I remember that article well, and Rex Martin's response to it: That he had relatively little sympathy for convicts, but that there were a lot less constructive things that they could be doing than playing wargames.
It also gave me an idea that has stuck for a long time, that one of the greatest lessons of wargames is that actions have consequences, and you don't always know what they're going to be when you plan. The other guy is going to have something to say about the outcome, there's pure dumb luck, and the fact that you're not always going to make the best, or the worst, decisions. So you learn to accept consequences, and learn to adapt.
Accept consequences. That sounds like something that should be taught in the prisons, supplanting the usual criminal wheedling, excuse-making and rationalizing.
My parents had no problem with it. In fact, they bought my first two games I ever owned as Christmas gifts - Afrika Korps and Jutland. My dad and I played Afrika Korps quite a bit. Of course dad was in the Air Force, I grew up in the military and we were living on Okinawa at the time. That was in 1967 - man over 40 years ago!
It was my Mother who bought me my first wargame-AH's Gettysburg & Waterloo. she(and Dad) also bought me all those war related games from Parker Bros ,MB,etc. and all those great Marx toy sets and G.I.Joes-military models too . and they fueled the fire every X-mas and on Birthdays. They knew I liked war stuff,playing war ,reading war books and watching war movies(Dad loved a good war movie too). This must be why I joined the Army(I was going to be a Marine but got much smarter in High School ).
So no, Mom(or Dad) had no problems with it. At least they knew it kept me at home and not running all over the place.
Well after I posted that message I started thinking of all those airfix figures I had. they costed 50 cents a box back then and Mom had saved and given me a large collection of Kennedy half dollars. well you just know where that money ended up. and those mini tanks you could buy( lot's of them) -can't remember the companies name but were made in Austria. the scale was off but they still were great to use with those figures. I still have all those toys/models from when I was a kid. still packed up over at Mom's house. I had the hope of passing them on to my kids. sadly I think I'll be taking them to the grave- I do have an extra burial plot so I could 'Take Everything with Me' ;)
But poor Mom. Many a time she would say-Go outside and play,it's nice out! But I would stay and have the whole living room(we had short carpet then-shag came later) full of those little figures-and the Marx play sets and I would while away the hours. I think thats what got me into gaming. the natural step from toy soldiers to something more grown up. And what did I end up doing, buying 9mm Ros/Heroic mini figures to re fight battles during the early 80's. The hobby sure went full circle.
I now I while away the hours playing games-or posting darn messages on consim folders!
My story is pretty similar to the others. My brother got a copy of Panzer Leader for Christmas. I was his natural opponent. We tried to play it at our Grandmother's house on Christmas Day, only to find that all the scenario cards were left at home. At home, the next day, we played the Mareiulles sceanrio and probably got about 50% or the rules wrong. It probably took us a year to get the rules sorted, but we presevered. We followed that up with Tobruk, then Squad Leader.
Our parents were neutral, though my dad was a bit negative when I continued playing after I got married. He was a bit miffed when I had a game published, though I think he was secretly pleased. Now, my sons aren't real big wargamers. One son will play Attack Sub and other light fare with me, though.
My father was a doctor in the Canadian Armed forces, and my Grandfather was somekind of a "war hero" in WW2, too... So they never discouraged me, but never encouraged me either.
But I do fondly remember receiving Avalon Hill games for Christmas gifts in the 70's... They (incredibly) had some at the Canadian Air Force PX Store at the Base at Bagotville, QC, Canada, where my father was working, in fact. Got AH's D-Day77, Blitzkrieg, Kreigspeil, Waterloo etc.. From that store!!! :-)
I think my parents were generally supportive. In the early days, they would drive me long distances for game conventions and give me some spending money. They really did not have a sense of what it was that I was involved with, but I am sure they rationalized that it was better than alot of other things teens might be into.
I guess you could say they encouraged it. They at least supported me in my interest in the hobby and bought me some of my first games such as Tactics II, Victory in the Pacific, and War at Sea. It was somewhere between 4th-6th grade when I got started. At this time I started working in my dad's drycleaners in the afternoon after school, and for the most part I supported my purchase of games from that point on. Starting in the 7th grade I was playing weekly at a gaming club in a local hobby store and my parents provided transportation until I was old enough to drive. They also were gracious enough to not get bent out of shape when I repeatedly commandeered the dining room table.