Title:
Knowledge-based, question and answer board game apparatus and method of play
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is a knowledge-based question and answer game comprising a game apparatus and method of play. This game challenges players to use their minds in a multitude of ways. Players draw on previous knowledge, inductive and deductive reasoning, and use critical thinking to answer wide-ranging questions of academic knowledge. Correctly answering players advance based on question difficulty level. Knowledge, reasoning, strategy, and chance are all game components. A nuance of the present invention include “maxim” spaces and cards which allow the player to spin a spinner having both positive and negative numbers and move the game piece accordingly. Maxim cards introduce players to the thoughts and ideas of intellectual minds throughout the ages to inspire further inquiry.



Inventors:
Belanger, Dennis A. (Denver, CO, US)
Application Number:
10/908912
Publication Date:
11/30/2006
Filing Date:
05/31/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOANNE WAMBEKE (DENVER, CO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A knowledge-based, question and answer game comprising a game apparatus including: a game board including a playing surface formed thereon, said playing surface including a travel path for one or more gaming pieces, said travel path being divided into a plurality of spaces arranged seriatim between a start space and a finish space along said travel path; said playing surface including a plurality of designated spaces for playing cards; a plurality of gaming pieces to be used on said game board; a spinner having both positive and negative numbers; a set of printed question cards, each card being identified with its related category such as history, science, social science, or arts and humanities, and having a question, answer and explanation on one side and indication of difficulty level on the other; and maxim cards comprising inspirational quotes, gift cards, and at least one reverse direction of play card.

2. A method of playing a knowledge-based, question and answer game which includes a game apparatus comprising a game board having a playing surface with a travel path identified thereon, said travel path including a plurality of finite spaces between a start space and a finish space, including special maxim spaces; a spinner having both positive and negative numbers; plural gaming pieces for use by individual players or teams of players of said game; a set of printed question cards, each card being identified with its related category and having a question and answer on one side and indication of difficulty level on the other, said set of printed question cards being separated into at least two piles; and maxim cards containing inspirational quotes, gifts cards, and at least one reverse direction of play card; said method comprising each of plural players or teams taking a turn at play of said game comprising the steps of: placing a gaming piece on the start space of said travel path; spinning said spinner to determine which player/team plays first; the first player/team identifying a question on top of one said pile of said set of question cards based on the player's/team's preference; an opponent player/team reading a question identified by the first player/team to the first player/team; the first player/team attempting an answer to the question identified; and the first player/team advancing said gaming piece along said travel path toward said finish space by said level of difficulty indicated on said identified question card if a correct answer is given.

3. The game apparatus as in claim 1, wherein said travel path comprises “maxim” spaces.

4. The method set forth in claim 2 including the step of not advancing if said question is answered incorrectly.

5. The method set forth in claim 2 including the step of a player/team landing on said maxim space: enabling said player/team to choose said maxim card, and giving an option to spin said spinner then advance or digress the player's said gaming piece along said travel path as indicated by result of said spinner, advancing for positive numbers and digressing for negative numbers; said maxim card may contain said gift card allowing a player/team to advance or digress an opponent's gaming piece along said travel path; said maxim cards comprise at least one card to reverse direction of play.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

This invention generally relates to board games, specifically to such board games requiring answering questions correctly in order to advance around the game board.

2. Prior Art

Numerous question and answer board games exist spanning a wide variety of content areas such as black history (U.S. Pat. No. 5,085,439, issued Feb. 4, 1992 to Willie C. Lott, titled “Game board, query cards and method of playing a black history game”), cultural knowledge (U.S. Pat. No. 5,257,939, issued Nov. 2, 1993 to Don T. Robinson and June Huckabee, titled “cultural knowledge board game”), public health (U.S. Pat. No. 6,669,196, issued Dec. 30, 2003 to Rita Washko, titled “public health oriented board game system”), and a multitude of trivia games. Rarely do games address general academic knowledge nor allow players to advance based on question difficulty level.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,090,717 issued on May 23, 1978 to Susan Rossetti, titled “Educational Game,” describes a game using a standard reference work, such as a set of encyclopedias, as one of the game components. A game board displays a path of travel along which the players each move a marker, with progress along the path being determined partly by the player's success in correctly answering questions within the prescribed time, and partly by the roll of a single die. There is a set of question cards, each of which asks for information obtainable from the encyclopedia; a timer to limit the period of each person's turn; and a set of answer cards to determine the correctness of the information obtained.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,121,823 issued on Oct. 24, 1978 to Tarrie A. McBride, titled “Educational Device Employing A Game Situation,” describes an educational device employing a game situation to teach a preselected, and particularly religious, subject matter. The educational device is generally comprised of a playing board having a plurality of contiguous areas extending around the perimeter of the playing board. The contiguous areas are divided into a plurality of subject matter areas, each subject matter area having associated therewith a deck of cards. Most of the cards have printed thereon questions regarding the subject matter of study, although some card decks specifically direct the player. The object of the game is to advance around the perimeter of the board, through the contiguous areas. In each turn a player advances initially in accordance with a chance device, and thereafter by answering questions or following other instructions from the card deck associated with the area on which the player lands.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,273,337 issued on Jun. 16, 1981 to Michael A. Carrera et al., titled “Family Sex Education Board Game,” describes the apparatus including a plurality of player tokens, a game board having a closed continuous path defined by a multiplicity of playing spaces, and three decks of cards, each of which contains questions concerning the field of human sexuality; the decks being distinguishable from one another according to degree of difficulty. There is also provided a fourth deck of cards which contains discussion questions for discussing various attitudes concerning human sexuality and a score sheet for scoring one's correct answers according to category.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,714,255 issued on Dec. 22, 1987 to Daniel P. Henry et al., titled “Educational Board Game,” describes a game having a game board with a complex pair of intersecting playing paths thereon. Chance means are used to determine the distance traveled at each play. A correctly answering player continues to roll the die and advance, so long as he or she continues to answer each question correctly at each play. Henry et al. provide different levels of difficulty; the level must be selected at the beginning of the game by each player, and may only be changed according to certain specific rules and locations of the game board during play.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,856,780 issued on Aug. 15, 1989 to Samuel E. Begley et al., titled “Sports Trivia Board Game,” describes a question and response game having questions of different levels of difficulty. Progress about the peripheral path of the game board, and the difficulty of the questions provided to the players during play, is determined purely by chance means, with the players having no input. Thus, a player of the Begley et al. game may by chance advance only a single position on the board yet be required to answer a question at the highest level of difficulty.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,889,345 issued on Dec. 26, 1983 to Randy A. Wawryk, titled “Board Game,” describes a game having a board with a double peripheral playing path and multiple scoring levels. The game utilizes question and answer cards which are divided into five different categories. Each card is printed with the last name of a famous individual and a clue as to the individual's identity. The answer, which is the individual's first name, is also printed on the card. In the play of the game, each player moves a playing token about the outer and inner tracks to the central portion of the game board according to the throw of dice and the correct answering of the various question cards.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,907,808 issued on Mar. 13, 1990 to Glenn Turner et al., titled “Trivia Board Game,” describes a game having a game board with a hexagonal configuration and radial and peripheral playing paths. Player position markers must be progressively assembled according to player progress during the course of the game. Progress along the playing paths is determined by chance means, with players being required to answer questions selected from one of several groups of cards. One of the groups of cards of the Turner et al. game is divided into questions relating to different subject areas. Various penalties and detours are included in the game.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,042,816 issued on Aug. 27, 1991 to Tracy L. Davis et al., titled “Biblical Question and Answer Game,” describes a game having a game board with a peripheral path and at least one crossing path. The objective of the game is to acquire a predetermined number of points before your competitors. Points are gained by landing on an appropriate game board space which indicates a point reward for the correct answer to a Bible question. Davis et al. provide different groups of cards, one group has plural questions on each card, and the questions are selected by chance means and do not differ in difficulty.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,152,535 issued on Oct. 6, 1992 to Adolph Roberts, titled “Bible Quiz Game,” describes a game having a game board with playing paths of different levels of difficulty. Players select the level of difficulty desired at the beginning of the game and are restricted to that level throughout the game. The decks of cards include question cards, negative accusation cards, freeze cards, mercy cards, and a draw lot card. The card selected determines how the player will move the game piece.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,607,160 issued on Mar. 4, 1997 to Arthur J. Stevens et al., titled “Three Talent Boardgame,” describes a game having a triangular board with intersecting arcuate playing paths thereon. The playing paths are divided into a series of three different types of positions, requiring teams of players to answer a series of three questions, draw representations of three different articles, or act out representations of three different words, depending upon the position. Chance means is used to determine the number of positions to be moved on each team's turn.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,860,652 issued on Jan. 19, 1999 to Stephen M. Ruff titled “Educational Board Game” describes a game being played by rolling a die, moving a game piece a number of spaces designated by the die, drawing a card, and answering a question on the card. Correctly answering players follow the instructions on the card for movement of the game piece. The game also includes a series of blank cards upon which questions can be written by a player or supervisor to be asked during game play.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,019,370 issued on Feb. 1, 2000 to Harry W. Morris, titled “Educational Board Game,” describes players taking turns attempting to advance along the travel path by correctly answering questions. Questions and answers are printed in a book according to selected subject matter categories. Players advance their playpieces by correctly answering the questions. Questions and subject matter categories are selected by chance through rolling a set of dice whose numbers identify the subject matter category and question. Gaming chips may be used to accumulate extra points toward determining a game winner and through betting by the player whose turn it is to answer a question and by challenges to the answer by other players in the game.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,102,398 issued on Aug. 15, 2000 to Hans Peter Kolleth, titled “Question and Answer Board Game” describes a game including a game board which has a map and a path around which players may progress. The game is played by players selecting tokens and commencing play by throwing dice with the tokens moving the number of spaces thrown by the dice. When the marker lands on an appropriate position, the player has the chance of answering a question. If the player answers correctly, that player's question score is increased by two. If the answer is incorrect, the player's question score is decreased by one. The questions are contained on a series of cards and the answers are provided with either the question or the answer including a grid reference position on the map.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,267,376 issued on Jul. 31, 2001 to Brett C. Jenkins, titled “Trivia Game,” describe a game board having a plurality of linear playing paths extending from one end of the board to the other, and a plurality of question and response cards relating to trivia. Each card has a series of questions of differing levels of difficulty and corresponding answers. Players may select whichever level of difficulty they wish, with advance of that player's position marker along the corresponding playing path, depending upon the degree of difficulty of the question correctly answered. The position marker of a player incorrectly answering a question is set back a number of positions corresponding to the degree of difficulty of the question. The game also allows players to set back the progress of an opposing player, if desired.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,431,545 issued on Aug. 13, 2002 to Scott A. Kuhne, titled “Board Game with Novel Format,” require the player to answer questions correctly before being allowed to move along the playing board. The questions are provided in written form with optional clues provided on the cards to assist the player to answer the questions. The playing board may offer short-cuts that enable a player to move further along a path of travel when a player lands on a position accessing the short-cut.

British Patent Publication No. 2,021,959 published on Dec. 12, 1979 to Keith H. Lillie, titled “Steeple Chase Game,” describes a game having a board with a continuous, circuitous playing path thereon. Advancement along the playing path is determined by chance means. Questions are provided at certain obstacle points along the path.

British Patent Publication No. 2,200,291 published on Aug. 3, 1988 to Kitfix Swallow Group, Ltd., titled “Board Games,” describes a game having a game board with a series of convoluted, branching playing paths thereon. Each of the paths is divided into a series of positions, with different players advancing along each of the branches. Players must correctly answer questions corresponding to the specific subject area of the respective branch selected. Additional cards are provided, which are awarded to players reaching the ends of their respective branches. Play continues until at least one player returns along his or her respective branch to a finishing position. The amount of advancement is determined by chance means.

British Patent Publication No. 2,219,744 published on Dec. 20, 1989 to Gillian M. Rowland, titled “Game Apparatus,” describes a game having a game board with a peripheral playing path therearound. Moves are determined by chance means with players being required to answer a question if they land on certain positions on the board. Rowland provides for a set back in the event of an incorrectly answered question.

French Patent Publication No. 2,626,779 published on Aug. 11, 1989 illustrates a board game with the board having a sinusoidal playing path. Chance means are used to determine the advancement of player position markers along the board.

French Patent Publication No. 2,672,228 published on Aug. 7, 1992 illustrates a board game having a board representing a global map. According to the English abstract, a pair of dice each having different markings thereon is used to determine the question to be responded to by a player, and various penalties. Players answering successfully receive a marker in an indicator or scoring area of the board.

None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the present invention as claimed.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION—OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

This game challenges players to use their minds in a multitude of ways. Players draw on previous knowledge, inductive and deductive reasoning, and use critical thinking to answer wide-ranging questions of academic knowledge. Correctly answering players advance based on question difficulty. Knowledge, reasoning, strategy, and chance are game components. In addition, maxim cards introduce players to thoughts and ideas of intellectual minds from throughout the ages. This introduction is intended to inspire further inquiry.

Further objects and advantages of my invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing descriptions.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention is a knowledge-based question and answer board game comprising a game apparatus and method of play. This game was created to challenge players to use their minds in a multitude of ways and gain knowledge in a variety of areas such as arts and humanities, social sciences, science, and history. Players must draw on previous knowledge, inductive and deductive reasoning, and use critical thinking to answer various questions. Movement around the board is based primarily on answering questions correctly and moving the number of spaces equal to the difficulty level indicated on the question card. A nuance of the present invention include “maxim” spaces and cards which allow players to spin a spinner having both positive and negative numbers and move the game piece accordingly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a first embodiment of the game board of the present board game invention, showing its various features.

FIG. 2A is a view of the question side of an exemplary question card, illustrating a question, answer and explanation.

FIG. 2B is a view of the opposite side or face of the card of FIG. 2A, showing level of difficulty and color coding denoting subject category.

FIG. 3A is a face view of a maxim card.

FIG. 3B is a view of the opposite side of a card as in FIG. 3A, showing an inspirational quote.

FIG. 3C is a view of the opposite side of a card as in FIG. 3A, showing a gift card.

FIG. 3D is a view of the opposite side of a card as in FIG. 3A, showing a “reverse direction of play” card.

FIG. 4 is a mini podium used by a reader to hold question cards.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

The game is comprised of the following elements:

A) The game board as in FIG. 1:

i) A flat board with a clear linear path lined with spaces, beginning with a “start” space, then delineating the various aspects and milestones of formal education, e.g., high school graduation, internship, study abroad, bachelor's degree, master's thesis, etc., on up to the last and final space of Doctor of Philosophy/finish. Some spaces indicate loose a turn or to advance/retreat a number of spaces.

ii) The board also has two designated spots for question cards and one spot for maxim cards.

iii) The board also contains a spinner which is comprised of a circle on the game board divided into pie shaped wedges with each wedge indicating a positive or a negative number, and having a pointer suitable for operation by a flick of a finger mounted at the geometric center of the circle.

B) A mini-podium, FIG. 4, comprised of a wood pedestal base approximately five inches high with a Plexiglas holder affixed atop of about 2.5 inches square and having a lip on the bottom, used to hold the question cards for the reader.

C) Question cards as in FIG. 2A and FIG. 2B: 3.5″×5″ cards with a question, answer, and explanation on one side and a number indicating level of difficulty on the other. Difficulty is rated on a scale from 1 to 3, with 1 being the easiest and 3 being the most difficult. Cards are color coded by category—e.g., red for science, blue for history, yellow for arts & humanities, and green for social sciences.

D) Maxim cards: 3.5″×5″ cards that contain the word “Maxim” on one side, FIG. 3A, and an inspirational quote on the other as in FIG. 3B. Some maxim cards are gift cards (FIG. 3C), allowing the receiver to present the card to an opponent to move either ahead five spaces or back five spaces, depending on the card. At least one maxim card indicates reverse direction of play as in FIG. 3D.

E) Game pieces (not shown): miniature busts of famous thinkers used to mark the progress of each player/team.

F) A companion booklet (not shown) containing the contents of the game cards, sorted by subject area and level of difficulty, and the contents of the maxim cards.

The game is played in the following manner. Question cards are shuffled to mix up the categories and difficulty level. The game board is laid out with the question cards divided into two relatively equal piles and placed in the designated area with the level of difficulty (number) facing upwards. The maxim cards are placed in the designated area with the word “maxim” facing upwards. Players may play individually or in teams. (For simplicity we will assume individual players in this description.) Each player chooses a game piece and places it on the “start” space. Each player spins the spinner to determine who goes first; the player with the highest number receiving the honor. The first player chooses the top card from one of the two piles of question cards, depending on subject category (indicated by color coding) and level of difficulty (indicated by the number) desired. The player to the left places the card on the mini-podium and reads the question aloud. If the first player answers the question correctly, he moves his game piece the number of spaces equal to the difficulty level indicated on the card. If the question is not answered correctly, his game piece is not moved. The reader reads the entire answer and the explanation. Play continues in a clockwise manner, unless a “reverse direction of play” card is drawn from the maxim cards. Players may strategize by choosing the amount of advancement, reflected by the level of difficulty identified on the question card, to land on or avoid certain spaces such as “loose a turn,” “advance two spaces,” or a maxim space. By landing on a maxim space, a player chooses the top maxim card, reads it aloud, and has the option of spinning the spinner. The result of the spin determines the number of spaces and direction in which the player moves, advancing for positive numbers and digressing for negative numbers. (Given that there are more positive than negative numbers on the dial, it is statistically advantageous to spin.) If the player chooses not to spin, she remains in the maxim space until her next turn. The game is over when the first player arrives at the Doctor of Philosophy/finish space.

CONCLUSIONS, RAMIFICATIONS, AND SCOPE

Accordingly the reader will see that, according to the invention, I have provided a game apparatus and method of play that challenges the academic knowledge of players as well as rewarding players based on the difficulty level of the question.

While the above description contains much specificity, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but as exemplifications of the presently preferred embodiments thereof. Many other ramifications and variations are possible within the teachings of the invention. For example, an electronic version of the game could easily be made; the game could be limited to one subject matter, such as history, extensively; or the game could be used as a “capstone” game in which the content covers a particular academic curriculum, say tenth grade, and becomes a fun way to test students' scope of knowledge.

Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, and not by the examples given.