Title:
GAME AND APPARATUS THEREFORE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A new type of pool game which can account for different levels of player skill and also be enjoyable for more than two players, teams or participants. The game can be played on conventional pool, snooker or billiard tables and includes plurality of balls including at least one cue ball and a plurality of object balls of which at least three types of object ball are identifiable.



Inventors:
Zecevic, Zoran (Scarborough, GB)
Application Number:
13/356833
Publication Date:
08/01/2013
Filing Date:
01/24/2012
Assignee:
StepsAhead Ltd
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/1, 473/52
International Classes:
A63D15/00; A63B43/00; A63D15/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030158003Scrum machineAugust, 2003Corkhill
20090069114GOLF CLUB HEAD WITH TUNGSTEN ALLOY SOLE COMPONENTMarch, 2009Foster et al.
20080234071GOLF BALL WITH DIMPLES HAVING CONSTANT DEPTHSeptember, 2008Sullivan et al.
20040147346Grip for a hockey stick with a hollow-ended shaftJuly, 2004Joseph Jr.
20010034274Portable soccer goal apparatusOctober, 2001Tulipani et al.
20050153784Training aid for golfersJuly, 2005Burgin
20030027664Golf ball with high specific gravity threadsFebruary, 2003Kuttappa et al.
20050009650Harness for lighted sport articleJanuary, 2005Sullivan III
20040038760Wastepaper basketball basketFebruary, 2004Diaz et al.
20060223658Tapered Cork Device For Baseball Hitting PracticeOctober, 2006Blanco Jr.
20100056292GOLF CLUB AND SHAFT REPLACING METHODMarch, 2010Sato et al.



Foreign References:
GB2229370A
Other References:
The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards by Mike Shamos, © 1193, 1999, 2002 pages 92, 205, 254 and 256
Three-Set Rotation (15 balls) © 2003-2012; Chris O'Donnellhttp://learntoplaypool.com/Three-Set_Rotation.html
Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HEAD, JOHNSON, KACHIGIAN & WILKINSON, PC (228 W 17TH PLACE, TULSA, OK, 74119, US)
Claims:
1. A game apparatus including a plurality of balls suitable for playing on any one or any combination of a billiard, pool and/or snooker table, said plurality of balls including at least one cue ball and a plurality of object balls wherein at least three types of object ball are identifiable.

2. A game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the object balls can be identified as being of a particular type by including any one or any combination of distinguishing features such as stripes, marks, spots, surface decoration, numbers, patterns, logos, colours and/or the like.

3. A game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein there are at least two object balls per type.

4. A game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the number of types of object ball corresponds to the number of participants suitable for the game.

5. A game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein there are 15 object balls in total.

6. A game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the object balls are divided into three types, wherein each type contains between two to five object balls.

7. A game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein at least one of the object balls of a particular type includes any one or any combination of distinguishing features which indicate that the ball should be potted in a particular order and/or sequence in respect of the other balls.

8. A game apparatus according to claim 7 wherein there are five object balls of each type and one of the object bails of each type is marked or otherwise includes a number 1, another object ball of each type is marked with a number 3, and a further object ball of each type is marked with a number 5.

9. A game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the balls include one or more winning balls.

10. A game apparatus according to claim 9 wherein the winning balls are balls which should be potted to win the game.

11. A game apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the one or more winning balls are potted once a participant has potted the object balls of a particular type.

12. A game apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the one or more winning balls include one or more distinguishing features which distinguish the same from the object balls.

13. A game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the game apparatus includes one or more cues.

14. A. game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the number of cues corresponds to the number of types of object ball.

15. A game apparatus according to claim 2 wherein a cue includes at least one of the distinguishing features of a type of object ball.

16. A game apparatus according to claim 15 wherein the cues are the same colour, or include the same colour, as at least one type of object ball.

17. A method of playing a cue sport game, said game including at least two or more types of object ball and at least one cue ball, wherein the number of types of object ball corresponds to the number of participants, wherein the method includes the steps of: arranging or racking said object balls, breaking said arrangement of object ball using at least one cue ball, potting one or more object balls to win the game.

18. A method of playing a cue sport game according to claim 17 wherein at least one type of object ball must be potted in a particular order and/or sequence.

19. A method of playing a cue sport game according to claim 17 wherein the balls include at least one winning ball which must be potted by a player to win the game.

20. A method of playing a cue sport game according to claim 17 wherein at least one object ball of a particular type is numbered.

21. A method of playing a cue sport game according to claim 17 wherein the game has at least three levels of difficulty; the first or easiest level, the object balls can be potted in any order; in the second, or intermediate level, at least one of the object balls must be potted first or last in respect of the other object balls; in the third, or hardest level, at least two object balls must be potted in order and/or sequence.

22. A method of playing a cue sport game according to claim 20 wherein three object balls of each type are numbered 1, 3 and 5 respectively, the number relating to the order in which the halls should be hit and/or potted when playing the game.

Description:

The present invention relates to a snooker, pool and/or billiard type game.

Although the following description refers to games which are played on conventional snooker, pool and/or billiard tables, the person skilled in the art will appreciate that the apparatus and method of playing the game is not limited to the type or shape of table used.

The games of billiards, pool and snooker (cue sports) have a long history and are well known. it is believed that since 2000 BC, similar games have been played. Today's billiard, pool and snooker games have their roots in the first half of the 15th Century in Great Britain where the game was played with three balls on a table with no pockets.

The first cues to be used in the games were introduced around the 18th century. The tip of the cue was made out of leather which allowed to impact spin to the cue ball when hitting the same at a location off centre.

Billiard, pool and snooker balls can vary depending on what game is to be played. There are about 35 different versions of billiard, pool and snooker. The balls vary in their size, colour, material of construction etc. Many materials have been used to construct the balls, including clay, Bakelite, ivory, celluloid, steel, wood, plastic, crystallite etc. Ivory was preferred for a long time, but because of ethical reasons nowadays plastic materials are widely used to construct the balls.

As such, it is possible that the plastic billiard, pool and/or snooker balls contain a material which produces a luminescent effect when the balls are used under a UV lamp.

The tables on which the game is played can also vary from game to game. Usually the tables are rectangular, twice as long as they arc wide. A full snooker table is around 3.7 meters long. Billiard, pool and snooker tables usually have six pockets. On a conventional rectangular table, four pockets are located in each corner and a pocket is located centrally on each of the opposing longest sides of the table. Conventionally the tables are covered with a billiard cloth known as felt. The cloth is often woven wool or a wool-nylon blend called Baize. Professional cloths are made from 100% Worsted wool and are usually coloured green. The colour green was introduced around the 16th century.

A rack, usually made out of plastic or wood, is a frame which is used to organise or arrange the bails before the start of the game. The form of the rack can vary from game to game. Nevertheless the two main forms of a rack are triangular or a diamond shape. Most common in the UK is the triangular form of rack.

The cues used to play the game can be made out of one piece taproot stick or made out of two or more units attached together to form the cue. Expensive professional cues are made out wood and are usually constructed from at least two pieces.

As the cue tips are made of relatively smooth leather, chalk is needed to increase the friction coefficient of the same. In practice chalk is usually applied to the cue tip before each shot to impart spin on the cue ball. Although called ‘chalk’, the substance used is usually not calcium carbonate (CaCO3) but a compound which has a silicon base.

Conventional games of billiards, pool and snooker ate usually played by two participants, where a participant is defined as an individual person or a team of two or more people. These games therefore have limited appeal if there are three or more participants who wish to play.

Most, if not all, cue sports include a cue ball, which is the ball which is hit with the cue. Hitting the cue ball with the cue propels the cue ball in a desired direction, most often to hit or contact with one and or more object balls. The object balls are those balls onto which the cue ball is driven in order to play the cue sport and advance in the game, usually by potting the object balls.

Typically, billiards includes two cue balls (one for each player) and one object ball. Snooker includes two types of object ball (those balls coloured red and balls of other colours). Whilst both 8 and 9 ball pool variations include a number of object balls and a final or winning ball which must be potted by either player in order to win the game.

For example, in 8-ball pool the object balls are divided into two identifiable types, usually red coloured object balls and yellow coloured object balls, and a black or 8-ball final/winning ball. Having object balls with stripes or spots is a common variation from red and yellow object ball types, however both variations use a black final/winning ball.

In 9-ball pool the object balls are numbered 1-8 with the ball bearing the number 9 being the winning ball. The object balls must be hit or potted in ascending numerical order using the cue ball, with the player potting the number 9 winning ball, winning the game. This can be achieved by a cannoning the correct object ball onto the number 9 ball and potting the same.

It is therefore an aim of the present invention to provide a game and apparatus for playing the same which overcomes the abovementioned problems.

It is yet a further aim of the present invention to provide a cue sport and apparatus, as well as a method of playing the same which can include three or more individuals or teams.

In a first aspect of the invention there is provided a game apparatus including a plurality of balls suitable for playing on any one or any combination of a billiard, pool and/or snooker table, said plurality of balls including at least one cue ball and a plurality of object balls wherein at least three types of object ball are identifiable.

In one embodiment the object balls can be identified as being of a particular type by including any one or any combination of distinguishing features such as stripes, marks, spots, surface decoration, numbers, patterns, logos, colours and/or the like.

Typically there are at least two object balls per type. Further typically object balls are identified as being of a particular type by including and/or sharing at least one common distinguishing feature with other object balls of the same type. Preferably object balls of the same type are the same colour.

Typically the number of types of object ball corresponds to the number of participants suitable for the game.

In one embodiment there are 15 object balls in total. It is advantageous to have 15 object balls as they can be racked in a standard triangular frame.

In one embodiment the object balls are divided into three types, wherein each type contains between two to five object balls. Typically there are 15 object balls in total divided into three types with five balls of each type.

In an alternative embodiment there are 15 object balls in total, said object balls divided into five types, with three object balls of each type.

In one embodiment at least one of the object balls of a particular type includes any one or any combination of distinguishing features which indicate that the ball should be potted in a particular order and/or sequence in respect of the other balls.

Typically an object ball of each type includes a marking and/or number to indicate that that ball should be potted last in respect of the other object balls of that type.

Further typically an object ball of each type includes a marking and/or number to indicate that that ball should be potted first in respect of the other object balls of that type.

In one embodiment the object balls are numbered. Typically the object balls of each type are sequentially numbered. Further typically the number on the ball relates to the order and/or sequence in which the object balls should be hit with the cue ball and/or potted.

In one embodiment there are five object balls of each type, wherein one of the object balls of each type is marked or otherwise includes a number 1, another object ball of each type is marked with a number 3, and a further object ball of each type is marked with a number 5. Typically the numbers relate to the order in which the balls should be hit with the cue ball and/or potted.

In one embodiment the balls include one or more winning balls. Typically the winning balls are balls which should be potted in order to win the game. Further typically the one or more winning balls are potted once a participant has potted the object balls of a particular type.

In one embodiment the one or more winning balls include one or more distinguishing features which distinguish the same from the object balls.

In one embodiment the game apparatus includes one or more cues. Typically the number of cues corresponds to the number of types of object ball. Further typically a cue includes at least one of the distinguishing features of a type of object ball.

Preferably there is a cue to be used with each type of object ball, said cue including the one or more identifiable features of said type of object ball.

Preferably the cues are the same colour, or include the same colour, as at least one type of object ball.

In a second aspect of the invention there is provided a kit of parts for playing a game on a conventional pool and/or snooker table, said kit of parts including a plurality of object balls, wherein there are at least three types of object ball.

In one embodiment the kit includes at least one cue ball.

In one embodiment the kit includes at least one cue.

In a third aspect of the invention there is provided a method of playing a cue sport game, said game including at least two or more types of object ball and at least one cue ball, wherein the number of types of object ball corresponds to the number of participants, wherein the method includes the steps of:

    • arranging or racking said object balls,
    • breaking said arrangement of object ball using at least one cue ball,
    • potting one or more object balls to win the game.

In one embodiment at least one type of object ball must be potted in a particular order and/or sequence.

In one embodiment the balls include at least one winning ball which must be potted by a player to win the game.

In one embodiment at least one object ball of a particular type is numbered.

In one embodiment the game has at least three levels of difficulty. Typically in the first, or easiest level, the object balls can be potted in any order. In the second, or intermediate level, at least one of the object balls must be potted first or last in respect of the other object halls. In the third, or hardest level, at least two object balls must be potted in order and/or sequence. The advantage of this arrangement is that two or more participants of differing skill levels can partake in a handicapped game which is a more even contest.

In one embodiment of the invention there are three types of object ball, with five object balls of each type, wherein at least the three of the object balls of each type are numbered. Typically three object balls of each type are numbered 1, 3 and 5 respectively. Further typically the number relates to the order in which the balls should be hit and/or potted when playing the game.

In a further aspect of the invention there is provided a game apparatus including a plurality of balls suitable for playing on any one or any combination of a billiard, pool and/or snooker table, said plurality of balls including at least two types of object ball.

Specific embodiments of the present invention are now described with reference to the following drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a plan view of a rack of 15 balls in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows a rack of 15 numbered balls in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 3a and 3b show a rack of 15 balls in accordance with further embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 4 shows a rack of 15 balls in accordance with a yet further embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 shows a rack of 15 balls in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a table on which a game is proceeding.

The present invention relates to a new type of pool game which can account for different levels of player skill and also be enjoyable for more than two players, teams or participants. The game can be played on conventional pool, snooker or billiard tables.

Turning firstly to FIG. 1 wherein there is shown a rack of fifteen balls 102. In the present invention and in conventional pool games, before the game is started the balls are racked in a triangular frame (not shown). The arrangement of the balls can be random but usually they are arranged such that not any one type of object ball has position which would put one player at an advantage over another.

It can be seen in FIG. 1 that the fifteen object balls which have been divided into three types or sets (104, 106, 108). The types of object ball in this example can be told apart by their colouration, however it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the types of object ball can be told apart by other features such as surface decoration, patterns, symbols and/or the like.

It is intended that the game will proceed much in a similar way to conventional pool games wherein the once the object balls have been racked, the triangle is removed and the racked balls broken by hitting the same with the cue ball. Motion is imparted onto the cue ball by hitting the same with the tip of a cue (not shown), held by the user or player taking the shot. In this example the balls or of substantially the same size as conventional pool balls so the two types of game can be played on conventional tables with conventional table markings. For example the table markings include a balk and/or baulk lines and markings.

It is also intended that players advance in the game by hitting their types of balls towards the pockets and/or potting the same. Fouls are committed in the usual manner, i.e. missing, hitting and/or potting the types of balls which other players and/or the like.

In the present invention, at least three types of object balls are usually in play so the game can accommodate three or more players without detracting from the game play and fun of this cue sport.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the player who wins is the player who pots their five balls first. There can also be a runner up and last place depending on which player pots their five balls after the winner.

It is also an advantage of the present invention that different levels of skill can be accommodated in that more skilful players can be handicapped to a greater extent than less skilful players. Such an arrangement can be seen in FIG. 2 wherein the rack 103 includes the same types (colours) of object balls 104, 106, 108 but the object balls in each type are numbered one to five. This allows the game to be played with at least five levels of difficulty or level of handicap.

For example:

Level 1 is the least difficult level where the object balls can be potted in any order.

Level 2 is the next most difficult level where the player can pot the balls in any order but the last ball to be potted must be the ball marked with the number five. If the number five is potted from the break, for example, the number four ball must be potted last.

Level 3 is the next most difficult level wherein the first ball to be potted by a player should be the ball marked with the number one and the last ball of the type to be potted is the number five. Balls numbered two, three and four may be potted in any order. Level 4 is the next most difficult level wherein ball one should be the first ball potted, ball three the third ball to be potted and ball five the fifth ball to be potted.

Level 5 is the most difficult level wherein all the balls numbered one to five must be potted in numerical order, typically increasing numerical order.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the aforementioned handicap system could be used when only two players are playing by removing one type or set of balls.

FIG. 3a shows a variation of the system described above wherein the only the five balls of each type 104′, 106′, 108′ are included to indicate which balls should be potted last. Therefore ‘level 1’ and ‘level 2’ skill level players can play together in a handicapped system or not. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the final ball to be potted need not be designated by a number five and that some other marking could be used. A black spot for example.

FIG. 3b shows an embodiment wherein up to ‘level 4’ players could be accommodated as the one 104″, 106″, 108″, three 104″, 106″, 108″ and five 104′, 106′, 108′ object balls of each type are marked.

Turning now to FIG. 4 which shows a variation of the game wherein five types of object ball are included (110, 112, 114, 116, 118), with each type including three balls in the set. This arrangement is intended for up to five participants and the skilled person will appreciate that between two to five players can be accommodated by removing types of object ball as appropriate. Indeed more than five participants can be included by adding types of object ball. It will also be appreciated that the number of object balls in a type is not limited although different racking arrangements may have to be included. Types 116 and 118 in this example are differentiated by including blue stripes and grey diamonds respectively and are thus not differentiated solely on colour alone.

In the example shown in FIG. 4 the object balls in each type are numbered one to three so that as described above, a handicap system can be included to ensure the game is fun and competitive for all levels of player. FIG. 5 shows an example wherein the object ball types do not include numbers but the final ball to be potted in each type is shown by a black spot 120.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of a conventional ‘pay-per-play’ pool table 122 with three types of object ball 124, 126, 128 with five object balls of each type. The cue ball 130 is also shown. The balls are of a similar size to the conventional pool balls and therefore can be used on the same table

The particular method of play is now described in more detail.

The game is usually played by three people but it can also be played by two, four, five or more people as long as each player has a suitable set of balls on the table, also it can be played by teams which can comprise of more than one member in each team. The goal (aim) of the game is to pocket (pot) first the number 1 marked ball of one set before pocketing three identical balls of one set and then pocketing the specifically marked number 5 ball of a set. The winner of the game is the person who pockets the specifically marked number 5 ball first after having pocketed the other four balls as described.

The game is played as follows:

    • The balls are organized by a rack usually triangular on a substantially flat table marked with a baulk area and D.
    • The cue ball is placed within the D of the baulk area.
    • One player or one person of a team is opens the game by breaking. In the absence of any competition/tournament rules to the contrary, a coin will be tossed to determine which player will break. if a series of frames is to be played (a match) the break of each subsequent frame will alternate. The first shot of a frame is called a break, the cue ball is played at a triangle of object balls from within the D of the baulk area. The frame is deemed to have commenced the instant that the cue ball is played.

The break will be deemed a fair break if at least one object ball is potted and/or at least two object balls are driven to a cushion. If the break is not a fair break it is a non standard foul and the fouling player loses his next visit. The balls are re-racked and the next opponent restarts the game and is under the same obligation to achieve a fair break, if the cue ball is potted on a fair break it is a non standard foul which is penalized by the turn passing to the opponents but the player does not lose his next turn. If any 1, 2 or more specially marked balls are potted from the legal break then those balls will stay potted and the game will continue as follows:

    • The player that is in control will have to dominate a colour and if number 1 marked ball of his chosen colour is still on the table then he has to pot that ball next. But if number 5 ball and the number 1 ball have been potted from the break then the player in control has to pot the remaining colour balls of his set to win, but if only one colour balls are potted then player has to be on that colour. If any object balls are potted from the break with the cue ball in the same shot the player will only lose his next turn and the following player will have the ball in hand and a free table.

When the table is open (free) the player has to play at number 1 ball of his chosen colour unless that ball has already been potted.

Colours can never be decided on a foul shot. Once the colours are decided (chosen) the players should choose appropriate coloured cue sticks and remain on that colour group for the duration of the frame and the opponents remaining on the opposite colour groups. Usually the colours are chosen on the break. That means that the colours are chosen on the first shot but if no colours are potted on the break the player has a right and obligation to verbally advise which colour he wants to proceed with. Failure to do so is a standard foul, if a player is fouled under this rule the opponent faces an open table, if the nominates a colour that was potted on the break the player is on that colour no matter what happens next.

The winner is the person or the team which pots the specifically marked number 1 ball and then 3 plain balls and then number 5 marked ball of the chosen colour in accordance with the rules.

A player has a maximum of 60 seconds to play each shot, when playing in a tournament the referee will start the time when all balls have come to a rest from the previous shot. If the first 30 seconds lapse before a shot is played the referee will call 30 seconds remaining as a warning to the player. The call must be made the instant the 30 seconds has expired, the referee should not postpone the call because it appears that the player is about to play a shot. If a shot is not played within 60 seconds it is a non standard foul and the player loses his next go.

There are four types of fouls. Non-standard fouls, serious fouls and loss of a frame fouls. A player can only be penalized for one foul at a time. If two or more fouls are committed during a shot the foul that carries the most severe penalty will apply.

Standard Fouls:

Standard fouls are to be called by the referee as soon as they occur and the offending player immediately loses control of the table with the penalty of losing his turn. The following are standard fouls:

1) Potting the cue ball in off except on a fair break place from baulk.

2) Playing from outside the baulk when obliged to play from

3) Potting or directly striking an opponents coloured ball at any time.

4) Failing to cause the cue ball initial contact with an object ball.

5) Striking the cue ball other than the cue tip. (Accidentally or not)

6) Playing the next shot before all balls have come to rest from the previous shot.

7) Playing a shot before any balls that requires potting have been potted.

8) a) Touching the table while having a cigarette (lit or unlit) in hand or mouth.

b) Causing a cigarette (lit or unlit) to touch the table or enter the space directly above the table.

c) Touching the table while having a beverage container in hand.

d) Causing a beverage container or beverage to touch the table or enter the space directly above the table.

9) Touching the table when not in control of the frame when a players turn is finished that the player has a maximum of 10 seconds to move away from the table.

10) Not moving away from the table within 10 seconds or the time that all balls stopped moving from the final shot of a turn at the table.

11) Coaching.

12) Leaving the playing area without permission.

13) Playing a shot after neglecting to nominate a choice of colour and obligation and right to do so exist.

14) Playing a push shot or double hit.

15) Failing to perform a legal shot.

16) After being awarded a foul snooker or foul jaw snooker—playing an opponents ball.

17) Playing a shot while not having at least one foot touching the floor.

18) Failing to play way from the touching ball.

19) A ball remaining of the table.

20) Players body or clothing touching any ball.

Non-Standard Fouls:

Non-standard fouls are to be called by the referee as soon as they occur and the offending player immediately loses control of the table. The referee will then impose the relevant penalty. Non-standard fouls are so called because the penalty and/or option of the incoming player may vary. The following are standard fouls:

1) Failure to perform a fair break.

2) Failure to play a shot within 60 seconds of the time that the balls came to rest from the previous shot.

3) Potting the cue ball on a fair break.

4) An opponents ball falling without being hit while the player is in control.

Serious Fouls:

Serious fouls are to be called by the referee as soon as they occur and the offending player immediately loses control of the table. The referee will place the balls as near as possible to the positions as they were in before the serious foul was committed and the player loses his next turn.

1) Playing a shot out of turn (accidentally or deliberately). A player who plays a shot at any time during a frame when the right to do so does not exist has played out of turn.

2) Deliberately striking a ball other than the cue ball with the tip of the cue.

3) Deliberately causing any ball or balls to be moved in a manner other than which may result from playing a normal shot.

4) Deliberately striking the cue ball with other than the tip of the cue.

5) Causing the cue ball to jump over any ball. (If the cue ball leaves the bed of the table an object ball that would have been struck had the cue ball not left the table on an otherwise identical shot, the cue ball is deemed to have jumped over that object ball.

6) Deliberately interfering, by word or action, so as to disrupt an opponents play.

Two of these serious fouls committed by the same player, in the same game automatically disqualifies him from that game. His balls are left on the table as they are, until the game ends. Same rules will apply as if that player is still player, so his balls are still alive.

When playing the game according to the present invention, the general billiard and snooker rules apply. The rules can for example be found in the BCA (Billiard Congress of Amenities) webpage (www.bca-pool.com) or on the World Snooker webpage (www.worldsnooker.com).

It is also possible that only two people are playing the game. When two people are playing the game then the same rules as for three people (or teams) apply, except that one set of object balls are not to be potted.

The markings on the balls can be numerical, alphabetical, symbolic or any other distinguishable way.