Title:
Backgammon multi-player game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a new variation on the game of backgammon. The game consists of six color-coded game boards and six sets of colored playing stones (15 per set). This game allows 3-6 players to challenge each other to be the first player to successfully bear off all of his or her stones. To accomplish this, each player moves his or her stones around the board from point to point (space to space) as per the roll of the dice towards their own color-coded home base. During the process they must try to avoid leaving “blots” (a single stone on a point) that make their stones vulnerable for a “hit” (another player landing on their blot). A “hit” from an opponent will send their stone “to the bar” (back to the beginning). At the same time, each player will try to prevent their opponents from reaching their own color-coded home bases. Once a player has all of his or her stones in their color-coded home base, they are able to start “bearing off” (removing stones from play).



Inventors:
Garley, Caroline L. E. (Surrey, CA)
Garley, Norma R. E. (Surrey, CA)
Holstein, Robert A. (Delta, CA)
Application Number:
09/799189
Publication Date:
09/26/2002
Filing Date:
03/06/2001
Assignee:
GARLEY CAROLINE L. E.
GARLEY NORMA R. E.
HOLSTEIN ROBERT A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00; (IPC1-7): A63F3/00
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Primary Examiner:
SEWELL, PAUL T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Caroline Garley (Surrey, BC, CA)
Claims:
1. A game comprising six color-coded game boards (using six different colors) and corresponding color-coded sets of 15 stones that allow from 3 to 6 players to participate in the game.

2. A game that expands on the concept of Backgammon to include strategic play against not just one opponent, but 2, 3, 4 or 5 opponents.

3. A game that instructs players to arrange their game boards so that the top left and right corners are touching their opponents' game boards. A three-player game will have the game boards arranged in a triangle shape, while a four-player game would be in more of a square shape. The five and six player games would take on a more circular appearance.

4. A game in which each game board has a color-coded home base consisting of six (6) triangles that are alternating in a dark and a light shade of the player's chosen color (three of each).

5. A game that has three triangles outside of the color-coded home base that are alternating black and white in color (two of one and one of the other).

6. A game that has colored circles within four of the triangles on your game board for guiding the initial set-up of the game. Five of your stones start in your color-coded home base on the rightmost triangle with five circles containing a shade of the player's chosen color. Three of your stones start just outside of your home base on the white triangle containing the three circles that are a shade of the player's chosen color. Another five start in the color-coded home base of the opponent to your immediate right on the triangle containing the five neutral-colored circles. The remaining two of your stones start in the color-coded home base of the second opponent to your right on the triangle containing the two neutral-colored circles.

Description:
[0001] This invention is a game that allows 3, 4, 5, or 6 players to challenge each other to an expanded and more strategic variation of backgammon.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The game of backgammon has been around for centuries while its exact point and date of origin is unknown. It has evolved as a two-player game on a single game board in which one player will try to outwit the other player to become the first player to bear off all of his or her stones. Several ornamental designs for a game board of backgammon were given American patents on Nov. 8, 1977, Dec. 23, 1980, Mar. 20, 1984, Sep. 1, 1992 and Jun. 26, 1998: 1

D246326Nov., 1977WatsonD21/362.
D257681Dec., 1980GraysonD21/362.
D273124Mar., 1984Craft273/248.
D329063Sep., 1992KantorD21/362.
D406280Mar. 2, 1999TesauroD21/362

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Up until now, the game of backgammon has consisted of two players using a singular board to compete against each other to be the first to bear off all of their playing stones. The board has either been a flat board, or a portable board that collapses in the middle but opens up into a singular board. With this invention, there can now be between 3-6 players who compete against each other to be the first player to successfully bear off all of their playing stones. Instead of being concerned with only one player, the strategy becomes more complex because there are more players to contend with. In addition, this invention consists of 6 separate game boards that are selected and arranged depending on how many players there will be. To avoid confusion, the game boards and stones are color-coded so that the player with, for example, the blue color-coded home base must return all of his or her blue playing stones to this home base before the process of bearing off can occur.

[0004] In the drawings, which form a part of this specification,

[0005] FIG. 1: The individual game board (one of six)

[0006] There are six (6) game boards. Each game board has the points in its home area color coded to one of the six colors used for each of the sets of playing pieces (stones).

[0007] 1. Home base area.

[0008] 2. Bar area. This is where the stones of the player who sits two positions to the left are sent when an opponent's stone lands on them and takes them out of play.

[0009] 3,4. Color-coded points. These are one of the six colors used in the game alternating in a dark and a light shade thereof. These indicate where a player's pieces must all be before he can start bearing them off.

[0010] 5. Neutral area.

[0011] 6,7. Alternating black and white points.

[0012] 8. Color-coded markings for guiding initial set-up of game. These are the same color used for item 3 or 4. These illustrate the placement of several of the stones of the player who starts two boards to the right and finishes on this board.

[0013] 9. Non-color-coded markings for guiding initial set-up of game. These are in a color different from one of the six playing colors. These illustrate the placement of several of the stones of the player who starts on the board to the immediate right and finishes on the board to the immediate left.

[0014] 10. Non-color-coded markings for guiding initial set-up of game. These are in a color different from one of the six playing colors. These illustrate the placement of some of the stones of the player who starts on this board and finishes two boards to the left.

[0015] 11. Rounded corners, to facilitate the placement of the boards at various angles with respect to one another.

[0016] 12. Logo area This is a non-functional part of the board and will be used for displaying the game's name and company logo.

[0017] FIG. 2: This shows how a playing piece or stone will look from the top and the side.

[0018] FIG. 3: Three (3) adjacent game boards with the initial placement of one player's stones.

[0019] 13. This is the game board where the player starts if he finishes on the game board at the bottom of the diagram. (See also, remaining figures.)

[0020] FIG. 4: A typical game set-up for three (3) players.

[0021] FIG. 5: A typical game set-up for four (4) players.

[0022] FIG. 6: A typical game set-up for five (5) players.

[0023] FIG. 7: A typical game set-up for six (6) players.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0024] Contents:

[0025] Each game comes complete with six color-coded game boards (FIG. 1), six sets of colored playing pieces, called stones (15 per set) and one pair of dice.

[0026] Object of the Game:

[0027] The object of the game is to be the first player to successfully bear off all of his or her stones.

[0028] Setting up the Game:

[0029] This game can be played with three to six players. Each player should select a colored game board with the corresponding colored set of playing stones (15 in total). Arrange the game boards so that the upper right and left hand corners of each game board are touching your opponents' game board (FIG. 1, item 11). A three-player game will have the game boards appearing in a triangle shape—(FIG. 4), while a four player game would be in more of a square shape—(FIG. 5). The five and six player game will take on a more circular appearance—(FIGS. 6 & 7).

[0030] Arrangement of the Stones

[0031] On each player's game board, there is a colored section or home base (FIG. 1, item 1) containing six triangles that have three light shades and three dark shades (FIG. 1, items 3 and 4) of a player's chosen color. Within this section, the three triangles to the right have circles appearing on them with either two or five circles. Place your first five stones on the furthest triangle to the right within this colored home base (the circles will be colored the dark shade of the player's chosen color). Place your next three stones just outside of your home base (FIG. 1, item 5) on the middle triangle (FIG. 1 item 7) showing three circles (these circles will be colored in a shade of the player's chosen color). The triangles within this section are alternating black and white (FIG. 1, items 6 and 7). The next five stones are placed on the game board of the opponent to your immediate right. You should be looking at the colored section and the three triangles on the far right of your opponent's home base. Place your five stones on the triangle showing the five circles that are closest to you (the circles will be in a different color from the six used for the different players—herearfter called a neutral color). Your last two stones are placed on the game board of the opponent to the immediate right of the player where you just placed your five stones. These stones are placed in the colored section on the triangle showing the two circles (the circles will be in a neutral color). This is considered your starting home base, and should you get sent to the bar, this is the home base on which you will re-enter to begin play again.

[0032] Playing the Game:

[0033] To determine which player starts, roll the dice and the highest roll will begin play. The play will then move in a clockwise direction. Each triangle represents one space (or point) on the board. The starting player will roll the dice and move either one or two stones the amount that turns up on the dice. For instance, if the player rolls a three and a two, one stone may be moved three spaces, followed by two spaces, or two spaces followed by three spaces. They may also chose to move one of their stones three spaces, and a different one of their stones two spaces. You want to begin to move your stones around the board and into your colored home base, but you do not want to leave a “Blot” if you can help it. In the first example, a player can not move their stone five spaces, but rather two and three, or three and two. This is important because if an opponent has a “Blocked Point” on a space that you want to move onto, you are prevented from moving onto that space. If this opponent is three spaces away from the stone that you wish to move, you will only be able to move past the opponent by moving first the two spaces, followed by the three spaces. If you tried to move the three spaces first, you will hit the blocked point, and so are not able to move this stone. Remember, the purpose of the game is to get your stones around the board and into your home base, while at the same time not leaving any of your stones vulnerable for a “Hit”. If a player rolls “Doublets”, they can move either one, two, three, or four of their stones. For instance, a double five will grant a player four moves of five spaces. A good strategy may be to move one set of two stones five spaces, and another set of two stones five spaces. This will give the player two “Blocked Points” and make it a little more difficult for their opponents to move their own stones around the board. This will also prevent their own stones from being put into a vulnerable position where they can be “Hit” and sent to the “Bar”. When reaching the end of one game board, your stone will jump to the next player's game board as if the game boards were all joined together. You will continue this until all of your stones are within the colored section of your home base. A player must move their stone(s) as per the roll of both dice. There may be times when one or no moves are possible because of blocked points along the game board, and so the player will not take the full move as per the roll of both dice. Note that a player must take both moves if they are able to. (If “Doublets” are rolled, the player must take the most moves—up to four in number—that are possible).

[0034] The Bar

[0035] When one of your stones is occupying a single space on the board, it is considered to be a “Blot”. If another player lands on this space your stone will be sent to the “Bar” (FIG. 1, item 2). Your stone must be placed on the bar section of the opponent's game board where your first two stones started out. You will be unable to move any of your stones until you are able to return all stones from the bar.

[0036] Returning from the Bar

[0037] To return your stone back into play, you must roll a number within the colored section of your opponent's game board (FIG. 1, item 1) that is not already blocked by another player's stones. When looking at your opponent's game card, the spaces are counted as 1 through 6 (left to right—the 1, 2 & 3 spaces contain circles while the 4, 5 & 6 contain none). If, for example, you were to roll a six and a four, and neither of these spaces is blocked, you have a choice of either bringing down your stone on the four or six spot in the colored section. The one that you choose to bring your stone down on will depend on which of these numbers will give you a better move with one of your other stones. You can also choose to take both moves with the same stone that you are bringing down, if the space is not blocked after taking both moves. If you choose to move your stone down on the four, then you can choose any other stone to move the six spaces. In another example, if you rolled a six and a four and the four space is blocked but the six space is open, you must move your stone onto the six space and choose a stone to move the four spaces. If the number that you rolled on both dice is blocked, you cannot move your stone down and therefore you are unable to take your turn.

[0038] If you have two stones on the bar, both stones will have to come down before you can move any other stones. You may be able to bring both stones down on a single roll if both spaces are unblocked. If only one space is unblocked, then you can move one stone down, but your turn is over. If both spaces are blocked, then both stones will remain on the bar and your turn is over.

[0039] Winning the Game:

[0040] The way to win this game is to get all of your own stones around the board and into your colored home base, while preventing your opponents from doing the same. You prevent them from doing this by choosing to “Hit” one of their “Blots” while at the same time trying to protect your own stones, as well as “Blocking Points” on the board to make it more difficult for the players to move their stones.

[0041] After you have all of your stones in your colored home base, you can now begin the process of “Bearing Off”.

[0042] Bearing Off

[0043] The final step in winning the game is to bear off all of your stones before another player bears off their stones. You begin to bear off your stones only when all of your stones are in your colored home base (FIG. 1, item 1). The player should look at his or her own colored home base. The spaces are numbered as 1 through 6 (left to right—the 1, 2 & 3 spaces will not contain any circles while the 4, 5 & 6 will).

EXAMPLE#1:

[0044] If the player had stones on each space within their colored home base except the one space, and they rolled a one and a five, the player can choose to do the following:

[0045] 1. Remove one stone from the five space (“Bear Off”) removing it from play, and move any other of their stones one space. Since they did not have a stone on the one space, they are unable to bear off a stone from this space.

[0046] 2. Move a stone from the six space forward five spaces (which will now put this stone on the one space) and move another stone forward one space.

[0047] The player may have chosen to move forward instead of bearing off because:

[0048] a) The stone on the six space may be a “Blot” and is vulnerable to being “Hit” by another player.

[0049] b) The stone on the one space may be a “Blot” and is vulnerable to being “Hit” by another player.

[0050] c) The stone on the five space may become a “Blot” if you bear off the stone and is vulnerable to being “Hit” by another player.

EXAMPLE#2:

[0051] If a player has stones on the first five spaces only and a six is rolled on one of the die, the player will move down to the next possible space which is the five. The stone must be removed from the five space. In the bearing off process, a stone must either be removed from play or moved forward towards the one space if they are able to. They cannot chose to leave things as they are just because they may end up leaving a “Blot”.

[0052] The process of bearing off will take strategy as you want to bear off as quickly as possible, but at the same time you need to preserve your own stones from being hit by another player. Note that, because of the rule of bearing off from the next power point if higher ones are unoccupied by your stones, it is advantageous to have your stones clustered as much as possible toward the one point, rather than the six point when bearing off

[0053] If your stone is hit and sent to the bar by another player during the bearing off process, you cannot bear off any other stones until this stone has made its way back around the board and into your colored home base again. That is why you need to use caution when bearing off your stones.

[0054] THE FIRST PLAYER TO SUCCESSFULLY BEAR OFF ALL OF THEIR STONES WILL BE THE WINNER!





 
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