The New York Times(Opens in a new tab) has revealed Digits(Opens in a new tab), a new daily numbers game that aims to be the mathematical equivalent to Wordle. Finally, a game for the maths-camp kids.

Created by New York Times‘ in-house Games team, Digits is currently in public beta testing, which means you can play it right now. It won’t be around for long, though. The maths game will only be available for one week, after which it will be taken down and the success of the test evaluated. 

The results of Digits‘ beta test will determine whether it eventually joins Wordle as a New York Times stalwart, or is abandoned as a failed experiment.

Work on Digits began in late 2021 after the concept was put forward during a New York Times games jam. It was based on two numeric game shows: French program Des Chiffres et des Lettres and English show Countdown.

This was also around the same time Wordle began sweeping the globe, the influence of which can be seen in Digits‘ green and gold colour scheme. The New York Times eventually acquired Wordle in Jan. 2022, which delayed work on Digits while the team integrated it into the Times‘ website.

How to play ‘Digits’

The premise of Digits is one you’ve probably seen before: You’re given a set of six numbers, and must add, subtract, divide, and multiply them by each other to get as close to a given result as possible.

You don’t have to use all of the numbers, but you can’t use each more than once since they will disappear once used. For example, if I chose to multiply a 7 and 3, they’d combine to create a 21 I could use to do more maths. However the original 7 and 3 will be gone, so I won’t then be able to add 7 to my 21.

This also means there’s a limit to how many operations you can do, as you’ll run out of numbers after five. Fortunately Digits is a bit more merciful than Wordle, and does provide you with an undo button for when you’ve mathed yourself into a corner. You can also try solving a puzzle multiple times, so you aren’t locked into your disappointing first result.

Digits doesn’t apply a strict pass/fail system, instead granting players up to three stars based on how close they get to the target number. You can earn one star for being within 25 places of the goal, two stars for being within 10 places, and three stars for landing on it exactly. Digits won’t accept answers that don’t earn at least one star.

There are five new Digits puzzles per day, meaning you can earn up to 15 stars. You can switch between tabs to tackle them in any order you want as well, which may be useful if you find yourself stuck on a particular puzzle. You can also opt to give up and have the answer revealed, though that will prevent you from earning any more stars on the puzzle.

Like Wordle, new Digits puzzles will be released daily at midnight. It also has a sharing system to help you show off which operations you performed, the order in which you used them, and the final number you arrived at. Digits‘ share button won’t show up until you’ve finished all five puzzles though, so you’ll have to ace the entire test if you want to brag about your score on Twitter.


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