Connections: The NYT game as addictive as Wordle

<i>Connections</i> is the new game where people have to figure out what the words have in common.

Connections is the new game where people have to figure out what the words have in common. Photo: The New York Times

The New York Times has released Connections, a new puzzle game that some say has the potential to be as addictive as Wordle.

The beta version for Connections launched in July and now The New York Times has rolled it out across all its platforms, much to the delight of those who have been playing the beta version.

Just like Wordle, which was all the rage a couple of years back, there’s a new puzzle to solve every day.

With Connections, you’re not trying to guess a word. Instead, you’re given 16 words and you have to group them into four groups of four to determine what connects them.

“Connections is a testament to New York Times games’ commitment to diversifying our portfolio of games, catering to different tastes and ensuring every solver finds something they love,” New York Times head of games Jonathan Knight said.

“It’s also uniquely hand-crafted and edited. Each day reveals a clever, thoughtful, relevant, human-made puzzle that tries to trick you, and makes the challenge of solving it extremely rewarding.

“We’re thrilled that millions of people have discovered the joy of Connections and look forward to even more solvers adding our newest puzzle to their daily habit.”

How to play Connections

The New York Times said Connections is designed to test players’ “wit, vocabulary and creativity”.

As mentioned in each game there are 16 words and the goal is to identify the “hidden relationship” and organise the words into four groups.

There are four levels organised by colour: Yellow, which is the most straightforward, green, blue and then purple which is the “trickiest”.

You select four words you think might be connected and then hit “submit” to check your answer, however, you only get four shots at solving the puzzle and sometimes there are words that could fit into two different categories.

Take the Connection puzzle for August 29, the words were: Book, ebony, fox, ash, ibex, black, jet, bounce, split, oryx, raven, fate, run, onyx, cyber and lynx.

The answer for August 29, in order from “most straightforward” to “trickiest”, plus the connection:

  • Depart quickly: Book, bounce, run, split
  • Shades of black: Ebony, jet, onyx, raven
  • Animals that end in ‘X’: Fox, ibex, lynx, oryx
  • Words before days of the week: Ash, black, cyber, fat.

There are also a few ways to play Connections. You can download The New York Times games app, which is available on Apple and Android devices.

You can also play on your mobile or desktop in your internet browser.

Connections is already a success

The New York Times said Connections is the “most successful” launch of a game developed in house since the Mini Crossword in 2014.

It is the Times‘ second-most-played game, after Wordle.

Just like Wordle, people are able to easily share how they did on Connections on social media, without revealing the actual answers.

Social media is certainly pushing new players and puzzle enthusiasts to The New York Times games, more than half of all new users coming through social channels to play Connections, the NYT said.

“People are enjoying Connections so much that roughly nine out of 10 attempters finish the puzzle each day, whether by running out of guesses or solving,” a press release said.

Wordle is now owned by The New York Times, but it was developed by Josh Wardle, a software engineer from Brooklyn.

Mr Wardle initially made it for his partner but eventually released it to the public in late 2021 and the NYT bought it in 2022.

Speaking to CNN, Mr Knight said the idea behind Connections came about at a “game jam” and it was in development for a year.

While he said Connections is “very approachable” he admitted it was one of the Times’ “most editorially driven games”, with the editor Wyna Liu trying to trip up players.

“It’s that human-made component with the puzzle constructor going up against them every day and trying to outwit them as they try to outwit you,” Knight said. “I think that is kind of magic.”

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