New York Times Adds New Word Game Strands

New York Times (NYT) has incorporated a popular word search game, Strands, into their Games app on iOS and Android. This move takes the game to their users alongside other favourites such as Wordle, Connections and Crossword puzzle.

Introduction to Strands

Strands is a themed word search where players must find words relating to a set theme, along with a unique word named the “spangram” spanning across opposite corners of the grid. Each character in the grid builds towards a themed word or is part of the spangram.

The game saw its initial beta launch in March 2024, quickly establishing an extensive player base. According to NYT indicators, Strands ranks third in terms of user searches on their platform behind only Wordle and Connections. The game has seen rapid user acquisition with 83% spangram find rate and an overall rate of completion standing at 81%, parallel to other prevalent games from NYT.

How Does One Play Strands?

In order to play Strands, players work with a 6×8 character grid. The goal is to discover words that are compatible with the assigned theme. Here’s how,

  • Search for theme related words which turn blue as you locate them.
  • Identify the spangram which links two sides of the grid and represents the theme.
  • If required, hints can be earned by finding three non themed four letter words or more.

The Success of Strands

Strand’s success is traceable back to several factors,

  • Themed Challenges: The gaming experience is both challenging and captivating given the unique theme for each puzzle.
  • Spangram Addition: The unusual spangram word introduces an added layer of difficulty and amusement.
  • High Rates Of Completion: Most players can successfully solve puzzles, creating a rewarding experience.

Strands Becomes a Part of NYT Games App

Prior to its incorporation into the Games app, gamers were forced to flip between the application and a web version to play Strands. Presently, all puzzles are accessible within the app itself making game play much more streamlined. With this integration Strands is expected to attract additional followers.

Tremendous Success with NYT Games

New York Times has achieved exceptional success with its array of games. Wordle, acquired by NYT stands as their most played game with 4.8 billion instances within just one year. Connections and Strands have also added to this growth in popularity for the NYT Games section.

The Head of Games at Times, Jonathan Knight acknowledges “The new games have positively influenced one another as we watched our audience significantly grow over recent years.” This prosperity has played an instrumental role in allowing NYT’s digital subscription earnings to reach beyond $1 billion for the first time in 2023.

Tips for Playing Strands

If you’re new to Strands, here are some tips,

  • Start from Corners: Begin by seeking apparent words on the corners of the grid.
  • Optimal Use of Hints: Locating three non themed words will reveal a hint valuable for challenging puzzles.
  • Seek Spangram: Spangram often provides important hints related to the puzzle’s theme.

The Future of NYT Games

With Strands taking off, New York Times is eager to amplify its influence in the gaming industry. The company has plans to debut more games using the skills and experience of their team of editors and testers. The aim is to launch puzzles catering to varied player demands for different difficulty levels and interests.

As Jonathan Knight shares, “Expectations are high now. We currently offer numerous high quality games in the app. Not only have we made progress but we also plan on expanding with other thoughtful game releases.”