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Try to beat Star Trek's no-win Kobayashi Maru test, flowchart-style

A flowchart walks you through some scintillating possibilities for Starfleet's exercise in failure. Will your fate be decided by Klingons or tribbles?

Kobayashi Maru flow chart

Test your Klingon-fighting fortitude.


You're a cadet at Starfleet Academy. You've heard of the infamous Kobayashi Maru test, a no-win scenario designed to see how you will react in a hopeless situation. You step onto the simulated bridge of a starship with your crew all around you. There's a distress signal coming from the civilian freighter Kobayashi Maru located in the Neutral Zone between Federation and Klingon space. What do you do?

Reddit user ninnis compiled a flowchart showing the different paths available to Kobayashi Maru test-takers. This is as close as most Star Trek fans will ever get to taking the real test, which has appeared in the original-series Star Trek movies as well as the current reboot films.

Ninnis takes some poetic license with the possibilities. Certain paths can lead you to encounter well-known antagonists or end up in a Sulu-style sword fight.

Spoilers ahead: If you've worked your way through the flowchart, then you know that it doesn't really matter what path you take. Appropriately, every avenue (except one) ends in failure. The flowchart does give you the option of taking the Captain Kirk route by reprogramming the module into a winning scenario. Is that cheating? Maybe. But at least you can say you beat the Kobayashi Maru.