If I asked you to think of modern day heroes, one would first immediately think of a Marine, a firefighter, or even a first responder. Few think about the unsung heroes of the world, especially when it comes to the United States Armed Forces. And, no, I’m not talking about Space Force, our grounded astronauts looking to keep us safe from cosmic facsimiles of the infinity stones. I’m talking about the Coast Guard.
To Stephen, 22nd’s newest Chairperson, the Coast Guard has long had prominence in his life. “I have always loved the Coast Guard since I was a child,” he tells the Tribune, sharing stories about how he hung a USCG flag in his childhood bedroom and how he entered real-life military service through this very branch.
Stephen has taken his love for the Coast Guard a step further and recently opened a unique play-by-Nova simulation in modern times called “CGIS” which is short for Coast Guard Investigative Service. This premise might be more familiar with television viewers who helped shows like JAG or NCIS gain massive popularity and attributed to their decades on the air. While there is no Harmon Rabb or Abby Sciuto to be found, CGIS isn’t afraid to explore a variety of stories, ranging from day-to-day law enforcement along America’s shores to human trafficking across the seashores.
“Sharing the Coast Guard has been my favorite part about this sim,” said Stephen. “I love the Coast Guard and it has always been something I’ve wanted to be a part of in my life.”
Even though this sim is based on real-life situations, it’s purposely not taking everything into account. For example, even the current pandemic is off-limits. Stephen said, “Right now our focus is that we’re coming together as a team, and handling some cases that they really don’t think they should be involved in due to a staff shortage of both the Coast Guard PD and at TRACEN Cape May (bootcamp/basic enlisted training for USCG recruits).”
Currently, CGIS boasts seven members distributed across a centralized team and other support roles. One of these roles involves a resident cameo writer, which Stephen attributes to being invaluable to the sim’s setting, and writes both a JAG Advisor and a lab tech who stays behind at the base of operations. CGIS is always looking for new writers to fill vacant roles, including a highly desired position as an Information Technology Specialist.
Though CGIS is just getting off the ground, Stephen brings more than a decade of gamemaster experience to the table, having run several successful sims throughout his career, including a unique spin off the oft-overlooked Star Trek: Enterprise dubbed the “Eagleverse.” The Tribune asked Stephen if he had any words of advice for someone looking to try GM’ing for themselves.
He had not one, but two pieces of invaluable advice. “Don’t be afraid,” he encouraged. “Give something a try even if it is crazy and people think it won’t work out give it a go. If you love what you’re writing about and you can get a couple of people with you do it!”
His second part is just as critical: “Quality over quantity every time.” Stephen went on to explain that this means to focus and tell the best story you can, rather than trying to rush half-hearted or lazy posts just to look busy.
Even though it’s just getting started, there’s much in store for CGIS. Their first major case is just around the corner, and it will take each player on the team to unravel the mystery.
CGIS was recently recognized in June 2020 with 22nd Fleet’s Sim of Valor award. Stephen found himself completely surprised. “Thank you to whoever nominated us! I am happy to see that we are making a bit of a splash. Thank you to all of our members who are following me into this crazy adventure and a very unique sim. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.”
The Tribune can’t wait to see either. On behalf of our writing staff, we wish this sim the best of luck. Semper Paratus!