Title:
POOL TABLE GAME INCLUDING PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVELY DELIVERING SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS TO EACH PLAYER FOR ALL SHOTS DURING GAME PLAY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a method of playing a billiards game among a plurality of players. The invention resides in the delivery of a set of shot instructions to each player in the game. Each player is to take turns shooting his or her assigned balls according to the set of shot instructions. Once all shot instructions have been complied with, the game is scored according to the rules of the particular game and a winner is determined. The method of delivering shot instructions has application in many different games with varying sets of game rules.



Inventors:
Bilgen, David Lawrence (Chatsworth, CA, US)
Bilgen, Jeffrey Allen (Moorpark, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/196187
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
08/21/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63D15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KELLY & KELLEY, LLP (6320 CANOGA AVENUE SUITE 1650, WOODLAND HILLS, CA, 91367, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of playing a billiards game among a plurality of players, comprising the steps of: assigning a billiard ball set to each of the players; establishing a shooting order for the players; delivering player specific shot instructions to each of the players; and each player shooting the assigned billiard ball set according to the player specific shot instructions in the established shooting order.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein each billiard ball set comprises a plurality of uniquely identified balls.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the player specific shot instructions comprise a plurality of shot instructions corresponding to each of the plurality of uniquely identified balls.

4. The method of claim 2, wherein the plurality of uniquely identified balls each have a specified point value that is associated with the unique identification.

5. The method of claim 4, further comprising the steps of determining which of the uniquely identified balls from all of the players is closest to a target area, and scoring the game based upon the specified point value of the uniquely identified ball that is closest to the target area.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the shot instructions include one-rail, two-rail, three-rail, wild, question, no shot and bonus shot instructions.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein each of the players shoots the assigned billiard balls from a starting area to a target area.

8. The method of claim 5, wherein the billiards game comprises multiple rounds and each round comprises repeating the delivering, shooting, determining and scoring steps.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the players shoot at a different target area in each round.

10. A method of playing a billiards game among a plurality of players, comprising the steps of: assigning a billiard ball set to each of the players, each billiard ball set comprising a plurality of uniquely identified balls wherein each ball has a specified point value that is associated with the unique identification; establishing a shooting order for the players; delivering player specific shot instructions to each of the players, the player specific shot instructions comprising a plurality of shot instructions corresponding to each of the plurality of uniquely identified balls; and each player shooting the assigned billiard ball set according to the player specific shot instructions in the established shooting order.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising the steps of determining which of the uniquely identified balls from all of the players is closest to a target area, and scoring the game based upon the specified point value of the uniquely identified ball that is closest to the target area.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the shot instructions include one-rail, two-rail, three-rail, wild, question, no shot and bonus shot instructions.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein each of the players shoots each of the assigned billiard balls from a starting area to a target area.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the billiards game comprises multiple rounds and each round comprises repeating the delivering, shooting, determining and scoring steps.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the players shoot at a different target area in each round.

16. A method of playing a billiards game among a plurality of players, comprising the steps of: assigning a billiard ball set to each of the players, each billiard ball set comprising a plurality of uniquely identified balls, wherein each ball has a specified point value that is associated with the unique identification; establishing a shooting order for the players; delivering player specific shot instructions to each of the players, the player specific shot instructions comprising a plurality of shot instructions corresponding to each of the plurality of uniquely identified balls, wherein the shot instructions include one-rail, two-rail, three-rail, wild, question, no shot and bonus shot instructions; each player shooting the assigned billiard ball set from a starting area to a target area according to the player specific shot instructions in the established shooting order; determining which of the uniquely identified balls from all of the players is closest to the target area; and scoring the game based upon the specified point value of the uniquely identified ball that is closest to the target area, wherein the game comprises multiple rounds and each round comprises repeating the delivering, shooting, determining and scoring steps, and wherein the players shoot at a different target area in each round.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to billiard games. More particularly, the present invention relates to billiard games wherein players are assigned a discrete set of balls and then receive a set of shot instructions that control the manner and order in which the players shoot those balls.

Billiard games have been around for centuries. Various types of prior art billiard games include 8-ball, 9-ball, cut-throat, etc. Such prior art billiard games allow a player to determine the manner in which a ball is shot, i.e., straight shot, cut shot, bank shot, multiple rail shot, etc. In addition, with a few notable exceptions (9-ball), a player can shoot his or her assigned balls in any sequence.

Such prior art games involve a great deal of skill in shooting the balls, determining the order in which to shoot the balls, and where to position the cue ball for the next shot. A skillful player can dominate such a game against a less skillful player. Such domination can lead to a player “running the table”, i.e., shooting all of his or her assigned balls without the other player even getting a turn.

Indeed, most games between players of different skill levels usually result in the more skillful player getting more shooting opportunities. Being up against a more skillful player can make a game uninteresting or even boring. Especially where the game excitement comes from actually shooting a ball and most of the time is spent watching someone else shoot their balls.

Accordingly, there is a need for a new billiard game wherein players of different skill levels can compete on a more level playing field. There is also a need for a new billiard game wherein multiple players receive an equal number of opportunities to shoot their assigned balls. The present invention fulfills these needs and provides other related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a method of playing a billiards game among a plurality of players. The method begins with assigning a billiard ball set to each of the players and establishing a shooting order for the players. Next, player-specific shot instructions are delivered to each of the players. Each player then shoots the assigned billiard ball set according to the player-specific shot instructions in the established shooting order.

Each billiard ball set comprises a plurality of uniquely identified balls, with each ball having a specified point value associated with the unique identification. The player-specific shot instructions comprise a plurality of shot instructions corresponding to each of the plurality of uniquely identified balls. The shot instructions may include one-rail, two-rail, three-rail, wild, question, no shot and bonus shot instructions.

Each of the players shoots each of the assigned billiard balls from a starting area to a target area according to the player-specific shot instructions. After each player has performed all of the player-specific shot instructions, the players must determine which of the assigned billiard balls is closest to the target area. The game is scored based upon the specified point value of the ball that was closest to the target area, with the points going to the player to which the closest ball was assigned.

The billiards game may comprise multiple rounds with each round comprising repeating the delivering of instructions, shooting the balls, determining the player closest to the target area and scoring based upon which ball was closest. In each of the multiple rounds, the players may shoot at a different target area.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate the invention. In such drawings:

FIG. 1 illustrates an array of billiard balls according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a one-rail shot instruction according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a two-rail shot instruction according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a three-rail shot instruction according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates a no shot shot instruction according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a question shot instruction according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 illustrates a wild card shot instruction according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 illustrates a bonus shot shot instruction according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 depicts the path of a one-rail shot according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 illustrates the path of a two-rail shot according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11 illustrates the path of a three-rail shot according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 illustrates a measuring device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13 illustrates the use of the measuring device according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 14 is a flowchart illustrating a method embodying the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is concerned with a method of playing a billiards game among a plurality of players. As with most billiard games, a set of uniquely identified billiard balls are assigned to each player and a shooting order of the players is established. Distinct from most billiard games is the fact that each player is assigned a set of player-specific shot instructions which establish the order and the manner in which the player must shoot the balls assigned to him or her. Each player then shoots the assigned billiard ball set according to the player-specific shot instructions in the established shooting order.

This inventive method will herein be described in the context of a particular set of game rules and variations thereon. However, a person having ordinary skill in the art will realize that the inventive method of delivering shot instructions controlling the order and manner in which a player shoots his or her assigned billiard balls has application to any number of games with varying rules.

A game which follows this inventive method will challenge players of all abilities in unique ways by requiring very precise control of each shot under only those conditions that are specified or allowed by the shot instructions. Delivery of varying shot instructions from game to game will facilitate each player being randomly challenged by a variety of disadvantages, while at other times being the beneficiary of a variety of advantages. The inventive method results in games that challenge the ability, intelligence and consistency of players, while blending both offensive and defense strategies.

Players of all skill levels will be equally involved in every game, whereas with most pool table games the better player typically spends far more time shooting than does his or her less skilled competition. Players of varying skill levels will be able to successfully compete against one another with only a modicum of experience and a little practice. Even entry level players will achieve success, fulfillment and enjoyment when competing against players with far more experience and ability. Periodic advantages brought about by the range of available shot instructions and sequences when compared to the shot instructions and sequences of an opponent will enable even the most inexperienced players to achieve success.

To practice the inventive method one should provide ball sets, shot instructions, game rules and a measuring device, all of which can be packaged and marketed as a game unit and/or as individual components. Additional components, as they become available can be marketed as well. The game herein described may be played on any size pool table, including billiard tables without pockets. No adjustments are required to any table.

As shown in FIG. 1, the ball sets are preferably delivered in a master set of 16 balls, as with prior art billiard sets. All balls are regulation size manufactured to industry standards. The ball set for the inventive method preferably comprises five sets of three balls plus an extra ball.

Each three-ball set is preferably of a unique color. By way of example only, the colored three-ball sets can be yellow, blue, red, purple and orange. Other color combinations are possible so long as each three-ball set can be uniquely identified. Each ball may also be identified by some other unique identifier, i.e., numbering each three-ball set with a number one through five. Each uniquely identified three-ball set should include three distinct ball designs. One possible distinct design is to include a one-striped ball, a two-striped ball and a three-striped ball in each set.

Alternatively, the ball sets may comprise different numbers. For example, three five-ball sets are possible where every one-striped ball is assigned to one player, every two-striped ball is assigned to another player, and every three-striped ball is assigned to a third player, if necessary. In this instance, the ball designs (one-stripe, two-stripe, three-stripe) would identify the player and the unique colors would correspond to the point value. As a further example, the colors or numbers may be limited to three and the number of stripe variations increased to five. A person skilled in the art will realize that other ball combinations are possible, especially with different ball designs and unique identifiers.

In the preferred embodiment, each unique ball within a three-ball set will carry a specific point value. With the stripe designs the point values can be commensurate with the number of stripes the balls have: the one-striped ball carries a value of one point; the two-striped ball carries a value of two points; and the three-striped ball carries a value of three points. In this embodiment, as many as three points may be achieved in each game/round as will be determined based upon the number of stripes on the “winning” ball, as explained below.

The one-, two- and three-striped balls have default shot methods controlling the manner in which they are shot—as either a one-rail shot (the one-striped ball), a two-rail shot (the two-striped ball) or a three-rail shot (the three-striped ball). However, as described below the shot instructions may modify these default shot methods such that balls may be specified to be shot in different ways or may be permitted to be shot in different ways.

The extra ball is generally similar to a cue ball in a standard billiard set. This ball (largely white in color) is a “bonus” ball, which is used in specific circumstances during matches. When a player is delivered a bonus shot instruction, as explained below, he or she may elect to shoot a “free” shot at specified junctions during game play. This extra ball is used to exercise these “free” shots, which may employ any of the three legal shot types (either a one-, two- or three-rail shot). This extra ball may be used offensively, to achieve a position nearest to the target, or to advance another ball to a position closer to the target. Alternatively, the extra ball may be used defensively, to sink or retard the position of an opponents' ball. The extra ball may carry any designated point value but preferably carries a value of one point. Should a legally executed extra ball end a game in the winning position, the player having executed this shot is awarded one point.

The shot instructions provide the means to orchestrate and deliver a vast number of competitive game scenarios. They dictate how balls are to be shot. Each instruction specifies a type of shot available to a player. The shot instructions are the mechanisms through which a vast number of competitive game scenarios are “interactively” orchestrated and communicated to the players. These shot instructions tell the players exactly what shot(s) may be executed at each shot opportunity.

As shown in FIGS. 2-8, there are a total of six (6) different shot instructions, which can be delivered to the players in a variety of combinations, such to provide all players with a variety of unique challenges and opportunities. Throughout game play, the dynamics of how these shot instructions “match up” with those of opposing players will provide thousands of unique competitive scenarios that players will encounter.

The three “ball” shot instructions, as depicted in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 are solid or patterned round elements with one, two or three diagonal lines through them. These shot instructions correspond to the “default” shots for each of the three balls in the player ball sets. These instructions are very specific—when any of these instructions are delivered to a player, the player MUST execute shots as follows:

(1) The “one-striped” ball shot instruction (FIG. 2) requires the player receiving this instruction to shoot only his or her one-striped ball (if it has not already been played) executing it as a one-rail shot;

(2) The “two-striped” ball shot instruction (FIG. 3) requires the player receiving the instruction to shoot only his or her two-striped ball (if it has not already been played) as a two-rail shot; and

(3) The “three-striped” ball shot instruction (FIG. 4) requires the player receiving this instruction to shoot only his or her three-striped ball (if it has not already been played) executing it as a three-rail shot.

If upon receiving any of these “ball” instructions, the specified ball has already been shot in the current game, then the player may substitute any other ball that has not been specified for use at another time in the present game. However, any such ball must be shot using the number of rails consistent with the number of stripes specified by the shot instruction.

Three additional shot instructions (FIGS. 5, 6, and 7) are as follows:

(1) The “no-shot” shot instruction (FIG. 5) is represented by a diagonal line through the center of an open circle. The player receiving this instruction is permitted ‘no shot’. In a game comprising a plurality of instructions delivered to a player, the no shot instruction should be delivered only as early or middle instructions, but never as a final shot instruction. Nor should it be delivered more than once on any set of shot instructions;

(2) The “question-mark” shot instruction (FIG. 6) is represented by a question mark in the center of a circle. The player receiving this instruction must shoot the ball in the manner specified (i.e. a one-, two- or three-rail shot) by his or her opponent. The player receiving this instruction (and shooting this opponent-specified shot) may use any ball that is “available” for use (that has not already been played or otherwise specified for use by another shot instruction in the present round). When more than two players are competing, the opponent who follows the player receiving this instruction will specify the shot;

(3) The “wild” shot instruction (FIG. 7), represented by a “W” in a circle, enables the player receiving this instruction to shoot any ball that is “available” for use (not already having been played or otherwise specified for use by another shot instruction in the present game), and may shoot it in any of the three manners (as a one-, two-, or three-rail shot).

The bonus shot instruction (FIG. 8), represented by the word “BONUS”, entitles the player receiving this shot instruction to a “free” shot of his or her choosing, at specific junctures during a game. The “free” shot may be exercised in the round in which the instruction was delivered, or held for use in a future round in the current game. It may be used offensively (to achieve a position near the Target Pocket, or to advance another of the player's balls) or defensively (to retard or pocket an opponent's ball). No player may use more than one bonus shot instruction in any game. Should a player receive a second bonus shot instruction in the same game, that instruction must immediately be surrendered. In a variation where shot instructions are delivered on cards, the surrendered bonus shot instruction is replaced in the deck and the deck then immediately re-shuffled and cut, prior to resuming play. This “free” shot is always executed using the white extra ball, which carries a value of one point. Should a game end with this white extra ball nearest the target area, the player having shot it is awarded a single point.

Only one bonus shot instruction may be exercised in any one round. Once a player has exercised his or her bonus shot instruction, opposing players may not exercise a second bonus shot instruction in that same round. A bonus shot instruction may be used either immediately before or immediately after a player's specific shot instruction. The player also gets to use his or her delivered specific shot instruction when using a bonus instruction. In addition, a player may use a bonus instruction after the specific shot instructions of all players have been executed.

In one preferred embodiment, the shot instructions may be delivered in a deck of varied shot instruction cards, each stipulating the order, types of shots, ball usage and any shot options that each player must adhere to during each game. Each card displays multiple shot instructions, preferably three, to correspond to the number of balls in a set. The cards indicate, top to bottom, what shot and/or what shot options a player may execute in each of three turns of a round. The top-most shot instruction represents the first turn shot, the middle shot instruction represents the second turn shot and the bottom-most shot instruction represents the third turn shot. With thousands of possible card pairings and options, every game will present a completely new set of challenging conditions for all players. A preferred deck would include about fifty-two cards to create sufficient variety and keep game play interesting. In addition to the shot instruction cards that display multiple instructions, there are two additional bonus cards as described above.

Each player will draw, or will be dealt, his or her own shot instruction card prior to the beginning of each game. How these cards “match up” against the card(s) of other players will dictate play for that game. Alternatively, the shot instructions may be delivered by electronic means on a personal portable device, i.e., a PDA, or other similar device. The electronic device would randomly generate a set of shot instructions for each player similar to the cards described above.

All shot instructions are to be executed (shot) from a starting area, preferably the “spot” on a billiards table, in either a one-, two- or three-rail orientation as dictated by the shot instructions. The object is to get the ball closest to a target area using the designated manner of shot. In the described game, a player shoots his or her ball toward a target area to achieve a position nearest to the target area. Where the target area is a pocket, the object is to be the closest to the target pocket without going into the target pocket.

A “live play” area is designated around the target area bordered by the second diamonds along both the vertical (long) and the horizontal (short) rails, nearest to the “target pocket”. These points also intersect with the “spot” or starting area. The “live play” area comprises one-eighth (⅛) of the tables surface area. Should any ball fall into a pocket, including the “target pocket”, or come to rest outside the “live play” area, by any means, whether shot offensively or as a result of a defensively played shot, it is considered “dead” and immediately removed from the table, for the duration of the current round.

All players have the same arsenal of shots at their disposal, for execution at the direction of the shot instructions. All shots will start from the starting area and will be directly struck by the cue stick (unlike most pool table games wherein only the cue-ball is directly struck by the cue stick).

The three types of shots permitted in the preferred embodiment are:

(1) The one-rail shot (FIG. 9), which must first contact the end rail farthest from the target pocket and then may contact either side or end rail nearest to the target pocket;

(2) The two-rail shot (FIG. 10), which must first contact the end rail farthest from the target pocket, then must contact the side rail diagonally opposite the target pocket, then may contact either side or end rail nearest to the target pocket; and

(3) The three-rail shot (FIG. 11), which must first contact the side rail, on the same side of the table as the target pocket, then must contact the end rail farthest from the target pocket, then must contact the side rail diagonally opposite the target pocket, it may then contact either side or end rail nearest to the target pocket.

Contact with any rails other than those identified above constitutes a foul, the minimum penalty for which is the immediate removal of the fouling ball from play. Additional penalties may apply under certain other circumstances.

After the last shot of each game, the ball closest to the target area will be deemed the “winning” ball. A measuring device, as depicted in FIGS. 12 and 13, is used to aid players in determining which of two or more balls has achieved a position nearest to the target area, when such determination cannot be made by eye alone. This component may be provided in mechanical form as depicted. However, other forms, i.e. electronic or laser devices, capable of measuring relative distances on a similar scale would suffice. The player to which that winning ball is assigned is awarded a number of points corresponding to the value assigned to the winning ball—either one, two, or three points will ordinarily be awarded.

A typical game following the inventive method, as illustrated in FIG. 14, begins with each player selecting or being assigned a set of billiard balls (110), as described above. The players then agree upon a length of the game (120), for example, the first to eighteen points, in which the first player to achieve the specified points is the winner of the game.

Next, the order in which the players take turns is established. (130) Players may alternate shooting first in each round of a game. A set of player specific shot instructions is delivered to each player. (140) As described above, these shot instructions may be delivered as shot instruction cards from a deck, by electronic means or by any other available means. The player-specific instructions specify the exact shots required of each player in each turn of the current round. A new set of shot instructions is similarly delivered to each player for each ensuing round until the game is over.

In the pre-determined order, all players play their first turn shot following the player-specific shot instructions. In the same pre-determined order, all players then play their next turn shot following the player-specific shot instructions. This will continue until all players have shot all of their assigned balls or followed all of their delivered shot instructions, i.e., three rounds. (150)

Pursuant to the bonus shot instruction described above, a player may use a bonus shot instruction at the permitted times. After the final shot of the last turn has come to rest, the round is normally over. However, if any player is still holding a bonus shot instruction and no other player has used a bonus shot instruction in the current round, he or she may use the bonus shot instruction to take an additional shot, using the extra ball (1-point value).

After the final shot of the round comes to rest, a winner is determined based upon which player's ball, still remaining within the “live play area,” is closest to the target area (160). He or she will be awarded the number of points equivalent to the point value of the winning ball. (170) The winning player's score for the game is then increased by the appropriate number of points. Score may be kept by moving players' tokens the specified number of “diamonds” around the table. Any scoring method that is acceptable to all players may be used.

Each player is then delivered a new set of player-specific shot instructions and play continues with the next round. The next player in the established order shoots first in the ensuing round. Each round may progress to a new target area, i.e., pocket, to change the skills required in successive rounds. When one player achieves the agreed total number of points, the game is over. (180)

In a typical game according to the present invention the pairing between the shot instructions delivered to one player and the shot instructions delivered to all other players creates a dynamic that can equate to advantages for certain players and disadvantages for other players. Considering the available shot instructions and the possible combinations of two, three or more shot instructions, the number of available sets of shot instructions is enormous. On top of that, when one considers the possible combinations of one set of shot instructions matched up against another set of shot instructions, the variation from round-to-round and game-to-game is almost limitless.

Each matching up of shot instructions presents players with different advantages or disadvantages. For example, the breaking player in a round is already at a slight disadvantage as one or more opponents will receive a subsequent shot. In addition, the combined specifics of the shot instructions may either overcome or worsen this disadvantage based upon a number of considerations.

The type and order of specific shot instructions can tip the advantage/disadvantage balance one way or the other. If one player is required to shoot the most valuable ball first, this creates a disadvantage. The no shot instruction similarly creates a disadvantage for the player that receives this instruction. Further, shot instructions may require multiple two- or three-rail shots in the later rounds which increase the disadvantage. An enormous disadvantage arises with the question mark shot instruction which allows another player to specify the shot that must be attempted.

Advantages arise from receiving wild card shot instructions or being able to specify an opponent's shot. Persons having ordinary skill in the art will realize the advantages and disadvantages imparted by the possible combinations of shot instructions and pairing of shot instructions.

Although several embodiments have been described in detail for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited, except as by the appended claims.