Frequently Asked Questions

What is Quandary?

Quandary, a free and award-winning game for players aged 8 and up, presents engaging situations about how to build a new colony on the planet Braxos.

In Quandary, players must make difficult decisions in which there are no clear right or wrong answers but important consequences – to themselves, to others in the colony and to the planet Braxos. In their interactions with other settlers in the colony, players must consider facts, opinions and solutions, just like in real life.

Though the game’s setting is a futuristic colony, the genuinely tough situations that players encounter are translatable to the ones they are likely to face day-to-day. The skills players develop while playing Quandary – such as critical thinking, perspective-taking and decision-making – will help them recognize ethical issues and deal with challenging situations in their own lives.

Quandary provides a framework for how to approach ethical decision-making without telling players what to think.

Who is Quandary for?

Quandary is available to all, but specifically aimed at kids aged 8 and up to play at home, on their own, with friends or with family. The game is also valuable in the classroom, and has been mapped to the Common Core State Standards in reading, listening and speaking.

Who’s behind Quandary?

Quandary was developed by a team of experts across the fields of child development, social and emotional learning, and game design. Scholars from Harvard and Tufts University devised a prototype that was tested for viability. Designers at the MIT Education Arcade and the Learning Games Network, a non-profit spin-off of the MIT Education Arcade and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Games+Learning+Society Program, refined the game, which was produced by FableVision, an award-winning storytelling, digital media production, and learning company.

A full credit list is available.

What will players learn?

Quandary aims to strengthen the moral compass of players, by developing the skills that help them recognize ethical issues and deal with ethical situations in their own lives. These skills include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Perspective-taking
  • Decision-making

Quandary can also be used in the classroom to support a range of essential literacy skills and life skills including:

  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Information literacy
  • Global awareness
  • Collaboration
  • Creative thinking

For more detail, view the full Standards Mapping for Quandary.

This website also contains online forums and teacher support material to help facilitate discussion around the game.

What is the gameplay?

Quandary has been designed as a digital card-based game. Colonists on the planet Braxos are depicted as character cards that the player can interact with. Players, as Captain, must gain the characters’ opinions, ideas and responses to the serious dilemmas the colony faces.

The player is guided through a process that develops their ethical decision-making skills. They must understand the dilemma by separating facts from opinions, investigate possible solutions and potential outcomes, and understand different viewpoints before making a final recommendation.

For more information, read the Quandary Game Guide.

What dilemmas does the player face?

Quandary contains four episodes, each addressing a distinct dilemma.

In Episode 1: 'Lost Sheep', a predator native to Braxos is attacking the sheep that the colony uses for food and clothes, but players learn that the predator also has medicinal value that could help the colonists fight off disease.

In Episode 2: 'Water Wars', the community’s public water well appears to be polluted, and the only other well belongs to a colonist who is charging for access.

In Episode 3: 'Fashion Faction', the colony’s tailor has started making special alterations for his friends to the standard uniform, which some colonists say is dividing the community.

In Episode 4: 'Mixed Messages', someone has been posting mean messages about engineers on the colony message board. Bazzil is upset but the colony can't agree whether it is cyberbullying or a joke.

What is the Character Creator tool?

The Character Creator tool is an exciting way to get even more involved in the ethical challenges facing the colonists on Planet Braxos.

Creating new characters is an exclusive feature available only on the Quandary tablet app. But anyone can view - and play - character creations on the Quandary website.

Here’s how it works...

On the Quandary tablet app (for users aged 13 and up):

  • Choose from ten all-new ethical challenges.
  • Create a unique set of three characters, each with their own statement about the challenge. You’ll need to include a fact, solution and other opinion.
  • Track how other players have interacted with your characters.

On the Quandary website:

  • Play through any of the ten all-new ethical challenges by visiting the Create section.
  • Each challenge features a different set of characters created by the community each time you play.

What are the technical requirements?

We've made it as easy as possible for you to play Quandary. Whichever way you choose to play, it's always FREE!

On the web...
Quandary will work on any web browser with the latest version of the Flash player plug-in, which you can download for free. You can play the game right here on this website, on BrainPOP's GameUp site, or via Edmodo.

On tablet devices...
Quandary is now available as a standalone app on Android tablet devices via Google Play and Apple iOS devices via the Apple App Store.

The tablet app and web versions of the game are the same, but the tablet app contains the exclusive Character Creator tool, where players can build their own colonists in response to a new set of challenges.

How much time does Quandary take to play?

There are four episodes (scenarios) in Quandary. Each takes about 10-30 minutes to complete, depending on the speed of the player and their depth of interaction.

Do I need to register to play Quandary?

Quandary's registration system allows players to save their progress after each episode and return by logging-in at a different time. Registered users can also contribute to the discussion forums.

It’s not necessary to register to read the forums or to play the game, but note that game progress will not be saved.

Is Quandary free?

Yes, the game and supporting materials are all free.

What awards has Quandary won?

We're proud that Quandary has been recognized by the following prestigious awarding bodies:

  • Japan Prize 2014 - Finalist (Creative Frontier Category)
  • Games for Change Festival 2013 - Game of the Year
  • Parents' Choice Awards 2013 - Gold Winner (Website)
  • Serious Play Awards 2013 - Silver Winner (Education)
  • Davey Awards 2013 - Interactive Multimedia: Education (Academic)
  • Most Meaningful Play 2012 - Most Meaningful Game

I have another question or feedback. Who should I contact?

Contact us – we’d love to hear from you!