D&D players strike back

If you’re still smarting from those disparaging remarks about D&D by the John McCain campaign, take heart: the folks at Hasbro have stepped forward to champion the cause. Take a look at this letter from a Hasbro exec to the McCain staffer who wrote the infamous press release:

Dear Mr. Goldfarb,

I was disappointed to read the disparaging intent of your comments regarding Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fans, both in your response to New York Times editors, and on the John McCain campaign website.

Dungeons & Dragons is a global game with millions of consumers in the U.S. and abroad. The brand is owned by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc.

For fans, the game is essentially about heroism and therefore it is not surprising to us that thousands of military personnel play and enjoy the game. Hasbro, in turn, supports the U.S. Armed Forces by sending multiple crates of game products, including Dungeons & Dragons, to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recently a soldier who saw your comments online said, “Wizards of the Coast (the makers of D&D) has sent care packages to the troops on many occasions, providing free gaming supplies in support of our men and women serving the country overseas to help them decompress after hours. McCain’s people should really check their facts before they spout off. Does John McCain have no idea how many GIs play D&D?”

We would very much appreciate you not making any more condescending comments about D&D — as it is a great game enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Thank you.

Wayne Charness
Senior Vice President
Hasbro, Inc.

Weirdly, this is apparently not the first time that D&D has been used as a political pejorative by Goldfarb; earlier in August he issued a clever apology for his first such offense [note: looking at this apology, I’m unsure if it actually happened or is just a joke that’s circulating around the web. If you can confirm one or the other possibility, please comment below!]:

If my comments caused any harm or hurt to the hard working Americans who play Dungeons & Dragons, I apologize. This campaign is committed to increasing the strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma scores of every American.

OK, that’s pretty amusing, and lends credence to my suspicions that Goldfarb is a D&Der (or a bitter ex-D&Der). I mean, he even listed the stats out in their correct order.

And lastly, faithful reader (yes, I seem to have one or two of them) Raymond points out a very nice photoshop job of McCain reaching out to the gamers his words have so deeply wounded:


(If McCain thinks the Iraq War debate has been brutal, he’d be well advised to steer clear of the D&D edition wars.)

So at any rate, this is all just a lot of silliness, although I’ve seen more than a few gamers online taking the D&D jab a little too seriously. McCain, let us put this regrettable incident behind us. And yes, I admit that I am probably shallow enough to vote for whichever candidate first poses with a D&D Player’s Handbook.

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6 thoughts on “D&D players strike back

  1. david ellis

    Ah, well. I was in no danger of voting for McCain anyway.

    The whole silly thing does bring up a question I’d never considered before though. ARE D&D players on the whole less conservative (and, therefore, probably, less likely to vote republican) than the norm?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was so.

  2. Andy

    That’s an interesting question. This is just guessing, but I have a hunch that gamers tend toward the political left in general–a large percentage of gamers are younger and/or in the high school and college age range. That’s a demographic that currently seems to lean more left than right. D&D does have a big representation in the military, and it used to seem that “in the military = politically conservative,” but I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore. This is all just my hunch, though.

    That said–of the D&D players I personally know, more are politically conservative than liberal. I have no idea if that’s a broader trend or just the people I happen to know (I live in a pretty conservative town, so probably the latter). What’s your experience?

  3. Scot

    I’ve played D&D for years and been in the military. I grew up in a Democratic / Liberal state, however, I am conservative.

  4. Andy

    Scot, do you have any sense of whether the D&D players you know lean left or right, politically? Do gamers in the military seem to differ politically from their non-gaming brothers in arms?

    Just curious! I’d never really thought too much about whether gaming had extra appeal to one side or another of the political divide.

  5. lispy

    I have a fairly conservative miltary friend that games– more SFB though. I’d bet SFB players in general are older, more military-ish, and more conservative than D&D players. That’s a generalization of course, not a hard and fast rule….

  6. Andy

    That’s funny–I have a cousin who is an SFBer and also in the military, and he also leans conservative. In my experience it seems like wargamers (ASL, SFB, etc) are more likely to lean right politically than left… more so than RPG players, as you note. But yeah, just speculation on my part.

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