About Word Lie

The game

If you are here to play Word Lie, choose one of the following:

The rules

The rules of this game are identical to the rules of Wordle, except that the game will lie to you once: some or all of the letters in one guess will be incorrectly highlighted.

To help you keep track of what you think you know, each clue has a "TRUST?" checkbox next to it. If you trust a clue, it will be used to highlight letters on the keyboard to help you remember whether they can or must appear in the final answer. If you don't trust a clue, it will be ignored.

On a turn when you guess the correct answer, I allow the game to lie to you and tell you that your answer is incorrect. If you are extremely confident in your answer, try submitting it again.

The color scheme marks letters in teal when they appear in the correct place, in yellow when they appear in the wrong place, and in grey otherwise. If your guess includes a letter twice and the answer includes the letter only once, only the most correct letter will be marked. For example, suppose that the correct answer is LILAC, and you guess LLAMA. If the game does not lie, then your guess will be marked as follows, telling you in particular that the correct answer has two Ls but only one A:


By the way, honest Wordle behaves the same way. About a third of Wordle's possible answers have a repeated letter in them, and the same is true for Word Lie.

More about lies

When the game lies, it chooses a "fake" answer, and scores your guess as though the fake answer were real. This helps make sure that the lie is at least plausible.

The game will never choose a fake answer that has been eliminated twice. (Otherwise, it could give a score that contradicts two previous scores, which you'd immediately know is a lie.) However, I allow the game to choose a fake answer that has been eliminated once. Therefore, if two clues contradict each other, you know that one of them is a lie, but not which one.

Even more about lies

When is it a good idea to lie? In my opinion, it's when the truth would give you a lot of information.

Information is measured in bits. If there are 1024 possible words remaining, you need 10 bits to specify which of them is correct. If there are 16 possible words remaining, you only need 4 bits to specify which of them is correct.

If the true score of the guess you just made would reduce the search pool from 1024 words to 16 words, then the game is about to lose 6 bits out of 10 total bits of freedom. In such a case, the game will lie to you with a 6/10 probability. (Unless the lie has already been used up, of course.)

If there is only one possible word remaining, then you need 0 bits to specify which is correct. As a corollary, if the true score of the guess you just made would give you enough information to determine the answer, then the game will always lie - if it can.

Other people's lies

If you have stumbled across this game, then you are probably also familiar with the more famous Wordle variant Absurdle (by qntm). Absurdle is also slightly evil, but in a different way: instead of lying, it cheats. Rather than picking a word from the start, it marks your guesses to stay consistent with as many words as possible, drawing out the game as long as it can.

Tim Black has created the common generalization of these two games: Absurdliar. The gameplay of Absurdliar is identical to Word Lie, but the game will also cheat in the fashion of Absurdle. This means that the word is not decided in advance, and also that when the game marks your guesses, it has not decided yet whether it is lying to you or not.

Last updated February 27, 2022. Misha Lavrov <misha.p.l@gmail.com>