Kenning Haiku Competition

The KenningHaiku Competition was formally announced at Dragonflight XXV on 14 August 2004.


Kennexions is an attempt to create a real-life version of the imaginary game described in the science fiction novel The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) (a.k.a. TheNovel), for which Hermann Hesse won the Nobel Prize in 1946. Here is how Hesse describes game play, the height of which is about five centuries in the future:

The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture; it plays with them as, say, in the great age of the arts a painter might have played with the colors on his palette. All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ. And this organ has attained an almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number....
A Game, for example, might start from a given astronomical configuration, or from the actual theme of a Bach fugue, or from a sentence out of Leibniz or the Upanishads, and from this theme, depending on the intentions and talents of the player, it could either further explore and elaborate the initial motif or else enrich its expressiveness by allusions to kindred concepts.

The game described in the second paragraph differs from the game described in the first in the same way that a game of Chess differs from the game of Chess. We call a game of Kennexions a game composition, but the game of Kennexions a game form.

In TheNovel The Glass Bead Game, there was an annual competition, the object of which was to create the best Glass Bead Game composition. The winner's game was performed before a worldwide audience, and possibly entered into the great Archive of the Glass Bead Game. The Gamemaster of Kennexions, Ron Hale-Evans, is now sponsoring the first Kennexions competition, on the model of Hesse's annual game. Despite the loftiness of Hesse's description, Kennexions, and this competition, are designed to be played on a variety of levels and to appeal to a variety of creative people:


  1. The object of this competition is to create the best KenningHaiku, or simple Kennexions game composition, starting from a single word or concept.
  2. Game composers retain copyright on their compositions if they so desire; however, game compositions submitted must be freely licensed under the GnuFreeDocumentationLicense so that they can be incorporated into the Kennexions Archive. (Do not use any of the license's optional features.) Entrants must respect fair-use provisions of copyright law when providing Quotations; thus, quoting from public-domain or otherwise free (as in "freedom") material is encouraged.
  3. Game composers may collaborate.
  4. Entries for the current competition will be judged subjectively by the Kennexions Gamemaster on criteria including these:
  1. Entries will be considered for
  1. The winner of the current competition will become Gamemaster of the next Kennexions Competition, and will state the rules and competition theme in consultation with the Kennexions Gamemaster. In addition, the winner will receive the following prizes:
  1. Entries must be submitted electronically to by 23:59:59 Pacific Time on 15 February 2005, which means the competition will last approximately six months. Entries will be judged and the winner announced no later 15 August 2005 (six months from the close of the competition).
  2. Entries need not, but may, be submitted under a pseudonym (pen name). (See TheNovel if you need inspiration.) Every entry must include an email address or other contact information so that competitors can be notified of the results.
  3. Please respect the spirit of the GnuFreeDocumentationLicense and do not submit your game in a proprietary data format such as Microsoft Word or Shockwave Flash.

Further information

For further information on Kennexions, see or the Kennexions and KenningHaiku pages on this wiki.