Title:
Board game method and apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multiplayer game is disclosed consisting of a board with multiple home regions which are assigned to different players. Multiple sets of markers are provided, one for each player. Each set of marker is assigned a home region in which it can survive indefinitely, however, they can survive for only a limited number of turns outside of their respective home regions. Players advance their markers out of their home regions and into enemy regions and bring them back within said limited number of turns to score points, the number of steps a marker moves being determined by a number generating device. If the marker does not return back to its home region within the specified number of turns it dies and is removed from the board. The first player to score a necessary number of points wins the game.



Inventors:
Gheewala, Tushar (Los Altos, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/854560
Publication Date:
12/01/2005
Filing Date:
05/27/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00; (IPC1-7): A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100078890BIDIRECTIONAL BOARD GAME AND METHOD FOR PLAYING THE SAMEApril, 2010Lin et al.
20070262524THREE CARD BLACKJACKNovember, 2007Lambert
20090094287Computerized Game and Associated Physical Game Piece for Trading and Tracking via an Online CommunityApril, 2009Johnson et al.
20050167910Scratch-off ticket or playing cardAugust, 2005Candler
20070018405Apparatus and method of playing a gameJanuary, 2007Au-yeung
20090108532Changeable gaming tableApril, 2009Darling
20060082063Twenty-one skins gameApril, 2006Moody et al.
20080042356Word creation card setFebruary, 2008Ahmad et al.
20100009744Method and System for a Casino Game Providing a Repetitive Event WagerJanuary, 2010Mugnolo et al.
20040061287Pictorial rendering of a conceptApril, 2004Vaillancourt
20090250871Prophesy coins gameOctober, 2009Tamian



Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tushar Gheewala (Los Altos, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A game comprising: a game board having a two dimensional grid; said game board containing first home region occupying a part of the game board and belonging to a first player; a number generating device; a first set of markers belonging to the first player, the said markers possessing a property whereby they can not survive outside of said first home region for more than a predetermined number of turns; wherein the first player scores points by moving at least one of his markers out of the first home region to a position a requisite minimum distance away from the first home region, making a U-turn and returning said at least one of his markers to the first home region without exceeding the said predetermined number of turns, while using the number generating device to determine the number of grids the marker can move during each turn.

2. The game according to claim 1 wherein said number generating device is a set of dice.

3. The game according to claim 1 wherein the path traced on the game board by the movements of said at least one marker includes at least one right angle turn.

4. The game according to claim 1 wherein a starting line is included on the game board which when crossed on an outbound journey by said at least one marker begins the count of said limited number of turns outside of the first home region.

5. The game according to claim 1 wherein a finishing line is included on the game board which when crossed on the return journey by said at least one marker completes the count of said limited number of turns outside of said first home region.

6. The game according to claim 1 wherein said game board and said markers are displayed on a electronic display screen.

7. The game according to claim 1 wherein said first home region represents land and the first set of markers represent land animals.

8. A board game comprising: a game board having a two dimensional grid; said game board containing a first home region occupying a part of the game board and belonging to a first player and a second home region occupying a part of the game board and belonging to a second player; a number generating device; a first set of markers belonging to the first player, the said markers possessing a property whereby they can not survive outside of said first home region for more than a predetermined number of turns and a second set of markers belonging to the second player, the said second set of markers possessing a property whereby they can not survive outside of said second home region for more than a predetermined number of turns; wherein the two players take alternate turns to move their said markers on the game board using said number generating device to determine the number of grids a marker can move on its turn, scoring points by completing successful attacks outside of their respective home regions by moving one of the markers belonging to them a prerequisite minimum distance away from its home region, making a U-turn and returning said one of the markers back to its home region without exceeding said predetermined number of turns, capturing the opposing player's marker by landing their marker on top of the opponent's marker and winning the game by scoring a target number of points before the opponent.

9. The game according to claim 8 wherein said number generating device is a set of dice.

10. The game according to claim 8 wherein the path traced on the game board by the movements of said one of the markers includes at least one right angle turn.

11. The board game according to claim 8 wherein two starting lines are included on the game board including a first starting line which when crossed on an outbound journey by one of said first set of markers begins said launching of an attack by the first player and a second starting line which when crossed on an outbound journey by one of said second set of markers begins said attack by the second player.

12. The board game according to claim 8 wherein two finish lines are included on the game board including a first finish line which when crossed on a return journey by one of said first set of markers completes said launching of an attack by the first player and a second finish line which when crossed on a return journey by one of said second set of markers completes said attack by the second player.

13. The board game according to claim 8 wherein two point scoring guides are included on the board, one for each player which mark the furthest distance traveled by a marker from its home region during an attack and accordingly determine the number of points scored by the marker upon a successful completion of an attack.

14. The board game according to claim 8 wherein said first home region represents land, the second home region water, the first set of markers represent land animals and the second set of markers represent marine life.

15. The board game according to claim 8 wherein the board, the two home regions and the markers are displayed on a screen controlled by an electronic device.

16. Method for play of a game for multiple players on a game board means comprising at least one distinct home region for each player, comprising the steps of: placing by each player of a distinguishable set of plural markers each on said home region belonging to said player, said markers unable to live outside of their respective home regions for more than a specified number of turns; each player playing in sequential repetitive turn by generating a number on a number generating device and moving a single one of his said set of markers by a number of steps equal to the said number generated by the number generating device, moving it from its prior disposition on the said game board to a new position on the said game board; each player scoring points by using his turns to move one of his set of markers from his home region to a place on the said board outside of his home region and returning the said marker back to his home region within the said specified number of turns; and, a player winning the game by being the first amongst the said players to score a specified number of points.

17. The game playing method according to claim 16 wherein said points scored by a player are increased in proportion to the distance away from its said home region that the said marker travels.

18. The game playing method according to claim 17 wherein a first player can capture a marker belonging to a second player by moving and landing a single one of his said set of markers on top of a marker belonging to the second player.

19. Method for play of a game on a surface with a safe region and an inclement region, comprising the steps of: placing markers in the said safe region; moving a marker out of the safe region in to said inclement region and bringing it back to safe region within a given number of turns;

20. A board game comprising: a game board having two dimensional grid printed on it; said game board containing first home region occupying a part of the game board and belonging to a first player; a number generating device used prior to a turn to determine the number of grids on the game board a marker will move during that turn; a first set of markers belonging to the first player, the said markers possessing a property whereby they can not survive outside of said first home region for more than a predetermined number of turns.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A “SEQUENCE LISTING,” A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING APPENDIX SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISK

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Board games have been invented and played by men over many millenniums. Games such as Chess, Drafts and Backgammon predate the Christian era. In many of these prior art games, a player wins by either capturing his opponent's markers, or by advancing his markers to a destination before his opponent can do the same, or both. More recently, computerized versions of many board games are developed where a computer screen emulates the board and the markers or pieces used in board games, and the computer provides random number generating means to substitute the dice used in many such board games. In more advanced versions of the computer games one or more players are even substituted by the computer.

Many of the games such as Drafts and Backgammon teach the idea of moving markers from a starting position to a desired end position to achieve a desired result. However, none of these prior games require that the travel from the start area to the finish area be completed in a limited number of turns of play, failing which the marker would be removed from the play. This causes the game to take long time to complete as the players do not have a deadline within which a task must be completed.

The prior art games also do not teach the idea where a part of the game board is designated as a safe area for a player where his markers can survive indefinitely, and outside of the safe area they can survive for only a limited number of turns. As a result the player only focuses on advancing his marker to the goal and he does not have to balance that goal with one of returning the marker back to his safe area within the limited number of turns. This makes the games less challenging.

What is required is a more challenging game that can be played in less time.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a novel board game and, more specifically, to a board game where a play marker has limited number of turns within which it must advance out of its home region and penetrate a specified minimum distance into a hostile environment and then return safely return back to its home region to score points.

In a preferred embodiment, the game comprises a board of rectangular shape with a square grid, having a first region and a second region belonging to a first player and a second player respectively. Two distinct sets of pieces or markers, one set belonging to the first player and the second set of markers belonging to the second player, are placed on the board. One set of markers is placed in the first region and the second set is placed in the second region. While the markers can survive indefinitely in their respective home regions, outside of their home regions the markers can survive for only a limited number of turns, for example three. Two players take alternate turns to move their markers using a set of dice to determine the number of squares a marker can be moved. A player scores points by successfully moving his marker from his own region to a point deep in to the opponent's region, making a U-turn and returning the marker back to his own region within a specified number of turns. The deeper a marker penetrates the opponent's defenses the more point it scores. However, if the marker fails to return to its home region within the specified number of turns, it dies and does not score any points. Additionally, during its movement a marker may kill an opponent's marker by landing on it. Alternatively, it can be killed if an opponent's marker lands on it. Dead markers are removed from the board for the remainder of the game. A player wins the game when he either scores a specified number of points before his opponent or if he kills all of his opponent's markers.

The game which has been selected to illustrate the invention by way of example is hereinafter described in detail with reference to accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view of the game board

FIG. 2 shows the two tetrahedral dice used to play the game.

FIG. 3 shows the two sets of markers used to play the game.

FIG. 4 shows the starting position of the game.

FIG. 5 illustrates game marker moves that are allowed.

FIG. 6 shows marker moves that are not allowed.

FIG. 7 illustrates game marker moves that result in capture of opponent's markers.

FIG. 8 illustrates a capturing move that ends an attack and initiates another attack

FIG. 9 shows the key dimensions of the game board.

FIG. 10 shows a game board with two home regions and one boundary between them.

FIG. 11 shows a game board with two sets of separate start and finish lines.

FIG. 12 shows a triangular game board for three players.

FIG. 13 shows a cross-shaped game board for four players.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

1. Game Set-Up

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a rectangular game board 100 for two players. The game board has a square grid on it and the board area is divided in to three regions 101, 109 and 105. The lightly shaded region 101 and the dark shaded region 105 represent the respective home regions for two players. The third region 109 is a buffer region that separates the two home regions 101 and 105. Region 101 and 109 are separated by a boundary 113 which acts as the start line and finish line for the first player, and the regions 105 and 109 are separated by a second boundary 117 which acts as the start line and finish line for the second player. Points scoring guidelines 121 and 123 are provided on the game board which indicate the number of points that would be won by a marker as it successfully penetrates the home region of its opponent. For example, if marker belonging to a first player was to progress two squares beyond its opponent's boundary 117 it would win 1 point as indicated by the scoring guide 123, provided that it returns back to its home region 101 within the allocated number of turns. The board is typically made of printed paper, wood or plastic.

The game also includes a number generating device in the form of a pair of tetrahedral dice shown in FIG. 2. Each die has the numbers 1,2,3 and 4 printed on them, each number representing one vertex of the die. The dice are alternatively rolled on a flat surface by the players and the numbers on the top vertex of each die are added together and used to determine the number of steps a player can move his marker. The example in FIG. 2 shows a roll of dice with the outcomes 2 and 3, adding up to a total of 5.

The maximum roll, Nmax that can be obtained with two tetrahedral dice is 8 (4+4) while the minimum roll, Nmin is 2 (1+1). The probabilities of rolling a specific total number between 2 and 8 using two tetrahedral dice are listed below:

Total rollProbability
2 1/16 (Nmin)
3 2/16
4 3/16
5 4/16 (NPamx)
6 3/16
7 2/16
8 1/16 (Nmax)

It is seen that the outcome of a 5 is most likely (NPmax), followed closely by the probabilities of rolling a 4 or a 6.

The game also includes two sets of playing pieces or markers for the two players as shown in FIG. 3. The two playing marker sets are differentiated from each other by different colors or design on them.

At the start of the game, the two sets of game markers are placed in their respective home regions as shown in FIG. 4. 402 is a representative marker from the first set, belonging to the first player, placed in the home region 401, and 404 is a representative marker from the second set, belonging to the second player, which is placed in the second home region 403. The remaining markers are also shown in FIG. 5. Path 419 is an illustrative path a marker may take to invade the opponent's territory with a U-TURN at the point of its deepest penetration in the enemy territory. The illustrated path 419 is traversed over three turns, the boundaries between the path segments corresponding to the individual turns are indicated by the breakpoints marked by an ‘X’. In this example, the marker would score 2 point upon its successful return to its home base as indicated by the scoring bar 417.

2. Rules Governing the Movement of the Game Markers

In the beginning, the two players roll the dice to decide who plays first, with the player with the highest roll playing first.

After that, each player alternatively rolls the two dice and moves one of his markers a number of squares equal to the roll of the dice.

FIG. 5 illustrates several types of moves that are allowed under the rules of the game. A straight line move 501 in any direction is allowed. One right angle turn (L-TURN) is allowed per move as seen in moves 503 and 505. In addition, one 180 degree turn (U-TURN) is allowed in the opponent's region marking the marker's deepest penetration into opponent's territory as illustrated in moves 509 and 511. An L-TURN may be combined with a U-TURN as illustrated by the moves 509 and 511.

Some of the moves that are not permitted under the rules are illustrated in FIG. 6. Diagonal moves such as 600 are not allowed. A move such as illustrated by 601 where a marker jumps over another marker, belonging to either player, is not allowed. The restriction about jumping over a piece also applies after a U-TURN as shown in 603. No U-TURN is allowed outside of opponent's region. Hence a move such as shown in 605 where a U-TURN is made in one's home region is not allowed.

Other Restrictions on Game Marker Moves are:

At the end of a turn, only one marker belonging to either player can be outside of its home region. Hence a player can not move one of his markers out of his home region while another one of his own or his opponent's marker is on attack, unless the start of the second attack results in the capture of the opponent's attacker.

A move that does not use the full amount of the roll is not allowed. A player who can not make a legal move that uses up the full extent of his roll forfeits his turn.

3. Capturing of Opponent's Markers

A player can capture his opponent's marker by landing his marker on top of the opponent's marker at the end of the move. FIG. 7 shows various moves that result in the capture of opponent's markers. The move 701 illustrates an attacking move that captures an enemy marker in its home region. The move 705 illustrates the use of an L-TURN in a defensive move to capture an enemy marker in one's home region. The move 703 illustrates a move incorporating an L-TURN and a U-TURN that results in the capture of a defending marker. Finally, the move 711 illustrates the use of an L-TURN to capture an enemy marker while on attack.

4. Play of the Game

The objective of the game is to win the game by being the first player to score 5 points. Alternatively, a player can win the game if he captures all of his opponent's markers. In the event that both the players lose their last markers during the same turn, then the one with the most points wins.

Points are scored by invading the enemy territory and returning back without getting captured, and within three turns. Any move in which a marker crosses its home boundary on an outward bound journey starts an attack and that move is counted as the first turn. After that the attacking player has two more turns to bring his marker back in to its home region. If he fails to bring the marker back in to his home region within the three turns he loses that marker.

The number of points that an attacking marker scores depends on how deep into the enemy territory it reaches before returning. A marker that penetrates the enemy territory two squares beyond the enemy boundary gets 1 point, three squares beyond gets 2 points and so on. The points are awarded upon the safe return of the marker to its home territory within the three turns.

The opponent continues to take his regular turns while it is being attacked and both players can capture opponent's markers during an attack.

A player can not start his own attack while an opponent's marker is on attack. However, the second player can start an attack during his opponent's attack if the start of his attack captures the attacking enemy marker. This special case is illustrated in FIG. 8. where marker 801 is on attack. The second player on his move can cross his boundary with the marker 803 to capture 801 and thus start an attack of his own. The capturing move counts as the first of his three moves outside of his home region.

Other Embodiments of the Current Invention

FIG. 9 shows the key dimensions of the game board. The dimensions A and C represent the depth of the home regions, the dimension B represents the depth of the buffer zone, E is the width of the game board and D is the distance a marker must travel to score one point. While a wide range of flexibility exists in the choice of these dimensions, a game that is well balanced between defense and offense is obtained when many of the following rules are followed:

  • C is equal to A;
  • The sum A+E is equal to or greater than Nmax, the maximum roll of the dice;
  • E is equal to or greater than the number of markers provided to each player at the start of the game;
  • A is smaller than or equal to the score required to win the game;
  • B is less than NPmax, the most probable roll of the dice; and
  • D is equal to or greater than NPmax, the most probable roll of the dice.

Many other variations of the current inventions can be easily made based on the teachings of this application. The game board size can be made larger or smaller with more or less squares in the home regions and the buffer region. Instead of three regions two can be used, eliminating the buffer region between the two home regions. An example of a board implementation of the current invention without a buffer region is illustrated in FIG. 10. The game board 1001 has two home regions 1003 and 1005 separated by a boundary 1009. The boundary 1009 becomes the starting and the finish lines for both the players. The scoring guide 1013 is modified to make up for the loss of the buffer region and it now has a scoring pattern 0,0,0,1,2,3,4, and 5. An exemplary path taken by a marker in to the enemy territory to score one point is illustrated by the path 1017.

In an alternate version of the game in FIG. 10 is shown in FIG. 11. In FIG. 11, separate start and finish lines are provided inside the two home regions. For a first player with the home region 1103, a start line 1109 and a finish line 1111 are provided. To make a successful attack, the first player must move a marker across the line 1109 to start the attack and must cross line 1111 on its return path within a specified number of turns. Similarly, the second player based in the home region 1105 would use the line 1113 as a start line and line 1115 as a finish line.

FIG. 12 shows a game board 1201 with a triangular grid for three players. It consists of three home regions 1203, 1205 and 1207 as indicated by the variously shaded regions. Three players place their markers initially in their respective home regions and then take alternate turns to move their markers. As before, the markers can survive outside of their home regions for only three turns. To score points, a player must venture his marker outside of his home region, move it a minimum distance away from its home region as specified by scoring guides and return it safely back to its home region within three turns. During its movement, a marker is permitted to make one 120 degree turn per move as shown by an exemplary path 1209. Additionally, a marker is allowed one U-turn in the home regions of either of the other two players.

In another embodiment of the current invention a game board 1313 for four players is shown in FIG. 13. It is shaped like a cross with four home regions 1303, 1305, 1307 and 1309 in the four arms of the cross with a un-shaded buffer region between them. The home region boundaries with the buffer region are shaped like an up and down staircase rather than a straight line. The stepped shape of the boundary makes the three opponent's home regions roughly equidistant from the home of an attacking marker. As before, a player ventures his marker out of his home region and into his opponent's home region to score points. And he can make a U-turn only in his opponent's home regions and he must bring his marker back to its home region within a specified number of turns else the marker would die.

In yet another embodiment of the current invention, the two player game of FIG. 1 is modified to represent a battle between land and sea based animals. The first home region represents land and the second home region represents sea. The two sets of markers would represent land and sea animals respectively. The land animals can not survive in water for very long, and the sea animals can not survive on land indefinitely. Each side invades the other side to find food, but must return back to their respective homes to breath. If they stay out of their native environment they would die. The board would depict the scenes of water and land and the playing markers would be painted with pictures of land or sea animals.

Many other variations of the game are possible. The flat board may be substituted by a three dimensional structure incorporating multiple playing surfaces and where the different home regions are placed on different levels.

The tetrahedral dice can be easily substituted by hexagonal or other dice or other types of number generating devices such as electronic counters, roulette wheels, or a deck of special cards.

Instead of five markers, each team may start the game with fewer or more markers. The score required to win the game may be similarly reduced or increased from the number 5 used in the preferred embodiment. Alternatively the points scored can be changed from the current pattern of 0,1,2,3,4 to various other patterns such as 1,2,3,4,5 or 0,1,2,4,8 or 0,0,1,2,4.

The number of turns within which a marker must return to its home base can be increased or decreased. And in another embodiment if a marker exceeds the maximum number of turns allowed outside of its home region, it could be returned to its home region rather than removing it from the board.

Simultaneous attacks may be permitted. The rules on L-TURNS may be modified to allow multiples of them in a move. Wide U-TURNS can be allowed. Safe areas may be provided on the board where markers can not be captured.

And while the game has been described as a board game it can also be simulated on a handheld or desktop computer without deviating from the teachings. A computer program can be readily developed that displays the game board and markers on the screen of the computer. The game board shown on a computer screen would identify the different home regions and the grid. The markers will be initially shown in their starting position and as they are moved, their new position will be displayed on the screen. The computer would also provide a number generating capability to generate a roll. The markers would be moved either based on user inputs through a keyboard or a mouse or, in case where one or more players are represented by the computer, the moves would be generated by software residing in the computer. The computer would also keep track of the number of turns already taken by a marker on its attack and the scores. Many other enhancements are possible with a computerized version of the game such as on-screen documentation and help guide, play animation, interactive play with other players on the internet and selection of different levels of difficulties. These enhancements are self evident to one who is familiar with the technology of computerized games.

The invention has been explained with reference to specific embodiments. Other embodiments will be evident to those of ordinary skill in the art. Therefore, it is not intended that the invention be limited other than as indicated by the appended claims.