What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Quandary is an educational game designed to teach kids age 8-14 how to make better decisions. It has no potentially offensive content. Kids will take on the role of a leader of a space colony and spend time meeting with villagers, reading or listening to their dialogue, making meaningful choices, and seeing the outcomes. While this will be valuable, much of the real and authentic learning will happen when parents and kids play and discuss choices in the game together.
What kids can learn
- cultural understanding
Thinking & Reasoning
- making conclusions
- analyzing evidence
- defining problems
Responsibility & Ethics
- making wise decisions
- embracing differences
- honoring the community
Engagement, Approach, Support
The artwork and space colony setting offer personality, but do not adequately make up for the stale mechanics and small number of possible outcomes.
Kids learn by stepping into a situation and trying out decisions. Limited choices still allow for a good introduction to decision making and the difference between fact and opinion.
The connected website includes a useful teacher's section with an overview video providing teacher and student perspectives on the game. Supporting documentation provides clear lesson plans.
What's it about?
QUANDARY invites players to take on the role of space colony captain solving three difficult challenges by consulting colonists and choosing a solution that is likely to benefit the most people and minimize negative effects. Players first view a comic introducing the problem; then listen to or read colonists' positions on the issue; and end by sorting their thoughts into fact, solution, or other opinions. For instance, Bryn, the hunter, says that, \"Yashors are very good at getting out of traps.\" Given that a hunter would know this, the player identifies this as a fact. Once finished, the player must narrow down the choices to two possible solutions, get feedback from the colony’s council, choose a solution, and view a comic showing the outcome.
Is it any good?
Think of this game as a visually appealing lifeboat decision simulator that has strong content but weak mechanics. The core player action -- clicking on character drawings to read their statements -- isn’t compelling but Quandary effectively models a process for making good, ethical decisions and how those decisions affect people. Players can gather, categorize, and weigh a variety of perspectives presented with minimal bias.
Unlike a lot of games that present ethical challenges as black and white issues, Quandary raises the stakes by treating all sides fairly. And as a branching narrative, kids can replay the same scenario, but choose differently to see the story's outcome change based on their actions. Kids are likely to be intrigued by these different possibilities, and eager to discuss.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about human rights. Are the rights of the individual or the rights of the community more important? When should a person's rights give way to the public good?
Visit and observe local or community leadership in action (e.g., a city council or school board meeting). Are people using or seeking out facts? Opinions? Solutions? How can you tell? What type of information do people use when making claims or taking positions?
Do you think you can learn from playing a game? What did you learn from playing this one?