Title:
Mounting for a playing piece projector
United States Patent 3913913


Abstract:
A game board is provided having a surface thereon simulating a basketball court on which a plurality of ball projecting player pieces are movable under the control of the player participants to engage and direct a ball in any desired direction. The player pieces represent basketball players, each of which comprises a flat body having a lower rectangularly-shaped portion including a straight vertical edge and a straight lower, horizontally disposed edge. Each player piece is detachably mounted to a pivotable and translatably movable pedestal. The pedestal comprises a base having an upstanding hub provided with a bore for receiving a rotatable shaft therein. Extending lengthwise of the hub and projecting radially therefrom are a pair of ribs defining a channel for the reception of the vertical edge of the flat body. A pair of ribs extend upwardly from the base and merge with the pair of ribs on the hub to define another channel for receiving the lower horizontal edge of the flat body.



Inventors:
Trbovich, Nicholas D. (West Seneca, NY)
Robinson, William P. (Lockport, NY)
Trunzo, Eugene R. (North Tonawanda, NY)
Application Number:
05/412468
Publication Date:
10/21/1975
Filing Date:
11/02/1973
Assignee:
TRBOVICH; NICHOLAS D.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/129R
International Classes:
A63F7/06; A63F7/20; (IPC1-7): A63F7/06
Field of Search:
273/85R,85A,85B,94A,94B,129,12A,12AF,12S,127R,127A 46
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3785648HOCKEY GAME WITH MAGNETIC CONTROL MEMBERS1974-01-15Kobayashi
3647212HOCKEY GAME1972-03-07Barlow et al.
3413003Target and support with snap-in feature1968-11-26Bell
3391937Cantilever type ball bumper1968-07-09Seiden
3105687Game piece controller and player stabilizer1963-10-01Munro et al.



Primary Examiner:
Oechsle, Anton O.
Assistant Examiner:
Strappello, Harry G.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Christel & Bean
Parent Case Data:


CROSS REFERENCE TO A RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a division of pending application Ser. No. 183,861, filed Sept. 27, 1971, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,811,674.
Claims:
We claim

1. A support for a generally flat body comprising: a pedestal having a base, a hub mounted on said base and extending generally normal thereto, said hub having a bore extending therethrough for receiving a mounting shaft, a first pair of laterally spaced ribs on said base extending longitudinally thereof and defining a first channel therebetween, a second pair of laterally spaced ribs projecting radially from said hub and extending generally lengthwise thereof defining a second channel therebetween, said channels being disposed in a generally right angularly relationship adapted to snugly receive right angularly disposed portions of a substantially flat body.

2. A support according to claim 1 in combination with a detachable flat body having a lower portion of generally rectangular outline, said lower portion having right angularly related marginal edges snugly received in said right angularly related channels of said support.

3. A support according to claim 2 wherein said pairs of ribs have opposed faces provided with indentations and said lower portion of said body is provided with lateral projections adjacent said angularly related edges engagable in said indentations with a snap fit.

4. A support for a generally flat body comprising: a pedestal having a base, means for mounting said pedestal on a shaft for movement therewith whereby the longitudinal axis of said mounting means would be axially aligned with the shaft, said mounting means for said pedestal being attached to said base, a first pair of laterally spaced ribs on said base defining a first channel therebetween, a second pair of laterally spaced ribs on said mounting means, said second pair of ribs defining a second channel extending in a substantial angular direction of more than 45° relative to said first channel and both of said first and second channels lying in a plane substantially parallel to the axis of said mounting means, and said channels being further adapted to snugly receive angularly related portions of a substantially flat body.

5. A support according to claim 4 in combination with a detachable flat body having a lower portion of generally rectangular outline, said lower portion having angularly related marginal edges snugly received in said angularly related channels of said support.

6. A support according to claim 5 wherein said pairs of ribs have opposed faces provided with indentations and said lower portion of said body is provided with lateral projections adjacent said angularly related edges engagable in said indentations with a snap fit.

7. A support according to claim 6 in combination with a shaft and wherein said mounting means comprises a hub formed on said base and extending in direction generally normal thereto, said hub having a bore for receiving said shaft with a friction fit; said shaft being received by said hub and rotatable to pivot said support and said body.

8. A support according to claim 4 in combination with a shaft and wherein said mounting means comprises a hub formed on said base and extending in a direction generally normal thereto, said hub having a bore for receiving said shaft with a friction fit; said shaft being received by said hub and rotatable to pivot said support and said body.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to games played for amusement and, more particularly, to a new and improved tabletop game apparatus in the form of a basketball game.

Various amusement games, based upon the generally recognized rules of basketball, are known. Usually, these games are of such a nature that the outcome of the game is dependent almost entirely upon the element of chance rather than the skill of the players, thus detracting from the excitement and thrill associated with those games in which the participants of the game can exercise their skill to influence the outcome of a competitive game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an amusement game in the form of a tabletop basketball game in which the skill of the player participants is a factor in determining the outcome of the game.

The amusement game of this invention is characterized by the provision of a game board having a surface thereon simulating a basketball court on which a plurality of ball deflecting player pieces are movable under the control of the player participants to engage and direct a ball in a desired direction. The surface of the board is provided with a plurality of recesses having openings therein through which plungers are movable under the control of the participants to strike the ball when lodged in such openings to propel or catapult the ball toward an opponent's basket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an amusement game constructed in accordance with this invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view thereof;

FIG. 3 is an end elevational view thereof;

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 5 is a longitudinal sectional view, partially broken and on an enlarged scale, taken about on line 5--5 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a transverse sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken about on line 6--6 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, partially broken and on an enlarged scale, taken about on line 7--7 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 is fragmentary vertical sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken about on line 8--8 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, vertical sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken about on line 9--9 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary end elevational view, on an enlarged scale, of the backboard used in conjunction with the amusement game of this invention;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary horizontal sectional view, on an enlarged scale, taken about on line 11--11 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, on an enlarged scale, of the mounting means for a player piece;

FIG. 13 is a horizontal sectional view taken about on line 13--13 of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a horizontal sectional view taken about on line 14--14 of FIG. 12; and

FIG. 15 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken about on line 15--15 of FIG. 12; and

FIG. 16 is a plan view of an arcuate strip of plastic material shown prior to connecting the ends together to form a basket used in conjunction with this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now in detail to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 a panel or board, generally designated 20, having a basketball court designated on the upper surface thereof. The basketball court includes the usual division line 21, a center circle 22, a restraining circle 23 surrounding the center circle, free throw semi-circles 24 adjacent opposite ends of the court, and free throw restraining areas 25. A pair of removable upright panels or backboards 27 are disposed at opposite ends of the basketball court and are provided with baskets 28 releasably secured thereto. The game is played with a ball 29 representing a basketball adapted to be propelled or shot into baskets 28.

Board 20 is suitably supported along its sides by opposite side rail members 30 extending substantially lengthwise of board 20 and formed with longitudinally extending grooves 31 (FIG. 6) approximately centrally of rail members 30 for receiving the side edges of board 20. Rail members 30 also are provided with ledge formations 32 to facilitate supporting board 20 along the longitudinal edges thereof. Board 20 is supported at the opposite ends thereof by end rail members 33 having a plurality of vertical partitions 34 (FIG. 5) provided with grooves 35 for receiving the marginal edges of the opposite ends of board 20. The opposite ends of rails 33 are provided with right angularly related sleeves 37 for receiving the opposite ends of side rail members 30 which are secured to sleeves 37 by suitable fasteners 38 (FIG. 2). End rail members 33 are provided with resilient pads 39 suitably secured to the undersides thereof for supporting board 20 on a tabletop or any other suitable support surface. Pads 39 can be formed of rubber or any other relatively non-abrasive material to preclude scarring or scratching of the support surface.

Backboards 27 preferably are formed of a transparent plastic material which is sufficiently yieldable to permit snapfitted engagement between sleeves 37 of end rails 33 but rigid enough to serve as a backboard. Each backboard 27 comprises a wall 41 of generally trapezoidal shape in outline and is provided with an inturned flange 42 along the marginal edges thereof. Flange 42 has a top portion 43, a pair of inclined portions 44 extending from top portion 43 in a diverging relation and terminating in generally vertical portions 45. As shown in FIG. 10, a slot 47 is provided in each of the corners formed between wall 41 and flange vertical portion 45, such slot 47 being defined by a pair of spaced gusset plates 48 joined together by an inclined inner wall 49. A pair of L-shaped members 50 are provided on the inner, opposed faces of plates 48 to form a relatively narrow slot 51. Sleeves 37 of end rail members 33 are provided with horizontally extending arcuate flanges 52 (FIGS. 6 and 11) adapted to be received in slots 51 of backboards 27. As best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, board 20 is provided with upwardly extending projections 54 adjacent the opposite ends of board 20 for engagement with lugs 56 depending from the bottom edges of backboards 27 to retain the latter in place against the upper leading edge of end rails 33. The removable backboards 27 are snap-fitted into position by initially laying backboard 27 face down against the upper surface of board 20 and slightly compressing the lower ends of flange portions 45 inwardly to clear flanges 52 of sleeves 37. Backboard 27 can then be pivoted upwardly about its lower edge until slots 51 are in registry with flanges 52. Just prior to backboard 27 reaching its final upright position, the upper surface of board 20 can be depressed slightly allowing lugs 56 of wall 41 to snap in place behind projections 54 thereby firmly securing backboards 27 in an upright position on board 20. It will be observed that flange portions 45 are reduced in width as shown at 55 in FIG. 5 to provide clearance for the ends of side rail members 30. Backboards 27 can be formed of a unitary, one-piece construction in a suitable molding process and while formed of a transparent plastic material in the illustrative embodiment, can be formed of any material having any decorative effect desired.

Baskets 28 are formed from strips of synthetic plastic material of arcuate shape (FIG. 16) having longitudinal edges 57 and 58 connected at their opposite ends to transversely extending cross strips 59 and 60. A diamond shaped mesh 61, comprised of a plurality of intersecting cross bars, is provided between edges 57 and 58 and cross strips 59 and 60 to simulate the pattern of the usual basket utilized in the game of basketball. Cross strip 59 is provided with an L-shaped hook 62 at one end thereof and a pin 63 at the opposite end extending outwardly from strip 59 in the same direction as hook 62. Cross strip 60 is provided with a slot 64 at one end thereof for receiving hook 62 and an aperture 65 at the other end for receiving pin 63 when the arcuate strip is bent through 360° to bring cross strips 59 and 60 together in overlapping relation in the formation of baskets 28. An intermediate cross strip 60' having a slot 64' and an aperture 65' can be employed, if desired, to form a basket of smaller diameter thereby providing a greater challenge to the player participants. Baskets 28 are secured to backboards 27 by inserting hooks 62 through suitable openings or slots provided in backboards 27, the upper portions of hooks 62 bearing against the outer faces of backboards 27.

The upper surface of board 20 is provided with a plurality of dished wells or recessed areas having openings therein extending through board 20. Since both halves of the upper surface of the basketball court are identical, it is believed that a detailed description of only one half thereof will suffice. A pair of recesses 67 and 68 are provided at the juncture of division line 21 and side rail members 30 and are defined by inclined surfaces sloping toward circular openings 69 and 70, respectively. Also, a pair of recesses 72 and 73 are located at the juncture of side rail members 30 and the bottom edge of backboard 27 with the inclined surfaces thereof sloping toward circular openings 74 and 75, respectively. A fifth recess 76 is located about free throw semi-circle 24 and has a triangular portion 77 extending radially therebeyond toward division line 21. The inclined surfaces of recess 76 terminate in a circular opening 78. Thus, should ball 29 enter into any of the above described recesses, it will be guided down the inclined surfaces thereof toward the respective openings. The other half of board 20 is a mirror image of the half described and corresponding recesses and openings are identified by similar reference numerals primed.

Manually operable means are provided for projecting ball 29 out of these openings when ball 29 becomes lodged therein. Such means include a plurality of control buttons, identified by reference numerals 80, 81, 82, 83 and 84, located on end rail member 33 and extending downwardly through suitable aligned openings in the upper wall of rail member 33 (FIGS. 7-9). Since the set of buttons 80-84 and the actuating mechanisms to which they are connected are duplicated but diametrically opposed at the other end of board 12 and function in the same manner, only one set will be described in detail, it being understood that the same reference characters primed will be applied to similar parts.

The lower ends of the outermost buttons 80 and 84 are operatively connected to one ends of elongated rods 86 and 87 extending lengthwise beneath board 20 (FIG. 4) and pivotally mounted intermediate the opposite ends thereof on brackets 88 formed integral with or otherwise fixedly secured to the underside of board 20. The other ends of rods 86 and 87 are provided with upstanding plungers 89 and 90 movable into and through openings 75' and 74', respectively, located at the end of board 20 remote from buttons 80 and 84. The upper ball engaging surfaces of plungers 89 and 90 are laterally offset outwardly from the center of openings 75' and 74' in order to strike ball 29 off center and loft it inwardly toward basket 28.

Each bracket 88 comprises a pair of spaced, depending lugs 92 straddling the associated rod and having openings therein in registry with an opening provided in such rod for receiving a pivot pin 93 therethrough. Thus, rods 86 and 87 and those pivotal rods hereinafter described, are captively held in place by means of brackets 88 and are pivotable about axes defined by pins 93.

The lower ends of buttons 81 and 83 are engagable with one ends of elongated rods 95 and 96 extending beneath board 20 and pivotally mounted on brackets 88 as hereinbefore described. The other end of rods 95 is provided with axially spaced plungers 97 and 98 movable into and through openings 69 and 70', respectively. The upper ends of plungers 97 and 98 are provided with inclined ball engaging surfaces 99 and 100 facing away from button 81 to deflect ball 29 toward the opposite basket 28. In a similar construction, the other end of rod 96 is provided with axially spaced plungers 102 and 103 movable into and through openings 70 and 69', respectively, and having inclined ball engaging surfaces 104 and 105 facing away from button 83.

Button 82, located centrally of end rail member 33, is engagable at its lower end with an elongated rod 107 extending beneath board 20 and pivotally mounted on a bracket 88. The other end of rod 107 is provided with an upstanding plunger 108 movable into and through opening 78' and provided with an upper inclined ball engaging surface 109 facing toward the nearest basket 28 to catapult ball 29 toward the same.

Plungers 89, 90, 97, 98, 102, 103 and 108 are formed of a suitable plastic material and are adapted to be tuned or adjusted to properly orient their upper ball engaging surfaces relative to ball 29 when seated in an associated opening so as to make contact therewith at a predetermined point to insure the desired trajectory path of ball 29. To this end, each of the plungers is formed integral with the upper end of a plastic slide bracket 110 having an opening complimentary to the cross sectional configuration of its associated rod for snugly receiving the latter. Thus, bracket 110 can be slid along such rod to any desired position and the snug fit between bracket 110 and the rod maintains the former in the adjusted position. Also, a pin 115 extending laterally inwardly can be provided on bracket 110 for insertion in a selected one of a series of openings (not shown) in the associated rod for locking bracket 110 in place, if desired. However, the latter arrangement can be dispensed with to finely adjust bracket 110 due to the gripping force exerted by pin 115 against the side of the associated rod.

Also, due to the inherent ductility of the plastic material of which the plunger is formed, the plunger can be bent laterally to a fixed position relative to its associated opening for effecting the desired point of contact with ball 29. Thus, the individual plungers can be adjusted in both a longitudinal and lateral direction relative to its associated opening for effecting the desired trajectory path of ball 29. Also, the upper inclined surfaces of the plungers can be gently filed by a suitable tool to adjust the angular inclinations thereof, as desired.

As shown in FIGS. 6-9, the lower end of each button is slotted as at 111 to receive the one end of its associated rod. The button is restrained against horizontal movement by the periphery of the opening in end rail 33 through which it extends. The associated rod also is constrained against axial movement relative to its corresponding button by its captive mounting in bracket 88. Thus, although the rod is not secured to its respective button, substantial relative movement therebetween to separate the two is prevented. The length of each rod between its plunger and the pivot axis as defined by pin 93 is greater than the length of such rod from the pivot axis to its associated button so that the forces of gravity are effective to normally maintain the plunger downwardly below the opening. The plungers are raised by depressing the associated buttons and, when pressure is removed from the buttons, the latter are raised as a result of the greater forces acting on the distal end of the rod.

As earlier noted, each of the buttons 80-84 are duplicated at opposite ends of board 20 and are operatively connected to similar actuating mechanisms identified by the same reference characters primed. It will be observed (FIG. 4) that portions of certain ones of said rods are disposed in a side-by-side relation in close proximity to each other. To prevent lateral interference between adjacent rods and, where such rods have a substantial length, guides 112 and 113 are provided. These guides are formed integral with or are otherwise fixedly secured to the underside of board 20. Guides 112 comprise three depending plates 114 defining two grooves therebetween for maintaining a pair of rods in a laterally spaced, parallel relation. Guides 113 only have two plates defining one groove for maintaining a single rod in the desired orientation.

A plurality of ball deflecting means, hereinafter referred to as "player pieces", 116, 116', 117, 117', 118 and 118', representing basketball players, are mounted for movement on the upper surface of board 20. A total of six such player pieces are utilized, each set of three representing a team and being colored or otherwise designated differently from the other set. For example, decals picturing basketball players dressed in colored uniforms and shown in varied crouched or extended positions, as desired, can be adhesively secured to the player pieces.

Each player piece comprises a flat body of synthetic plastic material having an upper portion of irregular outline and a lower, generally rectangular shaped portion including a straight vertical edge 121 having lateral projections 122 and a straight lower edge 123 provided with lateral projections 124 and bulbuous formations 125 on opposite sides of body 120 (FIGS. 12-15). Each player piece is detachably mounted to a movable, pivotable pedestal, generally designated 127, preferably composed of the same material as the player piece and comprising a base 128 having an upstanding hub 129 provided with a bore for receiving a rotatable shaft 130 therein. Extending substantially lengthwise of hub 129 and projecting radially therefrom are a pair of ribs 132 defining a channel for the reception of the vertical edge 121 of player piece 116. Projections 122 are gripped by ribs 132 with a tight friction fit to facilitate securing player piece 16 in place.

A pair of ribs 133 extend upwardly from base 128 and merge with ribs 132 to define a channel for receiving the lower edge 123 of player piece 116. Ribs 132 are provided with upper extensions 134 which extend upwardly from ribs 133 and inwardly thereof, as best shown in FIG. 15, to define a cavity for receiving lateral projections 124 of player piece 116. The inner faces of extensions 134 are provided with dimples for receiving the bulbuous formations 125 of player piece 116. The mounting arrangement of player piece 116 on pedestal 127 is a significant feature of the present invention because it insures a releasably tight fit precluding any clearance or play between these two parts thereby preventing player piece 116 from becoming loose in its mounting when subjected to the impact forces imparted thereto by ball 29.

Hub 129 is press fitted onto one end of shaft 130 having radial projections 136 received in corresponding indentations in hub 129 for keying or locking shaft 130 to hub 129. Shaft 130 extends downwardly through aligned openings in board 20 and the upper wall 137 of a bracket 138 formed integral with or otherwise fixedly secured to the underside of board 20. Bracket 138 is provided with an inturned tongue 139 having an opening therein for receiving the other end of shaft 130. Shaft 130 carries a gear 141 disposed between tongue 139 and an enlargement 142 formed on the other end of shaft 130. Bracket 138 also comprises a pair of end walls 143 having aligned openings therein for receiving an elongated control rod 144 therethrough. Rod 144 carries a gear 145 meshing with gear 141 to transmit rotation of control rod 144 to shaft 130 and thus effect pivotal movement of player piece 116.

A control rod is provided for each player piece, such control rods being identified by the reference numerals 144, 146 and 148. These control rods extend beneath board 20 and through end rail members 33 and are provided with knobs 149, 150 and 151, respectively, for manually rotating such control rods. These rods can also be moved linearly to effect bodily movement of their associated player pieces. To this end, a plurality of slots 153, 154 and 155 are provided for receiving the respective shafts 130 of player pieces 116, 117 and 118. Slot 153 is arcuately curved in plan and is located adjacent center circle 22 and partially within restraining circle 23. Slot 154 extends longitudinally in parallelism with side rails 30 and is disposed in the half of the basketball court remote from knob 150. Slot 155 has a portion extending longitudinally along board 20 and terminates in an arcuate portion extending toward center circle 22. Thus, by axially moving control knobs 149-151, player pieces 116-118 can be slid along their respective grooves. A second set of control knobs 149', 150' and 151' are located on the other end of board 20 and are operatively connected to player pieces 116', 117' and 118' for pivotable and bodily movement in the same manner described in connection with the first set of knobs and player pieces. Similar elements are identified by the same reference numerals primed.

The game is played by two players whereby each represents one of the teams comprised of three player pieces. The players are situated at each end of board 20 whereby the control knobs and buttons are readily accessible. It will be observed that each player controls the bodily and pivotal movement of three player pieces, such as 116, 117 and 118 with piece 116 located on the adjacent half of the basketball court near center circle 22, piece 117 at the remote half of the basketball court adjacent the opponent's basket 28, and piece 118 within the adjacent half of the basketball court near basket 28 and free throw semi-circle 24. The same player controls buttons 80-84 which are effective to displace plungers 89, 97, 98, 108, 102, 103 and 90, respectively, upwardly through their respective openings in board 20.

To begin the game, ball 29 is placed in center circle 22 on a dimple 157 and player pieces 116 and 116' are brought into position in readiness to strike ball 29. At a given signal, player pieces 116 and 116' are pivoted under the control of knobs 149 and 149' to strike ball 29 and start the game. During the course of the game, control knobs 149-151 and 149'-151' are selectively manipulated by each player participant to strike and deflect ball 29 toward the opponent's half of the court, the objective being to direct ball 29 into any one of recesses 72', 73' or 76' on the opponent's half of the court causing ball 29 to become lodged in the respective openings 74', 75' or 78'. Of course, the opponent endeavors to prevent ball 29 from entering into these recesses by selectively manipulating his player pieces to block and counteract the other player's moves. With ball 29 in any one of openings 74', 75' or 78', appropriate buttons 84, 80 or 82, respectively, can then be depressed to raise plungers 90, 89 or 108 into contact with ball 29 and propel the same toward the opponent's basket 28. The upper inclined surface 109 of plunger 108 faces toward the opponent's basket 28 to insure that ball 29 will follow a trajectory path toward such basket. Plungers 89 and 90 are radially outwardly displaced from the centers of their respective openings 75' and 74' in order to engage ball 29 off center to direct the same laterally inwardly in a trajectory path toward basket 28.

Inclined surfaces 90, 100, 104 and 105 face toward the opponents basket 28 to direct ball 29 in that general direction. It will be observed that each participant controls one of the two plungers disposed in each of the openings 69, 69' 70 and 70' so that the first to depress the button controlling such plunger will control the direction in which ball 29 moves. The generally recognized rules of basketball are followed in playing the game and a personal foul may be awarded to the opposing team if a player purposely holds down any shooting button to prevent his opponent from playing or "shooting" the ball. Of course, the slots for shafts 130 of the various player pieces can be lengthened and/or curved, as desired, to render the player pieces capable of covering a combined area substantially approximating the area of the basketball court.

The present invention thus provides an amusement game in the form of a tabletop basketball game in which the players of the game actively participate in controlling the movements of ball engaging player pieces and plungers so that their skill in manipulating these ball engaging members is instrumental in determining the outcome of the game.

A preferred embodiment of this invention having been disclosed in detail, it is to be understood that this has been done by way of illustration only .