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Hanging with Friends is a free, ad-supported multiplayer Hangman app from Zynga, the makers of Words with Friends and Chess with Friends.

Hanging with Friends is a free, ad-supported multiplayer Hangman app from Zynga, the makers of Words with Friends and Chess with Friends.

Like many of Zynga's apps, Hanging with Friends is a slick, social machine, making it easy to play multiple, asynchronous games with many friends, whom you can quickly pull in through Facebook. (You can also play random online matchups.) The core game is fun, easy to learn, and fast-playing. And while Hanging with Friends mostly follows the traditional Hangman word-guessing format, it adds a few clever innovations: you choose four- to eight-letter words using a set of 12 letter tiles, you get bonuses for certain letters and placements, and you have "lifelines" that can help you with hints. You create a word and send it to your friend, then you get a push notification when they've solved it and sent a mystery word back for you to solve (and you can watch a replay of how they solved your word). Instead of Hangman's gruesome motif, cartoonish avatars are suspended over a pool of lava, held aloft by five balloons, and each time a player fails to guess a word, a balloon pops--until the inevitable comic finish.

Aside from being a well-done Hangman adaptation, Hanging with Friends adds a surprising amount of strategy with its simple bonus system because both players know about the incentives and can choose (and guess) their letters and words accordingly. Hanging with Friends also works pass-and-play, but the real appeal here is the online games. The game does so many things right, both big and small, that it's definitely a worthwhile download.

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