Manticoran News Bureau

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No, it’s not flight training over Saganami Island... it’s Wings of War!


…And That’s the End of the Simulation.


2014.08.13 CE / 346.05.07 AL (MNB) – In the Fleet, there are no two words that are spoken with more trepidation and awe: “marksmanship awards.” Whether you grew up salivating over your father’s Avalon Hill game collection or simply played too much Risk (and lost all your friends) in college, there is something about the fan experience that gaming brings us all together.


Games are a classic way to enjoy each other’s time. For example, Sixth Fleet is well known for its varied gaming endeavors. Earlier this year, HMS Monarch appeared in force at the DemiCon Lite gaming event in West Des Moines, IA. While Captain (SG) Cindy Jeffers dominated the X-Wing board, other spacers threw their hat (er, cards) into the Cribbage Tournament. With eight participants, competition was fierce, but First Place was awarded to Monarch’s own Ensign Lyndsey Griffey, who won a free badge to DemiCon25. Not to be outdone, her sister ship, HMS Tisiphone regularly holds games in their ward room, better known as the gaming shop Ground Zero Omaha. Their captain, Commander Jacryn Spedden, is a master of the Magic card game, frequently traveling to and dominating tournaments across the Midwest.


Commander RJ Lundgren (beret) discovers his cribbage strategy failing before him at DemiCon Lite.


Third Fleet is no slouch in the gaming area, and throughout his squadron, Commodore Michael Hunnicutt has been known to dabble at X-Wing. In July, the flag officer has been known to face off with his marines on board HMS Agamemnon at Star Trek: Attack Wing. When faced with the Borg, his Klingon squadron did not shy from facing such an incredible foe, but there are limits to what a mere human could endure. “Technically [the game was] a draw,” Hunnicutt reported, “as I had to cut the game short at 1 am (I had to get up this morning at 5am). I did manage to destroy the cube and it took 2 of my ships with it.”


HMS Agamemnon taking on the Borg with the Klingon Fleet.


Captain (SG) Dame Jill McTavish works hard to make sure her ship, HMS Valkyrie, is ready for the Queen’s Cup in gunnery every year. Not only does she delight in playing Wings of War, keeping one step ahead of her bosun’s skill in ancient acrobatics, but is happy to increase their skill in more physical target practice, such as bowling. Her ability in the simulator gave her the impetus to lead the Weapons Development Board to create Project Gazebo, the adaptation of the Artemis Spaceship Simulator into a truly immersive environment. However, to call her the game maven of Second Fleet would be difficult, since she faces such vicious competition from other officers. Commodore Lord Sir John Neitz, commander of her squadron, is the terror of the BattleTech simulators, and there are few that can claim kills against his ‘mech.

The crew of HMS Valkyrie during their “gunnery exercise” at the bowling alley.


Meanwhile, Tenth Fleet is catching up and HMS Artemis is working hard to match McTavish’s creation with their own travel version of the Artemis game. Their commander, Captain (SG) Sir Thomas Marrone, coordinates with the local StarFleet ship, USS Loma Prieta (that he’s also an officer on), to ensure both his ships are at fighting trim. In fact, they made sure that their simulator was up and running when the High Command visited during BayCon at the end of May.


Gaming has become such a part of TRMN’s culture that the First Lord of the Admiralty, Admiral of the Fleet Lord Sir Martin Lessem, named Commander Jon Stout as his Staff Tactical Officer, ensuring high quality gaming throughout the fleet. His own quest to demonstrate Saganami Island Tactical Simulator has become legend, appearing at conventions from Fargo, ND to Boston, MA, spreading the agony and the ecstasy of the Crusher with spacers across North America. Seldom does a weekend pass where Commander Stout is not flying in a pinnance somewhere to spread the SITS gospel.


There are few places in the Fleet where spacers aren’t gaming—and those that do are more likely to keep coming back for more. You could easily argue that the ship that plays together stays together.


Commander Stout takes his gaming very seriously.


Article Copyright © 2014, Bureau of Communications, The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association, Inc.
CPO Caitlyn Miller, Manager, Manticoran News Bureau, BuComm. All pictures used with permission or used in a way that qualifies as fair use under US copyright law.