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T-Squared: Our Big, Fat QRANK Wedding

We've been waiting for it and wanting it for almost a year — and now the day has arrived. Finaliy, we're launching a Trib-content-centric edition of the daily trivia game QRANK right here on our site.

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This morning I get to announce something that all of us at the Trib have been waiting for and wanting for almost a year — a strategic partnership that's been long in the making. Finally, we've gotten hitched to QRANK.

A daily trivia game that can be played for free on Facebook and through an iPhone app, QRANK has been a phenomenon since it was launched by Austin's Ricochet Labs at last year's South by Southwest Interactive Festival. The game's content is derived mostly from the day's headlines, and the categories run the gamut: sports to entertainment, business to politics, science to history. You can play only once a day, answering any 15 of the 20 questions. You amass points for each correct answer based on the difficulty of the question, and you compete against friends in your network to see who can run up the highest total score. Rodney Gibbs, Ricochet's CEO, says more than 250,000 people worldwide are now playing QRANK.

That includes a lot of the Trib staff. We've been institutionally addicted from the very beginning, and a number of us have gone to great lengths to get other people hooked as well. We've even put on a couple of QRANK Live events at which Trib fans and members have squared off in person for prizes (i.e., free beer). The reason we love the game so much is not just that it's fun — it's also remarkably in sync with the Trib's mission. From the beginning, we've worked hard to give Texans an easy, compelling way to care about the news and, as a result, a greater stake in our statewide community. QRANK helps us accomplish that by providing another venue for our public-spirited journalism to be delivered, engaged and shared.

Given that synergy, it's probably no surprise that we lobbied hard for our own, Trib-content-centric version of QRANK. What is surprising, and gratifying, is that we were able to get one, thanks to Gibbs and his team, who chose the Trib for their first media "channel" game. "Helping the Tribune gamify its news content is a thrill for us,” Gibbs says. “Making news consumption fun and social is our specialty, and The Texas Tribune injects QRANK with some of the smartest, sharpest content out there."

Starting today, by clicking on the QRANK button on our nav bar, you'll be able to play a special Texas Tribune edition of QRANK on our site. The only catch is that you have to be a registered, logged-in user of the Trib; if you're not, you'll be prompted to become one, and it'll take you two shakes. (Soon you'll be able to play QRANK:TT on iPhones, iPads, Android phones and Facebook as well.) Every weekday at midnight, we'll post a new set of questions — the Trib's Reeve Hamilton will create them — based on the day's Texas politics and policy news. Faithfully reading the Trib will give you a leg up, as the answers will be found in our postings: stories, blog items, videos, topic pages, etc. We'll even tip you off to which postings are the basis for questions by putting the QRANK logo right there on the page.

For the first few weeks we'll let newbies get comfortable with the rules and the format; QRANK vets can further hone their skills. Then, on Feb. 1, we'll kick into win-at-all-costs mode, with prizes for the first-place finisher at the end of each month and a megaprize for the year's champ.

Okay? C'mon, get your QRANK on ... Trib-style.

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