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Quandaries

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Bob Bates

GAME DEVELOPER:Legend Entertainment

GAME PUBLISHER:Freeware

Copyright 1998, US Department of Justice

Probably Bob Bates’ most obscure “game,” Quandaries is an excellent and unique edutainment titles designed to teach professional ethics to federal agents. Designed under contract for Ethics Office of the US Department of Justice, Quandaries combines Bates’ expertise in storytelling and writing with DoJ’s professional experience to create a very interesting and realistic ethics training program.

The game can best be described as a “simulation” of a career in the US government. Your goal is to progress from entry-level job (e.g. US Marshall or Immigration Clerk) up through the ranks within your department. There are four starting path (i.e. entry-level job), each of which has five levels of promotion, and each level offers up to five jobs. This makes the game highly replayable, as there is a maximum of 4 x 5 x 5 = 100 career paths you can take.

Gameplay realistically simulates an agent’s daily routine: every morning, you’re at your desk, complete with an appointments book, phone, and an in-box. You’re given a choice of places you can go, such as the cafeteria, and you will get scolded if you’re late or if you miss an appointment. In every scenario, you’re faced with dilemmas that involve government ethics rules, and you must choose what to do from multiple choices. The game instantly gives feedback on whether your choice is correct, and cites the relevant passages from the actual US Standards of Conduct code. At the end of every job, you get feedback on whether your performance was good, bad or just so-so. Unless you make many wrong choices, you will be promoted to the next level where the jobs — and the dilemmas– get more difficult.

There are hundreds of dilemmas you will face in the game, ranging from the obvious (e.g. people offering bribes or kickbacks), or complex (e.g. could you enter into a private competition using federal-issue equipment?), none of which is boring. Federal agents can actually use the game to filfull their annual ethics training requirement– a fact which attests to the game’s accuracy and usefulness as an education tool. Anyone who is interested in ethics, or career simulation in general, should find the game enjoyable and captivating (although the quoted legal passages are, by nature, quite dry). Highly recommended!



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