The Statehood Playing Cards standard 52-card pack is used + Wildcards. Note: The Jokers are not used in this game.
TYPE OF GAME
Individual point scoring game for two to four players
OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME
Players earn points by declaring Statehood for Washington District of Columbia (DC), Puerto Rico, or one of the U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands. Other players can challenge Statehood declarations to steal the points away, or for other strategic reasons. The winner is the first player to accumulate at least 56 points with the highest point tally and is not tied for the lead with another player.
Statehood Playing Cards include four wildcards, representing four U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, or Virgin Islands.
Each Wildcard is worth 1 point.
RANK OF CARDS
A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. A tie between cards is broken by their electoral college votes. When the electoral college number is also the same, then high card is the first card played.
For example: The King of Hearts (17) beats the King of Diamonds (16)
For example: When played first, the Queen of Hearts (11) beats the Queen of Diamonds (11).
The first dealer is chosen by a draw for high card. To set up for the deal, the deck, including the four Wildcards, will be shuffled. Each player is to receive 7 cards. The remaining cards are placed in the center of the table. The top card of the deck is placed face up next to it to start the discard pile. If this top card is Puerto Rico, the hand ends and the deal passes to the left.
After each hand, the turn to deal passes to the left.
The player to the dealer’s left starts the game with the first turn. A player must choose between one of three options for each turn.
- The player can choose to pick up the topmost upturned card next to the deck from the discard pile, and discard one card from their hand, placing it on the top of the discard pile.
- The player can choose to take the top card off the deck, and either discard it or keep it and discard one card from their hand.
- The player can choose to declare Statehood for a Wildcard, Washington DC or Puerto Rico.
Any card, except for Puerto Rico, may be placed in the discard pile. A player who discards Puerto Rico, whether purposefully or mistakenly, forfeits the hand, the hand is over, and the remaining players each receive 6 points.
After the first turn, the next player to left takes a turn until the deck has no cards remaining or a player uses their turn to declare Statehood for Puerto Rico. Declaring Statehood for Puerto Rico ends the hand after scoring is complete.
A player may use their turn to declare statehood for one Wildcard, DC, or Puerto Rico. For a declaration to be valid the following rules apply:
1. Declaration of Statehood for Wildcards
For a wildcard declaration to be valid, the player places the Wildcard faceup with one other card used to defend the declaration. The defending card may be any card except Puerto Rico. For example:
The defending card’s value is based on its electoral votes. In the example above the Virgin Islands is defended by Georgia’s 16 electoral votes.
1. Declaration of Statehood for DC
For a DC declaration to be valid, the player places the DC playing card faceup along with the one, two, or three cards used to defend it. The defending card(s) must be from a Blue suit, (i.e., spades or clubs). For example:
The defending card(s) value is based on the total electoral votes. In the example above DC is defended by Colorado, Virginia, and California for a total of 77 electoral votes.
1. Declaration of Statehood for Puerto Rico
Declaring Statehood for Puerto Rico ends the hand. The declaring player lays their entire hand faceup. Puerto Rico’s Statehood is defended by the sum of the electoral votes of all the other cards in the player’s hand. The defending cards may be from any suit.
A successful challenge means the challenging player put forth one card for Wildcard challenges, one to three cards for DC challenges, or six cards for Puerto Rico challenges that have more electoral college votes than the defending cards.
Players declaring Statehood for DC must defend with Blue cards (i.e., spades, or clubs). Players challenging DC Statehood must do so with Red cards (i.e., hearts or diamonds). Puerto Rico cannot be used to defend or to challenge.
1. Wildcards and DC
Wildcard or DC Statehood challenges start with the player to the left of the Statehood Declaration. A player can either choose to challenge the declaration or choose to pass. If a player chooses to pass, the next player to the left is presented the same option and so on until each player has had a chance to either challenge the declaration, or all players pass.
Each player in turn can only challenge once and must challenge with more electoral votes than the proceeding player. The player with the highest electoral vote count wins. For example, a person declares statehood for the wildcard, Virgin Islands, and defends it with 10 electoral votes. The player to his/her left challenges it with 11, the next player passes, and the last player challenges with 12 electoral votes. In this example, the last player wins the challenge and receives 1 point for the wildcard Virgin Islands.
The player that wins the challenge, defeating or defending the Statehood declaration, is awarded the associated playing card. The winner then places the card next to them faceup with the challenge and defending cards beneath it.
After all challenges are done, each challenger draws cards from the deck to restore their hand to seven cards. The player that declared Statehood, draws last, restoring their hand. Once all hands are restored, play continues clockwise with the next player taking their turn. If there are not enough cards in the deck to restore all players’ hands, then after the last card is drawn the player having the Puerto Rico playing card must declare it.
2. Puerto Rico
When a player declares Puerto Rico Statehood, the hand ends. The other players lay down six cards to challenge the declaration. The successful challenger with the most electoral votes receives six points. If there are no successful challenges, the player that declared Puerto Rico’s Statehood receives six points plus additional points for Wildcards and DC in hands of the unsuccessful challengers.
After cards are dealt to begin the game, the player to the dealer’s left takes the first turn of the first hand. A turn consists of either exchanging a card in the player’s hand for one in the discard pile, taking a card from the deck and discarding a card, or declaring Statehood for DC, a Wildcard, or Puerto Rico.
When a Statehood declaration is made, the other players decide whether to challenge it or not. If not challenged, the player making the declaration receives the points. If challenged, then the winner of the challenge receives the points. Then each player involved in the challenge draws from the deck to restore their hand to seven cards. The player whose turn it is, draws last. Then the next player begins their turn.
The hand continues with players taking turns clockwise, until a player declares Statehood for Puerto Rico. A player holding the Puerto Rico playing card must declare Statehood after any player takes the last card from off the deck and discards. At which point the hand ends and points are tallied.
The winner is the first player to have the highest point tally with at least 56 points (or as otherwise agreed upon before the start of the game) and is not tied for the lead with another player.
Each player begins the game with a score of zero. At the end of each hand or round, players tally points for successful statehood declarations or challenges. Wildcards are worth one point. Washington DC is worth three points.
When a player declares Puerto Rico Statehood, the hand ends. The other players lay down six cards to challenge the declaration. The successful challenger with the most electoral votes receives six points. If there are no successful challenges, the player that declared Puerto Rico’s Statehood receives six points plus additional points for Wildcards and DC in hands of the unsuccessful challengers. The winner is the first player to have the highest point tally with at least 56 points (or as otherwise agreed upon before the start of the game) and is not tied for the lead with another player.