Annotated HipBone Site Index

Welcome once again.

What we have here is a complete index to the HipBone Games web site, divided into sub-sections, and with annotations about each individual page or series of pages.

This page will refer you to introductory materials about the HipBone Games, sample game boards, sample games of various sorts, materials on Hermann Hesse's Glass Bead Game... computer games, poetry, myth, and apocalyptic.

Hopefully you will find this page helpful as you get acquainted with our site, but will eventually be able to move around more quickly in the unannotated bare bones version of this page.

Quick Links and Shortcuts

Choose one of the following...

HipBone Welcome, the start of the HipBone pages.
HipBone Guided Tour: a brief walkthrough of the HipBone Games site.
Invitation to the Games: boards, rules, etc if you want to play right away.
Outrageous Claims: in which we praise our own games to the skies.
HipBone Links: a bare bones index of the site.
HipBone New links, not yet integrated into the overall site structure.
HipBone Outlinks, a page of links elsewhere and beyond.
HipBone Home -- take a longer look at our opening graphic.
Charles Cameron puts a face to HipBone's name, with bio and resume.

See also:

Lewis Lapham's comments in Harper's
Don Oldenburg's comments in the Washington Post

or continue here for the full suite of boards and sample games, and an extensive selection of articles about the HipBone Games, Hermann Hesse's Glass Bead Game, the future of computer games, poetry, myth, and -- last but not least -- apocalyptic.

HipBone Games

Game Boards:

HipBone Game Boards sub-index

You can print "empty" boards and try the Games themselves:

The WaterBird Board, which is the standard HipBone board
The TenStones Board, based on the Sephirotic Tree in Kabbalah
The Tetraktys Board, based on a mathematical diagram attributed to Pythagoras
The Hexagon Board, also useful for Tarot spreads
The Pentagram and Mercedes boards, two topologically identical boards
The Hamiltonian board, an experimental board with some unidirectional links

And while you're about it, you might also take a look at:

Ancient and Future Game Boards, presenting some boards on which the HipBone Games were apparently played in earlier times, including:

The Quincunx Board from Sir Thomas Browne
The Tetrad Board from Oronce Fine, De sphaera mundi, 1542

as well as some others on which we hope to play in future...

Sample Games:

HipBone Games are most enjoyable when they're played by people who know strange and curious facts and quotations, who can pause when you mention just about anything and say, "that reminds me..." -- and come up with some tale of a beheaded king or a Cuban dictator who was once offered a tryout in the minor leagues, a remark by Charles Laughton in one of Hitchcock's movies or whatever.

But this can get overwhelming if you're reading the game afterwards, and you don't happen to know much about kings or beheading or dictators or baseball or film...

Chuck Stew:

Try this one first! "Chuck Stew" is probably the simplest game on the HipBone site, with moves ranging from "beef jerky" and "mustang" to "brahma" and "home on the range".

We present Chuck Stew here in two formats: as a regular game, and in reverse... You can read it like any other HipBone game, the way "Chuck" and "Stu" played it, with each of the moves described in turn: that's the usual way the games are presented here: Chuck Stew: Forward.

But you might find it more challenging or interesting to read the completed game board first, Chuck Stew: Reverse -- and try to figure out for yourself what links and associations you would have made between the various moves -- then go to the regular game presentation and compare notes. Your choice...

Gossip and General Interest Games:

Gossip, pop and general interest games sub-index

Now for some more sample games. The light-hearted sample games in this section have been chosen because they're clever and fun:

Indian Summer is a fast game with pop references ranging from The Doors to Offspring, to be taken with a pinch of mildly psychedelic nutmeg. It is played on the WaterBird board.

Hear that Long Snake Moan is rocking and erotic -- a bright college student game to go with beer and pretzels on the TenStones board.

Follow it up with the return match, Apocalypse Now on the WaterBird board.

Totentanz is an light-hearted and enjoyable Game I played with my wife, who is a history buff with a slightly morbid sense of humor. People are always getting beheaded (or otherwise impaled or exhumed) in this Game... It is played on the WaterBird board.

Courtesy is another historical game my wife and I played together, with a sting of hashish and assassination at the end. It is played on the WaterBird board.

Folsom Street Blues is the quirkiest of the games in this bunch -- with more pop culture references, some on the darker side... A WaterBird game...

Of Mutes and Trumpeters is probably the closest thing to what I call a "serious" game in the group: it's a mixture of yoga philosophy and jazz, with a trumpet playing angel thrown in for good measure. On the WaterBird board.

And if at times the players wax scholarly about topics that aren't in your personal area of expertise, remember that you almost certainly know more about football, or card games, or horses, or street gangs, or monks, or the meaning of colored handkerchiefs worn in the back pockets of gay men, or islands, or cooking, or something, than they'll ever know in their entire lives.

Heavy Duty Games:

Heavy duty games sub-index

Now, serious scholarship is another thing altogether, and the games can certainly be played as a means of exploring scholarly topics in a creative and artistic way. Hell, there's little enough joy in the academic "publish or perish" rat race as it is, and not every pursuit that's passionate has to be trivial...

The games that follow will probably be most interesting to those who are involved in the specific topics that each game deals with...

You have been warned...

For serious poets, then, and scholars who don't mind a touch of spirituality with their scholarship, the game of Stephen vs Charles would seem a better choice. Plenty of Rilke and Eliot. Played very fast with a friend one night on the TenStones board.

Games within Games takes a look at the origins of games and playing -- it's a Joseph Campbell sort of game, full of mythology and ancient lore, which I played on the Magister-L mailing list with Steven Cranmer. We used the TenStones board.

Yeats and Jung is a high-serious scholarly Game exploring the fascinating parallelisms between the thoughts of these two Modern Greats. It was written in collaboration with LeGrand Cinq-Mars, on the TenStones board because both Yeats and Jung had an interest in Kabbalah...

A Solemn Requiem for Sir Laurens van der Post salutes novelist, poet and explorer van der Post, who died in December 1996. Sir Laurens was Jung's friend and most insightful biographer, and a friend and mentor to Prince Charles. This requiem takes the form of a TenStones Game, and is intended for liturgical performance and private meditation. See also Why a Requiem in the form of a Glass Bead Game?

The Phoenix and the Peacock is a game George Hersh and I played, in which we explored the symbolism of alchemy east and west -- and more specifically the symbolism of birds... moving from the western peacock and eastern phoenix, via black crow and white swan, to the fabulous P'eng of China, and thence to Athena's owl, the sufi Simurgh, and the unnamed water-bird of a Buriat shaman's tale... And once again, we used the TenStones board.

A Glass Bead Game for Marie-Louise von Franz was written as a contribution to the Festschrift in that grand lady's honor to be edited by James Hall and Murray Stein for Chiron Press, but was not selected for publication. Appropriately enough, perhaps -- for it revolves around the alchemical notion of the "stone that the builders rejected". Played on the WaterBird board.

Finally, Quintessence: a Glass Bead Game suggests a different framework in which to write Glass Bead Games: two "themes" of five "parts" each are proposed, contrasted, repeated, and finally reconciled.

As you've no doubt gathered by now, the HipBone Games can be played in any number of ways, for sheer fun, for artistic or scholarly purposes... or as aids in education and psychology...

Special Purpose Games:

Educational & Dream Games sub-index

We hope to explore the educational and therapeutic uses of HipBone Games in greater detail with interested teachers and therapists...

Take a look at these early sample games, and feel free to contact us...

Second Grade is my first attempt at a game written specifically with the classroom in mind. Unlike most HipBone Games, this one starts with a short quiz, and it's only when the "correct" answers have been written up on the WaterBird board that the links and connections between them can be seen...

Cinderella: A Second Grade Game was written to see whether a HipBone Game could be used to explore a single story in the classroom setting. Played on the WaterBird board.

Bear Madonna Game is my first attempt to write a game that explores dream imagery, showing one of the ways in which I believe these games could be of service in therapy. This particular game is heavily Jungian and archetypal, for those who like such things. It's the only game so far played on the Tetraktys board.


For those who really want to dig in...

About the HipBone Games:

HipBone Games articles sub-index

These pieces deal specifically with the HipBone Games: for more on Hesse's Glass Bead Game, see below.
To give you an idea of the kinds of moves that are possible in the HipBone Games, I am listing some of my personal favorites from a variety of Games...

When I began thinking about how to translate Hesse's Glass Bead Game into a playable form, I wrote this Hermetic Game as a short visualization, and posted it to the Hermetica list. I would like to develop a MYST-style Game which will explore the further terrain beyond this corridor.

Those of you interested in the "high-serious art" side of the games, or drawn to contemplative, meditative styles of play, are invited to check out these short Meditations for Game Players, which evolved out of the Hermetic Game when I started working with boards...

I already had a copy of Shunryu Suzuki's Zen Mind Beginner's Mind and Robert Pirsig's Zen in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -- The Hidden Links between Books describes the urgency I felt to get a hold of a Suzuki motorcycle maintenance manual, and complete the triangle...

Next, here's a cluster of links of a mainly mathematical sort -- including some computer generated "graphs" that bear a remarkable family resemblance to the HipBone boards, and an intriguing article by the Cambridge philosopher Margaret Masterman exploring a Christian "graph" of the Trinity in terms of Boolean algebra:

Peterson Graphs, Semantic Networks, Glass Bead Games
Margaret Masterman, George Boole and the Holy Trinity
Masterman's "Theism as a Scientific Hypothesis III" [excerpt]

We've also been developing some ideas for puzzles based on the HipBone Games premise. These HipBone Puzzles are the sort of thing you might find at the back of a magazine, where you have to choose a word that links two others in some way, or figure out what comes next in a series... but updated slightly to reflect the possibility of electronic gaming.

Games for Dreamwork, Therapy, Education and Creativity:

Dreamwork, Therapy, Education and Creativity sub-index
Both Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud found associative thinking offered helpful clues to their patients' psychic processes, and more recent authors have stressed the importance of this kind of thinking as a major factor in creativity and problem-solving. The materials in this section explore therapeutic and educational applications of the HipBone Games.

HipBone Games in dreamwork and psychology explores various ways in which the games might be of service to the therapeutic community.

A stunning Quote from Gregory Bateson on the importance of pattern in education.

An excellent essay by Chris Severud of Bourbaki Inc: The Glass Bead Game - A Multimedia Concept for Education. This is an invaluable introduction to the cognitive styles involved in GBG style games. Wish I'd written it myself.

My own first rough-and-ready attempt to articulate the possible uses of the HipBone Games in education.

Possible uses of the HipBone Games in creativity.

Relating to Hesse's GBG and other attempts at Glass Bead Game design:

Hermann Hesse and Glass Bead Game Design sub-index

To begin with, here's a wonderful quote from Hesse's own Magister Ludi, followed by a quote from Michael Heim's The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality explaining why Hesse's GBG is a crucial metaphor for understanding the nature of cyberspace (and the world our children are about to inherit)...

My most recent piece on Glass Bead Game design is...

Hermann Hesse's Glass Bead Game: A Game Designer's Holy Grail... Written primarily for interested members of the game design community, this piece lays out the essence of the game genre called Glass Bead Games, and suggests why the development of successful, playable Games in this genre can serve as something of a "holy grail" for designers. The GBG is outlined here without quotation from Hermann Hesse's writings. This should permit game designers to grasp the essence of the Game itself, without getting bogged down in the specifics as Hesse described them for his own novelistic purposes -- and should also allow those who are already familiar with his work to see the Game in a fresh perspective.

Those who are interested in the various attempts to design playable variants on Hesse's Glass Bead Game can also read my earlier pieces:

Summary of Approaches to Glass Bead Game Design
Considerations for those who would build variants on Hermann Hesse's GBG
Glass Beads and Hieroglyphs, a visual supplement to "Considerations"
Relations, analogies, correspondences in Hesse's GBG
Eliot's dove, John's revelation, a follow up to "Relations, analogies, etc"

Other pieces about the GBG:
Explaining the Glass Bead Game... It's not always the easiest thing to "explain" the GBG to those who haven't read the book -- this piece offers some quotes and suggestions...

Hesse's Glass Bead Game: a non-trivial pursuit proposes that the attempt to devise and design Glass Bead Games is an attempt at an intellectual synthesis comparable to other such attempts in the sciences.

Games "not unlike chesse" is basically a preview of the "chess-like" section of a forthcoming Magister-L FAQ -- some interesting quotes strung together, some web-links...

Why a Requiem in the form of a Glass Bead Game? quotes a comment Jung once made to Laurens van der Post about the importance of games and game design, and explains which a Glass Bead Game might be an appropriate form in which to write my Requiem for Sir Laurens...

A Test Case for Glass Bead Game Design describes a sample "move" which would be possible in some -- but not necessarily all -- variant Glass Bead Game designs. I suggest that this particular move could be used as a sort of bench mark, allowing GBG designers to demonstrate how their own games might handle it...

A GBG Test Case Move: Responses contains the comments I received from Mark Line and William Horden in response to my proposal of a "test case" move.

About Terence MacNamee's Game:

I hope to include comments and analyses of a number of Glass Bead Game variants on the HipBone site eventually, and these pieces are a start...

Terence MacNamee is a friend and colleague who has been working on his own Approach to "Glass Bead Game" design, which is based in linguistics.

His Jewish Cemetery Game is a fine example of his work, and I am happy to present it here with his permission. Please note that this Game is not played on a board, and that a fuller version exists in HyperCard format.

A Defence of Poetry... Offers an extended commentary on Terence MacNamee's "Jewish Cemetery Game", showing why I consider this beautiful work to be a worthy instance of Hesse's Game.

GBG Reference:

You might also like to learn more about Magister-L, a fairly low-volume mailing list for the discussion of games and spirituality in general, which often carries posts about Glass Bead Game design.

or to visit my annotated Yahoo Glass Bead Game listing, for links with other sites.

Finally, no Glass Bead Game section could be complete without a direct link -- outside these HipBone pages, I warn you -- to Gail Sullivan's Glass Bead Game site.

About Computer Games:

Computer Games sub-index

Here you will find pieces about such computer games as Doom, Shadow Warrior and Myst, exploring my own hopes and hints for the future of this fascinating genre.
In The Mysts of Antiquity, I take a look at some of the classical and renaissance precursors to a classic computer game.

In Games Lamas Play, I discuss some striking similarities between games like Doom and the meditations of Vajrayana Buddhists...

Shadow Warrior and Doom images is a visual supplement to "Games Lamas Play".

Myst-like Universities, Oxford-like Games? offers glimpses of one direction I'd like my own HipBone Games to take in future...

Relating to Poetry and the Arts:

Poetry and the Arts sub-index

Here you will find some essays of mine on poetic and mythological topics.

The walk among woods and words suggests -- pleasantly enough, though the thought itself is hardly original -- that poetry has as much to do with the love of language as it does with its personal or archetypal themes: that it is, in the terms of this piece, as much a matter of a "walk through words" as of a "walk through woods".

In That HyperText is Linear, I talk about two ways in which we read a given text. We tend to read things "from beginning to end": "diachronic" reading is the way literary critics describe this most obvious of things... But there's a special impact that only arises when we reach the end, and which takes the form of another kind of reading, outside time so to speak, and perhaps even quite unconscious, in which all the parts of what we have read come together in the mind at once: this is much less obvious, and literary critics call it the "synchronic" reading. Thinking about diachronic and synchronic readings can give us a clue as to what makes for a powerful piece of writing -- or a truly non-linear Game.

Similarly, in Tight Form and Aesthetic Impact, I discuss the impact of formal structure on good writing -- and good Game design. In my view, these Games can be viewed as a sort of proving ground for theories about the arts. I bring a poet's sensibilities to the Games I devise, and for instance believe that the arts are constituted by the marriage of passion with tight structure...

I believe that's what poetry is all about -- and if I'm right, then the "tight form" of these Games will work like the "tight form" of the sonnet, focusing the passion of the various moves into a presentation which touches both heart and mind with real *beauty*. I address this question of "real beauty" from a poet's perspective in Hopkins and the Seraph.

In the words of a Tibetan Geshe... talks about the science of poetry from a perspective based in Hindu poetics, and introduces such perhaps unfamiliar concepts as rasa, yugen, and duende...

Turning to matters mythological...

Do we need a new myth and if so, how? is a piece about Joseph Campbell's idea that we need a myth for our times, and what it might take to come up with one...

In A Spear Dipped in Poppy Juice, I compare Lugh's Spear from Irish mythology, which had to be kept sedated in poppy juice between battles, and Sir Kenelm Digby's "Powder of Sympathy", which had the curious property of healing wounds when applied to the weapon which had caused them.

In Vision Quest and Vision, I talk about the synchronous arrival of a United Airlines flight and an eagle at Medford Airport in Oregon...

About Apocalypse:

Millennial sub-index
The last two pieces reflect my ongoing interest in one of the more eccentric, at its worst extremely dangerous and at its best inspiringly poetic aspects of theology -- apocalyptic -- and my conviction that it will play an increasing role in public discourse over the next few years...

Apocalyptic: a hidden dimension to the Y2K problem ... Suggesting that press reports of the apparently "secular" millennium bug are likely to be read as "signs of the times" by believers in a variety of religio-political millennial scenarios...

Apocalyptic: a hidden dimension II is a second "take" on the intersection between the "millenium computer bug" and the apocalyptic mindset.

See also the work of the Center for Millennial Studies, of which I am an Associate.

Contact us:

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