Title:
Continuous Secondary Game with Player Selection of Hidden Objects
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A secondary game played on a gaming machine displays a plurality of objects, each object representing a hidden award. Upon a triggering event occurring, the player then touches one of the objects via a touch screen, and the award is granted to the player. The selected object is then disabled until the game is reset. The awards that remain available to be selected in the secondary game are displayed to the player separate from the objects. The secondary game is continuous and is not reset upon a player cashing out. The continuous secondary game motivates players to keep playing until the top prize is awarded and the game is reset. The trigger event that allows the player's to select an object is based on the player's accumulated wager amount and is preferably independent of any outcome of the main game or any outcome of a bonus game.



Inventors:
Davis, Wesley (Notre-Dame, CA)
Leblanc, Rick (Moncton, CA)
Application Number:
12/211012
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
09/15/2008
Assignee:
SPIELO MANUFACTURING ULC (Moncton, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20020058547Game machine and prize providing systemMay, 2002Yoshida et al.
20090113303ANALYZING VIDEO GAME PERFORMANCE USING NON-INTRUSIVE CAPTURE AND STORAGE OF RUN-TIME GAME DATAApril, 2009Goossen et al.
20090286593METHOD OF GAMING AND GAMING SYSTEMNovember, 2009Chim
20080254883TOURNAMENT BONUS AWARDSOctober, 2008Patel et al.
20040229675Gaming method based on finishing orderNovember, 2004Cannella
20080119263Gaming Machine and Gaming Machine Reel AssemblyMay, 2008Haga et al.
20080102914Game of skill and system and method for playing itMay, 2008Werkstell
20090131175TOURNAMENT GAMING SYSTEMSMay, 2009Kelly et al.



Primary Examiner:
LARSEN, CARL VICTOR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT LAW GROUP (Sunnyvale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method performed by a gaming device comprising: carrying out a main game pursuant to wagers made by a player; displaying a plurality of objects to the player in a secondary game separately from the main game, at least some of the objects representing hidden awards, the awards having a variety of values; displaying, separately from the objects, at least some of the awards represented by objects that are still available for selection; generating a triggering event, allowing the player to select one or more of the objects to win any award revealed after an object is selected; after an object is selected by the player, granting the player its associated award, preventing that object from being selected during the same secondary game prior to a reset of the secondary game, and updating the awards represented by objects that are still available for selection; and resetting the plurality of objects so as to allow any of the objects to be selected, and randomly distributing the hidden awards, after one or more certain awards have been selected and granted, wherein the plurality of objects are not reset when the player cashes out of the gaming machine, such that a next player of the gaming machine resumes play of the secondary game.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the triggering event comprises a randomly selected accumulated wager amount after a previous triggering event.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein generating the triggering event comprises randomly selecting a first amount and detecting when a wager amount accumulated since a previous triggering event meets or exceeds the randomly selected first amount.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein randomly selecting the first amount comprises randomly selecting a first amount above a preset minimum amount and below a preset maximum amount.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of resetting the plurality of objects after one or more certain awards have been granted to the player comprises resetting the plurality of objects only after a top award has been selected.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein the secondary game is continuously enabled and displayed to the player.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein there are a total of X objects, and the player is guaranteed to win a top award represented by at least one of the objects within X triggering events.

8. The method of claim 1 further comprising allowing the player to select from a plurality of different main games while not resetting the secondary game.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein the secondary game comprises a map, and the player selects a different area in the map upon each triggering event, each area corresponding to an award or a portion of an award.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein the gaming device comprises a plurality of linked gaming machines, each played by a different player, the exact same secondary game being displayed to and played concurrently by all the players, where each player is allowed to select one or more of the objects upon that player's accumulated wagers meeting or exceeding a certain amount since a last triggering event for that player.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein a particular combination of objects must be selected to win a particular award.

12. The method of claim 1 wherein the secondary game is displayed on a display screen separate from a display of the main game.

13. The method of claim 1 where no object other than an award amount, when selected, resets the plurality of objects during the step of resetting the plurality of objects.

14. The method of claim 1 wherein the amounts of the hidden awards are based on the player's wager for playing the main game.

15. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of generating a triggering event, allowing the player to select one or more of the objects, comprises allowing the player to only select one object when the player wages a first amount on the main game and allowing the player to select multiple objects when the player wages a second amount on the main game greater than the first amount.

16. The method of claim 1 wherein at least one object represents a progressive award pot that constantly increases based on a percentage of wagers, wherein only after the progressive award pot is won is the pot is reduced to a starting amount.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein there are a plurality of objects representing progressive award pots that constantly increase based on a percentage of wagers, wherein selecting a certain plurality of the progressive award pots resets the plurality of objects.

18. The method of claim 1 wherein a particular combination of objects must be selected to win a particular award, wherein different players selecting objects in the combination share the award when the complete combination of the objects is finally selected.

19. A gaming device comprising: at least one display screen; and a processing system for carrying out the following method: carrying out a main game pursuant to wagers made by a player; displaying a plurality of objects to the player in a secondary game separately from the main game, at least some of the objects representing hidden awards, the awards having a variety of values; displaying, separately from the objects, at least some of the awards represented by objects that are still available for selection; generating a triggering event, allowing the player to select one or more of the objects to win any award revealed after an object is selected; after an object is selected by the player, granting the player its associated award, preventing that object from being selected during the same secondary game prior to a reset of the secondary game, and updating the awards represented by objects that are still available for selection; and resetting the plurality of objects so as to allow any of the objects to be selected, and randomly distributing the hidden awards, after one or more certain awards have been selected and granted, wherein the plurality of objects are not reset when the player cashes out of the gaming machine, such that a next player of the gaming machine resumes play of the secondary game.

20. The device of claim 19 wherein the triggering event comprises a randomly selected accumulated wager amount after a previous triggering event.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to gaming devices, such as slot machines, and, in particular, to a secondary game that grants awards to a player based upon the player's selection of hidden objects.

BACKGROUND

Common slot machines randomly select and display an array of symbols on a video screen, then grant an award to a player based on the occurrence of certain symbol combinations across pay lines. Typically, the game ends after the symbols are displayed and the award, if any, is granted. Although these types of games are highly successful, it is advantageous to provide additional special games that infrequently occur to make the game more interesting to a player. A more interesting game will generate increased revenue to the casino by its increased play.

Bonus games are common, where, upon a certain outcome of the main game, the bonus game is initiated. In one type of known bonus game, the player is presented with an array of icons representing hidden awards. The player successively selects icons until a terminating icon is selected. The bonus game then ends, and normal play resumes. Such bonus games do not motivate a player to keep playing the gaming machine, since the bonus game is extinguished prior to the player making a next wager to play the main game again.

SUMMARY

Disclosed herein is a secondary game played on a gaming device, such as a video slot machine or a video monitor connected to a computer for on-line gaming. The main game may be a conventional a reel-type game that displays a randomly selected array of symbols, where combinations of symbols across one or more pay lines are evaluated by circuitry to determine an award to be granted.

The secondary game is displayed on a display screen of the gaming machine. The display screen is preferably separate from the main game screen. The secondary game, in one embodiment, is a state map showing various counties (e.g., the 56 counties of Montana). Each of the counties represents a hidden award. The awards in the secondary game may range from $2 to $100, with many more low value awards than high value awards. In one embodiment, every one of the 56 counties grants an award (e.g., credits or money) when selected. In another embodiment, one or more selected counties grant no award or grant other than credits or money, such as five free spins of the reels. Upon a triggering event occurring, the player then touches one of the counties via a touch screen, and the hidden award is granted to the player. The selected county is then grayed-out and disabled. The awards that remain available to be selected in the secondary game are displayed to the player separate from the map. After the selection, the player then continues to wager and play the main game, while the map continues to be displayed.

In one embodiment, the trigger event that allows the player's to select a county is independent of any outcome of the main game or any outcome of a bonus game. The player's participation in the secondary game may be triggered at a randomly selected accumulated wager amount, such as between $250-$2000 since the last trigger event, or by another event. This makes the main game irrelevant, so that the same secondary game may supplement any main game without modification to the main game. The interval between the player's participation in the secondary game should be frequent enough for the player to participate in the secondary game multiple times during an average playing session. The secondary game may be funded by a percentage of the wagers made at the eligible gaming machine or machines.

In one embodiment, the secondary game is permanently displayed and continuously played, where the map will typically show that a number of the counties have already been selected and large awards still remain to be selected in the map to keep the player interested in continued play. The secondary game is not reset or extinguished after the player cashes out. Cashing out means that the player has pressed a cash-out button (or other actuator) to signal to the slot machine that the player wants all the stored credits to be delivered to the player as payment, either in coins, a printed coupon, a download to a card or account, or other related means. Cashing out, for purposes of this disclosure, also includes the player having no stored credits due to the player having wagered and lost all stored credits. The next player may continue the secondary game. The secondary game is only reset after the player selects the top prize or after all the high value awards are granted. Since the number of awards of each type remaining is displayed to the player, and the top award (e.g., $100) is shown to have yet to be selected, the player is motivated to keep playing to win the top award. There is a guarantee that a player will win the top prize of $100 within 56 selections, so the player's motivation to keep playing continually increases as the odds of selecting the top prize increases.

If the gaming machine offers a variety of main games, the player may select any of the main games while the secondary game remains displayed without being reset. The player's participation in the secondary game is not related to the particular main game chosen since the player's participation is based on the accumulated amount wagered.

The secondary game may also be adapted to be played on linked gaming machines. The same map is displayed on all the linked gaming machines' displays. Upon a triggering event specific to each player, that player selects a county and receives the associated award. All players see the selected county award being granted to the selecting-player, and that county is disabled for further selection by all the players. The secondary game is reset when the top prize is granted or the high prizes are granted to maintain player interest. Each gaming machine (or a central server) randomly determines the time that a player gets to make a selection based on the player's accumulated wager amounts (e.g., a random amount between $250 and $2000). Therefore, a player wagering $1 per play on one of the linked machines will, on average, make four times as many selections in the secondary game as a player wagering 25¢ per play. This results in fair participation in the shared secondary game.

Although a map with counties has been described in the example, any other form of the secondary game may be used. Other variations of the game and trigger event are described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a gaming machine that displays a main game and a secondary game in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of key components in the gaming machine of FIG. 1 and illustrates a network connected to linked gaming machines.

FIG. 3 illustrates a video screen displaying the secondary game after various counties have already been selected and showing a current selection by a player. The screen also shows the awards remaining to be selected.

FIG. 4 illustrates the award presentation to the player after the player selects a particular county. The portion of the screen displaying the awards remaining is omitted for simplicity.

FIG. 5 illustrates the selected county being grayed-out so that it cannot be selected again.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart identifying various steps taken in the carrying out of the secondary game on a standalone gaming machine.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart identifying various steps taken in the carrying out of the secondary game on linked gaming machines, where multiple players interact while playing the same secondary game.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Although the invention can typically be implemented by installing a software program in most types of modern video gaming machines, one particular gaming machine platform will be described in detail.

FIG. 1 illustrates a video gaming machine 10 that incorporates the present invention. The machine 10 includes a bottom display 12 that may be a thin film transistor (TFT) display, a liquid crystal display (LCD), a cathode ray tube (CRT), or any other type of display. The display 12 may also be a transparent area revealing physical motor-driven reels. In the example shown, the main game in display 12 is the conventional random selection of a 3×3 array of symbols, where an award is granted based on the combination of symbols across a pay line 13. The main game can be any game, such as a 5×3 array of symbols or any other size or shape array, a video card game, or other game.

A top display 14 is a video screen, which may be identical to the display 12, that displays the secondary game, described below. The display 14 is preferably a touch screen to allow the player to make a selection by touching a particular area on the display 14.

A coin slot 16 accepts coins or tokens in one or more denominations to generate credits within the machine 10 for playing games. An input slot 18 accepts various denominations of banknotes or machine-readable tickets, and may output printed tickets for use in cashless gaming. A coin tray 20 receives coins or tokens from a hopper upon a win or upon the player cashing out. Player control buttons 22 include any buttons needed for the play of the particular game or games offered by machine 10 including, for example, a bet button, a spin reels button, a cash-out button, and any other suitable button. Buttons 22 may be replaced by a touch screen with virtual buttons.

FIG. 2 illustrates basic circuit blocks in the machine 10 of FIG. 1. A game controller board 30 includes a processor (CPU) that runs the gaming program (including the secondary game) stored in a program ROM, such as a CD. The program ROM may include a pseudo-random number generator program for selecting symbols and for making other random selections, such as when to allow a selection in the secondary game. At least the active portion of the program is stored in a RAM on the board 30 for access by the processor. A pay table ROM on the board 30 detects the outcome of the game and identifies awards to be paid to the player. A bill/ticket validator 45 and coin detector 46 add credits for playing games. A payout device 47 pays out an award to the player in the form of coins or a printed ticket at the end of a game or upon the player cashing out. Player control inputs 48 receive push-button inputs for playing the main game and touch screen sensor inputs for playing the secondary game. An audio board 49 sends signals to the speakers. A display controller 50 receives commands from the processor and generates signals for the various displays 51. The touch screen portion of the displays 51 provides player selection signals to the processor.

The game controller board 30 transmits and receives signals to and from a network 56 via a communications board 58. The network 56 includes servers and other devices that monitor the linked gaming machines 10 and GM1-GM-N and provide communications between the machines 10 and GM1-GM-N. The network 56 processes the secondary game so that the same game appears on the displays of the eligible linked gaming machines, enabling all players to interact in the same game. In one embodiment, the network server determines when each player is allowed to participate in the secondary game.

In the below scenario, it is assumed that the software program for playing the main game and secondary game is installed in a standalone gaming machine, such as shown in FIG. 1. The player plays the main game in the normal manner by making wagers and spinning reels to achieve winning combinations of symbols. The processor in the gaming machine monitors the wagering. In one embodiment, the program sets a secret random wager amount between $250-$2000. Once the player's accumulated wager, since the previous triggering event, reaches the randomly set amount, the player is allowed to make a selection in the secondary game. The triggering can also be a random number of plays and does not have to be above a minimum amount.

The secondary game, in one embodiment, displays a map of the state of Montana and its 56 counties on the top display 14, as shown in FIG. 3. The player may touch any county 60 to receive an award, revealed only after selecting the county. In one embodiment, every one of the 56 counties grants an award (e.g., credits or money) when selected. In one embodiment, there are 16—$2 awards, 16—$5 awards, 11—$10 awards, 6—$15 awards, 4—$20 awards, 2—$25 awards, and 1—$100 award. FIG. 3 illustrates the map 62 after a few of the counties have already been selected and grayed-out to show that they cannot be selected again. Along with the map 62, the display 14 shows the number of awards 64 of each type still available for selection. There may also be progressive awards, described later.

In another embodiment, one or more selected counties grant no award or grant other than credits or money, such as five free spins of the reels. Some awards (e.g., free spins) may be surprise awards that are not previously displayed to the player in display 14.

In the example of FIG. 3, after the main game is over, the player selects the county 66 by touching it.

FIG. 4 shows the result of the player selection, where the county 66 is expanded to show an animation of a prospector digging up a low value prize (a can of beans) worth $2. The player is then awarded the $2 prize in the form of credits. The county 66 then becomes grayed-out (shown as blacked-out in FIG. 5 to highlight the county 66) to convey that it cannot be selected again until the secondary game is reset.

The program then selects another random accumulated wager amount between $250-$2000 as a trigger value, and the player's actual accumulated wager amount is reset to zero. When the player's accumulated wagers reach the randomly selected threshold amount, the player is notified by an animation that the player can select another county and receive the hidden award. The map may be continuously displayed. The process is repeated until the top prize of $100 is selected by the player. The player is motivated to keep playing until the top prize is received since the player does not want the next player to win the top prize. The player is guaranteed the top prize within 56 selections.

The secondary game does not reset upon the player cashing out, so a new player will continue the secondary game left by the previous player. Therefore, the secondary game will be a constant motivator for players to continue playing, at least until the map is reset by the player selecting the top prize, and for new players to start playing.

Once the top prize is won, the motivation for playing the secondary game is drastically reduced, so the secondary game is automatically reset (all counties now enabled), and the hidden awards are randomly distributed among the counties 60.

In another embodiment, the secondary game is reset when all or some of the top awards have been won, or all awards have been won, or all progressive awards have been won.

Since the main game is not relevant to the secondary game, the main game can be any type of game. In one embodiment, the gaming machine 10 offers the player a selection of main games or variations, such as a 3-reel game, a 5-reel game, various card games, keno, or other games. Even when the player switches to a different type of main game with different odds of winning, the secondary game is unaffected, since play of the secondary game is preferably based on the accumulated amount wagered by the player.

Also, by giving the player one selection after a certain amount has been bet, the secondary game awards may be the same for 25¢ machines as well as $1 machines. The player betting $1 per game will play the secondary game, on average, four times as often as a player betting 25¢ per game.

In another embodiment, the triggering of each play of the secondary game is based on the number of plays or a random time. In another embodiment, the trigger for playing the secondary game is (or includes) the occurrence of a special outcome (e.g., symbol combination) in the main game or a bonus game. The trigger could also be generated based on a threshold size of a progressive jackpot award in the secondary game, or based on a random outcome of a random number generator, or based on the outcome of a ticket pool engine where the machine dispenses winning or losing tickets.

In another embodiment, the player may get multiple selections of counties in certain instances, such as at random. In one embodiment, some special awards may require a certain combination of counties to be selected, such as if matching hidden objects were needed for the player to win a single high award. Requiring such a combination allows larger awards to be available since the odds of the combination occurring are less that that for a single particular selection.

In another embodiment, there is a plurality of high value awards, and when a certain number of the high value awards are won, the game is reset.

In one embodiment, when the player is allowed to make a selection in the secondary game, the map replaces the main game on the display 12 (having a touch screen), and the remaining awards 64 are displayed on the top display 64. This allows the map to be larger for easier selection and increased excitement. After the selection, the map may be reduced and moved to the top display 14.

In another embodiment, the same secondary game may be simultaneously played by multiple players playing linked gaming machines, illustrated by linked machines GM1-GM-N, as well as the machine 10, in FIG. 2.

The same map 62 and remaining awards 64 are displayed on each of the linked gaming machines, as shown in FIG. 3. Each player's gaming machine monitors the player's accumulated wagers since that player's last trigger and sets a random wager amount between $250 and $2000 as a trigger for the player to make a next selection of a county on the map. The random amount may even by set by a central server, and the central server monitors each player's bets to determine when the player is allowed to make another selection. Even if some players are playing with 25¢ bets and others are playing with $1 bets, the players' participation in the secondary game is fair since the trigger is related to the amount bet rather than the accumulated number of plays.

In another embodiment, the trigger for a player's selection is not based on the accumulated amount bet, and to keep the participation fair for players betting different amounts, the players betting larger amounts per game are allowed to make X times the number of selections per trigger as the players betting lower amounts, in direct proportion to the amount bet immediately prior to the trigger. In such a case, the random trigger may be the number of plays, a random time, or a special outcome of the main game or any bonus game, or a random event independent of the outcome of any game. Other triggering events have also been described herein.

In another embodiment, the amount wagered by a particular player determines the amounts represented by each county. The award associated with each county for a player betting $1 per game will be four times larger than the award associated with each county for a player betting 25¢ per game. This could apply to standalone machines as well as the linked machines.

After any player selects a county, that county is disabled for all of the players. When the top prize is awarded to any player, the counties are reset and the secondary game continues.

In one embodiment, certain awards in the secondary game may be won only by selecting a combination of counties. This combination prize would typically be relatively high. For example, a $50 award may be won only by selecting three matching objects revealed by three counties. In such an event, only the player to select the final county for achieving the three matching objects wins the $50. The other players that selected the other two counties may win a lesser amount, such as based on how many of the counties in the combination were selected by the player. Alternatively, all players whose selections contributed matching counties would evenly split the award amount. If one of the players that contributed a matching county cashed out prior to the award being granted, the award would be split between the remaining contributing players.

Matching counties may be distributed randomly in the map, or the matching counties needed for an award may be placed adjacent one another for an increased incentive to play once one the counties has been selected. The players now know the area in which to select the next county and will continue playing, hoping for the big prize.

In one embodiment, some of the prizes (or just the top prize) includes progressive awards. FIG. 3 illustrates the displayed available awards 64 including two progressive awards. When the top prize is won or all the progressive awards have been won, the map is reset (all counties re-enabled and awards redistributed) to retain player interest. Where there are a plurality of independent progressive awards throughout the map constantly accumulating based on a percentage of the players' wagers, only the progressive award won by a player is reset to a starting value (and that county temporarily disabled from being selected again), while the other progressive awards are not affected. When one, some, or all of the progressive awards have been won, the map may be reset, with all of the previously-selected counties being enabled and the awards redistributed throughout the map. Even upon a reset, the amounts in each progressive award pot are not reset but continue to accumulate, and the progressive award is associated with a new county.

In another embodiment, all participating players are allowed to separately select a county when there is a single trigger event. The order of player selection may be random or based on another factor. Once a player selects a county, that county is immediately disabled for the other players; the other players must select counties that are not disabled.

As in the standalone machine embodiment, there is a guarantee that the top prizes will be won within 56 selections. Cashing out of a machine does not change the secondary game map for that machine, since all players of the linked machines play with the same map. However, cashing out by a player may reset the accumulated wager amount so that a new player may have to wager at least $250 to be eligible to match the randomly selected amount. This applies to the standalone machine embodiment as well.

In the preferred embodiment, there are no special terminating objects (e.g., a hidden stop symbol) that prematurely reset the secondary game prior to the top prizes being won, since the goal of the secondary game is to motivate the player(s) to keep playing until the top prizes are won, and the odds of winning the top prizes improve after the lesser prizes have been selected and the number of remaining eligible counties is reduced.

A percentage of the wagers from all the linked gaming machines may be used to fund the secondary game.

In one embodiment, the secondary game is also displayed on a large overhead display so non-participants may see the game being played.

Although the example herein involves a map and staking claims to certain counties, the game may take any form (e.g., a simple array) where players select hidden awards and the game continues for a relatively long period of time prior to being reset. This retains players who have a stake in the secondary game, especially if the odds of the player winning the top prize improve by the player selecting many low value prizes.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart identifying various steps carried out by a standalone gaming machine (e.g., FIG. 1) when carrying out the secondary game (called “Stake Your Claim”). It is assumed that a player has been wagering and playing a main game on the gaming machine.

In step 70, the map of Montana is displayed with its various counties that can be selected by the player upon a triggering event occurring. Each county is associated with a hidden award. Also displayed, separately from the counties, are the awards still available for selection by the player.

In step 71, a secondary game trigger signal is generated, such as by the player's wagers since the last triggering event exceeding a randomly selected value. The trigger signal enables the player to select at least one of the displayed counties.

In step 72, the player selects at least one of the available counties using a touch screen overlying the display of the map.

In step 73, the revealed award is granted to the player, the selected county is disabled for further selection until the map is reset, and the display of the awards still available is updated.

In step 74, it is determined whether a terminating condition has occurred, such as the top prize being awarded, but not due to the player cashing out. If so, the map is reset (step 75) so that any of the counties can be selected, and the hidden awards are randomly associated with the counties. If the terminating condition has not occurred, the secondary game progresses with fewer and fewer available counties to select.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart identifying various steps carried out by linked gaming machines when carrying out the secondary game. It is assumed the players of the linked gaming machines have been wagering and playing a main game on their gaming machines.

In step 80, the map of Montana is displayed on all of the linked gaming machines, with its various counties that can be selected by any player upon a triggering event occurring. Each county is associated with a hidden award. Also displayed, separately from the counties, are the awards still available for selection by any player.

In step 81, a secondary game trigger signal for a particular one of the gaming machines is generated, such as by a player's wagers since the last triggering event exceeding a randomly selected value. The trigger signal enables the player of that gaming machine to select at least one of the displayed counties.

In step 82, the player that caused the trigger signal selects at least one of the available counties using a touch screen overlying the display of the map. All the players see the selection by the single player.

In step 83, the revealed award is granted to the player, the selected county is disabled for further selection until the map is reset, and the display of the awards still available is updated. All players see the same display.

In step 84, it is determined whether a terminating condition has occurred, such as the top prize being awarded, but not due to the player cashing out. If so, the map is reset (step 85) so that any of the counties can be selected, and the hidden awards are randomly associated with the counties. If the terminating condition has not occurred, the secondary game progresses with fewer and fewer available counties to select.

The term “random” as used herein includes pseudo-random.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from this invention in its broader aspects and, therefore, the appended claims are to encompass within their scope all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.