Title:
System and method for playing a bingo-like game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and method are provided for playing a single- or multi-player interactive bingo-style game. The system includes an input device for receiving a player's inputs, a display for displaying a graphical user interface (GUI), and a processor for controlling the operations of the game according to a set of game rules. The system is preferably implemented as a combination of hardware and software. It is further contemplated that the system can also be implemented over a network, such as the Internet, for allowing players in remote locations to play the game.



Inventors:
Sal Sr., Null Falciglia (Ridgewood, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/389847
Publication Date:
09/25/2003
Filing Date:
03/17/2003
Assignee:
FALCIGLIA SAL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F13/80; A63F3/06; G06F19/00; G07F17/32; (IPC1-7): A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RADA, ALEX P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt, LLP,George Likourezos, Esq. (Suite 225, Melville, NY, 11747, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A method for playing a game comprising: providing a game board having a plurality of primary positions arranged in a predetermined manner, wherein each primary position belongs to a first group of positions and a second group of positions; randomly selecting and displaying an icon for each of the plurality of primary positions; providing a player with at least one turn to achieve an outcome, wherein said at least one turn causes a respective icon to be randomly selected and displayed for each of a plurality of secondary positions, each one of the plurality of secondary positions corresponding to one of the first group of positions; performing one of at least one predetermined action and no action for each of the randomly selected and displayed icons based on a set of game rules, said at least one predetermined action includes marking at least one of the plurality of primary positions; and determining whether at least one of a plurality of winning outcomes is obtained.

2. The method as in claim 1, wherein the plurality of primary positions on the game board are arranged in a matrix and the first group of positions are columns of the matrix and the second group of positions are rows of the matrix.

3. The method as in claim 1, wherein the step of randomly selecting and displaying an icon for each of the plurality of primary positions includes the step of randomly selecting and displaying a number for each of the plurality of primary positions selected from a numerical range, wherein each of the first group of positions corresponds to a different numerical range.

4. The method as in claim 1, wherein at least one predetermined action is selected from the group consisting of awarding points, awarding at least one turn, and applying a penalty based on the set of game rules.

5. The method as in claim 1, further comprising the step of obtaining payment prior to initiating game play.

6. The method as in claim 1, further comprising the step of awarding winnings to the player in accordance with the at least one of the plurality of winning outcomes being obtained.

7. The method as in claim 1, wherein the amount of winnings awarded is based on the obtained outcome and the amount of winnings corresponding to the obtained outcome as indicated by a payout table.

8. The method as in claim 1, wherein the game is played over a network by a single player or multiple players.

9. The method as in claim 1, wherein the game is played using a computing device.

10. The method as in claim 8, wherein the computing device is a slot machine.

11. The method as in claim 1, further comprising the steps of: receiving at least one bet based on the probability of a game outcome occurring; and awarding winnings in accordance with the at least one bet received if the game outcome occurs.

12. The method as in claim 1, further comprising the steps of determining a score and updating a previous score table according to said at least one of a plurality of winning outcomes being obtained.

13. The method as in claim 1, wherein said at least one of a plurality of winning outcomes is selected from the group consisting of marking at least one of the first group of positions, marking at least one of the second group of positions, marking all of said plurality of primary positions, and displaying a predetermined number of identical icons on the plurality of secondary positions.

14. A game system for playing a game comprising: a display for displaying a graphical user interface having a plurality of primary positions arranged in a predetermined manner, wherein each primary position belongs to a first group of positions and a second group of positions; means for randomly selecting and displaying an icon for each of the plurality of primary positions; means for providing a player with at least one turn to achieve an outcome, wherein said at least one turn causes a respective icon to be randomly selected and displayed for each of a plurality of secondary positions, each one of the plurality of secondary positions corresponding to one of the first group of positions; means for performing one of at least one predetermined action and no action for each of the randomly selected and displayed icons based on a set of game rules, said at least one predetermined action includes marking at least one of the plurality of primary positions; and means for determining whether at least one of a plurality of winning outcomes is obtained.

15. The game system as in claim 14, wherein the plurality of primary positions on the game board are arranged in a matrix and the first group of positions are columns of the matrix and the second group of positions are rows of the matrix.

16. The game system as in claim 14, wherein the means for randomly selecting and displaying an icon for each of the plurality of primary positions includes means for randomly selecting and displaying a number for each of the plurality of primary positions selected from a numerical range, wherein each of the first group of positions corresponds to a different numerical range.

17. The game system as in claim 14, wherein at least one predetermined action is selected from the group consisting of awarding points, awarding at least one turn, and applying a penalty based on the set of game rules.

18. The game system as in claim 14, further comprising means for obtaining payment prior to initiating game play.

19. The game system as in claim 14, further comprising means for awarding winnings to the player in accordance with the at least one of the plurality of winning outcomes being obtained.

20. The game system as in claim 19, wherein the amount of winnings awarded is based on the obtained outcome and the amount of winnings corresponding to the obtained outcome as indicated by a payout table.

21. The game system as in claim 14, wherein the game is played over a network by a single player or multiple players.

22. The game system as in claim 14, wherein the game system is a computing device.

23. The game system as in claim 22, wherein the computing device is a slot machine.

24. The game system as in claim 14, further comprising the steps of: means for receiving at least one bet based on the probability of a game outcome occurring; and means for awarding winnings in accordance with the at least one bet received if the game outcome occurs.

25. The game system as in claim 14, further comprising means for determining a score and updating a previous score table according to said at least one of a plurality of winning outcomes being obtained.

26. The game system as in claim 14, wherein said at least one of a plurality of winning outcomes is selected from the group consisting of marking at least one of the first group of positions, marking at least one of the second group of positions, marking all of said plurality of primary positions, and displaying a predetermined number of identical icons on the plurality of secondary positions.

27. A computer readable medium comprising a set of computer readable instructions capable of being executed by at least one processor for playing a game comprising the steps of: providing a game board having a plurality of primary positions arranged in a predetermined manner, wherein each primary position belongs to a first group of positions and a second group of positions; randomly selecting and displaying an icon for each of the plurality of primary positions; providing a player with at least one turn to achieve an outcome, wherein said at least one turn causes a respective icon to be randomly selected and displayed for each of a plurality of secondary positions, each one of the plurality of secondary positions corresponding to one of the first group of positions; performing one of at least one predetermined action and no action for each of the randomly selected and displayed icons based on a set of game rules, said at least one predetermined action includes marking at least one of the plurality of primary positions; and determining whether at least one of a plurality of winning outcomes is obtained.

Description:

PRIORITY

[0001] This application claims priority from a U.S. Provisional Application filed on March 19, 2002 and assigned U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/365,746, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to games, and more particularly to online interactive and casino slot machine games.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] The gaming industry has come to recognize that to sustain long term success it must be constantly innovative in introducing new games and new gambling concepts to the gaming public. One example of this innovating drive can be appreciated in the embrace of the Internet and online gaming by the gaming industry. Presently, most games found in casinos, both brick-and-mortar and online, have centered on the traditional games associated with the gaming industry.

[0006] The new market for the gaming industry and perhaps most especially the online gaming industry is that group of individuals who find the traditional games too complex or simply not exciting enough. In the drive to attract greater numbers of players, casinos strive to include games that are familiar, simple to understand, engaging, and entertaining.

[0007] Perhaps, the one game that most people are familiar with is BINGO. The challenge for the industry is to take BINGO's familiarity and simplicity and marry it with exciting, faster pace game play; games which take more than a few minutes to play to completion are generally not economically feasible for the gaming industry.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention involves a game similar to BINGO that is designed with online and casino gaming as its main focus. A preferred version of the game allows the player three spins to attain a winning outcome. The overall goal is to cover all the squares in one or more rows on the game board within the allotted three spins. Each spin causes a new random selection from a group of icons to be chosen for each column. The selection of a number causes the matching number in the corresponding column on the game board to be covered. Special icons can also be included which provide bonus effects, i.e. cover an entire column, additional spins, bonus credits, etc., or deleterious effects, i.e. uncover a column, etc.

[0009] In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the game is played over the Internet or other suitable network, wherein the player interacts with the game via a personal computer or other device capable of establishing a network connection. In this embodiment, the game is single-player only. Game play is initiated by the player by authorizing a predetermined number of credits from player's account transferred to the game host. The player then, as stated previously, receives three spin chances in an attempt to achieve a winning outcome.

[0010] In an additional embodiment of the invention, the game is incorporated in a slot machine with game play occurring within a casino or other gaming establishment. In this embodiment, the game is also designed for a single player. Game play is initiated by the player inserting a predetermined number of tokens, swiping a prepaid card, or other form of payment. The player then, as stated previously, receives three spin chances in ah attempt to achieve a winning outcome. This embodiment may provide extra features such as the ability of the player to place additional bets on specific rows or even individual squares, increasing the possible payout, etc.

[0011] In another alternate embodiment, the game is similar to the game as described in the preferred embodiment. However, in this embodiment, the game is a multiplayer network game with a preferred maximum of ten players participating.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIGS. 1a-1g illustrate screen views of a version of the game to show various features of the game and the method of game play in accordance with the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a front view of a slot machine incorporating the game of the present invention; and

[0014] FIGS. 3a-3t illustrate screen views of a version of the game showing a single game play or round.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0015] The following describes a preferred embodiment and rules for playing the game according to the present invention. It is noted that FIGS. 1a-1g are not successive figures of a single game play or round, whereas FIGS. 3a-3t show a single game play or round.

[0016] The game according to the present invention is a computerized matching game played over a network, such as the Internet. The game includes a graphical user interface (GUI) 100. The GUI 100 includes an area 101 where a player can click or select for initiating game play. The GUI 100 further includes clickable icons 130 for viewing the rules of the game, obtaining help, quitting the game, and for toggling the game sounds on and off.

[0017] Upon clicking the area 101, the player can be offered the opportunity to register to set up an account and/or to make payment, such as paying to play a number of games and placing a bet of a possible outcome occurring. Payment could be made by credit card or by using an online account, such as a prepaid player account. If the player is already registered, the player can enter a password or other identification in order for the game to determine the player's identity and retrieve the player's prepaid account.

[0018] Game play consists of three turns or spins, in an attempt to achieve a favorable outcome as indicated in a Payout Table 102. A preferred game board 103 for the game consists of 27 positions organized into three rows 104 of nine squares each or nine columns 112 of three squares each (see FIGS. 1a and 1b). It is noted that the game is not limited to this particular configuration, but may contain more or less rows and positions and the positions may be any of a plurality of shapes. During the setup phase of the game, each of the positions is assigned a randomly selected number 105 (see FIG. 1b) and a “Spins” indicator 107 is set to three to indicate the number of turns or spins remaining.

[0019] The randomly selected and displayed number 105 for each position is preferably selected from a numerical range corresponding to the column the position belongs to. For example, the numbers selected and displayed in the leftmost column are selected from the numerical range of 1-10, and the numerical ranges for the rest of the columns 112, from left to right, are as follows: 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80 and 81-90.

[0020] Each game turn is initiated by the player clicking on the “TAKE SPIN” icon 106. Spinners 108 then display randomly selected icons (see FIG. 1c) from a group of icons consisting of: numbers 109, Free Spin 113, jokers 110, and other icons which represent bonuses or penalties to the player. Points accumulated are indicated by a score indicator 115.

[0021] Following the display of the icons, the effects are preferably prosecuted one icon at a time. Numbers 109 which appear in the spinner 108 result in the matching number in the corresponding column being covered by a covering icon 111. However, if no matching numbers exist in the corresponding column, then there is no action taken, other than one or more game sounds.

[0022] The appearance of a joker 110 results in an entire corresponding column 112 being covered (see FIG. 1c). If in a turn a select number of jokers appear, then payouts are made according to the exemplary Payout Table 102 which is provided below: 1

TABLE 1
exemplary Payout Table
OutcomePayout
Cover 1 Row Across10
Cover 2 Rows Across25
Cover All Numbers100
4 Super Jokers5
5 Super Jokers10
6 Super Jokers500
7 Super Jokers5,000
8 Super Jokers15,000
9 Super Jokers25,000

[0023] The appearance of a “Free Spin” 113 (see FIG. 1d) offers the player an additional turn beyond the standard three turns, in an attempt to achieve a favorable outcome. Total number of free spins acquired by the player is indicated by a “Free Spins” indicator 114. Maximum number of free spins allowable per game can vary from one version of the game to the next. However, in the preferred embodiment, two free spins per game is the maximum allowed. Any “Free Spin” beyond the two is disregarded and no action is performed on the game board 103.

[0024] Additionally, some versions of the game may include penalties indicated by a particular icon, which may result in the uncovering one position or several positions of the game board, loss of a spin, loss of a predetermined number of points as indicated by the score indicator 115, or any other penalty.

[0025] Occasionally, in the embodiment shown by the figures, when a position on the game board 103 is covered or marked, a “Gold Coin” or other icon 116 appears. This results in a predetermined number of coins or credits being instantly credited to the player's account as indicated by graphic 117. The coins or credits can then be redeemed for prizes or cash, or be used to play additional games.

[0026] At the end of each turn, the player's score is updated to reflect the results of the turn. The player's score is indicated by the score indicator 115. During the course of game play, the player may cover or mark an entire row 118 (see FIG. 1f) resulting in a payout as indicated in the Payout Table 102. The corresponding payout will be added to the player's game score as indicated by the score indicator 115. Upon completion of all three turns and any accumulated Free Spins, the game ends with a “Game Over” message 119 (see FIG. 1g). The winnings as indicated by the score indicator 115 are added to the player's account 117. After a predetermined number of games as indicated by a Cash Out indicator 120, the winnings are automatically cashed out.

[0027] The rules outlined above generally apply to all versions of the game according to the present invention. However, in some versions, the game is played by more than one player, or is incorporated in a slot machine device for installation at a casino. Additionally, the basic rules may be further expanded to enhance game play, risk, and payouts with the addition of other spinner icons or with the incorporation of side bets—the ability for the player to place bets in addition to the standard pay-to-play bet—on such outcomes as the covering of a particular row or position during a turn or course of game play, i.e., over a series of turns. If the outcome occurs, the player is awarded points based on the bet placed and/or the odds of the outcome occurring.

[0028] In another embodiment in accordance with the present invention, the game is incorporated into a slot machine 210 for installation in gaming establishments. While game play remains essentially unchanged from the preferred embodiment described above, certain elements have been adapted to slot machine devices. A player initiates a game by first inserting a token, coin, prepaid account card or other means of payment through the appropriate slot 206 and 207. The processor prepares the game board and displays it on a video screen 208. The appearance of the game board is generally similar to that described above. During each turn, spinners 209 are activated by either pulling the spin arm 204a or pressing a spin button 204b, at which point the processor simulates the spinning reels of a conventional slot machine on screen along with the associated sounds. Each spinner 209 eventually comes to a stop and spinner icons are displayed in each. As described above, the displayed icons on the spinners 209 are processed and results are posted in a score area 201. Payouts are then calculated by the processor based on the posted payout table 205. The winnings are cashed out when the player presses a Pay Out button 202, attains a predetermined maximum score, or after playing a predetermined number of games. The winnings can be deposited into a cash out bin 203, credited to the player's account card, or provided to the player in some other method.

[0029] Various support components are not shown, but understood to be part of conventional video slot machine devices of the type indicated here, and therefore components of this embodiment. These components include one or more processors to handle the task of managing the player's account, winnings, and bets as well as overall game play, a means of providing winnings to the player, i.e. an internal cash out vault containing monies or tokens to be used to award the player, means for applying winnings to the player's account, etc., and a candle or other apparatus for signaling an attendant.

[0030] Additionally, this embodiment readily lends itself to the incorporation of side bet functionality with the inclusion of additional buttons, touch screen, or other such input method. The challenge, and resulting payout amounts, are increased with the inclusion of additional spinner icons which impart one or more penalties to the player or increasing the range of possible numbers from which the position numbers are randomly chosen.

[0031] Additionally the game as described may also take the form of a table game in which the means for conducting game play is provided by a dealer and the spinners are replaced with cards, dice or some other appropriate instruments. Generally, the rules remiain the same as described herein, but like the slot version, such a table embodiment allows for modification and expansion of the rules to enhance game play.

[0032] A further embodiment of the present invention is a computer-readable medium, such as a CD-ROM, containing a set of computer executable instructions for display and prosecution of the game described herein.

[0033] Accordingly, it will be understood that various modifications may be made to the embodiments disclosed herein, and that the above descriptions should not be construed as limiting, but merely as illustrative of preferred embodiments. Those skilled in the art will envision other modifications within the scope and spirit of the claims appended hereto