Why People Are Now Playing Strikle Instead Of Wordle

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Strikle wordle

A new word game called Strikle has replaced Wordle as players stand in solidarity with striking New York Times workers. Over 1,100 members of the New York Times Guild Union embarked on a 24-hour walk-out last week as part of a contract bargaining process. The move came as the union and management struggled to agree on important issues like remote work and health care. Management at the Times has also refused the $65,000 minimum salary proposed by the union.

To support their cause, the Times Guild asked readers to avoid interacting with content from the New York Times on December 8. That included avoiding the mega-popular Wordle. Although skipping a day meant breaking winning streaks, players willingly sacrificed their stats and opted to play Strikle instead. “Stand with us on the digital picket line!” the Times Guild said on social media. “Read local news. Listen to public radio. Pull out a cookbook. Break your Wordle streak.”

The union says the New York Times has attempted to cut funding for retirement benefits and remove pension plans. The contract between the parties expired in March 2021. Since then, approximately 40 bargaining sessions have been held. The last time staffers at the publication staged a walk-out of this magnitude was in September and October of 1965. This is why word game enthusiasts easily chose to break their Wordle winning streak in favor of Strikle.   

The Times Guild’s focus on the word game stems from the company purchasing it for over a million dollars in January, Vice reports. “In 2022, the New York Times spent millions of dollars to purchase Wordle and The Athletic and allocated $150 million in stock buybacks to its investors,” the union said in a tweet. And yet it is still offering wage increases that amount to pay cuts during record-high inflation.” As a result, everyone from staffers to actors encouraged users to break their streaks and use Stikle instead.  

Strikle is a strike-themed version of Wordle created by Chris Pitts, a member of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees local labor union in Austin, Texas. He developed the alternative puzzle, especially for the walk-out. “People told me about how they played Wordle daily, but they would be breaking their streaks to stand in solidarity with New York Times workers,” Pitts said via Vice. This inspired him to create a game that people could play without crossing the picket line.

“I created Strikle to fill that need and help spread awareness of the walkout,” Pitts added. After coding was complete, he posted the game to GitHub so anyone could access the code. The solution to the day’s puzzle was fitting too. After figuring out that the answer is “scabs” the pro-union anthem “Solidarity Forever” begins playing. The website also displays a message which says, “That’s right! The word was SCABS. We hate them! Thank you for not being one!”

The New York Times Guild’s rally began at 1 pm on December 8, in front of The New York Times building. Members were joined by larger unions like New York State AFL-CIO and The News Guild of New York, to which the publication has belonged since 1941. Meanwhile, readers showed their support by playing Strikle.