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How to Play Jotto: A Simple Guide You'll Want to Jot Down

jotto word game with guesses

Created by Nick Frazier for WordFinder

There are plenty of games available to play. This fact holds true even when you narrow down your style of game. For example, there are lots more word games than the more popular ones like Scrabble. And some you can play without even needing to buy anything. One such game is Jotto. The Jotto word game is a two-player competition to see who can guess the other person’s secret word. It tests players’ reasoning skills in a fun and clever way.

What Is Jotto?

Jotto is a logic-based word game. It’s a two-player game where the goal is to guess your opponent’s secret word before they guess yours. You’ll always know the length of the secret word, so you make your guesses based on that and how many words you know.

How to Play Jotto

The rules for Jotto are simple once you fully understand them. But, it’s important to get all of the details right. Before you start playing, it’s important for you and the other player to agree upon a word list. Typically, using a trustworthy Scrabble dictionary is your best option.

Game Setup

To get started with Jotto, all you need is a standard sheet of paper.

  1. Each player chooses a secret word and writes it one inch from the bottom of a regular piece of paper. 

  2. Fold the one-inch piece on top of the word to hide it.

  3. When selecting a word, both players need to agree upon the word length. Typically, five-letter words are best. These words should use five different letters as well.

  4. Write the entire alphabet at the top of each piece of paper for reference.

  5. Each player will write their guesses on the blank space of their paper.

jotto word game explainedjotto word game explained

Jotto Gameplay Instructions

Once you’ve got your secret words written and ready to go, the game can begin.

  1. When a player writes down a guess, their opponent checks the guess against their secret word. If the guess shares any letters with the secret word, they tell the other player that number. 

  2. For example, if you guess “shirt” and your opponent’s secret word is “words,” then there are two letters in common: S and R. Your opponent would say “two” to you.

  3. Your opponent then gets the chance to guess your secret word. You take turns going back and forth to gain more information. 

  4. Each player keeps track of their guesses and the letters they share with the secret word. The more words they guess, the more they will narrow down what the five letters are.

  5. Depending on how the players agree to handle anagrams, the first person to find all five letters or spell the secret word wins.

Dealing With Anagrams

The most important factor in determining how a game ends is knowing the specific rules you and your opponent want to use for anagrams. The rules are customizable, so it’s up to how the two of you want to play.

There are three common options for what to do with anagrams.

  • If someone guesses a word that contains every letter in a secret word, they automatically win the game.

  • If someone writes down two words in a row that use all five letters, even if they don’t find the actual secret word, they win.

  • The game only ends when someone guesses the secret word exactly. In a sense, this is the “hard mode” option.

Playing Jotto Online

Jotto is definitely most enjoyable when you can play with someone you know. But, when that’s not an option, there are some digital single-player and remote options available. Whether you use an Apple or Android device, or even a computer, you can find an online Jotto game to play.

One Jotto game that’s fun and available on almost any device is Mr. Jotto. This game has all of the standard features that players expect, like multiplayer matches and special challenges. Most importantly, it delivers the simple Jotto experience wherever, whenever.

Simple Games Are Often the Best

Jotto is a great game for a number of reasons, but its sheer simplicity is certainly its biggest initial draw. All you need to do is learn the rules. Any game that works this way is fun. Hangman is another prime example. There are many different options for where to play it, but the rules never change. Check our list of recommended places to play hangman online if this sounds like fun.


Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.

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