Hampton at the Cross-Roads

Climate Change and the Future of American Maritime Security
Get the game kit

Game Objective

◎ ◎ ◎
It’s 2024 and Hurricane Helen has devastated Hampton Roads, Virginia. Local naval facilities are paralyzed and crucial U.S. naval assets like the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier (CVN-79) are severely damaged.

This catastrophe prompts urgent decisions about the Navy's footprint in the region and the future of the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers amidst global tensions with China.
◎ ◎ ◎
Hurricane Helen and residual fallout from Covid-19 as well as labor unrest and economic concerns driven by inflation further complicate recovery efforts and future naval readiness.

Decision-makers face a dilemma: Should they invest heavily in the carrier program to boost the regional economy and the navy's capabilities, or should they scale back due to fiscal challenges and climate change concerns?
◎ ◎ ◎
Everyone wants America to succeed, but each person has their own motivations and personal objectives. Can they collectively find a path forward that helps their interests and the nation’s? It’s Hampton at the Cross-Roads — and the future is in your hands.


Mayor Wallace
City of Newport News
Taking office in 2020, Wallace has a background that combines engineering expertise from the University of Virginia with global experience from the Peace Corps. Focused on the dual challenges of climate change and preserving local shipbuilding jobs, Wallace used their mayoral campaign to advocate for urban resilience. They beat a long-time incumbent in an upset victory.
Representative Chase
House Armed Services Committee
After a multi-decade career in the House of Representatives, Representative Chase is now chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee. An easy path to reelection is suddenly in doubt in the aftermath of Hurricane Helen, placing Chase in the spotlight like never before. Fighting climate and union activists, Chase must match the economic viability of the region's shipyard with the future needs of the U.S. Navy all with just weeks to spare.
Griffith Barrett Industries
A native of Biloxi, MS, Brewer rose up through the ranks of GBI over many decades, finally becoming CEO. Brewer oversees a sprawling range of activities, but most importantly, the company’s shipyard in Hampton Roads, which is its largest revenue and profit center. With Hurricane Helen's destruction, Brewer needs to carefully handle repairs along with a growing labor crisis to ensure GBI's long-term success on Wall Street.
Substacker Carmichael
Virginia Stripes Substack
After graduating from the College of William & Mary, Carmichael joined the Daily Press, the local newspaper of Hampton Roads, reporting on regional issues and the last mayoral campaign. Recently, they left to build a new Substack newsletter focused on the defense economy of Hampton Roads. With Hurricane Helen's landfall, Carmichael is suddenly getting attention for "Virginia Stripes" like never before, and hopes to parlay that interest into a durable subscription-based media company.
Union President McKinley
Local 9999
The latest in a multi-generational family of welders at the GBI shipyard, McKinley mostly ignored union politics until Covid-19 broke out, where they watched workers pass away even as the company instituted back-to-work orders to meet the Navy's construction deadlines. The event radicalized McKinley, who won the recent union presidential election and is now devoted to ensuring that GBI's workforce is as safe, healthy and prosperous as the company itself.
Admiral Reid
U.S. Navy
As Chief of Naval Operations and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Reid is the proud leader of America's naval forces. Reid has sounded the alarm on the Navy’s vulnerabilities to climate change for many years, warnings that have long been dismissed. Now with the extensive damage from Hurricane Helen, Reid has the opportunity to shine — and potentially be promoted to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs — or drown in the coming scapegoating.

How To Play


On climate change and national security, this scenario was inspired by details presented in Michael Klare’s book All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change as well as a special issue of the Journal of Advanced Military Studies on national security and disaster response (Volume 13, Issue 1).

On the specific challenges of labor and unionization at America’s naval shipyards, this scenario was inspired by Michael Fabey’s book Heavy Metal: The Hard Days and Nights of the Shipyard Workers Who Build America’s Supercarriers.


Scenario Design and Story: Danny Crichton
Producer: Chris Gates
Front Cover Illustration: Barry Blankenship
Production Designer: Justin Barber
Website Designer: James Clements
Associate: Ken Bui