What Are the Rules to the Hangman Puzzle Game?

Hangman’s rules are quite simple: guess letters to try to come up with an unknown word before a given number of turns are used up. Variations on these rules include things like the number of turns allowed, usually based on the drawing of the hanged character, and the category of the answer.

The basic idea behind hangman is that one person thinks of a word, and another person or group of people guess letters to try to figure out the word. The person who thinks of the word indicates how many letters are in it by drawing a series of lines that each represents a letter. From there, the other players take turns guessing letters. Correct guesses result in the letter written in its corresponding location in the word, while incorrect guesses result in a loss of one available turn as a stick figure is slowly drawn hanging from a hangman’s post. When turns run out, the game is over and the players lose, but if they guess all the letters in the word before running out of turns, then they win.

Variations on these basic rules usually come down to either the types of words that can be chosen or the number of turns allowed for players to guess letters. The most basic setup for the game usually allows for six turns as a character is drawn one piece at a time: head, body, and each arm and leg, until depicted as hanging when the game is over. More details can be added, such as hands, feet or clothing, to allow more turns before the game is over. Most games of hangman rely on common and general words, though variations can be played with specific categories like movie titles or technical terminology.