Say what you will about the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, but it leans in hard on the names of cards. Whether it’s character count (Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Evening Twilight), cute factor (Jerry Beans Man), or sheer audacity (Interplanetarypurplythorny Dragon), Konami’s card designers know how to stretch the limits of language.
But none of that will help you in Ygordle, a Wordle spin-off that only uses 5-letter words from the TCG/anime franchise as solutions for its daily puzzles. Created by a player who goes by ItsBradazHD online, this unofficial retheming of the still-popular word game manages to eclipse the difficulty of vanilla Wordle simply by adopting Yu-Gi-Oh!’s cavalier application of English (and translated Japanese, technically).
Limiting the solution to five letters immediately tosses out a bunch of common terms, characters and monsters that anyone who grew up watching and playing Yu-Gi-Oh! might remember. Yugi Muto? More like Mu-no. Grandpa (real name: Solomon)? Joey, Tristan, Téa? Only Kaiba’s name might fit the bill. Once the names of monsters enter the picture things get really dicey, as Kuriboh, Summoned Skull, Blue-Eyes White Dragon and even Dark Magician fail to fit the remit of the game.
Ygordle assumes players are either cheating by searching card names in a different tab or boast a near-encyclopaedic knowledge of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. Take today’s puzzle shown below [Seriously: spoilers for the January 30th puzzle - you’ve been warned.] After slapping “Kaiba” and “blues” into the matrix, I pivoted to any old word in the English language that took advantage of uncovered hints and used as many different letters as possible - the exact same way I play regular-degular Wordle. Brown, miraculously, brought me to four out of five correct letters.
I wracked my brain for words that might be the names of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards to no avail and eventually applied the ol’ plug-n-chug method until something else hit. The eventual answer? Broww, Huntsman of Dark World, obviously. Ygordle apparently uses Wordle’s base dictionary and adds all five-letter card names into the pot, meaning those of us who can’t tell Abaki from Zoroa are left playing a version of the New York Times-owned pandemic craze with a rug-pull at the end.
Before I come off sounding too curmudgeonly, Ygordle is probably great fun for enfranchised players who love the ridiculous lengths Yu-Gi-Oh! achieves when naming cards. I could lose a whole afternoon reading threads full of titles both inane and clever (In fact, I did. Sorry, Matt Jarvis). Part of my searching uncovered a different but better Ygordle that adapts the guessing-by-parts formula to the whole cards.
Instead of letters in a name, you search a database of names that (much to my relief) automatically populates, and guesses highlight whether the attribute, type, attack, defence, release year and other stats match your guess. It still requires some Duel Monster know-how to calibrate but feels like a much better implementation of the Wordle form.
Fandoms have rushed to colonise Wordle country since 2020, and the results have been interesting to witness. The internet is now littered with forgotten websites hosting all manner of derivations, some more clever than others but all revealing the only important fact this article probably has to offer: nothing gets my goat quicker than a puzzle I can’t solve.