One of the legendary gaming moments from the SU Guild’s “Staff vs. Students” event this evening was a Battleship match between myself and Dr. Brian Bernard.
I, a lowly biology student, had challenged a former submariner and current engineering professor to what would turn out to be the most intense session of “the classic naval combat game” of my life.
The first few minutes were fairly textbook. I had just taken his carrier and destroyer, and he had sunk my battleship, when the fog machines set off the CCAC’s fire alarms.
But we didn’t quit. We were too firmly ensconced in the game. Nay, the battle. We were in a world of hits and misses. Of red and white plastic pegs. We grabbed up our control modules and migrated outside to the CCAC’s patio.
As the fog dissipated out through the propped-open doors, we continued to call out coordinates. Ours was the only game capable of being moved outside, and a crowd soon gathered to observe the high-stakes action. Students surrounded my side of the table, and faculty leaned in on Dr. Bernard’s.
With Charles screaming encouragements in my ear, and Tim mopping sweat from my brow, I proceeded to sink his battleship and submarine. But Bernard was putting up one helmet of a fight for the staff. He quickly sunk everything but my sub, each “hit” punctuated with a rousing cheer from Drs. Comuzzie and Hueber.
All I had left was my sub, but all I had to do to win was find his patrol boat. “Echo-9.” “Miss.” “Golf-4.” “Miss.” The crowd’s oohs and ahhs and the building’s incessant whines fell on deaf ears as the two combatants sent torpedo after poorly-aimed torpedo into each other’s water zone.
And then suddenly…
I heard the words, but I willed them not to be real. With a ringing in my ears that had nothing to do with the shrill alarms behind me, I reluctantly retrieved one of the red pegs.
“That’s a hit.”
The crowd roared. He’d found my sub. I had two, maybe three turns to find the smallest ship in his fleet. I gritted my teeth and gripped my umbrella’s handle. This was going to be close.
The crowd grew hushed. Even the CCAC, having apparently expelled the last of the offending particulate, fell silent.
Fortunately, Bernard started off in the wrong direction, heading vertically up the map, instead of down. It bought me time.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Upon learning of his mistake, the veteran turned his sights southward. Though I peppered a few untouched regions with pegs, they were all white. Within two moves, my sub was sunk.
The faculty’s reaction was comparable to that of a group of victorious football fans. They pulled my opponent to his feet, cheering his name for the whole campus to hear. I received a few good pats on the back from my very supportive colleagues, straightened my tie, and offered my hand to the victor.
As Mark from marketing snapped picture after picture, the flash blinding in the corner of my eye, I could distantly hear a voice calling, “That’s one more for the staff!”
I leaned into the handshake and said, “Good game, sir.”
He smiled and replied, “Good game. You were ahead for a good long while, there.”
He showed me where the patrol boat was (vertically, halfway down the 2nd column), and we all headed inside.
Points were tallied, scorecards were edited, but contrary to the din from our two sets of peers, I didn’t care about the score, and I could tell Dr. Bernard didn’t, either. It had been a worthy, even battle, with each commander making strategic moves to topple the other. In the end, though I hadn’t taken the victory, though my teammates’ hopes were sunk with that last, plastic vessel, I could truly say…
I left with achievement.
Photos courtesy of the SU Guild.