Title:
MILITARY CARD GAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a game for at least one player that includes a set of skill cards, each of which represent a particular skill. A set of mission cards, each representing a particular mission, may also be included. The game further includes an administration means that awards promotion points to each player in accordance to the player's set of obtained skill cards, completed games that each player plays, games won by the player, other completed activities, missions completed based on the mission cards, and playing time. The game is ongoing, with players achieving higher and higher ranks as they are awarded promotion points.



Inventors:
Carey, Brent A. (Springfield, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/427352
Publication Date:
10/21/2010
Filing Date:
04/21/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/11
International Classes:
A63F1/00; A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LAYNO, BENJAMIN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUICKPATENTS (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A game for at least one player, comprising: a set of trading cards, each trading card worth a predetermined number of promotion points; an administration means capable of a) maintaining a registry of trading cards obtained by each player, b) maintaining a tally of earned promotion points of each player, c) administering at least one activity to each player, each completed activity resulting in a player score worth a predetermined number of promotion points, d) adding each player's promotion points earned by completing activities to the player's tally of earned promotion points; e) determining a rank of each player based on the tally of earned promotion points of the player; whereby each player collects trading cards and completes activities to earn promotion points and increase in rank.

2. The game of claim 1 wherein a subset of the trading cards are skill cards, each representing a particular skill, and wherein some of the activities administered by the administration means result in additional promotion points if the player has one or more particular skill cards.

3. The game of claim 1 wherein a subset of the activities administered by the administration means are games for one or more players, each completed game resulting in a player score worth a predetermined number of promotion points awarded to the player by the administration means.

4. The game of claim 1 wherein a subset of the trading cards are mission cards, each representing a particular mission capable of being completed to varying degrees, each degree of completeness worth a predetermined number of promotion points awarded to the player by the administration means.

5. The game of claim 2 wherein each skill card represents a type of military skill.

6. The game of claim 4 wherein each mission card represents a type of military mission.

7. The game of claim 1 wherein the administration means includes an internet-based computer system comprising at least a web server, a database means, and a control program capable of associating each player with a record in the database, each player's record in the database including at least the player's tally of earned promotion points, obtained trading cards, and rank.

8. The game of claim 1 wherein the administration means includes an electronic-based device comprising a user interface, a database means, and a control program capable of associating each player with a record in the database means, each player's record in the database including at least the player's tally of earned promotion points, obtained trading cards, and rank.

9. The game of claim 1 wherein the administration means includes a workbook that includes at least one player registry page for receiving the player's name, a tally of earned promotion points, a registry of obtained trading cards, and rank, and wherein the workbook further includes a plurality of activity pages each for administering one of the activities.

10. The game of claim 7 wherein at least one of the activities includes a sound means for recording and analyzing each player's pronunciation of at least one of a set of prerecorded utterances, and determining how closely each pronunciation matches the utterance, the administration means capable of assigning a promotional point score related thereto.

11. The game of claim 8 wherein at least one of the activities includes a sound means for recording and analyzing each player's pronunciation of at least one of a set of prerecorded utterances, and determining how closely each pronunciation matches the utterance, the administration means capable of assigning a promotional point score related thereto.

12. The game of claim 1 wherein at least one of the activities includes scoring each player's performance in a simulated battlefield situation.

13. The game of claim 1 wherein at least one of the activities includes simulating a military career path.

14. The game of claim 1 wherein at least one of the activities includes learning about a military subject and then taking a quiz on the military subject, each player's score on the quiz related to a predetermined number of promotion points.

15. A method of administering a game, comprising the steps: providing a game comprising a set of trading cards, each trading card worth a predetermined number of promotion points; an administration means capable of a) maintaining a registry of trading cards obtained by each player, b) maintaining a tally of earned promotion points of each player, c) administering at least one activity to each player, each completed activity resulting in a player score worth a predetermined number of promotion points, d) adding each player's promotion points earned by completing activities to the player's tally of earned promotion points; e) determining a rank of each player based on the tally of earned promotion points of the player; the administration means including an internet-based computer system comprising at least a web server, a database means, and a control program capable of associating each player with a record in the database, each player's record in the database including at least the player's tally of earned promotion points, obtained trading cards, and rank; a subset of the trading cards being skill cards, each representing a particular skill; distributing the set of skill cards to a plurality of players, each player receiving at least one of the skill cards; receiving electronic information relating to the at least one skill card of at least one of the players; determining a number of promotion points awarded to each player for each skill card obtained by each player; determining a rank of each player based on the tally of promotion points of each player; maintaining the registry of skill cards obtained by each player; offering to administer at least one activity to each player and awarding points to each player based on each player's performance of each activity; and displaying each player's rank.

16. The method of administering a game of claim 15 wherein at least one of the activities is a game activity, and each player is awarded points based on the player's final score in the game activity.

17. The method of administering a game of claim 15 wherein the provided game further includes a subset of the trading cards being mission cards, each representing a particular mission capable of being completed to varying degrees based on a player's set of skill cards, the game further including the step of selecting a mission card from amongst a plurality of the players; each player selecting one of his skill cards most appropriate for completed the mission on the selected mission card; designating the player having the skill card that best completes the mission as the winner; and awarding each player an award based on the player's set of obtained skill cards, completed missions, activities completed, and playing time.

18. The method of administering a game of claim 17 further including the steps of: distributing the set of mission cards to a plurality of players; instructing at least one player to form a group with other players; instructing the players in the group to combine and then randomly select one of their mission cards; instructing the players to each select one of their obtained skills cards as judged most appropriate for successfully completing the mission on the selected mission card; and designating the player having the skill card that best completes the selected mission as the winner.

19. The method of administering a game of claim 18 further including the final step of the winning player keeping the selected mission card and the selected skills cards of the other players.

20. The method of administering a game of claim 19 further including the final step of the winning player being awarded promotion points based on the kept mission card and skill cards.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

NOTICE OF COPYRIGHTS AND TRADE DRESS

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. This patent document may show and/or describe matter which is or may become trade dress of the owner. The copyright and trade dress owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any one of the patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and trade dress rights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to games, and more particularly to a military card game.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

Military simulation games, and particularly those utilizing trading cards, are known in the art. For example, the following US patents, and US patent Applications, teach such games:

Pub. NumberPub. DateInventor
  744,502Nov. 17, 1903Delamere
1,043,383Nov. 5, 1912Adams
1,117,316Nov. 17, 1914Booton
1,287,317Dec. 10, 1918Hopkins
1,293,183Feb. 4, 1919Peckham
1,342,520Jun. 8, 1920Wright
1,355,782Oct. 12, 1920Roy
1,357,166Oct. 26, 1920Hart
1,631,009May 31, 1927Clark
5,435,568Jul. 25, 1995Black
6,209,873Apr. 3, 2001DeGeorge
6,254,099Jul. 3, 2001Pederson
6,561,513May 13, 2003DeGeorge
6,601,851Aug. 5, 2003Sakamoto et al.
7,144,013Dec. 5, 2006Tanaka
7,258,343Aug. 21, 2007Hayakawa et al.
7,392,986Jul. 1, 2008Gress
2003/0062679Apr. 3, 2003Chang
2006/0033278Feb. 16, 2006Conde

Such games typically involve players battling against each other, the outcomes of any particular battle being at least somewhat dependent upon the types, ranks, or values of the cards each player has. However, while such games may to some degree simulate military battle situations, none of these card games simulate a person's career in the military, his advancement through completion of missions and activities from a low entry-level rank to higher ranks such as general.

With the advent of portable electronics and the Internet, several prior art trading card games have added an electronically-administered element to their method of play. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,688,973 to Satloff et al. on Feb. 10, 2004 teaches a system for using trading cards interactively through the Internet, as does US Patent Application 2008/0227512 to Lang on Sep. 18, 2008 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,810,666 to Mero et al. on Sep. 22, 1998. All such implementations, however, require each trading card to have a unique identification indicia printed thereon, which requires a master database of all such unique identification indicia.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,442,108 to Ganz on Sep. 16, 2008 teaches an online environment that includes games and activities for a collection of virtual pets, each represented by an actual pet and a unique numeric code. Here, too, each pet (analogous to a trading card) requires a unique numeric code and, as such, the system requires a master database of all such unique identification indicia.

Therefore, there is a need for a game that simulates an ongoing advancement of the players based on points earned by obtaining trading cards, completing games, activities, and missions. Such a needed game could be played individually or with others, and could be administered on paper, with an electronic device, or over the Internet with a computer-based system. Such a needed invention would not require each trading card to have a unique indicia number, making the printing and distribution of such cards relatively easy, although the needed invention certainly could include a unique indicia number to facilitate maintaining accurate records of trades between players if desired. The present invention accomplishes these objectives.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present device is a game for at least one player. The game includes a set of trading cards, such as skill cards, each of which represent a particular skill, such as a military skill, and each of which are worth a predetermined number of promotion points. The game may further include a set of mission cards, each representing a particular mission, such as a military mission, capable of being completed to varying degrees based on each player's set of skill cards.

The game further includes an administration means that is capable of maintaining a registry of skill cards obtained by each player; maintaining a tally of earned promotion points of each player; administering at least one game to each player, each completed game resulting in a player score worth a predetermined number of promotion points; administering at least one activity to each player, each completed activity resulting in a player score worth a predetermined number of promotion points; adding each player's promotion points earned by completing a game or an activity to the player's tally of earned promotion points; and determining a rank of each player based on the tally of earned promotion points of the player.

In one embodiment of the invention, the administration means includes an internet-based computer system that comprises at least a web server, a database, and a control program. In another embodiment of the invention the administration means includes an electronic-based device comprising a user interface, a database, and a control program. In yet another embodiment of the invention the administration means includes a workbook that includes at least one player registry page for receiving the player's name, the tally of earned promotion points, the registry of obtained skill cards, and rank. In such an embodiment, the workbook further includes a plurality of game pages each for administering one of the games, and a plurality of activity pages each for administering one of the activities.

In use, the skill cards are distributed to a plurality of players such as by selling the cards in retail outlets, for example. The administration means, in whatever embodiment is used, receives information about each player, such as their name and their list of obtained skill cards. A predetermined number of promotion points is awarded to each player for each skill card obtained thereby, and the associated rank of the player is determined based on the tally of the promotion points of each player. As a player adds skill cards to his collection, such as through purchase or trading with other players, for example, the administration means is used to maintain the registry of all obtained skill cards.

The administration means awards promotion points to each player in accordance to the player's set of obtained skill cards, games scores, completed games, games won by the player, completed activities, and playing time. In embodiments of the invention that include the mission cards, the administration means may further award promotion points to each player for completing each mission thereon, based on each player's set of skill cards. In a multi-player activity, a mission card may be selected, and each player selects one of his skill cards most appropriate for completing the mission. The player having the skill that best completes the mission wins. The players may decide before playing such an activity if the winning player is entitled to keep each other player's non-winning skill card(s) and the played mission card(s). The game is ongoing, with players achieving higher and higher ranks as they are awarded promotion points.

The present invention is a game that simulates an ongoing advancement of the players based on points earned by obtaining trading cards, completing games, activities, and missions. The present game may be played individually or with others, and can be administered on paper, with an electronic device, or over the Internet with a computer-based system. The present invention does not require each trading card to have a unique indicia number, making the printing and distribution of such cards relatively easy. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram showing an example set of skill card type trading cards of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a diagram showing an example set of mission card type trading cards of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagram of a computer system of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a diagram of an electronic device of an alternate embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a diagram of a workbook of another alternate embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. The following explanation provides specific details for a thorough understanding of and enabling description for these embodiments. One skilled in the art will understand that the invention may be practiced without such details. In other instances, well-known structures and functions have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the description of the embodiments.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words “comprise,” “comprising,” and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense; that is to say, in the sense of “including, but not limited to.” Words using the singular or plural number also include the plural or singular number respectively. Additionally, the words “herein,” “above,” “below” and words of similar import, when used in this application, shall refer to this application as a whole and not to any particular portions of this application. When the claims use the word “or” in reference to a list of two or more items, that word covers all of the following interpretations of the word: any of the items in the list, all of the items in the list and any combination of the items in the list.

A game 10 is disclosed for at least one player 15. The game 10 includes a set of trading cards, such as skill cards 20 (FIG. 1), each of which represent a particular skill 21, such as a military skill 21, and each of which are worth a predetermined number of promotion points 44. The skill cards 20 may be physical cards printed on paper, for example, and sold in stores or traded among players 15. Virtual skill cards 20 may also be purchased on-line over the Internet, for example, provided the information on each style of card 20, virtual or real, is the substantially similar.

The game 10 may further include, as a subset of the trading cards, mission cards 30 (FIG. 2), each representing a particular mission 31, such as a military mission 31, capable of being completed to varying degrees based on each player's set of skill cards 20. The mission cards 30 may be physical cards printed on paper, for example, and sold in stores or traded amongst players 15. Virtual mission cards 30 may also be purchased on-line over the Internet, for example, provided the information on each style of card 30, virtual or real, is the substantially similar.

The game 10 further includes an administration means 40 (FIGS. 3-5) that is capable of the following:

    • a) maintaining a registry 41 of trading cards 20 obtained by each player 15;
    • b) maintaining a tally 42 of earned promotion points 44 of each player 15;
    • c) administering at least one activity 60 to each player 15, each completed activity 60 resulting in a player score worth a predetermined number of promotion points 44;
    • d) adding each player's promotion points 44 earned by completing a game 50 or an activity 60 to the player's tally 42 of earned promotion points 44; and
    • e) determining a rank 43 of each player 15 based on the tally 42 of earned promotion points 44 of the player.

A subset of the activities 60 may include at least one game 50 administered to each player 15 by the administration means 40, each completed game 50 resulting in a player score worth a predetermined number of promotion points 44.

The game 10 may include embodiments (not shown) wherein the trading cards include a set of weapons or equipment cards, characters or personality cards, and the like, all of which contribute to the efficiency or easy by which a player 15 in possession of such cards is able to earn promotion points 44.

In one multi-player activity 60, a mission card 30 may be selected, and each player 15 selects one of his skill cards 20 most appropriate for completing the mission 31 on the mission card 30. The player 15 having the skill card 20 that best completes the mission 31 wins. The players 15 may decide before playing such an activity 60 if the winning player 15 is entitled to keep each other player's non-winning skill card(s) 20 and the played mission card(s) 30.

Ranks 43 may follow military themes as well, such as, for example, the US Marine Corps Ranks 43 from Private First Class through Commandant of the Marine Corps; or the US Navy Ranks 43 from Seaman Recruit through Fleet Admiral; or the US Army Ranks 43 from Private Recruit through General; or the US Air Force Ranks 43 from Airman Basic through General.

Such a game 50 may include, for example, scoring each player's performance in a simulated battlefield situation; negotiating a maze in order to rescue an injured soldier; target shooting with a simulated weapon; flight or sailing simulations; tank or armored vehicle simulations; small unit battlefield tactics; “Eye-Spy” type camouflaged item search-type games; capture-the-flag type games; virtual or real-life obstacle course races; cryptography decoding games; parachute steering games; and the like.

Other such activities 60 may include simulating a military career path, for example, by making choices about a chosen military skill or job, military or civilian schooling or training, services assignments including location, type or position, or the like. Another activity 60 may be learning about a military subject such as: infantry strategy and tactics; battlefield medical issues; human resource issues; surveillance issues; interrogation practices; food services and supply lines; anti-aircraft measures; navigation over land, sea and by air; aviation including both fixed and rotary wind aircraft; logistics including repair, supply lines, transportation; chaplain duties; cryptography and secret codes; submarine maintenance; or the like. The player 15 then takes a scored quiz on the subject. The player's score is then related to a predetermined number of promotion points 44 awarded to the player 15. Other such activities 60, virtual or real-life, may include, for example: live “chat enabled” radio transmissions, over the Internet or citizens band radio; learning marching and running songs; physical fitness training; getting “chewed-out” by a drill sergeant; getting a hair cut at basic training; and the like.

The administration means 40 may additionally award patches, awards, badges, or medals in accordance to the player's skills or activities completed. For example, such awards may be bestowed for any of the following: parachutist or parachute operations, first aid or medical skills, orienteering, map reading, weapons marksmanship or skill, command of a unit, construction, ship, submarine or other naval operations, navigation, firefighting, special or unconventional warfare were combat, surveillance, combat action, rappelling, aircraft sling loading or cargo rigging and other aircraft mobility or attack operations, aircraft landing zone operations, underwater diving, on disposal, aircraft pilot, amount of time served, physical fitness, recruiting, special or ordinary unit designations, courage, bravery, loyalty, integrity, injuries or wounds, service overseas, and the like. Such skills or activities may be honored upon completion by the administration means 40 as the administration means 40 receives information about a player's newly obtained skills cards 20 or completed missions 31 on mission cards 30.

In one embodiment of the invention, the administration means 40 includes an internet-based computer system 100 that comprises at least a web server 110, a database 120, and a control program 130 capable of associating each player 15 with a record 140 in the database 120 (FIG. 3). Each player's record 140 in the database 120 includes at least the player's tally 42 of earned promotion points 44, registry 41 of skill cards 20 obtained by the player 15, and rank 43.

In another embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIG. 4, the administration means 40 includes an electronic-based device 150 comprising a user interface 160, a database 170, and a control program 180 capable of associating each player 15 with a record 140 in the database 170. Each player's record 140 in the database 170 includes at least the player's tally 42 of earned promotion points 44, the registry 41 of obtained skill cards 20, and rank 43.

In such an embodiment, one of the games 50 or activities 60 includes the control program 180 actuating a sound means 190, which includes at least a microphone 191 and a speaker 192. The microphone 191 records, and the control program 180 analyzes, each player's pronunciation of at least one of a set of prerecorded utterances as played through the speaker 192, such as military-related words or exclamations such as “Hooah,” for example. The control program 180 then determines how closely each pronunciation matches the utterance and assigns a promotion point score related thereto.

In another embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIG. 5, the administration means 40 includes a workbook 200 that includes at least one player registry page 210 for receiving the player's name or desired call-sign 220, the tally 42 of earned promotion points 44, the registry 41 of obtained skill cards, and rank 43. In such an embodiment, the workbook 200 further includes a plurality of game pages 230 each for administering one of the games 50, and a plurality of activity pages 240 each for administering one of the activities 60. Such pages 230,240 may be played in order as printed in the workbook 200, for example, or in a random fashion. The pages 230,240 may be printed in a plurality of different orders for multiple such workbooks 200, such that each player 15 with such a workbook 200 may play the pages 230,240 in a different, apparently random order. As such, each player 15's experience in the game 10 may differ from that of other players 15. Such a workbook 200 may be printed on paper, for example.

In use, the skill cards 20 are distributed to a plurality of players 15, each player 15 receiving at least one thereof. Such distribution may occur by selling the cards 20, or partial sets of the cards 20, in retail outlets, for example. Players 15 may also obtain skill cards 20 by trading with other players 15. The administration means 40, in whatever embodiment is used, receives information about each player 15, such as their name 220, and their list of obtained skill cards 20. A predetermined number of promotion points 44 is awarded to each player 15 for each skill card 20 obtained thereby, and the associated rank 43 of the player 15 is determined based on the tally 42 of the promotion points 44 of each player 15. As a player 15 adds skill cards 20 to his collection, such as through purchase or trading with other players 15, for example, the administration means 40 is used to maintain the registry 41 of all obtained skill cards 20.

Periodically, the administration means 40 may offer one of the games 50 to each player 15 and award promotion points 44 to each player 15 based on the player's performance of each game 50. Likewise, the administration means 40 may offer one of the activities 60 to each player 15 and award promotion points 44 to each player 15 based on the player's performance of each activity 60.

The administration means 40 awards promotion points 44 to each player 15 in accordance to the player's set of obtained skill cards 20, completed games 50, games 50 won by the player 15, completed activities 60, and playing time (such as a certain number of promotion points 44 for every month of play). In embodiments of the invention that include the mission cards 30, the administration means 40 may further award promotion points 44 to each player 15 for completing, to varying degrees, each mission 31 thereon. Such mission cards 30 are distributed to each player 15 by selling the cards 30, or partial sets of the cards 30, in retail outlets, for example. Players 15 may also obtain mission cards 30 by trading with other players 15.

In one embodiment including the mission cards 30, a group of players 15 combine and then randomly select one of their mission cards 30. Each player 15 selects one of their obtained skill cards 20 as judged most appropriate for successfully completing the mission 31 on the selected mission card 30. Each player 15 in the group is then awarded a predetermined number of promotion points 44 assigned to the degree to which the skill 21 of the player's selected skill card 20 is determined to complete the mission 31, as predetermined and printed on each mission card 30, for example. In one embodiment, a player 15 having reached a predetermined rank 43 may make an exclusivity claim to a particular category of skill cards 20. For example, a player 15 may claims “I own the infantry” and as such prevent any more skill cards 20 having infantry skills 21 from being played.

The administration means 40 may then be used to increment each player's promotion point tally 42 accordingly. In embodiments wherein the administration means includes the computer system 100, each player 15 submits his selected most appropriate skill card 20 to the computer system 100 which then awards the promotion points 44, updates each player's database record 140 accordingly, and informs the players 15 in the group of their resulting promotion points scores.

The game 10 is ongoing, with players 15 achieving higher and higher ranks 43 as they are awarded promotion points 44. A player 15 with a relatively high rank 43 may be afforded certain privileges by the administration means 40, such as having the option to play certain games 50 or perform certain activities 60 before other players 15 of lower rank 43.

While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, instead of military-themed skill cards 20 and mission cards 30, politically-themed skill cards 20 and mission cards 30 may be used, with ranks 43 ranging from school board member up through President of the United States, for example. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.

The teachings provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system described herein. The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the above patents and applications and other references, including any that may be listed in accompanying filing papers, are incorporated herein by reference. Aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ the systems, functions, and concepts of the various references described above to provide yet further embodiments of the invention.

These and other changes can be made to the invention in light of the above Detailed Description. While the above description details certain embodiments of the invention and describes the best mode contemplated, no matter how detailed the above appears in text, the invention can be practiced in many ways. Details of the system may vary considerably in its implementation details, while still being encompassed by the invention disclosed herein.

Particular terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated. In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above Detailed Description section explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses not only the disclosed embodiments, but also all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention.

The above detailed description of the embodiments of the invention is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed above or to the particular field of usage mentioned in this disclosure. While specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described above for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications are possible within the scope of the invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize. Also, the teachings of the invention provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system described above. The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments.

All of the above patents and applications and other references, including any that may be listed in accompanying filing papers, are incorporated herein by reference. Aspects of the invention can be modified, if necessary, to employ the systems, functions, and concepts of the various references described above to provide yet further embodiments of the invention.

Changes can be made to the invention in light of the above “Detailed Description.” While the above description details certain embodiments of the invention and describes the best mode contemplated, no matter how detailed the above appears in text, the invention can be practiced in many ways. Therefore, implementation details may vary considerably while still being encompassed by the invention disclosed herein. As noted above, particular terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated.

In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above Detailed Description section explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses not only the disclosed embodiments, but also all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention under the claims.

While certain aspects of the invention are presented below in certain claim forms, the inventor contemplates the various aspects of the invention in any number of claim forms. Accordingly, the inventor reserves the right to add additional claims after filing the application to pursue such additional claim forms for other aspects of the invention.