HipBone Theory 2900

I am going to explain a couple of the key ideas to consider when building/playing a HipBone game. The board I am going to use is simpler then the ones on the HipBones site (or in misuba's above wu). I call the board below a joint. It captures the essential problems you face when filling in a more complicated HipBone board but is easier to learn with and much easier to complete.

As misuba explains, each number is filled in with an idea. Each idea must somehow be related to whatever idea it connects to. For example,

                             1. Chicken
                            /           \
             2. Conquistador  ---------  3. Quinoa              
                            \           /
                             4. Pioneer  

The HipBones website is purposefully vague about what constitutes a good connection or a valid “idea”. In fact, the site gives very few examples of completed boards. The feeling is that the less that is said the more that players will bring to the game. While I appreciate this sentiment, there is some theory which helps when learning how to approach a board. For instance,

                               /      \
                       2.Animal   ---  3.Pet      
                               \      /
is as valid as my first example, but is systematically different from the first board.

Direct vs. Indirect connections, static concepts, and the aesthetics of HipBones.

The first joint is comprised entirely of indirect connections between the ideas. The second is comprised of direct connections. Dog connects to animal because a dog is an animal. A direct connection can be any part of the idea from which it is derived. So from dog you could connect animal, pet, tail, four legs, lassie, paws, begging, snoopy, shits in public places, is euthanized, domesticated, helps the blind, gets lost. Anything related to dogs.

Chicken connects to conquistador indirectly because they both carry disease. An indirect connection is really just two direct connections. For instance, chickens carry disease, disease was carried by conquistadors.

When you look at a board comprised of indirect connections the reasoning is not as evident as with direct connections. The board becomes a puzzle to be solved. With direct connections the board reveals itself rapidly. The choice between using direct or indirect connections is ultimately an aesthetic choice.

Another aesthetic consideration is whether you are comparing static concepts (as I have been) or the word that is written on the page. For instance, a pet is an animal toy but it is also a verb describing soft stroking.

If you are connecting based on words you could conceivably go dog - pet - soothe allowing "pet" two meanings. Additionally, the connection itself could be open to multiple interpretations while the concepts themselves remain static, allowing dog to connect to soothe indirectly based on the word pet.

How to make friends and HipBones.

All you need is a pen and some paper. You draw out a board and start filling it in. Simple as that.

The small boards I have been using for examples are much easier then larger boards and do not represent the beautiful complexity that is possible. For example, the Waterbird board contains one concept that must connect to eight other concepts, all of which make multiple connections amongst themselves. But if you don't like the HipBone boards just design your own. The Star of David has some tempting vertices.

Once you've decided whether you will be making indirect or direct connections to static or interpretable concepts you just choose a concept and put it somewhere on the board. After this brainstorm as many associations as you can with that concept. The reason you want to set out guidelines is so that the brainstorming can be more productive.

The brainstorming is why hipbones make for good conversation. It encourages you to free associate with each other. As the game gets closer to the end it becomes more challenging to add new concepts. If the board has been developing nicely you will want to rise to that challenge. And if you finish it then you have created a trip through collaborative free association that can be enjoyed by others.