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Hangman is a pencil-and-paper game of guessing a word.

  • Guessing a letter in the puzzle reveals all instances
  • Guessing a letter not in the puzzle is a fault
  • Seven faults in one round are a loss
  • No remaining unrevealed letters in the puzzle is a win

Merv Griffin's Wheel of Fortune is a syndicated television game show of guessing a phrase. As of February 2019, Xfinity TV's program guide described Wheel as based on Hangman: "In a classic game-show version of 'Hangman,' contestants solve word puzzles for cash and prizes." But it has several key differences:

  • Multiple-word phrases instead of single words, reducing faults for guesses of common consonants early in a puzzle and allowing the player to rely more on context later on
  • Requirement to guess a consonant unless the player has earned vowel credits by guessing consonants
  • 1/36 probability of a fault before guessing a consonant
  • 1/18 probability of a fault with loss of vowel credits before guessing a consonant
  • Instead of accumulating toward failure, a fault causes the next of three players to gain control
  • Random chance that guessing a consonant produces a prize instead of vowel credits
  • Scoring is based on vowel credits and prizes possessed at the time of solving each of four puzzles

Some viewers prefer Griffin's trivia game show Jeopardy!, often syndicated alongside Wheel, because of less random chance. So what sort of compromise can one make between Hangman and Wheel of Fortune? Make the puzzles longer, but nerf ETAOINSHRDLU. Wheel's pattern of letters with success rate over 70% is instead "EAT IRONS" according to "How to Win at 'Wheel of Fortune'" by William Spaniel (The New Republic, 2014-02-25). So to take the wheel out of Wheel, we first need to replicate the buy a vowel dynamic. Start with Wheel and remove prizes and varying dollar amounts, leaving the wheel with one Lose a Turn, two Bankrupts, and the remainder $250 spaces.

Rules of wheelless Wheel:

Spin requires at least one unrevealed consonant in the puzzle.

  1. 1/12 you lose your turn, 2/3 of that (1/18 overall) you lose your vowel credits. This could be done with two dice (2d6) instead: 2 for lose a turn or 3 for bankrupt.
  2. Call a consonant not yet called
  3. Reveal occurrences; if none, lose your turn
  4. Earn one vowel credit for each occurrence
  5. If no unrevealed consonants remain, show "Must solve"

Buy vowel requires one vowel credit, at least one unrevealed consonant in the puzzle, and at least one unrevealed vowel in the puzzle.

  1. Surrender one vowel credit
  2. Call a vowel ([AEIOU]) not yet called
  3. Reveal occurrences; if none, lose your turn
  4. If no unrevealed vowels remain, show "No more vowels"

Solve requires at least one revealed letter in the puzzle.

  1. Key in all unrevealed spaces
  2. If not matching, lose your turn
  3. Unused vowel credits go to player's bank

To adapt Wheel's turn loss dynamic to Hangman, treat a fault as a Bankrupt, as the next player may have no money. This behaves much like the "Express" space in later Wheel seasons. This means after you guess incorrectly, you have to guess another consonant before another vowel. Because each instance of a consonant provides one vowel credit, one can mark vowel credits that have been used or spoiled by a Bankrupt as a struck-through consonant. This results in Hangman with vowel buying, whose rules are as follows:

Start with 7 turns.

Guess consonant requires at least one turn and at least unrevealed consonant in the puzzle

  1. Call a consonant
  2. Reveal occurrences; if none, lose one turn and strike through all consonants
  3. If no unrevealed consonants remain, show "Vowels are free"

Guess vowel requires at least one turn, and at least one unrevealed vowel in the puzzle, and either at least one revealed consonant not struck through or no unrevealed consonants in the puzzle

  1. If unrevealed consonants remain, strike through one consonant
  2. Call a vowel
  3. Reveal occurrences; if none, lose one turn and strike through all consonants

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