Title:
CONVERTIBLE GAME BOARD AND TABLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foldable portable game board including a platform for playing board and card games outdoors where adverse conditions might displace the location of game elements and subsequently interrupt the game. One surface of the platform supports a plurality of card engaging members such as elastic bands. The bands may be placed in any orientation on the playing surface of the platform to accommodate a number of cards at selected locations. Another surface of the platform may be magnetized to prevent the dislocation of game elements from adverse conditions that would interrupt the game. The platform may also be fitted with attachable legs, allowing conversion of the game board to a table.



Inventors:
Kuehn, Margrit (US)
Application Number:
11/279595
Publication Date:
10/19/2006
Filing Date:
04/13/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/285
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Reed Smith, LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A convertible game board and table, comprising: a platform having a generally planar upper surface on which a game may be played, the platform including a center portion, and first and second side portions pivotally attached to the center portion, the first and second portions pivotally moveable between a first position co-planar with the center portion to a second position covering at least a portion of the center portion; at least one elastic band removably and movably overlying at least one of said portions of said platform, said at least one elastic band adapted to removably secure implements for playing a game to the platform.

2. The convertible game board and table of claim 1 wherein the center portion of the platform is larger in at least one dimension than the corresponding dimension of either the first or second portions.

3. The convertible game board and table of claim 1, wherein each of the at least one elastic bands are adapted to be releasably attached to the upper surface of the platform at a plurality of locations on the platform.

4. The convertible game board and table of claim 1 wherein each of the at least one elastic bands are adapted to be releasably attached to the upper surface of the platform at a plurality of orientations on the platform.

5. The convertible game board and table of claim 1 wherein the first and second side portions of the platform are moveable between a folded and an unfolded position.

6. The convertible game board and table of claim 1, wherein said implements are at least one game-playing card, and the at least one elastic band is adapted to removably secure the at least one game-playing card between the at least one elastic band and the platform.

7. The convertible game board and table of claim 1, said platform having a generally planar lower surface, said lower surface having a board game playing field applied thereto.

8. The convertible game board and table of claim 7, wherein at least one additional elastic band removably and movably overlies said game playing field, said at least one additional elastic band adapted to secure additional implements for playing a game to the lower surface of the platform.

9. The convertible game board and table of claim 1, including first fastener elements secured to the upper surface of said platform; corresponding releasable second fastener elements secured to the at least one elastic band; engagement of said first fastener elements with said second fastener elements causing said at least one elastic band to be secured over the upper surface of said platform.

10. The convertible game board and table of claim 9 wherein said first and second fastener elements are hook and loop type fastener elements.

11. The convertible game board and table of claim 9, said platform having a lower surface, said lower surface having a board game playing field applied thereto; third fastener elements secured to the lower surface of the platform; corresponding releasable fourth fastener elements secured to an additional at least one elastic band; engagement of said third fastener elements with said fourth fastener elements causing said at least one additional elastic band to be secured over the lower surface of the platform.

12. The convertible game board and table of claim 11 wherein said third and fourth fastener elements are hook and loop type fastener elements.

13. The convertible game board and table of claim 1 wherein the platform includes a plurality of sockets, each socket adapted to releasably receive a leg for supporting the platform in a horizontal elevated position.

14. The convertible game board and table of claim 13 wherein each socket and a corresponding leg are sized such that friction releasably holds the leg in position in the socket.

15. The convertible game board and table of claim 13 wherein each socket includes a magnetic element of a first polarity, and each leg includes a magnetic element of a second polarity, each socket holding a leg inserted in the socket through magnetic attraction.

16. The convertible game board and table of claim 13 including means to releasably lock each leg in a corresponding socket.

17. The convertible game board of claim 13 wherein the platform also includes a generally planar lower surface, said sockets applied to the upper surface and the lower surface of the platform.

18. A kit for storing and transporting a convertible game board and table, comprising: a carrying bag having at least one compartment therein; a folded and expandable convertible table and game board platform removably stored in one of said at least one compartments; the carrying bag including at least one pocket removably storing a plurality of legs, the legs adapted to be inserted in sockets on the platform to hold the platform in an elevated horizontal position when the platform and legs are removed from the carrying bag.

19. The kit of claim 18, further including additional pockets adapted to removably hold accessory items selected from the group consisting of game implements and elements, magnetized game implements and elements, and picnic utensils.

20. The kit of claim 18 wherein the carrying bag includes at least one strap, the at least one strap adapted to support the carrying bag on the shoulder of a user.

21. The convertible game board and table of claim 7 wherein the lower surface is magnetized to a first polarity, said magnetized surface adapted to apply a magnetic holding force to game implements magnetized to a second polarity.

Description:

RELATED DOCUMENTS

This nonprovisional application claims priority to and incorporates herein by reference the contents of Provisional Application No. 60/671,196 filed Apr. 14, 2005, to the extent allowed by law.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a convertible portable planar game board for playing various games, where the board can be configured into a table. Game boards require ideal environmental conditions to ensure that a game can be played. Physical location of the game elements on the game board are critical and can be easily disturbed by changes in the environment, such as wind gusts or when traveling under unsteady conditions. These limitations prevent people from using games in an outdoor environment. Game boards are also usually only used for their one intended purpose and have not been adapted to serve additional purposes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, a convertible game board and table is provided that includes a platform having a generally planar horizontal upper surface. The platform includes first and second side portions and a center portion. The center portion may be slightly larger than the first and second side portions, and the first and second side portions may be folded to cover at least a portion of the center portion.

The game board platform also includes a plurality of removable and movable elastic bands overlying and covering at least a portion of the upper surface for holding one or many cards or other game elements in position on the platform. The bands may be releasably or permanently attached to the upper surface of the platform at a variety of locations and orientations.

The board may also include a magnetized lower surface. The lower surface may be configured to permit the playing of board games that do not use playing cards as the playing implement. Such games may include, but are not limited to, chess, checkers and backgammon. The upper surface and the lower surface of the platform may also include a plurality of sockets for receiving attachable legs, whereby the platform may be converted to a table.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the upper surface of the game board of the present invention in its open operative position, illustrating sockets adapted to receive detachable legs to support the game board in an elevated horizontal position;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the game board of FIG. 1, showing the bottom surface of the game board, which is configured to play a board game that requires a checkerboard-type surface, illustrating sockets for receiving attachable legs.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a carry bag for holding the game board, game pieces, cards, and the attachable legs.

FIG. 4 is an elevation view of the elastic bands for releasably holding one or more cards in place on the platform.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one of the attachable legs.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention, as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, provides a game platform 10 having a planar surface. The platform 10 defines an upper surface 12 and a lower surface 14, whereby the platform 10 can be folded for storage or transporting, and opened to provide an upper relatively flat planar surface on which any number of games with lightweight game elements may be played. The platform 10 is preferably lightweight and may be made of plywood, plastic, composite board or other suitable material. The surfaces 12, 14 of the platform 10 may be coated with a waterproof material.

To prevent lightweight game elements such as playing cards from blowing away under adverse conditions, a plurality of elastic bands 16 are provided which can be releasably secured to substantially any location on the upper surface. For example, the elastic bands 16 may be secured at any location and at any desired angular orientation relative to the edges of the upper surface to accommodate configuration and set-up for specific card or other games. The bands 16 may be secured to the upper surface using methods known to one of ordinary skill in the art such as hook and loop fasteners, adhesives, rivets or other similar devices and methods.

In an illustrative embodiment, referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, loop portions of Velcro™ type hook-and-loop strips 18 are respectively coupled to the upper surface 12 of platform 10, and to selected portions of the bottom surface 14 of the platform. Hook elements 20 (FIG. 4) are suitably attached to the underside of elastic bands 16 to permit the releasable securing of the elastic bands to the upper or lower surfaces 12, 14. The Velcro™ type strips 18 may be secured to the upper surface 12 of the platform 10, and to selected portions 20 (FIG. 4) of the bottom surface of the elastic bands 16 using an adhesive. In another illustrative embodiment, the elastic bands 16 may be secured directly to the platform 10 using an adhesive or a rivet, using techniques known in the industry.

As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 4, the bands 16 may be elongated strips of an elastic material that extend along the upper surface 12 or lower surface 14 in various orientations. The bands 16, in one embodiment, may have a flat bottom surface. The bands 16 are secured to the platform 10 in a manner that permits playing cards or other game implements to be slid under a band and held in position as best seen in FIG. 1. Various card games can be played using the platform 10, such as, but not limited to, poker, bridge, gin rummy, solitaire, by sliding cards under the elastic bands 16 as shown in FIG. 1.

As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the platform 10 may be hinged or scored for folding. For example, the left portion 22 and right portion 24 of the platform 10 may be folded over at least a portion of the center portion 26. The platform 10 may be foldable so that the left and right side portions 22, 24 may be moved from a folded position to a partially or fully open locked position. For example, both the left and right side portions 22, 24 may be folded open and locked into position such that the side portions 22, 24 are substantially coplanar with the center portion 26. The board space needed or desired by the players will determine whether one or both of the side portions 22, 24 are folded open.

The side portions 22, 24 are adapted to be locked in place relative to center portion 26 of platform 10 when in the fully opened position as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, by suitable locking mechanisms as are known to those of ordinary skill in the art. By way of example, a sliding latch (not shown) on the platform center portion 26 would engage a bracket (not shown) on a side portion 22 or 24 to hold the side portions open or parallel to the surface 12 of center portion 26. When a user desires to fold side portions 22, 24 over, or relative to, center portion 26, the sliding latch is removed from its corresponding bracket on side portion 22 or 24, and the side portions are pivoted to their desired position.

The platform 10 may also be reversible, permitting the lower surface 14 of the platform to be used to play board games that do not require playing cards. The lower surface 14 of the platform 10 may also contain a printed pattern 28 to accommodate a plurality of game playing fields. For example, as best seen in FIG. 2, the lower surface 14 of the platform 10 may contain a checkered pattern 28 for playing games such as chess, checkers, or other similar games. Yet another pattern for a board game, such as Backgammon or Monopoly™, may be printed around the checkered pattern. The lower surface may be magnetized to a first polarity, and may be used with magnetized game elements 30 that are magnetized to an opposite polarity, such as but not limited to, implements for playing checkers, chess, and backgammon, wherein a magnetic force is used to hold the magnetized game elements 30 in position on the platform 10.

The lower surface 14 of platform 10 may be magnetized using techniques known in the art. For example, a magnetic material may be applied as a coating to the lower surface using known techniques, or a layer of magnetic material, such as for example a metal or a metal-plastic composite, may cover or form at least a portion of the lower surface. The magnetized game elements 30 may support a magnetic material having a polarity opposite that supported by the lower surface. It will be appreciated that known techniques may be used to secure the magnetic material to the game playing implements. For example, a magnetic material may be secured to the game playing implements using an appropriate adhesive.

The upper surface 12 and the lower surface 14 of the platform 10 also support a plurality of sockets 30, as best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, each socket adapted to receive an attachable and detachable leg 34 (shown in FIG. 5). One attachable leg 34 is received in each socket 32. With the legs 34 attached to the platform 10, the platform becomes a table that is supported by the legs at an elevated position. The legs 34 and the sockets 32 may be sized such that friction holds the legs in position in the socket. Alternatively, the sockets may support a magnetic material of one polarity configured to attract a magnetic material of opposite polarity supported by one of the ends of the legs. Known techniques may be used to apply the magnetic materials to the sockets and the legs, or to releasably lock the legs into the sockets. It will be appreciated that the platform may be used without the legs as a tabletop or laptop game board. Although FIGS. 1 and 2 show the sockets 32 attached to, or formed in, side portions 22, 24, it is also contemplated within the scope of the present invention that sockets 32 may be located adjacent the four corners of central portion 26, on either or both the upper surface 12 and/or the lower surface 14 of platform 10.

The platform 10 and the attachable legs 34 may be stored or transported as a kit in a carry bag 36. As best seen in FIG. 3, the carry bag 36 includes an inner compartment 38 designed to receive the folded platform 10. The carry bag 36 also includes a plurality of pockets 38 for receiving and holding the legs 34, and for holding accessory items such as, but not limited to, picnic utensils, and magnetized game implements or elements 30 such as poker chips, score pads and playing cards. The carry bag also may include a compartment for storing plates, cups, napkins, etc. As best seen in FIG. 3, the carry bag also includes at least one shoulder strap 40. The carry bag 36 may be constructed in accordance with known techniques using materials known to one of ordinary skill in the art.

The foregoing description of an illustrated embodiment of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, and is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. The described embodiment was selected to best explain the principles of the invention and practical application of these principles to enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention not be limited by the specification, but be defined by the claims set forth below.





 
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