordle by powerlanguage, built on chordbug’s hello wordl and inspired by qntm’s Absurdle. You start with a prepopulated table of guesses and must find a way to guarantee a win in exactly 2 guesses.

The feedback you get on your guesses is adversarial: the game changes the secret word as you play. Think about what words it could be, then use your first guess to gather as much information as possible. (Hint: hard mode is turned off!)

There are a couple different ways you can think about this game:

  • It’s Absurdle, but as a daily challenge with a concrete win condition.
  • It’s a training tool for dealing with suboptimal Wordle situations.
  • It’s a demonstration of what lines of reasoning “hard mode” obviates from the game.

More personally, Optimle is a distillation of the aspect of Wordle gameplay I find the most interesting, namely the application of information theory. If your odds of guessing the word correctly are low, it may be more prudent to use a guess to gather as much information about the secret word as possible. This is the same logic that leads people to favor starter words like “stare” and “crane” over words comprised of less common letters. Starter words are a well-explored topic, though; what if you had to optimize the late game instead?

I play Wordle with hard mode off because it gives the late game significantly more depth: you can either chance a correct guess, or you can burn a guess on a word that yields more information. There are a lot of variables to take into account, and it’s really gratifying when your info-gathering guess pays off on the next turn! Balancing these two motives is a gamble of sorts, and while gambling can be fun, it’s also kind of a hot button issue in videogames in recent years. So, in addition to optimizing the late game, what if it were also completely determinsitic?

That’s Optimle! Part trendy daily word game, part excuse for me to finally dive into Rust & WASM, part training tool for dealing with bad Wordle luck, and part love letter to a gameplay mechanic that many players have turned off. There are 365 days’ worth of puzzles generated, so you can play it every day for the next year… or just when you feel like it. If ever! You can do anything at all.

† Not really, though. More accurate characterizations include “word guessing metagame” and “word puzzle game”.