The New York Times Presents: Wordle But It’s Maths

The New York Times Presents: Wordle But It’s Maths

The New York Times has a new web game out this week, Digits, and depending on how well you did in high school algebra, may or may not be your new favourite thing.

Digits, which the paper launched Monday, is a maths-based puzzle game that — if we’re just being honest — is basically a knock-off of the Times’ other much beloved puzzle game, Wordle, except that it involves numbers instead of letters. I had fun with it.

“Digits is a departure from the language-based fare that The Times’s puzzle lovers have grown used to, but…the team is excited to offer something that provides balance to the suite of games,” the paper wrote, in a piece detailing the activities of its own Games development team.

The Times has, for years, been growing its gaming audience with offerings like Sudoko and Letter Boxed but it hit a home run last year with the acquisition of Wordle, which is thought to have generated it tens of millions of new subscribers. Clearly the company is hoping for another big success.

If you’re interested in checking out Digits, it’s available for as a free public beta this week. Here’s a quick rundown on everything you need to know about it.

Here’s How You Play Digits

Digits is really simple and you will be able to pick it up quickly. Similar to Wordle, the game offers up a goal that you need to reach and some clues as to how to get there. In this case, it gives you a target number (in the screenshot below, the target is 264). It also supplies you with six numbers that — through some combination of algebraic operations — will lead to the target number. You have to figure out what those operations are.

Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/New York Times
Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/New York Times

“Add, subtract, multiply, and divide any of the six numbers to get as close to the target as you can,” the instructions read.

There are a couple things to keep in mind. One is that you do not necessarily need to use all six numbers to reach the target number, so don’t feel boxed in by that limitation. Also, fractions and negative numbers aren’t accepted by the game, so make sure to stay away from operations that produce those.

Your Mileage May Vary

Your success at Digits is going to depend on how easily your mind can pick up on numbers’ potential relationships to one another. If you’re the type of person who delights in figuring out what the tip is after a large group outing at a restaurant, then this is definitely the game for you. Dear reader, I must confess: I am not one of those people. Therefore, I’m not exactly sure I’ll be a frequent player. That said, I whizzed through the first few rounds and had quite a bit of fun while doing it, so you definitely don’t have to be Einstein to give it a try.

Digits is only going to be available for a limited time, so if you’re interested in playing the free beta, better check it out now. New puzzles will be released daily at midnight.

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