United States Patent 3807736

Game apparatus comprising a game board and a plurality of objects such as marbles which are caused to progressively advance along paths provided by the game board. The illustrated game board has a flat upper surface in which the paths are formed by rows of receptacles in the form of depressions. The rows are parallel to one another and run from one end of the board to the other. The receptacles in each row are spaced from one another. Each of the illustrated receptacles will accommodate two or more of the marbles. Propelling means are provided at a first or starting end of the board for propelling the marbles along the various paths. In the play of the game, some of the propelled marbles will seat themselves in the receptacles. Then as a subsequent marble is propelled and engages a seated marble, the impact causes the forward marble to be further propelled to a subsequent receptacle along its row. Thus, the marbles are caused to advance along the various rows, with the players competing to advance their marbles. The board may be inclined upwardly from start to finish so that if a marble does not seat itself in a receptacle, it will roll back down to the starting end where the propelling means are located so that it can be propelled again.

Goldfarb, Adolph E. (Tarzana, CA)
Soriano, Rene (Los Angeles, CA)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
International Classes:
A63F7/00; (IPC1-7): A63F7/00
Field of Search:
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US Patent References:
3017186Mallet and die game1962-01-16Ascardi
2863666Game apparatus1958-12-09Aronson
2789823Game apparatus1957-04-23Bennett

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Brown, Theatrice
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ashen, Robert M.
We claim

1. A game apparatus comprising:

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said board has an upper surface and said receptacles comprise depressions in said surface.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the depressions in a path are arranged in a generally straight line with each depression being elongated in the direction of said line so as to receive and retain more than one object therein.

4. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said board surface is inclined so that said path extends upwardly.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 comprising at least two paths, and two propelling means each aligned with one of said paths.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein each of said propelling means comprises a flexible flipper arm aligned with one of said paths.

7. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein one or more depressions in a path is curved so that the path is non-linear.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising, in combination, a plurality of play objects movable over said surface.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said objects are spheres.

10. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said objects are slidable blocks.

11. A game apparatus comprising a game board having a flat upper surface, a plurality of spherical objects adapted to roll along said flat upper surface, said game board also including means on said upper surface defining a plurality of depressions therein, said depressions being arranged in two or more parallel rows, each of said rows having at least two depressions therein starting with a first depression and progressing forwardly along the row to a last depression, the depressions in each row being elongated in the direction of the row to permit them to releasibly hold a defined maximum number of marbles, said number being more than one, said board having at least two means for propelling the spherical objects to impinge upon the depressions. each of said propelling means being located in alignment with one of said rows, said depression being of a configuration and rearwardly of the first depression in said one row, the depressions being configured so that upon impingement of a marble upon a depression containing said defined maximum number of marbles, the forwardmost marble in said depression is released forwardly from said depression.

There have been various games in the prior art utilizing marbles or like objects which are propelled for various purposes. Most of such games have fallen into certain specific categories. One such category involves shooting marbles or other projectiles at targets to knock them over or to actuate signals. Another category involves shooting the marbles at one another. Still another category involves projecting the marbles along a difficult or circuitous path. Such games often require more skill than is possessed by the user, especially younger children who become frustrated when they are not successively hitting the target. The game of the present invention is relatively simple, even for younger children. The alignment and construction of the propelling means and the rows of receptacles is such that the marbles progress up the rows from receptacle to receptacle in a manner exciting to the child, without requiring great shooting skill on his part. The game apparatus of the invention also provides an exciting chain-reaction effect in that when several marbles are retained in a receptacle and the marbles in that recess are impacted from the rear by another marble, the forward-most marble will be impelled forwardly while the rear-most marble which provided the impact will seat itself in the recess.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a game board with play objects thereon which comprises a presently preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a side sectional view of the game apparatus shown in FIG. 1 taken generally along line 2--2 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view of a portion of an alternate form of game apparatus.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view of a portion of still another form of game apparatus.

The preferred form of the invention shown in the drawings comprises generally a playing board 10 and a plurality of playing pieces or objects 12. The illustrated playing objects 12 are spheres such as marbles. Other forms of objects such as slidable blocks might be utilized in the play of the game, as will become more apparent from the following description.

The illustrated board 10 may be made of any suitable material such as molded plastic, wood or the like. The board is generally rectangular in shape, having a lower first or starting end 14 and a elevated second or finishing end 16. The upper end 16 of the illustrated board is converged to an apex as shown in FIG. 1. The board has a generally flat upper surface 18 surrounded by an upright rail or peripheral wall 19. The surface 18 has a plurality of depressions or recesses which define receptacles 20 for receiving the play objects. The receptacles 20 of the illustrated board are arranged in parallel rows extending from one end of the board to the other. The receptacles 20 in each row are spaced from one another, and in the illustrated structure, the portions of the board between the receptacles of a row comprise smooth, flat portions 22 of the upper surface of the board. For example, a row of the receptacles 20a together with the smooth flat portions 22a between the receptacles 20a define a path for the objects to follow. This is a simply, easily, and economically fabricated form of construction.

The individual receptacles 20 may be elongated lengthwise of the board. In another words, they have one larger dimension extending from one end of the board to the other. Each of the illustrated receptacles 20 has an inclined portion 24 at its forward end for easy exit of the spherical play objects 12 out of the receptacle. The rearward end 25 of each receptacle has a generally vertical wall to retain the spheres in the receptacle (See FIG. 2). The illustrated receptacles 20 are proportioned to receive and retain two of the spherical play objects 12 at one time. It is desirable that a receptacle 20 be able to hold more than one of the play objects since this permits the chain-reaction effect referred to above. The size of the receptacle may be indreased to accommodate more than two of the spheres if desired, although the illustrated play apparatus has been found to operate very effectively in the form shown in the drawings. As shown in FIG. 1, the receptacles of the illustrated board are arranged in an alternating pattern, with the receptacles of one row being staggered from the receptacles of adjacent rows. Also because of the peaked form of the forward end of the board, the center-most row is the longest and the rows become progressively shorter to either side of the center row. The board 10 is marked along the margin of its forward portion with numbers indicating levels or distances along the rows from their lower starting ends. Thus, for example, the illustrated board has numbers 1 through 8 which indicate positions or levels along the paths defined by the rows of receptacles.

The propelling means 26 for the illustrated apparatus comprise a plurality of individual flippers located along the lower or starting edge 14 of the board. Each of the flippers 26 is aligned with one of the paths for the marbles. Rails or guides 28 may be provided on the surface 18 of the board adjacent the flippers 26 to guide the marbles and position them relative to the flippers. The flippers 26 are in the form of upstanding plastic blades of a semi-flexible and resilient material. The blades are secured at their lower ends and are free at their upwardly extending ends. The child-user simply pulls back on the upper end of the blade and releases it to cause the blade to propell the marble in front of the blade forwardly. The incline of the board causes the marbles to automatically seat themselves back against the blades. The guides 28 serve to position the marbles generally centrally from side to side of the flippers.

In the play of the game, the marbles 12 may be initially disposed in front of the flippers 26 and/or in certain of the receptacles 20. Each of the players may be assigned specific flippers 26 and associated rows of receptacles 20, and/or each player may have marbles 12 of a different color. The players then operate the flippers to propell the marbles up the inclined surface 18. The marbles may seat directly in a receptacle or they may bounce off of the peripheral wall 19, particularly the inclined forward end portions 21 of that wall. This bouncing effect enhances the play value of the game. Marbles may fall into receptacles as they roll downwardly of the surface, and be retained therein by the rearward upright wall portions 25. As noted above, when a propelled marble engages a marble already in a receptacle, the propelled marble tends to move the other marble forward and to seat itself in the receptacle. If there are more than one marble already in the receptacle, the forward-most marble tends to be propelled forward out of the receptacle and to the next receptacle in the path. The players flip the marbles so as to achieve a game objective such as getting all of their colored marbles past a certain level, or getting as many of their color marbles as high as they can. The play may continue for a specified time period, with the winners being determined by the position of his marbles or the position of the marbles in his rows. Alternatively, the play may continue until some achievement level is reached, such as one of the marbles reaching the highest level or all of the colored marbles of one player passing a certain minimum level. As another alternative, each player may have a turn at flipping marbles until all marbles are retained in some receptacle, and the point total may be determined for each player based on the levels reached by the various marbles.

If desired, the incline of the board may be adjustable as by means of having the board supported at one end by feet 30 (FIG. 2) in the form of upright adjustable screws.

As noted above, the marbles might be replaced by other forms of play pieces or objects as, for example, slidable blocks 32, with the receptacles being suitable modified as shown in FIG. 3. In this connection, receptacles may be formed by slightly raised sections 23 of the playing board which will guide and temporarily hold back the blocks but would subsequently release them when such block is impacted by a further block, in a manner similar to that chain-reaction described above in connection with the marbles.

Similarly, various other means for propelling the objects may be substituted as, for example, spring-biased plungers of the type often found in pinball machines, although such would be more expensive than the flippers of the preferred form of the invention.

It would also be possible to have other than straight line paths or rows of receptacles. For example, a receptacle 36 might be curved or angles as shown in FIG. 4 so that play objects would enter the receptacle in one direction but be directed out from it in a different direction. Such arrangements might be utilized to add to the variety and interest of the game to the child. In addition to the foregoing, various barriers and/or guides could be provided on the board. By way of example, FIG. 4 shows a barrier 38 mounted on the surface of the board. Also, for example, there might be apertures 40 such as shown in FIG. 4 forming "traps" so that when a play object enters such a trap it would thereby be eliminated from further play in that game.