Title:
GAME CARD AND CARD GAME FOR TWO OR MORE PLAYERS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game card provided herein does not allow a player to easily predict the strategy of an opponent player. A plurality of identifying indications to be utilized in the course of a game are provided on a front face 3 of a card 1 by using a visually unrecognizable but optically, magnetically, or electronically recognizable material. Positions 17 through 21 at which the plurality of identifying indications are disposed are defined to be on or adjacent to a plurality of parts (a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications) of a character displayed on the card 1.



Inventors:
Toriyama, Ryosuke (Tokyo, JP)
Kumabe, Takashi (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/294301
Publication Date:
05/21/2009
Filing Date:
03/29/2007
Assignee:
KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CO., LTD. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, ANH-VO V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RANKIN, HILL & CLARK LLP (WILLOUGHBY, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A game card comprising: a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications disposed on a front face of the card, and a plurality of identifying indications to be utilized in the course of a game, the identifying indications being provided by using a visually unrecognizable but optically, magnetically, or electronically recognizable material, wherein positions at which the plurality of identifying indications are disposed are defined in relation to positions at which the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are disposed.

2. A game card comprising: a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications disposed on a front face of the card, and a plurality of identifying indications to be utilized in the course of a game, the identifying indications being provided on the front face by using a visually unrecognizable but optically recognizable material, wherein positions at which the plurality of identifying indications are disposed are defined in relation to positions at which the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are disposed.

3. The game card according to claim 2, wherein the optically recognizable material is printed by a printing technique on the front face of the card where the visually recognizable informational indications are disposed.

4. The game card according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are expressed in letters, symbols, figures, pictures, images, or the like, and at least one of the identifying indications is disposed adjacent to or on the visually recognizable informational indications.

5. The game card according to claim 1, wherein the identifying indication is formed of an identification code.

6. A card game for two or more players comprising: a deck of cards with a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications disposed on a front face thereof, and a play field where at least one of the cards is placed in the course of the game, wherein the cards in the deck includes a card with a plurality of identifying indications to be utilized in the course of the game, the identifying indications being provided by using a visually unrecognizable but optically, magnetically, or electronically recognizable material; positions at which the plurality of identifying indications are disposed are defined in relation to positions at which the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are disposed, and the game further includes a reader which optically, magnetically, or electronically recognizes the identifying indications, and displays a recognition result in the form to be visually and/or audibly recognized.

7. (canceled)

8. The card game according to claim 6, wherein the reader further has a function of reading the visually recognizable informational indications.

9. The card game according to 6, wherein the reader is configured to selectively read one of the identifying indications by a single reading operation.

10. The card game according to claim 6, wherein, when the reader is operated for a reading operation in the course of the game and selectively reads at least one of the identifying indications, the reader displays the recognition result based on the at least one identifying indication which has been read.

11. The card game according to claim 10, wherein the reader is configured to output a recognition result which varies according to a combination of the identifying indications which are read or an order in which the identifying indications are read.

12. The game card according to claim 2, wherein the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are expressed in letters, symbols, figures, pictures, images, or the like, and at least one of the identifying indications is disposed adjacent to or on the visually recognizable informational indications.

13. The game card according to claim 2, wherein the identifying indication is formed of an identification code.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a game card and also to a card game for two or more players using such a card.

BACKGROUND ART

Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 11-099285 or JP11-099285A (Patent Document 1) discloses a game card utilizing a magnetic card on which magnetically recognizable information is readably recorded, a game card having an electronically readable IC chip in which electronically recognizable information is readably recorded, and a game card on which identifying information is recorded such that the recorded information can optically be read by irradiating infrared rays although it is not visually recognizable. Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2003-135848 or JP2003-135848A (Patent Document 2) discloses a known technique for playing a game by using a non-contact type IC card and a commercially available game card in combination. Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2005-211576 or JP2005-211576A (Patent Document 3) discloses a game card reader system configured to read the card information recorded in an IC chip, convert the card information, which has been read, into an electric signal, and output the electric signal to a computer as well as a card set including a card having an IC chip mounted thereon.

In any of such game cards, the identifying information to be utilized in the course of a game is recorded on the card as magnetic data, electronic data or optical data. Therefore, nobody can know the contents of the identifying information unless he or she reads the data stored on the card by a dedicated reader. In other words, such cards allow a player to enjoy unexpected developments of a game, compared with ordinary game cards on which various effects are printed.

Patent Document 1: Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 11-099285 (JP11-099285A), claims 3 through 6.

Patent Document 2: Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2003-135848 (JP2003-135848A)

Patent Document 3: Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2005-211576 (JP2005-211576A)

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Technical Problem

The information, which the game player can get from a single game card with identifying information printed thereon like a game card disclosed in Patent Document 1, is limited to information of a single category. Thus, the game player can predict with ease the strategy which an opponent player may probably use although the player cannot visually recognize the identifying information, provided that the player knows the identifying information of the single category recorded on the card or the recognition result based on the identifying information from pictures or the like printed on a front face of the card. However, the positional arrangement of a plurality of visually unrecognizable identifying information and the positional arrangement of a plurality of visually recognizable information recorded on a game card do not co-relate to each other. Therefore, the game player cannot expand variations of the strategy, utilizing the plurality of visually unrecognizable identifying information.

An object of the present invention is to provide a game card and a card game for two or more players, wherein the positional arrangement or positions at which a plurality of visually unrecognizable identifying indications or information are disposed are defined in relation to the positional arrangement or positions at which a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications or information are disposed so that the player can joyfully work out a strategy.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a less costly game card which does not hinder the player in visually recognizing the visually recognizable informational indications or information indicated thereon and of which the aesthetic appearance is not damaged if a plurality of identifying indications are disposed on a front face of the card generally having available space limited for printing.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a game card and a card game for two or more players, wherein the player can hardly predict the strategy of the opponent player.

Solution of Problem

According to the present invention, a game card comprises a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications which are disposed on a front face thereof. The plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are expressed in letters, symbols, figures, pictures, images, or the like. The game card also comprises a plurality of identifying indications to be utilized in the course of a game. The identifying indications are provided on the card by using a visually unrecognizable but optically, magnetically, or electronically recognizable material. The optically recognizable material typically includes a material containing a light emitting element which emits light when irradiated with infrared rays, a transparent resin material, or the like. The shape formed on the card by a transparent special resin material can optically be recognized by selecting an appropriate frequency for rays of light to be irradiated on to the card. The optically recognizable material may arbitrarily be disposed on a front face of the card. When the optically recognizable material is printed by a printing technique on the front face of the card where the visually recognizable informational indications are disposed, the identifying indications may be displayed on the front face of the card in a simple and less costly manner. Thus, a special game card having identifying indications can be manufactured at low cost. Additionally, since an optically unrecognizable material is used to form identifying indications, the visually recognizable informational indications are not hindered in being visually recognized. Thus, the aesthetic appearance of the card is not damaged.

A magnetically recognizable material or means may be a recording section of a magnetic card. An electronically recognizable material may be an IC chip which is embedded in the card.

The optically recognizable identifying indication may be formed of an identification code such as a bar code and a dot code. The optically recognizable identifying indication may be expressed in letters, figures, or the like. The specific contents of the indication to be provided as identifying indication may be defined in the reader or may directly be included in the identifying indication.

According to the present invention, the positional arrangement or positions at which the plurality of identifying indications are disposed are defined in relation to the positional arrangement or positions at which the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are disposed. The term of “positional arrangement in relation to” means that the positional arrangement of the visually recognizable informational indications has some relationship with the positional arrangement of the identifying indications disposed so as to associate with the visually recognizable informational indications. More specifically, at least one of identifying indications is disposed adjacent to, on or under the visually recognizable informational indications. For example, when the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are expressed in a combination of figures or pictures, the plurality of identifying indications are disposed near, on or under the plurality of figures or pictures. When the identifying indications can optically be read, the identifying indications may be disposed near or on the plurality of figures or pictures. In short, the identifying indications are disposed in such a manner that “the positional arrangement of the identifying indications are in relation to” positions at which the visually recognizable informational indications are disposed. When the plurality of identifying indications are disposed along an edge of the card to correspond to positions at which the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are disposed, “the positional arrangement is in relation to” positions at which the visually recognizable informational indications are disposed. Since the positional arrangement of visually unrecognizable identifying indications is defined in relation to the positional arrangement of visually recognizable informational indications, the player can joyfully conjecture the identifying indications by referring to the positional arrangement of the visually recognizable informational indications.

A game card according to the present invention may be used for a card game for two or more players that comprises a deck of cards with a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications disposed on a front face thereof, and a play field where at least one of the cards is placed in the course of the game. Here, a reader is used which optically, magnetically, or electronically recognizes the identifying indications and displays a recognition result in the form to be visually and/or audibly recognized. The reader is configured to selectively read one of the identifying indications by a single reading operation. When a plurality of identifying indications are displayed on the card, at least one identifying indication can be selected from the plurality of identifying indications by using the reader. Consequently, the result may be varied according to how to select identifying indications, thereby allowing unexpected developments in the game. Preferably, when the reader is operated for a reading operation in the course of the game and selectively reads at least one of the identifying indications, the reader may display the recognition result based on the at least one identifying indication which has been read. More preferably, the reader may be configured to output the recognition result which varies according to a combination of the identifying indications which are read or an order in which the identifying indications are read. With this configuration, an unexpected result may be obtained based on the combination of the identifying indications, thereby allowing the player to always enjoy new and fresh developments even if the player is accustomed to the game.

In the game card of the present invention, since positions at which a plurality of identifying indications are disposed are defined in relation to positions at which a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are disposed, the player searches for the identifying indications by using the reader, conjecturing where the plurality of invisible identifying indications are disposed with reference to positions at which the plurality of the visible and visually recognizable informational indications are disposed. Thus, the player cannot immediately determine what result can be obtained by selecting identifying indications, although the card belongs to the player. Accordingly, the game can develop in an unexpected way and the player can enjoy a thrilling game. Additionally, since a plurality of invisible identifying indications are provided on the card, the player cannot predict what identifying indications the opponent player will select even if it is known that a plurality of identifying indications are hidden in the card. Thus, the player can enjoy a thrilling game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a plan view of an embodiment of a game card according to the present invention, showing a front face thereof.

FIG. 1B explains at which positions identifying indications are displayed.

FIG. 2 shows examples of identification codes which may be used when identifying indications are displayed using dots.

FIGS. 3A and 3B are respectively a front view and a perspective view of an example reader which optically recognizes identifying indications and displays a recognition result in the form to be visually and/or audibly recognized.

FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of an example configuration of the reader.

FIG. 5 shows a single retrieval mode.

FIG. 6 shows an associated retrieval mode.

FIG. 7 shows an on-going card game for two or more players wherein decks of game cards according to the present invention are being used.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

An embodiment of a game card according to the present invention will now be described in detail by referring to the accompanying drawings. FIG. 1A is a plan view of a game card 1 of this embodiment, showing a front face 3 thereof. On the front face 3 of the game card 1, a first symbol display column 5, a name display column 7, an attack power display column 9, a character display column 11, an effect display column 13, and a second symbol display column 15 are disposed in the top-to-bottom direction. All the letters, figures, symbols pictures, or the like displayed in the six display columns contain visually recognizable informational indications. Therefore, in an ordinary card game for two or more players, various sorts of visually recognizable informational indications or information displayed on the cards are used to advance the game in accordance with certain game rules.

In the character display column 11 on the front face 3 of this game card 1, a plurality of identifying indications which are visually unrecognizable but optically recognizable by reading with an optical reader are displayed by a printing technique. FIG. 1B shows positions at which six identifying indications are disposed in the character display column 11 by depicting figures of 3×3 matrix 17 through 22 drawn by broken lines. Identification codes of dots as shown in FIG. 2 are printed in the six figures of matrix by using a visually unrecognizable but optically recognizable material. More specifically, in the illustrated example, the identification codes of dots are formed on an ordinary card by means of printing, using ink which absorbs infrared rays or fluorescent ink made of a transparent synthetic resin material as disclosed in Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2004-166177 or JP2004-166177A.

The identifying indication printed in the figure of matrix 17 is disposed at the head of a pictorial character 12, the identifying indication printed in the figure of matrix 18 is disposed on the right hand of the character 12, the identifying indication printed in the figure of matrix 19 is disposed on the right foot of the character 12, and the identifying indication printed in the figure of matrix 20 is disposed on the arm gripped by the left hand of the character 12. The identifying indication printed in the figure of matrix 21 is disposed at a side of the chest portion of the character 12, and the identifying indication printed in the figure of matrix 22 is disposed on the left foot of the character 12. In this way, the positions at which the plurality of visually unrecognizable identifying indications are disposed are defined in relation to the positions at which the plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are disposed. Thus, as will be described in detail later, when the player recognizes with the reader that the identifying indication formed in the figure of matrix 20 disposed at the position of the arm which the character 12 has, the player may determine the effect which corresponds to the invisible identifying indication and resort to the use of the arm as the recognition result (effect of selecting identifying indication) When an identifying indication is printed at a position where it does not overlap the character 12 like the figure of matrix 21, the player can hardly detect the identifying indication. In this situation, the indication appears very tricky and the player can enjoy the game much more.

In this embodiment, invisible identifying indications are displayed in the form of identification codes drawn by dots, or a sort of two-dimensional bar codes. It is arbitrary how to display the identifying indications. The identifying indications may be expressed in symbols, letters, figures, pictures, or the like instead of identification codes.

As shown by reference symbols 17′ through 22′ in FIG. 1B, visually unrecognizable identifying indications may be displayed along an edge of the frame of the character display section 11 or the card. In this arrangement, the plurality of identifying indications in the figures of matrix 17′ through 22′ are disposed by the side of the parts (plurality of visually recognizable informational indications such as head, hands, feet and an arm) of the character 12 in order to be associated with those parts. In this positional arrangement, once the player finds out the rule on the positional arrangement of the plurality of identifying indications on the card, the player may read the identifying indications relatively easily with a reader.

FIGS. 3A and 3B are respectively a front view and a perspective view of an example reader 30 which optically recognizes identifying indications and displays a recognition result in the form to be visually and/or audibly recognized. The reader 30 comprises a body 31 which includes a display screen 32, a power switch 33, setting switches 34 and 35, a decorative illumination section 36, and communication light-emitting sections 37 and 38, and a reader section 40 which includes an optical sensor connected to the body 31 via a cable 39. The body 31 of the reader 30 is provided with sound emission holes for a speaker, not shown. As shown in FIG. 4, the body 31 of the reader 30 includes therein a digital signal processor 41 for processing signals, a display control driver 42 for controlling the display operation of the display section 32, a ROM 43 and a RAM 44 to be used for the digital signal processor 41, a speaker 45, a speaker drive circuit 46, and a power supply circuit, not shown.

Inside the reader section 40, a light emission source 47 which is formed of a light emitting diode LED, a condenser lens 48, a filter 49, and a circuit 50 including an image pickup element are disposed. Light emitted from the light emission source 47 is directed onto the surface 3 of the card 1, reflected by the surface 3 of the card 1, and led onto the image pickup element by the condenser lens 48. The image pickup element of the circuit 50 converts the identification code displayed by dots on the card 1 as an identifying indication into a digital electric signal and transmits it to the digital signal processor 41. The digital signal processor 41 reads the identifying indication based on the digital electric signal it receives. The reader section 40 is configured to read one of the identifying indications by a single reading operation. Therefore, when reading a plurality of identifying indications, the reading operation may be repeated by applying the reader section 40 to different positions on the card 1. Then, the recognition result is read out from the recognition result data stored in the memory according to the type of the identifying indications it reads. The recognition result is displayed on the display screen 32 and is also audibly outputted from the speaker 45. As a result, as the player applies the reader section 40 to the front face 3 of the card 1 for an operation of reading identifying indications and consequently at least one of the identifying indications is read, the recognition result is displayed on the display screen 32.

In this embodiment, the setting switch 35 may switch between retrieval modes: a single retrieval mode of retrieving a single recognition result based on one of identifying indications, and an associated retrieval mode of reading two or more identifying indications and then retrieving the recognition result according to the identifying indications which are read and an order in which the identifying indications are read. In the single retrieval mode, for example as shown in FIG. 5, when the reader section 40 is applied to the arm part of the character 12, the recognition result such as “attack power up +500P” is displayed on the display screen 32 of the card reader 30. Thus, the player can recognize that the identifying indication of “attack power up +500P” is hidden on the arm part. Then, as a result, in a game mode where the player fosters the character, the player can increase the attack power of the character. When playing a card game for two or more players, the 500P is added to the attack power of 500P which the character initially has, and the total attack power amounts to 1,000P, thereby allowing the player to work out the strategy for playing the card game for two or more players. When the associated retrieval mode is selected, since the recognition result varies according to a combination of the identifying indications or an order in which the identifying indications are read, recognition results which the player has never expected or which are surprising to the player may be displayed. Then, the player may feel it difficult to predict the strategy of the opponent player. For example, as shown in FIG. 6, when the reader section 40 sequentially searches the right foot, the shield, and the space at a side of the left thigh of the character 112 of the card 101 and finds out three identifying indications, the card reader 30 displays a recognition result of “Can protect against all the attacks of the opponent player” on the display screen 32. The points of attack power may be increased or decreased according to a combination of the retrieved identifying indications or an order in which the identifying indications are read.

When a plurality identifying indications are displayed on the card 1, at least one of the identifying indications may be selected from the plurality of identifying indications by using the reader 30. Then, as a result, the conclusion of the game may be varied according to how to select identifying indications, thereby causing unexpected developments in the game.

Since the reader 30 of this embodiment can communicate with the reader of the opponent player, such a rule may be employed that the players may give and take information between them via the communication in the course of the game.

FIG. 7 shows an on-going card game for two or more players wherein decks of game cards according to the present invention are being used. In FIG. 7, two players use their own readers 30. The two players may share the same and single reader 30. In the illustrated example, all the cards contained in each deck have a plurality of visually unrecognizable identifying indications. Therefore, as shown in FIG. 7, a plurality of visually unrecognizable identifying indications are provided on a front face of each card placed in the play field. Since the rule of playing the game may be determined appropriately, the specific rule according to how to advance the card game will not be described here. It is needless to say that identifying indications may be provided only on the cards of a single category contained in the deck.

In this embodiment as described above, a special synthetic resin material is employed to print identifying indications. The identifying indications may be displayed on the cards by using ink which is invisible when irradiated with visible rays of light but emits light and becomes visible when irradiated with infrared rays. In this configuration, an infrared generator may be used as a light emission source disposed in the reader section 40 of the reader 30.

In this embodiment as described above, visually unrecognizable identifying indications are attached to the card by using an optically readable material. Visually unrecognizable identifying indications may alternatively be attached to the card by using a magnetically or electronically readable material. Also in this configuration, positions at which a plurality of identifying indications are disposed may be defined in relation to positions at which a plurality of visually recognizable informational indications are disposed. When visually unrecognizable identifying indications are attached to the card by using a magnetically or electronically readable material (a magnetic card, an IC chip or the like), a reader which can magnetically or electronically read recognizable identifying indications may be employed.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

With a game card according to the present invention, the player searches for identifying indications with a reader, conjecturing where the plurality of invisible identifying indications are disposed, with reference to positions at which the visible and visually recognizable informational indications are disposed. Thus, the player cannot immediately determine or predict the result that the player may obtain. Thus, the player can enjoy a thrilling game.