Favorite Game Moves and Links

There are many different kinds of moves and links that can be made in games such as the WaterBird and TenStones Games. This page is intended to provide players with some sample moves that illustrate a few possibilities.

Charles Cameron

Here are some of my own favorite moves / links from the various HipBone and WaterBird Games to date:


Jase, the eleven year old son of one of my wife Annie's ballet friends, was playing a Game with moves such as Santa, reindeer, Christmas cake, etc, and came up with the bright idea of playing "people" in a central position (#6 on the TenStones board) which connected to almost everything else in sight: people wait for Santa at Christmas, Santa brings people presents, people see reindeer at the zoo, people bake Christmas cake, people eat it, etc... Since he was playing a competitive game where the idea is to rack up more links than the opposition, he found this a wildly successful strategy, and I must say I admired it myself. Although when he then played the same move in the same position in the next three or four Games, it became tiresome...


Two moves of my own, from a TenStones Game I played with my friend Stephen O'Leary.

First,"The dove descending", from TS Eliot, *Four Quartets*, "Little Gidding", iv:

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre --
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Second, "The lark ascending", citing Vaughan Williams marvellous piece for chamber orchestra and violin by that title.

There's the parallelism and opposition of "dove" to "lark" and "descending" to "ascending", of course. But I also like the move because in a full-on web version of the Game, you could click on "The dove descending" and read the text of the poem , or click on "The lark ascending" and hear the Vaughan Williams performed...


In the Game of "Quantum vs. Pop" during the Alexandria Games Festival, Pop's move #5 needed to connect with three very different ideas: with the fairy tale "Cinderella", with "sonoluminescence" (an effect whereby a bubble of air in liquid can focus acoustic energy a trillionfold to produce picosecond flashes of light), and with the concept of a "self-reproducing cosmos" (these last two ideas had both been explored in recent issues of Scientific American).

He pulled this off this with the move *Stropharia cubensis*, and wrote:

*Stropharia cubensis*, a psilocybin-saturated mushroom variety, is rather drab in appearance but capable of inducing glorious -- yet transient -- hallucinations, mirroring Cinderella at Position 5 and her brief respite from ordinariness.

According to Terence McKenna, "[psilocybin] transmutes language into something that is visibly beheld" (*Food of the Gods*, p 42; *True Hallucinations*, passim). So language-into-visible object parallels sound-into-light of "sonoluminescence" at Position 2.

Mushrooms, through production of spores, are self-reproducing, so a link is claimed with "self-reproducing cosmos" at Position 6.

I think this is simply brilliant. As I wrote at the time:

David ["Pop"] pulled off what I take to be an exemplary feat: he found an item outside the respective "realms" of the three items already before him, that nonetheless could be shown to have analogies with each of the three of them. These links do not appear to me to be strained, and indeed I would be hard put to tell which link he saw first, and which links he looked for once the first was seen. The three analogies are very different, and yet each seems to me to be both robust and fascinating.



On a more light hearted note, the following are the first four moves in a Game my wife Anne is currently playing with her sister Mary Isabel on the WaterBird board:

Move 1: Anne plays "Mel Gibson" in position 10

Who could resist beautiful Mel Gibson as an opening move? This talented actor has portrayed a vast array of interesting (but gorgeous, except for maybe that man without a face) characters. Most lately, he was won acclaim for his depiction of Scottish war hero William Wallace.

Move 2: Mary plays "The Bounty" in position 9

This 1984 film was the fourth and most satisfying screen version of "Mutiny on the Bounty". The film's director, Roger Donaldson, managed to gather together a cast including Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson and of course Mel Gibson. This group of actors could not be brought together today under a minimum budget of a hundred million dollars -- not to mention having to dig up poor old Larry!

This screen version is the most accurate depiction of the infamous 1789 mutiny against the Captain, Lt. William Bligh, aboard his ship, HMS Bounty. While the mutineers were founding a colony on Pitcairn Island, Bligh and 18 others were set adrift in a long boat. They managed to navigate, unaided, some 3,600 miles, to land safely in Timor. Bligh would later go on to become Governor of New South Wales, where his overbearing behaviour caused another revolt.

What stands out most about this film is of course the presence of the ever gorgeous Mel Gibson. Anne and I agree that his portrayal of Master's Mate Fletcher Christian could only have been improved with more use of that beautiful greatcoat. More scenes of Mel in "the coat" were definitely called for.

Move 3: Anne plays "William Wallace's Kilt" in position 7

As sad as it was to have so few scenes with Mel in his greatcoat on the Bounty, in the role of William Wallace in "Braveheart", he did flip up his kilt and answer every Sassenach's question about that garment -- bounty indeed!

Move 4: Mary plays "Tattoos" in position 5.

While viewing Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" has to be one of the best ways to see men in kilts, the Regimental Tattoo is my favorite: it's an awe inspiring sight to see the Black Watch march by in their beautiful, dark tartans. Another tattoo to watch, however, is the one that is applied to Mel Gibson's Fletcher Christian during one scene in "The Bounty". Intricate tribal designs of this sort were a popular Tahitian custom, popular too with the crew of the Bounty...

All of which makes me laugh out loud... Although I also wonder what they are going to do for an encore -- there are six more moves to go in this Game...


The best actual synchronicity that has made it into a Game probably came from the following two posts on a small mailing list of ten friends called "Gold". Our resident astrologer, Anne -- not my wife, another Anne this time -- was talking about the "Sabian Symbols" in astrology, and wrote:

In the 1920's, Marc Edmund Jones got together in San Diego's Balboa Park with a medium named Elsie Wheeler. He had 360 index cards numbered 1-360 and shuffled thoroughly. For one whole afternoon he would hold a card, ask Elsie for the image she saw, then write it down. Dane Rudhyar came along and, in a thoroughly Virgoan way for such a Leonian man, analyzed every symbol and came up with logical consistencies between the whole set, numbered just as indicated by Jones and Wheeler. It is amazing how precise an interpretation of Sabian Symbols for a birthchart can be. The images speak to some deep gestalt within.

This in turn was too much for another of the ten list members (!), Allen, who responded:

There is a factory in the village of Meductic, New Brunswick, just downriver from where I grew up... The factory is owned by the Sabian corporation, and it manufactures cymbals -- Sabian cymbals. In fact my brother works there...

When I came to make up a Game composed entirely of excerpts from the various threads on the "Gold List" -- to illustrate my thesis that these Games are apt metaphors for the net in general -- these two particular quotes became moves 8 ("Sabian Symbols") and 9 ("Sabian Cymbals"), linking too with an earlier move, "Stupefying Synchronicity", in that the clash of cymbals is an analogy for synchronicity, and can also be stupefying (grin)...


And then, from the Alexandria Games Festival, there's Oliver Perrin's move 4, Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress", in juxtaposition to Cynndara Morgan's move 3, "Romeo &Juliet V: iii" -- with, as Oliver pointed out, Shakespeare's "worms that are thy chambermaids" echoed in Marvell's "Worms shall try that long preserv'd Virginity"...

A tasty move indeed...

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HipBone Games rules, boards, sample games and other materials are copyright (c) Charles Cameron 1995, 96. See Concerning Copyright for full copyright details.