Tradle brings the Wordle formula to international trade

Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-03-11 16:06 JST)

An engineer by the name of Alexander Simoes has released Tradle, a game where players reference a treemap of a country’s exports to guess which country it is.

According to the game’s webpage, the game was inspired by another game called Worldle which itself was inspired by Wordle. You could say Tradle is almost like a grandchild of Wordle in a sense. It has the Wordle DNA to an extent but takes the concept in a completely different direction to be about trade and exports.

Players guess country names based on the treemap they are presented. And like Wordle, your guess also acts as a hint. In the case of Tradle, if you enter the wrong country, the game gives you the distance and direction the country you guessed is from the correct answer. Like Wordle and the many iterative works based on it, players have 6 guesses to choose the correct country.

I (the original author of this article) decided to give the game a try and see what it’s all about. Tradle selects a different country each day and today’s (March 11) country seems to be a big exporter of centrifuges and insulated wire. To be honest, I had no idea, so I just entered “Japan.” After that, the game told me the country was actually 9,233 km to the west in what was probably somewhere in the middle of Europe. Undeterred, I opened Google Earth and tried to guess countries that looked like they might export centrifuges, but to no avail. I took 6 guesses and didn’t figure it out. But the process of looking at geographical relations and thinking about what countries manufacture actually sparked my curiosity. It’s still pretty fun, even if you don’t figure it out.

Tradle runs on the domain of the OEC (Observatory of Economic Complexity), which is a data visualization platform centered around international trade, with data based on bills of lading used in marine transport. Tradle developer Simoes is the CTO and co-founder of Datawheel, the developers and designers behind OEC. Simoes also appears to have a number of other visualization projects that make data easier to understand. By linking trade statistics and fun, Tradle helps give data a little more meaning to its players.

Tradle is available to play for free via web browsers. If you’re the inquisitive type, you should give it a try.