Course Goals

Develop an appreciation for the interaction between humans and the natural resources. Each class is given the premise that they have inherited a 3,800 acre ranch with diverse natural resources which are based upon the University of Montana operated Bandy Ranch. They must manage the property to make a living and conserve the resources that they and society have deemed important. Each class will compete against other classes. The winner will be determined based upon 1) Ranch profitability, and 2) Conservation ethic. Students will learn to balance managing for multiple objectives and dealing with the whims of nature and humanity.

Land Use Activity Outline


Each player (team) has inherited the 3,800 acre Bandy Ranch and must manage it for 20 years in 5 year increments in order to keep it. That means each team will have 4 turns to make decisions and roll dice for prices. Since the Bandy Ranch is valuable habitat for elk, grizzly bear and Bull trout as well as providing open space, benefits to the local economy and a Montana way of life, it is up to you to save the ranch for the future of the state known as the “Last Best Place”.You will be playing against each other team. The game instructor will be your banker and can also be a consultant for wildlife, livestock, weeds, forestry and accounting per your request.

Objectives of the Game

  • Keep the ranch profitable.
  • Use sustainable land management practices.
  • Maintain the ecological and aesthetic value of the property.
  • Avoid losing the ranch to poor practices, natural disaster, or taxes.

Winning: There will be two criteria for winning

  • The team that earns the most revenue.
  • The team that maintains the natural resources quality of the ranch (water, wildlife, forest and range).

Game rules

Every team will start out with the following assets:

  • 3,800 acre ranch
  • 200 cattle that produce 200 calves per year
  • 300 acres hay ground (2 ton per acre), some weed occurrence
  • 1,800 acres forested pasture (some weeds)
  • 1,700 acres pothole rangeland (some weeds)
  • $100,000 in the bank