How to Play the Game of Hangman

All you need to play the game hangman is to have a partner, a piece of paper and something to write with. The object is very simple. One player is the executioner and chooses a word (usually 5 or more letters in length) but does not tell the other player what the word is. The executioner draws gallows and dashes representing each letter of the word (see figure 1). The word is slowly revealed through correct letter guesses by the other player, “Is there a letter B?” and so on. The executioner will also write wrong letter guesses at the top. If a letter is not a part of the word then the executioner gets to draw a portion of a stick figure that represents the other player’s wrong letter guesses. So there are 6 chances the other player gets to guess the correct letters in the word: the head, the body, each arm, and each leg. Of course, you can modify the rules to make it easier by adding hands and feet as described below.

Game of Hangman

Figure 1 – The Game of Hangman – First the “Executioner” draws gallows and empty spaces for the letters in the word.

Game of Hangman with wrong letter guesses

Figure 2 – The Game of Hangman – the example above shows how the executioner writes letters at the top that were wrong guesses.

Rules: How to Win or Lose in the Game of Hangman

Winning requires that the player guesses or completes the word before the stick figure is drawn. The winning player then gets to be the executioner – you switch roles. On the other hand, if the player does not guess the word before being hung, then the executioner wins and gets to be the executioner again in the next round.

Making a Wrong Word Guess = Immediate Execution : (

If the player tries to guess what the word is and gets it wrong, the executioner wins automatically and the game starts over. The executioner gets to create a new word and gallows.

Other Variations of Hangman

— Give the other player more chances to guess the word by making a stick figure with hands, feet, hair, eyes, nose, and mouth. You can even start the game without the gallows showing. As the player makes wrong guesses you gradually draw the gallows and then begin the stick figure after that.

— Provide hints to make guessing easier. Also, sticking to themes is always a good idea like famous people, animals, places, movies, or TV shows. If the player knows the theme it makes the game easier.