A Review of Quandary: Engaging Players in the Consideration of Moral Dilemmas


source: Quandary (iOS)

As it’s name would suggest, Quandary is a game of social and moral dilemmas. It provides players with a series of quandaries that must be solved through collaborative interaction with the game characters (the colonists of a futuristic society on the planet Braxos).The player’s job is to act as captain and keep peace within the society.

Quandary not only has immense potential for language learning, but it also requires higher-order thinking and problem solving in order to successfully complete the game. Quandary doesn’t push a specific political or moral agenda. Instead, it provides a wide variety of potential solutions, making it the player’s job to make decisions based on his or her own moral code.

Overall, gameplay is fairly quick. Depending on the age and level of the students, gameplay should take somewhere between 2-3 hours to complete the entire game. The game can be played in English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, and Turkish. Additionally, the game is available for Android (tablet only), iOS (iPad only), and web, making it a highly accessible tool for classroom use (check out the website for additional resources for parents and teachers).

Source: Quandary (iOS)

Game Play

Quandary is comprised of four chapters Chapter 1, “Lost Sheep” deals with livestock security; chapter two, “Water War” deals with private vs public property; chapter 3, “Fashion Faction” is about uniforms; and finally, chapter 4, “Mixed Messages” touches on cyberbullying. As captain, the player’s job is to find a solution that he or she believes will best benefit the society and will receive the support of the town council. Game play begins with a brief comic about the issue at hand (depicted below). The captain is then given the opportunity to listen to the thoughts of each colonist (depicted above). Some colonists present potential solutions, while others present facts or opinions. Players must sort the cards into the proper category to receive points. After sorting through everything, the player chooses the two best solutions. These solutions must be presented to the colonists again, using relevant facts to sway their opinions. Finally the player chooses their favorite solution and sorts the colonists by who they feel will agree or disagree with the choice. The final solution is given to the council who decides whether to support, modify, or reject the proposal based on its popularity with the colonists. Successful completion of the game requires that students listen to the colonists and comprehend their opinions. Each task allows for the accumulation of points and the overall goal is to complete the game with as many points as possible. This is done by properly sorting cards, listening to each colonist, correctly using facts, and asking the opinion of each colonist before making a final decision.



Quandary has immense potential in the language classroom. Each chapter provides ample opportunity for contextualized vocabulary acquisition, and the card sorting phase specifically, provides a great space to increase language awareness by examining the structure and tone of language used for stating opinions and language used for stating facts. As a result, this game can be a great starting point for increasing students’ digital literacy by aiding in their understanding of linguistic tone and pragmatics via reading the colonists statements.


Additionally, the game lends itself well to a variety of ability levels (novice-advanced). Students with relatively low proficiency levels are able to engage in meaningful word-level examination, and the audio recordings of the colonists’ responses allow for multimodal exploration of content. For more advanced students, the game provides scaffolding for discussions about pragmatics, cultural morality, and implications in the real world. Since gameplay is short in comparison to other games there is room for creative and potentially lengthy extension activities. This allows the game to be tailored to even the most advanced students. Quandary’s greatest asset is its flexibility of use, making it a wonderfully engaging tool for any language class.

Source: Quandary (iOS)

-Isabelle Sackville-West

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