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Hangman: Instructions

Hangman is a popular word game, usually played by two players with a pencil and paper. In our version of Interactive Hangman you play against the computer.

You can choose between five different themed games: Common Words, Phrases & Expressions, Movie Titles, Countries, and the Animal Kingdom. The computer will pick a word or phrase at random from that category, and display it as a series of dashes, representing letters.

You guess letters one at a time, and if your chosen letter is in the word or phrase then the computer fills it in. However, if it does not contain that letter, a line is added to the hangman's gallows (right). If the gallows are completed before you guess the whole word or phrase, then you lose the game.

You win if you guess the word or phrase before the gallows are completed, and you will be asked to enter your name or nickname for the Winners' List. The fewer wrong guesses you make in a game, the higher your score.

If your score is sufficiently high, your name will enter today's Hall of Fame!

Click here to start playing Hangman

Strategy Hints

When you start, it is best to guess a frequently-occurring letter (e.g. E, S, T, or A).

Occasionally, if the target is a phrase, you might be able to guess the answer straight away, especially if there is give-away punctuation. For example, you might be able to guess that the movie title _ _ _ ' _ _   _ _ _   _ _ _ _ is YOU'VE GOT MAIL before any letters have been filled in at all.

Generally it is easier to get a high score on longer phrases, so you might find you do better in the Movie Titles category than you do in Common Words. This is because usually longer phrases contain more different letters, so the chance that a randomly-picked letter will be right is increased.

Consider the positions of letters. In English, the most common letters at the start of words are T, A, and I. But at the end of a word E, S, and D are all more likely to occur.

Short words are often easy to guess from just one letter. For example, _ H _ will almost certainly be THE. It will help to remember that words such as THE and AND are very common, and that while THE may occur at the start of a phrase, AND is far more likely to appear in the middle. Neither is likely to be the last word in a sequence.

Some people prefer to guess the vowels first in Hangman. This is sensible, insomuch as most vowels are very common, but it is often not that helpful. It is much easier to guess STAIN from ST _ _ _ than from _ _ AI _.

Click here to start playing Hangman

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