License plate geography game and method of play
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The license plate geography game described by this provisional patent is a multi-player game intended to be played while traveling in a car, and in which players accumulate points by identifying the geography of origin for license plates on the cars around them, and using a pre-determined scoring system which attaches values to plates from different geographies.

Larocque, Michael G. (Brooklyn, NY, US)
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What is claimed is:

1. A method of play by an individual or a plurality of individuals, which includes the following steps: a. Correctly identifying the state or province of origin for vehicular license plates b. Establishing a score for the identified plate from (a), using a pre-determined scoring system similar to that described in (2) below c. Summing scores for each individual to arrive at a total score d. Identifying the winner as the individual who has received the greatest total number of points at the end of some period of time.

2. A scoring system, which attributes a fixed number of points to states or provinces taking into consideration: a) The current location of the individual, or the current locations of the plurality of individuals (henceforth “current location”) that are using the scoring system, as well as any one of, or any combination of the following criteria: b) The distance that lies between the current location and any of a pre-determined list of states or provinces (the target state), that distance being measured either in terms of miles of physical or distance, or in terms of the number of states or provinces that lie between the current location and the target state, or any variation or combination of these methods c) The population of the target state d) The nation in which the target state is located.

3. A game which includes any or all of the following components: a) Rules explaining the method of play in (1) above b) A scoring system for assigning points to states or provinces as described in (2) above c) Other implements to support the method of play described in (1), or the scoring system described in (2) which may include but are not limited to printed scorekeeping sheets, mechanical or electronic devices for calculating or tabulating scores, printed or electronic tables for measuring the distance between states and provinces by any of the means described in 2b above.



Long drives can be tedious. A variety of games have been invented to enable passengers to pass the time in an enjoyable fashion. Some of these involve the use of the license plates of other cars—one of the few resources frequently in good supply during a long drive. Most of the games which involve the use of license plates as an integral component of play focus on the alpha-numeric attributes of the license plate—the letters and numbers which appear on the plate itself. Fewer have incorporated the place of origin for the license plate, usually a state, province or territory. Those which have incorporated this information have used it as an additional device for the manipulation of alpha-numeric scoring systems.

Based on the precedent set by the prior art, the present invention represents a substantial improvement. The game is easy to play for individuals of all ages, including relatively young children who require the most distraction on car trips, but whose capacity for word games is often limited. The unique scoring system developed for the sake of this game guarantees a level of competition that encourages strategic thinking but will also reward luck. Finally the premise of the game is an excellent opportunity to teach lessons related to the social sciences including geography, and map reading.

The license plate geography game which is the subject of this patent application is a multi-player game which is intended to be played by parties who are driving together on any trip of sufficient length to warrant an organized means of distraction for the passengers.

The main challenge in the game is to be the first player to correctly identify the state, province or territory of origin for license plates on other cars within sight of your own vehicle. The first player to identify the place of origin for a license plate calls out the name of the state, territory or province. Provided they have correctly identified the place of origin, based on the assessment of the scorekeeper (who can also be a player), that player is awarded points which are proportionate to the distance between the current location of the players and the plate's place of origin, and which are inversely proportionate to the population of the license plate's place of origin. Bonus points are awarded for identifying license plates issued by nations other than the one in which the players are currently traveling. All of the various scoring possibilities are arranged in advance and described on a master scoring guide.

As an example, consider a party of three individuals traveling east through the northwestern corner of Indiana. In addition to passing many cars with Indiana license plates, one would also expect to see a fair number of cars from Illinois and Wisconsin, both of which are relatively nearby. More specifically, one would expect to see more cars from Illinois than from Wisconsin, because Illinois is closer to Indiana than Wisconsin is, and about twice as populous. Hence the license plate geography game would award more points for sightings of Wisconsin plates than for those of Illinois plates. Comparatively more points would be awarded for sightings of license plates from, say, Maine, which is both very distant from Indiana and rather sparsely populated, making the likelihood of regular sightings quite low. Sighting a California plate would provide a number of points less than that awarded for Maine (because it is slightly more distant but much more populous) and presumably more than that for Illinois (because it is much more distant although also more populous)

To continue the same example, if the party continued on its road-trip over the course of many hours or days and eventually arrived in Vermont, the scenario would reverse. Maine license plates would become less valuable and Wisconsin and Illinois license plates would become very valuable. In this way, the game reinforces a sense of geographic orientation and context which will in turn help build map reading skills and awareness about the basic geography of the states and territories scattered across North America.

The game could potentially continue for the entire duration of the trip, with the ultimate winner being the player that has accumulated the greatest total number of points. It could alternatively be terminated after a fixed window of time.

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