Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to Win at Hanging With Friends

A little while back I created a blog post "How to Win at Words with Friends". Around that time, I discovered a game by the same creators, Hanging with Friends, that has been gaining some popularity over the past few months. For those of you who don't know what Hanging with Friends is, it's a hang man game where you play with friends over your mobile device. You pick a word (based on a few available letters) for your friend to solve, and they have to figure it out within a certain number of strikes. Once they solve or don't solve, they create a word and it's your turn to solve. You keep doing this until the first person reaches five strikes. While a very fun game, it's not always the easiest to win, but follow the tips below to improve your Hanging with Friends win streak.

1. Understand that the Letter Revealed is the Last Vowel: This is important to know for both the guesser and the word creator. Hanging with Friends always gives the guesser a free letter and it's the last vowel in the word. Don't create a word where the last vowel appears more than once in the word, and if you see that a vowel appears with 3 or 4 letters after start guessing consonants that can be bunched together (i.e. rch for porch, or nts for words like flints).

2. When the E is the 2nd to last Letter Guess R, D, or S: While this doesn't always hold true, more often than not if the letter revealed is an E and only one letter is after that E, it will be either an R, D, or S. Guess this before moving onto the other letters. Again, not always the case, but more often than not, it holds true.

3. Get the Vowel Guess Out of the Way: If you have a word with five blanks before the first vowel appears, you know there's another vowel. Always go with the guesses you know will help to reveal a letter.

4. Use Y's as a Vowel When Possible: This is a great way to throw people off. One of my favorite words to play is simply "pyros" because people don't expect that y there. _ _ _ o _ will make them go with a, e, i, o, u before thinking that maybe it's a word without any more vowels. This works even better for longer words with one vowel (besides Y) and Y.

5. Throw People Off with the First Letter: Getting the first letter right opens the doors for guessers and makes it a lot easier to solve the word. A good way to throw them off is by using an uncommon word that has letters (other than the first) that form multiple other words. If you play "wend", for example, if a person gets the "end", they are going to likely guess "send", "tend", "mend", and "bend" before turning to wend. Words like this help players win games.

6. Go for the Longer Word if Possible: Longer words means less guesses. Add the s to the end of the word to give the guesser one less strike (or "ed"). Avoid, however, adding an extra letter that's already within the word.

7. Use Two Letters with an 8 or More Point Value Within One Word: X, Q, J, Z...if you can use two of these letters within one word do it. The guesser might get one, but more often than not they will not think to guess to. Even if you have to use a double letter like "Jazzy", it's still a great choice for a word.

8. Plays Words with Vowels as the First Letter: This works well with words that look like no vowels are left (i.e. "axis"). If you play a word with a vowel as the first letter when the word looks like there are no more (again _ _ i _), it's a good way to throw them off. It shouldn't be done all the time, but playing it infrequently and smart is an efficient way to give them a strike.

9. When Guessing, Think of a Possible Word Before Selecting a Letter: We know T, S, R or all common letters, but it doesn't mean the person forming the word used them. In actuality, if they are trying to stump you they will likely steer clear of those letters. Instead of going with the common letters, think of a word that can be made using the letters provided to you and use that as a basis to guess. Even with only one letter, it's a good way to increase your odds.

10. Form the Word First in a New Game: In close games this can be the difference maker. Making the other person guess first can result in them having to guess an extra word.

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