by Janet Dahle

Janet's current job is as a Writer/Producer for Four Square Productions where she develops marketing and training films and videos. She is also a Lieutenant JG in the United States Naval Reserves.

Instructional Objective The learner will be able to classify the Officer ranks (O-1 to O-6) of Armed Services including Branch of Service, rank, device worn, and number/arrangement of stripes.

Learners/Context The learners are Direct Commission Officers (who have not attended Officer Candidate School), Officer Candidates, cadets, boot camp attendees, or others interested in military matters and in being able to differentiate between the Services and various ranks of Officers.

This card game would be used by players with or without additional or supplementary training in military Officer ranks and protocol. It is intended to be used inside or outside of class for practice and/or remediation purposes.

Rationale The material to be learned is structurally an easy one to master. As seen below, it can be thought of as Five Suits, each with six ranks, O-1 to


Branch        O-1        O-2        O-3        O-4         O-5         O-6        
 Air Force    Second     First       Captain    Major      Lieutenant   Colonel   
              Lieutenan  Lieutenan                         Colonel                
              t          t                                                        
 Army         Second     First       Captain    Major      Lieutenant   Colonel   
              Lieutenan  Lieutenan                         Colonel                
              t          t                                                        
 Navy          Ensign    Lieutenan             Lieutenant   Commander   Captain   
                         t Junior   Lieutenan  Commander                          
                         Grade      t                                             
 Coast         Ensign    Lieutenan             Lieutenant   Commander   Captain   
Guard                    t Junior   Lieutenan  Commander                          
                         Grade      t                                             
 Marine       Second     First       Captain    Major      Lieutenant   Colonel   
Corps         Lieutenan  Lieutenan                         Colonel                
              t          t                                                        

The grid above can be used by players for reference if necessary.

A card game is useful for this type of instruction for several reasons. The amount of material to be learned is specific and unchanging, the required familiarization of services, ranks, titles, devices/stripes worn, lend themselves well to a card game . Having a card game introduces a unique way of learning this material, while supporting team-building activities.

Rules The game is played in the following manner with two or four players:

1. Shuffle the 60 cards (two sets of each). Deal seven cards to each player, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. Place the remaining cards face down, as a draw deck, with the top card flipped face up next to the draw deck, to form a discard pile. Your setup should look like the one below:

Face of Card Draw Deck, Face Down

2. The objective is to get three of a kind, four of a kind, and/or a "straight" (consecutive string of Officer ranks) within any singular specific Armed Service. Each player takes his/her turn in reviewing their own hand, drawing one card from the draw deck, or selecting the first face-up card in the discard deck. Then, he/she discards one unwanted card, and the game proceeds to the next player.

3. When a player gets 3 or 4 of-a-kind, and/or a "straight" as shown below, he/she shouts, "SALUTE!" immediately. The remaining players are allowed one more turn to try to match, or exceed the hand of the player who commanded, "SALUTE!"

4. Points are computed as follows:

3 of-a-kind = 20 points, three alike ranks, same services

4 of-a-kind = 50 points, four alike ranks, same services

and a "straight" of 3 = 15 points, consecutive ranks,

same or different services

a "straight" of 4 = 30 points, consecutive ranks,

same or different services

a "straight" of 7 = 100 points. consecutive ranks,

same or different services

or a "freedom straight" of 7 = 250 points consecutive ranks,

same service

The first player to total 500 points wins.

Card Design All cards are similar in design as shown above. The Branch of Armed Service is indicated with a graphic icon, the stripes/stars/or other device, the "title" of that rank. Additional color coding could be added to help differentiate between the "suits" or branches of services.

Design Process The subject matter lends itself quite literally to the ranking nature of a rummy-type game.

Possible variations and considerations included:

* Prior to each turn, the player would state the proper greeting of the day, along with the proper "address" of the Officer whose card face is facing up. If a mistake is made, the player would lose a turn.

* I considered variation of points and play, and would like to do further testing and validation prior to making those changes.

* A wild card (penalty WAR card) could withdraw points from the player who drew it.

* A wild card (bonus FLAG card) could add points to the players' total.

* Options exist to expand the game to include enlisted ranks or continuing ranks up through Admirals, Generals--and even onto, for example, Chief of Naval Operations/Marine Corps Commandant, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense, and Commander in Chief.