Title:
Board game with random reject feature
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A board can accept or reject an individual's action without a controlling action initiated by the individual. The board game permits a plurality of players to place game pieces on the board to indicate their progress in a game. The game comprises a board, and a plurality of game pieces designed to be placed on specific areas on the board wherein the board includes undetectable means for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon. In one example of the game, the board is similar to a familiar tic-tac-toe game of the type having a three-by-three matrix game board and a plurality of game pieces of two distinct identities, defining a board having nine playing locations in a three-by-three matrix. A plurality of game pieces are designed to be placed on the playing locations on the board to indicate progress of a player. Each of the playing locations is adapted for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon.



Inventors:
Eastman, Winthrop (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/787995
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
04/18/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PIERCE, WILLIAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert C. Curfiss (Humble, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A board game wherein a plurality of players use game pieces placed on the board to indicate their progress in a game, the board game comprising: a. A board; b. A plurality of game pieces designed to be placed on specific play locations on the board to indicate progress of a player; c. The board having an undetectable or unpredictable means at each playing location for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon.

2. The board game of claim 1, wherein the game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted at the playing location and when in another orientation it will be rejected at the same playing location.

3. The board game of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of specific playing locations.

4. The board game of claim 3, comprising at least one playing location having an undetectable or unpredictable means that will accept a game piece which is rejected by the undetectable or unpredictable means of another playing location.

5. The board game of claim 4, wherein the game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when a game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted by the undetectable or unpredictable means of the playing location and when in another orientation it will be rejected by the undetectable or unpredictable means of the same location.

6. The board game of claim 1, wherein the undetectable or unpredictable means of accepting or rejecting is a magnet with a specific polarization facing the surface of the game board.

7. The board game of claim 6, wherein each game piece contains a magnet with a specific polarization on at least one side of the game piece.

8. The board game of claim 7, wherein the game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted at a selected playing location and when in another orientation it will be rejected at the same playing location.

9. A tic-tac-toe game of the type having a three-by-three matrix game board and a plurality of game pieces of two distinct identities, the tic-tac-toe game comprising: a. A board having nine playing locations in a three-by-three matrix; b. A plurality of game pieces designed to be placed on specific playing locations on the board to indicate progress of a player; c. Each of the playing locations adapted for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon.

10. The tic-tac-toe game of claim 9, wherein the game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted at a selected playing location and when in another orientation it will be rejected at the selected playing location.

11. The tic-tac-toe game of claim 9, wherein each playing location has an accepting or rejecting magnetic means with a specific polarity facing the underside of the surface of the board.

12. The tic-tac-toe game of claim 11, wherein each game piece is magnetized with a specific polarization.

13. A game board that can accept or reject an individual player's action without a controlling action initiated by the player.

14. The board of claim 13 comprising magnets imbedded in the game board, beneath the board's surface.

15. The board of claim 14, wherein the magnets are permanent magnets.

16. The board of claim 14, wherein the magnets are positioned in a manner so that their north and south polarities are randomly arranged toward one surface of the board.

17. The board of claim 14, wherein the magnets are electro magnets.

18. The board of claim 17, wherein the magnets are controlled by a microprocessor which periodically changes the electro magnets from at least one of: an on condition to an off condition; and an off condition to an on condition.

19. The board of claim 17, wherein the magnets are controlled by a microprocessor which periodically reverses the polarity of the magnets.

20. The board of claim 18, wherein the microprocessor is programmed so that the changing of the electro magnets is random.

21. The board of claim 19, wherein the microprocessor is programmed so that the changing of the electro magnets is random.

22. The board of claim 13, wherein the accepting or the rejecting of the individual player's action is provided via an electronically controlled signal.

23. The board of claim 20, wherein the electronically controlled signal is at least one of: a visual signal; a light emitting diode; a message displayed on the board's surface; a computer window; and an audible signal.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to board games, and more specifically to a board game having the capability of randomly rejecting a move made by a player.

2. Discussion of the Prior Art

Board games are well known. Typically, after a number of times playing the same game, the game can become boring or tedious. In addition, some games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, can be mastered, taking the challenge out of the game. Tic-Tac-Toe, for example, is frequently played using a writing implement, such as a pen or pencil, and paper. In such a scenario, the game begins when a player draws the well known, four intersecting parallel lines and then draws an “X” or an “O” in one of the resulting nine spaces. The first player to achieve three “X's” or “O's” vertically, diagonally, or horizontally, wins the game. After a few games, the game is mastered and the consistently winning player can repeatedly win or force a tie.

Other Tic-Tac-Toe games have been introduced including electronic or computer versions of the game. These versions provide a quick manner in which to start a game (typically by “pressing” a start “button”) and do not require the continuous need to use paper and writing implements. Various limitations exist, however, in such versions. For example, the electronic game or computer is usually larger and heavier than a piece of paper making them more cumbersome to transport and store, they must be turned on to use causing a delay before the game can begin, they require power to operate necessitating an added expense, they are costly, and they are prone to failure if dropped or infected with a virus.

Other limitations of the traditional and electronic or computer versions of board games such as Tic-Tac-Toe include the fact that the basic premise of the game remains the same; that is, once the simple mechanics of the game are learned, there is little else to keep the interest of the players. Therefore, what is needed is a board game including, for example, a Tic-Tac-Toe game that overcomes the aforementioned limitations and provides additional compelling characteristics to further engage the players.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a board game where the game board is configured to randomly reject a player's move, adding an additional element of chance and challenge to the game. This minimizes the possibility of mastering the game and improves the opportunity of winning for unskilled players when playing with skilled players.

The Tic-Tac-Toe game of the subject invention includes a board typically having a three-by-three matrix of playing or placement positions or locations, and requiring multiple game pieces that are visually and physically differentiated from each other. The game pieces are magnetic, each having a positive polarity on one side and a negative polarity on the opposite side. The polarities of the playing pieces are not visually identifiable or detectable. Each playing location of the matrix is also magnetized, but with randomly arranged north or south polarities facing upward toward the under surface of the board. When a game piece is placed on a playing location with opposite polarity, the piece is magnetically adhered to the playing location. When a game piece is placed on a board playing location with the same polarity, the piece is rejected. Thus, when a player decides where to place his game piece during a game, there is a fifty-fifty chance his move will be rejected, making the game more interesting because it is not possible to master it after a few games.

In the broadest implementation of the present invention, the board game permits a plurality of players to place game pieces on the board to indicate their progress in a game. The game comprises a board, and a plurality of game pieces designed to be placed on specific areas on the board wherein the board includes undetectable means for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the board is similar to a familiar tic-tac-toe game of the type having a three-by-three matrix game board and a plurality of game pieces of two distinct identities, defining a board having nine playing locations in a three-by-three matrix. A plurality of game pieces are designed to be placed on the playing locations on the board to indicate progress of a player. Each of the playing locations is adapted for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, a board is provided that can accept or reject a player's action without a controlling action initiated by the player.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, a playing location may be neutral, having neither a positive or negative polarity.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, a game piece may be neutral, having neither a positive or negative polarity.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, a game board may have two playing sides.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, all playing locations may be of only one polarity.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a Tic-Tac-Toe game in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 2 depicts the game of FIG. 1 with the game piece and board polarities disclosed.

FIG. 3 depicts a computerized version of a game in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 depicts the game of FIG. 3 with on-screen instructions displayed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The board game of the present invention is for a plurality of players who use game pieces placed on the board to indicate their progress in a game. The board includes an undetectable (or unpredictable) means for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon. In the preferred embodiment, the game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted by the undetectable means and when in another orientation it will be rejected by the undetectable means. Typically, the game board will include a plurality of such undetectable means. Preferably, the undetectable means of at least one playing location will accept a game piece and the undetectable means of another playing location will reject a game piece. In one embodiment, the game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted at the selected playing location and when in another orientation it will be rejected at the same playing location.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the undetectable means is a magnet with a specific polarization, and each game piece is magnetized with a specific polarization. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, one example of the present invention provides a magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe game 10 which includes a base 12, a square-shaped playing surface 14 disposed upon the base, wherein the surface is comprised of nine contiguous square-shaped playing positions arranged three to a row (or column), and nine vertical posts 16 each emanating from a central portion of each of the square-shaped zones or areas. In other embodiments, the square-shaped playing surface 14 may be a functional part of an upper portion of the base 12 resulting in a unitary object.

The game pieces 17, 18 used to play the game are in the shape of an “O” to allow the players to place them over and onto the posts 16, with two contrasting colors or shades, as indicated by the clear piece 17 and the cross-hatched piece 18. This allows the players to differentiate the pieces from each other. In other embodiments, the objects used to play the game can be in the shape of an “X” with an ability to place the “X” over and onto the vertical posts (for example, by having an opening in the center of the “X”, or by eliminating the posts 16 altogether). The posts are particularly convenient when the game is used while traveling.

The nine playing positions on the board each have one of the two possible magnetic polarities (either North or South), as illustrated in FIG. 2. The posts could be magnetized, or preferably the magnet is at the base of the posts or beneath the surface of the playing position. Since the game 10 appears visually similar from a perspective of either of the players (that is, there are no markings or other characteristics to indicate which locations or their associated posts 16 are synonymous with which polarities) neither of the players is able to gain an advantage by memorizing such facts. There are nine “O” shaped game pieces 17, 18 each of which has one of the polarities on a first surface and another of the polarities on a second surface.

The game begins by each player selecting game pieces of a specific color so as to differentiate an individual player's game pieces from those of his opponent. The player chosen to begin the game attempts to place his game piece over and onto one of the posts 16. If the polarity of the downward surface of the game piece is opposite to the polarity of the zone or area on the board as shown at 20, then the “O” shaped object will be able to easily rest on the square-shaped zone of the square-shaped playing surface 14. If, however, the polarity of the surface of the downward surface of the game piece is similar to the polarity of the chosen zone as shown at 22, then the “O” shaped game piece will not be able to rest on the square-shaped zone of the square-shaped playing surface 14, rejecting the game piece and ending the player's turn. The play then passes to the other player who would proceed in a similar manner. In some embodiments, the players may be required to place their game pieces in a receptacle, such as a bag, whereby the objects would be mixed and the polarity of the just “rejected” object could not be memorized or manipulated. In another embodiment of the game, each player may select the game piece to be played by the other player.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe game, the base 12 may be rotatable relative to the playing surface 14 in order to alter the polarity of the playing surface from the players' perspective. Further a plurality of playing surfaces each with a different polarity “foot print” could be placed on the base 12 to provide an ever changing playing surface.

In other embodiments, the polarity of each of the square-shaped zones of the playing surface 14 can dynamically change in a particular order or in a random order.

In one version of the game, a plurality of players use game pieces placed on the board to indicate their progress in the game. Since pieces can be rejected, it is possible to have an unbalanced combination of different game pieces as the game proceeds. In another version of the game, the game may be played by a single player using game pieces placed on the board to indicate his progress in the game, the board game comprising a board, and a plurality of game pieces designed to be placed on specific areas on the board to indicate progress of the player, the board having an undetectable or unpredictable means for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon.

The game pieces 17, 18 may each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted by the undetectable means of the board and when in another orientation it will be rejected by the same undetectable means of the board (See FIG. 2). The board game further comprises a plurality of undetectable means, wherein at least one undetectable means will accept a game piece which is rejected by another undetectable means, wherein the game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted by the undetectable means and when in another orientation it will be rejected by the undetectable means, and wherein the undetectable means is a magnetized area with a specific polarization, wherein each game piece is magnetized with a specific polarization, and wherein the game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted by the undetectable means of a playing location and when in another orientation it will be rejected at the same playing location.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a tic-tac-toe game of the type having a three-by-three matrix of playing positions on the game board and a plurality of game pieces of two distinct identities, comprises a board having nine playing positions in a three-by-three matrix, and a plurality of game pieces designed to be placed on specific playing locations on the board to indicate progress of a player, each of the playing locations adapted for accepting or rejecting a game piece when it is placed thereon.

The game pieces each have a plurality of orientations such that when the game piece is in a first orientation it will be accepted at a selected playing location and when in another orientation it will be rejected at the same playing location, wherein each playing location is magnetized with a specific polarization facing the surface of the board, and wherein each game piece is magnetized with opposite sides having opposite polarities.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, a board is provided that can accept or reject an individual's action without a controlling action initiated by the individual.

In its simplest form the game board typically includes magnets imbedded in the game board, beneath the board's surface, wherein the magnets are permanent magnets, and wherein the magnets are positioned in a manner so that their north and south polarities are randomly arranged toward one surface of the board. The magnets may also be electro magnets, wherein the magnets are controlled by a microprocessor which periodically changes the electro magnets from at least one of: an on condition to an off condition, and an off condition to an on condition, wherein the microprocessor is programmed so that the changing of the electro magnets is random.

In another embodiment of the present invention the accepting or the rejecting of an individual player's action is provided via an electronically controlled signal, and wherein the electronically controlled signal is at least one of: a visual signal, a light emitting diode, a message displayed on the board's surface, a computer window and an audible signal.

The board game of the present invention may be adapted to a computerized software version as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In this version, the computer screen 30 will display the game board 32 in a typical window 34. The player can then select a game piece as indicated by the “O” 36 or the “X” 38. Each game piece will have two options, in this case black (cross-hatched) or white (clear) as shown. The software randomly sets the board after each turn to establish whether a particular square will accept a white or a black piece. If the piece is rejected, the player loses his turn and the piece is removed. If the piece is accepted, the square goes to the person playing that piece. It is also possible to award a square which has been rejected to the opposing player. Typically, the game will be played using a mouse and point-and-click technology, where the square is selected by placing the cursor over the square and the selected game piece is attempted to be placed thereon by clicking on the mouse.

As shown in FIG. 4, an internal window 42 may be provided for holding or corralling the game pieces, whereby the game pieces can be dragged from the window to the chosen square. The window 42 can also be used to provide instructional material and other information to the players.

While a Tic-Tac-Toe game has been used as an illustrative example, it should be recognized that the features of the invention can be incorporated in any type of game wherein player progress is measured by placing game pieces on a board.

Although various embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated in the accompanied drawings and described in the foregoing detailed description, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications, and substitutions without departing from the spirit of the invention as set forth and defined by the following claims. For example, the present invention, if presented as a software program, can be utilized on a computer, via a computer using the Internet, or on an electronic device.