Title:
Senior health care board game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An educational board game has a board with a continuous outer path divided into a plurality of spaces and an inner path divided into sequential medical treatment phases, two markers each for a plurality of players and two dice for each player, one die being assigned to the outer path and the other to the inner path. Each player is assigned a different medical symptom and rolls the dice to move one marker around the outer path and the other around the inner path, through treatment steps unique to the assigned symptom for the sequential medical treatment phases of the inner path, the game being declared over when a player's markers first complete both paths and land on designated finishing locations.



Inventors:
Buerk, Harold (McKinney, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/773950
Publication Date:
08/01/2002
Filing Date:
02/01/2001
Assignee:
BUERK HAROLD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/04; A63F3/00; (IPC1-7): A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
J.F. BRYAN & ASSOCIATES, INC. (P.O. BOX 1987, PLANO, TX, 75086, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A method of playing a game having a board with a continuous outer path divided into a plurality of spaces, some with supplementary instructions, and an inner path divided into sequential medical treatment phases, wherein each player employs two markers and two dice, one of each being assigned to the outer path and the other to the inner path, comprising the steps of: assigning a different medical condition to each player; providing a condition specific menu of numbered treatment steps for each medical treatment phase; rolling the dice; moving the outer marker forward, around the outer path according to the number of spaces indicated by the outer die and forward or backward according to supplementary instructions, as applicable; moving the inner path marker through the sequential medical treatment phases of the inner path according to numbered treatment steps indicated by the inner die; and repeating the steps of rolling the dice and moving the markers until the movement around both paths is completed.

2. The method of playing a game of claim 1 wherein movement around both paths is completed by the steps of: moving the player's outer path marker until it has passed around the outer path a predetermined number of times and come to stop on a designated finishing location; moving the player's second path marker until it has passed through all of the sequential phase areas of the second path and come to stop on the designated finishing location; retiring the die assigned to the marker that first stops on the designated finishing location; casting, in turn, only the other path die and moving the other marker until it has also reached the designated finishing location so as to complete play; and declaring the first player to complete play to be the winner.

3. The method of playing a game of claim 1 and further including the step of selecting the medical condition from a group of conditions comprising at least osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart ailment and arthritis.

4. A method for playing a game having a board with a continuous first path divided into a plurality of spaces and a second path divided into sequential treatment phases, wherein each player employs two markers and two dice, one of each being assigned to the first path and the other to the second path, comprising the steps of: assigning a medical treatment menu comprising numbered treatment steps for a discreet medical condition to each player, with the treatment steps in groups corresponding to the sequential treatment phases of the second path; placing a player's markers on designated starting locations on the paths; casting both of the player's dice and noting the numbers indicated; moving the player's first marker a number of spaces forward on the first path according to the number indicated by the first path die and, when stopping at the indicated spaces, receiving further instructions and moving the assigned marker forward or backward a specific number of spaces; moving the player's second marker according to a numbered treatment step as indicated in that player's medical treatment menu by the second path die; and casting the dice, by each player in turn, and moving both markers until a player's second path marker has completed movement through the second path.

5. The method for playing a game according to claim 4 and further comprising the steps of: moving the player's first path marker until it has passed around the first path a predetermined number of times and come to a stop on a designated finishing location; after the player's second path marker has passed around the second path, moving that marker from the second path to the first path, and thence in the same manner as the first marker, but according to the indication of the second path die, until the second path marker comes to stop on a designated finishing location; retiring the die assigned to the marker that first stops on a designated finishing location; casting, in turn, only the other die and moving the other marker until it has reached the designated finishing location so as to complete play; and declaring the first player to complete play to be the winner.

6. The method of playing a game of claim 4 and further including the step of selecting the medical condition from a group of conditions comprising at least osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart ailment and arthritis.

7. Apparatus for playing a game comprising: a board having a continuous first path divided into a plurality of spaces which include spaces providing instructions for supplementary marker movements and a second path divided into sequential medical treatment phases; a randomly arranged selection of cards; two like, but visibly distinct markers for each of a plurality of players, a first marker being identified with the first path and the other, second marker with the second path; two visibly distinct dice, one die being identified with the first marker and the other with the second marker; and a medical treatment menu for each player, the menu having condition specific treatment steps for a discreet medical condition, the treatment steps being numbered and grouped in phases corresponding to the sequential medical treatment phases of the second path.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to the field of board games, but more particularly to board games, which may be played by seniors, for the purpose of creating and maintaining awareness of critical health symptoms while providing entertainment.

BACKGROUND

[0002] As we age, we come to realize new limitations and hopefully, learn to accept our less capable bodies. Some may be afflicted with a form of senior onset hypochondria, and on the other hand, some may simply ignore their aches and pains in an act of denial. This latter group risks delaying the medical care indicated by critical symptoms to the point of a fatally late diagnosis. The human consequences that may ensue are obvious.

[0003] Most health problems can be minimized by early treatment. The total costs of such treatment will be significantly reduced, as compared to the expensive heroics that follow a late diagnosis. As the number of seniors in our population grows, the cost pressures on our health care systems will increase accordingly. In this ongoing process, the economic potential of early diagnoses becomes increasingly desirable. The human benefits are even more beneficial.

[0004] In the prior art, board games have been offered as an educational tool or as a discipline encouraging measure for preventive health care practices and/or weight-loss dieting. Certainly, preventative health care and weight control are worthy programs, with long term benefit potential, but the crisis element of undiagnosed illness is absent in these situations. Anything that can be provided to improve awareness and break through the stoicism of denial would be a significant contribution to our seniors, our health care systems, and our society in general.

[0005] A first object of the present invention is therefore, to provide a method and apparatus for promoting awareness of medically significant symptoms in seniors. A second object is to educate these seniors as to the need to seek prompt medical attention to their specific symptoms. A third object of the present invention is to bring peer pressure into play so that awareness and education result in action. Yet a fourth object is to entertain the targeted seniors so that they use the present invention repetitively over an extended period of time.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present inventions contemplate improved method and apparatus for a medical symptom and diagnoses based educational board game. These inventions relate to or employ some steps and apparatus well known in the board game arts and therefore, not the subject of detailed discussion herein.

[0007] The educational board game of the present inventions comprises a board with a continuous outer path divided into a plurality of spaces and an inner path divided into sequential medical treatment phases, two markers each for a plurality of players and two dice for each player, one die being assigned to the outer path and the other to the inner path; wherein each player is assigned a different medical symptom and rolls the dice to move one marker around the outer path and the other around the inner path, through treatment steps unique to the assigned symptom for each sequential medical treatment phase of the inner path, the game being declared over when a player's markers first complete both paths and land on designated finishing locations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] The accompanying drawings are incorporated into the specification to assist in explaining the present inventions. The drawings illustrate preferred and alternative examples of how the inventions can be made and used and are not to be construed as limiting the inventions to only those examples illustrated and described. The various advantages and features of the present inventions will be apparent from a consideration of the drawings in which:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a view of a preferred embodiment of the game board of the present inventions;

[0010] FIG. 2A shows a typical outer path marker;

[0011] FIG. 2B shows a typical inner path marker;

[0012] FIG. 3A shows the outer path die; and

[0013] FIG. 3B shows the inner path die.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] The present inventions are described in the following by referring to drawings of examples of how the inventions can be made and used. In these drawings, reference characters are used throughout the views to indicate like or corresponding parts. The embodiments shown and described herein are exemplary. Many details are well known in the art, and as such are neither shown nor described.

[0015] The board game of the present inventions is played with two markers for each player, marker 16A and marker 16B, as shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B, and a pair of dice, die 18A and die 18B, as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B.

[0016] FIG. 1 is a view of the game board 10 of the present inventions showing outer path 20, with inner path 30 and how they are separated by “Lose Turn Lane” 50. The first corner space of board 10 is designated as the “Start and Finish” space 12, while the remaining corner spaces are designated as “Rest Areas” 14(a), 14(b) and 14(c). Between these corner spaces, outer path 20 is divided into eight spaces on each side. In the manner of many prior art board games, starting with marker 16A at space 12, a player casts both dice. Die 18A indicates the number of spaces to move marker 16A. Some spaces 22 as well as corner spaces 12 and 14 (a-c) may be neutral, with no supplementary instructions. Other spaces 24 may direct the player to make an additional forward or backward move of marker 16A, or to take an additional turn, or skip a turn with die 18A. Yet other spaces 26 may direct a player to draw from a randomly shuffled deck 32 of marker movement instruction cards 28 or “Ache” cards. Each marker movement instruction card 28 may have an instruction according to the following list:

[0017] Cards 28(a)-28(f) (six cards); having the instruction, . . . “Go ahead three spaces”

[0018] Cards 28(g)-28(l) (six cards); having the instruction, . . . “Go ahead two spaces”

[0019] Cards 28(m)-28(q) (five cards); having the instruction, . . . “Go ahead one space”

[0020] Cards 28(r)-28(t) (three cards); having the instruction, . . . “Go back three spaces”

[0021] Cards 28(u)-28(x) (four cards); having the instruction, . . . “go back two spaces”

[0022] Cards 28(y)-28(ff) (eight cards); having the instruction, . . . “Go back one space”

[0023] As shown above, there are a total of thirty-two cards; seventeen cards with a combined instruction for thirty-five spaces in forward moves and fifteen cards with a combined instruction for twenty-five spaces in backward moves. Thus, the net influence of these instructions is for forward progress.

[0024] When the player is instructed to lose a turn, marker 16A is moved to the adjacent space of “Lose Turn Lane” 50, as a reminder to skip the next turn, and back to outer path 20 after the lost turn. Inner path 30 of game board 10 comprises seven sequential treatment areas, the Doctor's Office 34, Hospital Admissions 36, Hospital Bed 38, Operating Room 40, ICU 42, Therapy Room 44 and Hospital Discharge 46. The game includes a plurality of discreet “Pain” card sets, set A, set B, etc., each set having a card A34 through A46 or B34 through B46, etc., for example, for each of the seven sequential inner path areas 34-46. Each Pain card set, A-X, is specifically designed to address a specific medically significant condition (pain) and each card lists six treatment steps, (1)-(6), that are medically appropriate to that particular condition.

[0025] For example, “pain card set “A”, for the specific condition of diabetes, may be as follows:

[0026] Card A34, DOCTOR'S OFFICE—DIABETES

[0027] (1) Symptoms include tiring, continually thirsty, and losing weight. Lab tests take two days. Miss two turns, then go to Hospital Admit.

[0028] (2) Another patient cancels his appointment allowing you to be seen immediately. Go directly to Hospital Admit.

[0029] (3) You forget to take your insurance card to the doctor's office. Return home for it. Lose one turn, then go to Hospital Admit.

[0030] (4) The Senior Citizens'van breaks down and you miss your doctor's appointment. Reschedule for tomorrow. Lose one turn, then go to Hospital Admit.

[0031] (5) The doctor has your lab work done in his own office laboratory. He gets the results immediately. He sends you straight to the Hospital Admit.

[0032] (6) Your blood sugar is 400. Go directly to Hospital Admit.

[0033] Card A36, HOSPITAL ADMIT—DIABETES

[0034] (1) Your local hospital is no longer on your HMO. After a full day, your doctor's nurse persuades your insurance company to allow your admission. Lose one turn, then go to your Hospital Room.

[0035] (2) Your doctor is also the hospital's Chief of Staff, so you get VIP treatment with a private room and lake front view. Go directly to your luxurious Hospital Room.

[0036] (3) You are on the verge of going into a diabetic coma. Go to your Hospital Room immediately.

[0037] (4) The hospital staff is courteous and efficient. You are assigned a room within five minutes of your arrival. Go directly to your Hospital Room.

[0038] (5) Your doctor is not on the staff of your local hospital. It takes a day to be assigned a doctor who is. Miss one turn, then go to your Hospital Room.

[0039] (6) You have a milk shake and French fries on the way to the hospital. Go directly to ICU.

[0040] Card A38, HOSPITAL ROOM—DIABETES

[0041] (1) Your blood sugar drops into the 30's while taking insulin. Stay two days to get your blood sugar under control. Miss two turns, then go to Surgery.

[0042] (2) Your left leg is numb and you've developed a clot. Go directly to Surgery.

[0043] (3) You ask a friend to bring you a bag of chocolate chips to tide you over until your meal arrives. Your blood pressure goes sky -high. Go immediately to ICU.

[0044] (4) Your room is tastefully decorated with antiques and art. You feel better “just being there”. Go directly to Therapy.

[0045] (5) Your big toe is turning black. You have to go straight to Surgery.

[0046] (6) You are in a semi-private room. Your condition is aggravated by the constant noise and attention given to your roommate. Lose two turns to get under control, then proceed to Surgery.

[0047] Card A40, SURGERY—DIABETES

[0048] (1) A clot has blocked an artery in your leg. You have surgery to “unblock” it. Proceed to ICU.

[0049] (2) The Operating Room nurses go on strike. It takes a day to get replacements and to proceed with surgery. Miss one turn, then go to ICU.

[0050] (3) You have successful eye (retina) surgery. Proceed to Therapy.

[0051] (4) You undergo dialysis because your kidneys have stopped working properly. Miss one turn, then go to ICU.

[0052] (5) Your left toe is black and gangrene has set in. It is necessary for the surgeon to amputate it to save your foot. The surgery is successful and you are sent directly to ICU.

[0053] (6) You have emergency gallbladder surgery. Proceed to ICU.

[0054] Card A42, ICU—DIABETES

[0055] (1) Your blood sugar vacillates from high to low in erratic fashion. Miss one turn in ICU for extra monitoring, then proceed to Therapy.

[0056] (2) You go into a diabetic coma. You will have to stay in ICU two days, so your condition can be regulated. Miss two turns, then go to Therapy.

[0057] (3) The dialysis procedure done yesterday is working fine. You may go directly to Therapy.

[0058] (4) Your blood pressure is very unstable. The doctor has trouble finding a medicine to control it to which you are not allergic. Stay one more day (turn) in ICU, then go to Therapy.

[0059] (5) You come out of your diabetic coma. The doctor feels that your condition has sufficiently improved. Go to Therapy.

[0060] (6) Your kidneys cease functioning. You have to remain in ICU, until you can have dialysis. Miss two turns, then go to Therapy.

[0061] Card 44, THERAPY—DIABETES

[0062] (1) Your photographic memory allows you to learn all you need to know to control your diabetes in your nutrition class the first day. Go directly to Discharge.

[0063] (2) You sneak down to the cafeteria and eat four donuts. Your blood sugar goes “out of sight”. It will be necessary for you to stay in Therapy for two more days. Miss two turns, then go to Discharge.

[0064] (3) You learn how to monitor your own blood sugar and give yourself insulin shots. Go directly to Discharge.

[0065] (4) You feel that you simply cannot stop smoking. Continue in “Cessation Therapy” for two more days. Miss two turns, then go to Discharge.

[0066] (5) The insulin pump implanted in your arm is not functioning properly. It will take another day for the problem to be corrected. Miss one turn, then go to Discharge.

[0067] (6) You fail to mention your sore right toe to your doctor, and it becomes badly infected. Stay one more day for treatment. Miss one turn, then go to Discharge.

[0068] Card A46, DISCHARGE—DIABETES

[0069] (1) The Discharge process is so slow, that you miss two meals and go into “hypoglycemia” (very low sugar). Stay an extra day (turn), then go to the Outer Track.

[0070] (2) You memorized all of the information that you received from the American Diabetes Association. Go immediately to the Outer Track.

[0071] (3) You're ready for release, but it is “bridge day” and there is no one to pick you up. Stay overnight and get a ride tomorrow. Miss one turn, then go to the Outer Track.

[0072] (4) Your family is so glad to have you well. They have come to the hospital in a rented limousine to take you home. Go to the Outer Track.

[0073] (5) You are notified that you have been selected to be the National Poster Senior by the American Diabetes Association. Go directly to the Outer Track.

[0074] (6) Your insurance company feels that a hospital stay was not necessary. You should have hired a dietician on your own, so they refuse to pay the bill. It takes two days to convince the HMO's Medical Director otherwise. Miss two turns, then go to the Outer Track.

[0075] Additional Pain card sets B, C, D, etc., for other conditions such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart ailment, pulmonary disease, etc., which are common to seniors, may be provided in a similar manner.

[0076] When play starts with marker 16A on space 12 of outer path 10, marker 16B is placed on “Doctor's Office” area 34 of inner path 30. When the dice 18A and 18B are cast, die 18A indicates the number of spaces to move outer path marker 16A as described above, and die 18B indicates the treatment step to be followed on the appropriate card of the player's randomly selected set “A”, in this case, card A34. As can be seen from the sequence of treatment steps in the above shown example set A, successive rolls of die 18B will advance inner path marker 16B, through the sequential areas of Doctor's Office 34 through Hospital Discharge 46, to eventually be discharged onto outer path 20. Once marker 16B has joined marker 16A on outer path 20, the game may continue until both markers 16A and 16B have landed exactly on “Start and Finish” space 12 or some other agreed upon completion scenario may be applied. The first player to complete the game in the agreed manner is, of course, declared to be the winner.

[0077] FIGS. 2A and 2B show markers 16A and 16B respectively. Markers 16A and 16B have the same basic identity in appearance, but are distinguished by color or coding to identify each with its assigned path. Color is preferred as the distinguishing feature inasmuch as color is also suitable to distinguish the die, 18A and 18B of FIGS. 3A and 3B as being assigned to the outer and inner paths 20 and 30 respectively. In the preferred embodiment of the present inventions, a first color, amber for instance, is used to designate outer path marker 16A and die 18A, while a second color, purple for instance, is used to designate inner path marker 16B and die 18B. In this manner, the first color is associated with outer path 20 and the second color with inner path 30. In the process of advancing along inner path 30, the players are made aware of significant symptoms and problems related to particular medical conditions. This awareness expands and is reinforced as the game is played repeatedly over a period of time. The medical conditions would be selected from those that are prevalent in seniors such as osteoporosis, diabetes, pulmonary disease, heart ailment, high blood pressure and others. In this manner, players are caused to contemplate their own conditions and those of their peers, so that they bring their problems to the attention of their caretakers. Those who are inclined to ignore their medically significant symptoms are exposed to peer pressures, which may be helpful in moving them through denial. The anticipated result is that a higher percentage of our seniors will seek diagnosis and treatment at the early stages of their illnesses, for better response to treatment and better quality of life.

[0078] The embodiments shown and described above are exemplary. It is not claimed that all of the details, parts, elements, or steps described and shown were invented herein. Even though many characteristics and advantages of the present inventions have been described in the drawings and accompanying text, the description is illustrative only. Changes may be made in the detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of the parts within the scope and principles of the inventions. The restrictive description and drawings of the specific examples above do not point out what an infringement of this patent would be, but are to provide at least one explanation of how to use and make the inventions. The limits of the inventions and the bounds of the patent protection are measured by and defined in the following claims.