By Seann Dikkers,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Decision-making sim shows that choices have shades of gray.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
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.
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.
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.
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to 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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Subjects: Science: ecosystems and the environment, Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, government
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, decision-making, defining problems, making conclusions, Responsibility & Ethics: embracing differences, honoring the community, making wise decisions
- Genre: Educational
- Topics: Adventures, Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths: Empathy
- Pricing structure: Free
- Last updated: May 26, 2021
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Role-Playing Games (RPGs) for Kids
RPG Apps -- Role Playing Games
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate