Title:
ENGRAVED PUZZLE BOARD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An engraved puzzle board includes a board having an erasable surface and a number of d lines formed at least partially through the erasable surface. The engraved lines form a for playing a puzzle. The engraved lines persist on the erasable surface through repeated due to the engraved lines being formed at least partially through the erasable surface.



Inventors:
Ramsey, Ronald (Conyers, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/758081
Publication Date:
12/13/2007
Filing Date:
06/05/2007
Assignee:
RON RAMSEY ELECTRIC COMPANY (Conyers, GA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SUTHERLAND ASBILL & BRENNAN LLP (999 PEACHTREE STREET, N.E., ATLANTA, GA, 30309, US)
Claims:
At least the following is claimed:

1. An engraved puzzle board, comprising: a board having an erasable surface; and a plurality of engraved lines formed at least partially through the erasable surface, the engraved lines forming a pattern for playing a puzzle, the pattern persisting on the erasable surface through repeated erasures.

2. The engraved puzzle board of claim 1, wherein the erasable surface comprises a melamine or a porcelain.

3. The engraved puzzle board of claim 1, wherein the board further comprises a backing coupled to the erasable surface.

4. The engraved puzzle board of claim 3, wherein the engraved lines extend through the erasable surface and into the backing.

5. The engraved puzzle board of claim 4, wherein the erasable surface comprises a different color than the backing, such that the engraved lines reveal the color of the backing through the erasable surface.

6. The engraved puzzle board of claim 1, wherein the board comprises a dry-erase board.

7. The engraved puzzle board of claim 1, wherein the pattern is configured for playing the game Sudoku.

8. The engraved puzzle board of claim 7, wherein: the pattern comprises nine boxes arranged in a three-by-three orientation; and each box comprises nine cells arranged in a three-by-three orientation, such that the pattern comprises eighty-one cells arranged in a nine-by-nine orientation.

9. The engraved puzzle board of claim 8, wherein the engraved lines comprise: box lines that delineate the boxes of the pattern; and cell lines that delineate the cells of the pattern, the cell lines being relatively narrower than the box lines.

10. The engraved puzzle board of claim 1, wherein: the board further comprises a backing coupled to the erasable surface, the backing being a different color than the erasable surface; and the engraved lines extend through the erasable surface and into the backing such that engraved lines reveal the color of the backing through the erasable surface to form the pattern.

11. An engraved puzzle board, comprising: a board that comprises: an erasable surface configured to be written on using an erasable marker, a backing coupled to the erasable surface, the backing supporting the erasable surface; and a plurality of engraved lines formed at least partially through the erasable surface, the engraved lines forming a pattern configured for playing a Sudoku puzzle.

12. The engraved puzzle board of claim 11, wherein the board comprises a dry-erase board.

13. The engraved puzzle board of claim 1, wherein the erasable surface comprises a melamine or a porcelain.

14. The engraved puzzle board of claim 11, wherein: the erasable surface comprises a different color than the backing; and the engraved lines extend through the erasable surface and into the backing, such that the engraved lines reveal the color of the backing through the erasable surface to form the pattern.

15. The engraved puzzle board of claim 11, wherein: the pattern comprises nine boxes arranged in a three-by-three orientation; and each box comprises nine cells arranged in a three-by-three orientation, such that the pattern comprises eighty-one cells arranged in a nine-by-nine orientation.

16. The engraved puzzle board of claim 15, wherein the engraved lines comprise: box lines that delineate the boxes of the pattern; and cell lines that delineate the cells of the pattern.

17. The engraved puzzle board of claim 16, wherein the box lines are relatively wider than the cell lines.

18. A system for playing a Sudoku puzzle, the system comprising: an engraved puzzle board comprising an erasable surface, and a plurality of engraved lines formed at least partially through the erasable surface, the engraved lines forming a pattern suited for playing a Sudoku puzzle, the pattern comprising a plurality of cells arranged in rows, columns, and boxes; and a plurality of visual assistance strips, each visual assistance strip being formed from a translucent material and being sized to cover a selected row, column, or box of the pattern.

19. The system of claim 18, wherein the engraved puzzle board comprises a dry-erase board.

20. The system of claim 18, further comprising: an erasable marker comprising erasable ink configured for writing on the erasable surface; and an eraser configured for removing the erasable ink from the erasable surface, the pattern persisting on the erasable surface through repeated erasures due to the engraved lines being formed at least partially through the erasable surface.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to co-pending U.S. provisional application entitled “Sudoku Board” which was filed Jun. 8, 2006 and was accorded U.S. Ser. No. 60/804,197, and which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present application generally relates to an engraved puzzle board and more particularly relates to an engraved puzzle board having an erasable surface.

BACKGROUND

The Japanese puzzle game Sudoku has grown quickly in popularity. Generally, Sudoku is played using a pattern having nine boxes arranged in a three-by-three orientation. Specifically, each box has nine cells arranged in a three-by-three orientation such that the pattern has a total of eighty-one cells arranged in a nine-by-nine orientation of nine columns and nine rows, although other configurations are possible. During play, each cell is populated with one digit selected from the set of digits (1) through nine (9). The object of Sudoku is to populate the pattern so that each digit in the set one (1) through nine (9) appears exactly once in every row of cells, appears exactly once in every column of cells, and appears exactly once in every box of cells. Each Sudoku puzzle includes some cells that are pre-populated with digits in advance, and some empty cells that are populated during play. The player populates the empty cells by deducing the remaining digits from the known digits or by guessing, among others. Most Sudoku puzzles can be solved in about ten to sixty minutes, depending on the skill of the player and the complexity of the puzzle.

Many newspapers print a Sudoku puzzle daily, changing the pre-populated digits each day so that each puzzle is unique. The player typically populates the cells using a pencil so that options can be recorded in the cells and can be removed by erasing once the correct digit is determined. With numerous erasures, however, the newspaper may rip or tear. Further, each puzzle is discarded after the puzzle is solved and the player must wait for the next day's newspaper to play again. Other Sudoku puzzles use a board and tiles, with the pattern being marked on the board and the digits being marked on the tiles. Because the tiles can be moved around the board, an incorrect guess can be changed with relative ease. However, the tiles may also shift or spill from the board if the board is transported.

SUMMARY

The present application thus describes an engraved puzzle board. The engraved puzzle board may include a board having an erasable surface and a number of engraved lines formed at least partially through the erasable surface. The engraved lines form a pattern for playing a puzzle. The pattern persists on the board through repeated erasures due to the engraved lines being formed at least partially through the surface.

The application further describes an engraved puzzle board. The engraved puzzle board includes a board and a number of engraved lines. The board has an erasable surface and a backing coupled to the erasable surface. The erasable surface is configured to be written on using an erasable marker. The backing supports the erasable surface. The engraved lines are formed at least partially through the erasable surface, forming a pattern configured for playing a Sudoku puzzle.

The application further describes a system for playing a Sudoku puzzle. The system includes an engraved puzzle board and a number of visual assistance strips. The engraved puzzle board has an erasable surface and a number of engraved lines formed at least partially through the erasable surface. The engraved lines form a pattern suited for playing the Sudoku puzzle. The pattern includes a number of cells arranged in rows, columns, and boxes. Each visual assistance strip is formed from a translucent material and is sized to cover a selected row, column, or box of the pattern.

Other systems, devices, methods, features, and advantages of the disclosed systems and methods will become apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. All such additional systems, devices, methods, features, and advantages are intended to be included within the description and are intended to be protected by the accompanying claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The present disclosure may be better understood with reference to the following figures. Matching reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the figures and components in the figures are not necessarily to scale.

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an embodiment of a system for playing a puzzle, the system including an engraved puzzle board.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the engraved puzzle board of FIG. 1, taken along line 2-2.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a method of using an engraved puzzle board to play Sudoku.

FIG. 4 is an block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a method of manufacturing a engraved puzzle board.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings, in which like numerals refer to like elements, FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an embodiment of a system 100 for playing a puzzle, the system 100 including an engraved puzzle board 101. The engraved puzzle board 101 generally includes a board 102 having an erasable surface 106 and a number of engraved lines 104 formed at least partially through the erasable surface 106. As shown, the engraved lines 104 form a pattern 110 suited for playing a Sudoku puzzle, although other configurations are possible. For example, the engraved lines 104 may form a pattern 110 suited for playing the game tic-tac-toe or for creating a monthly calendar, among others. Because the pattern 110 is formed from the engraved lines 104 that extend at least partially through the erasable surface 106, the pattern 110 persists on the erasable surface 106 even after repeated erasures.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the engraved puzzle board 101 shown in FIG. 1, taken along line 2-2. As shown, the board 102 includes the erasable surface 106 coupled to a backing 108. The erasable surface 106 is formed from a material that can be written on using an erasable marker 122 and can be erased with relative ease. More specifically, the erasable surface 106 is configured such that when the erasable surface 106 is written on using an erasable marker 122, the erasable surface 106 holds the erasable ink of the erasable marker 122 adjacent to the erasable surface 106 so that the ink can be discerned by an observer. When the erasable surface 106 is rubbed using an eraser, the erasable surface 106 releases the erasable ink so that the ink can be removed. The backing 108 supports the erasable surface 106 when pressure is applied using the erasable marker 122. In some cases, the backing 108 is formed from a material that is relatively more rigid than the erasable surface 106. However, the backing 108 may be omitted. In some embodiments, the erasable surface 106 is relatively lighter in color than the backing 108, for reasons described below.

The board 102 may be a conventional board of the type commonly referred to as a dry-erase board, a whiteboard, or a markerboard. Such boards 102 have an erasable surface 106 made from a material such as porcelain or melamine and a backing 108 made from a material such as metal, wood, foam core, fiberboard, or masonite. For example, one type of dry-erase board has a erasable surface 106 of melamine bonded to a backing 108 of masonite, while another type of dry-erase board has a erasable surface 106 of porcelain enameled onto a backing 108 of steel. Typically, the erasable surface 106 is formed from a material that is relatively light in color, so that writing on the erasable surface 106 is visible to an observer.

Suitable boards 102 include dry-erase boards manufactured by Flipside Products of Cincinnati, Ohio, such as the dry-erase board having item no. 10165. Such a board 102 measures about 9.5 inches in width, about 11.75 inches in height, and about 0.125 inches in thickness. A board 102 having dimensions such as these may be relatively lightweight and easy to transport, and may fit in conventional bags and folders. However, the board 102 may be another dry-erase board having other dimensions or the board 102 may not be a dry-erase board.

In other embodiments, the board 102 may be any type of board having an erasable surface 106. For example, the erasable surface 106 can be made from a material such as plexi-glass or teflon. Further, the board 102 may or may not include the backing 108.

Alternatively, the board 102 may be formed from plastic engraving materials, which typically have at least two layers of differently colored plastics, one of the layers forming the erasable surface 106 and the other layer forming the backing 108. Suitable plastic engraving materials includes those provided by Innovative Plastics, Inc. of Algonquin, Ill.

With reference back to FIG. 1, the engraved puzzle board 101 includes a number of engraved lines 104 formed at least partially through the erasable surface 106 of the board 102. As shown, the engraved lines 104 form a pattern 110 configured for playing a Sudoku puzzle. More specifically, the engraved lines 104 form nine boxes 112 arranged in a three-by-three orientation. Within each of the nine boxes 112, the engraved lines 104 form nine cells 114 arranged in a three-by-three orientation. Thus, the engraved lines 104 form a total of eighty-one cells 114 arranged in a nine-by-nine orientation, so that the pattern includes nine rows 113 and nine columns 115. Other configurations are possible. For example, the pattern 10 may have sixteen boxes 112, four rows 113 and four columns 115, for a total of two-hundred and fifty six cells 114.

Each of the engraved lines 104 may have the same width and depth, or different widths and depths depending on the embodiment. In FIG. 1, the engraved lines 104 include box lines 116 that delineate the boxes 112 and cell lines 118 that delineate the cells 114. The box lines 116 are relatively wider than the cell lines 118 and may be relatively deeper than the cell lines 118 (not shown), so that the boxes 112 are easily discerned when viewing the board 102. For example, the illustrated box lines 116 are about 0.09 inches wide and about 0.03 inches deep, while the illustrated cell lines 118 are about 0.05 inches wide and about 0.03 inches deep. Other dimensions are possible.

With reference to FIG. 2, the engraved lines 104 are formed through at least a portion of the erasable surface 106 of the board 102 and may extend through the entire erasable surface 106 and into the backing 108 of the board 102. Extending the engraved lines 104 all the way through the erasable surface 106 and into the backing 108 may be desirable in cases in which the backing 108 is a different color than the erasable surface 106. For example, dry-erase boards often have erasable surfaces 106 that are white in color and backings 108 that are a brown, black, or gray in color. In such cases, the color of the backing 108 can be revealed through the erasable surface 106 by the engraved lines 104. The board 102 generally appears to be the color of the erasable surface 106, while the engraved lines 104 generally appear to be the color of the backing 108 so as to highlight the pattern 110 formed by the engraved lines 104. In other embodiments, the engraved lines 104 may be colored using, for example, paint or dye. Coloring the engraved lines 104 may be desirable in cases in which the engraved lines 104 are not formed all the way through the erasable surface 106, in cases in which the backing 108 is omitted, or in cases in which the backing 108 is not a suitable color, among others.

It should be noted that the term “engraved” generally denotes that the engraved lines 104 are formed at least partially through the erasable surface 106 and does not denote the process by which the engraved lines 104 are formed. More specifically, the engraved lines 104 can be formed by any process suited to remove material from the erasable surface 106, such as routing, engraving, etching, or carving, among others. Suitable routers include a variable speed router or non-variable speed router, such as a Dremel brand tool or a RotoZip saw, both of which are made by the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation of Mount Prospect, Ill. In some cases, flat point router bits may be attached to the router. For example, a flat point router bit of about 0.063 inches may be used to form the box lines 116 and a flat point router bit of about 0.094 inches may be used to form the cell lines 118. Other types of router bits can be used to form engraved lines 104 having other dimensions. Also in some cases, the router may be coupled to a jig, which maintains the centering and spacing of the board 102 with reference to the router during the engraving process. Alternatively, an engraving machine may be used to form the engraved lines 104. One type of engraving machine that can be used is Gravograph IS400, which is manufactured by Gravograph—New Hermes, Inc. of Duluth, Ga. Such an engraving machine may be outfitted with a 90 cutter to form box lines 116 having a width of about 0.09 inches and a 50 cutter to form cell lines 118 having a width of about 0.05 inches. Other cutters can be used to form engraved lines 104 having other dimensions. Still other routing, engraving, etching or carving techniques can be used to form engraved lines 104 having a range of dimensions, as desired.

With reference back to FIG. 1, the system 100 for playing the puzzle further includes an erasable marker 122 and an eraser 124. The erasable marker 122 has erasable ink that can be releasably deposited onto the erasable surface 106 through the application of pressure. For example, the erasable marker 122 may be a conventional dry-erase marker, such as an as Expo brand dry-erase marker sold by the Sanford Corporation of OakBrook, Ill. In some embodiments, multiple erasable markers 122 having different colors may be used. For example, the pre-populated digits may be written in one color, deduced digits may be written using another color, and multiple options for deduced digits may be written in a third color. Also in some embodiments, each erasable marker 122 may have a small or fine tip, so that multiple options for a given cell 114 can be written on and erased from the erasable surface 106 as desired. The eraser 124 is configured for removing the erasable ink from the erasable surface 106. For example, the eraser 124 may be a dry-erase eraser, such as an Expo brand dry-erase eraser sold by the Sanford Corporation, or any other suitable eraser 124 such as a cloth or paper product.

In embodiments in which the engraved lines 110 form a pattern 110 suited for playing a Sudoku puzzle, the system 100 may further include a Sudoku puzzle source 126, and/or a number of visual assistance strips 128. Conventional Sudoku puzzle sources 126 may be used, such as a newspaper or a Sudoku book. Sudoku books are widely available and typically have a number of Sudoku puzzles of varying complexity. In some cases, the Sudoku puzzle source 126 is not included, in which case the Sudoku puzzle can be contrived by a user.

The visual assistance strips 128 may facilitate solving a Sudoku puzzle. More specifically, the visual assistance strips 128 are thin strips of relatively translucent material, such as polypropylene, that are sized to cover a given row 113, column 115, or a box 112 of the pattern 110. One Sudoku technique involves deducing the correct digit for a given cell 114 of the pattern 110 by visually assessing the presence or absence of that digit from the surrounding rows 113, columns 115, and boxes 112. Another Sudoku technique involves selecting a digit, and noting the digit as an option in each cell 114 the digit could be put in without being incorrect. The visual assistance strips 128 assist with this process, and can be placed over rows 113, columns 115, or boxes 112 as the Sudoku puzzle is solved to assist visually the player in deducing the digits or options to be placed in certain cells 114. However, the visual assistance strips 128 are not necessary and can be omitted.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a method 300 of using an engraved puzzle board 101 to play a Sudoku puzzle. In block 302, a Sudoku puzzle is copied onto an erasable surface of the engraved puzzle board. For example, the Sudoku puzzle can be selected from the Sudoku puzzle source 126 and copied onto the erasable surface 106 of the engraved puzzle board 101 using the erasable marker 122. The pre-populated digits of the Sudoku puzzle may be copied into the corresponding cells 114 of the pattern 110 so that the Sudoku puzzle is then ready to be played. In block 304, the erasable surface is written on as the Sudoku puzzle is played. For example, digits can be written in the remaining cells 114 of the pattern 110 using the erasable marker 122. In some embodiments, the visual assistance strips 128 can be employed to assist in determining the digits to be written in the cells 114. In block 306, the erasable surface is erased. For example, the erasable surface 106 can be erased using the eraser 124 when a cell 114 includes an incorrect digit, the puzzle is solved, play is discontinued, or a new puzzle is attempted.

Because the engraved lines 104 extend into the erasable surface 106, the engraved lines 104 will not fade through repeated erasing. Therefore, the pattern 10 may persist and may not fade, unlike permanent markings formed on the erasable surface 106 of the board 102, which may be worn away over time due to abrasion with the eraser 124.

FIG. 4 is an block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a method 400 of manufacturing a engraved puzzle board 101. In block 402, a board 102 having an erasable surface 106 is provided. The board 102 may be any of the boards described above, such as a conventional dry-erase board or any other board 102 having an erasable surface 106. In block 404, a plurality of engraved lines 104 are formed at least partially through the erasable surface 106. The engraved lines 104 may be formed in any manner described above, such as by routing, engraving, etching, or carving.

While particular embodiments of an engraved puzzle board, and methods of making and using such an engraved board, have been disclosed in detail in the foregoing description and figures for purposes of example, those skilled in the art will understand that variations and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the disclosure. All such variations and modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present disclosure, as protected by the following claims and the equivalents thereof.