Title:
Melding card games and apparatus for playing same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Melding card games may include a deck of cards including at least one non-suited wild card and a plurality of suits of suited cards, each of the plurality of suits further including at least one suited wild card and a plurality of subsuits of subsuited cards, each of the subsuits of subsuited cards further including at least two subsuited cards. A deck may further include one or more effect cards including effect indicia indicating an effect of the effect card when played, and/or one or more victory cards including victory indicia. Methods or sets of rules for playing melding card games may specify combinations of cards that may be used to form melds, that a player may end a round by forming a predetermined combination of one or more melds, and that a victory card is awarded to a player that ends a round.



Inventors:
Yu, Brian (Hawthorne, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/050141
Publication Date:
09/01/2005
Filing Date:
02/02/2005
Assignee:
YU BRIAN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F1/00; A63F1/04; (IPC1-7): A63F1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KOLISCH HARTWELL, P.C. (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
1. A deck of cards, comprising: a plurality of suits of suited cards, each suited card in each of the plurality of suits having suit-specific indicia, each of the plurality of suits including: a plurality of subsuits of subsuited cards, each subsuited card in each of the plurality of subsuits having subsuit-specific indicia, each of the subsuits of subsuited cards further including at least two subsuited cards; and at least one suited wild card; and at least one non-suited wild card.

2. The deck of claim 1, further comprising at least one effect card, each effect card having effect indicia indicating an effect of the effect card when played.

3. A set of rules for playing a melding card game with the deck of claim 2, wherein the rules specify that a player's turn ends with discarding one card to a discard pile, and that the effect of an effect card is resolved when the effect card is discarded to the discard pile.

4. The deck of claim 2, wherein the effect indicia indicates one or more of: allowing a player to look at another player's hand, requiring a player to discard a predetermined number of cards and draw the predetermined number of replacement cards from the deck, requiring a player to draw a predetermined number of cards from the deck.

5. The deck of claim 4, wherein the deck further comprises at least one effect card having effect indicia that indicates canceling the effect of another effect card.

6. A method of playing a melding card game with the deck of claim 2, the method comprising: dealing a predetermined number of cards to each player; placing the remaining deck face-down and turning at least one card from the remaining deck face-up to begin a discard pile; beginning a round wherein each player in turn is allowed to choose to draw a card from either the remaining deck or the discard pile, form a meld, and discard a card to the discard pile; resolving the effect of an effect card that is discarded to the discard pile; and ending a round when a player forms a predetermined combination of one or more melds.

7. The deck of claim 1 further comprising at least one victory card, each victory card including victory indicia.

8. A set of rules for playing a melding card game with the deck of claim 7, wherein the rules specify that a player may end a round by forming a predetermined combination of one or more melds, and that a victory card is awarded to a player that ends a round.

9. The set of rules of claim 8 wherein the rules further specify that a game ends when a predetermined number of the at least one victory card have been awarded, and that the player to whom a majority of victory cards have been awarded at the end of the game is the winner of the game.

10. A method of playing a melding card game with the deck of claim 7, the method comprising: dealing a predetermined number of cards to each player; placing the remaining deck face-down and turning at least one card from the remaining deck face-up to begin a discard pile; beginning a round wherein each player in turn is allowed to choose to draw a card from either the remaining deck or the discard pile, form a meld, and discard a card to the discard pile; ending a round when a player forms a predetermined combination of one or more melds; awarding one of the at least one victory card to a player that ends a round; ending the game when a predetermined number of the at least one victory card have been awarded; and identifying as a winner of the game the player to whom a majority of the predetermined number of the at least one victory card has been awarded at the end of the game.

11. A set of rules for playing a melding card game with the deck of claim 1, wherein the rules specify that a meld is one or more of: a set of two or more subsuited cards of the same subsuit, a set of subsuited cards including one subsuited card of each subsuit of a given suit, a set of one or more subsuited cards of the same subsuit and one or more suited wild cards of the same suit as the one or more subsuited cards, a set of one or more subsuited cards of the same subsuit and one or more non-suited wild cards, a set of one or more suited wild cards and one or more non-suited wild cards, a set of a set of two or more suited wild cards of the same suit, and a set of two or more non-suited wild cards.

12. A set of rules for playing a melding card game with the deck of claim 1, wherein the rules specify that a meld is one or more of a set of two or more subsuited cards of the same subsuit and a set of subsuited cards including one subsuited card of each subsuit of a given suit, that a suited wild card may be used to represent any other card within the same suit, and that a non-suited wild card may be used to represent any other card in any suit.

13. A method of playing a melding card game with the deck of claim 1, the method comprising: dealing a predetermined number of cards to each player; placing the remaining deck face-down and turning at least one card from the remaining deck face-up to begin a discard pile; beginning a round wherein each player in turn is allowed to choose to draw a card from either the remaining deck or the discard pile, form a meld, and discard a card to the discard pile; and ending a round when a player forms a predetermined combination of one or more melds.

14. The deck of claim 1, wherein the plurality of subsuits of subsuited cards includes at least three subsuits, and wherein each of the subsuits of subsuited cards further including at least four subsuited cards.

15. A set of rules for playing a melding card game with the deck of claim 14, wherein the rules specify that a meld is one or more of: a set of four cards of the same subsuit, two sets of two subsuited cards of the same suit, a set of three cards of the same subsuit, and a set of three cards including one subsuited card of each subsuit of the same suit.

16. The set of rules of claim 15, wherein the rules further specify that a suited wild card may be used to represent any other card within the same suit, and that a non-suited wild card may be used to represent any other card in any suit.

17. A method of playing a melding card game comprising: providing a deck of cards including a plurality of melding cards, at least one effect card, and at least one victory card; dealing a predetermined number of cards to each player; placing the remaining deck face-down and turning at least one card from the remaining deck face-up to begin a discard pile; beginning a round wherein each player in turn is allowed to choose to draw a card from either the remaining deck or the discard pile, form a meld of melding cards, and discard a card to the discard pile; resolving the effect of an effect card that is discarded to the discard pile; ending a round when a player forms a predetermined combination of one or more melds; awarding one of the at least one victory card to a player that ends a round; ending the game when a predetermined number of the at least one victory card have been awarded; and identifying as a winner of the game the player to whom a majority of the predetermined number of the at least one victory card has been awarded at the end of the game.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the plurality of melding cards further includes: a plurality of suits of suited cards, each suited card in each of the plurality of suits having suit-specific indicia, each of the plurality of suits including: a plurality of subsuits of subsuited cards, each subsuited card in each of the plurality of subsuits having subsuit-specific indicia, each of the subsuits of subsuited cards further including at least two subsuited cards; and at least one suited wild card; and at least one non-suited wild card.

19. A deck of cards, comprising: a plurality of melding cards, including: a plurality of suits of suited cards, each suited card in each of the plurality of suits having suit-specific indicia, each of the plurality of suits further including: a plurality of subsuits of subsuited cards, each subsuited card in each of the plurality of subsuits having subsuit-specific indicia, each of the subsuits of subsuited cards further including at least two subsuited cards; and at least one suited wild card; and at least one non-suited wild card; at least one effect card, each effect card having effect indicia indicating an effect of the effect card when played; and at least one victory card, each victory card having victory indicia.

20. A deck of cards, comprising: a plurality of melding cards, including: a plurality of suits of suited cards, each suited card in each of the plurality of suits having suit-specific indicia, each of the plurality of suits further including: a plurality of subsuits of subsuited cards, each subsuited card in each of the plurality of subsuits having subsuit-specific indicia, each of the subsuits of subsuited cards further including at least two subsuited cards; and at least one suited wild card; and at least one non-suited wild card; a plurality of non-melding cards, including: a suit of at least one effect card, each effect card having effect indicia indicating an effect of the effect card when played; and a suit of at least one victory card, each victory card having victory indicia.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon and claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) to the U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/541,415, entitled “RUMMY-STYLE CARD GAME” and filed on Feb. 2, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates generally to melding card games, and more specifically to rules and apparatus for melding card games using specialized decks of playing cards. Some embodiments include a deck having a several suits of suited cards and at least one non-suited wild card, each suit including several subsuits of suited cards and at least one suited wild card. Some embodiments include a deck having effect cards and a set of rules indicating an effect of each effect card when played. Some embodiments include a deck having victory cards and a set of rules specifying that a victory card is awarded to the winner of a round of game play.

BACKGROUND

Melding card games such as Rummy, and several variants thereof, are played by two or more players with a standard 52-card deck. Each player is dealt a hand of cards. After the deal, the next card is placed face up to start a discard pile, and the remainder of the deck is placed face down to form a stock pile. The players then take alternating turns attempting to dispose of all the cards in their hands by “melding,” or forming certain card combinations called “melds,” and laying the melds face up on the table. Typical melds include sequences of three or more consecutively ranked cards in a particular suit (4custom character, 5custom character, and 6custom character, for example) or a group of three or more cards of the same rank in different suits (Kcustom character K♥, and Kcustom character for example). Players may also dispose of cards by adding one or more cards to an existing meld on the table, such as by continuing a sequence or by completing a group.

During a turn, a player first draws the top card of either the discard pile or the stock pile, decides whether or not to play any cards by making one or more melds and/or playing one or more cards on existing melds, and then discards one card face up on the discard pile. The first player to dispose of all of his or her cards in this manner wins the round. Play ceases when a player wins the round, even if the other players have valid combinations in their hands. The winner of the round is usually awarded a score equal to the total point value of the cards remaining in the other players' hands. A new round is then dealt, and play continues in this fashion until one player's score has reached a predetermined value or until a predetermined number of rounds have been played.

Other card games in which players attempt to win a round by forming melds include Rummy variants such as Gin Rummy, Canasta, Five Hundred, and also include the game of Go Fish, in which each player asks other players for cards of a chosen rank in order to meld a group of four cards of the rank, and the game of Old Maid, in which players take turns each drawing a card at random from another player's hand in an attempt to meld pairs of cards while avoiding a unique “old maid” card.

Other examples of card decks and/or games in which objects or cards are matched to creates sets include the games and card decks disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,734,510, 3,990,698, 4,243,226, 4,369,976, 4,846,480, 4,915,393, 5,037,110, 5,106,100, 5,213,334, 5,374,067, 5,380,012, 5,451,062, 5,711,526, 5,772,212, 5,810,361, 5,816,576, 5,863,043, 5,887,873, 6,142,475, 6,332,615, 6,454,265, 6,588,756, and UK Patent Application GB 2,230,962A, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

Specialized decks have been developed for use with some card games, such as Mille Bornes® (Parker Brothers, Inc.), Uno® (Mattel, Inc.), and the melding card game disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,247,697. Some specialized decks include cards that have certain effects on game play. For example, the game of Uno includes cards that instruct a player to perform an action such as drawing a number of additional cards.

Further, some card games using a standard deck provide for the use of one or more “joker” cards within their rules, such as by permitting a joker card to represent any other card in the deck. Some card games using specialized decks include “wild” cards to fulfill the same purpose. For example, the game of Uno includes several non-suited wild cards, each of which may be played as a card of any rank in any suit.

The disclosures of all of the aforementioned references are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety for all purposes.

SUMMARY

The present disclosure provides a specialized deck of cards and rules for using the deck to play a melding card game suitable for two or more players. Some embodiments may include a deck having a several suits of suited cards and at least one non-suited wild card, each suit including several subsuits of suited cards and at least one suited wild card. Optionally, some embodiments may further include effect cards, each of which may have effect indicia that indicates an effect of the effect card when played. Some embodiments may further include victory cards, each of which may have victory indicia.

Methods of playing a melding game with the specialized decks disclosed herein may include dealing a predetermined number of cards to each player; placing the remaining deck face-down and turning at least one card from the remaining deck face-up to begin a discard pile; beginning a round in which each player in turn is allowed to choose to draw a card from either the remaining deck or the discard pile, form a meld, and discard a card to the discard pile; and ending a round when a player forms a predetermined combination of one or more melds. Some methods may include additional actions, for example if effect cards and/or victory cards are used during game play.

Such methods may be articulated in sets of rules or instructions for use with the specialized decks disclosed herein. Such rules may specify the card combinations that may be used to form melds, and/or the one or more predetermined combinations of melds that may end a round. Such rules may further specify that a suited wild card may be used to represent any other card within the same suit, and that a non-suited wild card may be used to represent any other card in any suit.

The rules may further provide details and/or instructions related to the use of effect cards and/or victory cards. For example, the rules may specify that the effect of an effect card is resolved when the effect card is discarded, or at some other point during game play when the effect card is played. The rules may further specify that a victory card is awarded to the winner of a round of game play, that the game ends when a predetermined number of victory cards have been awarded, and/or that the player to whom most of victory cards have been awarded is the winner of the game.

Optionally, a game backstory or theme may provide a contextual framework or setting according to which the game is played, such as to aid player comprehension of the rules, to enhance entertainment value, and so forth. Such a theme may be based wholly or in part on characters, events, locations portrayed in a particular popular culture phenomenon, i.e. in a book, comic book, movie, TV show, or the like, and the theme may be manifested in one or more game components or attributes. For example, a commercial embodiment is based on the world created in the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” series of books by Lemony Snicket. In this embodiment, each suit of suited cards in a specialized deck corresponds to groups of characters from the books, such as the Baudelaire orphans. Each subsuit corresponds to a particular character in the group, such as Klaus Baudelaire, one of the orphans. The specialized deck of this embodiment also includes effect cards and victory cards with indicia featuring events and/or characters from the books, and also includes a set of rules including thematic references to the books.

Those skilled in the art will understand that the particular embodiments disclosed and illustrated herein are provided by way of example and thus should not be considered in a limiting sense, because numerous variations are possible and are within the scope of the disclosure.

The game of the present disclosure will be understood more readily after a consideration of the drawings and the Detailed Description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary deck of cards suitable for use with one embodiment of a melding card game according to the present disclosure.

FIGS. 2-13 show exemplary cards of the deck shown in FIG. 1, in which:

FIG. 2 depicts a card in a first subsuit in a first suit;

FIG. 3 depicts a card in a second subsuit in a first suit;

FIG. 4 depicts a card in a third subsuit in a first suit;

FIG. 5 depicts a suited wild card in a first suit;

FIG. 6 depicts a card in a first subsuit in a second suit;

FIG. 7 depicts a card in a second subsuit in a second suit;

FIG. 8 depicts a card in a third subsuit in a second suit;

FIG. 9 depicts a suited wild card in a second suit;

FIG. 10 depicts a non-suited wild card;

FIG. 11 depicts an effect card including effect indicia that includes playing instructions indicating an effect of the card;

FIG. 12 depicts an effect card including effect indicia that includes a symbol indicating an effect of the card; and

FIG. 13 depicts a victory card including victory indicia.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

An exemplary embodiment of a melding card game is described herein with reference to the specialized deck of cards shown in FIG. 1 and the exemplary cards illustrated in FIGS. 2-13. In FIG. 1, a deck 10 is shown to include cards 12. Cards 12 each include markings or other indicia on a first side to indicate the card type, and may further include a common design or indicia (or may be left blank) on an opposite side so that cards 12 are indistinguishable from each other when placed face-down on a surface.

The cards of deck 10 may be categorized by card type and/or suit, and may further be subcategorized within each type or suit. Thus, the cards of deck 10 include a plurality of suits of suited cards. For example, a first suit and a second suit are indicated as 14 and 16, respectively, in FIGS. 2-9. Each suit also includes a plurality of subsuits of subsuited cards and at least one suited wild card. For example, a first, second, and third subsuit in the first suit are indicated at 18, 20, and 22, respectively, and a first, second, and third subsuit in the second suit are indicated at 24, 26, and 28, respectively. A suited wild card of the first suit is indicated at 30, and a suited wild card of the second suit is indicated at 32. The cards of deck 10 further include at least one non-suited wild card (indicated at 34 in FIG. 10). As described below, in some methods of playing a melding card game with the cards of deck 10, a suited wild card may be used to represent any other card within the same suit, and a non-suited wild card may be used to represent any other card in any suit.

Other types of cards 12 in deck 10 may include effect cards (two exemplary effect cards are indicated at 36, 38 in FIGS. 11-12), and victory cards (indicated at 40 in FIG. 13), although it will be clear those skilled in the art that numerous variations in the structure of the deck are possible and are considered to be within the scope of this disclosure.

Referring to FIGS. 2-9, each of the suited cards indicated generally as 14, 16 is shown to include distinguishable suit-specific indicia 42, such as a background color. For example, suited cards indicated as 14 (in FIGS. 2-5) belong to a first suit, as indicated by first suit-specific indicia 44 (shown as the background color green). Similarly, suited cards indicated as 16 (in FIGS. 6-9) belong to a second suit, as indicated by second suit-specific indicia 46 (shown as the background color blue). However, although the suit-specific indicia of each of the illustrated cards are shown as a background color, any appropriate indicia may be used, such as a shape, a symbol, and so forth.

Optionally, some or all of the suited cards of each suit may share a thematic characteristic, which may be evident to players familiar with a backstory or theme upon which the game is based, or which may be self-evident. For example, each of the suited cards in each suit includes an image 48. The images on some of the suited cards in the first suit (FIGS. 2-4) represent children. More specifically, the images collectively depict a group of characters from a series of books, which players who are familiar with the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books by Lemony Snicket may recognize as the Baudelaire orphans. Similarly, the images on some of the suited cards in the second suit (FIGS. 6-8) collectively depict a different group of characters from the same series of books.

Some embodiments may extend such a thematic characteristic or component to the suited wild cards in each suit. For example, although image 48 on suited wild cards 30, 32 is shown as a stylized question mark, suited wild cards of other embodiments may each include thematic indicia such as a composite image of all of the characters presented on the suited cards of a particular suit, such as to provide a visual cue that the wild card may be used to represent any suited card that includes an image of any of the characters presented. Also, as shown in the illustrated embodiment, suited cards may include more than one suit-specific indicia (such as a background color in addition to a thematic characteristic).

As mentioned above, each suit includes a plurality of subsuits of subsuited cards and at least one suited wild card. For example, referring to FIGS. 2-5, cards 18, 20, and 22 represent subsuited cards in first, second, and third subsuits within the first suit of the illustrated embodiment. Similarly, cards 24, 26, and 28 in FIGS. 6-8 represent first, second, and third subsuits within the second suit of the illustrated embodiment. Each subsuited card is shown to include distinguishable subsuit-specific indicia 50, such as a smaller version of image 48. For example, subsuited card 18 (FIG. 2) belongs to a first subsuit, as indicated by first subsuit-specific indicia 52 (shown as the face of story character Klaus Baudelaire). Subsuited cards 20, 22 similarly belong to second and third subsuits within the first suit, as indicated by second and third subsuit-specific indicia 54 (shown as the face of story character Violet Baudelaire), and 56 (shown as the face of story character Sunny Baudelaire), respectively. Similarly, subsuited cards 24, 26, and 28 belong to first, second, and third subsuits within the second suit, as indicated by first, second, and third subsuit-specific indicia 58, 60, and 62 (each shown as a different character's face).

As shown, since each of the subsuited cards belongs to a given suit, each subsuited card includes subsuit-specific indicia as well as suit-specific indicia. In the illustrated embodiment, subsuit-specific indicia are shown as faces of different characters, and suit-specific indicia are shown as background colors. However, as suggested above, any appropriate indicia may be used as the subsuit-specific indicia, such as a symbol, a shape, and so forth. For example, in some embodiments, some aspect of image 36 on each subsuited card, or the image itself, may serve to indicate the subsuit of a card.

Also, as shown, subsuits and suits are not ranked and indicate no comparative value hierarchy, and the subsuits of each suit indicate no correspondence to subsuited cards of other suits. However, alternate embodiments of the deck may include ranked cards, and methods and/or rules of play may assign relative ranks or values to cards of the various suits and subsuits.

In addition to the above-described subsuited cards, each suit further includes at least one suited wild card. As suggested above, some methods of playing a melding card game provide that a suited wild card may be used to represent any other card within the same suit. Thus, if a meld requires a particular suited card, a suited wild card in the same suit may be used to represent the particular card. Suited wild cards 30, 32 thus both include suit-specific indicia 42. More particularly, suited wild card 30 includes first suit-specific indicia 44 (green background color), and suited wild card 32 includes second suit-specific indicia 46 (blue background color). However, any suit-specific indicia corresponding to the suit-specific indicia on subsuited cards of the same suit may be used. For example, if the color green is used as a background color on the subsuited cards of a particular suit, the corresponding suited wild card may incorporate the color green elsewhere on the card. Optionally, the suited wild card may include any suit-specific indicia, either alone or in combination with the suit-specific indicia on the corresponding cards of the same suit, to indicate that the suited wild card belongs to a particular suit.

Also, the cards of deck 10 include at least one non-suited wild card. Somewhat analogous to suited wild cards, some methods of playing a melding card game provide that a non-suited wild card may be used to represent any other card in any suit. Thus, if a meld requires a particular suited card, a non-suited wild card may be used to represent the particular card. An exemplary non-suited wild card 34 is shown in FIG. 10 to include an image 48, shown as a stylized question mark similar to those of suited wild cards 30, 32. However, non-suited wild card 34 is shown to include no suit-specific indicia. Rather, image 48 on the non-suited wild card is shown against a stylized background 64. Stylized background 64, or any other marking or design on the face of the card, may be adapted to provide a visual cue that the non-suited wild card is not affiliated with a particular suit. For example, if color-coded suit-specific indicia are used for suited cards, stylized background 64 may include a color that is not used for any suit-specific indicia on the suited cards, or alternatively may include all of the colors used on suited cards, such as to indicate that the non-suited wild card may be used as a card in any suit. Optionally, although non-suited wild card 34 is shown to include a stylized question mark as image 48, any suitable marking or indicia may be used.

In deck 10, the number of suits and subsuits may be varied as desired or based on factors such as a desired method of play and/or a desired level of game complexity. The numbers of cards within each suit and subsuit, suited wild cards, and non-suited wild cards may also be varied. For example, for simplicity, the illustrated embodiment depicts two suits of suited cards, each suit including three subsuits, each subsuit represented by an exemplary card, and at least one suited wild card. However, a commercial embodiment includes one non-suited wild card and four suits of suited cards, each suit including three suited wild cards and three subsuits having seven cards each.

Cards 12 in deck 10 may further include cards such as effect cards 36, 38 and one or more victory cards 40, the use of which may be indicated on the game card and/or specified by rules or methods of game play. For example, effect cards, when played, may have an effect upon the game, such as instructing one or more players to perform some action that may not be included in regular game play. Also, victory cards may be awarded to the winner of a round of game play and used to determine when a game ends and/or the winner of the game. Methods and/or rules of game play may optionally specify related matters such as when effect cards (either generally or specifically) may be played, when the effect of a played effect card is resolved, how many victory cards are awarded to the winner of a round, and so forth.

Each effect card may include instructions or other indicia indicating an effect of the effect card when played. For example, effect card 36 is shown in FIG. 11 to include the textual instructions “LOOK AT OPPONENT'S HAND!” Thus, when effect card 36 is played, the player playing the effect card may be allowed to look at a chosen opponent's hand. Optionally, rules or methods of game play may specify that game play may be affected in a predetermined manner by the indicia included on an effect card. For example, effect card 38 is shown in FIG. 12 to include a stylized “no symbol” (custom character), which may indicate that the effect of effect card 38 is to cancel the effect of another effect card. Thus, if a first player plays an effect card (such as effect card 36), a second player holding effect card 38 may play it to cancel the effect of the first player's effect card.

Each of effect cards 36, 38 are also shown to include the same stylized background 64 that appears on non-suited wild card 34, but variations in configuration are contemplated and considered to be within the scope of the present disclosure. Also, the cards of deck 10 may include effect cards having other effects than those discussed above, as suitable for the desired method and/or rules of game play. For example, in an exemplary set of rules, players attempt to form two melds to win a round of game play. Thus, in addition to or instead of effect cards 36, 38, effect cards for use with the set of rules may include one or more cards requiring a chosen player to draw a predetermined number of additional cards and complete an additional meld in order to win a round of game play, one or more cards requiring a chosen player to discard a meld and draw a corresponding number of additional cards, and so forth.

As with the suited cards of deck 10, the effect cards may include indicia that further manifest a chosen theme or backstory. Optionally, the effects of the various effect cards may include a thematic component. For example, consistent with the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” story theme as mentioned above, an effect card that requires a chosen player to discard a meld and draw additional cards may be represented with an image of a burning house on the effect card, to represent an event from the story and also to fancifully indicate the disastrous effect of the card.

Similarly, victory cards may include thematic indicia, or may include generic victory indicia. For example, victory card 40 is shown in FIG. 13 to include the text “VICTORY!” However, victory cards of other embodiments may include victory indicia such as one or more images and/or text suitable to identify the card as a victory card. Also, if deck 10 includes more than one victory card, each may include the same victory indicia or differentiable victory indicia. For example, a commercial embodiment includes several victory cards, each of which depicts a different scene from the aforementioned series of books. Also, victory card 40 is shown to include a generic background 66, but victory cards of other embodiments may include a stylized background such as that shown on effect cards 36, 38, another background, or no background.

As mentioned above, and as described in more detail below, victory cards may be awarded to the winner of a round of game play. Thus, victory cards may be used as a scoring system to indicate the winner of the game, rather than being drawn, played, and/or discarded in a manner similar to the other cards of deck 10. As such, the victory cards may correspond in size and shape to the other cards of deck 10 for consistency or convenience, but other embodiments may include victory cards that may not so correspond, or may include a scoring system other than victory cards.

In deck 10, as with the suited cards, the number and type of effect cards and victory cards may be varied as desired or based on factors such as a desired method of play. The effects of the effect cards may also be varied. For example, for simplicity, the illustrated embodiment depicts two types of effect cards and one type of victory card. However, a commercial embodiment includes two of each of four different effect cards and seven victory cards each including different victory indicia.

Exemplary methods of game play utilizing the concepts and cards discussed above are outlined in the paragraphs below. The games are melding card games, and thus may be played by multiple players, each of whom take alternating turns during a round of game play, a game consisting of one or more sequential rounds.

Exemplary methods of playing a melding card game with a deck of cards as disclosed above may include dealing a predetermined number of cards to each player; placing the remaining deck face-down and turning at least one card from the remaining deck face-up to begin a discard pile; beginning a round wherein each player in turn is allowed to choose to draw a card from either the remaining deck or the discard pile, form a meld, and discard a card to the discard pile; and ending a round when a player forms a predetermined combination of one or more melds.

If effect cards are included in the deck, exemplary methods may further include resolving the effect of an effect card that is discarded to the discard pile. Further, if victory cards are included in the deck, exemplary methods may further include awarding one of the victory cards to a player that ends a round; ending the game when a predetermined number of victory cards have been awarded; and identifying as a winner of the game the player to whom most of the victory cards has been awarded at the end of the game.

Such methods may be articulated in, or augmented by, sets of rules or instructions for use with the game, which may further specify details of game play such as by identifying one or more card combinations that may form a meld, and/or by identifying a combination of one or more melds that must be formed in order to end a round.

For example, in a commercial embodiment, the deck includes one non-suited wild card and four suits of suited cards, each suit further including three suited wild card and three subsuits of seven cards each. An exemplary set of rules for use with such a deck may specify that a meld is a set of either three or four cards, that only cards in the same suit may form a meld, and that the only combinations of suited cards that may form a meld include:

    • A set of four cards of the same subsuit,
    • Two sets of two subsuited cards of the same suit,
    • A set of three cards of the same subsuit, and
    • A set of three cards including one subsuited card of each subsuit of the same suit.

In other words, using suited cards 14 as an example, such a set of rules would specify the following combinations as melds:

    • A set of four of either of cards 18, 20, or 22 (for example, [18, 18, 18, 18], etc.)
    • Two sets of two of either of cards 18, 20, or 22 (for example, [18, 18, 20, 20], etc.)
    • A set of three of either of cards 18, 20, or 22 (for example, [18, 18, 18], etc.)
    • A set of three cards including one of each of 18, 20, and 22.

The set of rules may also indicate that a suited wild card may be used to represent any other card within the same suit and that a non-suited wild card may be used to represent any other card in any suit.

The set of rules may differ depending on the structure of the deck. Thus, an alternative set of rules may specify that a meld may consist only of cards in the same suit, but may provide a greater range of melding combinations, such as:

    • a set of two or more subsuited cards of the same subsuit,
    • a set of subsuited cards including one subsuited card of each subsuit of a given suit,
    • a set of one or more subsuited cards of the same subsuit and one or more suited wild cards of the same suit as the one or more subsuited cards,
    • a set of one or more subsuited cards of the same subsuit and one or more non-suited wild cards,
    • a set of one or more suited wild cards and one or more non-suited wild cards,
    • a set of two or more suited wild cards of the same suit, and
    • a set of two or more non-suited wild cards.

A set of rules may also specify one or more predetermined combinations of melds that may end a round. For example, the exemplary set of rules above may further specify that a round may end when a player has formed one four-card meld and one three-card meld. Optionally, the set of rules may specify that a player may only form one meld per turn.

In addition to specifying aspects of game play related to melding, sets of rules may further provide details and/or instructions related to the use of effect cards and/or victory cards. For example, the rules may specify that the effect of an effect card is resolved when the effect card is discarded. If a deck includes one or more effect cards that cancel the effect of another effect card, the rules may specify that a player may play such a canceling card whenever another effect card is played to have an effect on the player.

Thus, game play using the aforementioned exemplary set of rules, and a suitable deck, may proceed as follows. Prior to initiating a game, the players may remove the victory cards from the deck and place them face-up in the playing area. The remaining deck may be shuffled and a predetermined number (for example, seven) are dealt face-down to each player. The remainder of the deck is placed face-down in the playing area and the top card is turned face-up to begin a discard pile.

Each player in turn is allowed to choose to draw a card from either the remaining deck or the discard pile. If, after drawing a card, a player's cards may be arranged to make a meld, the player lays the melded cards face-up, and then discards. However, only one meld may be formed per turn, even if the player's cards may be arranged to form more than one meld. If no meld may be formed, the player discards. If an effect card is played as the discard, the effect of the effect card is resolved before play passes to the next player. However, if another player is holding an effect card that cancels the effect of another effect card, such a card may be played out-of-turn to cancel the effect of the played effect card.

Play continues until one player forms a four-card meld and a three-card meld, at which point play ceases and the round ends, and the player chooses a victory card from the playing area. The deal passes to the next player, and all of the cards, except the victory cards, are shuffled and dealt to begin a new round of play. Rounds continue until all of the victory cards have been awarded, and the player with the most victory cards is identified as the winner of the game.

As is evident from the foregoing, variations in the deck of cards and methods and rules for game play are possible and within the scope of this disclosure. For example, the rules may differ in terms of the card combinations that may qualify as melds, such as if the deck has a different configuration, or if a different level of challenge or interest is desired. Thus, methods and rules for game play may relate to the number and types of cards in the deck, and vice versa.

It is believed that the disclosure set forth herein encompasses multiple distinct inventions with independent utility. While each of these inventions has been disclosed in a preferred form, the specific embodiments thereof as disclosed and illustrated herein are not to be considered in a limiting sense as numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the inventions includes all novel and non-obvious combinations and subcombinations of the various elements, features, functions and/or properties disclosed herein. Similarly, where the claims recite “a” or “a first” element of the equivalent thereof, such claims should be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements.

It is believed that the following claims particularly point out certain combinations and subcombinations of features, functions, elements and/or properties that may be claimed through amendment of the present claims or presentation of new claims in this or a related application. Such amended or new claims, whether they are directed to a different invention or directed to the same invention, whether different, broader, narrower or equal in scope to the original claims, are also regarded as included within the subject matter of the inventions of the present disclosure.