Oh right. I'm supposed to be providing a service here. I played the new Wordle-derived games intensively the first few weeks, now more intermittently. When they came out, I immediately attacked the strategy questions, which interested me much more than actually playing the games themselves. The games are passively interesting now, but...don't really need 'em after the first couple of weeks. Mild entertainment. But working out what would be the optimal starter strategies? That intrigued me for those two weeks.
1. I start Wordle with ORATE. I get the point of starting with ADIEU, but I find it more comfortable to use that or IRATE, or with two vowels CRATE, TALES, RATES, TILES whatever with that one more consonant and then for the second guess seek to construct a word out of whatever was a hit and some combo of the common letters NCILSU. I get more 3's than 4s that way, but only by a little. By guess 6, the problem is often trying to find any word that fits the pattern of what you have got. It's nice to get the vowels nailed down, but consonants provide so much more information.
1A. Sometimes you get one of those patterns where there are more pure-guess possibilities than you have left, like S_INE where it could be SPINE, SHINE, SWINE with only two left. "Waste" a guess on WHIPS, which will identify the missing letter. Once there were seven possibilities and I had to waste two guesses using three each of the possible letters to get it right on guess #6. That's very rare, but it happens.
1B. If an S, C, G, or T is a hit, then H is much more likely. That is true for W as well, but you are going to consider H before W anyway.
2. I start Dordle with ALIEN STORY. I very seldom lose. I think it is the toughest game of the four, but if it had one more guess it would be the easiest. My wife starts with ADIEU STORY and also seldom loses. I am okay with trading N and L for U and D because if no vowels are a hit with my method you know it has to be a U. But it is nice to see the colored square. I get that.
3. For both Quordle and Octordle I start with LATER, COINS, PUDGY.* I never lose. It's just an exercise at that point, not a real problem. I don't even play those most days anymore.
4. WORLDLE continues to both intrigue and irritate. When I do not recognise the shape or its probable location (the NE-SW slant of the -stans, the EW slant of Europe, the verticality of SE Asia, sensing whether something is a coastline versus a river boundary - you can sometimes tell) I guess near the equator or just below because so many of the answers are going to be there, and because the shape of the continents, when your first guess is wildly off, informs what the arrow and mileage should narrow it down quickly. Also, just fold your cards and go to the map when you are in the smaller Caribbean islands, the South Pacific, or those ridiculous tiny islands you never even heard of in the Indian Ocean or the South Atlantic. Even the people who live there might not recognise those outlines. Sometimes you even need to search a very specific ocean map because a normal map doesn't provide enough detail.** However, there is a smoothness to the equatorial islands and a jaggedness to the colder ones that sometimes gives a clue.
* Be alert to the priors in the YouTubes that purport to tell you what the most common letters and best strategies are. You don't need to know the most common letters overall, but the most common letters in five-letter words in which the game does not include both four letter verbs that have an S at the end or four-letter nouns that have an S at the end, because the game is artificially designed that way. That pushes S from #6 down to #10, or something like that.
** You discover in a week or two that Africa and the South Pacific are much, much larger than you ever knew. All that discussion about the Eurocentrism of mapping which still persists into the modern era is true. The Europeans did the first real world maps and centered them well above the equator. Our perspective has been skewed ever since. Greenland is not that big.