Title:
STRATEGY GAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game having page pieces and a game surface including game piece receiving members. Each of the first set of game pieces also includes a solution position and non-solution positions in which the game surface-engaging member is mated with one of the plurality of game piece receiving members. When a game piece is in a solution position it exhibits an indication, such as sitting lower with respect to the game surface or illuminating a light, which visually distinguishes the game piece from at least some of the game pieces which are in the non-solution position. Aside from the visual indication, each game piece is visually indistinguishable from all other game pieces for each game player when the game pieces are located on the game surface in an upright position.



Inventors:
Rom, Dror (Huntingdon Valley, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/122271
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
05/16/2008
Assignee:
ElogIQ, Inc. (King of Prussia, PA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DESIGN IP, P.C. (ALLENTOWN, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A game comprising: a game surface including a plurality of game piece receiving members; and a first set of game pieces, each of the first set of game pieces having: a base; a game surface-engaging member located on the base; at least one solution position in which the game surface-engaging member is mated with one of the plurality of game piece receiving members; at least one non-solution position in which the game surface-engaging member is mated with one of the plurality of game piece receiving members; wherein each of the first set of game pieces that is in the at least one solution position exhibits a visual indication which distinguishes that game piece from at least one other of the first set of game pieces which is in the at least one non-solution position; wherein, aside from the visual indication, each of the first set of game pieces is visually indistinguishable from all others of the of the first set of game pieces when each of the game surface-engaging members of the first set of game pieces is engaged with one of the game piece receiving members.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one solution position consists of one solution position.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the visual indication comprises a different height at which the associated one of the first set of game pieces sits when with respect to the game surface when the game surface-engaging member is engaged with one of the game piece receiving members.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein each of the first set of game pieces that is in the at least one solution position sits lower with respect to the game surface than at least one of the first set of game pieces that is in the at least one non-solution position.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the visual indication comprises a light.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the light is illuminated when the associated one of the first set of game pieces is in the at least one solution position and is not illuminated when the associated one of the first set of game pieces is in at least one of the at least one non-solution position.

7. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the game surface-engaging members and the game piece-engaging members each include at least one electrical contact.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein each of the game surface-engaging members comprises at least one hole and each of the game piece-engaging members comprises at least one projection.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein each of the first set of game pieces has at least one ambiguous position in which the game piece exhibits the visual indication when the game piece is located at least one of the at least one non-solution position.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a second set of game pieces, each of the second set of game pieces having: a second set of game pieces, each of the second set of game pieces having: a base; a game surface-engaging member located on the base; at least one solution position in which the game surface-engaging member is mated with one of the plurality of game piece receiving members; at least one non-solution position in which the game surface-engaging member is mated with one of the plurality of game piece receiving members; wherein one the second set of game pieces which is in the at least one solution position exhibits a visual indication which distinguishes that game piece from at least one other of the second set of game pieces which is in the at least one non-solution position; wherein, aside from the visual indication, each of the second set of game pieces is visually indistinguishable from all others of the of the second set of game pieces when each of the game surface-engaging members of the second set of game pieces is engaged with one of the game piece receiving members.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/938,893 filed on May 18, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth. U.S. Pat. No. 6,773,011, issued Aug. 10, 2004, is hereby incorporated by reference as if fully set forth.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention comprises a game having a game surface including a plurality of game piece receiving members. The game also includes a first set of game pieces, each of the first set of game pieces having a base and a game surface-engaging member located on the base. Each of the first set of game pieces also includes at least one solution position in which the game surface-engaging member is mated with one of the plurality of game piece receiving members and at least one non-solution position in which the game surface-engaging member is mated with one of the plurality of game piece receiving members. Each of the first set of game pieces that is in the at least one solution position exhibits a visual indication which distinguishes that game piece from at least one other of the first set of game pieces which is in the at least one non-solution position. In addition, aside from the visual indication, each of the first set of game pieces is visually indistinguishable from all others of the of the first set of game pieces when each of the game surface-engaging members of the first set of game pieces is engaged with one of the game piece receiving members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For purposes of illustrating the invention, drawings depict the embodiments which are presently preferred. It is understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentality shown in the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a first embodiment of a game board according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a view of a game piece used in this embodiment;

FIG. 4 shows sections taken through the center of a number of game pieces;

FIG. 5 shows a player's view of a second embodiment;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing more detail of the board and game pieces;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing possible shading of the sides of game pieces;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing possible shading of the tops of game pieces;

FIG. 9 is an exploded view of an insert/disc assembly of a third embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view through the centers of the insert shown in FIG. 9 and a sphere in which the insert interacts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention comprises the concept of a strategy game comprising game pieces that can be moved into different positions on a game board and have one or more “solution positions,” which are visually distinguishable from “non-solution positions.” The games of the present invention can be single or multiple player games. Each player's respective game pieces are preferably visually identical to each other on surfaces that are visible to the player during game play, when the pieces are on a non-solution position.

Each player's game pieces provide a visual indication that a particular piece is in a potential solution position—i.e., by sitting higher or lower on the game board, or by illuminating the game piece. Preferably, each game piece will provide the visual indication in both the solution position and some non-solution positions (hereinafter “ambiguous positions,” which are a subset of the non-solution positions for each game piece). Therefore, the only way for a player to confirm that a game piece is a solution position is when all of the game pieces are simultaneously providing the visual indication that they are in a potential solution position.

FIGS. 1 & 2 show a first embodiment of a game 10 of the present invention. In this embodiment a rectangular board 12 has depth to allow reception of the game piece 26 shown in FIG. 3 and to be described in greater detail herein. In this embodiment, two rows of five equally spaced holes are provided, all having the same diameter as the first hole 14. Each hole includes a cylindrical peg centered therein. The holes in each row each include a peg having a different diameter. In this embodiment, the pegs 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 in each row have decreasing diameters from left to right (as oriented in FIG. 1).

FIG. 3 shows a game piece 26 for use with the game 10. Game piece 26 has a generally circular base 28 and profiled body, a shaped upper portion 30, shown in this embodiment as spherical, and a height great enough to allow easy grasp by a player. The upper portion shape 30 could be any of many other shapes conducive to manual manipulation by the game 10 player.

Referring to FIG. 4, cross-sectional views of the five nearly identical game pieces 26-26D, chosen to illustrate this embodiment, are shown. Each of the game pieces 26-26D has a similar base and profile shape 28, upper shaped portion 30 and height. Each game piece 26-26D is differentiated from the others by the diameter of the holes 32-40 in the base 28. The holes 32-40 are progressively smaller in diameter as shown and fit closely on the pegs 16-24 in the board 12 shown in FIG. 2. Therefore, each game piece hole 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 has a “matching” peg 16, 18, 20, 22, 24—i.e., a peg 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 that is slightly smaller than the hole 32, 34, 36, 38, 40. Hole 32 matches with peg 16, hole 34 matches with peg 18, and so on. In accordance with the present invention, the game pieces 26-26D are indistinguishable from each other, except for a portion that is not visible when the game 10 is being played properly (i.e., not inverting the pieces 26-26D during play).

The components of game 10 shown in FIGS. 1-4 could be fabricated from wood or machined from common metals, but the board 12 and game pieces 26-26D are preferably made from a polymer, such as polyethylene or polycarbonate, which can be injection molded to provide the precision, as molded, detail required.

Game 10 is, in this embodiment, a game played between two players who alternate moves of game pieces 26-26D (each player's pieces being the same color, but different from the color of the other player's pieces) until one player has his or her respective game piece holes 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 positioned on its matching peg 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 (this will be referred to herein a “solution position”). A player can tell if all of the game pieces 26-26D are in the solution position if none of the five game pieces 26-26D is elevated—meaning that its respective hole 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 doesn't slide over the peg 16, 18, 20, 22, 24. If a game piece 26-26D is elevated on the board 12, the piece 26-26D is situated on top of a peg 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 that is larger than the hole 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 on the bottom of the game piece 26-26D. If a game piece 26-26D is leveled (i.e., not elevated), it is either in the solution position or situated on a peg 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 that is smaller than its hole 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 (ambiguous/potential solution position).

Typically, the game pieces 26-26D would be placed randomly on the board. There are many different configurations that could be used to start a game and many different variations of rules for playing the game. For example, the game could be started by randomly positioning the game pieces 26-26D three of the same and two opposing colors in alternating array, on the board 12 such that a player has only two of their own color on their side of the board. A player's turn allows switching of one of their own game pieces 26 with another of their own or the opponent's without moving the opponent's piece 26 to the player's side of the board 12. In this embodiment the game is solved or won when all of a player's game pieces 26-26D are correctly positioned to fit on the pegs 16-24 in the board 12. Thus all game pieces 26-26D are fully recessed into the holes 14 of the board 12. If the player who started the game 10 finishes first, the opponent may have one more move to tie. The game 10 also finishes in a tie also if the last exchange of game pieces 26 makes both sides positioned correctly.

FIGS. 5-8 illustrate an embodiment of another game 110 that may involve visually identical or indistinguishable playing pieces 126 depending upon the desired level of difficulty and the intentions of the inventor. FIG. 5 is a player's view of the game 110. For this embodiment, a four by four array of game pieces 126 is shown in position on the board 112 with all sixteen game pieces a single color. Two game pieces 126A, 126B are shown in a raised position which will be explained below. The number of game piece positions on the board 112 equals the number of game pieces 126 utilized.

In FIG. 6, two game pieces 126 are removed from the board 112 to show differing peg patterns 116, 118 in the board 12 and hole patterns 132, 134 in the game pieces 126C, 126D. The hole patterns 132, 134 in the game pieces 126C, 126D are different, but match and fit into the peg patterns 116, 118 respectively in the board 112. The game pieces 126 have a square, equal side length, base which allows any game piece 126 to rest in four positions rotationally on the board 112. The differing peg patterns 116, 118 enable two visually distinguishable positions of an individual game piece on the board 112. Specific game pieces 126A, 126B are shown in the “up” position (indicating a non-solution position) while all others 126 are shown in the “down” (indicating a solution position or an ambiguous position).

In this embodiment, for a specific game piece 126 in a board 112 location with a compatible peg pattern 116, 118 there is only one “down” position, but three possible “up” positions depending upon its rotational orientation. If the game piece 126 is positioned in a location with an incompatible peg pattern 116, 118 all four possible rotational positions will result in the game piece in the “up” position. In other embodiments, a specific game piece could have more than one compatible peg pattern, which would decrease the level of difficulty.

The single color game pieces 126 shown in FIG. 5 illustrate a single player version of the game 110. To begin the game the game pieces 126 are randomly located on the board 112. For a move the player either exchanges location between two game pieces 126 or changes the rotational position of a game piece 126. The movement of game pieces 126 continues until all of the pieces 126 are a solution position. A player is not allowed to look at the bottom of game pieces during play. The object would be to reach the solution position with all game pieces 126 in the shortest time or with the fewest number of moves. Typically reaching a rapid solution requires the player to remember peg pattern 116, 118 locations as well as game piece 126 hole patterns 132, 134 rather than making random moves.

The level of difficulty of game 110 can be increased depending upon a number of variables. For instance, this embodiment has been described as utilizing a board 112 with two distinct peg patterns 116,118. It can be understood that the solution difficulty increases if the number of peg patterns 116,118 were to increase. Also increasing the size of the board 112 and the corresponding number of game pieces 126 required could have a similar result.

The details and fit required between the board 112 and the game pieces 126 would likely result in these parts being manufactured as molded polymer parts. As in the first embodiment, a polymer such as polyethylene or polycarbonate could preferably be used in an injection molding process to economically produce large volumes of consistent, precision parts. The size of game pieces 126 and board 112 is chosen to be appropriate for the intended end use, i.e. pocket or table use, and to provide for ease of player manipulation of the pieces 126.

FIGS. 7 & 8 illustrate some example variations that can provide other embodiments of the game 110. FIG. 7 shows game pieces 126 with one side in a different color. Game pieces 126 colored in this way could be used to indicate hole pattern 132, 134 orientation and aid the player in making moves toward a solution.

FIG. 8 shows game pieces 126 with a colored top surface. Splitting the game pieces 126 into two groups using the differentiating top colors would allow two players to participate competitively. As in the original embodiment, the number of peg patterns 116, 118 in the board 112 and corresponding hole pattern 132, 134 in the game pieces 126 could be varied to provide a desired difficulty level.

One way the two player game 110 could start would be with half of each color of game piece 126 distributed over the respective player's side of the board. Each individual player's turn would involve the rotating in place or exchange of game pieces 126 between two positions. Again a player may not move an opponent3 s game piece 126 away from its side of the board 112. The alternating repositioning of game pieces 126 would continue until one player has all their game pieces 126 in the solution position. The starting positions and/or move rules could be changed to provide variations of the game 110 utilizing the same board 112 and game pieces 126.

FIGS. 9 & 10 show a third embodiment of the present invention, which comprises a game that is an improvement of the puzzle disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,773,011. FIG. 9 is an exploded view of the pieces of an insert 232 that, together with other revised components of the puzzle disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,773,011, comprise the game 210. Game 210 utilizes visually identical or indistinguishable playing pieces/inserts 232 that must be relocated by movement or rotation into a correct position in order to arrive at a solution. Insert 232 and like inserts (not shown) are mechanically interchangeable with inserts 32-34 disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,773,011 and the new game 210 components are mechanically identical to the corresponding components in the referenced puzzle disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,773,011 except as otherwise disclosed herein.

In FIG. 9, the insert 232 is shown comprised of an upper surface/disc half 274, LED/printed circuit board 282 with a light emitting diode 284 (“LED”) and lower surface/disc half 276. The upper surface 274 and lower surface 276 are preferably made of a polymer such as polyethylene or polycarbonate. The LED/printed circuit board 282 is preferably made with flexible circuit board material with the LED 284 attached to the top side and the contacts 286, 290 protruding from the bottom of the board just enough to allow electrical continuity with the contacts 288, 292 embedded in the lower surface 276.

The upper and lower surfaces 274, 276 are snapped, adhered or otherwise mechanically fastened to each other to form the complete insert 232 which is spherical and symmetrically shaped. LED/printed circuit board 282 is located by the LED 284 cover and retained mechanically by being sandwiched in place between the upper and lower surfaces 274, 276.

FIG. 10 is a cross-section of a sphere/element 218 and the insert 232 described above. The sphere/element 218 is mechanically identical to spheres 18, 20, 22, 24 disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,773,011 and inserts 232 are used in place of inserts 32-34, but both have functional modifications that have been or will be described. There are four distinct locations for the versions of the contact 292 in insert 232 which correspond to four versions of the sphere/element 218. Referring to FIGS. 9 and 10, contact 292 aligns with contact 296 labeled 2 in the recess 226 of the sphere/element 218. The contacts in the other three recesses of sphere 218 are in the same location, thus the sphere 218 shown is dedicated to position 2. In the other three versions, each dedicated to one of the contact positions 1, 3 or 4, the contact on the lower surface of the respective insert would align with the contact positions labeled 1, 3 or 4. In this way, the insert's LED would only have continuity to the contact in the sphere/element when positioned in the correct recess. Each of the four sphere/elements is dedicated to a singular insert contact configuration.

The contact 288 centered in the lower surface 276 of the insert 232 is the LED 284 ground connection. It provides continuity through ground contact 294 centered in the recess 226 of the sphere/element 218 and with the ground connections similarly located in each sphere/element 218 recess 226, 230. This circuit connects to a power source, not shown, contained within the sphere/element 218. The power source is preferably a small dry cell battery contained within the sphere 218. Each distinct recesses 226 contact 296, labeled as 1, 2, 3 or 4 also connects with the battery power source, not shown. Thus when any insert 232 is positioned in the recess 226 with an aligned contact 296, the LED 284 has electrical continuity with the power source and will light.

The sphere/element 218 is preferably made of a polymer such as polyethylene or polycarbonate with the imbedded contacts 296 being circular to enable continuity with the lower surface contacts 292 in any rotational position of insert 232.

This embodiment of game 210 differs from the previously disclosed puzzle in that four sphere/elements 218 and three similar others, replace the sphere/elements 18, 20, 22, 24. Insert 232 and two similar others replace the inserts 32, 34, 36. The mechanical manipulations necessary to play the game 210 are the same, but the asymmetrical nature of the inserts 232 results in two passes being required to return the LED 284 to an outward facing position.

After randomly positioning the inserts 232, the player moves them by rotation or passing them between sphere/elements 218 until all LEDs 284 are illuminated (solution position). Thus the solution/game object is lighted LEDs rather than a color pattern such as a single color on each side of the case. For increased game solution difficulty or variety the LEDs could be different colors and/or the contacts in the sphere/element recesses could be scrambled. In addition, the electrical contacts 288, 292 could be configured to illuminate the LED 284 on a particular insert 232 when the insert is not in a solution position (ambiguous/potential solution position).

While the principles of the invention have been described above in connection with preferred embodiments, it is to be clearly understood that this description is made only by way of example and not as a limitation of the scope of the invention.