Army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons
By Hanan Greenberg
Published: 28.02.05, 14:17
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1. D&D and the images in the article
Josh Brown ,   Israel   (03.08.05)
There is NO connection between the images in the article and the game of Dungeons and Dragons. Dungeons and Dragons is played around a table, with players using their imaginations to picture what is happening. While there are live action games (called LARPs), most people do NOT play D&D in this manner.
2. Dungeons & Dragons
Alex Mason ,   Ontario, Canada   (03.08.05)
Dungeons & Dragons is a roleplaying game. The escape from reality, as mentioned in the article, is there. It's a way to relax and enjoy the company of friends. Just like any other social activity. A well-run game can teach people the values of cooperation and teamwork, as the players, pitted against the Dungeon Master, try to make their characters survive by combining their skills and abilities. Some games can be purely 'hack and slash' where the only goal is to kill whatever monsters and other 'bad guys' are put in the way. Others can be full of puzzles which the players must solve to move on. Each game is different. IMO, the soldiers should be encouraged, not discouraged, to play.
3. The D&D Article
Tim Marshall ,   St. John's, Canada   (03.08.05)
Whoever wrote this published a bunch of pictures with it that have nothing whatsoever to do with the game. It's played by a bunch of friends sitting around a table, not by medieval reenactors! As a former tank officer in the Canadian Army, I can't tell you how laughable this article is. The very pictures posted shows the reporter knows nothing whatsoever about the game and calls me to question whether Greenberg is simply making up this trash. Relating whether a person plays a harmless game of imagintion to reliability in security clearances? It reeks of pseudo science and it doesn't need to be said what this sort of nonsense and horrors has lead to in the past. Greenberg might just as well have presented pictures of research stations in Antarctica and tried to pass them off as pictures of the Bekaa Valley - such a leap of ignorance is of the same profundity.
4. Article by Greenberg
RI Student ,   Providence, RI   (03.08.05)
Rather than get defensive I would like to point out that the use of Dungeons and Dragons as a scape goat or any form of fantasy gaming has gotten quite old. It is just a creative outlet. Anything which would make someone 'less trustworthy' or 'unstable' could be dervied from a number of other mental concerns. I am not going to blame the author or the photographer though and I would urge for people to take into consideration that they are not making the decisions that ht army is.
5. D&D and detatchment from reality
Damon ,   Easton USA   (03.09.05)
Its a shame the IDF has to take this stance with regards to D&D. I was in the US Army, and played fairly regularly (and other games as well). It really sounds like the IDF is the one that is detached from reality and suceptable to outside influences. A shame that an otherwise excellent fighting force has to take this stance of intolerance and ignorance.
6. The IDF is missing out on a great opportunity
Jeff Diewald ,   Chelmsford, MA   (03.09.05)
As a long-time LARPer, we just recently held Intercon E, the largest multi-genre LARP convention in the world. You'd be hard pressed to find a brighter, more creative crowd anywhere else, and they include many people who work in sensitive and challenging areas. The group includes lawyers, engineers, officers in the US armed forces, psychiatrists and other professionals. You also have to ask - does the IDF run tactical simulations and leadership war games? Those are LARPs too, just with an official title. It sounds like the leaders of the IDF could really use some education on reality.
7. Roleplaying Strengthens Character NOT Weekens
Brian David Phillips ,   Taipei, Taiwan   (03.09.05)
The IDF is falling prey to some very weak-linked thinking and following along with some anti-roleplaying propaganda setout by the religious right long ago and demonstrated in a number of psychology, sociological, and educational studies. Rather than weaken character as it purported by the IDF spokesperson, it actually helps troubled folks deal with conflict resolution and other issues. See CARARPG's study database for some very clear studies on this. There are NO studies that support the contention that RPGs have general longterm negative effect (even the cases used by groups like BADD have been demonstrated to have been individuals with drug or family social problems or previous psychological problems that had nothing to do with their involvement with DnD or similar RPGs). The IDF purports that whenever they find out young people play RPGs, they send them in for psychological testing which then disqualifies a number of them for restricted level duties. However, this is a pretainted sample as they don't send everyone to the psychologist, only the roleplayers. It is highly likely, based upon studies already done of this type, that if they sent a random sample of recruits who were not roleplayers to the psychologists but with the proscription that these kids were roleplayers and needed to be checked then as high or higher a number would also test as unqualified (from som previous studies, it is likely to be higher among the non-playing populace). The IDF is not basing their decisions upon hard science but upon prejudice then they are parsing data to back that prejudice up. Yes, some kids who play roleplaying games are screwed up . . . just as some kids who don't are screwed up. Everyone has a friend who seems a bit more than a little obsessed with their hobby or avocation, it's not the hobby that is at cause, it is a pre-existing psychological weakness that has nothing to do with hobbies. Kids who play roleplaying games tend to be more intelligent (tend to, not always) and most have a very firm grasp on what is real and what is not. Many are indeed fantasy prone individuals but this is a bonus for creative thinking rather than a disadvantage. Many of the traditional roleplayers have moved on to computer gaming where the identification and fantasy features have become even easier, I don't see the IDF dropping kids from consideration if they play PS2 or X-Box and they should not (neither should they be prejudiced against those who play the more intellectually challenging forms that actually cultivate creative problem solving). I would suggest that the IDF drop the 1970's stereotypes and join the rest of us in the twenty-first century. BTW, for those who were upset about the Live Action Role Play photos with the article, LARPS and Interactive Dramas grew out of tabletop RPGs and there are a number of crossover traits. The article does specifically mention the live action variants as variations so. I would suspect that the folks at the IDF who are prejudiced against DnD probably don't know the difference either (some probably assume the DnD players are all into the occult and sacrifice puppies as well as their stance has a lot in common with the ultraconservative religious right rather than with any informed or educated stance).
8. Kidding right?
Henry J. Cittone ,   New York, NY USA   (03.09.05)
When I first saw the article I thought it was a gag. All I can do is shake my head. The IDF has more important things to do than worry about what their soldiers do with their rec time.
9. D&D Players Not All Good or Bad
William Drell ,   Chicago, USA   (03.09.05)
I find that Dungeons and Dragons players have a knee jerk reaction to criticism that involves lauding themselves as remarkably intelligent and creative people. Ultimately, this glowing image is as inappropriate a generalization as the accusation that they are all quasi-psychotic men in the woods with foam swords. Your typical D&D players are average joes with your typical human foibles, and their dedication to the game varies as much as the devotees of any hobby. Some people will tell you about their character for three hours and seem to care a little more deeply than normal about these imaginary lives, while some people just like sitting around the table with friends and drinks occasionally trying to roll high on their dice to "kill another pesky dragon." D&D players are ultimately analogous to football fans, represented in their entirety by neither the highly intelligent professional who like to watch a game on Sunday nor the idiot with a clown wig and blue paint screaming shirtlessly from the sidelines.
10. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong
Bill Wick ,   Texas, US   (03.09.05)
Your reporter is ill is usually the case where this subject is concerned. D&D players don't leave the table. If they do, then they aren't playing D&D. There is no allowance for live action play within the rules. The pictures with the article are not representative of D&D players but rather Live Action Roleplayers. I would suggest the reporter do some more research and the editor do his/her job. And the IDF get a grip.
11. Just Silly
Dwin ,   Norwick, USA   (03.09.05)
When the Orcs and Goblins try to attack Israel, I know which IDF soldiers *I* will be hiding behind!
12. LARP
Stefan   (03.09.05)
DND DOES NOT SUPPORT LARP RULES. Do better research. If you're a reporter, you can figure out what LARP means.
13. Dungeons and Dragons
Chris Ouellet ,   Canada   (03.09.05)
This is hilarious that the IDF discriminates against D&D players. You live in a country where a large fraction of the people beleive in the literal interpretation of a book that has no scientific basis and yet these people are allowed to control nuclear weapons. The great irony is that D&D more often than not involves advanced tactical strategy in play and it is the military that is discriminating against it.
14. What?
Kelly ,   USA   (03.09.05)
That's NOT D&D those people are playing in the photographs in your article. That's some form of LARP (Live Action Roleplay). D&D is played with pecil, paper and dice - typically sitting around a table.
15. IDF, good for a laugh.
Me ,   Indianapolis, IN   (03.09.05)
It's nice to see that Israel has decided to take the world lead in being backwards and ignorant in its policies.
16. Serious factual errors in this poorly researched article.
Timur Tabi ,   Austin, TX   (03.09.05)
As the other comments have indicated, there are some serious factual errors in this article. The pictures in the article are of LARP (Live Action Role Playing) players. There is a HUGE difference between a LARP player and a D&D player. LARP players have a lot more in common with actors than they do with D&D players. D&D players sit around a table and talk with each other. No one gets up and acts anything out. They don't go into the woods, or wear fantasy clothing, or wield swords, or anything like that. They just sit and talk. Hanan Greenberg did a really bad job with the article. I don't know if the IDF is talking about D&D players or LARP players. I think this article needs to be rewritten.
17. Poor Research
Jonathan McKamey ,   Rochester, NY, USA   (03.09.05)
I am amazed that the reported and/or photographer mixed Dungons and Dragons (D&D) and Live Action Role Playing (LARP). That is like mixing up players of a board game like chess with people that play paintball. They may have some common threads, but they are two completely different activities.
18. Congrats!
D. Samuelson ,   Huntington Beach, CA   (03.09.05)
You have been /.-ed! Congradulations! Oh, and one more thing; Yes, RPers tend to be more intelligent then the average joe, just like football fans tend to be ex-sportsman. It has to do with the hobby itself; roleplaying, in any form, including the Rennisance Faire, is a hobby mostly enjoyed by intelligent, creative people. I have yet to see a person who sits at a roleplaying group and tries to "kill another pesky dragon" stay in the game that long; they usually migrate back to their X-box and their sunday BBQs. Remember, we generalize for a reason, and you can usually assume that most roleplayers are intelligent creative people just as you can assume that most artists and storytellers are intelligent creative people. Hell, if you think about it, all roleplayers are improvisational storytellers, which makes them artists. And, as we all know, most artists are intelligent, creative people. Congrats!
19. D&D Rules
Fish Bazasko ,   Seattle, USA   (03.09.05)
It's sad to think that this would curtail my military career. Fantasy fun!
20. Would you guys stick to the subject?
Elad Droree ,   Ramat Hasharon, IL   (03.09.05)
I'd like to first ask you all to read the whole article. It specifically says "In a more active version of the game" (Namely, RD&D). Also, remember that you are reading a TRANSLATION! As someone who has read the article in Hebrew and English I can tell you that it's not a very good translation, either, as the Hebrew version mentions LARPing and RD&D specifically, with traditional D&D only mentioned as background on the game. As for the subject at hand, I happen to know some LARPers here in Israel (In fact, I think I may know the people interviewed here...) but haven't heard of any problems with the IDF thus far. Obviously the very thought is ridiculous, you can't just generally say "LARPers are a bunch of lunatics". I'd admit that many of them are, but no more than other people enlisting.
21. Silly Mortals
Thor ,   Asgard   (03.09.05)
If the IDF is considering D&D, then perhaps playing video games and watching movies should also be included in their criteria for being "detached from reality." Recreation takes many forms. Just because D&D is not mainstream or has a higher level of interactivity and creativity than people are used to engaging in is no reason to discriminate against it.
22. D&D Article
Jeff ,   Detroit, MI   (03.09.05)
How sad... I wonder if the tax payers in Israel know how their money is being spent. Of all the stupid requirements... And I thought having an imagination was a good thing. I hope there's no WW:Wod, Star Trek, Star Wars, Modern, Cthulu, (ad nauseum...) players in the IDF. They're probably next. While they're at it, they should probably introduce racial profiling to find out which group is more prone to bouts of imagination so they can nip that in the bud.
23. On the other hand...
Miikka R. ,   Lahti, Finland   (03.09.05)
It's been remarked in talkback that D&D attracts bright and imaginable people. The cynical option is to note that these are not necessarily desirable traits for the army. As for the inaccuracy, live-action (LARPing) is indeed a distinct if considerably overlapping activity, but D&D, as the first and very popular game of its kind, is often used as a byword for RPGs - turning this into a small terminology problem. Unless, of course, the Israel army thinks that all other games of the type - knock-offs included - are fundamentally different, or isn't even aware of them. I'll pass on mentioning what that indicates.
24. What about computer games
seth ,   us   (03.09.05)
Is anyone who plays a role playing game on the computer 'detached from reality'? I dont think they'd disapprove of recruits who played counter strike...this is just stupid.
25. Middle East Woes
Mike Olson ,   Costa Mesa, CA   (03.09.05)
And here I thought matters were improving in the Middle East. When will the madness end?! Also, I agree with everyone who said the article was poorly-researched and -written, and I'd like to extend that to who did this crappy translation. Man, there are just so many jokes to make here, I can't choose just one!
26. Dungeons and Dragons article
Scott Withington ,   Detroit, USA   (03.09.05)
I thik that it is highly likely that the IDF is confusing cause and effect. Many people who have a low self image do migrate to escapeist passtimes such as Computer gaming, video games, reading novels, or role playing games.. I myself was a much teased underdog in school and became interested in many of the above . The role playing in D&D helped me to come out of my shell and gain some self confidence. I would suspect that the training a military recruit goes through does a lot to build self confidence and would help to aid those who lack it. Focusing on D&D is a useless and harmful distraction that does nothing to address those who have a low self image, other than make them feel they need to protect themselves from persecution. I find it hard to believe that a nation founded by those who suffered from the worst forms of persecution would support it in any way.
27. Makes sense to me...
Miles ,   U.S.   (03.09.05)
Instead of worrying because an army doesn't consider people with creative energy and a love of fantasy, role playing, adopting multiple roles, to be up to its standards, you should consider the possibility that life in an army may not be up to the standards of role players. IDF to role players.... "you don't meet our standards." Role players to armies everywhere.... "you don't meet our standards... and here's why.... you are overly focussed on "reality", discourage people from considering the legitimate position and view of the "opponent", and instead of encouraging thought and interaction, care primarily about obedience and everybody keeping the nose to the grindstone." --- Be that as it may, the incompatability between role playing games or theater arts and being part of an obedient killing machine should be fairly obvious to anyone, and in life, it's really a question of which side do you want to be on?
28. Le Duh
Pink_Blot ,   Texas, USA   (03.09.05)
Of course the IDF doesn't like this. It challenges their "mythology", one in which War is a realistic approach to world problems, and unquestioning, non-imaginitive response is preferable. They should be bumping these guys up in intelligence, but fortunately for Civil Liberties, they aren't (since they are easily influenced by "outside" sources, imagine about how they would be influenced by "inside" sources).
29. IQ vs IDF vs D&D?
Tim ,   Fairfax, USA   (03.09.05)
"These people have a tendency to be influenced by external factors which could cloud their judgment, a military official says. "They may be detached from reality or have a weak personality – elements which lower a person's security clearance, allowing them to serve in the army, but not in sensitive positions." Some people may also view those who embrace various religions as likewise being 'weak of character' and prone to external influence. Such a blanket approach to analyzing a persons behavior and hobbies shows a real ignorance on the part of the IDF leadership. A person is more than a single hobby. Beside if you are ever attacked by giant spiders or evil wizards, they could come in handy. ;^)
30. I had no idea the IDF was this flaky
Mark Fournier ,   Ottawa, Ontario   (03.09.05)
Not that this should be too much of a surprise, coming from military intelligence. The CIA brought us MK-Ultra, remote viewing, and the tin foil hat, and the KGB were the largest distributers of woo-woo science on the planet. To this day, the U.S. military funds psi black ops, with guys sitting in a room trying to think through a wall. You gotta hand it to the intelligence community...they know all about detachment from reality.
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