To an outside observer it seems that the game of Azad, from the empire of the same name featured heavily in The Player of Games, bears strong similarities to the Glass Bead Game from Hesse's 1943 novel; also titled The Glass Bead Game or Glasperlenspiel in the original German.
Both are overwhelmingly intricate games which can be used to express ideas and concepts about life, politics, economics, music and much more. And the societies they exist in, Azad and Castalia respectively, are built almost entirely around the central events where games are demonstrated to a wider audience. To comprehend the games is to comprehend the society that fosters them.
Now the idea of a game standing in for and representing events in the real world is unlikely to be unique to these works, but I was hoping to find out whether Banks had ever stated that he was inspired by Hesse's work, or even just acknowledged the similarities between the two.
So; was Iain Banks inspired by Hermann Hesse's Glass Bead Game, or did he ever discuss the similarities?