Quandary Game Poster Image

Quandary

(i)

 

Learning(i)

Decision-making sim shows that choices have shades of gray.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The central message is that there is often no right solution to people's problems, but that good leaders listen to all sides, are empathic, and make the best decisions they can. This game will challenge kids to develop a more complex view of the world that's less black and white.

Positive role models

The characters have different perspectives and present them civilly. They show realistic satisfaction or frustration with the player depending on his/her decision, but their reactions are maturely expressed. There's a lot of diversity among the colony and genders are equally employed in jobs. Characters have profession-based opinions on each issue, but can be persuaded.

Ease of play

There's a simple point and click interface, and the game has in-game instructions to get players up and running quickly. The Quandary website also has a printable game guide. Reading or listening closely is linked with success, but playing poorly doesn't block progression. Some of what happens might seem confusing to more easily distracted or impatient players.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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

Subjects

Science

  • ecosystems

Social Studies

  • citizenship
  • cultural understanding
  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • making conclusions
  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making
  • defining problems

Responsibility & Ethics

  • making wise decisions
  • embracing differences
  • honoring the community

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The artwork and space colony setting offer personality, but do not adequately make up for the stale mechanics and small number of possible outcomes.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • ecosystems

Social Studies

  • citizenship
  • cultural understanding
  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • making conclusions
  • analyzing evidence
  • decision-making
  • defining problems

Responsibility & Ethics

  • making wise decisions
  • embracing differences
  • honoring the community

Kids can learn that decisions require complex thinking, not just gut reactions; and that problems are rarely black and white. Quandary shows kids that seeking ideas from others is helpful. It explains how facts and opinions differ and that decisions have different impacts on different people. Players learn decision making by practicing within this game, and the skills obtained can easily transfer to their own lives. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Seann Dikkers

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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?

QUALITY

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?

Game details

Platforms:Linux, Mac, Windows
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Available online
Developer:Learning Games Network
Release date:September 5, 2012
Genre:Educational
Topics:Adventures, Space and aliens
ESRB rating:NR

This review of Quandary was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old February 26, 2014
LEARNING

The Quandary Game Isn't My Favorite But Is Helpful In Making Decisions

The Quandary Game takes too long to load and that isn't convenient for children my age but the Quandary Game is great for children to practice decision making so when they get older they will be able to tell the difference between good decisions or bad decisions. The game loads in light-years and each light-year takes almost a minuet too load. But I have to admit the game is very educational. The reason I think this game has some good qualities is because it is educational and gives children a chance to step out of their everyday life's and step into a mystical planet or world that helps them learn about the different opinions, facts, and solutions for different problems which will help with pier pressure and other problems in teens or pre-teens life's.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Kid, 11 years old February 26, 2014
LEARNING

Borringgg

I think this game is so boring because it takes to long to load. And every time I try my best, I end up getting the same score or just a little bit better. My growth should be better, it's not teaching you anything!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byrherdle-pri February 26, 2014
LEARNING

leaning education today

I think this game is good for student to lean education

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide