Title:
Device and method for rolling a die or dice and ensuring outcome randomness
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clear acrylic tube construction sealed on both ends is disclosed with a series of small acrylic rods that run through the center of the tube at approximately even intervals. These rods are disclosed to lie in parallel planes and positions to the linear axis of the tube so that they create a helix, spiraling down the length of the tube. Finally, the die or dice to be used for the game are disclosed to be sealed inside the tube. When it is a player's turn to “roll the dice,” said player simply flips the tube over. The dice tumble down the helix of acrylic rods and fall onto the landing surface at the base of the tube. The design of the invention guarantees a random outcome every time.



Inventors:
Meyer, Brett T. (North Charleston, SC, US)
Application Number:
12/658379
Publication Date:
08/11/2011
Filing Date:
02/08/2010
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
McDaniel IP Law LLC (North Charleston, SC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A die-rolling mechanism device comprising a die with plural faces, a clear acrylic tube including the die, and a series of multiple obstacles within the die-rolling mechanism, wherein operation of the die-rolling mechanism randomly selects one of the plural faces while maintaining the die within the die-rolling mechanism device.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the die is selected from dies consisting of a multiple of plural faces.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the obstacles are a series of rods lying transverse to a travel path of the die to cause a rolling movement of the die as it moves along the path, said travel path initiated by changing the orientation of the die-rolling mechanism device and wherein said rods lie in planes parallel one to the other and lie perpendicular to the travel path of the die along the linear axis of the tube.

4. The device of claim 3 wherein changing the orientation of the die-rolling mechanism device is inverting the device along its linear axis.

5. The device of claim 1 comprising multiple dice.

6. The device of claim 1 wherein the ends of the tube are sealed with acrylic discs having a diameter equal to the outer diameter of the tube.

7. The device of claim 6 wherein the end discs and rods are sealed to the tube with clear acrylic cement using a capillary sealing method.

8. The device of claim 1 wherein the ends of the tube are sealed with acrylic discs having a diameter equal to the inner diameter of the tube.

9. The device of claim 8 wherein the end discs and rods are sealed to the tube with clear acrylic cement using a capillary sealing method.

10. The device of claim 1 wherein the ends of the tube are sealed with acrylic discs at least one of which has a diameter greater than the outer diameter of the tube.

11. The device of claim 5 wherein at least one of the dice are of a different color than at least one other of the dice.

12. A method of rolling a die comprising inverting from an upright position the device of claim 1.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the device comprises multiple dice.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein at least one of the dice are of a different color than at least one other of the dice.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention was developed to eliminate problems and nuisances associated with the traditional methods of rolling a die or dice in games, particularly board games. In most games that use a die or dice, the dice are either rolled out of a cup or tossed out of the player's hand. The problems and nuisances associated with this (traditional) method, and which are eliminated by the invention, are listed below.

In many board games, such as Monopoly™ and Backgammon, the dice are rolled on the game board (the playing surface). The dice often interfere with the playing of the game by hitting a player's “game piece” (or checker), knocking it out of position. Sometimes a dispute follows among the players as to where the “game piece” (or checker) was positioned prior to being hit by the dice (or die). Furthermore, a die may land in a position on the playing surface where it interferes with the movement of a player's “game piece” (i.e., the player has to move the die because it occupies a space on the game board where he wishes to place his “game piece”).

Dice rolled via the traditional method often bounce or roll off of the playing surface (orgame board), causing the player to have to roll the dice (or die) again, slowing down the play of the game.

Dice rolled via the traditional method often land “cocked” (i.e., leaning against a checker or “game piece,” leaning against the interior of the game board, or leaning against other dice), causing the player to have to roll the dice (or die) again, slowing down the play of the game.

Dice trays are used to prevent dice rolling off or outside the playing area. Usually wooden, they come in various shapes, often hexagonal, octagonal, rectangular, etc, and have a surrounding wall an inch or few high, often with a green felt-lined base. First, such trays being passed from player to player is cumbersome, at best, and can slow the play of the game. Secondly, such trays do not preclude the problem of “cocked” lies.

Rolling the dice in a game can be a contentious issue. A series of lucky throws may lead to resentment from other players who may believe, rightly or wrongly, that the dice are being held and thrown in a special way. Using these controlled throws is sometimes known as honest cheating. Make no mistake, there is nothing honest about it.

For example, some dishonest players have developed dice-rolling skills that give them an unfair advantage over honest rollers. The disclosed invention eliminates dice-cheating because it guarantees a random outcome of the dice every time, and the same apparatus is used by all the players in the game (i.e., passed from player to player).

Also, a dice mechanic will substitute crooked or gaffed dice for the real ones and can quickly switch them back once they have gained their advantage. The disclosed invention will prevent the possibility of a switch of the dice.

A cup to hold and roll the dice can help to overcome the problem of controlled throws and can help to ensure that the dice are shaken properly and fall at random. However, the use of throwing cups for dice does not always guarantee the dice fall at random. In fact some cheats prefer them. Crooked dice can just as easily be thrown and even straight dice can be controlled with practice. Cheats develop techniques where the dice are placed in the cup and are then slid out of the horizontally held cup rather than rolled. The disclosed invention precludes such dishonest manipulation.

Spring loaded transparent domes with dice inside have been used for children's dice and board games. They are operated by pushing down on the plastic dome and then releasing it. The base then snaps or springs up causing the dice to jump and bounce around inside. There is no mechanism in such devices, however, to ensure that the dice will turn or roll. They may very well be caused to rise and fall back in the very same position they were in prior to release of the depressed plastic dome. Such dice action reduces randomness, rather than increases it.

Manufacturers of children's games must comply with regulatory requirements (e.g., age limits and warnings) when products included in their package are considered to be a potential choking hazard (e.g., dice). The invention uses dice that are completely enclosed in a sealed tube, eliminating the possibility of children putting the dice into their mouths.

Small game pieces such as dice are easily lost. The invention disclosed herein prevents the dice from being lost.

Many patents exist for other dice rolling devices that haven't succeeded in gaining widespread use. One dice rolling device currently marketed on the interne is Dice Rolling Device Casino by Mason & Co. Newark, N.J. This device involves a cylindrical wire cage enclosing three dice which causes the dice to “roll” by inverting the cylinder by rotating a metal handle affixed to a horizontal rod attached to the cage. Also, the cylinder rests on a stand that facilitates inversion but makes it cumbersome to use by passing the device from player to player, due to the size of the device (15″ tall and 15″ wide) and the weight of the device (over 20 pounds). There is no mechanism within the wire cylinder to ensure rotation of the dice other than movement caused by the resultant “bounce” when the dice land on the opposite end of the cylinder upon its inversion.

Clearly there remains a glaring need to eliminate the various problems and nuisances associated with the traditional methods and devices used to roll dice as discussed above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention essentially is a die-rolling mechanism device and method. The body of the device is circumscribed by a clear acrylic tube construction. The tube is sealed on both ends. Inside the tube are small acrylic rods that run through the center of the tube at even intervals. These rods present obstacles to the die or dice “free falling” along the linear axis of the tube and lie in parallel planes and positions so that they create a helix spiraling down the length of the tube. Sealed inside the tube are the die or dice to be used for the game.

When it is a player's turn to “roll the dice,” said player simply inverts the tube by flipping it over. The dice tumble down the helix of acrylic rods and fall onto the landing surface at the base of the tube (which, previous to the device being flipped, was the top of the tube). The design of the invention guarantees an absolute random outcome every time.

After a player's turn has ended, said player simply hands the tube to the next player, who turns it over and sets it on the table, and play continues.

Because the dice are inside a sealed tube, the invention eliminates all of the problems and nuisances previously described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 shows a view of the invention die-rolling mechanism device from its side while in its normal vertical (resting) position. Two dice are shown in the bottom of the tube in the photograph. The dice in the photograph are six-sided 16 mm-wide dice. However, a tube with a smaller or larger diameter or height can be constructed to accommodate less or more (or a different type or size of) dice, according to the game for which the invention is intended to be used.

FIG. 2 shows the perspective view along the linear axis of the clear acrylic tube (unenclosed with end-caps). This perspective shows the helix formed by the array of rods affecting the die or dice traveling the length of the invention device to ensure a random result at each “roll.”

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention is constructed of high-quality acrylic. The primary component is a clear acrylic tube which is a height proportioned to the size of the dice encased therein. It is desirable to cause, by inverting the acrylic tube, the dice to turn over at least one and a half times. In one embodiment of the invention the tube is 9 inches tall and 2.25 inches in diameter, with an inner diameter of 2 inches (providing ⅛″ thick walls). As previously mentioned, a tube with a smaller or larger diameter or height can be constructed to accommodate less or more (or a different type or size of) dice, according to the game for which the invention is intended to be used.

In this embodiment, the spiraling helix is formed using eleven high-quality ⅛″-thick, black acrylic round rods. The rods are vertically spaced ½″ apart, on center, and are progressively angled at 25° intervals, lying in planes parallel one to the other. The number of rods installed in the tube, as well as their vertical spacing and horizontal angle differentials, can be changed according to the number, the size, and/or the type of dice required for the desired game to be played. In this particular embodiment the dimensions of the tube, as well as the positioning of the rods explained herein, are configured specifically for the use of two six-sided, 16 mm-wide dice. The ends of the tube are sealed using ⅛″-thick acrylic discs, which have a diameter equal to the outer diameter of the tube. In a different embodiment, the discs may have a diameter equal to the inner diameter of the tube. The discs and rods are sealed to the tube with clear acrylic cement using a capillary sealing method. This provides a hermetically sealed (airtight) enclosure, which prevents dirt, dust, or other debris from getting inside the tube.

Due to the high quality of materials and the construction methods, the invention is virtually indestructible, so players need not worry about it breaking if it falls off of a table, is dropped, etc. The invention is extremely durable.

The interior surface of the end caps (where the die or dice land) are, desirably, circular adhesive sections of Velcro® hook material (the plastic part, not the fuzzy material). This provides just enough bounce when the dice land virtually to eliminate any possibility of cocked (leaning) dice once they settle on the bottom.

In a still further embodiment, one or both discs may have a diameter larger than the outside diameter of the tube to provide additional stability when in a Testing position. Likewise, the wall thickness of the tube employed is variable and may be optimized for lightness of weight, proportionate to overall size, and ease of use. While these factors are also the reason for the choice of acrylic for the material of the tube, other materials or combination of materials may be used that accomplish the desired construction and allow visual access to the dice after each roll.

The dice shown in FIG. 1 are six-sided, 16 mm-wide dice. As noted, the number, the size, and/or the type of dice can be changed according to the requirements of the game for which the invention is intended to be used. The user of the invention can not exchange the dice in the invention for other dice, because the invention is a sealed enclosure which can not be opened. However, it is intended that the invention be manufactured according to a user's specifications (i.e., the dimensions of the tube; the number and configuration of the rods; and the number, the size, and/or the type of dice will be specified by the user and the invention will be manufactured according to those specifications). For example, the two dice shown in the black and white depiction of FIG. 1 are of different color, as in certain games a player may be required to use a die or dice that can be visually distinguished from the other(s), or, as in backgammon, the player to make the initial move is the one who rolls a higher number die-face. By having multiple color dice, each player can choose a color as his own “roll.” After the “who goes first” determination is made, the color may become irrelevant.

In this particular embodiment, which is represented in FIG. 1, the holes for the ⅛″-thick rods were drilled through the tube's wall using a standard drill press with a ⅛″ titanium drill bit. The rods were then inserted through the drilled holes and were sealed to the tube's wall with clear acrylic cement using a capillary sealing method. After the appropriate dice were inserted into the tube, the end caps (acrylic discs) were sealed using the same cement and method.

FIG. 1 shows a perspective of a finished product device, after the rods (2) have been installed and cemented within the tube (1), the dice (3) inserted, and the end caps (4) cemented at each end of the tube. In this disclosed embodiment, both end caps have the same diameter as the inner diameter of the tube.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective looking down through the linear axis of a partially constructed invention device with the rods (2) in place within the clear acrylic tube (1) but prior to insertion of the die or dice or the enclosure of the device by addition of end-caps. The helix formation of the rods is more clearly depicted in this perspective than as shown in FIG. 1, and in this perspective it is better appreciated the circular pattern the die or dice take traveling along their linear pathway during a “roll.”

The present invention may have been described with reference to specific embodiments. This application, however, is provided to reference and to disclose other, additional embodiments resulting from those changes and substitutions that may be made to the invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention clearly communicated herein. Such changes may be inclusion of one or any multiple of dice or use of dice of any conceivable multiple of plural faces or shapes (given the die or dice properties of three-dimensions and a solid body), depending on the particular games' requirements and specifications, as well as changes in tube length, diameter or changes in choices of materials used. Likewise, the number of rods inserted within the tube may be varied (fewer or greater) to assure randomness of numbers caused when the dice are “rolled” by inverting the tube and causing the dice, by gravity, to fall over obstruction elements creating the helix structure (formed by the rods), and landing in a stable position.





 
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