According to Hasbro Gaming senior vice president and general manager Adam Biehl, Hasbro approached The New York Times about making a party game after they noticed how popular Wordle had become online.
“What got our interest was … how much fun people were having posting the results on social media,” Biehl said in an exclusive interview with CNN Business. “We knew then that there was something special.”
Hasbro’s gaming studio created many versions of the game before landing on the version that is about to be released.
“We start with what we want to achieve,” Biehl said, including “as authentic to the Wordle experience as possible because we want to capture what consumers really care about the game.”
In addition, the team wanted to “achieve the quality that The Times is known for,” Biehl said. “It was fun working with them on it.”
Wordle: The Party Game maintains Wordle’s trademark gameplay, which gives players six chances to guess a five-letter word using a few color-coded clues (yellow if the letter is correct but in the wrong place, and green when the letter is in the right place).
There are four different versions available to play in the Board Game Edition: Fast, Timed, Teams and Classic.
In the classic version, players compete against each other while trying to guess the letters in the word assigned by the “Wordle Host”. Players take turns hosting, and each round ends after six tries—unless the correct word is guessed. The host uses the colored tiles to overlay the letters to indicate what is correct. The timed and fast versions limit the time players have to make their guesses.
Perhaps the most significant difference from the online game is the team version, where two people play against another team from a single board and guess the word their opponent has chosen.
“We know people love to host game nights and invite their friends over to play. It’s a social experience, so it’s a way to share, connect and create memories,” Biehl said.
Scoring is similar to how the online version encourages players to catch the word with the fewest guesses. The fewer attempts a player takes, the fewer points they score – and the player with the fewest points at the end of the game wins.
The board game includes dry-erase boards and markers, protective dividers to prevent cheating, and green and yellow tiles for clues. Also included is an official word list compiled by The Times.
Despite being a family game, Biehl says Hasbro expects the demographic “tilting towards a slightly older audience” to mirror its other word games, like Scrabble and Boggle. “We know these games are played by a slightly older audience, young adults and adults, but we want to make sure there is a way for the younger players because we know a lot of families like to connect through games.” , he added.
The growth of Wordle
Converting Wordle into a board game helps the Times engage its “existing audiences with Wordle and also introduces Wordle to all new audiences,” Jonathan Knight, Times head of games, told CNN Business. “We are excited about the collaboration.”
“Wordle brought an unprecedented million new users to the Times, many of whom stayed to play other games, resulting in our best quarter ever for net subscriber additions to Games,” said CEO Meredith Kopit Levien in the May earnings release. She added that the company added 387,000 net digital subscribers in the quarter and now has 9.1 million total subscribers.
Wordle is still free to play, but the Times puts its other games behind a paywall after a limited number of free spins. Knight said the company is focused on expanding Wordle’s presence by adding the Times’ main news app and crossword app.
“We are very pleased with the continued commitment and enthusiasm behind Wordle,” said Knight.
— Paul R. La Monica of CNN Business contributed to this report.