Army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons
By Hanan Greenberg
Published: 28.02.05, 14:17
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61. D & D
Maia Mihalik ,   Hillsboro, Oregon   (03.10.05)
What the hell is wrong with these people? I was one of the US Navy Veterans that had the highest security level, and was a D & D player. To be honest, you have to be more in tune with those subtlties that otherwise are ignored to be really good at the job. In D & D, those are the things that bite you in the ass if you ignore them. People have to have opportunities to disconnect here and there, we all knew when it was time to be on task and when it was ok to simply have fun. At least this is a legal, non-harmful means of entertainment. If the IDF gets paid as poorly as we Americans, then that is about all they can afford for entertainment anyways.
62. Dungeons and Dragons inspire creativity.
Griffin, Michael ,   Arlington, TX, USA   (03.10.05)
I am not surprised about the blanent ignorance that this article proves. The IDF could not be further from the fact. Dungeons and Dragons was created by Gary Gygax and made the game popular with TSR. TSR stands for Tacticle Stratigic Research. Role playing games help the individual in crisis situations by allowing them to think on thier feet faster than those who do not play RPG's. Just because it is set in a fantasy situation means nothing. It is making the player think about how to get through and solve the problem. Now Im talking about role- playing not roll - playing. Yes D&D uses dice and paper and the player. But it is the player that makes the character. Does it allow the character to escape in a fantasy world..yes. However this is not a negative thing but positive thing. In todays day and age with death and destruction around us everyday and people losing hope left and right it allows the person to escape and for a little while. The player knows it is a game(if not then it is not the game that is at fault but the player. Even in the main rule-book it states that this is fantasy and not real). The IDF is labeling all the players as physcologically unstable. Yet those same unstable people are lawyers, doctors, judges, poloticians, ect. If they are so unstable then the same government that allows the IDF to make this call needs to also do the same testing on thier civilian population. I wonder how many intellengent people would lose thier job. 6. The IDF is missing out on a great opportunity Jeff Diewald , Chelmsford, MA (03.09.05) Pretty much sums it up. War Games are nothing more than RPG's and they are live action. In fact the American Army created a online game for use in recruiting. The person plays a soldier in the American Army.
63. 'detached from subtlety'?
matthew ,   ch, nc, usa   (03.10.05)
ha! They wrote 'detached from reality ' seven times in that article. How about being 'detached from subtlety'? We get it already. People who spend a lot of time making group decisions, compromising, and coming up with creative solutions to problems are not fit for being jar-heads.
64. The Truth is Finally Known
Too-Pork the Black ,   Glitterhame   (03.10.05)
Aye, I'd first be set upon by the pox afore I would allow any 'fantastical games player' into my party of adventurers! I'd not be allowing a wandering Belker, or a hideous Morgh a surprise round. But with my men and women playing games instead of paying attention to their post, they may recieve as much as a -5 on their listen check.
65. Who is detached from reality?
Jim ,   Utah, USA   (03.10.05)
D&D gamers recognize that their role paying is not reality. How may members of these "elite" units or the world for that matter can destinguish reality in their role playing - i.e. religion, rank, propeganda, etc...
66. LOL!
A ,   USA   (03.10.05)
Yeah because we just can't say "no" to something so popular and "in" like D&D. Come on! Playing D&D shows autonomy of thought and intelligence. It's a well-known fact that armies LOVE people who are "susceptible to influence" for their ranks. Why do you think they recruit young? They want to do your thinking for you before you can for yourself.
67. well that wasnt right
patrick haecker ,   marietta GA (usa)   (03.10.05)
well if you can repel an attack of orcs or worse vampric litches we will talk. just go to and you will see how wrong you are it will only take you 5 mins
68. all i can say is
patrick haecker ,   marietta GA USA   (03.10.05)
what were they thinking or should i say what were they not thinking about by the way that isnt solar that is a larp like everyone else siad somone should belosing there job about now for biased and or non informed reporting
69. Documented Studies of RPGs
John Kim ,   Redwood City, USA   (03.10.05)
While this report makes clear that the army considers role-playing gamers to be less reliable, there is no citation or documentation of why they find that. None of the documented psychological studies that I have seen indicate significant negative effects. (cf. my page at ) On the other hand, the Army may have different criteria than someone studying children. For example, one study found a slight increase in Cattall factor Q1 ("Experimenting; liberal, freethinking"). The most relevant is probably Rosenthal et al. The abstract reports, "Scores of 54 fantasy role-game players and 64 National Guardsman were compared on a neuroticism scale and demographic variables. While the Role-gamers reported daydreaming and sleeping more than the Guardsmen, the popular stereotype that game players are withdrawn, emotionally immature adolescents was not confirmed. The typical game player was male with as many close friends as the guardsmen. Mean neuroticism scores did not appear to differ between the two groups and were not high enough to be considered clinically significant."
70. IDF vs DnD
NiCK ,   Orlando, USA   (03.10.05)
I find that it is sad that these same people who as children dressed up in army cloths and ran around shooting fake guns now have the strength of personality to join the military. DnD players are not a group of weak-minded fools that hide in an alter reality because they find this one too hard to handle. As a 37 year old player of DnD who currently works in law enforcement, while never serving in the military, I believe that most of the people I have meet have had higher degrees of both intellect and creativity. Well there you go there’s the problem the IDF doesn’t want you to think for yourself, like every other military in the world the idea of soldiers thinking for themselves and not blindly following orders (orders like the abuse of Islamic prisoners by American’s I’m not saying what was done is wrong, just the military should have backed them for doing it) and then not having the same strength of character to admit that they gave said orders. Of course this is just the ranting of one poor misinformed American that has no idea how the rest of the world really works. What I would rather see is the truth of the matter, the IDF just come out and say we think your strange and would rather not allow you to defend your country. I leave out my name and email address due to Israel’s firm and staunch belief in getting even (again not saying I don’t agree with what your country does, I just don’t wish to be on the receiving end of it.)
71. Tabletop vs LARP
Aingeal ,   USA   (03.10.05)
Looks like from the pictures that they're focusing on the LARP stuff, since I see no tabletop going on. Slackers ;) Those of us on tabletop are SO much more demented. Tho, I would have to say I've got a better grasp of small group fighting tactics since playing.
72. Support for IDF stance
Michael Wolfling ,   Brisbane, Australia   (03.10.05)
I strongly support Israel's position to exclude roleplayers from sensitive positions in their armed forces. In fact, I believe that they should exclude all roleplayers from their armed forces. Roleplayers are intrinsically open minded people with a healthy imagination, and a desire to experience scenarios that are outside the constraints of the real world. These are not the people Israel wants in their army. How can they continue their thousand year war (that is largely based on religious belief), if they populate their army with open minded thinkers? Free thought is the enemy of religious fanaticism, and has the tendency to undermine the complete control that Israel needs to exert over its military in order to continue the bloodshed. If any of my roleplaying friends told me they were going to join the IDF, I'd be suggesting that they undertake a psychological evaluation. The IDF has the same right.
73. U.S. Special Forces
JW ,   USA   (03.10.05)
Oddly enough - I've known about 15 people in the U.S. Spec Ops branches, and I'm pretty sure *all* of them either played D&D or were involved in the SCA (or both). Better get rid of those other indicators of weak personalities too I suppose, like reading fiction, watching TV, and voting for Sharon , , ,
74. Its a GOOD thing
Fernandes   (03.10.05)
Those who wish to join an army with risk to their life and limb are a bit crazy anyways.
75. critics missing the point
Andrew Taylor ,   Newcastle, Australia   (03.10.05)
While the reporter clearly is confused between D & D and LARP, the point the IDF is making, is that as roleplayers as a group, are unsuitable for clasified military work. I'm a roleplayer and an LARP'er and I can see where the IDF is coming from. Roleplayers have more than their fair share of fantasists and people that I imagine entirely unsuited to the demands of specialist military units. That's not to say every roleplayer has a screw loose, just more than than the norm. I've gamed with several people in service careers, but I 've also met people who are clearly emotionally imature and live in a made up fantasy world, lying about their past life claiming they were in special forces units or 'secret' martial arts organizations. Lets face it, roleplaying is 'geeky' and geeks don't make good grunts. Nothing especially to be ashamed off.
76. Fantasy Games and the Isreli Army
Nathan ,   Phoenix, Arizona USA   (03.10.05)
I am completely appalled at the IDF's position on RPG'rs. I do hope that there is a bit of misinformation presented. I will say that there are many people who cannot handle briefly escaping from reality, in a safe, harmless and intellectual way, and yes those people should not be in sensitive positions especially when it comes to the defense of a country in such a problematic region. I do hope that the information that was intended to be relayed is more along the lines of "People found to participate in these games who are privy to sensitive information are automatically sent to psychiatric evaluation to determine whether or not they are detached from reality, and can therefore handle being involved in this aspect of national defense, or should be removed from that position". Now I don't mean to imply that anyone is lying, or making this story up or any part of it. I am just sharing my thoughts on the subject. I certainly hope that the American Military doesn't discriminate in this matter. But as life is they probably do hold some unwarranted stigma against us RPG'rs
77. D&D
Greg Radford ,   Newcastle, Australia   (03.10.05)
What a load of crap! I have been a avid roleplayer since the age of 11, & now at 35, I can say that games like D&D not only educated me better in math, but also allowed a young man who was nervous around others, to become stronger in his own inter-personal interactions. D&D is more of a positive influence than the nay-sayers would have ANYONE believe! It encourages the aspects of good over evil, right over wrong, team work & strongly promotes social interaction. D&D a bad thing? Not likely. Anyone who says otherwise is a small minded fool with nothing better to do than waste other peoples times with their uneducated perceptions.
78. About Time
Jay ,   NYC, USA   (03.10.05)
Thank you IDF for actually acting on something that the rest of the sane world has known for a long time. DnD players have totally lost their sense of reality. Being a college student, I am tired of seeing these "role players" take up dormitory recreation rooms from Friday afternoon until the wee hours of Monday morning dressed up in robes, talking in high pitched voices, and trying to cast spells or summon demons. These guys need to get a life, or should I say a real life, away from the 56-sided dice and red dragons.
79. Dungeons and Dragons
Walt ,   US   (03.10.05)
IDF says D&D players are detached from reality, but what about IDF officers who pump lead into little school girls?
80. RPGs
Max ,   Barcelona, Spain   (03.10.05)
i think this is brilliant, especially for people that don't want to serve. i remember watching people do the whole life battle thing, and thinking 'wow this is funny, a bunch of long haired guys running around in aluminium foil, swinging wooden sticks' its a nice recreation though, i mean think open-air theater, and shouldn't have anything to do with army applications - unless they decide to select against drama students as well. but we all know that soldiers shouldn't have imagination - and maybe thats the main problem. to person that commented above - called Walt, something about IDF shooting girls... right, because as a representitive of the US - you are the one to talk LOL
81. D&D and the Military
Deborah Sweet ,   New York, U.S.A.   (03.10.05)
What utter claptrap. Although I do not play D&D, I know many who do. (I prefer the more refined pursuit of Renaissance Faire role-playing, myself). All of the D&D players I know, and I know many, are intelligent, well-educated, and have good jobs. Computer Anyalysts, Lawyers, Nurses, Schoolteachers, Cops, they are from many walks of life and enjoy the relaxation and competition afforded by the occasional game of D&D, just as another might enjoy going fishing, or skiing. My friends who play are unshakeable in their loyalties, and would, if needed, serve their country to the highest degree of excellence without hesitation. Some ALREADY DO! I believe that the thought processes required by D&D can only be an ASSET to the military, not a liablility.
82. scientific facts
Babeth ,   Vilvoorde, Belgium   (03.10.05)
When graduating at the Free University of Brussels (Belgium) I wrote my thesis about RPG's and LARP's. My findings were more based on the subject of image culture and the mutual influence between RPG's and movies, but a sidetrack in my study concluded that RPG's and LARP's are in fact beneficial for players regarding social skills, problem-solving skills, dealing with crises, intelligence-gatering and situation assessment. The only negative effect is when a player becomes obsessed with the game (but that is a statistical given... every hobby has its "nutcases"), plays too often and thus neglects his real-life social life and work or school. But careful counselling by concerned friends/players can certainly help. conservative religious groups in the USA are known to denounce this game because it often involves players playing priests of some invented religion or magic-wielding wizards and witches and players having to fight gods or demons. They argue that players are taught "magic" and must deviate from the True Faith. They go as far as bookburning really... destroying players materials. I've read many letters about that in TSR's Dragon Magazine for years. So, finding that the Israelic Army discriminates people for having an interesting hobby is not so surprising for me. I also suspect that there may be some religious issue involved as well. It is a shame really. Because the practice of playing RPG's or LARP's is being used in psychiatry, psychology and professional team-building sessions. Maybe not in the high fantasy setting of a classical D&D game, but certainly as a tool for personal upbringing. Just to quote one of my first gamesmasters at the VUB; "Hey, I got my enlistment for the army. Great, the biggest LARP I've ever played !"
83. The Real Reason
Troy Hurteau ,   Raleigh, USA   (03.10.05)
Honestly, there is a very good reason the army doesn't like people that role-play. People that play D&D and other games of that nature learn to think for themselves. This is counters what the army wants, people that act on orders without thinking. D&D players are no more or less detached from reality than others. The game gets bad publicity because it makes an easy scape goat when the real problem is there are truly unstable people out there that need help and are not receiving it.
84. Military RPG
Tim ,   Buffalo, USA   (03.10.05)
So if I play a military Role Playing Game is that ok? Or an I still too detached from reality?
85. Interesting
Claus Raasted ,   Copenhagen, Denmark   (03.10.05)
It's all about where you're coming from and what you see. If the Isrealis have found that half of their "test subjects" have had too low scores then no wonder they're worried. If they'd done the same test with basketball and gotten those results they'd probably label basketball as a problematic hobby. Anyway, the thing that I found most interesting about this is the difference in outlook from all the "You're so wrong!" commenters. Guys (and girls)... while criticizing somebody for not knowing what D&D, LARP and RPGs are, take a moment to savour your own ignorance. A lot of the comments about what LARP is probably to the American scene, but definately not to the Scandinavian one. In Denmark, it's a hugely popular mainstream activity with around 1-2% of the population playing. Which in the U.S would amount to some 3-4 million players. Also, it's a very "hot" topic in education and kids' recreation, with tons of advocates praising it. The amount of LARP being done in Scandinavia labeled "art" is quite impressive too. In Isreal perhaps it's different. The simple truth is that a lot of military training exercises have a LOT in common with live roleplaying - though not neccesarily with people fighting with padded sticks while wearing weird costumes. ;-) Now that's taken from a submarine LARP which was played last march in an actual Russian submarine... being a simulation of military life onboard a Russian sub in 1963. If the Isrealis show the IDF THAT side of LARP, they'll be out of hot water in no time. But if they only see stuff they don't understand and have disturbing statistics haunting them, it's no wonder they're worried. Even if they're wrong... Claus
86. Considering that...
Niall Dologhan ,   London, UK   (03.10.05)
... all the problems in the Middle East are based upon dodgy mythologies (i.e. people rising from the dead, burning bushes that speak, talking snakes, creation of the world in 7 days, pillars of salt, water transforming into wine, loaves becoming fishes etc... I personally think D&D players are perfectly suited to life in the IDF as these are everyday happenings in the world of D&D...
87. Amazing - They Are Filtering their Best and Brightest
subbob ,   Kansas, United State   (03.10.05)
What an ignorant policy. Rather than setting these people aside they should be putting them into positions, such as military intelligence or strategic planning, where their creativity and, in many cases, genious could be applied constructively. In an age where most people are undereducated and fixated on activities which require little brain power, the majority of D&D players are actively engaging their brains everytime they play. I speak with some authority on this matter as a 20-year US Navy veteran, submarine officer, holding among the highest security clearances possible AND a life-long D&D player
88. Detached from reality...
Michael Cule ,   High Wycombe, UK   (03.10.05)
In my (god help me) 28 years of gaming I've only come across one player who couldn't tell the difference between fantasy and reality and he, oddly enough, was ex-military, having taken rather too much damage to the head while serving in Malaysia in the 50s. The rest of us know we're playing let's pretend, even at our most 'immersed' moments. We do it because it's fun, a way to socialize and be creative at once, of sharing with our friends the joy of what Tolkien called 'secondary creation'. Us gamers regard ourselves as slightly more creative than the average couch potato, being involved in producing our entertainment rather than just sitting down soaking it up. Yes, we are weird and geeky, yes many of us are overweight and shortsighted. But we're having fun. To my fellow gamers let me say, lighten up people! When a poor, harrassed journalist gets LARPs and tabletop confused, correct him politely. And when they us 'DnD' to mean all role-playing games take a deep breath and give the standard explanation for the 534th time... (Those of you who are gamers and haven't discovered other games than DnD need to go down to your Friendly Local Game Store and start growing up...) Michael Cule Aging Gamer Geek.
89. Reality
G-Keefe ,   Salem, MA, USA   (03.10.05)
Well, that was just plain ridiculous. Looking over it a second time I really don't see ANY evidence, just 'specific criteria'. Was there any actual study done? Why aren't they targetting people who read the horoscopes? Or play 'Grand Theft Auto'? If fantasy is the problem, we'd better get everyone who saw or read the 'Lord of the Rings' series! But, of course, that would reek of censorship, not to mention causing massive attrition. To my eyes this is either an embarassingly ill-informed assumption, or the efforts of a bunch of close-minded pencil-pushers to trick their superiors into thinking they're doing some actual work. So, any idea how to send a letter or e-mail to the IDF and complain that they're targetting the wrong group of "detached from reality" people?
90. Do Blame the Media
James ,   Ohio   (03.10.05)
To sound a bit contrite, it is partially the ignorance of the media, and of most people in general that furthers a stereo type, I personally don't know one way or another, but reading this article and seeing that the pictures are false by all accounts, leads me to believe that they had no intention of showing anything but a group of people who lost touch with reality. I would hope the media from now on chooses to do research instead of going off of guesses and conjecture
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