Title:
Amusement projectile & game utilizing same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An amusement projectile for hand launching is provided, as well as a competitive skill game utilizing same. The projectile preferably includes a weighted body having a leading edge and a trailing edge, the leading edge having a thickness less than a width thereof. A flowing tail, having a free end adapted so as to be supported by a portion of a hand in furtherance of launching the device, extends from the trailing edge. The game includes the steps of identifying a target for the projectile and, hand launching the projectile toward the target from one or more fingers engaged at a free end of the flowing tail.



Inventors:
Roust, Jay D. (Mound, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/051830
Publication Date:
08/10/2006
Filing Date:
02/04/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B43/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NAWROCKI, ROONEY & SIVERTSON (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An amusement projectile comprising a body and a tail, said body comprising a material panel folded over upon itself so as to define a seamless forward body edge and opposing body surfaces adjacent said seamless forward body edge, said tail extending from said body opposite said seamless body edge.

2. The amusement projectile of claim 1 wherein said body includes means for imparting mass thereto.

3. The amusement projectile of claim 2 wherein said body contains said means for imparting mass thereto.

4. The amusement projectile of claim 3 wherein said means for imparting mass comprises an aggregate.

5. The amusement projectile of claim 2 wherein said body is supple.

6. The amusement projectile of claim 2 wherein said material panel comprises a natural material.

7. The amusement projectile of claim 6 wherein said material panel comprises leather.

8. The amusement projectile of claim 2 wherein said material panel comprises a synthetic material.

9. The amusement projectile of claim 1 wherein said tail extends from a body edge.

10. The amusement projectile of claim 1 wherein said tail extends from about a mid-point of adjacent corners of said body.

11. The amusement projectile of claim 10 wherein said tail extends from a body edge.

12. The amusement projectile of claim 1 wherein said tail is limp.

13. The amusement projectile of claim 1 wherein said tail freely flows from said body.

14. The amusement projectile of claim 13 wherein said tail comprises a free end defining a hand hold.

15. The amusement projectile of claim 13 wherein said tail includes means for supporting said projectile by hand.

16. The amusement projectile of claim 15 wherein said means for supporting said projectile by hand comprises a loop.

17. The amusement projectile of claim 15 wherein said means for supporting said projectile by hand comprises a ring.

18. The amusement projectile of claim 15 wherein said means for supporting said projectile by hand comprises a tab.

19. The amusement projectile of claim 13 wherein a free end of said tail includes means for supporting said projectile by hand.

20. The amusement projectile of claim 13 wherein said tail comprises a cord.

21. The amusement projectile of claim 13 wherein said tail comprises an endless loop.

22. The amusement projectile of claim 13 wherein said tail is joined to said body at a single point.

23. The amusement projectile of claim 13 wherein said tail is joined to said body at two locations.

24. An amusement device for hand launching comprising a weighted body having a leading edge and a trailing edge, said leading edge having a thickness less than a width thereof, and a flowing tail extending from said trailing edge, said flowing tail having a free end adapted so as to be supported by a portion of a hand in furtherance of launching the device.

25. A competitive skill game utilizing a projectile comprising a body from which extends a flowing tail, said competitive skill game comprising the steps of identifying a target for said projectile and hand launching said projectile toward said target from one or more fingers engaged at a free end of said flowing tail.

26. The competitive skill game of claim 25 wherein hand launching said projectile comprises completing not more than a single rotation of said body about said free end of said flowing tail.

27. The competitive skill game of claim 25 wherein points are selectively awarded for landing within a zone of a plurality of zones surrounding said target.

28. The competitive skill game of claim 27 wherein said zones comprise rings about said target.

29. The competitive skill game of claim 28 wherein a boundary for a first zone of said plurality of zones surrounding said target substantially equates to a linear dimension for said projectile as measured from a center of said target.

30. The competitive skill game of claim 29 wherein a boundary for a second zone of said plurality of zones surrounding said target substantially equates to three times said linear dimension for said projectile as measured from said center of said target.

31. The competitive skill game of claim 30 wherein a boundary for a third zone of said plurality of zones surrounding said target substantially equates to six times said linear dimension for said projectile as measured from said center of said target.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention generally relates to an amusement projectile, more particularly, to a hand launchable projectile and game of skill utilizing same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Amusement projectiles and games of skill utilizing same are well know. From an early age, as if preprogrammed, children at play are known to identify a target, and thereafter proceed to “hit” it with whatever they can get their hands on. As skill develops, the nature of the target and/or projectile commensurately evolve, ever increasing the stakes of play.

Arguably, games of skill have utilitarian origins, as for example, in hunting and the like, as evidenced by notions of the “bull's eye”, namely, the evolution, transformation, and/or adaptation thereof in the context of archery, firearm silhouettes, and darts. Whether the projectile is indirectly launched, as in archery or shooting, or directly launched as in darts, increasing or higher point values are awarded for increased precision.

Toss games, which are predominantly target games, are likewise well known. Examples of such toss games are horseshoes and ring toss games, where players toss U-shaped or circular projectiles, respectively, at a vertical stake. In such games, players are typically rewarded for striking the target but may also be rewarded based on the proximity of the projectile to the stake. Variants of such games are also well-known, and generally include those wherein the target structure, and/or the projectile has been modified or otherwise created to further challenge players of such games (e.g., lawn darts, golf/disc golf, bocce etc.).

Beyond stakes, hoops, cups, etc., a plethora of target structures are known, and include, for example, a variety of ladder-like elements (e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,586,767, 6,308,956 & 6,773,015), pocketed trays (e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,882,010), or those which can be set in motion (e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 6,173,957). Similarly, beyond balls, darts, and discs, a variety of well know projectiles include, and are not limited to, bean bag structures (e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,492,320), and airfoil structures (e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,139,452, 6,220,918, & 6,068,260).

Be that as it may, it remains advantageous to provide a novel amusement projectile which requires a challenging level of skill to launch from the hand. Further still, it remains desirable to provide a projectile which enables a variety of skill games played individually, or in groups, without especially cumbersome targets and/or “other” game pieces. Furthermore, it is especially advantageous to provided a novel amusement projectile which is easily and safely (i.e., unobtrusively) stowable on a person for use games of skill at a park, beach, playground, back yard, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An amusement projectile for hand launching is provided, as well as a competitive skill game utilizing same. The projectile preferably includes a weighted body having a leading edge and a trailing edge, the leading edge having a thickness less than a width thereof. A flowing tail, having a free end adapted so as to be supported by a portion of a hand in furtherance of launching the device, extends from or near the trailing edge. The game includes the steps of identifying a target for the projectile and hand launching the projectile toward the target from one or more fingers engaged at a free end of the flowing tail. More specific features and advantages obtained in view of those features will become apparent with reference to the drawing figures and DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the drawings wherein like numerals are used to designate like parts of the invention throughout the figures:

FIG. 1 illustrates a plan view of the amusement projectile of the subject invention, a portion of a body thereof broken away to reveal underlaying structure;

FIG. 2 depicts a side view of the device of FIG. 1, a portion of the body thereof broken away to reveal underlaying structure;

FIG. 3 depicts section 3-3 of FIG. 1, more particularly, an interface for the tail relative to the body;

FIG. 4 depicts section 4-4 of FIG. 1, more particularly, a front or forward most body edge;

FIG. 5 depicts a preferred hand launching technique for the device of FIG. 1, more particularly: FIG. 5A shows the device positioned about one or more fingers; FIG. 5B shows a preferred pendulum swing in preparation/anticipation of the launching motions of FIGS. 5C & 5D and, FIGS. 5C & 5D depict a preferred single revolution launch;

FIG. 6 depicts a preferred field of play, emphasizing launch/landing areas, for a skill game utilizing the device of the subject invention; and,

FIG. 7 is a linear depiction of preferred scoring zones relative to a target of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With general reference to FIGS. 1-4, the amusement projectile 10 of the subject invention generally includes a body 12 from which extends a tail 14. As a threshold matter, a variety of body configurations and masses, i.e., shapes and weights, body/tail interfaces, and/or tail lengths are contemplated. Modification or alteration of flight impacting characteristics of the subject amusement projectile, more particularly the body thereof, are generally considered a matter of preference and/or design choice. The balance of the subject description, although directed to the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, wherein the body is configured as square, is readily applicable to alternate body, tail, and/or body/tail arrangements.

The body 12 of the subject device 10, preferably, but not necessarily, comprises a material panel 16 folded over upon itself so as to define a leading edge 18, more particularly a seamless forward body edge, and opposing body surfaces 20, 21 adjacent the leading body edge 18. Advantageously, the material panel 16 comprises leather, and may further alternately, and desirably comprise other natural, or synthetic materials which exhibit good durability, abrasion resistance, thorough drying, and resilience. Although mass production of the subject projectile is contemplated, it is believed that a “hand-crafted” look and feel is especially desirable.

Adjacent the forward body edge 18 are opposingly paired lateral sides 22, 24 of the body 12 and, more particularly seams 26, formed by the union of free ends of the material panel 16, as by sewing or other known means. Opposite the forward body edge 18 is a rear or trailing body edge 28 which, as the lateral sides 22, 24, may include a seam or the like. As illustrated, the tail 14 of the subject projectile 10 preferably, but not necessarily extends from or near the rear body edge 28, more particularly, from about a mid-point thereof, i.e., about half the distance between rear body corners 30, 32.

The body 12 further and preferably includes means for imparting mass thereto (i.e., is generally weighted), as for example, by the inclusion of an aggregate material 34 therein as depicted. The aggregate 34 preferably comprises gravel or the like, however, it is critical only that the body 12 be weighted, means to accomplish such functionality being generally well know, and not limiting. Although it is contemplated that the body 12 homogeneously contain aggregate 34 therein, and therethrough, it should be readily appreciated that a structured distribution therein or therethrough may be advantageous, and thus desirable.

The body 12, and any desirable variants thereof, have a planarity, that is to say, the opposing body surfaces 21, 21 are of a substantially greater area than any of the body sides (i.e., the body preferably has a greater sectional width relative to its height), as indicated with reference to FIG. 2. Furthermore, although shown as having opposing body surfaces 20, 21 which converge front to back (FIG. 2) and side to side (FIG. 4), the body 12 need not be so configured, such form for the body being a function of the material panel 16 and degree of compactedness of the aggregate 34 therein. Alternate body plans include, but are not limited to discs, triangles, and other parallelograms.

The tail 14 of the subject projectile 10 is believed to greatly impact flight vis-a-vis device travel. As will be later discussed in detail, the device 10 is launched by hand using the free or distal end 36 of the tail 14, or means associated therewith, the skill associated with launching or throwing the subject projectile owing primarily to the tail, and its relationship and interrelationship(s) with the body.

The tail 14 is a fluid or flowing element, preferably comprising a single cord 38, or cord-like element which exits (i.e., extends) from a rear portion of the body 12 and returns to a position on the rear body portion adjacent its exit point (FIGS. 1 & 3 wherein the tail is attached to the body at two points or locations). In addition to the linkage as shown, a tail comprising an endless loop may be attached to, or otherwise integrated with, the body. Opposite its attachment point, or points, to the body, the free or distal end 36 of the tail 14 includes means for supporting the projectile by hand. For example such structure includes, but is not limited to a crotch 40 within which one or more fingers may be engaged in furtherance of launching the device, or may likewise include a ring, tab or handle type element. It is likewise contemplated that the tail comprise an elongate element (e.g., single strand) having a ring or other finger engaging or grasping structure at a free end thereof.

With reference to FIG. 2, the amusement projectile has an overall length dimension designated PD. As will be subsequently detailed in relation to game play, the subject device is preferably, but not necessarily, implicated in score keeping, more particularly, in the definition of point value zones. A preferred length range for PD is about 18-36 inches, with tail length TL being generally about 5-10 times the body length BL. It has been found that greater perceived skill is required with increased or increasing tail length.

In relation to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, the body has a mass within a range of about 2-6 oz, more particularly about 4 oz, and a thickness within a range of about 0.5-1.5 inches, more particularly about one inch, with the opposing body surfaces within a range of about 1.75-3 inches a side, more particularly 2.5 inches square. The tail, which is preferably, but not necessarily, ⅛ inch diameter round nylon cord, is within a range of about 18-36 inches long, and preferably about 24 inches long.

Referring now to FIG. 5, there is generally, and schematically illustrated a preferred launching technique for the amusement projectile of the subject invention. Although the illustrated technique is preferred, it is in no way limiting. For example, in lieu of a plane of rotation normal to the horizon (i.e., parallel to the body as indicated), rotation may be parallel to the horizon (i.e., overhead, in a plane normal to the body), or within a plane at an angle between either of those associated with a side or overhead launch. The subject device 10 is intended to be engaged about one or more digits 50 of hand 52, essentially dangling therefrom (FIG. 5A). In the context of a preferred method of play of a skill game utilizing the device, rocking of the body 12 to and fro relative to the digit(s) 50 (i.e., a pendulum swing) is contemplated (FIG. 5B), however, it is not necessary for a successful launch. Again, in the context of a preferred method of play of a skill game utilizing the device, a single rotation, not appreciably exceeding 360° (i.e., <405°, or 1.25 rotations), is contemplated for the body 12 relative to the digit(s) 50, see FIGS. 5C & 5D wherein a 6 o'clock start position is indicated in broken line, with progression to 12 o'clock, and finally release at, or shortly subsequent to, the initial 6 o'clock position.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 & 7, one of many contemplated skill games utilizing the amusement projectile of the subject invention will now be described. It is generally contemplated that game pieces comprising plural projectiles, a pair of targets 60, and plural markers 62 are to be provided in a relatively small, compact, soft, collapsible carrying case.

The “field of play” 64 may be delimited or established in limitless environments (e.g., yard, park, beach, playground, etc.), a prerequisite being only an adequate distance from a launch area 66 to a target area 68 commensurate with a sought after degree of difficulty. For instance, inherent in the projectile of the subject device is a degree of proportionality, that is to say, greater flight distances are generally derived utilizing bodies of greater mass, and tails of greater length. As such, small scale and large scale projectiles may be provided in the context of a game/game kit, along with commensurately dimensioned targets. The following description is in respect to the preferred embodiment of the amusement projectile shown and described, the launching technique shown and described, and for team play with each team having at least a single player.

With specific reference to FIG. 6, targets 60 for team A and team B are indicated, preferably separated by a distance of about 150 feet, along with makers Ma and Mb, for teams A and B respectively, representing a landing situs for a launched projectile. It should be appreciated that with such scenario, the launch 66 and target 68 areas are commingled, or to some extent, overlapping.

The targets 60 preferably comprise flat material discs, most preferably fabricated from the material of the material panel of the body. Although the target 60 can be dimensioned to “fit” player skill, an 8-10 inch diameter is contemplated. It is advantageous that the targets 60 be substantially flat and flexible, thusly greatly contributing a compactness and ease of toting for the packaged game. It should be further appreciated that the subject targets are easily adapted for the inclusion of a flag stick assembly or other sighting aid which is not a substantial impediment to “landing” the projectile, namely the body thereof, on at least a portion of the target.

The markers 62, as the targets 60, are advantageously flat, and fabricated from material consistent with that of the target. Preferably, the markers are disc like, dimensioned so as to have a foot print on par with the body of the projectile, e.g., a diameter of about 2-3 inches.

As should be readily appreciated, inasmuch as there are likely limitless field of play set ups, there are likely more scoring scenarios that are possible. Although not limiting, it is contemplated, and believed advantageous, that the projectile be implicated in scoring, much like in horseshoes.

With reference now to FIG. 7, a linear depiction of preferred scoring zones Z1-Z3 are shown relative to target A. Scoring zones radiate from the center of the target in all directions, thereby forming 360° scoring areas (i.e., point value rings) thereabout. The radial extent of each scoring zone Z1-Z3 substantially corresponds to a given length of the projectile, PD, more particularly as follows: Z1, 1PD; Z2, 3PD; and, Z3, 6PD.

With respect to a preferred scoring scheme for the set up heretofore described, hitting a target with a projectile entitles the launching team to a double score, or where there are no points yet tallied, 25 points. The following point values have been assigned the following zones: Z1=10 pts; Z2=5 pts; and, Z3=pt. In a preferred mode of play, the goal is to accumulate 100 points without exceeding that total. Each “turn” comprises the launching of three projectiles from behind the centerline of the proximal target.

There are other variations of the subject invention, some of which will become obvious to those skilled in the art. It will be understood that this disclosure, in many respects, is only illustrative. Changes may be made in details, particularly in matters of shape, size, material, and arrangement of parts of the projectile, as well in the nature, form and/or substance of other game pieces, the contemplated game utilizing the subject projectile, more particularly, the filed of play therefor and scoring methodology associated therewith, without exceeding the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the subject invention is as defined in the language of the appended claims.