Military Officers Who Game


Gamer Life General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge Contributor

Since the community here at Paizo is by far the best RPG messageboard community out there, and we've already started a conversation in this thread, I thought it would be good to continue the conversation here.

My experience as an officer has been that it's tough to find other officers who play RPGs. I've tried setting up a Yahoo! group here: RPG O-Club. It hasn't had much activity, but maybe we Paizonians can breathe new life into it.

Otherwise, we can talk about our experiences and share ideas on gaming groups and other stuff, here.

Liberty's Edge

Let's see how many of us there are on the Paizo boards.

...

...

...

...looks like I'm number 2.


I am not a military officer, but I did have a 1st Lieutenant from nearby Fort Lewis playing my 3.5 greyhawk game for a while, before he got shipped off to Iraq.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

So we're holding steady at 2 (Two gaming officers! ha ha ha ha!). Given that this thread never seems to show up in the box on the right hand side of the website, I'll be surprised if we get many responses...and even more surprised to find many gaming officers. In my 13 years of service, I've met a total of 4 in person. I've met a few more who had gamed before but weren't doing it anymore. I'm one of only two officers at the O-4 paygrade or above who still game. I'm holding out hope, though.

Thanks for the info, cwslyclgh. Getting shipped off to a war zone definitely puts a damper on one's game. Do you ever hear from him?

Grand Lodge

While I'm not an officer, I did leave the army as a sergeant... Best of both worlds - no fraternising with the privates, and the officers didn't want to hang out with us.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I am a former Army Major and did not game while I was in the Army. The only Army folks I hung out with were other doctors and basically I was too embarassed to ever bring the topic up, lest be labelled a total geek or nerd. I had no idea there was a core of gamers in the enlisted ranks - not that it would have done me any good. Anyhow, I was able to enjoy life blissfully unaware of 2nd edition and get back into gaming with 3E with my old college and high school friends when my obligation was up.


Eight years enlisted in the United States Army. Most of the people I gamed with while I was in were people I taught to game. Over the years, I have developed a sort of gameradar. Someone who reads a lot of fantasy novels and/or plays a lot of video games. Even if they do not game, they may be open to the idea.

In my personal opinion, role playing games would make an excellent training tool for officers. You have to think on your feet which is an important skill for anyone in a position of leadership. Being a GM itself is a leadership position. More officers should play.

Sorry to veer somewhat off topic. I wanted to reply in the other thread, so this was the lesser of two evils.


I'm your huckleberry. Lieutenant Colonel working in the Army G-1 at the Pentagon. So I guess that brings us up to three active duty officers. As far as the rest of you...thank you for your service.

RPG O-Club...what a cool idea.

My experience is that there are enough officers out there that will play, but finding them is the issue. I've usually been able to find at least one fellow addict at each post. I can usually smoke them out. For example, I have a GENCON 2000 lanyard that I use for all my badges. It's even in military camo. Non-gamers don't even look twice at it...but the gamers do.


Five years enlisted in US Army. The Army actually reivigorated my gaming, as there was a hardcore group at Ft. Bliss, where I spent a lot of my enlistment. We also played an awful lot of Vampire as well, it had a real fan base. Oh and HoL, we always wanted to do HoL, just because we were a bunch of sarcastic E4s who thought it was the sh*t (note the tattoo my battle buddies and me got, tattooing being another enlisted Army vice :)

I did play regularly with a 2nd Lt fresh out of West Point. Technically this was a no no, but she was a maverick, and we really didn't care. That and I was like 8 years older than her, so we got along fine.

Liberty's Edge

not an officer, but was an E7 when I left. I did have a Capt who played in my campaigns, as i played in his. In those days I was only an E4 though.

Scarab Sages

One of my players is a Captian here at Fort Hood. All my players except for my wife are either soldiers or military spouses.

Liberty's Edge

Gavgoyle wrote:
One of my players is a Captian here at Fort Hood. All my players except for my wife are either soldiers or military spouses.

Fort Hood is so huge (though I've never been) it's one of the postings I would expect to find a number of officer-gamers.


Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Since the community here at Paizo is by far the best RPG messageboard community out there, and we've already started a conversation in this thread, I thought it would be good to continue the conversation here.

My experience as an officer has been that it's tough to find other officers who play RPGs. I've tried setting up a Yahoo! group here: RPG O-Club. It hasn't had much activity, but maybe we Paizonians can breathe new life into it.

Otherwise, we can talk about our experiences and share ideas on gaming groups and other stuff, here.

I think you'll find more NCOs than officers in the ranks, mostly retired or separated vets, particularly Air Force. I'm a veteran NCO who served in both the Navy (81-84) and Air Force (85-90). I played in both branches, but had much more time to do so in the Air Force. Enlisted folks while not deployed tend to live in dorms on base, which is fertile ground for gaming.

But, things have changed since then, I'm sure...

Scarab Sages

When I was stationed at Ft. Meade during my recall, I was sitting in a brigade meeting (yeah, my battalion S-2 sent an E-4 involuntary recall to a brigade meeting) and one of the officers from another battalion was giving a run-down of recent injuries.

When referring to one female soldier that had injured her ankle during a run, he said that she "failed her Dex check."

No one else seemed to notice, but I was looking around the room like, "Did he just say that?"

Those are the kinds of clues you have to watch/listen for.

Liberty's Edge

Ungoded wrote:

When I was stationed at Ft. Meade during my recall, I was sitting in a brigade meeting (yeah, my battalion S-2 sent an E-4 involuntary recall to a brigade meeting) and one of the officers from another battalion was giving a run-down of recent injuries.

When referring to one female soldier that had injured her ankle during a run, he said that she "failed her Dex check."

No one else seemed to notice, but I was looking around the room like, "Did he just say that?"

Those are the kinds of clues you have to watch/listen for.

Hey, was that S3 me? Just kidding, but that's what I do every chance I get. Every now and again I'll hook a live one with enough rank that I can invite them to a game. The thing about the Army is that I can say stuff like "Guess she failed her Dex check," and not a single person in the room gets what I truly mean, but no-one says a word. There won't be a single, "What the hell's that mean?" Our military lingo is so dynamic and complicated, and speaking it well is such a geeky prop, most people will be too scared to admit out loud that they don't understand what you just said. E.g., around here we call a communications exercise a 'TOVEX.' I can't count the number of times I've said it. We all know TOVEX means a COMMEX, but one day I started asking, "What does TOVEX stand for, exactly." No kidding, the room filled with metaphorical crickets. Not a single person knew.

Oh, by the way, I still don't know what the hell it stands for...

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

AF Enlisted Here...

I have only met one Gamer Officer, He was a an O-5, though he was mostly into Mini Wargamming *Had a Ton of painted Warhammer Minis in his office*, he did play RPGs on occasion when he visited his old non-military buddies.

I have seen plenty of Officers hang around the RPG section of the bookstore at the local BX.

I have met a lot of Officer Hard core video game players... up to, to include O-6's.


Ex-Army here.
I played, and still play, a lot of board wargames. I don't know if you are into that, but not only are they fun, but they help build tactical and strategic combat command skills...

Dark Archive

While I am not ex-military, I saw this post and wanted to share this story with you guys.

Two years ago, two of my uncles (both in the Army) were sent to Afghanistan to serve out the rest of their tour. While they were there, my wife and I kept getting emails from them that while they were doing well, they ran out of books and things to do. So we hit up my family and hers, scraped enough money together to buy them the 3.5 core books, some dice and character sheets. We sent them over there and the next WRITTEN letter we got was like 4 pages long describing what was going on in their campaign and like 2 paragraphs long as to what was going on in Afghanistan. The only problem they were having was the lack of dice! So we bought fifty dollars in dice that we shipped over to my uncles. They came home (safely I might add), but left everything there for the other troops to play.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Aristodeimos wrote:
For example, I have a GENCON 2000 lanyard that I use for all my badges. It's even in military camo. Non-gamers don't even look twice at it...but the gamers do.

What a cool idea!

I'm glad to know that there are some senior officers still playing, too. I'm a Lieutenant Commander and am up for Commander within the next couple of years.

I love that story about the Dex check. The closest I've ever come to a D&D reference at work was when I took part in a war game exercise in Abu Dhabi and they used a d20 to adjudicate each side's actions.


I can usually get away with being an open gamer since I'm an Army computer automation officer. When I get strange looks, I just tell them, "Hey, would you really trust me with all your computer networks if I wasn't a geek?"

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Retired Army E-9. Played a lot with a Captain and one long time friend I gamed with as a Captain, Major and LTC. He was visiting from Ohio a couple of weeks ago and ran a game for my group. Probably will not see him until GENCON next year.

Liberty's Edge

I was an E-4 in the National Guard like....damn! 10 years ago I got out.
Damn. 10 years.
Damn.
I'm old.
I never went to PLDC, and thinking about going to OCS just made me tired. I was kinda old even then.
Plus I don't like bossing people around. It's a pain in the ass.

Liberty's Edge

O3 Chaplain here...I mostly just game with my family. We're in Yokosuka, Japan and are greatly enjoying Pathfinder. One of our RPs might be interested but since I am his DIVO that would be fraternization. We do have a variety of gamers on base, but none that I have found recently.

Thanks,

Scott

Liberty's Edge

Aristodeimos wrote:
I can usually get away with being an open gamer since I'm an Army computer automation officer. When I get strange looks, I just tell them, "Hey, would you really trust me with all your computer networks if I wasn't a geek?"

I bet I know at least one DOIM that doesn't block Paizo.com...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

7 years enlisted. Got my CO to try a session while we were in Afghanistan. He played a paladin. THAT was amusing.

We've got a fairly decent group of guys here that game. I even dragged my roommates into it over there and got them hooked. It's a shame I'm going to Ft. Hood next year. But it's an opportunity to bring more people into the fold.


I used to be an Army Engineer Officer. I got out several years ago.

I never got to play. Except for a few months that I was on Johnston Atoll. No family allowed on the island. It was the first time in the Army I was not chasing girls and had time to play.

I just remembered something. I have been anti-WotC since the Dragon/Dungeon Magazine cancellation thing. But when I was in Bosnia WotC sent us a bunch of MtG starter sets for the USO. Now I am feeling guilty.

EDIT: And Andrew I spent 18 months in Korea.

Liberty's Edge

Duncan & Dragons wrote:

I used to be an Army Engineer Officer. I got out several years ago.

I never got to play. Except for a few months that I was on Johnston Atoll. No family allowed on the island. It was the first time in the Army I was not chasing girls and had time to play.

I just remembered something. I have been anti-WotC since the Dragon/Dungeon Magazine cancellation thing. But when I was in Bosnia WotC sent us a bunch of MtG starter sets for the USO. Now I am feeling guilty.

EDIT: And Andrew I spent 18 months in Korea.

I have a little over a year left on a two year tour here, but I should be getting a FSTC to head off to ILE/CGSC next June--I really, really can't wait.

I have to say, WotC is a great supporter of the Armed Forces--My last visit to Iraq we got new books (novels), and games supplements, MTG sets, dice, and all the rest, gratis courtesy of Wizards, sent to our MWR in Mosul at least twice that I know of. They sent two sets of the 4e Core set, along with a ton of dice and 10 sets of DT:1, to the CRC MWR here in Korea. As far as I know, no-one asked them to do this, and all they got in return was a Certificate of Appreciation from the MWR Director, BOSS Center, and the Garrison Commander.

Scarab Sages

Andrew Turner wrote:
I bet I know at least one DOIM that doesn't block Paizo.com...

I liken DOIM to the Eye of Sauron... or maybe Sauron's retarded kid brother.

Liberty's Edge

Andrew Turner wrote:
I bet I know at least one DOIM that doesn't block Paizo.com...
Gavgoyle wrote:
I liken DOIM to the Eye of Sauron... or maybe Sauron's retarded kid brother.

Recent (yesterday) conversation with DOIM:

Spoiler:

Me: Hi, could I get an administrator to add the Safari or Firefox web browser to my system tonight?

DOIM: Why?

Me: Other than the fact that they're both better browsers than IE...

DOIM: Whatever, submit a Work Order--

Me: Well, I've got the software downloaded on out office server right now. I just need someone to remote in and install it.

DOIM: Work Order, sir.

Me: Is there an OIC around there.

DOIM: No.

Me: Anyone military at all? Where's LTC ___?

DOIM: Sir, I'm very busy.

Me: OK, how long will it take to get the Work Order?

DOIM: How ever long it takes you to fill it out--

Me: No, smart-guy, how long before DOIM actions it?

DOIM: Non-emergencies are three to four weeks.

I hung up, and walked down the hallway to the DOIM office (it's in my building).

Me: Enjoying you WoW session?

A very flustered contract civilian begins to bluster--

Me: Firefox and Safari, running in my pit, by tomorrow morning. And tell LTC ___ I said hi.

I was able to check my MobileMe account this morning, and Paizo.com is no longer blocked.

:-)


I'm a SGT in the Army, while I was in Baghdad I played with a mixed group of officers and enlisted. We asked the CSM if he thought it was going to be a problem, and he didn't think so.

I've always wondered, would it be any worse if we were playing softball or basketball together?

Oh, and we had an artist visited the hospital once. He went around for a few weeks and did some sketches. He sketched us during a session. It was pretty cool, I keep meaning to put it online.

Liberty's Edge

Paris Crenshaw wrote:

Since the community here at Paizo is by far the best RPG messageboard community out there, and we've already started a conversation in this thread, I thought it would be good to continue the conversation here.

My experience as an officer has been that it's tough to find other officers who play RPGs. I've tried setting up a Yahoo! group here: RPG O-Club. It hasn't had much activity, but maybe we Paizonians can breathe new life into it.

Otherwise, we can talk about our experiences and share ideas on gaming groups and other stuff, here.

I'm not a military officer, but I am in the Canadian military, Infantry Private. And you'd be surprised how many people actually game, let alone game with me. In my company, out of approximately 80 NCO's, there are 6 people whom I regularly play D&D or Shadowrun with. Another 15 are known role-players who do not play with me because they already have on-going games. That means that there is +25% of an INFANTRY company geeking it up with dice an miniatures on a regular basis. That doesn't include the rest of the people in the company who aren't actively roleplaying or are incredible video-game addicts. Pretty high rate for a supposedly uber-macho trade huh?

It's pretty good though because we're headed overseas for a 6 month tour to Afghanistan now, and we already have plans to run an Eberron based campaign in our down-time. We're Force Protection for the PRT so nights will be fairly open, hopefully... Anyway it should be a good opportunity to get some game time in. Just hoping I can manage to keep up with my DMing.
Oh and I thought I'd also mention that of the 22 known roleplayers in my company, only 2 of those are currently un-married. It's all about breaking the stereotype right?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Gavgoyle wrote:
One of my players is a Captian here at Fort Hood. All my players except for my wife are either soldiers or military spouses.

So should I look you up when I report to Hood next June? I know a guy in Austin, but that's it.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Hey, Guys. I wanted to let the officers know that I'm moving the RPG O'Club Group from Yahoo to Google Groups. The new group is located here. I even came up with a geeky logo for the "Joint Forces Roleplaying Command." I think anyone can see that picture by clicking on this link, but I might be wrong.

Also, I don't want to give anyone the impression that I'm only interested in gaming with military folks (although I probably have done that, already). I am, however, interested in bringing together officers who game, in the interest of increasing my chances of finding co-workers who share something in common outside of work.


Thought I'd poke my head in there and say that I was an enlisted 12B (Combat Engineer) in the WA ARNG and ID ARNG from 1996 through 2004. There weren't a lot of gamers in the ARNG that I knew of, but I did game off and on with a wide selection of retired or previous service vets during college. My recruiter was Army MI during the 80s and part of his job was week-long stints in a bunker listening to radio contacts with three other guys. They played week-long sessions of D&D while waiting for radio chatter.

Thanks everyone for your service!

Silver Crusade

Vattnisse wrote:
While I'm not an officer, I did leave the army as a sergeant... Best of both worlds - no fraternising with the privates, and the officers didn't want to hang out with us.

True, but that didn't stop me from playing some D&D now and then, just usually with fellow non-coms and such.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
Thought I'd poke my head in there and say that I was an enlisted 12B (Combat Engineer) in the WA ARNG and ID ARNG from 1996 through 2004. ... Thanks everyone for your service!

Wow, Josh! I hadn't heard that about you. Thanks for your service, as well!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Enlisted (sorry) Infantry (16 years) and UAS operator (5+years). I'll be retiring April. I don't even know my first name any more, so that should be fun.

Scarab Sages

Iron Sentinel wrote:
Vattnisse wrote:
While I'm not an officer, I did leave the army as a sergeant... Best of both worlds - no fraternising with the privates, and the officers didn't want to hang out with us.
True, but that didn't stop me from playing some D&D now and then, just usually with fellow non-coms and such.

Very true, we have between 8-12 of us non-coms onboard Nimitz during my military term. US Navy '88-'94 here. I believe we played every other night onboard at sea, and 2-3 times a week in port.


retired army enlisted.

i meet an air force ltc doctor at a tacticon in denver recently. he is currently (as of the last emails we exchanged) at an air force base in arizona. he was a really cool guy. we played in a few games together.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

I just realized the thread got moved to the "Gamer Life" area...I didn't know there was such an area. Anyway...I'm glad to know there are so many folks interested in this topic!


Reference the whole officer versus NCO thing. As a former officer, I think this thread was titled so because it is harder for us to find gamers. The NCO's spend more time in the barracks, see each others wall locker, getting to know each other and generally have more targets of opportunity to find gamers. There are just fewer officers and then you have the whole fraternization issue.

If there are lurkers out there that are intimidated by the title, chime in. I am confident this is about networking not elitism.

And to Joshua, Essayons! To be honest though, I enlisted as an 11B and become an Engineer as an Officer.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

You are absolutely right, Duncan. The attempt was all about networking. I certainly don't want to offend anyone.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I'm an officer in the Canadian forces (Navy), and in training here at NOTC, I have a group of all officers (total 6 of us) who play D&D almost-regularly. (i.e. weekly with minor schedule tweaks)

It does help that we're all gathered here together for training, and will be for the next year or so. Plus I've had others express interest, so on our side it doesn't look like there's any lack.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Draconic Mage wrote:
I'm an officer in the Canadian forces (Navy), and in training here at NOTC, I have a group of all officers (total 6 of us) who play D&D almost-regularly. (i.e. weekly with minor schedule tweaks)

That's fantastic. I've spent some time in the Bremerton, Washington area, but I've never made it over to Esquimalt. Given the fact that you are in training, there, I take it you're relatively new to the Navy, so "Welcome Aboard!" I've had some experience working with you guys over the past 13 years. Let me know if it looks like you'll be heading down toward San Diego. I may still be in the area next year.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Thanks for the welcome, Crenshaw! If I'm still on the west coast, I'll almost certainly get to San Diego at some point. Either that or westploy, rimpac or some other joint op.

You're right, we're all in the Naval Officer training program. Most of us direct entry, what I call "born again Navy" where we've been out in the world and decided to join (i.e. I'm 35 and worked in industry for a few years before joining).

If we're ever on exercise in the same fleet, let me know and we can throw some dice on shore.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Draconic Mage wrote:
If we're ever on exercise in the same fleet, let me know and we can throw some dice on shore.

Definitely. In the meantime, check out the group I've created at Google: RPG O-Club. I've created this geeky "Joint Forces Roleplaying Command" idea. Just ask to join and I'll get you in.


Army Senior NCo (13 years) who gamed with both officers and enlisted. I'd like to remind all Army gamers that you can game between the ranks as long as you are not fraternizing. To whit: as long as they aren't in your chain of command its pretty much ok. As always if you think you might be fraternizing check AR 600-20 (or appropiate service regulation).


Duncan & Dragons wrote:
And to Joshua, Essayons! To be honest though, I enlisted as an 11B and become an Engineer as an Officer.

Essayons! Man, I haven't seen that in print or heard someone say that in more than five years.

We enlisted 12Bs had a joke about the 11B/12B difference: an 11B is a grunt, a 12B is a grunt with a shovel. Either way, we both make the same sound when the tankers run us over.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

BlackKestrel wrote:
I'd like to remind all Army gamers that you can game between the ranks as long as you are not fraternizing. To whit: as long as they aren't in your chain of command its pretty much ok.

It's probably true that I've become more sensitive to fraternization than other folks. This is due to a few awkward moments in gaming.

Several years ago, I had a group in Hawaii made up of some civilians and two enlisted guys. I was the only officer. There were several times when the guys would start complaining about their division officers or bringing up other topics that I really didn't need to engage them on. I got tired of reminding them that there were some topics that they just shouldn't discuss with me around.

Later, in Monterey, I had an awesome group mostly comprised of officers, and one very junior enlisted person who was a student at DLI. That wasn't so bad, at first, but got weird when she started acting strangely. She and her husband, who I had become friends with, had some difficulties and eventually got divorced, which allowed me to continue my friendship with him. Still, her difficulties at work did cause some consternation among the officers in the group.

The Navy's policy on fraternization is pretty broad: "Personal relationships between officer and enlisted members that are unduly familiar and that do not respect differences in rank and grade are prohibited, and violate long-standing custom and tradition of the naval service." The policy also states that members need not be in the chain of command for a relationship to be considered fraternization.

In my view, table-top RPGs tend to create some pretty familiar personal relationships. After experiencing issues in two gaming groups, it's just been too fine of a line for me to want to risk it, again.

Sovereign Court

I'm an E4 in the Air Force, and I game regularly with a few other enlisted and their spouses. We try to play once a week, but it gets interrupted pretty regularly too by our schedules. The fraternization issue has come up for me only once because my supervisor was looking for a D&D game to join, and I didn't particularly want to DM for him. It's great to see some other active duty/guard/retired fans of Paizo!

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