Title:
Family Board Game
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a game activity for family gatherings that is simultaneously challenging to both children and adults, yet capable of being tailored to the relative skill level of each participant. It comprises a game board with at least one tile track and a set of tiles. The tile track comprises a set of in-line slots separated by a set of track plugs. The tile set comprises a plurality of identically dimensioned tiles, wherein each tile is shaped to fit within any one slot. Each individual tile possesses a unique mark. The mark is a member of an ordered set and is disposed on the tile so as to be obscured when the tile is placed into a slot. The object of the game is to be the first player to arrange their tiles in ascending order in the tracks.



Inventors:
Bickmore, Richard (Carpinteria, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/906027
Publication Date:
08/03/2006
Filing Date:
01/31/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/281
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAURA N. TUNNELL (SANTA BARBARA, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A game apparatus comprising: a game board, wherein said game board comprises at least one tile track, said tile track comprising a set of in-line slots separated by a set of track plugs and a set of tiles comprising a plurality of identically dimensioned individual tiles, wherein each individual tile comprising said set of tiles is shaped to fit within any one slot comprising said set of slots wherein said individual tiles possess at least one unique mark, wherein said mark is a member of an ordered set and wherein said mark is disposed on said individual tiles so as to be obscured when said individual tiles are placed into said slots.

2. A game apparatus as in claim 1 further comprising a guide line imprinted on said game board.

3. A game apparatus as in claim 1 wherein said apparatus is represented by a computer game.

4. A plurality of game apparatuses as in game 3, wherein said plurality are interconnected by a computer network.

5. A game apparatus as in claim 2 wherein said apparatus is represented by a computer game.

6. A plurality of game apparatuses as in game 5, wherein said plurality are interconnected by a computer network.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a board game particularly suited for family gatherings.

BACKGROUND

Family gatherings are an integral component of human culture. What was once a necessity driven by the need to partake in a commonly acquired cache of food has grown into stylized traditions enhanced with each passing century. Regardless of its trappings, the basic function of the family gathering is to facilitate mutual bonding of its members. Once provided by the collective efforts involved in hunting and food gathering, such bonding today requires a conscious effort in order to overcome the constraints imposed by modern living. Game activities are a stylized version of the stone-age hunt and as such, game participation facilitates the formation of bonds that have been lost in the modern day world.

Activities appropriate to family gatherings must, by nature, accommodate participants of many ages and skill levels. Games that are challenging to an adult usually overwhelm a child. By the same token, a game that is fun for a child can quickly grow tedious for an adult. The task of keeping an adolescent engaged in joint family activities presents an even more extended set of challenges beyond those involving simply age and skill level.

Nevertheless, one can make a list of attributes necessary for an ideal family game. The most basic characteristic is that the activity should be worthwhile. This would imply that the game serves to improve either a physical or mental skill. Accommodation and full engagement of skill levels ranging from those of a child to those of an adult is also a necessity for a good family game. The tempo of the game should be such that engagement is kept at an optimum while fatigue is kept at a minimum. This requirement, too, dictates a wide flexibility adaptable to both children and adults.

Although there are certainly traditional games involving cards or other playing pieces such as dominoes, the set of qualities that engage older members of the family rarely intersect with the set of qualities that fully engage the children. There is always a need for more family activities in which all members can become involved, thereby helping to reconstruct the bonds integral to human culture.

SUMMARY

It is an objective of the present invention to provide an activity for family gatherings that is simultaneously challenging to both children and adults.

It is an objective of the present invention to provide a game capable of being tailored to the relative skill level of each participant.

A game system is provided that meets the foregoing objectives of the invention. The game apparatus comprises a game board with at least one tile track and a set of tiles. The tile track comprises a set of in-line slots separated by a set of track plugs. The tile set comprises a plurality of identically dimensioned tiles, wherein each tile is shaped to fit within any one slot. Each individual tile possesses a unique mark. The mark is a member of an ordered set and is disposed on the tile so as to be obscured when the tile is placed into a slot. The object of the game is to be the first player to arrange their tiles in ascending order in the tracks.

The features of the invention believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. However the invention itself, both as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof may be best understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The term “ordered sequence” as used herein, is meant to describe any set of objects wherein there exists a well understood internal hierarchy between individual members of the set. The most obvious example is the set of numbers from 1 to 10. Very obviously, 1 precedes 2, 2 precede 3, etc. Other examples might be the days of the week, the US presidents, the alphabet, or all the prime numbers between 1 and 100, to name a few.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the game board apparatus in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a close-up view of the game tiles in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the game board.

FIG. 4 is an elevational view of the game board with tiles inserted in the tracks.

FIG. 5 illustrates a computer networked embodiment of the game of the present invention.

IDENTIFICATION OF NUMBERS USED IN THE DRAWINGS

10—game apparatus

11—playing board

12—playing tiles

13—tile tracks

14—guideline for direction of play

20—set of tiles

21—identification tag

22—plastic cup

30—tile slot

31—track plug between tile slots

40—tile section unobscured by insertion into track

41—tile section obscured by track

50—computer network embodiment of game

51—computer capable of providing both the virtual game apparatus as well as the link to other computers in the network

52—computer network server capable of orchestrating messages between individual computers comprising the network

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The game configuration (10) of the present invention is generally shown in FIG. 1. The game parts consist of a playing board (11) and playing tiles (12). The playing board (11) has two grooves or tracks (13) that serve as tracks to hold the playing tiles (12). A zigzag guide line (14) is drawn or etched into the top surface of the playing board (11).

FIG. 2 shows the playing tiles (12) in more detail. Each tile (12) of the tile set (20) is indistinguishable with the exception of an identification tag (21) printed or etched along its lower edge. The identification tag is a member of a well recognized ordered sequence, such as a letter of the alphabet.

FIG. 3 shows a plan view of the playing board (11). The tracks (13) flank the long sides of the playing board (11). Each track (13) consists of a set of tile slots (30) as well as track plugs (31) separating the tile slots (30). The width of each tile slot (30) is slightly larger than the width of a playing tile (12). As indicated in FIG. 4, the tile slot (30) is deep enough to obscure the identification tag (21) of a playing tile (12). When properly inserted, the unobscured portion (40) extends above the level of the playing board (11). The obscured portion (41) containing the identification tag (21) rests below the level of the playing board (11).

The basic rules of the game are simple. Each player has at least one playing board (11), tile set (20) and a container such as a plastic cup (22) from which the playing tiles (12) comprising the tile set (20) are anonymously drawn. A playing tile (12) is drawn and positioned within a slot (30) such that its identification tag (21) is obscured. A second tile is then drawn and the process is repeated until all of the slots (30) in the tracks (13) are filled. Using the value indicated by their identification tag (21), the object of the game is to configure all tiles in the order indicated by the playing guide (14). The first person to achieve this goal wins the game.

Although the game is simple, several skills are required to become proficient. In addition to hand/eye coordination skills, a player's memory is extensively exercised. When making the decision as to a particular tile placement, the player saves determinate amounts of time by remembering the values and positions of all previously played tiles. This skill minimizes the act of having to repeatedly rearrange the entire set so that it adheres to the order specified by the playing guide (14). This process requires the player to gain an intuitive sense as to the consequences of the probabilities involved.

The game serves to enhance appreciation and understanding of the statistical process. Whereas a child generally operates instinctually in this realm, an adult, already having developed such a foundation, may reason more in the manner presently described. For example, the player may pick the letter “R”, the 18th letter of the alphabet. If this is the first draw, there will still be 17 out of 25 possible draws below “R” and 7 out of 25 above. A little elementary algebra, or just good intuition, will dictate the best possible position for this draw (i.e., one that matches the optimum likelihood that the tile will not have to be moved). In this example, the optimum slot position is 7 because 18/25 is closest to 7/10. A subsequent draw of “J” for example will be best positioned by again matching the number of playing slots below and above the candidate slot to the number of leftover possible draws above and below “J”. There will be 9 out of 24 possible subsequent draws below “J” and 14 out of 24 above. Since there are 9 possible slots left (one has already been taken by “R”), the 10th position in a set of 24 is closest to the 4th slot position out of the 9 remaining because 10/24 is closest to 4/9. As the slots become filled, this type of thinking becomes less important and memory becomes more important. If, for example, only one slot is left, the position of the final draw will be optimally determined by the player's memory. In essence, the probabilistic topology of the game is varied, yet intuitive. It draws on a wide set of skills, each of which is situation dependent, challenging, but not out of reach.

The best attribute of the game is in its potential for endless variation to accommodate a range of players. The size of the tile set can be varied as well as the number of available slots. The only limitation is that the former be larger than the latter. The identification tag scheme could employ the alphabet as its ordered set, any sequence of numbers, or a well recognized set of ordered symbols. The direction of the guide line / track combination is an obvious variable of choice. Any number of players can participate, each one of whom can define goals of varying degrees of difficulty. For example, children can play against adults using only one track in order to create a more level playing field. Or, an adult can accept a handicap by using two boards while a child uses only one. The only rule is that everyone agrees on and understands the rules before the game begins.

A notional view of a computer networked embodiment (50) of the present invention is shown in FIG. 5. Computer languages, such as “.NET” are fully capable of accommodating the virtual apparatus necessary for playing the game (51) as well providing the networked capability (52) between computers enabling several players to interact simultaneously from several remote locations.





 
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