Title:
Board game and methods of playing and using same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A board game promoting personal growth by asking players to answer personal growth questions includes a game board and at least one game piece. The game board has an array of interconnected pathways connecting a first standpoint and a second standpoint on the game board. The pathways are divided into a number of individual spaces and each space has one of a collection of symbols thereon. A player may move in any direction using any combination of the pathways. The game piece represents a player's movement along the pathways and the player's objective is to move along the pathways via the individual spaces from the first standpoint toward the second standpoint by answering personal growth questions. Methods of playing the game and methods for using the game to promote personal growth and build relationships in professional, personal, and psychological counseling settings are also disclosed herein.



Inventors:
Casanova, Nicole K. (Boulder, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/437056
Publication Date:
11/23/2006
Filing Date:
05/19/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/243
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20020024176Hexahedrally-Shaped game piece and associated method of playing a parlor gameFebruary, 2002Donner et al.
20090020950Poker Wagering Game with Forced DiscardJanuary, 2009Faulkner
20020094753Resilient coil toy and game, a kit and a method for playing a gameJuly, 2002Campos et al.
20060249897Lottery game played on a geometric figure using indicia with variable point valuesNovember, 2006Jubinville et al.
20030173743Livestock Judging game and methodSeptember, 2003Brink et al.
20070219006DUAL-FUNCTION TABLESeptember, 2007Zajac
20060237910Game with colonizing settlementsOctober, 2006Yu
20030085516Relationship game and method of playMay, 2003Williams-bergemann
20080252016Knock down targets game apparatus and method of playOctober, 2008Palmer
20090051114Systems and Methods for Multi-Platform Trading Card GameFebruary, 2009Robbers et al.
20050040590BokeyFebruary, 2005Scruggs Jr.



Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HENSLEY KIM & EDGINGTON, LLC (1660 LINCOLN STREET, SUITE 3050, DENVER, CO, 80264, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A board game for promoting personal growth by asking players to answer personal growth questions, comprising a game board having an array of interconnected pathways connecting a first standpoint and a second standpoint on the game board, wherein the pathways are divided into a number of individual spaces, wherein each of the individual spaces has one of a collection of symbols thereon, and wherein a player may move in any direction using any combination of the pathways; and at least one game piece representing position and movement of the player along the pathways, wherein an objective of the player is to move the game piece along the pathways via the individual spaces from the first standpoint toward the second standpoint by answering the personal growth questions.

2. The board game of claim 1, further comprising a first die having at least two different states represented on the faces of the first die, wherein a first state allows a player to roll a second die for a chance to advance the game piece a number of individual spaces, and a second state prevents the player from advancing the game piece.

3. The board game of claim 2, wherein the first state represented on the first die is trust and wherein the second state represented on the first die is doubt.

4. The board game of claim 2, further comprising a second die having a series of respective numbers on the faces thereof, wherein a rolled number on the second die determines the number of the individual spaces the player advances.

5. The board game of claim 1, further comprising at least one ring sized to be placed about the game piece, wherein the rings represent barriers which must be removed as an objective of the board game.

6. The board game of claim 5, wherein one of the collection of symbols indicates an opportunity for the player to remove the ring when the game piece of the player occupies one of the individual spaces corresponding to the one of the collection of symbols.

7. The board game of claim 1, further comprising a number of sets of cards, each card having a respective one of the collection of symbols thereon, and a personal growth question.

8. The board game of claim 1, wherein the first standpoint is fear and the second standpoint is love.

9. The board game of claim 1, wherein the game board and game piece comprise computer generated graphic images for presentation on a display device.

10. A method of using a game to promote personal growth, the method comprising providing a game board having an array of interconnected pathways connecting a first standpoint to a second standpoint, wherein the pathways are divided into a number of individual spaces, each of the spaces having one of a collection of symbols thereon; providing at least one game piece representing position and movement of a player along the pathways, wherein an objective of the player is to move the game piece along the pathways via the individual spaces from the first standpoint to the second standpoint; and providing a number of sets of questions to promote personal growth, each question associated with one of a collection of symbols corresponding to symbols on respective ones of the individual spaces on the pathways.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising selecting one of the questions from the number of sets of questions provided.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising presenting the selected question to the player.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising receiving an answer to the selected question from the player.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising advancing the player a number of individual spaces on the pathways after receiving the answer to the question.

15. The method of claim 11, wherein the selected one of the questions corresponds to one of the individual spaces occupied by a player.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein the presenting operation further comprises presenting a question asking the player to provide a view of an issue and determine a perspective from which the issue is viewed.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein the presenting operation further comprises presenting a question asking the player to choose one of a list of statements embodying the second standpoint rather than the first standpoint.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein the presenting operation further comprises presenting a question asking the player to answer a question about the player.

19. The method of claim 12, wherein the presenting operation further comprises presenting a question asking the player to perform a task.

20. The method of claim 12, wherein the presenting operation further comprises presenting a question requiring the player to acknowledge when the player has exhibited a particular barrier behavior and when the player has acted without the particular barrier behavior.

21. The method of claim 10, wherein the method is used as a psychological counseling technique.

22. The method of claim 10, wherein the method is used as a self improvement technique.

23. The method of claim 10, wherein the method is used as a relationship building activity.

24. The method of claim 10, wherein the method is used as a professional team building activity.

25. A computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions for performing a computer process implementing the method of claim 10.

26. A board game kit, comprising a game board having an array of interconnected pathways, wherein the pathways comprise a number of individual spaces connecting a first standpoint and a second standpoint on the game board; at least one game piece representing position and movement of a player along the individual spaces of the pathways of the game board; a number of rings sized to be placed about the game piece and representing a barrier to an interpersonal relationship; a first die with at least two different states represented on the faces of the first die; a second die with a series of respective numbers on the faces of the second die; a first set of playing cards, each having a question asking the player to view an issue and determine a perspective from which the issue is viewed; a second set of playing cards, each having a list of statements and a question asking the player to choose one of the statements as embodying the second standpoint rather than the first standpoint; a third set of playing cards, each having a question asking the player to complete a task or answer a question about the player; and a fourth set of playing cards, each of which requires the player to acknowledge when the player has exhibited a particular barrier behavior and when the player has acted without the particular barrier behavior so that the player can remove one of the number of rings from the game piece.

27. The board game kit of claim 25, further comprising a fifth set of playing cards with questions which require all players to answer a question.

28. The board game kit of claim 25, further comprising a fifth set of playing cards which require the player to remain in an individual space on the path without advancing an individual space.

29. The board game kit of claim 25, further comprising instructions for playing the game.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/683,235 entitled “Board game and method of playing same” filed on May 20, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND

Board games, or games played on specially designed boards, are a popular means of entertainment and may also be used for educational purposes. Traditionally, board games were commonly played for childhood education or diversion or for entertainment during parties or at other social gatherings of friends and/or family members.

Today, board games are also played by people on their computers. Often, players play board games electronically on the internet, where players can challenge other players from all over the world and at all times of the day and night. Sometimes, people play board games electronically while at their computers for entertainment during work breaks. It has been estimated that the market for playing online board games will increase dramatically in the next few years.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, a board game comprising a game board and at least one game piece promotes personal growth by asking players to answer personal growth questions. The game board has an array of interconnected pathways connecting a first standpoint and a second standpoint on the game board. The pathways are divided into a number of individual spaces and each of the spaces has one of a collection of symbols thereon. A player may move in any direction using any combination of the pathways. The game piece represents the player's movement along the pathways and the player's objective is to move along the pathways via the individual spaces from the first standpoint toward the second standpoint by answering the personal growth questions.

In another embodiment, a method for promoting personal growth begins by providing a game board having an array of interconnected pathways connecting a first standpoint to a second standpoint. The pathways are divided into a number of individual spaces and each of the spaces has one of a collection of symbols thereon. The method continues by providing at least one game piece representing a player's movement along the pathways. The player's objective is to move along the pathways via the individual spaces from a first standpoint to a second standpoint. The method concludes by providing a number of sets of cards, each card having one of a collection of symbols corresponding to symbols on some of the individual spaces on the pathways and a personal growth question.

In another embodiment, a board game supplied as a kit may comprise a game board, one or more game pieces, a number of rings, a first die, a second die, and first, second, third, and fourth sets of playing cards. The game board may have an array of interconnected pathways, wherein the pathways comprise a number of individual spaces connecting a first standpoint and a second standpoint on the game board. The game pieces represent each player's movement along the individual spaces of the pathways of the game board. The rings are sized to be placed about the game pieces and represent a barrier, for example, a defense to an interpersonal relationship or a limiting belief that may impede the ability of a team or group to effectively work together.

The first die may have at least two different states represented on the faces of the first die and the second die may have a series of respective numbers on the faces thereof. Each of the first set of playing cards may have a question asking a player to view an issue and decide from what perspective it comes. Each of the second set of playing cards may have a question asking a player to choose a statement based in the second standpoint rather than the first standpoint. Each of the third set of playing cards may have a question asking a player to complete a task or activity or answer a question about herself. Each of the fourth set of playing cards may require a player to acknowledge when the player has exhibited a particular barrier behavior and when the player has acted without the barrier behavior, so that the player can remove one ring from the game piece.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the drawings for which the following are brief descriptions.

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a game board.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a first die having two different states represented on its faces.

FIG. 3A is an exploded isometric view of a game piece and three rings sized to be placed around the game piece.

FIG. 3B is an isometric view of an assembled game piece having three rings thereon.

FIG. 4A illustrates an exemplary embodiment of one of a first set of cards.

FIG. 4B illustrates an exemplary embodiment of one of a second set of cards.

FIG. 4C illustrates an exemplary embodiment of one of a third set of cards.

FIG. 4D illustrates an exemplary embodiment of one of a fourth set of cards.

FIG. 5 is a flow diagram an exemplary method for providing the game to players.

FIG. 6 is a flow diagram illustrating an exemplary method for playing the game.

FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of an exemplary computer system for playing the game via a network.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A board game 100, such as that shown in FIG. 1, may be used during the course of play to help participants (i.e., players) achieve personal growth. Personal growth may be personal, emotional, or spiritual and may involve overcoming barriers in personal relationships and/or achieving a higher level of awareness, consciousness, enlightenment, or success. Personal growth is also defined herein as the ability for a player or a group of players to improve the ability of a team or group of players to effectively work together. The board game 100 may be played simply for fun, or may be used as an analytical tool to provide insight into the motivations behind the players' own behaviors and the behaviors of the other players. The board game 100 may be also be used as a tool to improve interpersonal relationships and interpersonal communications.

The object of the board game 100 is for each player to progress along pathways on the game board 100 from a first psychological, behavioral, social, or psychosocial state or position (e.g., ‘fear’) to a second psychological, behavioral, social, or psychosocial, state or position (e.g., ‘love’) by answering personal growth questions, or performing personal growth activities or tasks, provided on sets of cards. Psychological, behavioral, social, or psychosocial states or positions are collectively referred to herein as standpoints. In order for a player to successfully advance to ‘love’, he/she must successfully answer personal growth questions, or perform personal growth activities or tasks, and overcome barriers to growth, which are represented by rings placed around game pieces. The board game 100 may provide players with insights into why they behave the way they do and may demonstrate that, at every moment, they have a choice. The choices the players make may demonstrate that their perceptions can become their reality, and that alterations in their thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions can alter their realities and their entire lives.

The board game 100 may comprise a game board 102, as shown in FIG. 1, for playing a game which may help promote personal growth. The game board 102 may be any type of board and may comprise a rigid or semi-rigid flat playing surface, and in some embodiments may have pre-manufactured creases or breaks therein so that the game board 102 may be easily folded for more compact storage. In some embodiments, the game board 102 may be formed of a semi-rigid material such as cardboard, for example.

The game board 102 may have an array of interconnected pathways 104. As shown in FIG. 1, the interconnected pathways 104 may be formed in any number of configurations and may comprise generally curved or linear pathways 104, or any combination thereof. The pathways 104 may have any width and length and may provide a connection between a first standpoint 106 and a second standpoint 108 on the game board 102. As shown in FIG. 1, the first and second standpoints 106, 108 may be positioned on opposite sides of the game board 102. Alternatively, the first and second standpoints 106, 108 may also be positioned in any number of alternative locations or configurations on the game board 102, such as positioned adjacent one another, for example.

In one exemplary embodiment, the first standpoint 106 may be a psychological position of ‘fear’ and the second standpoint 108 may be a psychological position of ‘love.’ A player of the game 100 may move in any direction between the standpoints of ‘fear’ 106 and ‘love’ 108 using any combination of the pathways 104. Each player's objective is to move along the pathways 104 from ‘fear’ 106 toward ‘love’ 108 by answering personal growth questions (to be described in more detail below) provided on cards.

The array of the interconnected pathways 104 on the game board 102 may be divided into a number of individual spaces 110, as shown in FIG. 1. The individual spaces 110 may have any size and shape and may each have different, or similar, sizes and shapes. Each of the individual spaces 110 may have one of a collection of symbols 112 thereon. The symbols 112, shown in FIG. 1, may correspond to sets of cards (to be described in more detail below) having the same symbols thereon. Thus, when a player lands on a space 110 having a symbol 112, the player (or another player) chooses a card having the same or a corresponding symbol 112 thereon. The player landing on the space 112 is required to answer a question or perform an activity or task provided on the card.

The board game 100 may also comprise game pieces 202, as shown in FIGS. 2A & 2B. The game pieces 202 may be any size and shape and may be used to represent a player's position and movement along the pathways 104 of the game board 102. The game piece 202 may comprise a base portion 204, having a post 206 extending therefrom. The game piece 202 may be formed of any suitable materials, for example, wood, metal, or moldable plastic materials. The post portion 206 of the game piece 202 may be sized to receive one or more rings 208.

FIG. 2A is an exploded view illustrating how the rings 208 may be placed onto the post 206 of the game piece 202. The rings 208 may comprise any color, size, or shape, and be may be constructed of any suitable material, for example, wood, metal or moldable plastic materials, for example. The openings 210 in the rings 208 may have a diameter 212 sized for mating with the post 206 of the game piece 206.

FIG. 2B shows an assembled view illustrating the rings 208 placed onto the post 206 of the game piece 202. The rings 208 may represent barriers, for example, personal defenses or limiting beliefs, which must be removed as the player progresses toward ‘love’ 108 on the game board 102. The rings 208 may only be removed when a player lands on an individual space 110 having a particular type of symbol 112 (such as a ‘drop a defense’ symbol) and successfully answers a personal growth question or successfully performs a task.

FIG. 3 illustrates an example embodiment of a first die 300. The first die 300 may have two different states represented on its faces 302, 304. As shown in FIG. 3, the first face 302 may represent a state of ‘trust’ 306 and the second face 304 may represent a state of ‘doubt’ 308. The die 300 may be a standard six-sided die formed of wood or a molded plastic material. In alternative embodiments, the die 300 may have any number of sides and be formed of any suitable material.

The first die 300 may be one of two die used in the game 100. A second numbered die (not shown) may have a series of respective numbers on the faces thereof. The second numbered die may be a standard six-sided die formed of a molded plastic material. In alternative embodiments, the second numbered die may have any number of sides and be formed of any suitable material.

FIGS. 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D illustrate exemplary embodiments of a number of different sets of cards which may be used in the game 100. Each of the cards 402-408 may generally comprise a rectangular card having a semi-rigid construction of paper or paper components. However, the cards 402-408 may be formed of any material and have any number of sizes and shapes. In some embodiments, each of the different sets of cards may have the same shape and in alternative embodiments, each of the different sets of cards may have different shapes.

Each set of cards (shown generally as cards 402-408) may have symbols (not shown) corresponding to symbols 112 on some of the spaces 110 on the game board 102. When a player lands (i.e. places his/her game piece 202) on a space 110 having a particular symbol 112 thereon, the player (or a different player) then selects a card from the top of a pile of cards having a corresponding symbol.

As shown in FIGS. 4A-4D, the cards 402-408 may be labeled “shift,” “choose,” “step into their shoes,” and/or “drop a defense,” for example. Of course, the labels chosen for the different sets of cards may comprise any combination of words and or symbols. Each of the labels chosen for the cards 402-408 may correspond to some of the symbols 112 on the spaces 110 on the game board 102, such that a respective symbol 112 on a space 110 determines which set of cards a player selects a card from. Furthermore, each of the different sets of cards may have different types of instructions for different variations in playing in the board game.

In one exemplary implementation, a first set of cards 406 labeled ‘shift’ may be interactive and introspective and ask the player to move outside of a comfort zone to answer a personal question designed to promote self improvement. An exemplary activity question is depicted on the ‘shift’ card 402 in FIG. 4A. In this example, the player is asked to describe to the other players an example of an avoidance behavior the player has recently exhibited.

A second set of cards 404 labeled ‘choose’ may incorporate quotes from noted thinkers, philosophers, or philosophical works, for example, A Course in Miracles, Buddha, Gandhi, Einstein, Thoreau, and others. The ‘choose’ cards may use these quotations as lessons and request the player to choose the whether statement comes from love or fear and then apply the statement to recent events in the player's life. An exemplary quotation is depicted on the ‘choose’ card 404 in FIG. 4B. In this example, the player is asked to determine which of the statements is founded in love as opposed to fear.

A third set of cards 406 labeled ‘step into their shoes’ may be humorous or light-hearted and ask players to declare whether behaviors of persons described in vignettes on the cards exhibit behaviors founded in love or fear. Two exemplary vignettes are depicted on the ‘step into their shoes’ card 406 in FIG. 4C to illustrate a distinction between a love and a fear experience, although in actuality only one vignette may appear on a single card. In this example, the player is asked to determine whether a particular vignette is an example of behavior founded in love or in fear.

A fourth set of cards 408 labeled ‘drop a defense’ may have outrageous explanations of barrier behaviors, for example, personal defenses or limiting beliefs. An exemplary explanation is depicted on the ‘drop a defense’ card 408 in FIG. 4D. In this example, the player is asked to describe to the other players an example of when the player personally exhibited the behavior and another example of when the player acted in an opposite manner. If the player meets the challenge of describing the behavior, the player may remove a ring from the player's game piece.

Before describing the methods for playing the game 100, it may be helpful to first describe some example uses for the game 100. Because words have a variety of different meanings, and the object of the game is to advance from one standpoint 106 (e.g., ‘fear’) to a second standpoint 108 (e.g., ‘love’), it may be appropriate for players to discuss the meanings of the first and second standpoints 106, 108 (e.g., ‘fear’ and ‘love’) before the game begins. In an exemplary embodiment of the game 100 incorporating the standpoints of fear and love, examples of ‘love’ may be peace, honesty, trust, gratitude, forgiveness, and open-mindedness. When the behavior of a player is based in ‘love’, the player may be able to accept what is and trust the process, have a willingness to see the situation differently, and/or choose what supports the player. In the game 100 there may be circumstances in which there are no wrong or right answers. However, the deeper players are willing to go with their answers, the more personal growth the players will achieve from the game 100.

Similarly, examples of ‘fear’ may be hurt, upset, loss, anger, doubt, and confusion. When the behavior of a player is based in ‘fear’, the player may only be able to see the negative, may judge the present based upon the past or the future, and may operate from a perception of lack, loss, or inferiority. It may be appropriate for each player to understand that the rings 208 represent barriers or ‘personal defenses’ that are indicative of how people act, rather than what people truly are. Barriers constitute behaviors and may prevent players from experiencing their full potential. Barriers are often negative traits, so players must drop them to advance from ‘fear’ to ‘love.’

With reference now to FIG. 5, a flowchart illustrates a method 500 of using a game to promote personal growth. The method 500 comprises providing 502 a game board 102, providing 504 at least one game piece 202, and providing 506 a number of sets of questions. The game board 102 may have an array of interconnected pathways 104 connecting a first standpoint 106 to a second standpoint 104. The pathways 104 are divided into a number of individual spaces 110, each of the spaces having one of a collection of symbols (such as 112) thereon. Each game piece 202 represents the position and movement of a player along the pathways 104, wherein an object of the player is to move the game piece 202 along the pathways 104 via the individual spaces 110 from the first standpoint 106 to the second standpoint 104. The questions promote personal growth and each question may be associated with one of a collection of symbols corresponding to symbols on respective ones of the individual spaces 110 of the pathways 104.

With continuing reference to the method shown in FIG. 5, the method 500 may further comprise selecting 508 one of the questions from the number of sets of questions provided. In one embodiment, the questions may be selected by other players, and in an alternative embodiment, the questions may be automatically or randomly selected or generated by a computer (to be described in more detail below). The method 500 may further comprise presenting 510 one of the questions to a player. In one embodiment, the questions may be presented by other players, and in an alternative embodiment, the questions may be presented automatically and/or randomly chosen or generated by a computer (to be described in more detail below). The method 500 may further comprise receiving 512 an answer to the selected question. In one embodiment, the questions may be received directly by other players, and in an alternative embodiment, the questions may be received by a computer (to be described in more detail below) to be transmitted to other players. The method 500 may further comprise advancing 514 the player. In one embodiment, the advancing may be done by players or in an alternative embodiment, the advancing may be done by a computer (to be described in more detail below).

With reference now to FIG. 6, a flowchart illustrates a method 600 for playing the game 100. In advance of play, all players chose a game piece 202, and position their game piece 202 at ‘fear’ 106 on the game board 102. In one exemplary embodiment, the game may be provided as a kit including 6 game pieces allowing up to 6 players, 18 rings, 300 cards, 1 board, 1 numbered die, and 1 trust/doubt die. All players begin the game 100 at ‘fear’ 106 with the same number of rings 208 placed around their game pieces 202 in beginning step 702. In one embodiment, each game piece 202 may have three rings 208 placed thereon to represent three barriers which must be removed as an objective of the game 100. Players can move in any direction along the pathways 104, as long as they eventually move toward ‘love’ 108.

The player who rolls the highest number on the second numbered die may begin the game 100 first. The first player then rolls the first die 300 having ‘trust’ 306 and ‘doubt’ 308 represented on its faces 302, 304 in rolling step 604. The face of the first die 300 (i.e. ‘trust’ or ‘doubt’) rolled then determines whether a player is prevented from advancing or whether the player may roll the second numbered die for a chance to advance a number of spaces 110. Rolling ‘trust’ on the first die 300 thus allows a player to advance from ‘fear’ 106 on the game board 102 by rolling the second numbered die. Rolling ‘doubt’ on the first die 300 forecloses the opportunity to roll the second numbered die and the player's game piece 202 does not move out of ‘fear’ 106 onto the pathways 104.

In one exemplary embodiment, if a player rolls ‘trust’ 306 on the first die 300, then the player may roll the second numbered die in step 606 for a chance to advance. In some embodiments, if a player rolls ‘doubt’ while on the ‘fear’ position, the player is stuck at the beginning of the game 100 and may not move to the first space on the pathway. However, if the player rolls ‘doubt’ on her second turn, the player may be allowed to advance to the first space anyhow to continue progression of the board game 100. Once out of ‘fear’ , if a player rolls ‘doubt,’ the player then plays the individual space the player is currently on without rolling the second numbered die to move ahead. The player who rolls ‘doubt’ may still have an opportunity to move ahead one space if the player successfully answers the question or performs the required task on the corresponding card 402-408.

If a player is positioned anywhere on the game board 102 other than in ‘fear’ 106 and rolls ‘doubt’ on the first die 300, then the player is prevented from advancing in step 608 and remains in the current space. The card 402-408 for the corresponding space that the player remains upon is drawn in step 610, and the player is asked the question or proposition on the card 402-408 in step 612. If the player answers the question or performs the requested task then the player may advance one space, as indicated in step 614. If the player answers the question incorrectly or is unable or unwilling to meet the challenge presented by the card, the player remains in the current space in step 616.

If a player rolls ‘trust,’ then player may roll the second numbered die and move ahead that number of spaces as indicated in step 606. A card 402-208 corresponding to the space the player landed upon is then drawn in step 618.

In a particular example, if a player lands on a ‘drop a defense’ space then a ‘drop a defense’ card 408 is drawn. The player is then asked to answer a personal growth challenge question in step 620. The player may read his/her own question or another player may read the question or proposition on the drawn card 408. If the player on the ‘drop a defense’ space answers to complete the challenge, then the player may remove a ring 208 in step 622 and remain in that space. If the player on the ‘drop a defense’ space does not answer the personal growth challenge, then that player may not remove a ring 208 and must remain in that space as indicated in step 624. Further, if a player on a ‘drop a defense’ space rolls doubt on a second turn in the space, the player's turn is over. In other words, a player is not allowed successive chances to remove a ring on a ‘drop a defense’ space, and instead must move about the pathways 104 until landing on another ‘drop a defense’ spot.

If the card drawn is any card other than a ‘drop a defense’ card (or a ‘wild’ card to be described below), then the player answers the question or performs the task or action on the card as indicated in step 626. If the player successfully answers the question on the card (or performs the required action), the player advances one space in step 628. If the player does not answer successfully or perform the required task, then the player remains in the current space as indicated in step 630.

In one implementation, some of the cards in the groups of cards may be wild cards. If a player picks a wild card in the group of cards corresponding to the symbol on the present space of the player's game piece, the player follows the instructions of the wild card rather than normal play. In an exemplary embodiment, there may be two types of wild cards. A first exemplary wild card may be termed a ‘community’ card. If a ‘community’ card is drawn, every player must answer the question. Every player who answers the question advances three spaces. The turn of the player who draws the ‘community’ wild card is complete after all players respond. A second wild card may be a negative card. In one example, the wild card may be labeled ‘stuck’. A player that draws this wild card does not advance and the player's turn is over.

Additionally, some of the individual spaces 110 on the board 102 may be labeled as ‘leap of faith’ spaces. If a player lands on a ‘leap of faith’ space then the player rolls the first die 300 having the ‘trust/doubt’ faces twice. If the player rolls trust two times in a row, then the player may jump ahead to the next ‘drop a defense’ space. If the player has already removed all three rings, then the player may jump directly to ‘love.’ If a player is unable to roll trust twice, then the player remains on the ‘leap of faith’ space.

After a player has completed a turn the play passes to the second player in step 632. The second player takes a turn and the play then moves on to a third player and so on. Once all players have taken a turn, play returns to the first player in step 634. If all three of a player's rings 208 have been removed as determined in step 636, then the player may proceed toward ‘love’ in step 638 to try and win the game 100. If some rings' 208 still remain on a player's game piece 202, then the player must continue play by rolling the first die 300 in step 604. The first player to remove all rings 208 and reach ‘love’ 108 may then tell the other players about a situation in the first player's life in which an alteration in standpoint changed them most.

One of the many uses for the board game 100 may be as a tool or exercise for people interested in self-help and personal growth programs. The game 100 may be used with friends, couples, and families, as well as in therapeutic environments such as support groups, rehabilitation clinics, and even in business or corporate environments for teamwork and relationship building purposes. The game 100 may be used in a variety of situations including, for example, retreats, individual or group psychological therapy or counseling, rehabilitation counseling, executive/career coaching services, and corporate human resources programs. The game 100 may also be used in workshops or seminars in corporations and organizations.

Additionally, the board game 100 disclosed herein may be supplemented with additional cards to add variety for players. The board game 100 may also be played on different levels and may be scaled to a level appropriate for children, for example. The board game 100 may also be played at a more advanced level. For example, before playing the game 100 each player may choose the three particular defenses (from the ‘drop a defense’ cards 400) which are most applicable to them personally, to play the game 100 at a more advanced level. For players who are feeling more competitive, the game 100 may also be played using a time keeping device and players may appoint a timekeeper to keep the game 100 moving at a faster pace.

As indicated above, the game 100 may be played on a personal computer or other electronic device, for example, such as a hand-held personal digital assistant. The implementations of the game 100 described herein may be implemented as logical steps in one or more computer systems. The logical operations of the described systems, apparatus, and methods may be implemented (1) as a sequence of processor-implemented steps executing in one or more computer systems and (2) as interconnected machine modules within one or more computer systems. The implementation is a matter of choice, dependent on the performance requirements of the computer system implementing the described system, apparatus, and method. Accordingly, the logical operations making up the embodiments of the systems, apparatus, and methods described herein may be referred to variously as operations, steps, objects, or modules.

The game board 102 may be represented as a graphic image on a computer or display device. The game pieces 202 may also be graphic images superimposed on the game board image and be moved via animation. The first die 300 and second numbered die may be implemented, for example, by using random state or number generation caused by a mouse click or button on a computer.

The game 100 may be implemented in software which may be downloaded onto a computer. In other embodiments, the game 100 may be software stored on a network computer (e.g., a media server or web server device) available and accessible for use or play through a personal computer connected to the network computer through the Internet or other network. For example, player may use their personal computer as web client to access the game 100 from the network computer using an interface program, e.g., a web browser. Players may further use computer network technology for example, instant messaging or chat programs, in order to communicate with each other while playing the game.

In one exemplary implementation, the game may be hosted on a web server. A new player may initially download a client software component to run on the player's personal computer connected with the web server over the Internet or install the client component from storage media, e.g., a CD or DVD. Alternatively, no client software may be required and the game is hosted entirely on a remote server. An animated introductory demonstration may be provided to potential new players, for example, a FLASH® animation, to provide players an overview or general understanding of the game. Returning players may be able to select a link to skip the introduction and immediately begin play. Additionally, during play a link to more detailed instructions may be provided for selection by a player.

Once the player has completed or bypassed the introductory demonstration, the player may be asked to complete a simple registration. Once registered, the player may then start a new game or join an existing game. In order to join an existing game, the player may need to provide a username and an e-mail and/or instant messaging address. Once added to a game, the game may be incorporated into a list of games in which the player is presently participating.

The player may begin play with either other unknown players simultaneously connected to the web server or the player can login individually with a specific, known group of players. Such a known group of players may be, for example, family, friends, co-workers, or other group members that are located in different places geographically. Players may use a common login and password to enter a dedicated group area. To create a new game, players may login using user name or a conference number. Players can set a desired play date and send out invitations with the conference information in advance of the game.

Game play may be very straightforward. Once all the players are logged in, the game begins. Each player should either be on a common conference call or logged in to a an instant messaging (IM) or chat program (for example, as provided by AOL® MSN®, or YAHOO®. In addition to presenting the game board, the screen may have a window that provides the IM interface. Alternately, the window may provide a voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) application interface (e.g., available from SKYPE®, MSN®, and YAHOO®) to conduct a voice conference call over the Internet.

A player may “roll” graphic dice and an algorithm may provide random states or values for both the first die and for the numbered die, respectively. The player may then use a mouse to move a pawn in any direction on the graphic game board the appropriate number of spaces. Alternatively, the computer may move a player's game piece automatically upon the roll. The game board presented on the screen may have a background matrix that acknowledges each space on a map, reads which space the pawn is on, and pulls the corresponding “card” with a question. A random card that matches the space the player lands on may be shown on the players' screens. The players may be shown only the question and the player whose turn it is may be given a set amount of time in which to answer before the game shows the right answer to everyone.

If the question is open-ended question, the game may allow time for discussion. The players may be able to select a user interface command to pause the game for an extended discussion. Once the discussion is complete, the players may select a user interface command to resume play. Alternatively, the players may desire to speed play in order to complete a game in a certain window of time. In this instance, the game may be configured to place the players under time constraints when answering questions. For example, the game may present a timer that resets and begins with each roll of the dice. If a player does not answer a question in a certain amount of time, the player's turn is forfeited and play passes to the next player.

FIG. 7 depicts a general purpose computer 700 capable of executing a software program implementation of the board game 100 described herein either locally or for access via a network. The general purpose computer 700 is generally exemplary of the primary functionality of more special purpose computers, e.g., web servers, handheld personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, mobile phones, media players, set-top boxes, and other computer systems. In each such system, data and program files may be stored on or accessed by the computer 700, which reads the files and executes the programs therein. Client computer systems used by players to access the game 100 on a network computer system may similarly be general purpose computers.

Some of the elements of an example general purpose computer 700 are shown in FIG. 7. A principal element is a processor 701 having an input/output (I/O) section 702, a central processing unit (CPU) 703, and a memory section 704. Operations described herein may be implemented in software devices loaded in memory 704 and/or stored on a configured CD-ROM 708 or other storage unit 709, thereby transforming the computer system in FIG. 7 to a special purpose machine for executing a software implementation of the board game 100. Software instructions directed toward implementing the board game 100 may be executed by CPU 703, and transaction and software instructions data may be stored on the disk storage unit 709, disk drive unit 707, or other storage medium units coupled to the system.

The I/O section 702 may be connected to a keyboard 705, display unit 706, disk storage unit 709, and removable disk drive unit 707. Generally, in contemporary systems, the disk drive unit 707 is a CD-ROM driver unit capable of reading the CD-ROM medium 708, which may contain programs 710 and data. However, the board game 100 and its components may be obtained by uploading a file(s) from the Internet or other similar network.

Computer program products containing mechanisms to effectuate the described systems and methods may reside in the memory section 704, on a disk storage unit 709, or on the CD-ROM medium 708 of such a system. Alternatively, the disk drive unit 707 may be replaced or supplemented by a floppy drive unit, a tape drive unit, flash memory interface unit, or other storage unit. The network adapter 711 is capable of connecting the computer system to a network via the network link 712. Other computer systems may similarly be connected with the network to access the board game 100 from the computer system on which the game 100 is stored and executed.

It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. It is foreseeable that the shapes, sizes, symbols, number of die, number of rings, and number of sets of cards may be varied. It is also foreseeable that the game board, game pieces, rings, sets of cards, and die may be manufactured out of a plurality of different materials, including different moldable elastomeric materials. The examples given herein are not meant to be limiting, but rather are example of the modifications that can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its attendant advantages.

Although various embodiments of this invention have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, or with reference to one or more individual embodiments, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of this invention. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description and shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative only of particular embodiments and not limiting. All directional references (e.g., proximal, distal, upper, lower, upward, downward, left, right, lateral, front, back, top, bottom, above, below, vertical, horizontal, clockwise, and counterclockwise) are only used for identification purposes to aid the reader's understanding of the present invention, and do not create limitations, particularly as to the position, orientation, or use of the invention.

Connection references (e.g., attached, coupled, connected, and joined) are to be construed broadly and may include intermediate members between a collection of elements and relative movement between elements unless otherwise indicated. As such, connection references do not necessarily infer that two elements are directly connected and in fixed relation to each other. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not limiting. Changes in detail or structure may be made without departing from the basic elements of the invention as defined in the following claims.





 
Previous Patent: PUZZLE

Next Patent: Medical Board Game