Title:
Magnetic Game Simulating a Team Sport
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Game pieces with non-magnetic ferrous metal and/or magnetic portions are used to simulate a group activity, such as combat or a team sport. The pieces are adapted to releasably adhere or repel by magnetic forces during play.



Inventors:
Andersen, Jacob R. S. (Hong Kong, CN)
Application Number:
11/921991
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
06/13/2006
Assignee:
Home Focus Development Ltd., a corporation of the British Virgin Island, TrustNet Chambers Limited (Tortola, British Virgin Island, VG)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MR. Jacob R.S. Andersen (San Po Kong ,Kowloon, HK)
Claims:
1. 1-20. (canceled)

21. A game comprising: (1) at least two first player game pieces comprising at least one non-magnetic ferrous metal portion and representing participants in a group activity; and (2) at least one second game piece comprising at least one magnetic portion and representing an item manipulated by the first game piece and which releasably adheres by magnetic attraction to the first game pieces during play.

22. A game comprising: (1) at least two first player game pieces comprising at least one magnetic portion and representing participants in a group activity; and (2) at least one second game piece comprising at least one non-magnetic ferrous metal portion and representing an item manipulated by the first game pieces and which releasably adheres by magnetic attraction to the second game piece during play.

23. A game comprising: (1) at least two first game pieces representing players; and (2) at least one second game piece representing an item manipulated by the first game piece, wherein the first and second game pieces each comprise at least one magnetic portion and are adapted to releasably adhere by magnetic attraction or move apart by magnetic repulsion during play.

24. The game according to claim 21, wherein the first game pieces are self-righting game pieces.

25. The game according to claim 21, wherein the first or second game pieces further comprise color, design or indicia.

26. The game according to claim 21, wherein the magnetic portion of the first or second game pieces is arranged in the first or second game piece so that one part or surface of the first or second game piece has a magnetic field of a given polarity.

27. The game according to claim 21, further comprising at least one game board.

28. The game according to claim 27, wherein the game board comprises one or more magnetic portions which attract or repel the magnetic portions of the first or second game pieces.

29. The game according to claim 28, wherein the one or more magnetic portions of the at least one game board have a predetermined configuration.

30. The game according to claim 28, wherein the one or more magnetic portions of the at least one game board have a configuration pattern which varies during game play.

31. The game according to claim 21, wherein the game simulates soccer, American football, Canadian football, American Collegiate football, ice hockey, field hockey, rugby, lacrosse or basketball.

32. The game according to claim 21, wherein the game simulates combat.

33. The game according to claim 21, wherein the first game pieces represent at least one player selected from the group consisting of a team sport, soldier, robot, animated space-suit, animated suit of armor, automobile, go-cart, truck, tank, aircraft and spacecraft.

34. The game according to claim 21, wherein the second game piece represents a ball or puck.

35. The game according to claim 21, wherein the second game piece represents a weapon.

36. The game according to claim 35, wherein the second game piece represents at least one selected from the group consisting of a bullet, missile, laser beam, bomb, grenade, arrow and spear.

37. The game according to claim 21, further comprising a foldable housing for the game, devices to record game statistics and results, candy, gum, electronic devices, suggested rules of play, a timing device, decorative stickers, or promotional items.

38. The game according to claim 21, wherein the game simulates a team sport.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This is a §371 of International Application No. PCT/IB2006/001578, with an inter-national filing date of Jun. 13, 2006 (WO 2006/134465 A2, published Dec. 21, 2006), which is based on European Patent Application No. 05253632.3, filed Jun. 13, 2005, and U.S. Patent Application No. 60/706,663, filed Aug. 8, 2005.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates to a toy game and, in particular, a toy game comprising a plurality of game pieces which are magnetically attracted or repelled.

BACKGROUND

Many games attempt to simulate group activities such as combat or team sports such as football (soccer), American football, hockey and the like. However, it is difficult to cause inanimate game pieces to effectively manipulate simulated items such as bombs, grenades or other weapons or simulated team sports objects such as a ball or puck, during game play. The inability to satisfactorily manipulate such objects can reduce the enjoyment of the game. What is needed, therefore, is a game which affords a more realistic simulation of group activities such as combat or a team sport.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIGS. 1A-C are schematics showing an exemplary “player game piece.”

FIG. 2 is a schematic of an exemplary game board showing attraction and repulsion zones on a football (soccer) pitch.

SUMMARY

I provide a game comprising at least two first pieces which represent participants in a group activity and at least one second game piece representing an object such as a weapon, ball or puck. The first and second game pieces can comprise at least one non-magnetic ferrous material portion or can comprise at least one magnetic portion. Where the first game pieces comprise at least one non-magnetic ferrous material portion and the second game piece comprises at least one magnetic portion, the second game piece is adapted to releasably adhere by magnetic attraction to the first game pieces during play. Likewise, where the first game pieces comprise at least one magnetic portion and the second game piece comprises at least one non-magnetic ferrous material portion, the first game pieces are adapted to releasably adhere by magnetic attraction to the second game piece during play.

I further provide a game comprising at least two first game pieces which represent participants in a group activity, and at least one second game piece representing an object such as a weapon, ball or puck, in which the first and second game pieces each comprise at least one magnetic portion. The first and second game pieces are adapted to releasably adhere by magnetic attraction or move apart by magnetic repulsion during play.

I still further provide a method of playing a game comprising providing the games described above and positioning one of the first game pieces and the second game piece such that the first and second game pieces releasably adhere by magnetic attraction or move apart by magnetic repulsion. The second game piece can also be struck with one of the first game pieces such that the second game piece moves away from the first game piece due to the transfer of kinetic energy. The step of positioning or striking the game pieces can optionally be repeated until the game is concluded.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

My games comprise a plurality of game pieces (“player game pieces”) designed to simulate participants in a group activity such as combat or any of the various known team sports in which a ball or puck is used during game play. As sometimes used herein, “player game piece” is understood to simulate individuals who are not necessarily involved in playing a game such as soldiers. A “player game piece” is also understood to include artificial constructs such as robots, animated space-suits or animated suits of armor, and vehicles such as automobiles, go-carts, trucks, tanks, aircraft, spacecraft, and the like.

Exemplary team sports which can be simulated with the game include football (sometimes called soccer), American/Canadian or American Collegiate football, ice or field hockey, rugby (including “Australian Rules Football”), lacrosse and basketball. The game can simulate other team sports.

The player game pieces can be provided in any suitable number depending on the activity (e.g., combat or team sport) to be simulated, but at least two player game pieces should be provided (e.g., one player per army, side or team).

For example, soccer is played with two sides of eleven players—traditionally a goalkeeper, two fullbacks, three halfbacks, and five forwards. In an example which simulates soccer, two sides of at least eleven player game pieces can be provided for a total of 22 pieces, representing two opposing soccer teams. American football also has two sides of eleven players and ice hockey has six players to a side. Thus, a game simulating American football also provides two sets of at least eleven player game pieces (for a total of 22 pieces), and a game simulating ice hockey provides two sets of at least six player game pieces (for a total of twelve pieces). Any number of additional player game pieces can be provided in a game where the additional pieces can represent extra players for a given team or side. For example, for a game simulating soccer, each team or side can comprise about 12, about 13, about 14 or more player pieces.

A plurality of player game pieces constituting at least two armies or, for example, three, four, five or more armies, can also be provided. An army can comprise any number of player game pieces, for example, about 10, about 20, about 50 or about 100 or more player game pieces.

A player game piece can be made in any suitable shape, for example, in the shape of a stylized human being or animal, robot, military vehicle or aircraft, spacecraft, or in a fanciful shape. The player game pieces can also be made in the likeness (including a caricature) of an actual sports or military figures. The player game pieces can also comprise one or more colors, designs or indicia indicating the army, team or side to which the piece belongs. Such colors, designs or indicia can be those associated with actual armies, sports teams or sports or military figures.

A player game piece can be any suitable size which allows a person to play the game, which can be readily determined by one skilled in the art. For example, the player game piece can be from about 20 mm to about 45 mm in height, from about 15 mm to about 30 mm in length (i.e., from left to right sides), and from about 10 mm to about 25 mm in depth (i.e., from front to back). An exemplary player game piece can be about 35 mm in height, about 27 mm in length, and about 21 mm in depth. Greater or lesser values are contemplated for the height, length and breadth of the player pieces.

The player game piece can be fabricated from any suitably rigid material, such as heavy gauge paper or cardboard, woods, metals, plastics, rubbers or synthetic resins, as are known in the art, by standard techniques for producing toy game pieces or figures. For example, the player game piece can be fabricated by injection molding from material such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene terpolymer (ABS), a polycarbonate and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene terpolymer blend (PC/ABS) and the like.

A player game piece can comprise at least one non-magnetic ferrous material portion, which can be placed anywhere on the player game piece. For example, a non-magnetic ferrous material portion can be placed on the surface of or inside the player game piece or can be arranged so that it extends from the surface to the inside of the player game piece. The placement of the non-magnetic ferrous material portion can be dictated, for example, by which team sport is being simulated by the game to which the player game piece belongs. Thus, if the game is simulating soccer, then the non-magnetic ferrous material portion can be located in the area of the player game piece corresponding to the feet. The non-magnetic ferrous material portion can also be located in different parts of different player game pieces in the game. For example, the player game piece in a game simulating soccer can have the non-magnetic ferrous material portion located in the area of the player game piece corresponding to the feet for regular defensive or offensive players or in the areas the player game piece corresponding to the feet and hands for the goalie. The non-magnetic ferrous material portion can be made from any suitable material such as steel (e.g., mild steel) or other iron alloys, as are known in the art.

A player game piece can comprise a magnetic portion instead of, or in addition to, a non-magnetic ferrous material portion. The magnetic portion can be placed in the player game piece in the same manner and arrangement as that described above for the non-magnetic ferrous material portion. The magnetic portion can comprise any material that generates or can be induced to generate a magnetic field. For example, the magnetic portion can comprise a ferrite or Neodymium magnet, or an electromagnet. Generally, the magnetic portion is chosen so that a second game piece, as described in more detail below, can become releasably adhered to the player game piece through magnetic attraction. A magnetic portion with a relatively strong magnetic field can be used to prevent the second game piece from being easily dislodged from the player game piece during play. Likewise, a magnetic portion with a relatively weak magnetic field can be used to allow the second game piece to be easily dislodged from the player game piece during play. Choice of a magnetic portion with the appropriate magnetic strength is within the skill in the art.

The magnetic portion of a player game piece can be arranged so that one part of the player game piece has magnetic field of a given polarity, for example, such that the area of a player game piece corresponding to the feet or hands can have a “North” or “South” polarity. As described in more detail below, the player game piece can then be selectively repelled from or attracted to certain areas of a game board having the opposite magnetic polarity, or a second game piece can be selectively attracted to or repelled from the player game piece.

Generally, a player game piece is designed so that it can freely move over a playing surface. For example, a player game piece can comprise a smooth, optionally rounded bottom or a wheeled base.

Some or all of the player game pieces in a game can be self-righting player game pieces. As used herein, a “self-righting player game piece” is a player game piece that has at least one gravity-stable playing position, at least one gravity-unstable playing position. If the self-righting player game piece is put into a gravity-unstable playing position, then the piece will automatically return to a gravity-stable playing position. For example, a self-righting player game piece can comprise a spherical or hemispherical base which is heavier than the combined weights of the other parts of the pieces (such as the head, arms and torso), so that the weight of the base rolls the piece back onto the center of its spherical base surface and into an upright at-rest position when the piece is upset from its upright at-rest position. Thus, the self-righting feature of the self-righting player game piece is provided by limiting the weight of the piece above its base to a value less than the weight of the base. In this manner, a self-righting restorative moment will always be present to align the self-righting player game piece upright and centered on its base.

An exemplary self-righting player game piece is shown in FIGS. 1A-1C. The self-righting player game piece is generally designated at reference numeral 100 in both FIG. 1A (showing the front view) and FIG. 1B (showing the right side view). FIG. 1C shows a longitudinal cross section of the self-righting player game piece 100 along line B-B in FIG. 1B. With reference to FIG. 1C, self-righting player game piece 100 is generally constituted of an upper body portion 110, a hemispherical lower body portion 120, and at least one hemispherical weight member 130 housed within the lower body portion 120. Hemispherical weight member 130 can also comprise the non-magnetic ferrous material portion or magnetic portion of the player game piece.

The upper body portion 110 is hollow, and the upper body portion 110 and lower body portion 120 share a common wall 140. Self-righting player game piece 100 can be constructed, for example, from two molded plastic parts, wherein one part comprises the upper body and lower body portions of the front half of the pieces, and the other part comprises the upper body and lower body portions of the rear half of the piece. Thus, channels 150 and 160 can be pro-vided in upper body portion 110, which can accommodate fastening means such as screws, bolts, clips or rods to secure both molded plastic parts of the self-righting player game piece 100 together.

The game also comprises a second game piece corresponding to an item that can be manipulated by a player game piece. The second game piece can represent a weapon, such as a bullet, missile, laser beam, bomb, grenade, arrow, spear or other objects that are thrown or projected towards an enemy during combat. The second game piece can also represent the ball or puck used to play the team sport being simulated. For example, the second game piece can represent a soccer ball, football, rugby ball, ice hockey puck, lacrosse ball, basketball, etc. One or more second game pieces can be provided with the game and used during game play.

The second game piece can be any suitable shape, but is generally in the shape of the object that is being simulated. Thus, a second game piece to be used with a game simulating soccer can be generally spherical, and a second game piece to be used with a game simulating American football can be generally oblong with slightly pointed ends. A second game piece representing a missile, bomb or grenade can be generally configured to represent those objects.

A second game piece can also comprise colors, designs or indicia. Such colors, designs or indicia can be fanciful, or can be those associated with the ball or puck which is used to play the team sport that is being simulated. For example, a second game piece to be used with a game simulating soccer can have the typical black-and-white octagon pattern seen on soccer balls. The second game piece can also comprise colors, designs or indicia that are associated with teams or leagues which play the team sport being simulated in the game. Likewise, a second game piece representing a weapon can comprise colors or markings indicating the nature and/or origin of the weapon.

The second game piece can be any size suitable to facilitate game play with the player game pieces. Thus, the second game piece will generally be smaller than the player game pieces. However, the proportional size difference between the second game piece and the player game pieces in the game is not necessarily equal to the proportionate difference between a human being and an actual weapon, or actual ball or puck, used in the group activity being simulated. For example, for player game pieces of about 35 mm in height, about 27 mm in length, and about 21 mm in depth, a suitable size for the second game piece can be about 17 m to about 18 mm.

The second game piece can comprise a non-magnetic ferrous material portion or a magnetic portion. The non-magnetic ferrous material portion or a magnetic portion can be located in any part of the second game piece (e.g., in the front, middle or rear), or can comprise essentially the entire second game piece. For example, the second game piece can comprise a non-magnetic ferrous material or a magnetic material covered with plastic, rubber, resin or other material which is permeable to magnetic fields. Alternatively, the second game piece can comprise a non-magnetic ferrous material portion or a magnetic portion placed on the surface or inside the player game piece, or arranged to extend from the surface to the inside of the player game piece. The magnetic portion of a second game piece can also be arranged so that one part or surface of the second game piece has magnetic field of a given polarity. During play, the second game piece can then be selectively repelled from or attracted to areas of a game board or player game piece that have the opposite magnetic polarity.

The game can be played on any generally planar playing surface, such as a floor, table top, desktop, and the like. The playing surface is preferably smooth enough so that the player and second game pieces can move unimpeded during game play.

The game optionally comprises one or more game boards which are marked or otherwise carry indicia which simulate, for example, battle fields or fields of play for one or more team sports. For example, the game can comprise game boards which simulate a soccer pitch, an American, Canadian or American Collegiate football field, an ice hockey rink, a field hockey field, a rugby pitch, a basketball court, and the like. It is understood that the markings or indicia which simulate a battle field or field of play on a game board can include rear areas, sideline areas or other areas where individuals not actively participating in the group activity would be located. One skilled in the art is familiar with the relative dimensions and configurations of fields of play for team sports, and can readily adapt such dimensions and configurations into a game board for use with the game.

In addition to any markings or indicia which indicate the field of play, a game board can also comprise regular markings which indicate spaces or distances through which a player game piece can be moved in a given turn during game play, or obstacles impeding the movement of player game pieces. For example, a game board can comprise a grid of regular squares or hash marks which dictate the extent to which a player game piece can be moved during game play.

A game board can be fabricated from any suitably smooth and rigid material, such as heavy gauge paper or cardboard, woods, metals, plastics, rubbers or synthetic resins, as are known in the art, by standard techniques. A game board can comprise colors, designs or indicia in addition to those which mark the field of play, for example which are associated with a particular army, team or league that engages in the group activity being simulated. A game board can also comprise structures which can be attached to or placed on the game board, representing obstacles, geographic features, seats, score boards, goals or goal posts and the like. A game board may be placed on any flat surface, or may be supported by a frame or by legs, during play.

A game board can further comprise one or more magnetic portions which attract or repel the magnetic portions of the player or second game pieces. As above, the magnetic portions can comprise any material that generates or can be induced to generate a magnetic field. For example, the magnetic portion can comprise a ferrite or Neodymium magnet or an electromagnet. Generally, the magnetic portion is chosen so that the player or second game pieces can become releasably adhered or repelled by certain areas of the game board through magnetic attraction during game play. If the magnetic portion of the game board comprises an electromagnet, the electromagnets (and thus the corresponding magnetic fields) can be turned on and off periodically during game play to create transient or shifting attraction or repulsion zones on the game board. The magnetic material comprising the magnetic portion(s) of a game board can be placed on the upper or lower game board surfaces, inside the game board (e.g., in between the upper or lower game board surfaces), or can extend from one surface through the interior of the board and optionally to the other surface. The magnetic portion(s) of a game board can be arranged in any desired pattern.

With reference to FIG. 2, an exemplary game board representing a soccer pitch is generally shown at 200. Magnetic portions generating zones of 210 of “North” polarity and zones 220 of “South” polarity are located along game board 200. These North 210 and South 220 zones will attract or repel magnetic portions of player or second game pieces, depending on the polarity of the magnetic portions of those game pieces.

The game can also comprise other items, such as a foldable housing to contain the playing pieces and game board (if present) when not in use, scorecards or other devices to record game statistics and results, candy or gum, electronic devices (such as for producing light and sound effects or play-by-play announcements during game play), suggested rules of play, a timing device, stickers or the like for decorating the game pieces and/or game board, and promotional items such as contests or lotteries and team or league paraphernalia.

The precise rules of play for a game depend on which group activity is being simulated. The rules of play for a given team sport are well-known, and can be readily adapted to the present game by one skilled in the art. However, certain modes of play can generally be used with any group activity being simulated in a game.

For example, a player game piece can be moved by tapping, pushing or by snapping your finger at the piece. Moving a player game piece close to a second game piece can cause the second game piece to releasably adhere to the player game piece by magnetic attraction. Once the second game piece is releasably adhered to the player game piece, the player game piece can be moved with the second game piece. For example, the second game piece can be “dribbled” or advanced towards a goal or another player game piece while releasably adhered to the player game piece. If the second game piece is dislodged from the player game piece during play, then the secondary game piece can be picked up by another (for example opposing) player game piece. The second game piece can be dislodged from a player game piece by striking that piece with another player game piece. Generally, one would strike the player game piece to which the second game piece is adhered with a part of another player game piece which does not have a non-magnetic ferrous material portion or magnetic portion.

The second game piece can be passed or “shot” at a goal by striking the second game piece with a player game piece with enough force so that the second game piece does not releasably adhere to the player game piece, but rather travels away from the player game piece due to the transfer of kinetic energy. Generally, one would strike the second game piece with a part of a player game piece which does not have a non-magnetic ferrous material portion or magnetic portion. If both the second game piece and the player game piece comprise magnetic portions, the second game piece can also be passed or “shot” at a goal by holding a magnetic portions of the second game piece having one polarity against a magnetic portion of a player game piece that has the opposite polarity, and releasing the second game piece. The magnetic portions of the second and player game pieces will repel each other, causing the second game piece to move away from the player game piece.

If both the second game piece and the player game piece comprise magnetic portions, the second game piece can also be dribbled or controlled by one player game piece by pushing the player game piece toward the second game piece, such that the magnetic portion of the player game piece having one polarity repels the magnetic portion of the second game piece having the opposite polarity.

Exemplary rules of play for a game simulating soccer are given below. It is understood, however, that the game is not limited to this or any other particular set of rules of play. For purposes of the following discussion, the player game piece is referred to as a “soccer player piece” or “player,” and the second game piece is referred to as a “soccer ball” or “ball.”

Two sides of eleven players are placed on the field of play. The individuals playing the game decide beforehand which team shall have initial possession of the soccer ball. The game is begun by moving one of the soccer player pieces from one team toward the soccer ball, so that the ball releasably adheres to that soccer player piece. As long as the soccer ball is adhered to that soccer player piece, that player is considered to be in possession of the ball. The soccer ball can be dribbled, passed or shot on goal by the soccer player piece in possession of the soccer ball, at the discretion of the individual in control of the team in possession of the soccer ball. Techniques for dribbling, passing or shooting the soccer ball are as described above. If the ball falls off or is dislodged from that player, then any player from either team can gain possession of the soccer ball by moving toward it until the soccer ball releasably adheres.

The individual in control of the team which is not in possession of the soccer ball can “tackle” the soccer player piece in possession of the ball by moving a defending player so that it strikes the player in possession of the ball. A defending player which successfully strikes the player in possession of the soccer ball then takes possession of the ball, and the team optionally gets an extra turn. If a defending player strikes a player who does not have possession of the soccer ball, the team in possession of the ball gets a “free kick”; i.e., they can shoot the ball at goal from wherever the ball may be at the time of the foul.

The game progresses with a series of turns, in which each individual playing the game moves their soccer player pieces. Multiple players can be moved in a given turn. For example, an individual can place all their soccer player pieces in certain defensive patterns and/or move the players accordingly in response to the moves made by their opponent during the previous turn. The game continues until the expiration of a predetermined time period. The team with the most goals at the end of that time period wins the game.

The games can also comprise rules of play simulating combat. Such rules can be readily understood by one skilled in the art. For example, using the techniques described above for moving player game pieces, and for acquiring or projecting the second game piece, games simulating various combat situations can be played.

In one such game, two armies of player pieces can be provided. Some or all of the player game pieces in each army can be provided with second game pieces representing a weapon, such as a bomb, grenade or projectile. The individuals playing the game decide beforehand which army shall have initial possession of which parts of the battle field, and which army can attack first. For example, the armies can occupy different sections of the battlefield, or one army can occupy the entire battle field, and the second army can attempt to “invade” the occupied territory.

The game is begun by one or more player game pieces of a given army attacking one or more player game pieces of the other army. A player game piece can attack other player game pieces by projecting a second game piece toward the other player game piece. The player game piece which has been attacked will be “wounded” or “killed” if the second game piece comes close enough to magnetically adhere to that player game piece. Alternatively, a player game piece can be “wounded” or “killed” if a second game piece is projected to within a certain distance, but does not necessarily adhere, to that player game piece. Player game pieces can also be “wounded” or “killed” by being placed or forced onto areas of the game board which magnetically attract or repel the player game piece, or by contact with an attacking player game piece. The “wounded” or “killed” player game piece is then removed from the board, and game play continues. “Wounded” player game pieces may be re-introduced to the board after a suitable amount of time has passed, simulating recovery of the wounded soldier.

The game progresses with a series of turns, in which each individual playing the game moves their player game pieces (a “move” includes projecting a weapon at an opposing player game piece). Multiple player game pieces can be moved in a given turn. The game continues until the expiration of a predetermined time period or until all the player game pieces of one army have been “wounded” or “killed.” The army with the most remaining player game pieces at the end of the time period, or the army in possession of a predetermined territory or objective, wins the game.

While my games have been described in connection with the examples discussed above and the various figures, it is to be understood that other similar examples may be used, or modifications or additions may be made to the described examples for performing the same function without deviating therefrom. Therefore, my games should not be limited to any single example, but rather should be construed in breadth and scope in accordance with the recitation of the appended claims.