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Play the Ranks™ Level 3-4

Cards Used: GeoPlunge cards. Shuffle the cards before the game begins and after each state ranking battle.

Players: Two teams with 1, 2, or 3 players per team

Objective: This game is a series of state ranking battles.  For each state ranking battle, whichever team wins the most “tricks” wins the battle. A “trick” consists of two cards, one from each team.  A team earns 2 points for winning a state ranking battle and can also earn a bonus point (i.e., a third point) as described below.  Continue playing state ranking battles, one at a time, until one team wins the game. A team needs 15 points to win.

Winning a trick: During each state ranking battle, each team tries to win as many tricks as it can. Two things determine who wins each trick: (1) the base for the trick, which is either 1, 10, 20, 30, or 50, and (2) the state rankings of the cards played in the selected category. The selected category for a trick will be either size, statehood, or population.

Level 3:

For each state ranking battle:

Step 1: Deal 9 GeoPlunge cards and 2 Power cards to each team face-down. Then turn the top 2 Power cards in the deck face-up and place them in the middle of the playing surface. The base for the first 4 tricks is the left corner number of the first Power card turned face-up and the base for the last 4 tricks is the left corner number of the second Power card turned face-up. In the example, the base for the first four tricks is 1, and the base for the last four tricks is 30. If the left corner number of the two Power cards is the same, then that number is the base for all 8 tricks.  

Step 2:  After looking at its cards, each team discards 1 GeoPlunge card from its hand, face-down, so that each team has 8 GeoPlunge cards. Then, to determine which team will play the first card for the first trick, turn face-up the 2 discarded cards. Whichever team’s discarded card has a statehood ranking closer to 1 is the lead team (i.e., the team that plays the first card) for the first trick.

Step 3: The teams then play 8 tricks, one at a time. Whichever team wins a trick becomes the lead team for the next trick.

  • For each trick, the lead team plays one GeoPlunge card face-down and announces: (1) the name of the state that it is playing, and (2) the category of either size, statehood, or population that will be used for that trick. (Note: There is an exception described later in the rules where the non-leading may be able to change the selected category for a trick.)
  • The other team then plays a GeoPlunge card face-up. The lead team then turns the GeoPlunge card it played face-up so the players can determine which team wins the trick. Whichever team plays the GeoPlunge card that has the better ranking in the selected category of either size, statehood, or population wins the trick. The base for a trick determines which of the two GeoPlunge cards played on that trick has the better ranking in the selected category.
    • When the base for a trick is 1, the best ranking in the selected category is 1, followed by 2, followed by 3, followed by 4, etc.
    • When the base for a trick is 10, the best ranking in the selected category is 10, followed by 11, followed by 12, followed by 13, etc.
    • When the base for a trick is 20, the best ranking in the selected category is 20, followed by 21, followed by 22, followed by 23, etc.
    • When the base for a trick is 30, the best ranking in the selected category is 30, followed by 31, followed by 32, followed by 33, etc.
    • When the base for a trick is 50, the best ranking in the selected category is 50, followed by 49, followed by 48, followed by 47, etc.

When the base for a trick is 10, 20, or 30, a team automatically loses the trick if it plays a GeoPlunge card that has a rank smaller than the base in the selected category. However, in the rare instance that both teams play a GeoPlunge card with a ranking smaller than the base in the selected category, the lead team wins the trick.

Clarifications and Exceptions:

On any trick, the lead team may play one of its Power cards face-up at the same time it plays a GeoPlunge card. When this happens, the category used for that trick is automatically locked-in as the category listed on that Power card and cannot be changed during that trick. For example, if the lead team plays the Power card pictured to the right at the same time it plays its GeoPlunge card, the selected category for that trick would be population and it cannot be changed.

  • On any trick, the non-leading team may play one of its Power cards face-up at the same time it plays a GeoPlunge card. When this happens, the selected category for that trick changes to the category listed on that Power card unless the GeoPlunge card played by the lead team on that trick is “protected.” The GeoPlunge card played by the lead team on a trick is protected only if:
    • the lead team played a Power card on that trick at the same time it played its GeoPlunge card, or
    • the GeoPlunge card played by the lead team on that trick is one of the 3 best GeoPlunge cards in the category announced by the lead team. For example, if the base is 30, and the lead team announces “statehood” and plays a GeoPlunge card with a ranking of 32 in statehood, the lead team’s card is protected.
  • If a team wins 6 tricks before all the tricks have been played, the state ranking battle ends early, and there is no need to play the final tricks.
  • Unless the state ranking battle ends before all 8 tricks have been played (see the prior bullet point), a team must play each of its Power cards during the battle. A team is not permitted to play both of its Power cards on the same trick.

Examples

Suppose the base for the first four tricks is 1 and the base for the last four tricks is 30.

  1. During one of the first four tricks, Team 1 plays the two cards on the left below, i.e., New York face-down and the Power card listing Population face-up. Team 2 then plays the Georgia card face-up. Since the base is 1, Team 1 wins that trick because the rank of 4 is better than the rank of 8 in population. Once Team 1 plays its Power card, the category is locked-in and Team 2 cannot change it, even if Team 2 plays a Power card.

Team 1

Team 2

  1. During one of the last four tricks, Team 1 plays the Minnesota card face down and announces statehood as the category. Since the base for the last four tricks is 30, Team 2 cannot change the category with a Power card because the statehood ranking of 32 is protected. Team 2 can only win this trick if it plays Wisconsin or California, ranked 30 and 31, respectively, in statehood.

Team 1

  1. During one of the first four tricks, Team 1 plays the Colorado card face-down and announces size. Team 2 plays the Tennessee card face-up along with a Power card that has the category of statehood listed on it. Team 2 wins this trick because it successfully changed the category to statehood with its Power card, and a statehood ranking of 16 on Tennessee’s card is closer to the base of 1 than the statehood ranking on Colorado’s card.

Team 1

Team 2

  1. During one of the last four tricks, Team 1 plays the Utah card face down and announces population. Team 2 plays the Oklahoma card face-up. Team 1 wins the trick because Team 2 played a card with a population rank that was smaller than the base. Remember, when the base for a trick is 10, 20, or 30, a team automatically loses the trick if it plays a card with a rank that is lower than the base.

Team 1

Team 2

Team 2

Determining Who Wins a State Ranking Battle and Whether that Team Receives the Bonus Point: The first team to win 5 tricks wins a state ranking battle and earns 2 points. The winning team receives one bonus point (i.e. a total of 3 points) if it wins 6 tricks. If both teams win 4 tricks, whichever team wins the last trick wins the state ranking battle and earns 2 points.  However, if a team fails to play both of its Power cards during a state ranking battle, unless the battle ended early, it automatically loses the battle.

Variation for Level 3:

  • Under this variation, if the two Power cards turned face-up in Step 2 have different bases, the lead team for each trick will decide which of the two bases will be used for that trick (i.e., that is, in Step 3 the lead team for each trick will also select which of the two bases will be used for that trick). When that happens, for each trick, the lead team plays one card face-down and announces: (1) the name of the state that it is playing, (2) the category of either size, statehood, or population that will be used for that trick, and (3) the base for that trick.

Level 4:

Determining the Lead Team for the First Trick of the First State Ranking Battle:  Before the first state ranking battle begins, each team picks one GeoPlunge card without looking at it in advance and whichever team’s card has a statehood ranking closer to 1 will be the lead team for the first trick in that first battle (after that is done, retrieve those cards and shuffle the GeoPlunge deck).  For all subsequent state ranking battles, alternate which team is the lead team for the first trick in that battle.

Step 1:  Deal 9 GeoPlunge cards and 2 Power cards to each team face-down.

Step 2: Turn the top Power cards in the deck face-up one at a time until three of them have different left corner numbers. Remove all of the other Power cards turned face-up so only those three remain. The team that is the lead team for the first trick then announces whether it wants to be the “Cards Team” or the “Call Team” for this battle

  • If the lead team for the first trick says it wants to be the Cards Team, the second team automatically becomes the Call Team.
  • If the lead team for the first trick says it wants to be the Call Team, the second team has a choice. It can either announce (1) that it will be the Cards Team, or (2) that it will “Up the BUR,” meaning that it is attempting to become the Call Team. If the second team chooses option 2, it also announces the number of BUR cards that will be dealt in this battle, which is either 3, 4 or 5. (See Step 4 for additional information regarding the BUR cards). When the second team chooses option 2, the first team then either says “Call,” in which case it becomes the Call Team, or “Cards” in which case it becomes the Cards Team.

Step 3: The Call Team then removes one of the three Power cards from the table and announces which of the two remaining Power cards on the table will be the first Power card and which will be the second. The base for the first 4 tricks is the left corner number of the first Power card and the base for the last 4 tricks is the left corner number of the second Power card. In the example, right, the base for the first four tricks is 50, and the base for the last four tricks is 10.

Step 4: Deal the Cards Team additional GeoPlunge cards face-up. These are known as the “BUR cards” because they indicate the Best Unprotected Rankings for this battle. The Cards Team receives 2 BUR cards unless the number of BUR cards was changed in Step 2 (i.e., changed to 3, 4, or 5 cards). Both teams look at all of the BUR cards on the table. The BUR cards identify what ranks are the Best Unprotected Rankings for this battle with respect to the bases on the two Power cards on the table. See examples after Step 9 for clarification. The Cards Team then puts all of the BUR cards into its hand.

Step 5: The Call Team team discards 1 GeoPlunge card from its hand, face-down. The Cards Team discards all but 8 of its GeoPlunge cards from its hand, face-down. Each team should then have 8 GeoPlunge cards and 2 Power cards.

Step 6: The Call Team then declares whether it is “Pulling the Power.” If it is not, the Cards Team then declares whether it is “Pulling the Power.” If either team is Pulling the Power, both teams must then discard both of their Power cards so that neither team will play the battle with any Power cards.

Step 7: Turn the next Power card in the deck face-up. Whatever is listed in the Star Area of that card determines the “GeoStar” to be given by the lead team on each trick for this battle. For example, if State Name is listed in the Star Area, the GeoStar is the name of the state played by the lead team. If, on the other hand, Postal Code is listed in the Star Area, the GeoStar is the postal code of the state played by the lead team. The possibilities for what may be listed in the Star Area are state name, capital, postal code, nickname, a specific top city, flower, or bird.

Step 8: The teams then play 8 tricks, one at a time. The team that wins a trick is the lead team for the next trick.

  • For each trick, the lead team plays one GeoPlunge card face-down and announces: (1) the GeoStar of the state that it is playing, and (2) the category of either size, statehood, or population that will be used for that trick. (Note: There is an exception described later in the rules where the non-leading may be able to change the selected category for a trick.)
  • The other team then plays a GeoPlunge card face-up. The lead team then turns the GeoPlunge card it played face-up so the players can determine which team wins the trick. Whichever team plays the GeoPlunge card that has the better ranking in the selected category of either size, statehood, or population wins the trick. The base for a trick determines which of the two GeoPlunge cards played on that trick has the better ranking in the selected category.
    • When the base for a trick is 1, the best ranking in the selected category is 1, followed by 2, followed by 3, followed by 4, etc.
    • When the base for a trick is 10, the best ranking in the selected category is 10, followed by 11, followed by 12, followed by 13, etc.
    • When the base for a trick is 20, the best ranking in the selected category is 20, followed by 21, followed by 22, followed by 23, etc.
    • When the base for a trick is 30, the best ranking in the selected category is 30, followed by 31, followed by 32, followed by 33, etc.
    • When the base for a trick is 50, the best ranking in the selected category is 50, followed by 49, followed by 48, followed by 47, etc.

When the base for a trick is 10, 20, or 30, a team automatically loses the trick if it plays a GeoPlunge card that has a rank smaller than the base in the selected category. However, in the rare instance that both teams play a GeoPlunge card with a ranking smaller than the base in the selected category, the lead team wins the trick.

Clarifications and Exceptions:

  • On any trick, the lead team may play one of its Power cards face-up at the same time it plays a GeoPlunge card. When this happens, the category used for that trick is automatically locked-in as the category listed on that Power card and cannot be changed during that trick. For example, if the lead team plays the Power card pictured to the right at the same time it plays its GeoPlunge card, the selected category for that trick would be population and it cannot be changed.
  • On any trick, the non-leading team may play one of its Power cards face-up at the same time it plays a GeoPlunge card. When this happens, the selected category for that trick changes to the category listed on that Power card unless the GeoPlunge card played by the lead team on that trick is “protected.” The GeoPlunge card played by the lead team on a trick is protected only if:
    • the lead team played a Power card on that trick at the same time it played its GeoPlunge card, or
    • the GeoPlunge card played by the lead team on that trick has a ranking in the selected category that is better than the BUR. The BUR is the best ranking among all of the BUR cards for the base being used. See examples below.
  • If a team wins 6 tricks before all the tricks have been played, the state ranking  battle ends early, and there is no need to play the final tricks.
  • Unless the state ranking battle ends before all 8 tricks have been played (see the prior bullet point), or one of the teams Pulled the Power, a team must play each of its Power cards during the battle. A team is not permitted to play both of its Power cards on the same trick.

Determining Who Wins a State Ranking Battle and Whether that Team Receives the Bonus Point: The first team to win 5 tricks wins a state ranking battle and earns 2 points. The winning team receives a bonus point if it wins 6 tricks. If both teams win 4 tricks, whichever team wins the last trick wins the state ranking battle and earns 2 points.  However, if a team fails to play both of its Power cards during a state ranking battle, unless the battle ended early,  it automatically loses the battle.

Examples

Suppose the base for the first four tricks is 1 and the base for the last four tricks is 30.

Also suppose that the BUR cards are Florida and Virginia. Therefore, the BUR for the first four tricks is 3 because the ranking closest to 1 on the Florida and Virginia cards is Florida’s ranking of 3rd in population. The BUR for the last four tricks is 35 because the ranking closest to 30 but not less than 30 on the Florida and Virginia cards is Virginia’s ranking of 35th in size.

  1. During one of the first four tricks, Team 1 plays the two cards on the left hand side below, i.e., New York face-down and the Power card listing Population face-up. Team 2 then plays the Georgia card face-up. Since the base is 1, Team 1 wins that trick because the rank of 4 is better than the rank of 8 in population. Once Team 1 plays its Power card, the category is locked-in and Team 2 cannot change it, even if Team 2 plays a Power card.

Team 1

 

Team 2

  1. During one of the last four tricks, Team 1 plays the Oregon card face down and announces statehood as the category. Since the base for the last four tricks is 30 and the BUR is 35, Team 2 cannot change the category with a Power card because the ranking of 33 is protected since it is better than the BUR. Team 2 can only win this trick if it plays Wisconsin, California or Minnesota, ranked 30, 31, and 32 respectively, in statehood.

Team 1

  1. During one of the first four tricks, Team 1 plays the Colorado card face-down and announces size. Team 2 plays the Tennessee card face-up along with a Power card that has the category of statehood listed on it. Team 2 wins this trick because it successfully changed the category to statehood with its Power card, and a statehood ranking of 16 on Tennessee’s card is closer to the base of 1 than the statehood ranking on Colorado’s card.

Team 1

Team 2

 

Team 2

  1. During one of the last four tricks, Team 1 plays the Utah card face down and announces population. Team 2 plays the Oklahoma card face-up. Team 1 wins the trick because Team 2 played a card with a population rank that was smaller than the base. Remember, when the base for a trick is 10, 20, or 30, if one team plays a card that is equal to or higher than the base for the selected category, and the other team plays a card lower than the base, that second team automatically loses the trick.

Team 1

Team 2

Variation, Level 4:

  • In Step 3, the Call Team still removes one of the three Power cards turned face-up, but it does not announce which of the two remaining Power cards turned face-up is the first Power card and which is the second.
  • The lead team for a trick decides which is the base for that trick among the two bases that may be used. Therefore, in Step 3, for each trick, the lead team plays one card face-down and announces: (1) the GeoStar that it is playing, (2) the category of either size, statehood, or population that will be used for that trick, and (3) the base for that trick.
  • All of the same clarifications and exceptions apply with one additional rule:  When the non-leading team plays a Power card on a trick, if that Power card has a left corner number that is one of the two bases used in that game, but not the base announced by the lead team for that trick, the non-leading team may announce “Change the Base.” If it does, its play of a Power card will not change the selected ranking for that trick; but, unless the lead team played a GeoPlunge card that is “protected” on that trick the non-leading team’s play of a Power Card as described above will change the base that is used for that trick to the left corner number of its Power card.

Other variations to the game you may want to try:

  • Instead of alternating for each state ranking battle which team plays the lead card for the first trick, for each state ranking battle after the first battle, whichever team won the prior battle is the team that plays the lead card for the first trick in the next battle.
  • Set a time limit for playing a card
  • Play for a different point total
  • Play for a period of time rather than for a point total, and whoever is winning at the end of that period of time wins
  • Only use cards of specific regions  (e.g., only states that are primarily in the eastern or central time zone.)
  • See “Other Learning Activities with GeoPlunge” for additional ways to use the GeoPlunge cards

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