On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the seemingly-innocent board game invites a world of trouble.
No, it won't make inmates believe they are dragon-slaying knights sent to save a princess; instead, it helps prisoners organize themselves into gangs that inhibit prison security. As ridiculous as this may sound, the Courts argued that the structure of the game mimics the organization of a gang and therefore promotes gang activity.
Bruce Muraski, disruptive group coordinator for the Waupun Correctional Institute in Wisconsin stated, "During D&D games, one player is denoted the 'Dungeon Master.' The Dungeon Master is tasked with giving directions to other players, which Muraski testified mimics the organization of a gang."
The prisoner involved in the case, Kevin Singer, argued that the confiscation of D&D was a violation of his first amendment rights and that the game in no way promotes or encourages gang activity. Singer argues that it does the opposite and deters prisoners from joining gangs.
Despite the fact that Singer brought witness testimony from 11 other inmates all stating they have never heard of D&D leading to gang-related activity, the judges upheld their ruling. The judges claimed all of the witness testimony was irrelevant and all that was important was the fact that it was reasonable for prison officials to believe D&D may lead to gangs in the future.
Now, instead of playing harmless board games, prison inmates will have to find other things to do, such as form gangs and stab eachother. Great idea Appeals Court, we applaud your perseverance in solving the world's prison issues, one board game at a time.
Luckily for Dungeons and Dragons fans worldwide, this ruling only applies to prisons. So as long as you keep the dungeon-exploring, mythical creature slaying antics within the boundaries of the law, you won't have to worry about your imaginary swords and booty getting confiscated by the government.