Title:
Carromboard With A Grainy Playing Surface And A Resilient Border Rail
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A new and improved carromboard utilizing a grainy playing surface, a resilient border rail, and game pieces with a plurality of convex projections on their underside. This new version of the carromboard is lighter, more durable, easier and more cost effective to manufacture. The design reduces the coefficient of friction and eliminates afore used powders, thereby improving the game.



Inventors:
Sutarwala, Zoeb K. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/684539
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
03/09/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NICONOVICH, ALEXANDER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Zoeb, Sutarwala K. (630 N. GRAND AVENUE, # 403, LOS ANGELES, CA, 90012, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An improved carromboard providing a playing surface comprising a flat, square grainy playing surface, the outer peripheral sides of which are bounded by a border rail, and over said flat grainy playing surface, cylindrical disc shaped game pieces slide.

2. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 1 wherein in the corners of said playing surface are arranged circular pockets which are intended to receive the game pieces.

3. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 1 wherein said playing surface is molded of a plastic material with a low coefficient of friction.

4. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 1 wherein there are a plurality of ridges on the underside of said playing surface.

5. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 1 wherein on the bottom of said playing surface are located four legs of sufficient length spaced equally from the center of said playing surface to balance and support the carromboard on a table or on a floor.

6. An improved carromboard comprising of a border rail, which is molded as a single unitary piece, surrounding the periphery of the playing surface.

7. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 6 wherein a resilient strip, having a stiff front face, is attached at its back to the inner front face of said border rail wherein, said stiff side of the resilient strip is facing out front.

8. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 6 wherein said border rail has attached to its inner front face a resilient strip which has a proper combination of stiffness and resiliency as a means to get accurate results in the proper angle of reflection of the game pieces when they strike against the said border rail.

9. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 6 wherein said border rail has on its bottom side an inner recess which substantially extends the entire length of said border rail.

10. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 9 wherein said border rail has on its underside, a plurality of support cross-bars on each of its four sides, in the inner recess of said border rail.

11. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 6 wherein said border rail is attached to said playing surface by means of inserting a plurality of projecting members, which are projecting downwards from the bottom of said border rail, into a plurality of holes in the peripheral edges of said playing surface and attaching a fastening device on the protruding members under said playing surface and thereby securing the two pieces together.

12. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 11 wherein said border rail is attached and secured to said playing surface by other bonding means.

13. An improved carromboard comprising circular disc shaped game pieces which are provided with a plurality of orderly arranged convex projections on their underside.

14. An improved carromboard as claimed in claim 13 wherein said disc shaped game pieces are made of a hard plastic material with a low coefficient of friction.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

This Invention relates to a game board and more specifically to a new and improved game board for use in the playing of a traditional board game of the Indian subcontinent, known as Carrom. The origins of Carrom are obscure at best. Some believe it was the invention of the Maharajahs of India. Some believe that it was introduced by the British. Others believe it originated in Burma, Egypt or Ethiopia. What we do know is that over the past century or so, Carrom has become the regional pastime of the Indian subcontinent, as well as other countries where South Asians have migrated.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION—PRIOR ART

Any discussion of the prior art throughout the specification should in no way be considered as an admission that such prior art is widely known or forms part of common general knowledge in the field.

Applicant has identified many obstacles and drawbacks to the popular expansion of the carrom game. The first has to do with the manufacture of the frame which is made of solid hard wood and requires a curved inner surface behind each pocket. A known way to make this inner corner involves joining four pieces of hardwood at the corners with high-quality dovetail joints and then routing out the inner edge of the frame, so as to provide an inner curved surface at each of the four corners. This way of making the inner corner, however, is expensive and labor intensive; it requires equipment capable of accuracy of detail and an experienced, skilled operator to produce a high quality frame. This method is also wasteful of raw material since the routed out portion is reduced to dust. In South Asian countries where routing equipment and experienced technicians are not readily available, manufacturers of carromboards solve this problem by carving a corner piece by hand, which they insert into a keyhole at each corner. While this alternative way of making the inner corner is more labor intensive than the first method mentioned, it requires no exceptional skill. Since the cost of south Asian labor is relatively less expensive, as compared to the cost of labor in the United States, virtually all South Asian manufacturers use the inner carved corner fabrication technique. A carved corner piece can however work loose. Most International carromboards available today are handmade in India without the benefit of modern machinery and technology. Unfortunately, as a result, variations in finish and material are normal.

The second drawback with the traditional carromboard, is that the flat square playing surface, being made of plywood, is hand polished to a very smooth finish. Apart from being labor intensive and time consuming, there is no uniformity and no two pieces are exactly alike.

Aside from the drawbacks created by the way the frame and the board are manufactured, as discussed above, the other major obstacle to the widespread popularization of international game of carrom is the required use of very fine dry powders. Powders (e.g., boric powder, french chalk, soapstone powder, etc.) are required on the playing surface of the carromboard, to make the game pieces and striker move and slide better over the playing surface. The powder is sprinkled, or dusted on the playing surface. The powder is necessary for the smooth gliding of the playing pieces on the playing surface. The striker playing piece is made of a smooth hard plastic material and the sliding of a smooth plastic piece over a very smooth, highly polished playing surface causes a binding effect and therefore the pieces cannot move very well or freely; that necessitates the need for the use of these powders, which are sprinkled or dusted on often and at regular intervals to enable the game pieces and the striker to glide and move smoothly over the playing surface. These powders are very fine and some of them are also toxic, making them a health hazard. The players, as well as the spectators, are at risk of inhaling these fine powders. The powder also gets on the hands and clothes of the players. It also collects at the edges of the board, which impedes the rebounding action of the pieces; thus it has to be brushed, blown, or dusted regularly and that results in more of this fine powder getting into the air.

Another drawback of the traditional carromboard is that its a game that's played both indoors and outdoors, and being made of plywood, its surface is very susceptible to the elements, like high humidity, dampness and liquid spills. Plywood tends to absorb moisture and can warp.

Another drawback to the enjoyment of this game is that the playing surface is surrounded by thick wooden rails, which are made of a hard wood, which make a very loud knocking sound when the game pieces and the striker hit and rebound against them. Since it's often played indoors, it can be very disturbing and distracting to others in the house, specially older people and people who are ill or resting.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION—OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

The inherent drawbacks as discussed above, in the manufacture and performance of International carromboards today is a major factor in the need for improvement on these carromboards.

The present carromboard incorporates features and construction unlike any previously known in the playing of the game, which heretofore was traditionally played on a flat smooth plywood surface, with a raised border rail made of hardwood.

Accordingly several objects and advantages of my carromboard are

(a) To provide a carromboard that does not require the use of toxic or other powders to be sprinkled on the board to facilitate the smooth movement of the game pieces and striker.
(b) To create a standardized carromboard that is of uniform quality.
(c) To provide a carromboard that is quieter and makes less sound when its played.
(d) To provide a carromboard that is more durable and less susceptible to external conditions like humidity, dampness or other atmospheric conditions.

Further objects and advantages are to provide a carromboard that is lighter in weight, and easier and more cost-effective to manufacture.

The above and other objects and advantages will become apparent from the specification and drawings.

SUMMARY

An improved carromboard according to the present invention comprises:

(1) a square, flat carromboard with a grainy playing surface, over which flat disc-like pieces slide. The grainy surface enables the disc-like pieces to slide and move over the playing surface much more easily, as there is less friction, because the grainy surface reduces the contact points between the two surfaces, thereby eliminating the need for the use of powders to facilitate the movement of the pieces.
(2) a one piece molded border rail surrounding the playing surface which has a resilient rebounding front face against which the game pieces rebound or ricochet. The one piece molding of the border rail helps eliminate a lot of labor and costs associated with the making of the frame. Also, the resilient rebounding front face makes for a quieter game with less sound. The underside of the border rail is hollow or trough like, which means that it has three sides, the top and the two sides, and it's open at the bottom, which results in reduction of material used, thereby reducing the cost of manufacture.
(3) the game pieces have a plurality of orderly arranged convex circular projections on their underside, which is the side they slide on. The projections on its underside reduces the contact points, and thus the friction, between the game pieces and the playing surface, thereby further helping in the smooth movement of the pieces.
(4) since the playing surface and the border rail are injection molded of plastic material, and the resilient strip is also manufactured by a molding or calendering process, the result is a uniform and standardized carromboard, which is lighter in weight and more cost effective to manufacture. The plastic material is also more durable and not susceptible to variations in atmospheric conditions.

DRAWINGS

In the drawings

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of the carromboard

FIG. 2 shows a plan view of the carromboard

FIG. 3 shows the bottom side view of the carromboard

FIG. 4 shows a sectional view of the box of FIG. 2 taken at the sectioning plane and in the direction indicated by section lines 4-4

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the game piece

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the striker

FIG. 7 shows a bottom view of the game piece

FIG. 8 shows a bottom view of the Striker

FIG. 9 shows a sectional view of the box of FIG. 7 taken at the sectional plane and in the direction indicated by section lines 9-9.

FIG. 10 shows a sectional view of the box of FIG. 8 taken at the sectional plane and in the direction indicated by section lines 10-10

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

70carromboard
22playing surface24border rails
26rebounding surface strip28markings
30A–D Pockets32Groove in the border rail
34reinforcing supports36groove in playing surface
38ridges40A–D nets
42playing disks44striker
46convex projections48A–D legs
50projecting members52fastening nuts
54bottom recess in the border rail56holes in the playing surface

DETAILED DESCRIPTION—PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a carromboard 70 and FIG. 2 shows the top view of the carromboard 70. The carromboard of the present invention comprises a carromboard 70 as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, which show a playing surface 22 on which is mounted a border rail 24. The border rail 24, which is a boundary wall surrounding the periphery of the playing surface 22 is molded as a unitary piece, so its referred to as a border rail 24, even though it encompasses all the four sides. As seen in FIG. 4, the border rail 24 has a longitudinal slot or a groove 32 along and under its top front end into which the top edge of a resilient rebounding strip 26 is inserted with the stiff side facing front; the back is bonded to the inner front face of the border rail 24. The lower front end of the rail, together with the bonded resilient rubber strip, is inserted into a groove 36 along the peripheral edges of the playing surface 22 and attached thereto, thereby having the rubber strip secured well. As seen in FIGS. 3 and 4 the border rail 24 has on its underside a plurality of projecting members 50 which are so spaced as to fit into the corresponding matching holes 56 provided along the peripheral edges of the playing surface 22. The attachment of the border rail 24 to the playing surface 22 is accomplished by inserting the projecting members 50 into the corresponding holes 54 and attaching nut like devices 52 at the bottom to secure them. Together with the use of nuts, other bonding means can also be used such as welding, using bonding adhesives, or other means to get a more secure bond. The playing surface 22 presents a square flat grainy surface over which there can slide a plurality of disks or game pieces 42 (FIG. 5), and a striker 44 (FIG. 6). The game pieces 42 and the striker 44 are made of hard plastic material, with a low coefficient of friction. The game pieces alternately could also be made of a hard wood. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, in the corners of the playing surface 22 there are arranged four circular pockets 30A, 30B, 30C and 30D which are intended to receive the game pieces 42. At the bottom of each pocket as seen in FIG. 3, there is a piece of netting 40A, 40B, 40C and 40D, or an open top box or any other means, affixed below the corner pocket holes to collect the pocketed game pieces 42. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 the playing surface 22 will present suitable markings 28 (such as lines and circles) which are dependent upon the type of game being played. The playing surface 22 is injection molded of a plastic material with a low co-efficient of friction such as, but not limited to, high density polyethylene, nylon, UHMW-PE, or polypropylene. The border rail 24 is injection molded of a strong, durable and rigid plastic material such as ABS, Hi-impact polystyrene, or any other similar plastic material. The resilient strip 26 can be made of a number of materials such as rubber, synthetic rubber, neoprene, thermoplastic elastomers or any such material which has good resiliency and provides good rebounding properties.

As seen in FIG. 3, on the bottom of the playing surface 22 there are numerous ridges 38, which crisscross the length and width of the playing surface thereby imparting it with strength, support and rigidity. The ridges 38 are molded in with the playing surface.

Also seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, the border rail 24 has on its bottom an inner recess 54 which extends substantially the entire length of the border rail. To give it more support, strength and stability there have been provided multiple support cross-bars 34 on each of its four sides on the underside, in the bottom inner recess 54 of the border rail 24.

Also seen in FIG. 3, there are four legs 48A, 48B, 48C and 48D, about 3 to 4 inches tall, provided at the bottom of the board.

As seen in FIG. 5, the game piece 42 is a cylindrical disc shape and is made of hard plastic or hard wood. The striker 44 (FIG. 6), which is a master disc, also has a cylindrical disc shape but is larger in diameter than the game piece. The striker is made of hard plastic. FIGS. 5, 7 and 9 show different views of the game piece. FIG. 5 shows a perspective view, FIG. 7 shows a bottom view and FIG. 9 shows a sectional view of the box of FIG. 7 taken at the sectional plane and in the direction indicated by section lines 9-9. FIGS. 6, 8, and 10 show different views of the striker. FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the striker, FIG. 8 shows the bottom view and FIG. 10 shows a sectional view of the box of FIG. 8 taken at the sectional plane and in the direction indicated by section lines 10-10. They both have orderly arranged convex circular projections 46 on their underside

Operation

With reference to the Figures, the carromboard of the present invention comprises a game board 70, presenting a square flat grainy bed or playing surface 22 preferably made of a plastic material with a low coefficient of friction, on which can slide the game pieces 42 and the striker 44. The striker is a disk that is propelled by the flicking of a finger, and when so propelled, to glide and strike the game pieces on the playing surface 22 and strike and rebound against each other and against the rail 24 which delimits the playing area 22. Because the playing surface 22 is grainy, it reduces the contact points between all playing pieces (42 and 44) and the playing surface, thereby reducing the friction between the sliding pieces and the playing surface. That reduction of friction allows for a smooth movement or sliding of the pieces on the playing surface; thereby eliminating the need of any external lubricants such as fine powders, or boric acid powders, which have been historically used as anti-friction aids.

In the corners of the playing surface 22, there are arranged four circular pockets 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D which are intended to receive the game pieces 42 through the openings. At the bottom of each pocket 30A-30D there is a piece of netting 40A, 40B, 40C, 40D or other means affixed below the corner pocket holes to collect the pocketed game pieces 42. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 4, the border rail 24 has attached to it on its front face, a resilient strip 26, which the game pieces 42 and the striker 44 strike and rebound against. It is important that in a properly constructed carromboard, the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection of the game piece and the striker against and away from the side rail should be equal, to insure accurate results in play. To insure this, the cushion must be lively, must possess the maximum of resiliency without being ‘soft’ in any way. If a cushion is at all soft, a temporary indentation is made at the point of contact and this not only destroys the true angle of reflection of the disk, but it also fails to impart the proper repulsive force or ‘legs’ to the disk to make a true shot. Unfortunately a high degree of resiliency in the rebounding surface necessitates a certain degree of softness in the strip. To overcome this softness in the strip and yet retain its resiliency in the highest degree, my current preference is to glue, bond, blend or adhere to its front face, or the working face, a thin stiff sheet of plastic. A stiff upper layer of plastic provides a hardened front for the working face, such that an indentation of the cushion upon impact is prevented, while maintaining the resiliency; thus a true angle of deflection is imparted to the game piece and striker. Other stiffening material could be similarly attached or molded in with the strip. It is also possible to get the right combination of stiffness and resiliency built into the strip itself, thereby eliminating the need for attachment of any stiffening element to its front face. This resilient rebounding surface makes for a play that requires less effort and is much less noisy.

There are some very distinct, definite and unique advantages of the design and construction of my carromboard. Since the four sides of the border rail 24 are injection molded as one piece, as a unitary unit, it eliminates the labor and the costs associated with the making of the border frame assembly. It also uses less material because the way its made is that it has only three sides, the top and the two sides, and it is open on its bottom side, almost like the letter “n”. In other words the underside of the border rail running along its length is hollow or trough-like. To give it more support, strength and rigidity there are multiple support cross-bars 34 on each of the four sides on the underside in the hollow of the rail 24. Thus not only is there a saving in the material cost, it also results in a carromboard that is lighter. As seen in FIG. 3 on the bottom of the playing surface 22 there are a plurality of ridges 38, which are injection molded in with the playing surface 22, and which crisscross the width and length of the underside of the playing surface 22 to impart strength, stability, support and rigidity to the playing surface 22. The ridges compensate for the reduction in the thickness of the playing surface, thereby further helping to reduce the material cost without sacrificing the strength, stability, support and rigidity of the board. The new carromboard is lighter in weight, and easier and more cost effective to manufacture. Additionally, this carromboard is built through automated manufacturing processes, resulting in a standardized carromboard with uniform quality each time.

To further facilitate the movement of the game pieces 42 and the striker 44 on the playing surface 22, the game pieces 42 and the striker 44 are provided with a plurality of orderly arranged convex circular projections 46 on their underside. The underside is the side intended to come into contact with the playing surface. The convex circular projections provide fewer contact points between the playing pieces (42 and 44) and the playing surface, thereby reducing the friction created between them; less friction means the game pieces 42 and the striker 44 can glide and move more easily on the playing surface 22.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATIONS AND SCOPE

The reader can see that the carromboard of this invention provides a standardized carromboard which is

of uniform quality

lighter in weight

quieter and makes less sound in play

easier and more cost effective to manufacture

more durable and less susceptible to external atmospheric conditions, and

does not require the use of toxic or other powders to be sprinkled or dusted on the playing surface.

While my above description contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of one preferred embodiment thereof. Many other variations are possible. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.