Play our classic hangman game here!
We've actually had this same game up for 3 decades, but decided to give it a new look.
Welcome to Play Hangman! Our game is a great way to play Hangman when you don’t have a partner. Just decide which type of game you’d like to play and get started.
The exact origins of the Hangman game are unknown. The game was first mentioned in a children’s book called Birds, Beasts, and Fishes, which was published in 1894. This original version of Hangman was less graphic than the modern iteration, as it didn’t use the visual of a man on death row to keep score. Instead, players simply kept a tally of how many mistakes each player had made. It’s unclear when the hanged man variant first arose, but now, some teachers and educators are choosing to go back to more placid imagery, with one common alternative being to draw an apple tree with ten apples. Players erase the apples when a bad guess is made. When the tree is devoid of apples, you lose.
Even though Hangman is a simple game, there are several strategies you can use to increase your chances of winning. Here are a few tips on how to always win at Hangman:
For almost every single word, you should start by guessing vowels. ‘E’ is not only the most common vowel, but also the most common letter in the English language. By guessing ‘e’ first, you’re giving yourself the highest statistical likelihood of success. This technique also helps you to start narrowing down your word options. Finding the vowels in a word can be a great way of figure out what the word is. After ‘e’, try guessing ‘a’, ‘i’ or ‘o’ until you find at least one vowel in the word. ‘U’ is a much less common letter than the other vowels, so it’s generally best to hold off on guessing ‘u’ until you’ve tried the more likely options.
After the vowels, try guessing the most common consonants. Again, guessing common consonants will greatly increase your statistical probability of getting a hit. The most common consonant, and the second most common letter in the English alphabet, is ‘T’. Other common consonants are ‘N’, ‘S’, ‘H’, ‘R’, and ‘D’. Once you’ve found a few key, common letters, you can usually start to see the shape of the word and figure out what a few possibilities might be.
Be careful not to get too cocky! Sometimes, once a word starts to take shape, you might think you’ve gotten the solution. But there are almost always multiple possibilities for words to fit any given blank, even once you’ve started filling in spaces. Before declaring victory, do yourself a favor and try a ‘test’ letter: one of the missing letters in your phrase that you haven’t called yet. For instance, if you have the partially-solved sequence ‘S_AC_’try calling out the letter ‘P’ before you definitively ‘solve’ the word as ‘space’. You might find you save yourself time and discover that this word is not space, and is in fact ‘shack’!
Though this tip might not apply to our computerized game, when playing one-on-one against a friend, it’s just as important to be strategic when choosing what word they’ll be guessing as it is to make good guesses yourself. First, make sure to go for short words. Short words have fewer letters, which means fewer of the letters your opponent guesses will land on the board, sending them much more quickly to a hangman. Also, try to pick words with rarer letters. The most difficult word to guess in Hangman is actually ‘jazz’. This may not be what you expect, but it makes a lot of sense. J is the least common letter in the alphabet and Z is also very rarely guessed.
When stuck, you can certainly refer to our hangman solver which should give you the correct answer. The hangman solver works like an anagram phrase solver. You can enter the length of the word(s) and which letters are known and unknown. It will then give you the best letter to choose next.
What do you think about our Hangman Game? Was this tool useful for you, or are there features you’d like to see added? We’d love to hear from you! Click the ‘feedback’ button to share your suggestions.
To see more of our games, check out our Activity Room, where you can find games from Sudoku to Wordlibs.