You wouldn’t think that there was much protectable intellectual property in the classic “Hangman” word game. In Hangman, as you probably know, one player thinks of a word or phrase and the second player tries to figure out what it is. The word or phrase is initially represented by a fixed number of dashes, which comprise the number of letters that it contains.
The wildly successful TV show Wheel of Fortune is based on the Hangman game. If you’re interested in more details about how to play the game, as much (or even more) than you are in reading about the intellectual property issues please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangman_(game).