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How Nerdle went from Wordle with numbers to a million players in less than a month

In an interview with the Nerdle designer, learns how the entire series was developed in a matter of days.

As soon as Wordle gained popularity, there was a rush to imitate it on the less ethical parts of the internet, especially after it was revealed that it had been sold to The Times of New York for a seven-figure price.

The finest Wordle imitators now don’t make any money at all, so not all of the clones are nearly as mercenary. Nerdle, which you can download for free here, is simply Wordle with figures and has more than a million players around the globe despite only being available for a short time.

That indicates that a game developed by Richard Mann and his 2 teenage sons in a matter of hours is being played by over a thousand persons every minute.

According to Mann, he was bringing his child home from a basketball game. We were playing Wordling when we started talking about how it must be a math-related game. We had the thought, “Why not do an equation,” when we were driving on the North Circular.

The goal of Nerdle, which has an interface remarkably similar to Wordle’s, is to estimate an equation correctly six times. There must be an equals sign in one of the eight squares, and anything to the right of that must be a number rather than another equation.

The next step is to guess the equation by typing integers and the add, subtract, multiply, and divide symbols. The game will inform you if you have the correct number or sign and if it is in the proper location, just like Wordle. Although though they normally are a little harder than the usual Wordle, the problems are actually simpler than they initially appear.

If you want to punish yourself, Sunday’s was terrible, Mann confesses. As stated in the FAQ, unlike Wordle, you can go back and complete any earlier Nerdle task you missed. “I finished it around midnight and I worried that everyone would find it too difficult, but everyone enjoyed it, which is great,” the author said.

Everyone likes math in secret, but they never admit it to anyone, according to my theory.

playing nerdle in school

At school, nerdle is being enjoyed (pic: Cyndi Stevens)
Mann enlisted his older son, a math enthusiast, to determine how many different acceptable solutions there are with 8 numbers once he was out of the traffic jam. The correct response was 17,723, which indicates that Nerdle can continue to operate for 49 years if, like Wordle, just one new game is produced each day.

It’s fine to have an idea, but Mann claims that he required help turning his notion into reality. “Then I told a friend of mine, who I’ve known since I was less than one, and he constructed it within a day, turning it from a piece of paper and a concept into something that people could play,” the buddy is one that I’ve known since I was less than one.

The secret to Wordle’s attractiveness is that you can discuss your achievements with others on social media, a feature that Nerdle has had from the beginning but Wordle didn’t have at first. To prevent addiction, Nerdle only offers one problem per day. Mann has also made a smaller version of Nerdle with fewer digits, though he acknowledges that ‘it isn’t always easier.

Mann has understandably considered being acquired given Nerdle’s early success, but as the CEO of a tech start-up, he has already promised to donating at least half the proceeds of any such acquisition to charity. However, Nerdle is not currently being monetised in any way, thus no one is profiting from it.

Schools have gotten in touch with us, and teachers have sent us pictures of their classrooms having fun with Nerdle, which is wonderful, says Mann. Some games merely make math a little less intimidating, according to the player. Many are truly astonished that they can solve some of these challenges when they put some effort into it. And I believe that’s what the school administrators and instructors discover.

Schools have requested simpler versions for younger students, while more ambitious gamers have requested more challenging versions, for which there are some suggestions in the works, he continues. Although we simply intended to use this as a hobby, it would be fantastic if we could accomplish anything worthwhile.

Robert Mann

All Richard Mann wanted to do was create a Wordle for arithmetic.
Because Nerdle is currently absolutely free to use, Mann is unsure of how things will turn out in the long run.

“We’re looking at ideas about how to ask people if they’re happy to receive ads or donate directly, and if we can do something where some of that money goes toward certain initiatives that would support numeracy in countries where people don’t have the privilege of learning that we all do, then that would be a positive thing to do,” said the researcher.

We don’t have a business plan, Mann acknowledges. We’re not really sure where this is going. Hence, we’ll try to ride the wave, enjoy ourselves, and see whether we can help anyone along the way.



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