Title:
CUSTOMIZABLE GAME DEVICES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game board device can be customizable with displayable objects. An exemplary game board device can comprise a game board panel, a playing area, and a carrying system. The game board panel can be a base for the game board device and can comprise at least one window. The playing area can be a top surface of the game board panel, and can comprise a game board design integrating the window. Game play of a board game can occur in the playing area, and the game board design can correspond to a board for a board game. The carrying system can be attachable to the game board panel. The carrying system can comprise at least one carrying device configured to position a displayable object viewable through the window.



Inventors:
Bishai, James (Allston, MA, US)
Application Number:
12/576474
Publication Date:
04/22/2010
Filing Date:
10/09/2009
Assignee:
Lifetime Brands, Inc. (Garden City, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN PEPPER HAMILTON SANDERS LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A game board device comprising: a game board panel comprising a first window; a playing area on a top surface of the game board panel, and comprising a game board design integrating the first window; and a carrying system attachable to the game board panel, the carrying system comprising a carrying device configured to position a displayable object viewable through the first window.

2. The game board device of claim 1, the game board design of the playing area corresponding to a predetermined game.

3. The game board device of claim 1, the carrying system being attachable to an underside of the game board panel.

4. The game board device of claim 1, the carrying device of the carrying system comprising a pocket for holding the displayable object.

5. The game board device of claim 1, the carrying device of the carrying system being attachable to the game board panel in a position aligned with the first window.

6. The game board device of claim 1, the top surface of the game board panel comprising a glass surface.

7. The game board device of claim 1, the game board panel comprising a second window separated from the first window in the playing area by a substantially opaque separating region.

8. The game board device of claim 7, the top surface of the game board panel comprising a glass surface, and the separating region comprising a painted area of the glass surface.

9. The game board device of claim 1, the first window being transparent or semitransparent.

10. A game board device comprising: a game board panel comprising a plurality of windows; a playing area on a top surface of the game board panel, the playing area comprising a game board design integrating the plurality of windows with one or more separating regions separating the plurality of windows from one another; and a carrying system comprising one or more carrying devices, each carrying device being attachable to the game board panel adjacent at least one of the plurality of windows, and each carrying device being configured to carry a displayable object.

11. The game board device of claim 10, the separating regions being substantially opaque.

12. The game board device of claim 10, the windows and the separating regions being arranged in a grid pattern.

13. The game board device of claim 10, the windows and the separating regions being arranged to correspond to a board of a board game.

14. The game board device of claim 10, the windows and the separating regions being arranged in a pattern corresponding to a checker board, a chess board, or a tic-tac-toe board.

15. The game board device of claim 10, the carrying system comprising one carrying device for each of the plurality of windows.

16. The game board device of claim 10, at least one of the carrying devices being aligned with at least one of the plurality of windows.

17. The game board device of claim 10, at least one of the carrying devices of the carrying system being configured to display a photograph or a drawing through at least one of the plurality of windows.

18. A method of manufacturing a game board device, the method comprising: constructing a game board panel comprising a first window; providing a playing area on a top surface of the game board panel, the playing area comprising a game board design integrating the first window; and providing a carrying system attachable to the game board panel, the carrying system comprising a carrying device configured to position a displayable object viewable through the first window.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising providing additional windows in the game board panel, the additional windows being separated from one another by one or more substantially opaque separating regions.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising arranging the first window, the additional windows, and the separating regions in a pattern corresponding to a predetermined board game.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims a benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/105,950, filed 16 Oct. 2008, the entire contents and substance of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

Various embodiments of the present invention relate to game devices and, in particular, to customizable game devices configured to carry personal decoration.

Board games can provide entertainment for individuals or groups. Playing board games can be a highly social event for entertaining during family gatherings, social gatherings with friends, or other occasions.

A board game is played with a game board, on which players may move game pieces in accordance with rules of the board game. Game boards can be purchased from various locations, such as retail stores, and generally have standard appearances so as to provide universal appeal to potential game players. The standard appearances of game boards, however, fail to provide a significant level of personal appeal to game players. As a result, a player's interest in a board game may not be as high as it might otherwise be if the game board's appearance held a personal significance to the player.

SUMMARY

Briefly described, various embodiments of the present invention relate to customizable game devices, such as game board devices and game piece devices. The game devices can be customizable with displayable objects. For example, embodiments of the game devices according to the present invention can be configured for chess, checkers, tic-tac-toe, or various other games. In some exemplary embodiments, a game board device of the present invention can comprise a game board panel, a playing area, and a carrying system.

The game board panel can be a support panel on which a board game is played. In some exemplary embodiments, the game board panel can be made of a rigid material, such as wood, plastic, glass, cardboard, or metal. The game board panel can be sturdy enough to support the carrying system and to support occurrence of game play on top of the game board panel.

The game board panel can comprise or define one or more windows through which displayable objects can be viewable. The windows can be various shapes, such as polygonal, circular, or elliptical.

The playing area, or playing surface, can be a top surface of the game board panel. The playing area can comprise a game board design corresponding to a board of a predetermined board game. For example, if the game board device is for a checkers game, then the playing area can be marked with a grid pattern of alternating light and dark squares on which checkers can be placed.

The windows of the game board panel can be integrated into the game board design of the playing area, and the shapes of the windows can be chosen to correspond to the predetermined board game. For example, if the game board device is for the game of checkers, the windows can be the light squares of a checkerboard pattern. The windows can comprise a transparent or semitransparent material, such as glass, plexiglass, or clear plastic.

The carrying system can carry one or more displayable objects viewable in the playing area through the windows of the game board panel. The carrying system can comprise one or more carrying devices attached to the game board adjacent the windows. In an exemplary embodiment, each carrying device is attached adjacent and underneath a corresponding window. A carrying device can be configured to receive a displayable object. For example, the carrying device can be a pocket defining an opening through which the displayable object can be inserted. An inserted displayable object can be visible in the play area through the window corresponding to the carrying device.

These and other objects, features, and advantages of the game devices will become more apparent upon reading the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A illustrates a top view of a game board device having a carrying system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1B illustrates a side view of the game board device of FIG. 1A, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates top perspective view of the game board device of FIG. 1A, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a top view of another game board device, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a bottom view of the game board device having the carrying system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a unified carrying system for the game board device, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6A illustrates a top view of a game piece device having a carrying system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6B illustrates a side view of the game piece device of FIG. 6A, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7A illustrates a top perspective view of a game board device configured to support the game piece device, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7B illustrates a cross-sectional side view of the game board device of FIG. 7A, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

To facilitate an understanding of the principles and features of embodiments of the present invention, they are explained with reference to their implementation in an illustrative embodiment. In particular, embodiments of the invention are described in the context of being a customizable game device, such as a game board device or a game piece device, for carrying personal photographs or drawings.

Embodiments of the invention, however, are not limited to game devices, and are not limited to carrying photographs or drawings. Rather, embodiments of the invention can be integrated into various devices to customize those devices with various decorative indicia. Thus, the system described as a carrying system for the game devices can also find utility as a carrying system in other devices, such as, for example and not limitation, coasters or calendars.

The materials and components described hereinafter as making up various elements of the invention are intended to be illustrative and not restrictive. Many suitable materials and components that would perform the same or similar functions as the materials described are intended to be embraced within the scope of embodiments of the invention. Such other materials can include, for example, materials developed after development of the invention.

Referring now to the figures, in which like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the views, customizable game devices with carrying systems will be described in detail.

FIGS. 1A-2 illustrate various views of a game board device 100, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As shown in the figures, the game board device 100 can comprise a game board panel 110, a playing area 120, and a carrying system 130.

FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate, respectively, a top view and a side view of an exemplary embodiment of the game board device 100. As shown in FIGS. 1A-1B, the game board panel 110 can be a base and support for the playing area 120, on which a board game is played. The game board panel 110 can comprise a sturdy material, such as metal, wood, cardboard, glass, or plastic. In some exemplary embodiments, the game board panel 110 can be foldable along predefined axes for convenient storage.

The game board panel 110 can be placed atop a surface, such as a table or the ground, when the board game is played. As shown in FIG. 1B, to protect the underlying surface, one or more supports 115 can be attached to a bottom of the game board panel 110. The supports 115 can be, for example, domed feet or legs. The supports 115 can maintain the game board panel 110 at a predetermined height above the surface, thereby providing room for the carrying system 130 to be attached underneath the game board panel 110. In an exemplary embodiment, the supports 115 can comprise a high-friction material, such as rubber, to reduce slippage of the game board panel 110 about the underlying surface.

Referring back to FIG. 1A, the game board panel 110 can comprise or define one or more windows 140 through which displayable objects 50 can be viewable for customization of the game board device 100. The windows 140 can be various shapes, including, for example, polygons, rectangles, squares, circles, ellipses, or a various combinations of these and other shapes. In some exemplary embodiments, a window 140 can comprise a transparent or semitransparent material, through which one or more displayable objects 50 can be visible. For example, the windows 140 can be glass, plexiglass, or clear plastic.

The playing area 120, or playing surface, can be all or a portion of a surface of the game board panel 110. In an exemplary embodiment, the playing area 120 can be at least a portion of the top surface of the game board panel 120. The playing area 120 can comprise a game board design 150, which can be premarked on the playing area by a manufacturer. The game board design 150 can correspond to a board of a predetermined board game, and can represent some aspect of the board game or how to play the board game. In an exemplary embodiment, the game board design 150 for a game board device 100 for a particular board game can be the same, or similar to, the design that would be used on a conventional game board for the same game. For example, the game board device 100 of FIGS. 1A-2 can be a tic-tac-toe game board device 200 useable for playing tic-tac-toe in the playing area 120. The game board design 150 of the tic-tac-toe game board device 200 can comprise a grid pattern on which X's and O's can be placed.

FIGS. 1A-1B illustrate exemplary measurements of a game board design 150 and game board panel 110, particularly for a tic-tac-toe game board device 200. For example, as shown, the game board design 150 can be approximately ten inches by ten inches, and each square in the grid pattern can be approximately three inches by three inches. The game board panel 110 can be approximately 0.25 inches thick. The game board design 150 and game board panel 110 can have various dimensions, however, and the dimensions provided in FIGS. 1A-1B are provided for illustrative purposes only.

FIG. 3 illustrates a top of a checkers game board device 300 useable for the game of checkers, chess, or both. The game board design 150 of the checkers game board device 300 can comprise an optional border 340 and a plurality of alternating light squares 354 and dark squares 356 in a grid pattern. The checkers game board device 300 can include a total of 64 squares in an eight-by-eight configuration, similar to a conventional checkers game board.

FIG. 3 depicts exemplary measurements for a game board design 150 for checkers or chess. These measurements are provided for illustrative purposes, and do not restrict the scope of potential game board designs 150 or game board devices 100. As shown, the game board design 150 can be approximately square with sides of approximately seventeen inches. The light and dark squares can each be approximately two inches by two inches. Other measurements can be provided as well.

The game board design 150 can perform a role in the play of the board game. In the game of tic-tac-toe, two players take turns marking the squares in a three-by-three grid, such as the grid in the game board design 150 of the tic-tac-toe game board device 200. The player that succeeds in placing three marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row wins the game. If neither player successfully obtains three marks in this manner, then the game is considered a draw. Exemplarily, the game pieces 250 (FIG. 2) can be generally flat and placeable on the game board panel 110 in the playing area 120.

For another example, in checkers, game pieces are placed on the dark squares 356 of the game board design 150. The game pieces are typically flat and round, but this is not required. The shape of the game pieces can enable the game pieces to be stackable, which may be required during a point in the game, e.g., when a piece becomes a king piece. There are typically two players sitting across the game board device 300 from each other. Each player starts with twelve pieces on the three rows closest to that player, with the game pieces being placed on the dark squares 356. A player can move in two ways. A piece can be moved forward diagonally, advancing towards the opponent. If the opponent's piece and an empty dark square 356 are arranged linearly along a diagonal, then the player can “jump” the opponent's piece and land in the empty dark square 356 opposite the opponent's piece. In this case, the player removes the opponent's piece from the game board or game board device 300. If the player moves a piece to the king row, i.e., the row closest to the opponent, the piece becomes a “king.” Unlike regular game pieces 250, the king piece can move forward towards the opponent, or backward towards the player. The first player who cannot move or loses all of his or her pieces loses the game. The other player wins. Accordingly, the game board design 150 of the checkers game board device 300 can direct players as to how they can move their game pieces across the playing area 120.

Although only a checkers game board device 300 and a tic-tac-toe game board device 200 are depicted herein, game board devices 100 according to the present invention can correspond to other games as well.

In an exemplary embodiment, the windows 140 of the game board panel 110 can be integrated into the game board design 150 of the playing area 120, and the shapes of the windows 140 can be chosen to correspond to the board game and the game board design 150. For example, the windows 140 of the tic-tac-toe game board device 200 can be one, some, or all of the squares of the grid pattern in the game board design 150. The windows 140 of the checkers game board device 300 can be one, some, or all of the light squares 354 of the grid pattern.

Within the playing area 120, the windows 140 can be separated by one or more separating regions 160. For example, in the tic-tac-toe game board device 200, the separating region 160 can be a grid outline surrounding the windows 140. In the checkers game board device 300, the separating regions 160 can be the dark squares 356 alternating with the windows 140.

The separating regions 160 can be distinct from the windows 140. For example, while the windows can be transparent or semitransparent, the separating regions can be substantially or entirely opaque. In some exemplary embodiments, the playing area 120 and the top surface of the game board panel 110 can be transparent or semitransparent. For example, they can be made of glass, plexiglass, or plastic. In that case, the separating regions 160 can comprise painted or otherwise covered sections of the playing area 120.

FIG. 4 illustrates an underside of a game board device 100 having a carrying system 130. The carrying system 130 can carry one or more displayable objects 50 viewable in the playing area 120 through the windows 140 of the game board panel 110. At least one window 140 of the game board device 100 can be in communication with the carrying system 130. In an exemplary embodiment, each of the windows 140 can be in communication with the carrying system 130.

The carrying system 130 can comprise one or more carrying devices 135 attached to the game board panel adjacent the windows 140. Each carrying device 135 can be attached so that the window 140 is aligned with, adjacent, and/or underneath a corresponding window 140. In an exemplary embodiment, the game board device 100 can have a one-to-one ratio of carrying devices 135 and windows 140, with each carrying device 135 having a single corresponding window, but this need not be the case. For example, the carrying system 130 can comprise a single carrying device 135 in communication with all of the windows 140, or multiple carrying devices 135 can be in communication with a single window 140.

The carrying devices 135 can be separate and distinct from one another or, alternatively, can be sections of a unified carrying system 130. For example, in a carrying system 130 in which the carrying devices 135 are distinct, each carrying device 135 can be separately attached to the game board panel 110. FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary unified carrying system 130 having the carrying devices 135 attached to the game board panel 110 as a unit. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 5, the carrying devices 135 can all be attached to a carrying panel 132 or carrying sheet, which can be attached to the game board panel 110. Each carrying device 135 can be connected to the game board panel 110 by way of the carrying panel 132.

A carrying device 135 can be configured to receive a displayable object 50. For example, the carrying device can be a pocket defining an opening 136 through which the displayable object 50 can be inserted. Because of the placement of the carrying device 135 adjacent or aligned with a window 140, an inserted displayable object 50 can be visible in the playing area 120 through the window 140. Displayable objects 50 carryable by the carrying system 130 can comprise various objects for customizing the playing area 120 and the game board device 100. For example, and not limitation, a displayable object can be a photograph, a drawing, or a knick-knack.

Various embodiments, and combinations of embodiments, of carrying devices 135 can be used in the carrying system 130. FIG. 5 illustrates some exemplary embodiments 135a-f of carrying devices 135, but other embodiments of carrying devices 135 can be provided having features not illustrated or a combination of features illustrated and not illustrated. As shown in FIG. 5, a carrying device 135b and 135d-f can define an opening 136 for receiving a displayable object 50. A carrying device 135a, 135c, and 135e-f can comprise a closure device 137, such as a snap button, for securing the displayable object 50 inside the carrying device 135. A closure flap 138 can be provided on the carrying device 135a and 135c to cover the opening 136, and the closure flap 138 can, but need not, be securable with the closure device 137. Additionally, a carrying device 135 can be various shapes, such as rectangular, U-shaped, or various other shapes. The size and shape of a carrying device can determine the types of displayable objects 50 that can be held by the carrying device 135. For example, and not limitation, a carrying device 135 that is rectangular, or U-shaped, and substantially flat can conveniently receive and carry a photograph or drawing. Other sizes and shapes of carrying devices 135 can be provided to receive and carry photographs, drawings, or various other displayable objects 50.

The carrying system 130 can be attachable to the game board panel 110 by various attachment devices at one or more attachments points 133 or attachment lines on the carrying system 130. For example, in some exemplary embodiments, the carrying system 130 can be adhered to the game board panel 110 with an adhesive. Additionally or alternatively, the carrying system 130 can be secured to the game board panel 110 by one or more screws, latches, nails, or the like. If a unified carrying system 130 is used, the carrying devices 135 can be attached to the game board panel 110 as a unit, such as by securing one or more edges of the carrying panel 132 to the game board panel 110. In that case, the carrying devices 135 can be secured to the carrying panel 132 at one or more edges of the carrying devices 135. If the carrying devices 135 are separate and not unified, however, each carrying device 135 can be separately attached to the game board panel 110. A separate carrying device 135 can be attached directly to the game board panel 110 around one or more edges of the carrying device 135.

In some exemplary embodiments, a carrying device 135 can be attached to the carrying panel 132 or game board panel 110 such that at least one edge or portion of the carrying device 135 is left unattached to create an opening 136 for receiving a displayable object 50. An unattached edge is not required, however, if some other means is provided to enable receipt of a displayable object 50 by the carrying device 135. For example, as shown in FIG. 5, a carrying device 135c-d can be attached to the carrying panel 132 (or the game board panel 110) at all edges. Various examples of where the carrying system 130 can be attached to the game board panel 110 are illustrated by dotted attachment lines 133 appearing in FIG. 5. Other attachment lines 133 and points can be utilized in attaching the carrying system 130 to the game board panel 110.

Positioning of the carrying system 130 relative to the game board panel 110 can vary, so long as the carrying devices 135 are configured to carry displayable objects 50 in positions viewable through the windows 140. For example, a carrying device 135 of the carrying system 130 can be attached to the game board panel 110 such that the edges of the carrying device 135 at least partially surround a window 140 of the game board panel 110. Although FIG. 4 illustrates the carrying system 130 being attached directly to an underside of the game board panel 110, this is not required. The carrying system 130 can be in communication with the game board panel 110 in various configurations. For example, the game board panel 110 can be hollow, and can define an opening for access into a hollow cavity inside the game board panel 110. The carrying system 130 can then be attachable to the game board panel 110 inside the hollow cavity of the game board panel 110.

The carrying system 130 can also be provided in a game piece device 600 to customize a game piece device 600 for use with the game board device 100 or with a conventional game board. FIGS. 6A-6B illustrate views of such a game piece device 600, and FIGS. 7A-7B illustrate views of a game board device 100 useable with the game piece device 600.

FIG. 6A illustrates a top view of a game piece device 600 having a carrying system, according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, and FIG. 6B illustrates a side view of the same game piece device 600. The game piece device 600 can have the same or similar components as the game board device 100. Like the game board device 100, the game piece device can comprise a carrying system 130 for carrying one or more displayable objects 50 viewable through one or more windows 140 of the game piece device 600. For example, as shown in FIGS. 6A-6B, the game piece device 600 can comprise a game piece panel 610 and a carrying system 130.

The game piece panel 610 can be a support and base for the game piece device 600. Accordingly, the game piece panel 610 can be made of a rigid material, such as wood, plastic, glass, cardboard, or metal. The game piece panel 610 can comprise one or more supports 115 for raising the game piece panel 610 off of a surface, thereby providing room for the carrying system 130. The game piece panel 610 can comprise one or more windows 140 through which one or more displayable objects 50 can be viewable. In some exemplary embodiments, as shown, the game piece panel 610 can comprise a single window 140, which can comprise all or substantially all of a surface, such as the top surface, of the game piece panel 610.

The game piece device 600 can comprise a game piece design 650 on a surface, such as a top surface, of the game piece device 600. The game piece device 600 can be configured for use with a predetermined game, and the game piece design 650 can be related to the predetermined game or conventional game pieces of the predetermined game. For example, and not limitation, the game piece device 600 illustrated in FIGS. 6A-6B can be a tic-tac-toe piece and, accordingly, can comprise a game piece design 650 related to a conventional tic-tac-toe piece. More specifically, as shown in FIG. 6A, the game piece device 600 can comprise an X or an O, similar to conventional tic-tac-toe pieces.

The carrying system 130 can be attachable to the game piece panel 610, and can comprise one or more carrying devices 135 for carrying displayable objects 50. The carrying system 130 and carrying devices 135 can be the same or similar to, respectively, the carrying system 130 and carrying devices 135 utilized in the game board device 100. The carrying system 130 of the game piece device 600, however, can be configured for the size, shape, and configuration of the game piece device 600, which can differ from the game board device 100. For example, if a single window 140 is provided in the game piece device 600, the carrying system 130 can include a single carrying device 135 in communication with the single window 140. This is not required, however, and alternatively, multiple carrying devices 135 can be in communication with a single window 140 of the game piece device 600.

The game piece device 600 can be used with a conventional game board or with various embodiments of the game board device 100. FIG. 7A illustrates a top perspective view of a game board device 700 configured to support the game piece device 600. FIG. 7B illustrates a cross-sectional side view of the game board device 700 of FIG. 7B across cut line C-C. The game board device 700 can have the same or similar components as the game board devices 100 described above. Additionally, as shown in FIGS. 7A-7B, in some embodiments, the game board device 700 can comprise raised borders 750 separating potential positions of the game piece devices 600 on the game board device 700. The raised borders 750 are not required, but can provide guides for placing the game piece devices 600, and can secure the game piece devices 600 in place on the game board device 700.

Accordingly, as described above, the game board devices 100 and game piece devices 600 can be customizable with personal decoration.

While various exemplary embodiments of game devices with carrying systems have been disclosed and illustrated, many modifications, additions, and deletions can be made to the game devices and carrying systems without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and its equivalents, as set forth in the following claims.