Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

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redwullf
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Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by redwullf »

William Schnoebelen. Gotta hand it to the guy, he makes a lengthy, well-referenced, reasoned argument against fantasy role playing. It is my opinion that his argument completely unravels on 1 key point (in fact, on the very heart of his argument). Your thoughts?
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by alcyone »

My thoughts are that this thread will end up offending somebody. Better to argue the finer points of Ore-Tsar vs. Unklar than this.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by tylermo »

First of all, the anti-D&D arguments are pretty much dead these days, along with He-Man, backwards satanic messages on Styx and ELO albums, KISS(knights in satan's service), Magic:TheGathering, Ouija boards, etc. Even the Harry Potter debate is down to less than a whisper at best. That said, I enjoy discussing this dated topic. Disclaimer: I'm not a TLG rep or forum moderator, but it's my hope that we can discuss this without the usual Christian or Reagan's America bashing, or any overly-critical attacks from the religious corner either. I won't lie, I'mat least 85% conservative mixed with some libertarian viewpoints. I attended a Nazarene church for the latter 5 years of the 1970's, and Assemblies of God for the better part of 10 years in the 1980's. I've been a lapsed Christian sunce the early 90's, assuming i used to believe what i believed because i was raised that way. The unnecessary introduction aside...here we go. Not even sure where to start, I'll probably ramble over several posts. My first argument should be saved for last. Assuming God exists(please take no offense I'm not a basher), and that King James' version of the bible is the "correct" one, it's still hard to make a case where the almighty stands on 20th and 21st century pop culture(books, movies, music, etc.). Will D&D cause folks to take the escalator down to the infernal regions on the judgement day? I have no clue, but I do know a few other things. We all live on this green earth before we die, and I have watched far more teens go down roads of alcoholism, drugs, pre-marital sex, petty crime, and the like LONG before I have seen them actually joining satanic cult groups, or committing suicide because of D&D. I call it common sense math. Number of the aforementioned troubled teens vs the number of truly suicidal, satanic youth...no comparison. I watched a number of decent, well-intentioned people(in the 70's and 80's to be certain)spend too much time on keeping our kids safe from the boogeyman, when I'm hoping more time was given to sex, drug, and alcohol education. More to come later in what I hope will be a civilized dialogue on an issue that's not really an issue these days. :-)

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by TheMetal1 »

Realize that the article is dated 2001. Which puts us at a perspective of almost 12 years from the date when it was written. The alignment system in D&D 4e has changed as well. I don't have time to read the whole article, but I think his initial point saying that Role playing developed out of Psychology is something I disagree with it. Rather, the game was a natural outgrowth of miniature wargaming. Further, it is simply codifying make-believe that we all played as children...well, I would think a majority of Americans at least played at.

His points reference JRR Tolkien & CS Lewis are interesting as he seems to pretty much gloss over both of those without any real response. Considering CS Lewis uses the term (IIRC) "a Deeper Magic" that breaks the curse with Aslan's death and that both Saruman and Gandalf both seem to use the same source for magic.

Interesting point as well about "make believe" that it is all in the mind so if we think something it is akin to doing something. Specifically his reference about pornography and that thoughts can invoke a physical reactions. I don't know about you guys, but I don't play "evils" campaigns, but the fact that there is defeat of evil and restoration of order and good in a lot of fantasy adventures would seem to be a positive thing.

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by tylermo »

I've had a few people play the "lesser" evil types, but have never seen any rape in my games. Not saying somebody hasn't used it in their game, but I suspect it's not the norm for most.

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by tylermo »

I've had a few people play the "lesser" evil types, but have never seen any rape in my games. Not saying somebody hasn't used it in their game, but I suspect it's not the norm for most.

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by Arduin »

redwullf wrote:William Schnoebelen. Gotta hand it to the guy, he makes a lengthy, well-referenced, reasoned argument against fantasy role playing. It is my opinion that his argument completely unravels on 1 key point (in fact, on the very heart of his argument). Your thoughts?

Hmm. Let's define a term 1st: A person who follows the teachings/words of that iconic, historic figure. (I don't want to bring in data about various orgs that have sprouted up under that banner throughout the centuries).

So, after studying the very limited amount of recorded words attributed directly to that entity, I'd HAVE to say that He was silent on the subject and further queries should be directed to Him to answer.

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by MormonYoYoMan »

Interestingly, of all the comments and answers (if indeed, we call our little postings "answers" to things which require other peoples to use entire books) Arduin's is probably the most correct of answers. The most basic of rights in a relationship with diety is to speak with them. Not just TO them, but with them.

You can probably guess by my nickname here (bestowed upon me by our youngest daughter, who found my hobbies of church history and yoyology to be an amusing combination) I share a religious membership with the creator of Call of Cthulhu. (The game, not the story. Although by now, who knows?) Our one core abiding principle is that no one should trust my word, a preacher's word, a church's word, a politician's word (Definitely not!), any person's word, or even the scriptures when it comes to things as serious as eternal principles. One should go directly to the source (Not trying to sound like Jack Kirby here, but the pun is inevitable.) and "ask of God."

As Joseph Fielding McConkie put it (in what was an eye-opening talk for me) "We not only have a right to personal revelation; we have NO right to not have personal revelation."

So this question of "Should a Christian play D&D?" has at least two answers. One serious; one not. Let me answer, first, with the less-serious answer.

No, a Christian should not play D&D. They should play C&C.

And the serious one? Oddly enough, Brigham Young answered this question more than a century ago. When preparations needed to be made for continuing the trek across the plains after their expulsion from Illinois, he chastised the Latter-day Saints for wasting their time dancing and playing cards. Conversely, when they were far along on their journey and had stocked with enough provisions, he preached that though he didn't know what anyone else was going to do on the day after fasting, but he was going to dance and enjoy the fiddle music which would be part of their celebration during this rest time.

"It does make the Devil mad. That is true, it makes him mad that he cannot afflict this people so as to make them have a sad countenance."

"To make ourselves happy is incorporated in the great design of man's existence. I have learned not to fret myself about that which I cannot help. If I can do good, I will do it; and I cannot reach a thing, I will be content myself to be without it. This makes me happy all the day long."

If one has the time and resources to play, then play. If one hasn't the time (i.e. - there is work to be done) then wait 'til the task(s) is/are done, before one plays. Seems a simple enough answer for me.

If a game or a gamer fills the air with obscenities, I leave. It's no fun. If it inspires cruelty, please prove it to me. If it inspires sloppiness, I call that poor design.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by tylermo »

Of course, there's the whole argument as to whether or not real world magic, spells, possessions, etc. exist. Seems like the author believed in some of those things. I personally don't, so that fear of D&D leading players to the avenue of "real" magic holds no water for me. To each his own on that point. With regards to the Chick tract, I actually attended a church(1980's)that had an entire wood rack of the little booklets. Some of them weren't too bad, but ones dealing with D&D and celebrating Halloween devolved into all things ridiculous. Debbie, an up and coming D&D player eventually went to a cult meeting with her DM. She later thanked said DM for teaching her "mind control"? spells. Debbie(aka Chick writers)went so far to say that she used these spells to get her dad to buy her 200 dollars worth of D&D books. No offense to any of you who believe in the power of real spells, or to those of you in peaceful religions who cast spells, but I'm understandably skeptical. If mind control spells existed, I'm certain I would have used them on my parents anytime I was asking for toys in the Sears Christmas Catalog. Lol. I never did get those Dukes of Hazard action figures. ;-)

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by MormonYoYoMan »

Then there's the David Gerrold-ish premise that we each have reality-control powers and thus cancel each other out at all times.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by Just Jeff »

MormonYoYoMan wrote:Oddly enough, Brigham Young answered this question more than a century ago...
...when he said, "You see four goblins. Roll for initiative!"

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by MormonYoYoMan »

Just Jeff wrote:
MormonYoYoMan wrote:Oddly enough, Brigham Young answered this question more than a century ago...
...when he said, "You see four goblins. Roll for initiative!"
Sadly, the only things to roll were wagon wheels and oxen. Seven people got concussions.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by magick3six »

MormonYoYoMan wrote:
Just Jeff wrote:
MormonYoYoMan wrote:Oddly enough, Brigham Young answered this question more than a century ago...
...when he said, "You see four goblins. Roll for initiative!"
Sadly, the only things to roll were wagon wheels and oxen. Seven people got concussions.
And the term "that's how we roll" was born.

-Scott

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

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Thank you, Scott -- because I remembered that I always thought "that's how we roll" came from dice rolling, but I meant to look it up some time. (Another hobby: etymology) Turns out that, though it was thought of as coming from newspaper printing (the newspaper rolling off the presses) the earliest use of it (found so far) was in the French Revolution, and referred to the fact that the heads (when they were too sloppy to have a basket) didn't just fall....they rolled, causing much entertainment to the crowd.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by Julian Grimm »

First of all, I am a Christian. I go to church, pray, meditate and read regularly. I also own many books by authors such as Gene Edwards, A.W. Tozer and John Elderedge. I do my best to put into practice what Christ taught daily and have chosen the path of the Christian Mystic. However, I reject quite a bit of what 'mainstream Christianity' has to offer. Patriotism as faith, feel good faith, prosperity doctrines and such are all things that were never taught and are contradictory to the faith.

I run a weekly game (with other members of my church) and have been playing for almost two decades. In all that time I never felt like I wanted to turn to 'satanism' or leave my faith due to anything in the game. The people who spearhead things like this are of the same cut of the ones who said comic books would cause juvenile delinquency. They rail, rant and rave against something based on second hand information and no understanding of what they are talking about. The test they use to decide if something is evil is this: Is it new? Do kids like it? If the answer is yes to either then they come up with reasons why it is evil, if the answer is yes to both then it is really evil.

Thankfully, these guys are moving out of the mainstream and are less heard than they were a couple decades ago. With any luck they will be regulated to the fringes and go away so that real study of the faith will not be tainted by their ignorance. One thing that non-Christians need to understand is that we are not all like the loudmouths that fill airwaves with twisted takes on scripture, fear-mongering and snake oil. This type of thing is dying and I hope it breathes its last soon.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by Go0gleplex »

There are many many religions in the world. We're all heretics to at least one of them whether or not we game, therefore we're all gonna fry and gaming means that at least we go happy, rich (character), and with much (character) glory to our names.

The guy really needed work on his perspectives. lol
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

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I agree with many of your points, JG. I think a lot of parents heard what "some" of the televangelists were saying back in the day. Perhaps, some well-intentioned pastors were picking up on these things, as well. Let's not forget, the general public tended not to despise the media much back in the day(as I do now). 60 Minutes was king then, and a lot good families saw Ed Bradley's piece on D&D in 1985. Ed(i think it was him)and company didn't have it in for the game. It was just a sensational story, and they ran with the ball. Gary G., Pat Pulling, and some dorks(calling the kettle black lol joking)were all interviewed. I'm fairly certain I saw this first run, before seeing it on YouTube years later. One of the players seemingly made a comment about pillaging, looting, and maybe even rape. I know he wasn't a sicko, but my sphincter tightened when I saw it again on YouTube. Instantly I thought...how many parents heard that one answer, and said, "That's it!". Either way, most people who who mildly or moderately opposed it were still decent folks at the end of the day. They certainly weren't of the Westboro Church variety. They were raised to fear Satan, and things perceived to be Satanic. I was born in 1970, so I missed most of the Ouija board scare, particularly in the years before D&D. There's always been something. Your mention of comic books was spot on. As I continue, I'd even like to address the old arguments regarding how long teens played the game in one setting, and how they seemed to be "consumed" because of the time spent. Let's face it, Satan didn't have anything to do with it. The 1st edition's sometimes crunchy rules probably had to be argued about, and the modules(as written)were 20-30 pages long. Of course, it was going to take a long time to play a session. :-) I remember a kid in jr. high(aka ME) and three other relatives who played Axis and Allies on Christmas break. We must have played three games in a row daily. Were we consumed by the evil powers of Adolph Hitler, and his Japanese allies?? Of course not. As for time spent on gaming, I seem to recall the Christian Gamers Guild aptly pointing out that others are also spending an inordinant of time around that rectangular box in the living room. I'm paraphrasing a great deal, but you get their point. I was really impressed with their message online.

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

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Odin thinks RPing is ok.

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by MormonYoYoMan »

Odin thinks FAKE fighting is OK?? :shock: That's not the Odin that I grew up with!
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by Sir Ironside »

Following up on Tylermo's post. What is old is new again. Though with much less traction.

The evils of (Insert public panic) has been around for decades even centuries, of varying degrees.
  • Witchcraft
  • 19th century novels
  • Evolution: natural selection
  • The Jazz age
  • Rock and Roll (In particular Elvis)
  • Commies/Pinko's
  • Hippy culture
  • Backwards messages on albums (As noted above)
  • Disco drug subculture and sexual promiscuity
  • Television (Of some way or another up to the present.)
  • Heavy Metal
  • Punk Rock
  • Rap/Urban music
  • Grunge (After Kurt Cobain's death)
  • Shock Rock (Alternative Metal)
  • Death Metal
  • Horror/action movies
  • Video games
  • Trance music/Raves
  • Harry Potter books/movies
  • Avatar movie
  • Twilight books/movies
And, much more that I'm missing throughout the centuries.

I'm pretty sure that there is a potential outcry for; The Hunger Games books/movies, on the horizon.

Someone always has some kind of bee in their bonnet proclaiming, "Would someone please think about the children!"
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by tylermo »

Much less traction, and less rambling from your's truly. Lol

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by CKDad »

Sir Ironside wrote:Following up on Tylermo's post. What is old is new again. Though with much less traction.
<snip great list>

You forgot short skirts.
I'm pretty sure that there is a potential outcry for; The Hunger Games books/movies, on the horizon.
If by "On the horizon" you mean "From the time the books came out, right up through today" then yes. :)

Sadly, there is no prerequisite for having a closed mind; they come in all varieties.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by Sir Ironside »

CKDad wrote:You forgot short skirts.
And, the bikini swimsuit.

Speaking of types of clothing, pants were even a bigger deal basing the information on the very unreliable source of Cracked online Magazine.
Sir Ironside wrote:I'm pretty sure that there is a potential outcry for; The Hunger Games books/movies, on the horizon.
CKDad wrote:If by "On the horizon" you mean "From the time the books came out, right up through today" then yes. :)
My grasp of modern culture is not the greatest. ;)

I then wonder if there was any kind of outcry when; Battle Royal came out.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

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Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,dwell on these things. ---Philippians 4:8

It would do these guys well to understand this.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by gideon_thorne »

redwullf wrote:William Schnoebelen. Gotta hand it to the guy, he makes a lengthy, well-referenced, reasoned argument against fantasy role playing. It is my opinion that his argument completely unravels on 1 key point (in fact, on the very heart of his argument). Your thoughts?

Sorry, the logic and reason centers of my brain are busy weeping loudly in a corner after reading that fellow's article.

A bit about my background, that is somewhat relevant. I grew up in a costume shop. Making historical, and silly, clothing for reenactors, ren faire people, movies and what not is what my folks do. So I've spent a large amount of time around theatrical people. I also grew up around a corner from a place in San Diego called The Command Post. Which Tim Kask told me was quite a well known hobby shop nationally and internationally in its day. I had no idea at the time. It was just a cool place with neat books and miniatures.

That being put forth, my folks, dealing with an insular (introverted) kid who didn't spend much time with kids his own age, (and reads entirely too much... still) but instead with a bunch of much older reenactor types, decided I needed a hobby that enabled me to spend time with kids my own age. So, still being in my singular digits (and it being somewhere around the late 70's/really early 80's, my folks went to the Command Post and picked me up pretty much every book the people running the Command Post place said I needed. I was told to go forth and go game with my friends who were already into the system.

Now, my folks used to get peppered by the odd person they knew about me getting involved in this 'occult' business. Suffice it to say that my parents answers would probably cause the bad word filters on these forums to have a melt down. Personally, I find these sorts of arguments baffling. I've never suffered any ill effects from exploring my imagination in interactive story telling, or art. In fact, in some cases, its been of great benefit.

Now, this world is full of people who believe all sorts of things, and more power too them. But interactive storytelling is as old as humanity and has served to bring us rich culture from all over the world to enable us all to provide great detail in a hobby that even Gary noted should not be taken seriously. :)
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by gideon_thorne »

Sir Ironside wrote:
I'm pretty sure that there is a potential outcry for; The Hunger Games books/movies, on the horizon."
Its already there, mate. A bunch of rather disturbing hysterics over casting actors appropriate to the descriptions of the ethnic backgrounds in the book.
"The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout, 'Save us!' And I'll look down, and whisper 'No.' " ~Rorschach

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by MormonYoYoMan »

gideon_thorne wrote:I've never suffered any ill effects
And yet, here you are - chained in a basement and working for trolls.
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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by Sir Ironside »

gideon_thorne wrote:Now, my folks used to get peppered by the odd person they knew about me getting involved in this 'occult' business. Suffice it to say that my parents answers would probably cause the bad word filters on these forums to have a melt down. Personally, I find these sorts of arguments baffling. I've never suffered any ill effects from exploring my imagination in interactive story telling, or art. In fact, in some cases, its been of great benefit.
I remember back in the 80's when this, "D&D is evil!" was at its peak. There were a few instances of supposed D&D related suicides. I remember one couple blamed D&D. The police found his journal and the few friends he had said he had been bullied and felt like a social pariah therefore depressed with no positive future out-come and, he decided to end all the pain. It had nothing to do with D&D. I'd even surmise D&D was one of his few out-lets that made him happy.

The poor grieving parents, as always, searched for answers as to "why". They had no idea that the anti-D&Ders were circling their boys grave and took the chance to "give" the parents a reason. I only have sympathy for the parents. The question of "why" is an important one to help in understanding the suicide of a child. The anti-D&Ders were nothing more than opportunistic scumbags exploiting those poor parents. Who cares if you should let the parents grieve properly. It'd would serve them better if they could parade this couple, in front of camera's, to experience it over and over again.

I applaud how Gary Gygax handled these situations. He could have just gone silent and said nothing. But, he chose to talk about it in such a way that it didn't belittle or ignore any parents and their grieving.
"Paranoia is just another word for ignorance." - Hunter S. Thompson

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

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Re: Defense of The Defense of The Chick Tract

Post by TheMetal1 »

Well gang, I like to call my self-prior service Catholic, now a Christian who got saved via a local televangelist preaching one summer night and filled with the Holy Spirit a few months later in a Quick-Fill Gas Station. Spent most of my later years in general protestant services at Army bases, explored messianic roots of Christianity and am now am big on worship. Yeah, I believe angels, the supernatural, healings, miracles, and the flip side - fallen angels and demons and the idea that some behaviors opens the door for those things to operate.

Oh by the way I'm a minister too, Yeah and I play role-playing games - including fantasy RPGs like D&D, but I prefer C&C.

Interesting just a couple of weekends ago this very topic came up with someone I know a professional in his mid-20s, Christian and former youth minister. When I mentioned that I played D&D, he was shocked and said, "...isn't that from the devil." I asked him how he came to that conclusion, he said his parents and pastor had spoken against it. My next question was have you ever looked at it for yourself and his response was, "I don't have to do drugs to know that's its bad for me." :( His concern was this would open the door for demons to operate.

While some of you may not believe in that stuff this is a real struggle and hurdle for some. I simply pointed out that, like Tylermo said, television is a gateway as well. Extremes in anything can be a gateway. Anyway, it was a long, lively but surprisingly great discussion. He was amazed to hear about other genres in RPGs from westerns, to Supers to Sci-Fi. He's still hesitant about the fantasy genre, but next time I see him, hopefully I'll get a game going with him, perhaps even C&C!

Community, Friendships, share Experiences, interactive story telling and Fun that's what RPGs are about and of course killing the monsters and taking their stuff. It's a great hobby that I've been involved with since I was a kid. Context is everything and I think the anti-D&Ders missed a big opportunity to encourage creative thinking, imagination and good over evil, etc. I still game with my friends from grammar school on occasion. Just wanted to add my two cents on the topic thanks for reading.

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