Creating Good Topics & Objectives for Quest & Legend Games

There are three keys to a successful Knowledge Guru game:

  1. Relevant topics
  2. Strong, specific objectives that relate to the game topics.
  3. Well-written, relevant questions that link to the objectives.

This post focuses on the objectives you create for a Legend or Quest game, and gives you tips on creating good ones…and avoiding bad ones. Click here for help on creating Objectives in a Drive game.

A well-written objective links tightly to the topic it is associated with. It is also actionable and specific: it focuses on what you want the learner to know or be able to do related to the topic. Check out the image below. The objectives on the left are not good, but frequently mirror what we see game creators use. The ones on the right are much better. Can you figure out the difference?


The bad objectives tend to use verbs that are impossible to measure or quantify such as “know” or “understand.” (How do you know that someone “knows” a subject? Typically you say someone “knows” something if they can explain, describe, distinguish, analyze, etc….). Know is a very big word. It can mean lots of things.

The good objectives are very specific. They are clear about what the learner should be able to do after playing the game. They limit what the objective covers (define and explain five mobile market terms as opposed to a vague “know mobile marketing terminology.”)

Why does this matter?

The objectives should tie directly to the question sets you create in the game. Your game questions should assess someone’s ability to perform the objectives you have written.

You can easily write 5 question sets related to “define and explain 5 mobile marketing terms: mobile originating messages, mobile terminating messages, SMS, MTA, key word, and FTEU.” It’s far harder to know how many questions you need to write to cover the objective “know mobile marketing terminology.”

If you write a clear, specific objective, you will find it very easy to write corresponding question sets. If you write weak objectives, you will struggle or you will have questions that do not really link to your objective. They are almost random questions and are less about what you want learners to do and more about what you want to tell learners about a topic.

If you need ideas on how to come up with better verbs to use in writing your objectives, check out Bloom’s taxonomy. It will help you think about the cognitive skill you want learners to do and provide verb choices that match.

But do learners ever see the objectives I write?

Yes, they do! In a Legend game type, these objectives are the “Pearls of Wisdom” that players earn on the third path of each topic when they successfully respond to the final question associated with an objective. In a Quest game type, learners get a game summary report  that lists out the objectives they achieved in playing the game.

  1. Use verbs that clarify what the learner is supposed to do: explain, describe, identify, compare, distinguish, choose, etc. (See Bloom’s taxonomy for ideas.)
  2. When appropriate, specify a condition for performance: “Given a selling scenario,…” “Given a specific objection by a customer,…”
  3. Always be specific in stating what the learner has to do. This helps you formulate good questions and set reasonable limits. Examples:
    1. List five steps” rather than “List all the steps.”
    2. Name the three biggest benefits of Product X” rather than “Know all the benefits of Product X.”