Each show had a panel of six celebrities who would be changed from time to time. There were three rounds in the game.
Round 1: The host (Gene Rayburn in the '70s) reads a question or statement which has a blank in it. For example, "The zookeeper's wife was getting worried that her husband was around wild animals too much. After he came home from work one day, she said 'hello', he ______ed her." The celebrities would each write down their own answer to fill in the blank with one or more words. The contestant would then give their answer and find out how many celebrities had answers which matched their own. A judge decided whether the celebrity's answer was synonymous with the contestant's answer or not. Two contestants competed to see who could match the most celebrities. (Note: When present in a question, "ed" is only used to show past tense...answers to the example could include "scratched" as well as "bit".)
Round 2 ("audience match"): The top three answers from previous studio audience polls to a question were hidden on the board. For example. "______star". The contestant who won round 1 has to guess one of the three answers. The top answer is worth $500, the second worth $200, and the third worth $150. The contestant can ask three celebrities from the panel for their own personal answers. To fill in the blank, the contestant can use one of the celebrities' answers or think of one on their own. Answers had to be an exact match. Possible answers for the above example include "movie" and "catch a falling."
Round 3: If the contestant got one of the three answers, they proceed to round 3. Here they must pick one celebrity from the panel and match their answer for one question. The question is similar to round 2 with only a word or two in the question itself.
The format changed a little over the years (such as a second "audience match"), but the overall idea stayed the same.