Title:
CUSTOMIZABLE BOARD GAME WITH PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND METHOD OF PLAYING THE SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game apparatus and method of playing a game are disclosed wherein the game provides a customizable and personal gaming experience. The apparatus and method employ personal photographs used to customize a game board's appearance and/or to test the knowledge of the game participants. Players answer questions about the personal photographs and move about the game board in response to correctly answering the questions. The first player or team to reach a finishing point on the game board wins the game.



Inventors:
Mullen, Thomas L. (Mechanicsville, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/947826
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
11/30/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Alexander D. Raring (Richmond, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of playing a game, the method comprising: selecting a plurality of photographs, the photographs being the property of at least one game leader, game player, or both; pre-generating answers to questions about each of the selected photographs prior to the start of the board game; providing a game board and game pieces, the game board including a path with a plurality of game spaces; presenting photographs to the game's players during game play; answering questions about the photograph presented to the respective game player; matching the player's answer to the pre-generated answers; determining whether the player's answer is correct or incorrect; rolling a numbered die in response to a correct answer; and moving the player's game piece along the game path wherein the number of game spaces in a move is designated by the roll of the numbered die.

2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the steps of selecting a game theme prior to starting the game, the selected photographs corresponding to the selected theme.

3. The method of claim 2 further comprising the step of customizing the game board with at least a portion of the selected photographs wherein the step of customizing the game board includes securing photographs to the game board.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of complying with instructions provided in a game space, the step of complying with the game space instructions following the step of moving the player's game piece.

5. The method of claim 4 further comprising the steps of furnishing a plurality of game tickets and selecting a game ticket if instructed by the instructions of a game space.

6. A game apparatus comprising: a game board having a game path, the game path comprised of a plurality of game spaces; a plurality of player pieces; a plurality of photographs owned by a game leader, game player, or both; a plurality of answer cards, the answer cards including questions and answers about each photograph; a question die, the sides of the question die corresponding to the pre-printed questions on the answer card; and a numbered die.

7. The game apparatus of claim 6, further comprising a plurality of clear plastic sleeves, the plastic sleeves containing one of the plurality of photographs and one of the plurality of answer cards, the one answer card corresponding to the one photograph.

8. The game apparatus of claim 7, further comprising a photograph box, the plurality of plastic sleeves being stored in the photograph box during game play.

9. The game apparatus of claim 8, wherein the photograph box is collapsible.

10. The game apparatus of claim 7, further comprising a plurality of memory tickets, each of the memory tickets containing instructions to be followed by a game player during game play.

11. The game apparatus of claim 7, wherein the question die includes numbered sides corresponding to questions on the plurality of answer cards, the question die and the numbered die being a single die.

12. A game apparatus comprising: a game board having a game path, the game path comprised of a plurality of game spaces; a plurality of player pieces, the player pieces representing a physical form of transportation; and a plurality of photographs owned by a game participant, wherein photographs from the plurality of photographs are selectively secured to the game board in order to customize the appearance of the game board.

13. The game apparatus of claim 12, further comprising a plurality of answer cards, the answer cards including questions and answers about each photograph;

14. The game apparatus of claim 13, further comprising a question die, the sides of the question die corresponding to the pre-printed questions on the answer card; and a numbered die.

15. The game apparatus of claim 14, further comprising a plurality of clear plastic sleeves, the plastic sleeves containing one of the plurality of photographs and one of the plurality of answer cards, the one answer card corresponding to the one photograph.

16. The game apparatus of claim 15, further comprising a photograph box, the plurality of plastic sleeves being stored in the photograph box during game play.

17. The game apparatus of claim 16, wherein the photograph box is collapsible.

18. The game apparatus of claim 14, further comprising a plurality of memory tickets, each of the memory tickets containing instructions to be followed by a game player during game play.

19. The game apparatus of claim 14, wherein the question die includes numbered sides corresponding to questions on the plurality of answer cards, the question die and the numbered die being a single die.

Description:

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/867,835, which was filed on Nov. 30, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The below disclosure relates to board games. More specifically, a board and method of playing the same are disclosed wherein the game board and/or game is customizable using personal photographs. One or more game leaders or game participants select a set of personal photographs and creates questions related to the photographs.

BACKGROUND

Playing board games is a highly social event that is terrific entertainment for family gatherings, social gatherings with friends, or other special events. Typically, games involve random chance or correctly answering trivia questions in order to advance around a game board. The first player or team to reach the designated finishing point wins the board game.

Current board games do not provide a significant level of personal relevance to the players. Families would benefit from a board game that draws upon family history. Ideally, the board game would spark fun family remembrances and provide genealogical learning opportunities. Groups of friends also share group memories and known board games do not permit a game board and game play experience to be customized to reflect these shared memories.

In addition, typical question- or trivia-based board games come with predetermined questions and answers. A game host or game leader is not presented with the creative challenge of customizing a game experience. Typical board games do not provide an opportunity to display and share family or friend photos. Game owners would appreciate opportunities to recall significant events, places, or people and to share these memories with friends and family.

Accordingly, a new game that engages and educates players on a personal level is desirable. The present invention overcomes one or more of the above or other shortcomings with prior art board games, and the disclosed game provides a fun and memorable experience. Ideally, the game would include at least one game leader to organize and customize the game experience with personal photos.

SUMMARY OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The disclosed board game provides apparatus and a method for playing a customizable board game based on personal photos. Initially, at least one game leader selects a theme or collection of personal photos. The photographs can be drawn from the game leaders personal collection, or they could be provided from several sources, such as extended family members or friends. The game players might also provide photographs, but each selected photograph is the property of the game leader/owner or game players. The hard copy or digital photographs can be organized on the game board or uploaded to the game board, as appropriate. In a preferred embodiment, the selected game photographs are organized in plastic sleeves with answer cards. One photograph and one answer card are inserted into each sleeve. The assembled game sleeves are placed in a photo box to be selected by a user during game play. The game leader(s) creates a series of questions and/or answers for each photograph associated with the game. The questions and answers are recorded on the answer card inserted into the sleeve with each picture.

In use, players move around a game board from a start point towards a finish point Progress around the board is achieved by rolling a 6-sided question die. The sides of the question die include words corresponding to questions to ask about a photograph (i.e., “who,” “where,” “when,” etc.). The question die may include numbers or other indica that correspond to pre-printed questions on an answer card. For example, rolling a ‘1’ on the question die might correspond to “Who?” on an answer card.

Basically, the question die determines what question about a photograph a player will answer. The question relates to a specific photograph or “memory pic” of which the player will or should have personal knowledge. If the player correctly recalls the information from the photograph that they are asked about, the player rolls a traditional, numbered, six-sided die to determine the number of spaces forward the player will move on the board. A single numbered die could, therefore, act as both the question die and the numbered die.

The game board and/or game ‘tickets’ can provide random penalties and bonuses to the players to accelerate or hinder their movement about the game board. The game board can include a “memory lane” theme to reinforce the game experience shared by the game players and game leader.

The game as disclosed herein is thought to provide a highly personal experience for family members or friends playing the game. Both the game leader and game players are game participants. Any of the game participants might provide photographs for use with the game. The players are prompted to recall shared memories and experiences or to learn about past events, family members, and the like. The game leader has an opportunity to share personal photos as well as to customize the game board as desired. This presents a challenging and rewarding activity to the game owner. Overall, the new board game is thought to overcome some of the above or other shortcomings of typical game board design.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts one example of a game board operable for use with the game rules and method disclosed herein;

FIG. 2 illustrates a flowchart representation of a method for building and playing the subject board game;

FIG. 3 illustrates game dies operable with the subject board game;

FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a ‘memory pic’ and game questions provided by the game leader/creator; and

FIG. 5 illustrates a game ticket with examples of possible game events provided thereon.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Briefly, the disclosed ‘memory lane’ game is designed to help families and friends relive special moments in time, learn about others close to them, and to share events or memories from their lives. Ultimately, the game draws families and friends closer as they enjoy their memories together, create new memories, and educate or share events and memories with younger generations of family or friends.

A game leader is any person who helps to customize or build the game prior to the start of game play. The game leader(s) create photograph sets and supply answers to questions about the photographs used with the game. By employing a game leader to build and customize the game using a collection of personal family/friend photos, the game experience changes each time the game is played and can be constantly updated as new photographs are employed. Different game leaders will construct different experiences by selecting different photographs. Game players answer questions about the photographs and compete by moving game pieces around a game board.

The selected photographs for use with the game can be customized for the family members or friends who will play the game. Therefore, the game is highly replayable. The subject board game presents a fun and rewarding activity for the game owner/leader(s) as well as presenting an enjoyable group activity for families and friends.

The game play is related to a ‘memory lane’ theme, which can be reinforced by the design of the game board used with the game. The game board design could depict a road or lane about which the players move their game pieces. The game pieces could depict automobiles or other forms of physical transportation.

In further detail, and with reference to FIG. 1, the subject board game includes a game board 10. The dimensions of the game board could vary, as one of skill in the art would appreciate. As illustrated on game board 10, a defined game patch connects starting and finishing points on game board 10. Players begin at the starting point and move along the predetermined game path to the finish line. The path comprises a plurality of game spaces. In the illustrated example, the path is a rectilinear lane adjacent to the edges of the rectilinear game board. Players move clockwise around the path until their game piece reaches the start/finish line. The player moves one game space at a time. The number of game spaces the player moves in each turn is determined by a die roll or other game event, as explained further below.

Various random events can be placed in each game space. For example, a game space could include the instruction for a player to move a number of game spaces either clockwise or counterclockwise around the game path. Certain game spaces may require a player to skip one or more turns until a particular game event occurs. Yet other game spaces may require the game player to draw a game ticket whereby the game ticket would dictate the player's action. As one of skill in the art would appreciate, variations of known board game penalty or bonus game spaces could also be employed without varying from the scope of the claims.

The subject board game is based on the use of personal photographs. On the illustrated game board example, a number of board spaces are provided for photographs within the area defined by the game path. These spaces could contain one or more photographs. For example, the photograph spaces might comprise plastic sleeves or frames into which personal photographs can be inserted. Therefore, the photograph spaces are customizable, much like a scrapbook, by the game leader. This creates a highly personal game experience while allowing the demonstration of the game leaders photographs and creativity. The photographs could be printed copies or electronic copies that are digitally displayed by known methods. Currently, due to the cost considerations of supplying the necessary electronic components for a digital version of the game, it is thought that hard copies (printed photographs) would be preferred. For digital photographs, one or more digital displays might be employed in place of the multiple photographs spaces illustrated in the example game board 10.

The size of the photograph spaces could be varied so as to allow custom sizing by the game leader. The spaces could also be uniformly sized to reduce the complexity of building the game. Other spaces, such as a space for game tickets to be drawn by players during game play, as directed, could be provided as needed. One of skill in the art will appreciate that the look and layout of the game board can be varied without leaving the scope of the claimed invention. The illustrated game board 10 is one example of a preferred embodiment.

Turning to the flowchart representation of FIG. 2, the steps for building/customizing the game and playing the game are depicted. First, a designated game leader selects a theme. The theme can be any number of broad categories including, but not limited to, family, friends, sports, college, weddings, reunions, and the like. The categories could also be limited to specific periods of time. Once the theme is set, the game leader then selects a plurality of photographs in accordance with the theme. For instance, if the theme is family, the game leader chooses photographs of family members of which the game players would or should have personal knowledge.

The game leader can select photographs for two purposes. First, if desired, the game leader can customize the look of the game board with photographs in accordance with the theme. These photographs can be placed in the frame or sleeves on the game board or are otherwise secured to the game board at the photograph spaces described above. Game leaders will likely enjoy the ability to customize the actual game board, share additional photographs, and display their creativity.

A second set of photographs could be used for the actual game play. The game play photos are placed into clear plastic sleeves. The game play photographs are known as “memory pics”. For each memory pic, a memory pic answer card is created. The answer card includes pre-selected questions. For example, the card might include questions such as when was the photo taken, where was the photo taken, who is in the photo, at what event was the photo taken, etc. The questions will be supplied to one-word questions: “who,” “when,” “where,” etc. The answer card includes space for the game leader(s) to answer the applicable questions and/or to create new questions and answers. The answer card is placed in the plastic sleeve with the corresponding photograph. One photograph and answer card are placed in each sleeve. The contents of both the photograph and the answer card are visible through the sleeve. Once all the selected photographs are associated with the corresponding answer card, the sleeves are placed into a photograph box (not illustrated) and the game build is complete. The photographs used with the game can be supplied solely by the game leader(s) or can also be supplied by game players.

The photograph box used to store the sleeves with the photographs and corresponding answer cards is collapsible. Therefore, between games, the board game and photograph box are easily stored. One of skill in the art will appreciate the ability to fold the box by known means between games. Otherwise, the specific construction of the photograph box does not require further elaboration.

The method for playing the built and customized game is further illustrated in FIG. 2. The game begins with each player's game piece at the starting point. A first player takes the initial step of rolling a question die (preferably a six-sided die). Each side of the die includes a word, number, or indica corresponding to one of the questions about the photograph found on an answer card. The player selects a photograph from the photograph box and answers the question dictated by the question die. If the question is answered correctly (i.e., the player's answer matches the answer supplied by the game leader), the player rolls a second die (preferably a six-sided die) with sequentially numbered sides. The player moves along the game path towards the finishing point. The number of spaces the player moves their game piece is dictated by the player's roll of the numbered die. A single die could act as both the question die and the numbered die. If the final resting spot for the player's game die does not include further directions, the player's turn is over and the next player takes their turn.

After moving the game piece, the player's piece may stop on a game space that includes movement instructions. The player must follow the game space instructions. This may lead to yet more instructions, such as to draw a ticket. If there are no additional instructions, the game player's turn is over and the next player takes their turn.

The player's piece may also stop on a ‘memory ticket’ space. These spaces require that the player draws a memory ticket from a memory ticket stack located on or near the game board. The player follows the instructions presented on the memory ticket. The game player's turn is then over and the next player takes their turn.

If the player incorrectly answers the question related to their memory pic, their turn in the game is forfeited until the other players have had their turn. The player does not progress unless they correctly answer the question related to their memory pic.

FIG. 3 illustrates, in two dimensions, the sides of both the numbered and question die. Game dies are known to one of skill in the art and additional explanation is not necessary.

Turning to FIG. 4, there is illustrated a sample photo (memory pic) in a memory pic sleeve. An answer card is also illustrated and is inserted into the sleeve where the game players and game leader can view indicia printed and written on the memory card. Each card will include a number of questions corresponding to the questions, words, or indicia found on the question die. Additional questions might be generated by the game leader(s). The game leader supplies the answer to each game question. The assembled memory pic sleeves are inserted into a photograph box. The players answer a question related to the photographs each turn by selecting the memory pic sleeve from the photograph box.

One special event on the game board is the selection of a memory ticket, as described above. FIG. 5 illustrates a memory ticket with samples of text instructions that might be provided on any one ticket. Basically, the memory ticket will include instructions to move forward or backward on game board 10, to answer additional questions related to the memory pic, to trade places with another player, to move to designated game space on game board 10, and the like. Memory tickets and game spaces might offer other bonuses and penalties as known in the game board art.

Variations on the game building and game play exist. For instance, each game player might prepare their own memory pics and corresponding answer cards. Each player would then have to answer questions related to memory pics not selected from their collection of memory pic sleeves. In another variation, the answer cards can include bonus questions that must be answered as instructed by the question die, a game space, or a memory ticket. Correctly answering a bonus question would have additional benefits within the game, such as providing a player with an extra turn, providing the option to select a memory ticket, trading places with a player, etc. Incorrectly answering the bonus question would have negative consequences, such as losing a turn or moving backwards along the game path.

In at least one embodiment, the game might incorporate executable software on a computer that would allows a game leader to display digital photographs. The software could provide the opportunity to present customized images (i.e., photo-editing options) and to display the answer cards when prompted. The optional software would not change the underlying method of playing the game.

Therefore, while the invention has been illustrated and described with reference to specific embodiments, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and/or detail may be made to the disclosed game without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims below.