Title:
Trivia games and related methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of determining a score within the context of a game, the method comprising the steps of: (1) determining a best score that a player may achieve in regard to a particular trivia question, the trivia question having a correct answer; (2) presenting the particular trivia question to the player; (3) receiving, from the player, a first answer to the trivia question; (4) in response to the first answer being the correct answer to the trivia question, assigning the best score to the player; (5) in response to the first answer not being the correct answer to the trivia question, allowing the player to provide a second answer to the trivia question; and (6) in response to the second answer to the trivia question being the correct answer to the trivia question, assigning a second score to the player, the second score being inferior to the best score.



Inventors:
Benator, Gene (Marietta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/293983
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
12/05/2005
Assignee:
Benator & Associates
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
1. A method of determining a score within the context of a game, the method comprising the steps of: determining a best score that a player may achieve in regard to a particular trivia question, the trivia question having a correct answer; presenting the particular trivia question to the player; receiving, from the player, a first answer to the trivia question; in response to the first answer being the correct answer to the trivia question, assigning the best score to the player; in response to the first answer not being the correct answer to the trivia question, allowing the player to provide a second answer to the trivia question; and in response to the second answer to the trivia question being the correct answer to the trivia question, assigning a second score to the player, the second score being inferior to the best score.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the second score is a second-best score.

3. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: identifying a third score, the third score being inferior to the second score; and in response to the second answer to the trivia question not being the correct answer to the trivia question, assigning the third score to the player.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein: the second score is a second-best score; and the third score is a third-best score.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the best score is determined in a substantially random manner.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the best score is determined by rolling a die.

7. The method of claim 5, wherein the best score is determined using a random number generator.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the best score corresponds to a score of par on a particular virtual hole of golf.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein the second score corresponds to a score of bogie on a particular virtual hole of golf.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the best score corresponds to a score of birdie on a particular virtual hole of golf.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the second score corresponds to a score of par on a particular virtual hole of golf.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the best score corresponds to a score of birdie on a particular virtual hole of golf.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the trivia question relates to auto racing trivia.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the best score corresponds to a number of race track segments.

15. The method of claim 13, wherein the second score corresponds to the number of race track segments minus one race track segment.

16. The method of claim 1, wherein the particular question is a multiple choice question.

17. A golf game method comprising: using a chance element to determine a best score to be earned by a player for a particular virtual hole of golf; presenting a trivia question to the player, the trivia question having a correct answer; receiving, from the player, a first answer to the trivia question; in response to the first answer being the correct answer to the trivia question, designating the best score as the player's score for the particular virtual hole of golf; in response to the first answer not being the correct answer to the trivia question, prompting the player to provide a second answer to the trivia question; and in response to the second answer to the trivia question being the correct answer, designating a second-best score as the player's score for the particular virtual hole of golf.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the best score corresponds to a score of par on a particular virtual hole of golf.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the second score corresponds to a score of bogie on a particular virtual hole of golf.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the best score corresponds to a score of birdie on a particular virtual hole of golf.

21. A racing game method comprising: using a chance element to determine a best number of spaces on a particular turn of a particular player; presenting a trivia question to the particular player, the trivia question having a correct answer; receiving, from the particular player, a first answer to the trivia question; in response to the first answer being the correct answer to the trivia question, allowing the player to advance the best number of spaces on the particular turn; and in response to the first answer not being the correct answer to the trivia question, prompting the player to provide a second answer to the trivia question; and in response to the second answer to the trivia question being the correct answer, allowing the player to advance a second best number of spaces on the particular turn.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/633,362, filed Dec. 4, 2004, which is entitled “Trivia Game and Related Methods”, and which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

During the last several decades, consumers have become increasingly interested in trivia-style board and computer games. Such games are now commonplace in homes, at recreation centers, on college campuses, in bars and restaurants, and many other places where people come together and socialize.

Traditional trivia-style games provide a heavy advantage to players having the most detailed knowledge of the subject matter. For example, players with greater knowledge of history typically have an advantage when playing games featuring historical trivia. In many existing games today, a player who is an expert in the field can accumulate points or otherwise advance far ahead of other players, often weakening the enjoyment and entertainment value of the game. Accordingly, there is a need for improved trivia games that allow players of diverse skill levels to play and compete on a more equitable basis.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A method of determining a score within the context of a game according to various embodiments of the invention comprises the steps of: (1) determining a best score that a player may achieve for answering a particular trivia question, the trivia question having a correct answer; (2) presenting the particular trivia question to the player (e.g., by verbally asking the player the question or by displaying the question on a computer display screen); (3) receiving, from the player, a first answer to the trivia question; (4) in response to the first answer being the correct answer to the trivia question, awarding the best score to the player; (5) in response to the first answer not being the correct answer to the trivia question, allowing the player to provide a second answer to the trivia question; and (6) in response to the second answer to the trivia question being the correct answer to the trivia question, awarding a second score (e.g., a second best score) to the player, the second score being inferior to the best score. In certain embodiments of the invention, the method further comprises the steps of identifying a third score that is inferior to the second score, and, in response to the second answer to the trivia question not being the correct answer to the trivia question, awarding the third score to the player.

In a particular embodiment of the invention, the “best score” corresponds to a score of birdie on a particular virtual hole of golf, and the second best score corresponds to a score of par on the particular virtual hole of golf. Similarly, the “best score”may correspond to a score of par on a particular virtual hole of golf, and the second best score may correspond to a score of bogie on the particular virtual hole of golf.

In other embodiments of the invention, the best score corresponds to a number of race track segments to be advanced by a player on a particular turn, and the second best score corresponds to this number of race track segments minus one.

A golf game method according to various embodiments of the invention comprises: (1) using a chance element to determine a best score to be earned by a player for a particular virtual hole of golf; (2) presenting a trivia question to the player, the trivia question having a correct answer; (3) receiving, from the player, a first answer to the trivia question; (4) in response to the first answer being the correct answer to the trivia question, designating the best score as the player's score for the particular virtual hole of golf; (5) in response to the first answer not being the correct answer to the trivia question, prompting the player to provide a second answer to the trivia question; and (6) in response to the second answer to the trivia question being the correct answer, designating a second-best score as the player's score for the particular virtual hole of golf.

A racing game method according to certain embodiments of the invention comprises: (1) using a chance element to determine a highest number of spaces to be advanced by a particular player on a particular turn; (2) presenting a trivia question to the particular player, the trivia question having a correct answer; (3) receiving, from the particular player, a first answer to the trivia question; (4) in response to the first answer being the correct answer to the trivia question, allowing the player to advance the highest number of spaces on the particular turn; (5) in response to the first answer not being the correct answer to the trivia question, prompting the player to provide a second answer to the trivia question; and (6) in response to the second answer to the trivia question being the correct answer, allowing the player to advance a second highest number of spaces on the particular turn.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made to the accompanying drawing figures, which are not necessarily drawn to scale.

FIG. 1 is a flowchart generally illustrating a scoring method according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart illustrating a golf game scoring method according to a particular embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a game board used to perform a golf game method according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a detail view of a segment of the game board of FIG. 3, depicting one golf hole, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is perspective view of a golf-themed chance element, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6A is a detail view of one surface of a trivia card, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6B is a detail view of an opposing surface of the trivia card, depicted in FIG. 6A, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart illustrating a racing game scoring method according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a game board used to perform a racing game method according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is perspective view of a racing-themed chance element, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10A is a detail view of one surface of a trivia card, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10B is a detail view of an opposing surface of the trivia card, depicted in FIG. 10A, in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The present inventions now will be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some but not all embodiments of the invention are shown. Indeed, these inventions may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

In one embodiment, the trivia game method may include one or more themes. For example, in various embodiments, the game themes may relate to sports (e.g., football, baseball, golf (see FIG. 3), tennis, skiing, auto racing (see FIG. 8), basketball, or soccer), history, science (e.g., biology, geography, or space exploration), entertainment (e.g., movies, music, or art), or other pursuits. In one embodiment, the game theme determines the style and content of various game elements such as the game board or computer display, the game pieces, the score cards and methods of scoring, the display appearance and flash screens, and/or the subject matter of the trivia questions.

In various embodiments, the present invention may be embodied as a method performed using a conventional game board, a data processing system, or a computer program product (e.g., a computer game that implements one or more of the steps described herein in an automated or substantially automated manner). For a computer game embodiment of the invention, the present invention may take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment, or an embodiment combining software and hardware aspects. Furthermore, the present invention may take the form of a computer program product on a computer-readable storage medium having computer-readable program instructions embodied in the storage medium.

A game method according to one embodiment of the invention comprises the following steps:

    • (1) determining a particular best score from a plurality of possible best scores;
    • (2) presenting, to a player, a trivia question having a correct answer;
    • (3) receiving a first answer from the player;
    • (4) if the first answer matches the correct answer, awarding the particular best score to the player; otherwise, receiving a second answer from the player;
    • (5) if the second answer matches the correct answer, identifying a second-best score that is inferior to the best score, and awarding the second-best score (e.g., the second lowest possible score in a game, such as golf, in which the lowest possible score is desirable) to the player; otherwise, awarding a third-best score to the player.
      In one embodiment, instead of awarding a third-best score for an incorrect second answer, the game method includes:
    • (6) receiving a third answer from the player;
    • (7) if the third answer matches the correct answer, identifying a third-best score that is inferior to the second-best score, and awarding the third-best score to the player; otherwise, awarding a fourth-best score to the player.

In one embodiment, a chance element may be used to determine a best score from among a selection of possible best scores for a given player turn. The chance element may be, for example, a pair of dice, a single die, a spinning pointer such as a pinwheel or roulette-type wheel, a random number generator, or another chance element known in the art. In one embodiment, the chance element may incorporate the general theme of the game, such as a golf-themed die depicting possible golf scores (e.g., birdie, par, or bogie) as more fully described below.

In various embodiments, using a chance element to determine the best score attainable for a particular turn introduces an element of chance to the scoring in order to keep the game competitive for the novice player. For example, an expert in the field of the game (golf, for example) may have superior skill when answering golf trivia questions and, thus, in an ordinary game, could accumulate points rapidly. In various embodiments of the present invention, however, use of the chance element to determine the maximum number of points or best score attainable during each turn places an arbitrary limit on the accumulation of points (e.g., for a particular turn). In various embodiments, an expert may give more correct answers during a particular game, but he can only gain as many or as few points as determined by the chance element.

Overview of Game Scoring Method FIG. 1 is a flowchart illustrating various steps for performing a scoring method 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. In various embodiments, the depicted scoring method may be performed in the context of a board game or included within a computer-readable medium that is installed on and performed via computer. In certain embodiments, the scoring method is performed by at least one player or user, depending upon the application. In one embodiment, each player performs the steps illustrated in FIG. 1, in turn, to complete a round. A game may comprise one or more rounds.

FIG. 1 will now be disclosed in the context of a user-implemented board game. To perform the depicted scoring method 100 depicted in FIG. 1, a player (or user) first determines the player's best possible score a particular turn. In one embodiment, the player employs a chance element (such as dice, for example) at Step 105 to determine the player's best score for a particular turn. The “best score” determined at Step 105 represents the maximum number of points a player may achieve for a particular turn. For example, in one embodiment, a first player may determine, by rolling a die, that they may receive a maximum of four points for the current turn. After the first player's turn is complete, a second player may determine, by rolling the same die, that they may receive a maximum of six points for the current turn.

In various embodiments, the scoring system may be established to match a particular theme or sport. For example, the scoring methodology of a particular sport may be used to determine whether it is desirable to attain a higher overall score (as in, for example, football or baseball) or a lower overall score (as in, for example, golf or downhill skiing).

Once a best score has been determined for the player's current turn, the player is issued a trivia question at Step 110. In various embodiments, the trivia question may be provided on a card (as shown in FIG. 6A and FIG. 10A) and asked by a competing player. In alternative embodiments, the trivia question may be displayed to the player via a computer display. The questions may relate to one or more themes. In one embodiment, the trivia questions and/or the answers may be enhanced by also displaying related fact information. Such fact information may be provided on either side of a trivia card or, in computer-based game embodiments, on various screens, along with one or more related graphics or video clips.

In response to the trivia question asked at Step 110, the player may give a first answer, which is received at Step 112. The first answer is then compared to a pre-determined correct answer at Step 114 to determine whether the player provided the correct answer on the first try. In one embodiment, the question is provided on one side of a trivia card with an answer provided on the reverse side (as shown in FIG. 6B and FIG. 10B). This facilitates Step 114 being performed by a competing player.

In computer-based embodiments, a computer program may perform Step 114 in any appropriate manner known in the art. In either of the above embodiments, multiple answer choices may be presented to an answering player from which they may select either the correct or an incorrect answer. In other embodiments, however, answer choices are not provided and the answering player must provide the correct answer from memory.

If it is determined at Step 114 that the player's first answer matches the correct answer, the player is awarded the “best score” for the current particular turn at Step 116. In one embodiment, this score is then transferred to a scorecard. The score assigned need not be applied directly to a physical scorecard and may, in alternative embodiments, be written to a computer memory, database, virtual table, or the like.

In various embodiments, if the player's first answer does not match the correct answer, the player is allowed to provide a second answer to the trivia question at Step 120. In one embodiment, if the player's second answer matches the correct answer, the player is awarded a second-best score for the particular turn at Step 124. The second-best score, in one embodiment, is inferior to the best score and may, for example, be a predetermined number of scoring units less than (or greater than, depending on the scoring method) the “best score.” In one embodiment, the second-best score for a particular turn is equal to the best score for that turn plus a first penalty (e.g., a penalty of +1 stroke for a golf-related trivia game).

As referenced above, in embodiments favoring players having a lower overall score, the first penalty may be a positive value such that each additional answer attempt results in a player being penalized through the addition of points. For example, a player's best score may be a four and their second-best score may be a five. In other embodiments, where a higher overall score is preferred, the first penalty may be a negative value such that each additional answer attempt results in points being subtracted from the player's best possible score for the player's current turn. For example, a player's best score for a particular turn may be a four and their second-best score may be a three. In various embodiments, a player's score may be kept in points, goals, seconds, number of advanced spaces or other scoring units known in the art.

In one embodiment, if a player's second answer does not match the correct answer, the player is awarded a third-best score for the player's current turn at Step 130. In a particular embodiment, the third-best score for a player's current turn is equal to the “best score” for the player's current turn plus a second penalty. In various embodiments, the second penalty is more severe than the first penalty. For example, in one embodiment, a player's “best score” for a particular turn may be a four, their second-best score for that turn may be a five, and their third-best score for the turn may be a six. In embodiments accommodating a greater number of answer attempts than two, the score awarding Step 130 may be delayed and a player may be prompted to make third, fourth, fifth, or other additional answer attempts. In one embodiment, with each additional incorrect answer attempt, a player is issued an additional penalty in keeping with the routine established above. In other embodiments, the player may be allotted only one answer attempt rather than the two answer attempts provided in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1. Similarly, in further embodiments, the player may be allotted more than two answer attempts.

In the depicted embodiment, the awarding of a player's score at Steps 116, 124, or 130 triggers the completion of a turn for a given player at Step 135. In one embodiment, once a first player completes a turn, the game scoring method 100 is completed by each of the other competing players to complete a “round” of play. Accordingly, depending on their performance during the round, each of the other players is assigned an appropriate score at Step 116, 124, or 130. Once all of the players have completed a first round, the first player may perform the game scoring method 100 a second time to begin a second round.

In various embodiments of the present invention, the game method includes one or more rounds. Scores assigned to players at Steps 116, 124, or 130 are added to provide an overall score for each player. In one embodiment, at the completion of the game (e.g., at the completion of a pre-determined number of rounds of play), the winning player is the player with the fewest overall number of points, strokes, goals, seconds, or the like. For example, in one embodiment of a golf-related trivia game, the winning player would be the player with the fewest number of strokes over the course of a pre-determined number of rounds (e.g., 9 or 18 rounds). In other embodiments, the winning player is the player having compiled the greatest number of points, goals, seconds, advanced spaces, or the like.

In various embodiments, the penalties assessed to players for incorrect answer attempts may vary. In alternative embodiments, for example, a player requiring a second, third, fourth, or other additional answer attempt to select a correct answer to a presented trivia question may be penalized a half point for each additional answer attempt, one point per answer attempt, three points, six points, or any other appropriate denomination of points. Further, in various embodiments, the number of points assessed for added answer attempts may not be uniform between first, second, third, or other additional answer attempts. For example, a player may be penalized one point for requiring a second answer attempt and three points for requiring a third answer attempt to select a correct answer. In addition, the number of points assessed for added answer attempts may not be uniform between first, second, third, or other additional rounds. For example, players may be penalized one point for second answer attempts in round one, two points for second answer attempts in round two, and so on.

In order to better illustrate the game method according to various embodiments of the present invention, two exemplary embodiments are discussed below. The following game theme examples are provided for illustration purposes only and should not be construed as limiting.

Golf Theme Example

In one embodiment of the present invention, a golf game method is provided. FIGS. 2-6 illustrate methods and devices for performing a golf game method according to various embodiments of the invention. FIG. 2 is a flowchart of a golf game method according to one embodiment of the invention. FIG. 3 illustrates a game board 250 for practicing a golf game method according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 4 is a detail view of a segment of the game board of FIG. 3. FIGS. 4-6 illustrate various game elements that are used to perform a depicted game method embodiment.

In one embodiment, the golf game board 250 may be configured to be used in conjunction with the golf game scoring method 200 described in FIG. 2. In a particular embodiment, the game board 250 is provided on a conventional cardboard or paperboard game board surface 252. In other embodiments, the game board 250 may be a virtual game board that is displayed on an appropriate display (e.g., a computer monitor).

In one embodiment, shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the game board 250 includes graphical representations of one or more miniature golf holes 251, each of which comprises a tee box 255, a fairway 260, and a green 265. In various embodiments, the game board 250 may include the likeness of an actual or virtual eighteen-hole golf course as shown in FIG. 3. In one embodiment, each golf hole 251 includes one or more available score positions 270, 275. The appearance of the golf holes 251 may be enhanced by one or more physical golf elements such as sand traps 280, water hazards 281, or pin flags 282. One or more game pieces 254 may be provided corresponding to the number of players participating in the game. In one embodiment, the one or more game pieces 254 may be configured to resemble a golf element such as one or more golf clubs, golf balls, golf bags, golf shoes, golf hats, and the like.

To perform a golf scoring method 200 according to an embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, a player rolls a golf-themed die 204 (such as the die illustrated in FIG. 5) at Step 205 to determine a best score for the player's current turn. In various embodiments, the best score represents the minimum number of strokes a player may be assigned for a “hole” that corresponds to the player's current turn. In one embodiment, this “best score” is related to the targeted score or “par” score for a given hole. For example, in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 5, the golf-themed die 204 may include possible scores of par, birdie (par minus one), eagle (par minus two), bogey (par plus one), double bogey (par plus two), and/or triple bogey (par plus three) printed on its sides. The die may be created with more or less than the six conventional die sides and multiple combinations of these scores may be used with various scores being duplicated on two or more of the die's sides, as needed.

In the depicted embodiment, as with the game of golf generally, multiple holes are provided, each having a pre-determined one of a variety of par scores (e.g., three, four, or five strokes). The par value for a particular hole will used to determine the player's final score for that hole. For example, in one embodiment, a first player beginning a “par four” hole may roll the golf-themed die 204 so that when the die comes to rest, a score of “bogey” is left facing up. Accordingly, the player's best score for the current hole or round would be five strokes. During the same round, a competing second player may later roll the die 204 so that when the die comes to rest, the score of “birdie” is facing up. In this example, the second player's best score for the current round would be three strokes. Other holes having other par scores would produce other “best scores” according to the techniques described above. In the depicted embodiment, as with the game of golf generally, it is preferable to achieve the lowest possible score.

In one embodiment, upon determining their best possible score for a particular turn at Step 205, the player moves their game piece from the start position (shown within the tee box 255 in FIG. 4) to one of the available score positions at Step 208. The score position may be related to the game theme and/or to the best score acquired in the previous step. In one embodiment, the golf game may include a first score position 275 and a second score position 270, as shown in FIG. 4. In one embodiment, the location of the first and second score positions 275, 270, respectively, may correspond, for example, to a “best score” value of birdie, par, or bogey. For example, if a player was assigned a birdie as their best score at Step 205, the player may move their game piece to a corresponding “birdie” position 275 (e.g., the score position that is the closest to the current hole) at Step 208. Alternatively, if the player were assigned a par as their best score at Step 205, the player would move their game piece to a corresponding “par” position 270 (e.g., the score position that is the second closest to the current hole). In certain embodiments, the better the best score, the better the score position will be.

As noted above, in the depicted embodiment shown in FIG. 4, a birdie is more desirable than a par and, thus, the first available (“birdie”) score position 275 is closer to the golf flag 282 than the second available (“par”) score position 270. In the depicted embodiment, as with the game of golf generally, it is desired to secure a position as close as possible to the golf hole or golf flag 282. In other embodiments, multiple other available score positions may be provided to correspond to multiple other available scores (e.g., ace, eagle, birdie, par, bogie, double bogie, or triple bogie).

During a player's turn, upon receiving a best score and moving their game piece to a designated available score position, the player (“the answering player”) is issued a trivia question at Step 210. In one embodiment, trivia questions are printed on game cards in a manner known in the art. (See, for example, FIG. 6A). In one embodiment, the trivia questions are asked by a competing player (“the interrogating player”). Upon receiving the trivia question (and, in one embodiment, a set of possible answers to the question) at Step 210, the answering player provides a first answer based on their knowledge of golf trivia.

Upon receiving the player's first answer at Step 212, a determination is made, at Step 214, as to whether the first answer matches the correct answer. In one embodiment, the trivia question is provided on one side of a trivia card 241 (see FIG. 6A) with the correct answer provided on the reverse side 241′ of the card as shown in FIG. 6B. Accordingly, the interrogating player may determine whether the answering player's first answer is correct. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 6A, multiple answer choices may be presented to an answering player from which the answering player may select the correct answer or an incorrect answer. In other embodiments, such answer choices are not provided and the answering player must answer the question from memory.

In various embodiments, the various game cards may include a display portion 248 that includes, for example, golf-related fact information, various golf graphics, indicia, logos, and the like. In computer-implemented golf trivia game applications, various flash screens having golf fact information, videos, course layouts and the like may be provided to add interest periodically throughout game play.

In one embodiment, at Step 214, if the first answer is correct, the player is awarded the player's best score for the particular turn at Step 216. It should be understood that the strokes assigned at Step 216 need not be applied directly to a physical scorecard and may, in alternative embodiments, be written to a computer memory, database, virtual table, or the like.

If the first answer does not match the correct answer at Step 214, the answering player may provide a second answer at Step 220. Next, at Step 222, the interrogating player determines whether the second answer matches the correct answer. If the second answer matches the correct answer, the answering player is awarded a second-best score at Step 224.

As noted above, in one embodiment, the golf game method favors a lower overall score. Thus, with each additional answer attempt, a player may be penalized one or more additional strokes. Accordingly, if the player's best score possible score for that turn is a birdie (as determined at Step 205), the player would be assigned a par at Step 224 after providing a first incorrect answer and a second correct answer to the current trivia question.

In one embodiment, if the answering player's second answer is incorrect, the player is advised of such and assigned a third-best score at Step 230. Accordingly, if the player's best score were a birdie as referenced above, the player would be assigned a bogey at Step 230 after providing two incorrect answers to the trivia question.

In one embodiment, the awarding of a score to a player at Steps 216, 224 or 230 triggers the completion of one hole of golf for a given player at Step 235. In a particular embodiment, each competing player performs the golf scoring method 200 in turn for a particular hole. Thus, each competing player receives a score for each particular hole before any player is eligible to begin the next hole. In one embodiment, the game piece 254 is moved to the tee box 255 of the next hole at the beginning of the player's next turn.

In various embodiments of the invention, the golf-related trivia game may include one or more holes, and may preferably include nine or eighteen holes. In a particular embodiment, scores for each player may be applied to a scorecard at the end of each hole. In one embodiment of the invention, the scorecard has substantially the same layout as a standard golf scorecard. In this embodiment, at the end of a game, each player's individual hole scores may be added together to provide an overall game score for that particular player. In the depicted embodiment, upon completion of the game (e.g., after a pre-determined number of holes are completed), the player with the fewest number of strokes is designated the winner of the game.

Racing Theme Example FIGS. 7-10 illustrate exemplary apparatuses and methods for practicing a racing game scoring method 300 according to one embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 7 is a flowchart of a racing scoring method 300 according to one embodiment of the invention. FIG. 8 illustrates a game board 350 for practicing a racing game in accordance with a particular embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 9 and 10A and 10B illustrate various racing game elements used in conjunction with a particular racing-related board game.

The game board 350 shown in FIG. 8 may be used in conjunction with the racing game scoring method 300 depicted in FIG. 7. In one embodiment, the game board's various graphical elements may be printed on a conventional cardboard or paperboard game board surface 352. In other embodiments, the game board 350 may be a virtual game board that is displayed on a display screen, such as a computer monitor. In one embodiment, the game board 350 includes an image of a race track 355. The race track may be divided into a plurality of lap segments or spaces 360 as shown. The appearance of the race track 355 may be enhanced by providing one or more racing elements such as a pit row 381, an infield 382, spectators, advertisements, and/or sponsor logos.

One or more game pieces 354 may be provided, each of which corresponds to a particular player participating in the game. In various embodiments, the one or more game pieces 354 may be in the general form of a racing-related item, such as a racing car, a racing flag, a racing helmet, or the like.

Turning to the flow chart shown in FIG. 7, a player may perform the racing game scoring method 300 of one embodiment of the invention by first moving their game piece to a start position (e.g., a start/finish segment 357) at Step 303. The player then rolls a race-themed die 304, such as the one shown in FIG. 9, to determine a best possible score for the player's current turn at Step 305. This “best score”, in one embodiment, represents the maximum number of lap segments 360 that the player may move for a particular turn. For example, in one embodiment, a first player may roll the race-themed die 304 so that “5 spaces” faces up. In this case, the first player's maximum number of lap segments or “best score” for the current turn would be five. After the first player's turn is complete, a second player may, for example, roll the race-themed die 304 so that “3 spaces” faces up. In that case, the second player's maximum number of lap segments would be three for the second player's current turn. As will be described in detail below, in the depicted embodiment, it is preferable to move as many spaces as possible per turn.

Once a player's maximum number of lap segments for their current turn has been determined, the player is issued a trivia question at Step 310. In one embodiment, each trivia question may relate to auto racing and may be printed on a game card 341 as shown in FIG. 10A. In one embodiment, the various trivia questions are asked by competing players. Upon receiving the trivia question at Step 310, a player provides a first answer based on his knowledge of auto racing trivia. Upon receiving the player's first answer at Step 312, a determination is made as to whether the first answer matches the correct answer to the question at Step 314.

In one embodiment, the trivia question is provided on one side of a trivia card 341 with an answer provided on the reverse side 341′ of the card, as shown in Figure 10B. Accordingly, at Step 314, an interrogating player may use the trivia card to determine whether the answering player's answer is the correct answer or an incorrect answer. In another embodiment, the card may include a display portion 348 depicting racing-related fact information, various racing graphics, indicia, logos and the like. In computer-implemented racing trivia game applications, various flash screens having racing fact information, videos, track layouts, and the like may be provided to add interest periodically throughout game play.

In the depicted embodiment, at Step 314, if the first answer matches the correct answer, the answering player is awarded the “best score” (e.g., the maximum number of lap segments for the player's current turn determined as described above) at Step 316. Accordingly, the player may advance his game piece 354 this maximum number of lap segments along the game board. For example, if a player's maximum number of lap segments for a particular turn is five, the player would advance his game piece 354 five lap segments for the current turn if his first answer matches the correct answer.

If it is determined, at Step 314, that the player's first answer does not match the correct answer, the player is advised of such and prompted to make a second answer attempt at Step 320. At Step 322, it is determined whether the second answer matches the correct answer. In the depicted embodiment, if the second answer is correct, the player is awarded a second-best score (here, a second-highest possible number of lap segments for the player's current turn) at Step 324.

As noted above, one embodiment of the racing game method favors players advancing the highest number of lap segments. Accordingly, in one embodiment, with each additional attempt to answer a particular question correctly, a player is penalized one lap segment. For example, in a particular embodiment, if the player's best possible score for a particular turn (e.g., the maximum number of lap segments determined at Step 305) is five, the player would be allowed to advance the game piece 354 four lap segments at Step 324 after providing a first incorrect answer and a second correct answer to the trivia question. (In various embodiments, players may be penalized more or less than one lap segment for each incorrect answer.)

In one embodiment, if the second answer does not match the correct answer, the player is advised of such and awarded a third-best score (e.g., number of lap segments for the player's current turn) at Step 330. For example, in one embodiment, if the player's maximum number of lap segments for a particular turn is five spaces, and the player's first two answers are incorrect, the player would be allowed to advance the game piece 354 three lap segments at Step 330.

In the depicted embodiment, the advancement of a player's game piece at Steps 316, 324 and 330 triggers the completion of one turn for a given player at Step 335. In one embodiment, each competing player performs the racing game scoring method 300 in turn, thus, advancing closer to the finish line 357. In various embodiments, the racing game scoring method 300 may include five, ten, twenty, or other number of spaces 360 between the start and finish lines 357. In the depicted embodiment, the game winner is the first player to advance beyond the finish line 357. In other embodiments, players may be required to complete more than one lap in order to win the game.

Computer-Based Embodiments

As noted above, the present invention may be embodied, for example, as a board game method or a computer program product. Accordingly, the present invention may take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment or an embodiment combining software and hardware aspects. Furthermore, the present invention may take the form of a computer program product on a computer-readable storage medium having computer-readable program code instructions embodied in the storage medium. More particularly, the present invention may take the form of web-implanted computer software. Any suitable computer-readable storage medium may be utilized including hard disks, CD-ROMs, optical storage devices, or magnetic storage devices.

The present invention is described above with reference to flowchart illustrations of methods and various illustrations of game apparatuses according to several embodiments of the invention. It will be understood that each block and combination of blocks in the flowchart illustrations, can be implemented by computer program instructions. These computer program instructions may be loaded onto a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine, such that instructions which are executed on the computer or other programmable data processing apparatus create means for implementing the function specified in the flowchart block or blocks.

These computer program instructions may also be stored in a computer-readable memory that can direct a computer or other programmable data processing apparatus to function in a particular manner, such that the instructions stored in the computer-readable memory produce a game method including instruction means that implement the function specified in the flowchart block or blocks. The computer program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer or other programmable data processing apparatus to cause a series of operational steps to be performed on the computer or other programmable apparatus to produce a computer implemented process such that the instructions that execute on the computer or programmable apparatus provide steps for implementing the function specified in the flowchart block or blocks.

Accordingly, the flowchart illustrations support combinations of means for performing the specified functions, combinations of steps for performing the specified functions and program instruction means for performing the specified functions. It will also be understood that each block of the flowchart instructions, and combinations of blocks in the block diagrams and flowchart instructions, can be implemented by special purpose hardware-based computer systems that perform the specified function or steps, or combinations of special purpose hardware and computer instructions.

Conclusion

Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Accordingly, it should be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the invention. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.