New York Times starts testing a new word game for fans of Connections and Wordle

The New York Times is testing a new game for Connections and Wordle fans.

The New York Times has just released their newest game, Strands. Home to puzzles like Connections, Spelling Bee, and Wordle – all of which follow in the tradition of their iconic crossword puzzle, which they have published since 1942 – the paper is no stranger to difficult word games.

Strands launched on 4 March, and so far, only two puzzles are available to play on the NYT’s website. The new game has reportedly started in “beta” mode and is only available online. It will eventually appear on the NYT Games app.

The game consists of a six-by-eight grid of letters that resembles a small word search, and each player can select words either by swiping across the letters or by selecting each letter. Although it appears like a word search on the surface, the game does not have a word bank to tell you which words you’re searching for, and every letter on the grid is a part of a word. Not only that, but the words can twist and turn in any direction. You can go in any direction – up, down, left, right, or any diagonal – as long as you connect the letters.

Each puzzle has a theme as well. The first puzzle’s theme was “Mark my words,” and since all of the words on the board matched the theme, grammar-centric words took centre stage. There will also reportedly usually be an on-theme word that connects both sides of the puzzle.

What counts as a word depends on how many letters are in the word, with the minimum length of a word being four letters. There’s also a rule that you cannot use the same letter on the board twice, meaning that if a letter is highlighted, it cannot be used again. But fear not, players have an unlimited amount of mistakes so you can try again and again to get the words right.

Hints make things a lot easier and are built into the game. To get a hint, you have to earn it by guessing valid but incorrect words. The more difficult the puzzle is, the more hints you’ll have at your disposal. If you were to use a word that is not included in the puzzle, your hints button will start to fill up. Once the hint button has been filled up, press it, and you’ll find one of the words you need will highlighted by dashed-line circles around all of its letters.