Statistical event prediction method and apparatus
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A method and apparatus for predicting the likely outcome of an event out of a number of possible outcomes relies on past statistical occurrences of each of said possible outcomes selected by a random-number generator. In a preferred embodiment of the invention a table game provides for realistic simulation of known athletes' performance in the context of a virtual game predicated upon the career statistics of those athletes, uses card carrying along one of their edges, space-proportioned zones representing the percentage of occurrence of each possible outcome of a player's move during that player's career. A random number generator drives a display of a series of individually selectable points or locations that are matched to one of the zones in order to determine the outcome of a virtual move. The game is particularly adapted to the simulation of baseball, cricket, basketball, or golf competitions.

Busch, William K. (La Jolla, CA, US)
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International Classes:
A63F3/00; A63F9/24; (IPC1-7): A63F1/00
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What is claimed is:

1. A statistical method for predicting the likely outcome of an event among a plurality of possible outcomes, said method being based on past observations of outcomes in a plurality of previous similar ones of said event, said method comprising: marking a record-carrying medium with a plurality of zones, each of said zones representing one of said possible outcomes, and being sized in proportion to the percentage of occurrence of said outcomes in the course of said previous similar ones of said event; operating a random-selector device aimed at said zones wherein the larger a zone is the most likely it is to be selected by said device; and adopting the outcome represented by the zone selected by said device.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said zones on said medium are sequentially distributed along a first line of a given length, and the ratio of the linear dimension of each of said zone over said length is equal to said percentage; and said random-selection device comprises a display of an array of a plurality of a areas along a second line of said length.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein said zones and said arrays are linearly contiguous.

4. The method of claim 2, wherein said zones form a bar of contiguous segments having different lengths; said array comprises a series of contiguous, individually selectable areas of equal lengths; and said apparatus further comprises means for placing said first line along said second line.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein each of said media comprises a card having said bar along a first edge; said random selection device further comprises a counter; means for selectively illuminating one of said areas in response to a number of pulse accumulated in said counter; and means for sequentially accumulating random numbers of pulses into said counter.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 which further comprises a frame shaped and dimensioned to hold said card wherein said array is positioned along a side of said frame proximate the bar of said card.



[0001] This is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/643,243 filed Aug. 22, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,412,780.


[0002] This invention relates to statistical prediction methods and apparatuses and more specifically to electronically enhanced board games, simulating sport games practiced by professional players such as baseball, cricket, basketball, or golf where statistical data on the careers of past and contemporary sport figures can be used to influence the outcome of each move initiated by a game user.


[0003] Many statistical prediction methods and apparatuses have been used in the past. The prior art offers several examples of electronic board games which attempt to simulate the documented performance of certain athletes in the context of a virtual game as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,026,058 Bromley and U.S. Pat. No. 5,067,079 Smith, III et al. In those two examples, the input and processing of the statistical data are achieved by means of programmable microprocessor. A multiplicity of game control options are offered to the user requiring a very complex and eventually costly apparatus. In the above-listed examples as well as in some simpler types of board games, the statistical data are combined with the output of a random number or random event device as well as with the parameters and action choices selected by the user. The result of this complex manipulation is not a very accurate simulation of what a particular athlete's performance would have been in a similar situation. Some of the random numbers or random event generator devices such as dice or spin wheels are not immune human influence or control.

[0004] This invention results from an attempt to provide a simple and inexpensive apparatus for accurately simulating the performance of well-documented athletes in the course of a virtual competition, and to stage virtual contests between sports figures and teams of the same or different eras.


[0005] The principal object of this invention is to provide a simple, yet reliable, method and apparatus for predicting the outcome of an event among a number of possible outcomes using past statistical occurrences of each of said possible outcomes in combination with a random selection device. The percentage of occurrence of each potential outcome is indicated on a recording medium by a zone proportionally sized to correspond to said percentages. A random-selection device is aimed at said recording medium in such a manner that the larger the zone, the most likely it is to be selected by the device. The outcome corresponding to the selected zine is taken as the most likely to occur.

[0006] The preferred embodiment of the invention provides a simple, yet practical and entertaining table-top game device for staging virtual contests between combinations of known players and teams from various areas and eras in a particular sport, according to a process based on the statistical performances of former or contemporary athletes, that are not affected by any user control or intervention. The invention is particularly adapted to the statistically correct simulation of game based on individual players' skilled moves such as those required in the games of baseball, cricket, basketball or golf.

[0007] The simulation is achieved by the use of individual player cards bearing career statistics in the form of zones representing all the possible outcomes of a move. The zones are sized in proportion to the percentage of occurrence of each outcome during the player's career. A display of discrete locations individually selectable by a random number generator are juxtaposed or laid under the card zones, the randomly selected number combines with the size-proportional zone to provide an accurate rendition of the outcome of each selected move as if had been performed by the chosen athlete.

[0008] The method and apparatus can also be used in connection with various instances of events in scientific and educational applications. As an example, they can serve as effective tools in connection with the teaching of probability and statistical distribution.


[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a table-top game apparatus according to the invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the random play outcome selector; and

[0011] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a player's card.


[0012] Referring now to the drawing, there is shown in FIG. 1, a table-top game apparatus 1 specifically configured for use by one or more users or participants in simulating virtual baseball games. The contestants of the games are assumed to be contemporary or former baseball players whose career statistics are well-documented.

[0013] It should be understood that the invention can be applied to similar embodiments of other types of sporting contests in which athletes compete against each other, either singly or as part of organized and coordinated teams.

[0014] In the preferred embodiment, the players' careers are documented in recording media such as a series of cards 2, an example of which is illustrated in FIG. 3. In addition to the optional likeness 3 and career highlights 4, the card carries the player's name and team affiliation 5. On one side of the card are a number of contiguous zones 6 distributed along a first line 7 constituted by the right edge of the card. The zones 6 form a bar consisting of contiguous segments of different lengths. The lengths 1 of a segment 8 in relation to the overall lengths L of the entire bar correspond to the percentage of occurrence of the outcome of a particular move during the player's career. In the illustrated example, each zone corresponds to the possible outcome of a batting move, to wit, a home run HR, a fly out to left field FOLF, a ground out to second base GO2B, a double to right field DRF, a double to left field DLF, a single to center field SCF, a single to right field SRF, a strike out SO, a walk W, a triple to right field TRF or a triple to left field TLF.

[0015] Each virtual move is played on the apparatus 1 by placing the player's card face up into a frame 9 at the lower right corner of the apparatus board 10. The right edge of the frame is constituted by an electronic display 11 consisting of a continuous array of 100 discrete locations 12 contiguously spread over a line having the same total lengths L than the right edge of the card 2 and the zone bar 6. Each discrete location consists of a LCD segment which can be individually illuminated in response to a random play outcome selector 13. The random play outcome selector comprises a random number generator 14 feeding a counter 15 whose accumulated count is fed to the 100 point display 11. A control circuit 16 activated by a play pushbutton 17 operates the random number generator according to electronic techniques well-known to persons with ordinary skill in that art. For example, the random number generator can be constituted by counting the time between two separate periodic signals of different frequencies. The counter can either be stopped in response to the activity of the play button 17 and made to hold its count until the next move; or may be selectively enabled to count between the next incidences of the two periodic signals. It should be appreciated that this type of random play outcome selector is not susceptible to human intervention as are the throw of dice, the spinning of a wheel and other random selection devices that have been taught by the prior art. Thus, upon activation of the play button 17, a single location 12 is selected and lit on the display 11 and the virtual outcome of the play is read on the zone appearing next to the lit location. If the lit location appears to be aligned with a line of demarcation between two zones, the play button is, again, depressed until an unambiguous reading is obtained.

[0016] The card 2 may be rotated 180 degrees and repositioned into the frame 9 in order to determine the outcome of a base-running attempt. A second zone bar 18 is printed along the left edge of the card and each of the zones 19 correspond to the possible outcome of such an attempt. The lengths of each zone is proportional to the ratio of success over the number of base-stealing attempts performed by the player during his documented career, including stealing the second base S2, stealing the third base S3, stealing home base SH, or being thrown out O. A map 20 of a diamond baseball field is printed on the top surface of the game board 10 with holes 21 at each base, into which pegs 22 of different shapes of colors can be used to indicate the position of the players during the virtual game. A convenient pocket 23 is provided to hold the player cards 2. An erasable scoreboard 24 is mounted against the inside cover 25 of the apparatus. The apparatus is further by a pictural representation 26 of bleachers filled with enthusiastic spectators.

[0017] The apparatus can be used to stage contests between combinations of players and teams from different eras of baseball history by accurately replicating the career statistics of current and former players. Contests between participants or users of the apparatus can also be simulated, each participant can play the role of a team manager who can select the players and the game strategy of his teams. It should be understood that the cards can carry statistical outcomes of other players' moves.

[0018] For instance, a special card may be used after the seventh inning to determine the defensive aspect of relief pitching. The card zone bar would have black-out areas corresponding to the pitcher's career earned run average. When the relief pitcher card is laid on top of the batter's card the black-out areas mask some of the safe hit batting zones in order to limit the probability of a batter's successful move.

[0019] In another application of the invention, a method and device similar to the ones described above can be used to predict the outcome of throws of two pairs of dice, each pair used by one of two players.

[0020] First, a record of observed outcomes is tabulated in connection with a relatively large number (e.g., one hundred) of throws per pair of dice in the format shown in Table 1. 1

CountNumber of OccurrencesNumber of Occurrences

[0021] Two cards are respectively marked with zones whose sizes are proportional to the number of occurrences of each pair of counts. The random generator is then aimed at the card corresponding to the pair about to be played. The selected zone indicates the count most likely to be yielded by the throw of the dice. A relatively high percentage of coincidence between the predicted and actual counts can be selected over a large number of throws.

[0022] Similar applications may be used to demonstrate a or verify particular hypotheses or statistical principles.

[0023] While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been described, modifications can be made and other embodiments may be devised without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.