There is no shortage of online games that help pass the time while you pretend to work. And while Wordle reigned supreme for a few years, there’s a new word game in town. The latest game by NYT called Connections is here to steal that spot. Since the game is still relatively new, many folks don’t know what it is and how it works. Well, we tried it out and found it to be exciting. So, we decided to explain to you what is the NYT Connections game, along with the best tips and tricks to master it.
What Is NYT Connections?
NYT Connections is the latest word game by the New York Times. Connections joins the ranks of NYT’s other popular games like Wordle, Spelling Bee, and Mini Crossword, which are loved and played by people globally. This word association game gives players a collection of 16 different words to begin. While all these words might look different, some have a degree of relation to each other.
As the player, your aim is to associate these words together and categorize them into sets of four. Each puzzle has only one solution. So, if the grouped words you chose fit the categories, you win the game. Like other NYT games, Connections resets every 24 hours with a new set of words. If you have a fair idea of what the game is and want to learn how to play it, keep reading.
How to Play Connections Game
- Players get 16 words in a 4 x 4 grid divided into four hidden categories
- Figure out connections between words and group them into sets of four; grouped words become a category
- Players must figure out all categories by grouping the words
- You have four chances to group words into categories
Let’s talk about the rules and layout first. As mentioned, NYT Connections gives players a set of 16 words in a 4 x 4 grid. While most of these words are random, some have some relation to each other. As the player, it is your job to figure out this connection and group these words into sets of four and four different categories.
These four categories will not be revealed to us at the start. However, if you create the correct word group, the category will reveal itself. Once you guess all of them, you win the game. Groups are further divided into four different colors: yellow, green, blue, and purple. While yellow refers to an easy-to-guess category, purple is the most difficult to figure out.
However, the kicker is that players only get four chances, which are denoted by little bubbles at the bottom of the grid. Once you run out of chances, you fail the puzzle and must wait an entire day for it to reset. This adds a tough sprinkle of challenge to the game.
To begin, head on over to NYT Connections (visit) and click the Play button. You will now be explained the rules. Have a look through them and close the box. You will now see 16 words in a grid. Start by clicking on them and selecting a set of four words that you feel have a connection. Once done, click the Submit button.
If you’re correct, the words will be grouped and the category revealed. Keep grouping words to find out all the categories, and you will win the Connections game for the day.
Tips and Tricks to Master this Game
While it may sound easy, you might spend up to an hour trying to solve the puzzle or pull out your hair trying to build relations between words. To get some much-needed help in that area, check out the best tips and tricks for NYT Connections below.
1. Brush up Your Trivia & Vocab
The best and worst part about Connections is that it relies on the player being familiar with trivia and having a good vocabulary. However, this does not just mean little facts but also being familiar with all kinds of pop culture. If you pit this game against someone with minimal trivia factor, chances are they won’t be able to figure out the common denominators.
An example is a recent puzzle that grouped the names of horror directors. So, if you want to establish links between the words quickly, we suggest working on your general and pop culture knowledge to be in the know.
2. Watch out for Ambiguous Words
Establishing relationships between words may seem easy, but it alone won’t get you by. That’s because many words in the puzzle have been made to relate to more than one category at once. So, while you may think words like Carpenter and Saw are related and should be grouped in the same category, the latter could refer to the horror movie of the 2000s. See what we mean? You will encounter many such ambiguous words like these, which will trip you up.
To get past this hurdle, we suggest taking some time and thinking about the exact connection of these words. Have a look around the other words and see if that helps. And once you’re sure, then only click submit.
3. Your Guesses Are Precious
Unlike Wordle, which gives six generous chances to get the answer, Connections only gives you four tries. This means you essentially get a single chance to guess each category. We don’t have to tell you that makes the game challenging. As such, we highly suggest you treat the four tries you have with utmost care.
This means taking your time to sort through the words and only pressing the Submit button when it feels right. Don’t rush, as once you run out of your tries, you will have to wait 24 hours for the puzzle to reset.
4. Shuffle, Shuffle, Shuffle
In a recent Q&A session with the game’s editor, Wyna Liu confirmed that the initial word placement is intentional and is such to mislead the solvers. This is why the game has a handy Shuffle button that quickly moves all the words around. Besides changing up that initial placement, the shuffle button might also help you jog your memory when you’re thinking about a few words.
So, one of the best tips and tricks for the game is to hit that shuffle button like it owes you money. It just might be the reason your puzzle gets solved.
And that is how you play the new Connections game and easily master it. If you still can’t crack the game and need even more help, then we’re compiling hints and answers for each puzzle going forward. So, check back every day for hints if you’re unable to figure out all four categories.