Title:
Multi-function apparatus for covering a surface and gaming
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a multi-function apparatus for covering a surface and gaming. More specifically, the present invention relates to a multi-function apparatus including a covering such as a towel, blanket, activity mat, or the like having integral gaming features and storage. In one aspect of the invention, a depiction of a gameboard face is woven in or otherwise affixed to the covering, and a storage compartment for storage of gaming pieces is detachably coupled to the covering. In another aspect of the invention, the storage compartment is formed of a tightly-weaved mesh that prevents passage of sand therethrough. In some embodiments of the invention, the covering is absorbent to provide an added drying feature. Also disclosed are coverings of varying sizes, wherein small coverings intended for children include depiction(s) of children's gameboard face(s) and larger coverings intended for adults include depiction(s) of the adult gameboard face(s).



Inventors:
Sutor Jr., Robert Louis (Margate City, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/827978
Publication Date:
01/15/2009
Filing Date:
07/13/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/236
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Flaster/greenberg, Penn Center P. C. 8. (1628 JOHN F. KENNEDY BLVD., 15TH FLOOR, PHILADELPHIA, PA, 19103, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A portable multi-function apparatus for covering a surface and gaming comprising: at least one covering, said covering including at least one depiction; at least one gaming piece for playing at least one game via said at least one depiction; and at least one storage compartment coupled to said at least one covering for transportation of said at least one gaming piece.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said covering is at least one of the group consisting of a towel, a blanket, an activity mat, and combinations thereof.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said storage compartment is detachably coupled to said at least one covering via at least one of the group consisting of a snap fastener, a Velcro®-style fastener, a zipper, a tie, and combinations thereof.

4. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one depiction depicts a face of a gameboard.

5. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said gameboard is at least one of the group consisting of a checkerboard, a chess board, a Tic-Tac-Toe gameboard, a Chutes and Ladders gameboard, a Trouble® gameboard, an Aggravation® gameboard, a Candyland gameboard, a Parcheesi gameboard, a Sorry gameboard, a Reversi gameboard, a Go gameboard, a Twister gameboard, and a Yahtzee® gameboard, and combinations thereof.

6. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one covering is a high grade, one hundred percent cotton towel.

7. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one covering is absorbent.

8. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein a first of said at least one covering is sized to provide a covering for a child and a first of said at least one depictions upon said first of said at least one covering depicts a gameboard of at least one children's game.

9. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein a first of said at least one covering is sized to provide a covering for an adult and a first of said at least one depictions upon said first of said at least one covering depicts a gameboard of at least one adult game.

10. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one depiction is at least one of the group consisting of woven as a part of said at least one covering, stitched to said at least one covering, silk-screened upon said at least one covering, embroidered to said at least one covering, painted upon said at least one covering, printed upon said at least one covering, and combinations thereof.

11. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one depiction is oriented in a landscape position, a portrait position, or a position therebetween.

12. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one storage compartment is at least one of the group consisting of a mesh bag, a waterproof bag, a fabric bag, a compartment including at least one hard surface, and combinations thereof.

13. An apparatus according to claim 12, wherein said at least one mesh bag includes a tight weave that prevents passage of sand therethrough.

14. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one gaming piece includes at least one of the group consisting of a checker, a die, a game piece, a token, a chess piece, and combinations thereof.

15. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one storage compartment is oversized to facilitate transportation of non-gaming piece items in addition to said at least one gaming piece.

16. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said at least one storage compartment includes at least one closable opening.

17. An apparatus according to claim 16, wherein said at least one closeable opening is closed via at least one of the group consisting of a zipper, a snap fastener, a Velcro®-style fastener, and combinations thereof.

18. A portable multi-function apparatus for covering a surface and gaming comprising: a beach towel including at least one depiction; at least one gaming piece for playing at least one game via said at least one depiction; and at least one mesh bag including at least one zipper, said mesh bag detachably coupled to said beach towel via at least one snap fastener, said mesh bag for transportation of said at least one gaming piece, and said mesh bag coupled to said beach towel via at least one snap fastener; wherein said at least one mesh bag includes a tight weave that prevents passage of sand therethrough.

19. An apparatus according to claim 18, wherein said at least one depiction depicts a face of a gameboard.

20. An apparatus according to claim 19, wherein said gameboard is at least one of the group consisting of a checkerboard, a chess board, a Tic-Tac-Toe gameboard, a Chutes and Ladders gameboard, a Trouble® gameboard, an Aggravation® gameboard, a Candyland gameboard, a Parcheesi gameboard, a Sorry gameboard, a Reversi gameboard, a Go gameboard, a Twister gameboard, and a Yahtzee® gameboard, and combinations thereof.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to a multi-function apparatus for covering a surface and gaming. More specifically, the present invention relates to a multi-function apparatus including a covering such as a towel, blanket, and the like having integral gaming features and storage.

A seating surface/gameboard device comprising a web of flexible material for disposition on an outdoor surface, such as the beach, is known. The web includes gameboard indicia printed thereon and it is sufficiently large to enable a person to sit thereon. At least one marginal edge of the web includes a releasably openable pocket. The pocket is adapted to receive particulate material, such as sand, to weight the edge down in an attempt to minimize or eliminate the effects of wind, while providing a comfortable surface upon which a person can sit. The pocket includes releasably secureable hook and loop type fasteners for providing ready access to the interior of the pocket to fill or empty it.

Also known is a game that includes a playing surface made from a fabric material such as a beach towel. The playing surface includes reinforcing members near the edges that receive retaining members to maintain the playing surface in desired position and location regardless of the base surface. The playing surface is adapted to be placed on, for example, a beach, carpeting, or grass. A plurality of playing pieces is included in the form of generally hollow shells that have an exterior surface in the shape of a desired object. The interior of the shell is preferably a negative of the exterior. The interior portion of the shell is generally hollow and can receive a moldable material such as sand to create a cast of the playing piece such that it may be used as a score marker. A die that is included in the game is over-sized and has generously rounded corners and edges to allow the die to roll more easily along a variety of indoor or outdoor surfaces.

Additionally, a game board made of a flexible material and including a plurality of pockets is known. One such pocket located on a first edge of the game board is configured to receive game pieces. Additional pockets including closing and locking elements located on the remaining edges of the game board that are configured to receive reinforcing bars. Such reinforcing bars are configured to create a vertical edge along the perimeter of the game board.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly stated, in one aspect of the present invention, a portable multi-function apparatus is provided. This apparatus includes at least one covering, the covering including at least one depiction; at least one gaming piece for playing at least one game via the at least one depiction; and at least one storage compartment coupled to the at least one covering for transportation of the at least one gaming piece.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable multi-function apparatus is also provided. This apparatus includes a beach towel including at least one depiction; at least one gaming piece for playing at least one game via the at least one depiction; and at least one mesh bag including at least one zipper, the mesh bag detachably coupled to the beach towel via at least one snap fastener, the mesh bag for transportation of the at least one gaming piece, and the mesh bag coupled to the beach towel via at least one snap fastener; wherein the at least one mesh bag includes a tight weave that prevents passage of sand therethrough.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one multi-function apparatus for covering a surface and gaming in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the attachment of the storage compartment of the multi-function apparatus depicted in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of an alternate method of attaching a storage compartment of the multi-function apparatus in accordance with an alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring first to FIG. 1, depicted is multi-function apparatus 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. In one aspect of the present invention, multi-function apparatus 100 is capable of both covering a ground surface (e.g., a beach surface) and providing all of the necessary components required to play a board game (e.g., Checkers). In another aspect of the present invention, multi-function apparatus 100 is an easily portable covering such as a towel, blanket, or the like having integral gaming functions such as game boards and/or components. The present invention allows one or more games to be easily transported for use at recreational areas such as a beach, lake, boating areas, or any other location at which one would typically use a covering such as covering 102 by combining the required game components (e.g., game board, gaming pieces, etc.) with the covering as a single, easily transportable unit.

Multi-function apparatus 100 includes, inter alia, covering 102 and storage compartment 106. Covering 102 may be any item capable of covering a surface (e.g., a beach surface, a grass surface, a table surface, etc.) including, but not limited to, a towel (e.g., a beach towel), a blanket, a tarp, a sheet (e.g., a bedsheet), and an activity mat. In embodiments of the present invention in which covering 102 is a towel, such as that depicted in FIG. 1, the towel may be a high grade, one hundred percent cotton towel in virtually any size large enough to include depiction 104, as discussed in further detail below. In such embodiments, multi-function apparatus 100 provides a third drying function. However, the present invention is not so limited.

Additionally, the size of covering 102 may vary with the type of gameboard included thereon. For example, coverings 102 depicting children's games may be printed on small child-sized towels whereas coverings 102 depicting adult games may be printed on adult-sized towels. However, the present invention is not so limited.

In one aspect of the present invention, covering 102 includes an integral depiction 104 of the face of a game board. For example, as depicted in FIG. 1, depiction 104 may depict the face of a checkerboard. However, other gameboard faces may be substituted without departing from the scope of the present invention including, but not limited to, Tic-Tac-Toe, Chess, Chutes and Ladders, Trouble®, Aggravation®, Candyland, Parcheesi, Sorry, Reversi, Go, Twister, and Yahtzee®.

Depiction 104 may be formed integral to covering 102 via a variety of methods. In some embodiments, such as that depicted in FIG. 1, depiction 104 is woven as a part of covering 102 to minimize the potential for dulling and fading of depiction 104. However, other methods of including depiction 104 with covering 102 (e.g., stitching of a separate piece of material, silk-screening, embroidering, painting, printing, dyeing, etc.) may be substituted without departing from the scope of the present invention. Additionally, although depiction 104 is presented in a landscape position (i.e., when properly viewed, the horizontal dimension of covering 102 is longer than its vertical dimension), depiction 104 may also be presented in a portrait position (i.e., when properly viewed, the vertical dimension of covering 102 is longer than its horizontal dimension) or at any other angle therebetween without departing from the scope of the present invention. Furthermore, although covering 102 includes a single depiction 104, a plurality of depictions 104 may be included on a single covering 102 to allow a plurality of games to be played thereupon. Such games may vary (e.g., covering 102 may include depictions of a checkerboard, a chessboard, etc. to allow a user to select from a plurality of different game boards) or they may be duplicated (e.g., covering 102 may include one or more checkerboard depictions to allow playing of multiple games of checkers). In such embodiments, storage compartment 106 may be sized to transport all game components 112 required for playing any combination of depictions 104.

In another aspect of the present invention, covering 102 further includes one or more fasteners 114. In the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 1, covering 102 includes fasteners 114a, which are the female components of a pair of snap fasteners. However, other fasteners may be substituted without departing from the scope of the present invention including, but not limited to, Velcro® (See FIG. 3), zippers, buttons, magnets, and ties.

Fasteners 114 are also present on storage compartment 106 to allow it to be fastened, or otherwise coupled to, covering 102. Such fastening provides ease of transportation, while also minimizing the potential for loss thereof. In some embodiments of the present invention such as that depicted in FIG. 1, fasteners 114b are the male counterparts to the female snap fastener components located on covering 102 (i.e., fasteners 114b). However, other forms of fasteners may be substituted without departing from the scope hereof such as those discussed in greater detail above.

Although fasteners 114 allow storage compartment 106 to be easily removed for cleaning, packing, and the like, embodiments of the present invention are envisioned in which storage compartments 106 are not removable.

Storage compartment 106 is sized and fabricated to allow any components necessary to play the board game depicted on covering 102 to be carried therein. In some embodiments of the present invention such as that depicted in FIG. 1, storage compartment 106 is a mesh bag having a tight weave that prevents or minimizes the passage of sand therethrough. This allows multi-function apparatus 100 to be used at the beach while preventing sand contamination of the game components. However, other types of storage compartments may be substituted including, but not limited to, waterproof bags, fabric bags, insulated bags, and compartments having one or more hard surfaces.

In the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 1, game components 112 stored in storage compartment 106 are checkers, however, in other embodiments of the present invention such components may include one or more die, game pieces, tokens, chess pieces, or the like. Any type of game component required to use multi-function apparatus 100 as a game may be substituted. Furthermore, in some embodiments of the present invention, storage compartment 106 is oversized to allow storage of non-game component items (e.g., sunglasses, IPODs®, books, etc.), in addition to game components. An additional benefit of the present invention is that upon the loss of one or more game components 112 such that a user is no longer able to play one or more depicted games, covering 102 may be still used for its intended purpose (e.g., drying, warming, etc.) and storage compartment 106 may be used for storage of non-game component items.

Storage compartment 106 additionally includes one or more closeable openings 110 through which items to be stored in storage compartment 106 may pass. In the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIG. 1, closeable opening 110 is an opening along one side of storage compartment 106 fitted with a zipper that provides easy opening and closing of closeable opening 110. However, other types of closeable openings 110 (e.g., openings fitted with snaps, openings fitted with Velcro®, etc.) may be substituted without departing from the scope hereof.

Turning next to FIG. 2, depicted is an exploded view of the attachment of storage compartment 106 to covering 102. As depicted, such attachment is performed by simply snapping the male component(s) 114b of fastener(s) 114 onto, over, or into the female component(s) 114a of fastener(s) 114. Similarly, to remove storage compartment 106 from covering 102, pressure is simply applied to male component(s) 114b of fastener(s) 114 such that it snaps out of or off of female component(s) 114a of fastener(s) 114. Although the present invention is depicted as having snap fastener(s) 114, other fastener(s) may be substituted without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Referring now to FIG. 3, depicted is an exploded view of the attachment of storage compartment 106 to covering 102 via a Velcro®-style fastener 314. As depicted, such attachment is performed by simply mating the male component(s) 314b of fastener(s) 314 onto, over, or into the female component(s) 314a of fastener(s) 114. Similarly, to remove storage compartment 106 from covering 102, pressure is simply applied to male component(s) 314b of fastener(s) 314 such that it uncouples from female component(s) 314a of fastener(s) 314. Although FIG. 3 depicts the use of two strips of Velcro®, fastener(s) 314 may include a lesser or greater quantity of Velcro® strips without departing from the scope of the present invention.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.