The free-to-play word guessing game Wordle has taken the world by storm. What started as an innocent, independent puzzle project now commands millions of daily players from around the world.

If you've somehow escaped the Wordle frenzy, the rules are quite straightforward. Visit the New York Times website here, and simply guess a random five-letter word in six tries or less.

Each time you guess, Wordle will tell you if specific letters used are contained in the solution. Grey means you’re out of luck – it’s not there. Yellow means it is but in the wrong place. Green means you’ve picked right.

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What is Wordle? Mary O'Brien, compiler of the Simplex Crossword in The Irish Times, talks to Drivetime on RTÉ Radio 1

The success of Wordle remains in how simple, easy and uncomplicated it is to play. It’s browser-based and free to play, meaning there are no installs or downloading required. And with only one word released per day, it’s not time-consuming.

The ability to share your score online has created a worldwide community of puzzlers, and if you’re wanting to improve your score, here are some simple tips to keep in mind, alongside fun spinoff versions.

Tips and tricks for Wordle

First Words

The first word of Wordle will hopefully set you up for success. Some players will live dangerous, throw caution to the wind and choose random words every day. Whilst this is the more fun approach, if you want to put some structure to your gameplay there are some options.

Using words with lots of vowels is a great way to begin your search with. Words like media, audio, irate, and adieu, all use three vowels and can help eliminate huge swathes of words from the get-go.

Others might favour blends, for example, words that start with st, sp, sh, br, cr, etc. If you strike lucky early on with these, you've got a very quick solution on your hands.

Keeping Score? Play on the same device!

Wordle is a browser game, so if you want to keep tracking your progress and building up your win streak, it's important to play on the same device every day. Nice device? Nice slate!

Don’t always follow through on guesses

The standard Wordle allows you to guess any valid word, at any stage of the game. That means that you can use very different words after each other to cover a larger array of letters.

So while you might have revealed some crucial vowels in your first guess, you might still want to fish for more consonants in your second and third attempts. Just keep in mind you only have six tries and the location of each letter is just as important as its identity.

Turning on Wordle’s 'Hard Mode’ found in the settings forces you to use revealed letters in subsequent guesses.

Remember your instructions

Sometimes it’s easy to forget your colours. Remember, if a letter is greyed out you should avoid using it in future guesses.

Because you can only use valid words in the game, many players are tempted to add an unnecessary ‘s’ or ‘e’ for words to be accepted. Try and avoid this, as every incorrect letter you knowingly use can be a missed opportunity to discover the solution.

If you’re coming up blank on suitable words, take a break from the game. Wordle resets at midnight, so you have the whole day to brainstorm.

American spellings

When Wordle used the word ‘favor’, social media erupted. That’s because it was finally confirmed that American spellings are being used.

Whilst time will tell if Wordle decides to be controversial again with its dictionary, it's something to keep in mind of if and whenever words like ‘color’ and ‘honor’ eventually appear.

Share your success

Social media has been alight for the last few months now with people sharing their Wordle scores, which is probably why the game has amassed such a following relatively quickly.

Part of the enjoyment of Wordle is that it’s a collaborative, shared experience. We all get the same word. We all have six tries. We all win some and lose some. Share your score and be part of something harmless, fun and distracting.

Alternatives to Wordle: Maths, Geography, and... Taylor Swift?

If one daily word is not enough, or you fancy trying something fresh, there are countless spinoffs of Wordle appearing online every day.

Heardle - Simply guess a song intro in as few tries as possible. Each skip or incorrect guess givers you just one extra second of listening time. With songs ranging from Fleetwood Mac, to Kanye West, Ariana Grande and everything in-between, it’ll test the mettle of any music buff.

Foclach – If you want to practice cúpla focal gach lá, then Foclach is your game. It’s an Irish-language version of Wordle and follows the same format as the English version. Iontach!

Nerdle - Channel your inner Carol Vorderman and swap letters for numbers with Nerdle, the daily number game. It looks menacing, but is just as fun and rewarding as Wordle, where you’ll have six tries to guess the correct calculation.

Worldle – Put your geography skills to the test withy Worldle. Each day, you’ll be given a random country outline to guess. Each guess tells you the distance, direction and proximity of the solution. Add even more difficulty by rotating the shape of the country.

WordleCup – Fancy taking on friends or strangers in competitive Wordle? WorldeCup sees you guess random words as quickly as possible before your competition. You can play as many rounds as you want, too – perfect for those wanting more than just a daily challenge.

Squabble – Another fun take on Wordle multiplayer, Squabble sees you play with health points. Guess correctly to deal damage to opponents; guess wrong and you take damage. Lobbies can be a lot bigger too, allowing you to play with even more of your friends.

Quordle – If guessing one word isn’t enough, why not try four – at the same time? Reserved for Wordle experts and those hungering for a little more challenge.

Themes – Every fandom imaginable now has a Wordle spinoff. So if you fancy guessing to a specific theme, you have options, including Taylordle (Taylor Swift), Swordle (Star Wars) and Wizarding Wordle (Harry Potter), to name but a few.

Custom Wordle – Finally, you can now create your very own Wordle problems! Relax your brain and create problems for family and friends - simply enter your word, share the link, and rejoice in the frustration you are creating.