Title:
Word-forming tile game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A crossword-type, word-forming game for play by a plurality of players, each independently arranging their own randomly-selected group of tiles to form one or more words in crossword fashion. Each tile displays a letter and a face value. All players randomly select one or more additional tiles at designated points during play, and independently form additional or different words, in crossword puzzle fashion in their personal play area, using the newly drawn tile in conjunction with previously drawn tiles, at any time until the game ends. A score is calculated based upon the sum of the face values of the tiles used by each player, and additional value is given to selected words, such as proper nouns associated with a designated text.



Inventors:
Mortimer, Lyle (Springville, UT, US)
Application Number:
10/701753
Publication Date:
05/13/2004
Filing Date:
11/05/2003
Assignee:
MORTIMER LYLE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/04; A63F9/00; A63F11/00; (IPC1-7): A63F9/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LAYNO, BENJAMIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THORPE NORTH & WESTERN, LLP. (8180 SOUTH 700 EAST, SUITE 200, SANDY, UT, 84070, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A method for playing a crossword-type word-forming game, comprising the steps of: a. a plurality of players each independently arranging letter-bearing tiles to form words in crossword fashion; b. the players drawing additional tiles periodically during the game until completion of play; and c. each player arranging or rearranging their words using the additional tiles as they are drawn.

2. A method in accordance with claim 1, wherein the letter-bearing tiles display on their face a letter of the alphabet and a numerical value approximately inversely proportional to the frequency of occurrence of that letter in a designated text.

3. A method in accordance with claim 2, wherein the letter-bearing tiles further include a plurality of “wild” tiles displaying no letter of the alphabet and no numerical value, the “wild” tiles being usable to represent any letter of the alphabet at a player's choosing.

4. A method in accordance with claim 2, further comprising the step of: a. randomly drawing an initial set of tiles from a draw group of tiles; and wherein the step of drawing additional tiles periodically during the game comprises randomly selecting additional tiles from the draw group; and wherein completion of play is reached when all tiles in the draw group have been used.

5. A method in accordance with claim 4, further comprising the step of tallying a score for each player upon completion of play, the score comprising: a. the sum of the numerical value of letters in each word formed by a player; b. plus a bonus for players that have formed selected words from the designated text; c. minus the numerical value of letters not played; d. minus the numerical value of letters in disqualified words.

6. A method in accordance with claim 5, wherein the letter-bearing tiles further include a plurality of “wild” tiles displaying no letter of the alphabet and no numerical value, the “wild” tiles being usable to represent any letter of the alphabet at a player's choosing, and wherein the score further includes one or more factors selected from the group consisting of: a. a point bonus for being the first player to finish; b. the point value of letters common to two words being counted twice; c. a penalty for a player having drawn a different total number of tiles than the other players; and d. a penalty for “wild” tiles not used.

7. A method in accordance with claim 1, wherein the designated text is selected from the group consisting of the Bible, a textbook, and a fictional work.

8. A method in accordance with claim 1, further comprising the step of the players drawing additional tiles (i) when any player has successfully used all of his or her tiles, or (ii) when all players are unable to successfully use all of their tiles.

9. A method in accordance with claim 1, further comprising the step of allowing any player to rearrange their tiles at any time prior to completion of play.

10. A crossword-type, word-forming game for a plurality of players, comprising: a. a plurality of letter-bearing tiles; and b. a list of instructions, directing each player to perform game activities, including: i. randomly drawing an initial set of letter-bearing tiles; ii. independently arranging the letter-bearing tiles to form the player's independent array of words in crossword fashion; and iii. rearranging the tiles within the player's independent array at any time prior to completion of play.

11. A word-forming game in accordance with claim 10, wherein the letter-bearing tiles display on their face a letter of the alphabet and a numerical value.

12. A word-forming game in accordance with claim 11, wherein the numerical value displayed on a tile is approximately inversely proportional to the frequency of occurrence of that letter in a designated text.

13. A word-forming game in accordance with claim 10, wherein the instructions further direct the players, upon completion of play, to tally a score for each player, the score including the sum of the numerical value of letters in each word formed by that player, plus a bonus for selected words associated with a designated text, minus a penalty for tiles not used.

14. A word-forming game in accordance with claim 10, wherein the instructions further direct the players to randomly draw additional tiles from a draw group periodically during the game until completion of play

15. A word-forming game in accordance with claim 10, wherein all letter-bearing tiles are equally randomly distributed to the players prior to commencement of play.

16. A word-forming game in accordance with claim 10, wherein completion of play is reached when all tiles have been used and: a. any player has successfully used all of his or her tiles; or b. all players are unable to successfully use all of their tiles.

17. A crossword-type, word-forming game, comprising: a. a draw group of tiles, each tile displaying a letter and a face value, the face value being inversely related to an approximate frequency of occurrence of the letter in a designated text; b. a plurality of player positions; c. a randomly selected initial group of tiles disposed at each player position; d. a list of instructions, directing each of a plurality of players, one at each player position, to perform game activities including: i. independently arranging the initial group of tiles to form one or more words in crossword fashion; ii. randomly selecting one or more additional tiles from the draw group at designated points during play; iii. independently forming additional or different words, in crossword puzzle fashion, using the newly drawn tile in conjunction with the initial group of tiles and previously drawn tiles, until a game-end condition is reached; and iv. calculating a score for each player after the game-end condition is reached, the score being based upon the face value of the tiles used by that player to form words, and additional value given to selected words associated with the designated text.

18. A word-forming game in accordance with claim 17, further comprising a plurality of “wild” tiles displaying no letter of the alphabet and no numerical value, the “wild” tiles being usable to represent any letter of the alphabet at a player's choosing, and wherein the score is further based upon one or more factors selected from the group consisting of: a. a point bonus for being the first player to use all of their tiles; b. the point value of letters common to two words being counted twice; c. a penalty for tiles not used; d. a penalty for disqualified words; e. a penalty for a player having drawn a different total number of tiles than the other players; and f. a penalty for “wild” tiles not used.

19. A method for playing a crossword-type, word-forming game by at least two players, comprising the steps of: a. placing a plurality of tiles face-down in a draw group, the tiles having a face with indicia representing a letter of the alphabet and a point value, the point value corresponding to the approximate frequency of occurrence of that letter in a designated text; b. allocating a set of tiles from the draw group to each player; c. upon initiation of play, each player independently attempting to arrange their selected tiles, face-up in a personal play area visible to all players, to form an array of words in crossword puzzle fashion; d. drawing at least one additional tile from the draw group and using the additional tile to modify the array to form words in crossword fashion; e. repeating step d until completion of play; and f. calculating a score for each player based upon the point value of the tiles they have used in their array.

20. A method in accordance with claim 19, wherein the plurality of tiles further includes a plurality of “wild” tiles displaying no letter of the alphabet and no numerical value, the “wild” tiles being usable to represent any letter of the alphabet at a player's choosing.

21. A method in accordance with claim 20, wherein the step of calculating the score further includes the step of applying one or more factors selected from the group consisting of: a. a point bonus for words associated with the designated text; b. a point bonus for being the first player to finish; c. the point value of letters common to two words being counted twice; d. a penalty for tiles not used; e. a penalty for disqualified words; f. a penalty for a player having drawn a different total number of tiles than the other players; and g. a penalty for “wild” tiles not used.

Description:

[0001] The present application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/424,247, filed on Nov. 5, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to crossword-type word forming games. More particularly, the present invention relates to a word-forming game that emphasizes the formation of words related to a specified subject text.

[0004] 2. Related Art

[0005] There are a wide variety of word-forming games that challenge players' vocabulary and ingenuity in forming or finding words from a random array of letters in a competitive setting. One type of word-forming game is the crossword-type game, wherein players are required to form words from a random selection of letters, and connect them—in crossword puzzle fashion—to existing words previously formed. The game of Scrabble® is perhaps the best known of these types of games. Scrabble® involves a plurality of tiles, each tile displaying on one side a letter from the English alphabet, and a corresponding point value for that letter. The point value for each letter generally relates to the frequency of occurrence of that letter in the English language. Each player randomly selects a number of these tiles, and in sequence places them in crossword puzzle fashion on a game board having a grid pattern. Each word formed must connect to at least one previously formed word by using a common letter. Scoring for each word created is generally the sum of the point values of each letter in the word. However, the game board also includes some premium squares, which multiply the point value of whatever letter is played thereon, or multiply the point value of the word formed by the letter placed thereon.

[0006] Scrabble® and games like it have become very popular. They help increase one's vocabulary, mental acuity and creativity. However, these types of games present certain inherent limitations which may inhibit their versatility and enjoyment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The invention advantageously provides a crossword-type, word-forming game, characterized by a plurality of players, each simultaneously arranging, in a personal play area visible to all other players, their own randomly selected group of tiles to form one or more words in crossword fashion. Each tile displays a letter and a face value, the face value being related to an approximate frequency of occurrence of that letter in a designated text. All players concurrently and randomly select an additional tile at designated points during play, and simultaneously form additional or different words, in crossword puzzle fashion in their personal play area, using the newly drawn tile in conjunction with previously drawn tiles, until completion of play. A score is calculated based upon the face value of the tiles used by each player to form words.

[0008] Additional value may be given to selected words, such as proper nouns, associated with the designated text. The game thus emphasizes words related to a given subject or text.

[0009] Advantageously, the game allows a player to revise or improve a previous play throughout the game.

[0010] Additional features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the detailed description which follows, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which together illustrate, by way of example, features of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of game apparatus set up for play of a word-forming game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 2 is a flow chart depicting a method of play of a word-forming game according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013] Reference will now be made to the exemplary embodiments illustrated in the drawings, and specific language will be used herein to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Alterations and further modifications of the inventive features illustrated herein, and additional applications of the principles of the inventions as illustrated herein, which would occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the invention.

[0014] Scrabble® and games like it have become very popular. They help increase one's vocabulary, mental acuity and creativity. However, these types of games include some limitations on the one hand, and lack certain other limitations on the other. For example, many of these types of games prevent revision of one's previous play. In Scrabble®, once a tile is played, it cannot be removed or substituted. These games also frequently rely upon sequential play. Competitors must await their turn to take an action, which tends to reduce the premium on quick thinking. Additionally, many word-forming games allow the formation of any word, with no emphasis on words from a particular context, though they often disallow proper names. Such games test one's vocabulary generally, but do not also test one's knowledge of a particular field of knowledge. Still other crossword type games demand the formation of specific words, frequently from or related to a particular subject or text, based upon contrived clues or questions. These games are limiting in that they allow only one right answer to a given clue or question.

[0015] The present invention provides a crossword-type, word-forming game that is intended to test and increase players' vocabulary related to a particular designated text or subject area. The designated subject text may be any text. For example, it may be a book of scripture, such as the New Testament or Old Testament of the Bible, a textbook on some given subject, or any other text, such as Homer's Odyssey. Likewise, a designated subject area may be any subject area, such as current events, geography, U.S. history, etc. Unlike some other similar games, in one embodiment this game allows proper nouns to be used if they occur in the designated text, and provides bonus points for such use. Alternatively, the game may be configured to allow other particular parts of speech and/or grant bonuses when they are used.

[0016] Referring to FIG. 1, the game apparatus is very simple, and primarily comprises a set of game tiles 10. In one embodiment of the game, the set comprises the quantity of 110 tiles. The game apparatus may also include a reference list 12 of accepted proper nouns taken from the designated text. Advantageously, there is no game board or other complicated apparatus. The game tiles 10 each display indicia on one face representing a letter of the alphabet 14 and a point value 16. The number of tiles in the set that display a particular letter is approximately proportional to the frequency of occurrence of that letter in the designated text—i.e. there are more tiles displaying the more common letters, and fewer displaying less common letters. Conversely, the point value of each tile is an integer approximately inversely proportional to the frequency of occurrence of that letter in the designated text—i.e. letters that occur less frequently in the designated text have a higher point value. Also included in the set of game tiles are a limited number of “wild card” tiles 18 that are either blank or display some generic indicia that is not a letter of the alphabet, such as an asterisk 20. These “wild card” tiles can be used by the player that draws them to represent any letter.

[0017] The game is designed for play by at least two players, and in one embodiment is intended to be played by up to 6 players. Depending on the number of players, some designated number of “wild card” tiles 18 may be removed from the set of tiles 10 so that the total number of tiles in the set is an exact multiple of the number of players. The removed tiles are not used during play.

[0018] To prepare to play the game, all tiles to be used from the set are first placed face-down in a “draw group” 22, so that the indicia of the tiles are not visible to the players. The draw group should be equally accessible to all players, such as in the center of a table. Each player then randomly selects, without looking at the indicia on them, a designated number of tiles, forming an “initial set,” from the draw group, and places them face-down in front of him- or herself. The area in front of each player is referred to as a “personal play area” 24, and is visible to all players. Each player has his own personal play area. Typically, the initial set of tiles will consist of a relatively small number, such as seven (7) tiles, but other numbers may be designated. Where only two players play the game, the initial set may be larger, such as eight (8) tiles.

[0019] One player is designated as the game leader. Play proceeds according to the flow chart shown in FIG. 2. When all players have drawn their initial set (step 40) and are ready to begin, the game leader signals the initiation of play, such as by saying “Go” (step 42). At that point, all players simultaneously turn over their initial set of tiles 10 in their personal play area 24, and try to arrange their group of letters into a word or words in crossword puzzle fashion (step 44). Examples of such puzzles 26 are shown in FIG. 1. Any word may be used except: proper nouns (except from the designated text) foreign words, acronyms, prefixes, and suffixes.

[0020] After initiation of play, the game will periodically reach one of two repeat conditions, indicated at step 46. One type of repeat condition occurs when any player uses all of his or her tiles. At that point, that player may then say “Go,” and all players draw another tile (step 48) from the draw group 22. If two players reach this point and say “Go” at substantially the same time, only one tile is drawn by the players.

[0021] Alternatively, the repeat condition (step 46) may be reached when all players become “stuck”—i.e. they cannot find a way to use all of their tiles to form one or more words. The first player to become stuck indicates this condition, such as by saying “Stuck,” and places his or her finger on one face-down tile in the draw group 22 (without picking it up or turning it over). If all players become stuck before any player says “Go” (as a result of using all of his or her tiles), the game leader then says “Go” and all players draw a tile (step 48).

[0022] Drawing of new tiles could be varied, for example, by specifying that the players draw more than one tile each time someone says “Go.” This alternative way of playing could both speed the game along, and also introduce an additional level of complexity by requiring the players to assimilate more new letters into their crossword puzzles at a given time.

[0023] Using the newly drawn tile (or tiles) in conjunction with all tiles they have previously drawn, each player attempts to create additional or different words in crossword puzzle fashion in their personal play area 24. Players may rearrange their puzzles 26 at any time. Thus, if a player is unable to use all of their letter tiles at any given time, but upon drawing a new letter could rearrange their puzzle to use more of them, they may do so. Similarly, for example, if a player uses their letters to spell certain words, but with the newly drawn letter can form different words, they may do so.

[0024] Play continues in this fashion until all tiles are drawn from the draw group (step 50). As players rearrange their tiles after drawing their last tile from the draw group 22, the end of the game is reached when any player uses all of his or her tiles, or all players become stuck, and there are no tiles left to draw. The first player to use all of his or her tiles may call out “Stop” (step 52) and all players must discontinue work on their puzzles and tally their score (step 54). Alternatively, if all players ultimately become stuck, the game leader may call out “Stop.” If the leader or another player calls “Stop” while any player is rearranging their puzzle, that player must immediately stop and count the score of whatever portion of their puzzle is complete.

[0025] A player's base score is equal to the sum total of the point value 16 shown on the face of all tiles 10 played by that player in their completed puzzle 26. Letters that are used in two words are counted twice, while the value of letters not used is subtracted from the player's score. Wild card tiles 18 have no positive face value, though any unused wild card tiles invoke a penalty, such as 10 points, that is subtracted from the player's score.

[0026] Each player's base score is also augmented by additional bonus points and/or penalties. The player finished first receives a bonus (e.g. 10 points), provided they are not successfully challenged (as explained below). The value of the letters in proper nouns from the designated text (as verified by reference to the reference list 12 or directly to the designated text) is counted double. For example, viewing FIG. 1, where the designated text is the New Testament of the Bible, the name “Jesus” 28 counts for a double score (26 points instead of 13). The total number of tiles 10 in the personal play area 24 of each player (both played and unplayed) are also counted, to verify that each player has drawn the correct number. If any player does not have the correct number of tiles, they receive a penalty (such as −10 points) for each missing tile.

[0027] All players view each others' puzzles 26 during the scoring portion to verify that scoring is done correctly. Any player may challenge any word in another player's puzzle by referring to the reference list or to a dictionary. In the event of a successful challenge (e.g. the word is not acceptable, is spelled incorrectly, or is not a word), the challenged player receives a penalty, such as double the point value of the challenged word. For example, in the puzzle shown in FIG. 1, the word “skif” 30 is misspelled. If challenged, the player that created this word would receive a penalty of 24 points (being double the face value of the letters “K” “I” and “F”).

[0028] The sequence of events from initiation of play to tallying the score for each player is considered one “round” of play. The game may be played in a series of rounds, such as three to five rounds. Score is kept for each round, and the player with the highest score after all rounds is the winner.

[0029] It will be apparent that the game may be played in various alternative ways. For example, the game may be initiated by dealing out all tiles at once to the players, each player receiving an equal number, the players then competing to form their own puzzles from the large quantity of tiles in their initial set. Play stops when any one player uses all of his or her tiles and calls out “Stop,” and scoring is then tallied as described above. Additionally, one or more additional sets of tiles may be combined in the draw group 22, allowing longer play and/or a larger number of players to play together. Other variations are also possible.

[0030] The invention advantageously provides a fast-paced, easy-to-learn game that can be played by young and old alike. It requires minimal equipment, and, unlike some other word-forming games, allows the use of proper nouns so long as they are associated with the designated text. Consequently, the game not only helps expand and sharpen players' vocabularies and mental acuity, but it also helps increase their knowledge and vocabulary related to a designated text or subject.

[0031] By way of example, the invention can be described as a crossword-type, word-forming game, characterized by a plurality of players, each concurrently arranging letter-bearing tiles to form words in crossword fashion, and drawing additional tiles periodically during the game until completion of play. Each player arranges or rearranges their words using the additional tiles as they are drawn.

[0032] As another example, the invention can be described as a crossword-type, word-forming game, characterized by a plurality of players, each concurrently arranging letter-bearing tiles to form words in crossword fashion, and allowed to rearrange their tiles at any time until completion of play.

[0033] As another example, the invention can be described as a crossword-type, word-forming game, characterized by a plurality of players, each simultaneously arranging, in a personal play area visible to all other players, their own randomly selected group of tiles to form one or more words in crossword fashion. Each tile displays a letter and a face value, the face value being inversely related to an approximate frequency of occurrence of the letter in a designated text. All players concurrently and randomly select one or more additional tiles at designated points during play, and simultaneously form additional or different words, in crossword puzzle fashion in their personal play area, using the newly drawn tile in conjunction with previously drawn tiles, until a game-end condition is reached. A score is calculated for each player after the game-end condition is reached, the score being based upon the face value of the tiles used by that player to form words, and additional value given to selected words, such as proper nouns, associated with the designated text.

[0034] As another example, the invention can be described as a method and apparatus for playing a crossword-type, word-forming game by at least two players. The game apparatus comprises a plurality of tiles, each tile having a face with indicia representing a letter of the alphabet and a point value, the point value corresponding to the approximate frequency of occurrence of that letter in a designated text. The method comprises the steps of (1) placing the plurality of tiles face-down in a draw group; (2) allocating a set of tiles from the draw group to each player; (3) upon initiation of play, each player simultaneously attempting to arrange their selected tiles, face-up in a personal play area visible to all players, to form one or more words in crossword puzzle fashion; (4) drawing at least one additional tile from the draw group and reforming existing words in the crossword puzzle to form new words in crossword fashion; (5) repeating step (4) until completion of play; and (6) calculating a score for each player based upon the point value of the tiles they have used.

[0035] It is to be understood that the above-referenced arrangements are illustrative of the application for the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements can be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and described above in connection with the exemplary embodiments(s) of the invention. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications can be made without departing from the principles and concepts of the invention as set forth in the claims.