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RQ FAQs for Teachers
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, Setup, Play, & FAQs

Using Rainbow Quest! With the

LGBTQ+ Inclusive Curriculum


Fortifying Social and Emotional Learning:

Guide and FAQs for

Teachers and GSA Advisors

If you are ready to introduce LGBTQ+  topics in your teaching, we make it easy and comfortable for you to do so.  Rainbow Quest! Is not a lesson plan, but presents topics relevant to the cultural presence of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout history and across cultures, along with the many contributions these people have made which made the world a better place. In other wordes, using the Rainbow Quest! board game is an easy way to begin teaching the LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum –  right out of the box.  Developed by educators and psychologists, utilizing game design theory, and constructed to be durable enough for frequent use by students, Rainbow Quest! will most likely be met with giggles, disbelief, and curiosity. For many students, it will be perceived as a welcome and edgy diversion, while others may see it as a lifeline to safely discover or affirm who they are. In the impactful discussions that the game’s prompt cards facilitate, students and staff alike are certain to develop deeper empathy and understanding around issues of sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. It’s understandable that you may feel awkward or uncertain until you become more familiar with the game rules, but we’ve made it fairly simple to learn.  The following instructions will explain how to unbox and set up Rainbow Quest! for the first time, how to use it as a lesson, and how to use it when time may be limited.  Playing a game to completion can take about 40 minutes with 5 players while others observe, or you can just let any number of players just roll the dice and take a turn, without concern for who ‘wins’ the game.  We recommend that you ask for volunteers rather than randomly selecting players, and of those who volunteer you may add your own criteria for selecting the players – good attendance, frequent participation, high test scores, etc. We’d never want to unintentionally select a student at random who is actually struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity, as that could feel as if they are being ‘outed’ before they are ready to put words to their inner experience.

The game is a learning opportunity for all – if you aren’t familiar with any of the topics presented in bold at the top of each prompt card, no worries. A brief description of the prompt topic is printed on each card, and each card is marked with a code in the lower left corner which will link to an online teacher ancillary.

From questions we’ve received over the past year, we created this FAQ, and welcome you to email us for any questions we may not have addressed.  (

Setting up Rainbow Quest! for the first time.

  1. The top and bottom lids of the game box fit snugly to avoid accidental spills of the contents. You will need to gently shake the box as the bottom section slides out from the top cover.
  2. Remove and set aside the Rainbow Quest! game board, the game instructions, and the set of paper notepads.
  3. Remove the two cellophane sleeves containing the Guide to Flag Challenges and Hints for Charades.  After removing the contents, you may choose to discard the sleeves or save them for neatly storing those documents.
  4. Remove the lavender accessory drawstring pouch and empty the contents.  Remove the dice, pencils, timer, and meeples from their plastic bags and discard those bags. (We promise to use less packaging in the future!)
  5. Place items back in the accessory pouch and return them to their storage compartment in the box base.
  6. Use the purple ribbons to lift the (heavy) lidded oblong box from its place in the box base and set it aside.
  7. Remove the rectangular box lid.  
  8. Remove the small package of seven (7) dividers, remove the dividers, and discard the plastic wrapper they are in.
  9. In this step, you’ll be setting up the contents of the ‘prompt box,’ so that the cards are arranged in the same order as the flags along the path from the bleak, colorless world towards a better world for everyone.
  1. Remove the seven (7) decks of prompt cards and set them aside.
  2. Take the Red (Freehand) divider and place it in the base of the rectangular prompt card box.
  3. Find the deck of Red (Freehand) cards. Remove the cellophane wrapper and place the Red cards behind the Red divider. Lean them forward just a bit to keep them upright. (You may want to have a trashcan handy for the rest of the cellophane to come.)
  4. Take the Orange (You Can Quote Me) divider and place it behind the deck of Red cards already in the tray.
  5. Locate the deck of Orange (You Can Quote Me) cards, remove the cellophane, and place all cards behind the Orange divider.
  6. Take the Yellow (You’ve Got Talent) divider and place it behind the deck of Orange cards already in the tray.
  7. Find the deck of Yellow (You’ve Got Talent) cards, remove the cellophane, and add them behind the Yellow divider.
  8. Locate the Green (Just Between Us) divider and place it behind the deck of Yellow cards already in the tray.
  9. Remove the cellophane from the deck of Green (Just Between Us) cards and place the deck behind the Green divider.
  10. Locate the Blue (You Think You Know Me) divider and place it behind the deck of Green cards already in the tray.
  11. Find the deck of Blue (You Think You Know Me) cards, remove the cellophane, and add them behind the Blue divider.
  12. Take the Pink (Unpinkable) divider and place it behind the deck of Blue cards.
  13. Find the deck of Pink (Unpinkable) cards, remove the cellophane,  and place it behind the Pink divider.
  14. Take the Purple (Did You Know That) divider and place it behind the deck of Pink cards.  
  15. Locate the deck of Purple (Did You Know That) cards, remove the cellophane, and place it behind the Purple divider.
  16. Replace the card tray lid and using the purple ribbons, carefully return it to its place in the game box base.
  17. Here is a link to a time-lapse of unpacking and setting up the game! Unpacking & Setting Up Rainbow Quest!

  1. You may return all game components to the box, or review the Guide to Flag Challenges, Hints for Charades, and Game Instructions.


For using Rainbow Quest! as an introduction to the LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum.

The LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum is intended to correct the assumption that all historic individuals and their relationships are heteronormative.  Throughout the retelling of history, the sexual orientations and gender identities of important characters have been ‘straightened’ because there were no alternatives.  How difficult it would be to teach that some of the greatest writers, artists, inventors, intellectuals, and leaders were anything other than straight, when until 1974 homosexuality was characterized as criminal behavior resulting from an underlying psychological disorder.  Many characters were ‘straightened’ to avoid ‘insulting’ their names and reputations.  

Others lived in their time passing as best they could for straight, and are only now being identified by researchers, biographers, and archivists who are able to read between the lines, understanding the wide range of euphemisms that had been used to suggest, but not declare, their sexual orientations or gender identities.  There will continue to be the argument that we never before talked about the sexual orientations or gender identities  of historic figures, of course, that isn’t true.  It was as if anything other than the heteronormative experience didn’t exist – so presuming that all characters were heterosexual and in traditional heteronormative relationships wasn’t spoken, but implied.  For LGBTQ+ young people, including transgender and gender nonconforming students, it can seem like homosexuality wasn’t a human condition until the Stonewall riots made headlines in 1969, and even decades later is still a topic that many conservatives feel should not be mentioned at all in schools.  The parental rights movement argues that such matters are best left to parents, not teachers – but parents haven’t been prepared to have these discussions with their children, hoping that silence and ignorance will make LGBTQ+ discrimination go away.

 “Gay Pride events,” as they are called, are meant to offer an opportunity for those in the queer community to gather with people like themselves, and their allies, to offset the shame that most in the queer community experience until they come to accept their authentic selves.  Once-a-year celebrations proclaiming ‘Pride’ are not sufficient to offset the remainder of the year when sex and gender are off-limits topics considered taboo for school, perpetuating the idea that they don’t and shouldn’t expect to enjoy a career, loving relationships, and a place at the table in the world they were born into. It’s difficult to be ‘proud’ when religious and political leaders continue to portray LGBTQ+ individuals as perverse and immoral who have no place in a decent society.  The LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum, and Rainbow Quest!, introduce little-known facts about queer culture and history.  When LGBTQ+ students are taught about the individuals who made the world a better place – and happened to be queer, it presents them with role models to emulate and to be proud of.  That’s Gay Pride, and access to authentic pride is the most effective way to combat the disproportionately high rate of attempted suicide for queer people in all age segments.

With the understanding that there is no unified ‘LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum,’ Rainbow Quest! Is an excellent way to introduce the broad concept.  Game content is designed to be appropriate for ages 11 and up, but any prompt cards considered too ‘mature’ for your class can simply be set aside.  The material in Rainbow Quest!  is presented in random order, affording the exploration of multi-cultural queer content from ancient times to contemporary pop culture.  Some of the content is factual and objective, while other content aligned with Social and Emotional Learning is designed to elicit personal anecdotes and revelations, always with the caveat that no player needs to disclose more than they care to.  

NOTE: Rainbow Quest!  may also be used without the context of the board game, selecting prompt cards and selecting students to respond without keeping score or using the physical game board setup.

For exposing students to factual information about LGBTQ+ culture and history, you can simply go to the prompt card box and ask questions from the Did You Know That section, which contains multiple-choice style questions.

If Social and Emotional Learning is the desired outcome, you can choose cards from the Just Between Us section and call on students to offer their responses.

The preferred activity experience would be to actually play the game!  Like any group activity, it will be met with the sound of rolling eyes and some reluctance, but students get drawn into the dynamic of the game quickly and easily.

If time permits let at least one player win the game by reaching the end of the rainbow pathway – “a better world for everyone”, but feel free to stop the game at any point where you may want to elaborate on a place, event, person, or concept.

  1. Let the students know that we’re going to be playing a ‘gay game’ about LGBTQ+ culture and history – and themselves. Assure them that anyone can play the game (and win), one doesn’t have to be queer to play.  Bear in mind that the game does require the ability to read aloud, so if a player with poor literacy skills volunteers to play, you may want to suggest that the students work in pairs if needed.

  1. Ask for five volunteers and check to make sure they’re okay being in ‘the fishbowl.’  If so, have them arrange themselves in the front or center of the classroom so that the other students will be able to see and hear them.

  1. Be sure to keep a list of their names and make a note of the color ‘meeple’ they choose to be represented by.  All selected meeples should be placed onto the bleak ‘start’ globe.

  1. Ask which player would like to go first, or if you are feeling brave, take the first turn yourself to demonstrate how the game proceeds.

  1. Depending on the amount of time you can spend playing, you can use the 90-second timer for only the You’ve Got Talent and Freehand turns as indicated in the Game Rules, or to keep things moving, use the timer for each turn.  Each group of players will have its own dynamic, but it’s quite common for players to forget the competition to win, and want instead to keep the discussion and dialogue going.  We find value in allowing whichever suits your purpose and time constraints.

  1. Remind those students who will be observing that they should not be guessing – only the players around the board.  

6. The first player will roll the dice.  For beginners, a safer experience is enjoyed by having three options for advancing – either of the numbers showing on the dice, or the sum of both.  When advancing from the bleak world towards the ‘better world for everyone’ each color along the way represents a different kind of ‘challenge’ utilizing different styles of communication and learning.  Players can use a competitive strategy such that they choose to advance as far as possible despite the nature of the challenge they land on, while other players will choose to avoid challenges they think would embarrass them, or move fewer spaces in order to try a challenge they think they’ll enjoy and succeed at.

For cards that contain objective factual information, the ‘topic’ to be drawn or acted out will appear in bold print at the top of the card.  That is what the other players have to guess.  Underneath the bold print is the category (person, song title, book title, movie title, event, place, etc).  A very brief explanation of how the topic is relevant to LGBTQ+ culture follows.  The small code in the lower left corner of each card corresponds to additional curated topic information when linked to our website ancillary.  The difficulty levels for these challenges are noted in the explanation of each below:

  1. Red (Freehand).  (Difficult) The player selects the first card behind the red divider, and when ready, begins drawing an image of whatever is printed in bold at the top of the card.  Beginners have the option of placing the drawn card in the back of the red section and selecting the next card from the front, and they can choose to try one more time for a card they feel more confident about.  Drawing on a chalk or whiteboard for all to see would be optimal, otherwise, they should begin drawing and then holding it up so that the other players can shout out what they think the image represents.  If a player shouts out the correct answer, that player will get to advance one space, and the challenge is considered to be successfully met.  If no one guesses correctly, have the player read the card – the concept they were trying to convey, plus the brief description printed on the card.  Then that player’s meeple will be placed on its side as a reminder that they did not successfully complete the challenge.  If they are still ‘lying down’ when it is their turn again, they must try another Freehand challenge.  If that player gets to advance because they match another player’s Freehand or You’ve Got Talent challenge, they may stand their meeple back up and roll from their new position when it is their turn again.

  1. Orange (You Can Quote Me).  (Easy) This is often seen as ‘easy’ because players have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer correct.  ANOTHER player selects the first card behind the orange divider and reads the quote aloud.  Depending on the length and complexity of the quote, they may repeat it a second time. Then, they read the two choices of who originally said that statement.  The correct answer is always marked by the Pink Triangle (the designated marking for Gay Men in the Holocaust.)  If the player answers correctly, they remain upright and will roll again on their next turn.  If they don’t provide the correct answer, they place their meeple on its side as a reminder that they’ll need to try another quote on their next turn.

  1. Yellow (You’ve Got Talent).  (Difficult) The player draws the first card behind the yellow divider and doesn’t allow anyone else to see what it says.  They need to communicate, without speaking,  the topic printed in bold at the top of the card before the 90-second timer runs out. They don’t need to ‘know’ what the topic is – the explanation is listed below, all they need to be able to do is communicate the topic.  There is a two-sided insert containing the most widely used gestures for use in this challenge. With beginners, you may let them replace the selected card at the back of the yellow section, and choose another that they are more comfortable with, usually, no more than three tries are needed before a ‘doable’ topic is selected. Set the timer when the player indicates they are ready to begin. (This is one of the more difficult tasks, but many players love the challenge.) The other players should shout out their guesses, and the player who does guess correctly gets to advance one space.  If nobody guesses correctly before the timer runs out, place that player’s meeple on its side, and on their next turn they need to try another You’ve Got Talent challenge. If that player gets to advance because they match another player’s Freehand or You’ve Got Talent challenge, they may stand their meeple back up and roll from their new position when it is their turn again.

  1. Green (Just Between Us).  (Easy) This challenge is ‘easy,’ as there are no right or wrong answers.  The player selects the first card from behind the green divider, then reads and responds to the printed prompt. If the prompt is not applicable to the life space of the player, they may simply replace this card at the back of the green section and select another from the front of the section.

  1. Blue (You Think You Know Me). (Moderate difficulty) The player selects the first blue card behind the divider, and reads the question aloud but does not answer immediately. Instead, they may write down their answer while the other players have up to 90 seconds to write down how they guess the player would respond in that hypothetical situation.  (If the situation proposed is too difficult for the player to consider, return that card to the back of the blue section and choose the next card from the front.)

After 90 seconds, or sooner if everyone is ready, have players announce their guesses, and then the player reveals their answer.  If 50% or more match the answer, the player has succeeded at the challenge, and all who guessed correctly get to move ahead one space.  If the majority of participants don’t match the answer of the player, the player’s meeple is placed on its side as a reminder that they’ll need to try another quote on their next turn. If before their next turn, they are entitled to move ahead one space for guessing another player’s charade or drawing or other answer, they place their meeple upright and move forward one space.

  1. Pink (Unpinkable)  (Easy) This is arguably the easiest of the challenges as it reinforces prosocial behavior and social skills but does not require anything of the player except reading the card aloud and them moving their pawn forward or back as indicated on the card.

  1. Purple (Did You Know That)  (Difficult) When a player lands here, another participant will select the first card from behind the purple divider and read the prompt aloud. Unless they are true/false questions, most will include three possible multiple-choice answers to choose from.  If the player answers the question correctly, they have succeeded at the challenge.  If they don’t provide the correct answer, they place their meeple on its side as a reminder that they’ll need to try another quote on their next turn.

These trivia questions introduce historic, factual information about queer people, places, and things. Because this information has not usually been included in school lessons, many players may simply have to guess the correct choice.  Some of the information is quite obscure but is included to demonstrate that issues related to the LGBTQ+ experience have been around for a long time, but in social and political contexts that made it even more difficult than now to have such discussions.

  1. Rainbow Choice. (This space shows all the rainbow flag colors.) The player remains in this flag space but chooses whichever of the other eight challenges they would enjoy trying.  See above to follow the directions for the challenge selected.

  1. The Closet. There are no prompt cards for this, and while players may choose to come out about sexual identity or gender identity, this level of disclosure is not required.  ‘Coming Out’ can be revelations about anything which is usually kept hidden, and can range from ‘being on the spectrum’ to being vegan, agnostic, or painfully shy. And non-gay people need not worry – they will often volunteer that they frequently go out with LGBTQ+ friends and ‘come out’ by saying, “Oh, no, I’m not gay, I’m straight, I’m just out with my gay friends.”  The teachable moment here is when non-gay players realize that queer people spend a great deal of time wondering how and when to come out, and what the repercussions may be for their families, friends, and safety in general.  Non-gay people can come out without it seeming like a ‘big deal’ because there are no consequences when they do.

  1. The Better World. (Winning the game – maybe). When a player reaches The Better World, the other players are allowed to determine which challenge that player must succeed at in order to successfully win the game.  If they don’t succeed, they must move back the number of spaces indicated on the dice.  To win, a player must earn it, so they must complete either a Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, or Purple challenge (Freehand, You Can Quote Me, You’ve Got Talent, You Think You Know Me, or Did You Know That).  Green (Just Between Us) and Pink (Unpinkable) challenges are not permitted as they are ‘too easy.’  The Closet isn’t necessarily ‘easy,’ but as there are no right or wrong answers, it is not an acceptable challenge when going for ‘the win.’ Similarly, as other players are tasked with choosing the winning challenge, the Rainbow Choice space may not be used here.
  1. For the win, choose among Freehand, You Can Quote Me, You’ve Got Talent, You Think You Know Me, or Did You Know That.
  2. Not usable for the win: Just Between Us, Unpinkable, The Closet, and Rainbow Choice.


1.          Q: Some of the cards seem too ‘adult’ for my students.  What should I do?

               A: Remove them!

2.         Q: We don’t have time to complete the game.

            A: Designate the winner as the player closest to the Better World for Everyone, which is the end of the Rainbow pathway..

3.         Q: Players shout out answers that are very close to but don’t exactly match what is printed on the You’ve Got Talent and Freehand challenges.

        A: Use your judgment.  If the answer is ‘close enough,’ consider it a correct answer. For example, there are two prompts in Freehand that call for players to draw ‘combat boot’ and ‘cowboy boot.’  Both were ‘fashion choices’ used by gay people as signifiers of traditional masculinity. Where we like to think there is an important difference between the two, you may choose to consider ‘boot’ to be close enough.  ‘Shoes’ should not be considered correct.  

4.         Q: Do players who roll doubles get to take a second turn?

        A: Not by our rules. To keep the game moving along we recommend that ‘doubles’ do not count for more than their numerical sum.  If, however, you want to avoid a debate about it, and if you don’t mind setting the precedent, do what seems best at the moment!

5.         Q: Players seem to be struggling to pronounce some of the names printed on the cards.

        A: If you detect issues with reading and pronunciation, you may ask the player if they’d like help from you with it.  If the name is difficult for you as well, consider it a ‘teachable moment’ and you can look up the correct pronunciation online and share in the opportunity for learning.

6.        Q: Players are having trouble reading the cards aloud.

        A: When you detect this issue, you may gently suggest that the player team up with another student who is more comfortable reading aloud and then select a student whom you know to be capable of jumping into the game.

7.         Q: There are some cards with nothing printed on them, and they aren’t divider cards.  Is this a mistake?

A: This is not a mistake.  These cards are included so that you may feel free to create your own personalized prompt cards.

8.         Q: Will there be updates to the game in the future?

        A: Yes, we continue to solicit crowd-sourced information about topics, people, places, and events to include in expansion packs.  Our website has a new content submission link where you may enter suggestions that include newly discovered historic and cultural insights which were previously not verified, new examples of contemporary milestones in current events, pop culture important to the queer community, and emerging identities based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and geopolitical regions.

9.          Q: Are there any additional Rainbow Quest! tools for teachers?

        A: Yes.  In the lower-left corner of each prompt card is a code that corresponds to an entry in an online teacher ancillary, where additional curated information about each topic may be accessed without the risk of entering any sexually explicit content.  This remains in development and will be updated on our website.

10.         Q: We are almost out of the notepads, can we purchase more?

        A: Currently we do not offer replacement packs of notepads, as any other writing/drawing surfaces will suffice at considerably less cost.

11.         Q: We have more people that want to play than we have meeples for.

        A:  The ideal number of players is 5-7.  More players make the game more interesting, but each round takes considerably longer.  We’d suggest getting two games in play at opposite ends of the room.  If that is not an option, simply use any small token (coin, trinket, eraser) as a substitute meeple for the additional players.

12.         Q: The game just takes too long for the limited time we have.

        A: Game times will vary by many factors, including how much the players want or need to share their own input.  If your players are more talkative, use the timer for each turn. (Usually, the timer is used for only the You’ve Got Talent and Freehand challenges, but can be used with each challenge category to ensure that the game continues to move along.)

13.         Q: You notice that a player appears uncomfortable. What should you do?

        A: Without drawing attention to that participant, ask if anyone may want to give someone else a chance to play.

14.         Q: Players complain that many of the events, people, or cultural references are representative of earlier generations, and will argue ‘how are we supposed to know this?’

        A: Rainbow Quest! was developed specifically to illuminate events, people, and cultural moments that are NOT considered general knowledge and have not been ‘taught’ until now in public schools.  The purpose of the game is to introduce this information to convey the fact that LGBTQ+ people have been part of society since recorded history, but have had their personal lives hidden because of severe punishment and social stigma. There is also a great deal of contemporary content, because of the increased visibility of the community in parts of the world where there are laws that decriminalize homosexual identity and offer equal protections from discrimination.