Heavenly Bodies

Heavenly Bodies

Stuart and Charles

A WaterBird Game

Here's a quick game that is perhaps the best “introductory” game to read. It's short, and it's hopefully neither too obscure nor too trivial… It has to do with Venus as a goddess and as a planet, gravity and the seasons on Mars, and the Fall – when the biblical “fallen angels” fell from heaven, did they do so at 32 feet per second per second, so to speak? Physics vs poetry, fact vs myth…

Move 1: Charles plays "heavenly bodies" in position 2

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 2

Move 2: Stuart plays "sky" in position 6

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 6

Stuart's not much interested in religion, and prefers science: heaven, he believes, should be called sky from here on in. Note that in a HipBone Game the first two moves don't need to link (since move 2 is a non-scoring move), but it can add to the game as a whole when they do – as they do here.

Okay, Move 3: Charles plays "Venus" in position 4

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 4

He claims links to “heavenly bodies” since Venus is (and has) a heavenly body, and to “sky” since she's visible in the night sky. 2 points.

Move 4: Stuart plays "gravity" in position 8

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 8

Gravity, he says, is what keeps “heavenly bodies” in their elliptical motions – from the planets that orbit our sun, to the stars that compose a galaxy, to – maybe – the whole universe itself. And Venus is attractive (it's that heavenly body again, she's the goddess of love in fact) and so is gravity. 2 points. Note again that Stuart doesn't have to link gravity to “sky” since there's no line connecting positions 8 and 6 on the WaterBird board.

Move 5: Charles plays "fall" in position 3

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 3

Falling bodies, here on earth, are pulled by gravity – and as for heavenly bodies falling, don't they call them “fallen angels”? 2 points.

Move 6: Stuart plays "Mars" in position 9

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 9

Let's get back to astronomy, he says – and besides, didn't Johnny Gray write a book called “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”? One point for both being planets, one for the book title. And one for the night sky. Okay, okay, I see the link between Mars and gravity, Charles says, but I don't see a link with fall. Try practicing some martial arts, says Stuart, you will. Reluctantly, Charles agrees: Stuart has scored 5 points.

Move 7: Charles plays "Eden" in position 1

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 1

Back to his favorite topic: mythology. It's where the Fall took place, he explains, and it's also known as paradise – another name for heaven – and by all accounts Adam and Eve had heavenly bodies until they bit down on that apple and had to cover their nakedness with fig-leaves. What about gravity? Stuart asks. They didn't realize the gravity of the situation until they were thrown out of paradise and had to get jobs, Charles replies. I allowed your far-fetched link between fall and the martial arts, if you recall… Stuart concedes at this point: Charles has scored 5.

Move 8: Stuart plays "red" in position 10

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 10

Mars is the red planet, one point. “Red sky at night, shepherd's delight”, one point. For a total of 2.

Move 9: Charles plays "water" in position 7

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 7

Mars is a dry planet, Charles explains, but people used to think there were canals on Mars, which would have implied water, so I'll claim a point there. Water and fall come together in a waterfall. And as for red water, first there's the “red tide” caused by microscopic organisms in the sea, and then there's the “Red Sea” itself. 4 points.

Move 10: Stuart plays "spring" in position 5

WaterBird Heavenly Bodies position 5

If you've a spring in your step, it means you fairly bounce along defying gravity, Stuart said. Spring and fall are easy, they're both seasons; spring and water are easy too, there's spring water. And as for spring and Mars, I didn't know how I was going to manage that one – so I logged onto the Web, did a quick search for “Martian Spring”, and found a page about it. It seems that as spring reaches the northern latitudes of Mars, the increased solar heating causes temperature differences between receding polar ice and the warmer regions to the south – and voila “Martian Spring”. And incidentally, yes, there is water on Mars, and I'm glad you didn't know about it, or you'd have scored 5 points instead of 4 with your last move. Which looks like 4 points…

It's a tie, Charles says, 13-13. Poetry can keep up with physics any time!

Hang on, says Stuart, I wasn't quite finished with that last move. Now let me see, spring and water: I've got it, April showers, for 5…

Stuart and Charles, A WaterBird Game

Heavenly Bodies: Stuart and Charles, A WaterBird Game

Game and original Board by Charles Cameron hipbone@earthlink.net

HipBone Games rules, boards, sample games and other materials are copyright © Charles Cameron 1995, 96, 97.
See Concerning Copyright for full copyright details.