In Ender's Game, its broadly known that the Fantasy Game was used by the Battle School faculty to gain information about students as they undergo training, and that the faculty is looking for the student who will ultimately be capable of defeating the Buggers.

Towards that end, which specific kinds of psychological profiles and behaviors were most important to the faculty?

  • Off the top of my head, from various sources, seems to be standard IQ test-y approach (pattern recognition seemed to be big); ability to undestand human behavior and motivation, and ability to affect human behavior in desired direction. Sources: "The Polish Boy" and the IGMS piece about Bonzo Madrid. Nov 15, 2013 at 23:23
  • Also, ALL different psych profiles seemed to fit (Peter was a special case - they wanted a Wiggin but a specific Wiggin - e.g. they didn't reject Peter for being extra psychopathic, but for not being as loveable as John Paul's son was desired to be) Nov 15, 2013 at 23:27
  • 2
    A good question would be, would Graff accept Peter of Valentine if they weren't Wiggins Nov 15, 2013 at 23:28
  • I'll try to put together some canon quotes when I'm home in 4-5 hours unless someone comes up with a good answer by then Nov 15, 2013 at 23:30
  • 1
    I'm fairly sure that the "fantasy game" is actually pretty opaque to the directors of the battle school. They're surprised when it pulls out a pic of Peter to show to Ender.
    – Valorum
    Jan 26, 2014 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


"Battle School" is set up as a combined military training and psychological assessment facility. Both Peter and Valentine were initially considered but ultimately rejected due to their unique personality traits; Peter for his borderline psychopathy and Valentine for her excessive empathy, neither of which are especially desirable in a future military leader.

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The facility ultimately serves three purposes, each with an element of psychological profiling;

Honing the skills needed by the commander of the fleet, namely Ender Wiggins.

Ender (and his future commanders) are taught maths, science, self-defence and, through the "Battle Game" the rudiments of three dimensional space combat. Ender and his cohorts must feel confident in their abilities.

Providing the right psychological setting to allow Ender to mature as an individual.

The system computer (through the "Giant's Game") regularly pushes him to consider his personal makeup. On at least one occasion it forces him to use violence to overcome an apparently insurmountable obstacle and on another it makes him contemplate the difference between himself and Peter. The directors of the facility are looking for different things in different students. Some are being groomed as potential lieutenants, others are kept on as cannon fodder, still others (such as Bonzo) are there to provide Ender with a foil for his personal development.

Allowing Ender to gain experience of command

Ender must learn to trust his junior officers. Colonel Graff and Major Anderson regularly debate the decision to pervert the Battle School (by scheduling unfair scenarios) purely to allow Ender to become a human weapon but their personal feelings are trumped by the fact that the Human Fleet is approaching the first of the Bugger worlds.

  • 1
    The question was only about the Fantasy Game itself -- and your statement as to its purpose is negated by information revealed in the sequels.
    – DougM
    Jan 26, 2014 at 22:33
  • Oh well, you can dance on the head of a pin whether you're talking about the battle school computer seen in the original book (e.g. a semi-sentient computer system) or the thing that was retconned into a fully sentient computer system in the later sequels.
    – Valorum
    Jan 26, 2014 at 22:35
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    Still, half your answer was about the entire school rather than the Fantasy Game. Lengthy, but off-topic.
    – DougM
    Jan 26, 2014 at 22:40
  • The title asks about the game specifically but the question is more general. A good answer puts the specifics into context.
    – Valorum
    Jan 26, 2014 at 22:59
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    I feel that most of the material is extraneous and distracts from the main point. Sure, some context is important but most of this is irrelevant. Not quite deserving of a DV in my book, but not worth a +1 either
    – The Fallen
    Mar 28, 2014 at 0:04

The Fantasy Game was just a kobayashi maru test in the form of a video game rather than a formal command setting. The staff wanted to examine how the students reacted to a situation where no success was possible. It had a limited amount of AI, and somehow adapted when Ender broke the rules of the game and forced his own successful circumstance.

The game, btw, was likely made semi-sentient by a telepathic outreach of the Bugger Queens, as it eventually evolved into the AI Jane.

  • It's clear that the bugger queen subverted the game, not that they made it in the first place.
    – Valorum
    Feb 26, 2014 at 0:18
  • Yes, that's what I said. made v (3) to cause to be or become; render: to make someone happy. link
    – DougM
    Feb 26, 2014 at 2:09
  • Several parts of the Ender/Bean books made me think that "The Game" was quite diverse, and the Giant was merely the aspect that Ender focused on. To be an effective mind-game, there wouldn't have been an "end" that would cause students to stop playing, that would defeat the point. Sep 12, 2014 at 21:49

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