Title:
MULTI-LEVEL GAME BOARD AND ITS METHOD OF MANUFACTURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to a multi-level game board apparatus for a game. In at least one embodiment, the apparatus may include a first board having a first marked surface forming a first plurality of game spaces, the first board also having a first positioning device. The apparatus has a second board having a second marked surface forming a second plurality of game spaces, the second board further having at least a second positioning device cooperable with the first positioning device. The second board may be selectably positionable relative to a portion of the first board. When the first marked surface is positioned relative to a portion of the second marked surface at least one of the second plurality of game spaces substantially underlies a section of the first board and the first positioning device cooperates with the second positioning device to form a model includable in the game.



Inventors:
Johnson, Christopher D. (Fort Wayne, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/733548
Publication Date:
10/16/2008
Filing Date:
04/10/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brooks Kushman (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A multi-level game board apparatus for a game, the apparatus comprising: a first board having a first marked surface forming a first plurality of game spaces, the first board further comprising at least a first positioning device; a second board having a second marked surface forming a second plurality of game spaces, the second board further comprising at least a second positioning device cooperable with the first positioning device to position the second board relative to the first board, the second board selectably positionable relative to a portion of the first board; and wherein when the first marked surface is positioned relative to a portion of the second marked surface, at least one of the second plurality of game spaces substantially underlies a section of the first board and the first positioning device cooperates with the second positioning device to form a model representative of the concept of the game.

2. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 1, wherein the model represents a ship.

3. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 2, wherein a mast selectably connects to at least one structural member of the ship, the first board having at least one wall defining a hole passing through the first board, the mast cooperating with the hole when the ship is in an assembled condition, the mast selectably removable from the hole when the ship is at least partially disassembled.

4. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a third board having a third marked surface forming a third plurality of game spaces.

5. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 4, wherein the third board selectably rotates in a plane approximately parallel to the first board or the second board.

6. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first board comprises a laser cuttable material.

7. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 6, wherein the first marked surface includes a plurality of laser engraved polylines into the laser cuttable material.

8. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 6, wherein the first marked surface includes a plurality of bas-relief game spaces.

9. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 6, wherein the first marked surface includes 1 inch by 1 inch squares.

10. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first plurality of game spaces includes a plurality of colored areas or a grid having a plurality of adjacent game spaces.

11. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first board has an obverse marked surface, the obverse marked surface being opposed to the first marked surface.

12. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 11, wherein the first board obverse marked surface when re-oriented to be visible to game players comprises a game value.

13. A multi-level game board apparatus for a game, the apparatus comprising: a first game board having a first grid for positioning a first game piece; a first outer frame adjacent to the first board, the first outer frame having a first positioning device; a second game board having a second grid for positioning a second game piece; a second outer frame adjacent to the second board, the second outer frame having a second positioning device, cooperable with the first positioning device, wherein the second board is selectably separable from the first board to facilitate playing the game, a first portion of the first grid selectably vertically overlies a second portion of the second grid when assembled; and wherein the first outer frame and the second outer frame cooperate to form selectably a shape enhancing a game experience.

14. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 13, the first or second board are formed from wood or plastic having a thickness of less than 1 inch.

15. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 13, wherein the first board and the second board are selectably separable by a distance of greater than 25 mm.

16. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 13, wherein the shape is a ship, a galley, a castle, a tower, a spaceship, a cave, or a representation of a location.

17. The multi-level game board apparatus of claim 13, wherein a portion of the first grid is vertically congruent with a portion of the second grid when the first outer frame and the second outer frame cooperate to form the shape.

18. A method for making a multi-level game board apparatus for a game, the method comprising: shaping a first game board to form a first layer; applying a first plurality of game spaces to the first game board; modifying the first game board to have a first positioning device; shaping a second game board to form a second layer, wherein the first layer aesthetically cooperates with the second layer; applying a second plurality of game spaces to the second game board; and modifying the second game board to have a second positioning device capable of cooperating with the first positioning device to orient the second game board in a first direction relative to the first game surface, the first game board being positionable to obscure selectably at least one of the second plurality of game spaces when viewed along an axis of the first direction, the first game board being further selectably separable from the portion of the second board to facilitate playing the game.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising: connecting the first positioning device to the second positioning device; and arranging the first game board and the second game board to form a shaped body.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein the shaping of the first or second game board comprises laser cutting.

21. The method of claim 18, wherein the applying of the first or second plurality of games spaces comprises laser engraving.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the laser engraving uses less than 15 Watts of continuous energy from a carbon dioxide laser with a feed rate of less than 50 inches per second.

23. The method of claim 21, the method further comprising: applying a third plurality of game spaces to an obverse game surface of the first or second game board.

24. The method of claim 18, wherein at least one of the first game board and the second game board is made by: providing a first laminate board; cutting a plurality of apertures in the first laminate; providing a second laminate board; and bonding the second laminate to the first laminate to form a laminated game board.

25. The method of claim 24, further comprising: applying at least one first pigmented layer between a portion of the first laminate and a portion of the second laminate, the first pigmented layer underlying at least one of the plurality of apertures in the first laminate.

26. The method of claim 18, further comprising: providing a first laminate board; cutting a first plurality of apertures in the first laminate; providing a second laminate board; cutting a second plurality of apertures in the second laminate; applying at least one pigmented layer, the pigmented layer contacting at least a portion of the first laminate cooperating with the plurality of apertures in the second laminate or at least a portion of the second laminate cooperating with the plurality of apertures in the first laminate; connecting the second laminate to the first laminate to form a laminated game board; including the laminated game board in the apparatus; and wherein at least one of the first plurality of apertures is not vertically congruent with at least one of the second plurality of apertures.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a multi-level game board and its method of manufacture.

2. Background Art

Role-playing and miniatures games are popular with many people of varying ages. Game players often create scenarios for the game based around characters with which they may imbue with various traits. The characters are frequently situated on game boards designed for positioning the characters.

While these games have enjoyed tremendous popularity, they have been criticized as being unfulfilling because of the many situational conditions that must be envisioned by the players. The game boards often lack visual cues that would otherwise enhance a game-playing experience. Further, situational conditions may be envisioned differently by various players leading to disputes that may disrupt the game playing experience.

The difficulty with envisioning the game board may be compounded when the game is played more than one dimension.

What is needed is a game board that enhances the game playing in multiple dimensions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a multi-level game board and its method of manufacture.

In at least one embodiment, a multi-level game board apparatus for a game is provided which may include a first board having a first marked surface forming a first plurality of game spaces, the first board also having a first positioning device. The apparatus has a second board having a second marked surface forming a second plurality of game spaces, the second board further having at least a second positioning device cooperable with the first positioning device. The second board may be selectably positionable relative to a portion of the first board. When the first marked surface is positioned relative to a portion of the second marked surface at least one of the second plurality of game spaces substantially underlies a section of the first board and the first positioning device cooperates with the second positioning device to form a model includable in the game.

Another embodiment, a multi-level game board apparatus for a game is provided which may include a first game board having a first grid for positioning a first game piece. The board comprises a first outer frame adjacent to the first board, and having a first positioning device. The game board apparatus also comprises a second game board having a second grid for positioning a second game piece. A second outer frame is adjacent to the second board and has a second position device which is cooperable with the first position device. The second board is selectively separable from the first board to facilitate playing the game. A first portion of the first grid is selectably vertically overlying the second portion of the second grid when assembled. The first outer frame and the second outer frame cooperate to form selectably a shape enhancing a game experience.

In another embodiment, a method for making a multi-level game board apparatus for a game comprises shaping a first game board to form a first layer. To the first game board a first plurality of game spaces is applied and the first game board is modified to have a first positioning device. A second game board is shaped to form a second layer which cooperates aesthetically with the first layer. The second game board then has a plurality of game spaces applied to it. The next step in this embodiment is modifying a second game board to have a second positioning device capable of cooperating with the first positioning device to orient the second game board in a first direction relative to the first game surface. The first game board is positionable to obscure selectably at least one of the second plurality of game spaces when viewed along an axis of the first direction. The first game board is further selectably separable from a portion of the first board to facilitate playing the game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a fragmentary perspective view of a multi-level game board according to one embodiment;

FIG. 2 illustrates a fragmentary perspective view of a partially disassembled, multi-level game board according to one embodiment;

FIG. 3 illustrates a fragmentary cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of components according to this invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a fragmentary cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of components according to this invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates a fragmentary cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment of components according to this invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a fragmentary perspective view of a marked surface according to an embodiment of this invention;

FIG. 7 illustrates a fragmentary view of a laminated game board according to an embodiment of this invention; and

FIGS. 8A, 8B, 8C, and 8D illustrate detail views of non-limiting examples of positioning devices according to embodiments of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows a non-limiting example of a model of a masted ship 1 according to one embodiment. The ship 1 is positionable on a game area 3. It should be understood that the ship 1 could be positioned in another setting. A non-limiting example of the setting may be a floor or a table. Collateral game materials such as role-playing game instructions, schematically illustrated as 5, and dice 7 also may be included on the game area 3. It should be understood that the model may be used in other game formats without departing from the spirit of the invention. A non-limiting example of the other game format is a game using miniature players or a role-playing game.

In the illustrated embodiment, the ship 1 has a quarterdeck board 9 game surface. The quarterdeck board 9 has a quarterdeck marked surface 11 forming a plurality of quarterdeck game spaces 13. In at least one embodiment, the quarterdeck marked surface 11 is laser-engraved into the surface material. It should be understood that engraving could be on other marked surfaces and that other marking methods known in the art may be used to form the quarterdeck marked surface. The quarterdeck marked surface 11 is contained within a quarterdeck outer frame 15. The quarterdeck board 9 has a wall 17 which defines a hole 19.

In the illustrated embodiment, the ship 1 has a mizzen mast 21. The mizzen mast 21 cooperates with the hole 19 so that the quarterdeck board 9 can be selectably assembled or removed while the mizzen mast 21 is still in place. The mizzen mast 21 is also selectably removable from the ship 1. The selectably removable feature of the mizzen mast 21 may be a benefit when the mizzen mast 21 has one or more yardarms 23. Removing the mizzen mast 21 with yardarm 23 facilitates disassembly of the quarterdeck board 9 from the ship 1 during a game. The yardarm 23 has a yardarm marked surface 25. The yardarm marked surface 25 includes a first plurality of yardarm game spaces 27. The yardarm 23 has a yardarm wall 29 defining a yardarm hole 31. The mizzen mast 21 cooperates with the yardarm hole 31 to position the yardarm 23.

In the illustrated embodiment, the quarterdeck board 9 is selectably positionable upon a main deck board 33 game surface. The main deck board 33 has a main deck marked surface 35 which is contained in a main deck outer frame 37. A forecastle deck 39 game surface having a forecastle deck marked surface 41 cooperates with the main deck board 33. The forecastle deck 39 is adjacent to a bowspirit 43 having a bowspirit marked surface 45.

In the illustrated embodiment, the main deck board 33 cooperates with a below deck board 47 game surface. In this non-limiting example, the below deck board 47 underlies at least a portion of the main deck board 33.

When the below deck board 47, the main deck board 33, the quarterdeck board 9, and the bowspirit 43 are assembled, the model may be included in a game and appears to have a shape of the ship 1.

The linear distance between any two boards may be independently selected from a range of less than 100 mm, less than 50 mm, less than 25 mm, or less than 10 mm, and greater than 0.0 mm, greater than 0.5 mm, greater than 1 mm, or greater than 25 mm.

FIG. 2 shows a fragmentary perspective view of an embodiment of the masted ship 1 when the various boards have been selected to be separated. This non-limiting example illustrates the use of the various boards for role-playing games with miniature FIG. 49. These miniature FIG. 49 may include 25 millimeter high figures frequently used in role-playing games. When the various boards of the masted ship 1 are separated, this non-limiting example illustrates how the miniature FIG. 49 may be used on decks that would not otherwise be usable for game surfaces. In this non-limiting example, the quarterdeck board 9 includes a plurality of quarterdeck blind holes 51 which cooperate with a plurality of pegs 53 on the main deck. The plurality of quarterdeck blind holes 51 and the plurality of main deck pegs 53 may further cooperate with the mizzen mast 21 where the mizzen mast 21 may be a positioning device. It should be understood that the mizzen mast 21 may be a positioning device independent of other positioning devices.

As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the main deck board 33 may have a blind hole 139. One or more blind holes 139 located on one or both sides of the board 33, in this embodiment, face the below deck board 47. The blind hole 139 may cooperate with a deck peg 137. The resulting assembly of the below deck board 47 and the main deck board 33 may begin to appear like the ship 1.

The peg 137 should be of a size that is smaller than the main deck blind hole 139 so that the peg may slide into the hole allowing the main deck board 33 to be adjacent to the below deck board 47.

The main deck board 33 may also have a main deck game space 141 on the main deck marked surface 35 (FIG. 1).

The game spaces 141 on the main deck board 33 should overlie and obscure at least some of the game spaces on the below deck board 47 when the main deck board 33 and below deck board 47 are assembled. To make use of the game spaces found on the below deck board 47 the players may choose to separate the main deck board 33 from the below deck board 47.

The masted ship 1 may also include a foremast 55 as illustrated in this embodiment. A rotatable yardarm 57 may allow different scenarios for positioning the miniature FIG. 49. The yardarm is rotatable in a plane approximately parallel to the deck boards 9, 33, 39, and 47 (FIG. 1) in certain embodiments. The yardarm may be supported using a flexible retainer 59 adjacent to and below the rotated yardarm 57 on the foremast 55. An upper flexible retainer 61 may be positioned above the rotated yardarm 57 on the foremast 55. In some embodiments, the upper flexible retainer 61 may be adjacent to the rotated yardarm 57 to further constrain movement of the rotated yardarm 57 during role-playing games. While the above paragraph described the rotatable yardarm 57, it should be understood that all of the yardarms could be rotatable and include structure similar to yardarm 57 described herein.

The forecastle deck board 39 may also have a forecastle blind hole 143 to aid in positioning the forecastle deck board 39 on the main deck board 33 as illustrated in this embodiment. The blind hole 143 may cooperate with the peg 53 on the main deck 33. The assembly of the forecastle board 39 on the main deck board 33 and the below deck board 47 increases the reality of model's appearance like the ship 1.

In some embodiments, the foremast 55 may cooperate with the below deck board 47 when the foremast 55 is positioned in a mast retainer 63. The mast retainer 63 may be secured to the below deck board 47. In some embodiments, the mast retainer 63 engages the below deck board 47 in a hole in the below deck board 47. In the illustrated embodiment, the hole is defined by a below deck board wall 65. It should be further understood that the below deck board 47 with the hole or without the hole may be a non-limiting example of a structural member for supporting the foremast 55 or other masts such as the mizzen mast 21.

FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the masted ship 1 having the main deck board 33 and the below deck board 47 components which are positioned using a hull 69 and a plurality of supports 71. The supports 71 are secured to the hull 69 and are opposed. In this non-limiting example the main deck board 33 rests but is not necessarily secured to the supports 71. This allows the main deck board 33 to be removed as part of the game. The below deck board 47 is selectably secured to the supports 71. When the below deck board 47 is not secured to the supports 71, it can also be selectably removed from the hull to allow the players of the role-playing game to position the below deck board in a scenario for the game.

In this non-limiting example, the below deck board 47 is sized so that it would pass between the supports 71 that are supporting the main deck board 33. If the below deck board 47 is secured to the supports 71, then the assembly of the hull 69 and the below deck board 47 may be used for the role-playing game. It should be further understood that the hull 69 may be selectably sectioned so that it may be removed at the same time as the main deck board 33.

FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment for positioning of the main deck board 33 wherein a main deck downstanding rib 73 positions the main deck board 33 relative to the below deck board 47. The below deck board 47 has one or more corresponding receiving notches 75 that may nest with the main deck downstanding rib 73 to position the main deck board 33 with respect to the below deck board 47.

In certain embodiments, the downstanding rib 73 is centered on the obverse face 77 of the main deck board 33. It should be further understood that the downstanding rib 73 may include a plurality of downstanding ribs. The downstanding ribs 73, while illustrated as a rectangular rib in this non-limiting example, should be understood to also include fillets or chamfers. The downstanding rib 73 may also be shaped as a triangle, square, trapezoid or other shape not having an undercut.

FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of the deck configuration of the masted ship 1. In a non-limiting example, a reversible main deck board 79 has a main face 81 and an obverse face 83. An upstanding rib 85 and a downstanding rib 87 are symmetrically disposed when the reversible main deck board 79 is rotated about an axis 89. In the non-limiting illustration the upstanding rib 85 is positioned on the main face 81. The downstanding rib 87 is positioned on the obverse face 83. A notch 91 is positioned opposite the upstanding rib on the main face 81 of the reversible main deck board 79. In this illustration another notch 93 is symmetrically disposed from the notch 91 and is positioned on the obverse face 83 of the reversible deck board 79 opposite the downstanding rib 87.

In another embodiment of this invention using upstanding ribs and downstanding ribs with notches, the deck board does not need to be reversible. In FIG. 5, the below deck board 47 and an upstanding rib 95 may be positioned on a below deck board main face 97 and fitting into the notch 93 on the obverse face 83 of the reversible main deck board 79. In this illustration, a below deck board notch 99 is positioned on the main face 97 opposite the below deck board upstanding rib 95. The below deck board notch 99 fits the reversible main deck board downstanding rib 87. It should be further understood that the positioning devices may be combined for any of the deck boards.

FIG. 6 illustrates a non-limiting example of a bas-relief game space 101 on the main deck marked surface 35 on the main deck board 33. The bas-relief game space 101 may be formed when a carbon dioxide laser is used to laser engrave all areas except a polyline 103 that defines an edge 105 for the bas-relief game space 101.

It should be further understood that other methods known in the art for removing material or engraving may be suitable for producing the bas-relief game space 101.

FIG. 7 illustrates a non-limiting example of a plurality of colored game spaces 107. Colored game spaces 107 may be of one or a plurality of colors. A laminated game board 109 game surface may be formed by cutting a plurality of apertures 117 in a top laminate layer 111. A bottom laminate layer 113 may have applied to it at least one pigmented layer 115. The bottom laminate layer 113 with the pigmented layer 115 is bonded to the top laminate layer 111 having a plurality of apertures 117 so that when a game player is peering through the apertures 117 the color is visible on the bottom layer 113. It should be understood that the pigmented layer 115 may include non-limiting examples such as films, fluorescent materials, phosphorescent materials, and deposited metal coatings. It should be understood that the apertures 117 may include non-limiting examples such as a hole or an opening formed by piecing together a plurality of game board sections. It should be further understood that the bottom laminate layer 113 may also have a plurality of apertures 119 cut into it.

The top laminate layer 111 may also have applied to it a second pigmented layer 121 so that when the laminate layers 111 and 113 are approximately adjacent, colored spaces may appear on both sides of the laminated game board 109. The re-orienting by flipping of the laminated game board 109 and may be combined with deck boards having upstanding ribs 85 (FIG. 5) and downstanding ribs 87 which may enhance the game by, for a non-limiting example, representing a captured board.

In a similar manner, a board may be flipped, converting the marked surface having 1 inch by 1 inch squares into a more challenging board having a hexagonal marked surface having a plurality of 6-sided game spaces. It should be understood that many marked surface patterns are known in the art and may be incorporated in marking of any game surface usable for certain embodiments. Flipping the game board may signal a game event. In non-limiting examples, the game event may comprise capturing a board, getting an extra turn, or acquiring an additional resource.

FIGS. 8a-8d illustrate non-limiting examples of positioning devices suitable for use according to embodiments of this invention. In FIG. 8a, a positioning tongue 121 located near and edge 123 on the main deck board 33 is illustrated cooperating with a positioning groove 125 on the below deck board 47.

FIG. 8b is a fragmentary cross-sectional view illustrating a non-limiting example of how an upstanding rib 127 from a below deck board 47 may cooperate to position the overlying main deck board 33 that has a notch 129 to receive the upstanding rib 127.

FIG. 8c illustrates a side view of the masted ship 1 showing how a lower corrugated surface 131 on the below deck board 47 can be used to position an approximately mating corrugated surface 133 on the overlying main deck game board 33, according to an embodiment of this invention.

FIG. 8d illustrates an embodiment of this invention where a lower inlaid magnet 137 in the below deck board 47 can be used to position an overlying cooperating main deck board 33 having a corresponding upper inlaid magnet 135.

In one embodiment, a method for making a multi-level game board such as the masted ship 1 includes shaping the main deck board 33 having a marked game surface 35 to form a first layer. To that first layer a first set of one inch by one inch game spaces is applied using methods known in the art for marking surfaces. The obverse side of the main deck game board 33 is modified to have at least one blind hole 51.

The range of power of the laser can be independently selected from less than 45 watts, less than 25 watts, and less than 10 watts, and more than 1 watt, more than 5 watts, and more than 20 watts and 20% of nominal feed speed. It should be understood that many types of cutting lasers or hybrid cutting laser and machining systems may be used to at least cut these layers, add blind holes, and mark surfaces. Feed speed may be determined by the materials used and the drawing file size, but may be independently selected from less than 100 inches per second, less than 80 inches per second, less than 70 inches per second, less than 50 inches per second, less than 20 inches per second, and greater than 40 inches per second.

If the workpiece has been coated with a varnish or similar coating, it is desirable to laser engrave entirely through the coating. It may also be necessary to wipe off creosote-like residue from the workpiece surface with a solvent to achieve an aesthetic appearance.

Depending upon the substrate used and grain direction, the scoring depth by the laser may be chosen independently from less than approximately 5% of the board thickness, less than approximately 10% of the board thickness, less than approximately 25% of the board thickness, or less than approximately 35% of the board thickness. An example of the failure mode is that the yardarms 23 snap when being pushed against the flexible retainer 59.

In this embodiment the below deck board 47 is shaped to form a second layer. The main deck board 33 after shaping aesthetically cooperates with the below deck board 47 after shaping to begin looking like the ship 1 or the hull 69 of the ship. The second plurality of game spaces is applied to the below deck board 47. The below deck board 47 is modified to have one or more pegs 137 (FIG. 2) so that they are lined up with blind holes 139 on the main deck board 33.

In this embodiment, the quarterdeck board 9 is shaped to form at least part of a third layer. The quarterdeck board 9 will generally be smaller than the main deck board 33. Apply at least one game space 13 to the quarterdeck board 9. Then modify the quarterdeck board 9 to have at least one blind hole 51 on the side of the quarterdeck board 9 that faces the main deck board 33. Modify the main deck board 33 to have at least one peg 53 that will correspond and fit into the blind hole 51 on the quarterdeck board 9. The quarterdeck board 9 may then be fitted to the main deck board 33 to further give the appearance of a masted ship 1.

The mizzen mast 21 can be fitted through the hole 19 and secured to the main deck board 33. At least one yardarm 23 can be placed on the mizzen mast 21. The yardarm retainer 59, a non-limiting example of which may be an O-ring, can be fitted over the mizzen mast 21 and rolled down to a position that is desirable for the game. The yardarm 23 may be shaped using shaping methods used for the other boards such as laser cutting, CNC milling, or other methods known in the art. A hole 31 may be cut in the yardarm 23 to allow it to fit over the mizzen mast 21.

In this embodiment, a plurality of game spaces 27 is applied to the yardarm 23 using any marking technique known in the art, a non-limiting example of which may be laser engraving. The yardarm 23 may then be slid over the mizzen mast 21 allowing the mizzen mast 21 to pass through the yardarm hole 31. The upper flexible yardarm retainer 61 can be then applied. Non-limiting examples of the upper flexible yardarm retainer 61 are the O-ring, a clip, or other devices well known in the art. In use the yardarm 23 may be rotated in a plane approximately parallel to the main deck board 33.

The multi-level game board apparatus can be made more interesting by having reversible boards with different configurations of the marked surface. A non-limiting example for making a reversible board with different marked surfaces or game spaces 107 involves cutting one or more apertures 117 in the first laminate layer 111. Provide the second laminate layer 113 and apply the color to the top surface of the second laminate layer 113. When the first laminate layer 111 and the second laminate layer 113 are secured together the colored spot will be visible through the aperture 117 in the first laminate 111. This can be further enhanced by cutting one or more apertures 119 in the second laminate 113 and coloring the surface of the first laminate 111. In this manner, the apertures on the first laminate 111 will have a color visible through that laminate. When the board 109 is flipped over the holes on the second laminate 113 may have a different color. These differences in color can be used as a part of the game. It is desirable that the apertures 117 and 119 do not align with each other so that a player cannot see all the way through the laminate 109.

The next step in this embodiment involves modifying the below deck board 47 game surface to have the below deck board positioning devices 137 (FIG. 2). It may be understood that the modification to form the positioning devices 137 may be formed at the same time as other board forming operations, or may be formed sequentially during secondary or sequential modification operations. Non-limiting examples of positioning devices include cooperating upstanding ribs 87 (FIG. 5) and receiving notches 99, positioning tongues 93 and grooves 95, mating corrugated surfaces 101 (FIG. 6) and 103, mating inlaid magnets 135 and 137 (FIG. 8d), and other methods well known in the art.

The next layer, the main deck board 33 game space, may be shaped from the same Baltic birch. A plurality of game spaces are applied to the main deck marked surface 35 (FIG. 1) may be applied to the main deck board 33 using laser engraving. The main deck board 33 may then be modified with the blind hole 139 to cooperate with the peg 137 (FIG. 2) applied to the below deck game board 47. The entire assembly is arranged to form an aesthetically shaped body looking like the masted ship 1 in order to enhance the game experience.

The quarterdeck board 9 (FIG. 1) is shaped from ⅛ inch Baltic birch to form a layer partially covering the main deck 33. The plurality of game spaces 13 are then applied to the quarterdeck marked surface 11. The quarterdeck board 9 is then modified to have the blind hole 51 (FIG. 2) that cooperates with the peg of the main deck board 53. The quarterdeck board game spaces 13 are positioned to orient the quarterdeck game spaces 13 to overlie a portion of the main deck game space 141 (FIG. 2). The quarterdeck marked surface 11 (FIG. 1) and a main deck marked surface 35 are cut allowing the mizzen mast 21 to pass through the two decks when the mizzen mast 21 is inserted. The mast retainer 63 may be secured to the below deck board 47 with adhesives or other methods known in the art. A non-limiting example of the mast retainer 63 is a metal cylinder sized to receive the mizzen mast 21. In certain embodiments, the mizzen mast 21 is slidably engaged with the mast retainer 63. Removing the mizzen mast 21 allows relatively easy separation of the quarterdeck board 9 from the main deck board 33. The quarterdeck board 9 may be selectively positioned elsewhere in the game area 3 to provide visual cues to the game players in positioning their 25 millimeter high miniature FIG. 49.

The forecastle deck board 39 may be shaped from a laser cuttable material. Non-limiting examples of laser cuttable materials may include ⅛ inch Baltic birch or other woods and/or plastics, such as an acrylic family member. The plurality of game spaces are laser engraved on the forecastle deck marked surface 41. In one embodiment, the forecastle deck board 39 (FIG. 1) may be modified to have a plurality of the forecastle blind holes 143 (FIG. 2) which cooperate with the main deck pegs 53 (FIG. 2). The forecastle is positioned to connect the forecastle positioning device 143 (FIG. 2) to the main deck positioning device 53. The entire assembly then is arranged to form selectively the shaped body that looks like the masted ship 1. The forecastle marked surface 41 may be a grid. This grid may be vertically congruent with a portion of the main deck game spaces 141 (FIG. 2) on the main deck marked surface 35 of the main deck board 33. It should be understood that while the birch board material is opaque, transparent or translucent boards may be used. The boards may be positionable to obscure selectably at least one of the plurality of game spaces on the board located underneath another board when the game spaces are viewed from an axis of a selected direction, such as a top-down view. Non-limiting examples of the main deck marked surface 35 may be a 1 inch by 1 inch grid, hexagonal pattern grid, the plurality of colored game spaces, or combinations of thereof.

The model shape illustrated in certain embodiments is the masted ship 1. Non-limiting examples of alternative model shapes include a galley, a castle, a tower, a spaceship, a cave, or a representation of a location.

EXAMPLE 1

To form a masted ship 1 model, a software file is created from a COREL DRAW drawing file. The software file directs the EPILOG Mini/Helix 40/45 Watt laser cutter to cut a layer in the shape of the below deck board 47 game surface from a ⅛ inch Baltic birch slab. It should be understood that the below deck board 47 game surface may be formed from one section or a plurality of below deck board 47 game surface sections. It should be further understood that any of the decks, surfaces, and frames may be formed from one section or a plurality of sections. The EPILOG Mini/Helix 40/45 Watt carbon dioxide laser is set at 7% power which corresponds to approximately 15 watts of power or less. The marking of the surface is done in this non-limiting example by a laser.

EXAMPLE 2

In this example of forming the masted ship 1, a surprising result is that when higher power is used for laser cutting or engraving, for example, 56% power, and a relatively faster feed rate, approximately 35% of nominal speed, the surface of the birch is insufficiently smooth for aesthetic requirements.

EXAMPLE 3

In this example of forming the yardarm marked surface 25, another surprising result is that applying the marked surface with a plurality of game spaces required that the spaces should not be scored too deeply, particularly not across the woodgrain, because this procedure may make them too fragile for the role-playing game purpose.

While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.