Title:
PUZZLE GAME APPARATUS, KIT, METHOD, AND COMPUTER READABLE MEDIUM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A computer readable storage medium, method, gaming board apparatus, and kit is provided to implement aspects of a puzzle game played on a gaming board arranged into a 4 by 4 matrix of cells, the player being required to place gaming tokens (or tiles) each having an indicia thereon in each of the matrix of cells such that no two tokens comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells. The puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tokens exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells. The game may be played by one player, or by a plurality of players. Points may be awarded to a respective player for successfully placing a token, or for completing various arrangements of tokens on the gaming board.



Inventors:
Rasmussen, William Lyle (Oakville, CA)
Application Number:
14/461418
Publication Date:
02/18/2016
Filing Date:
08/17/2014
Assignee:
RASMUSSEN WILLIAM LYLE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/06
View Patent Images:



Other References:
NRICH, https://nrich.maths.org/1090. Created Apr. 5th, 2013.
Letter Sudoku, http://www.ravivpracticelondon.co.uk/sudoku1.html. Created July 7th, 2012.
Sudoku 2, http://www.fingerarts.com/site/sdo.html. Created Aug. 9, 2010.
Primary Examiner:
RENWICK, REGINALD A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bill Rasmussen (Oakville, Ontario, OT, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A non-transitory computer readable storage medium having stored thereon computer processing instructions that when executed by at least one computer processor coupled to the computer readable storage medium: presents a gaming board on at least one display device in communication with the at least one processor, the gaming board comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells; upon receiving at least one tile placement command to place at least one tile at at least one cell of the matrix of cells, updates the displayed gaming board in accordance with the at least one tile placement command, each of the at least one tile having been assigned a respective indicia; and indicates that the puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tile exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells in accordance with a defined set of rules requiring that no two tiles comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells.

2. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 1 wherein four of the cells of the matrix of cells are each positioned in a respective corner of the matrix of cells, and wherein the defined set of rules further requires that no two tiles comprising a common indicia may be placed in a same two by two sub-matrix of cells defined from a respective one of the corner cells.

3. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 2 wherein four of the cells of the matrix of cells are each positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells, thereby defining an interior two by two sub-matrix of cells, and wherein the defined set of rules further requires that no two tiles comprising a common indicia may be placed in the interior two by two sub-matrix of cells.

4. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 1 wherein the at least one tile is selected from sixteen tiles, the sixteen tiles comprising four sets of four tiles each, wherein all tiles of a respective one of the sets are assigned common indicia, unique to the respective one of the sets from amongst the four sets.

5. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 4 wherein each indicia represents a symbol comprising a predefined number of sides, and the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: assign a point value to each tile based at least partly on the number of sides associated with the symbol assigned to the respective tile.

6. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 5 wherein each symbol may comprise one of a circle shape, a cross shape, a triangle shape, and a square shape.

7. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 1 wherein the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: maintain a tally of at least one point score based at least partly on an arrangement of the at least one tile in the matrix of cells; and provide an indication of the tally of the at least one point score on the at least one display device.

8. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 7 wherein the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: assign a point score to each cell of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in the respective at least one cell, increase the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective at least one cell.

9. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 8 wherein the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: assign a bonus point multiplier to at least one cell of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in the respective at least one cell, increase the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective at least one cell, wherein the point score is multiplied by the assigned bonus point multiplier of the respective at least one cell.

10. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 9 wherein the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: display a visual indication representative of the assigned bonus point multiplier for each cell of the matrix of cells having been assigned a bonus point multiplier.

11. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 7 wherein the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: assign a point score for placing the at least one tile in each cell of a respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in each cell of the respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells, increase the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells.

12. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim 3 wherein the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: maintain a tally of at least one point score based at least partly on an arrangement of the at least one tile in the matrix of cells; provide an indication of the tally of the at least one point score on the at least one display device; assign a point score for placing the at least one tile in each cell of a respective one of the sub-matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in each cell of the respective sub-matrix of cells, increase the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective sub-matrix of cells.

13. The non-transitory computer readable storage medium of claim of claim 7 wherein each of the at least one point score is maintained for each player of an instance of the gaming board.

14. A method of playing a puzzle game on a gaming board in accordance with a set of game rules, the gaming board comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells, the method comprising: placing at least one tile at at least one cell of the matrix of cells in accordance with the set of game rules, each of the at least one tile having been assigned a respective indicia; and wherein the set of rules require that no two tiles comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells, and wherein the set of rules dictate that the puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tile exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein the gaming board is displayed on a display of a computing device.

16. The method of claim 14 wherein the gaming board comprises a gaming board apparatus, each of the at least one tile comprises a three-dimensional tile token, and each cell of the matrix of cells defines a chamber sized to receive any of the tile tokens.

17. The method of claim 14 wherein four of the cells of the matrix of cells are each positioned in a respective corner of the matrix of cells, and wherein the defined set of rules further requires that no two tiles comprising a common indicia may be placed in a same two by two sub-matrix of cells defined from a respective one of the corner cells.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein four of the cells of the matrix of cells are each positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells, thereby defining an interior two by two sub-matrix of cells, and wherein the defined set of rules further requires that no two tiles comprising a common indicia may be placed in the interior two by two sub-matrix of cells.

19. The method of claim 14 wherein the at least one tile is selected from sixteen tiles, the sixteen tiles comprising four sets of four tiles each, wherein all tiles of a respective one of the sets are assigned common indicia, unique to the respective one of the sets from amongst the four sets.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein each indicia represents a symbol comprising a predefined number of sides, the method comprising: assigning a point value to each tile based at least partly on the number of sides associated with the symbol assigned to the respective tile.

21. The method of claim 20 wherein each symbol may comprise one of a circle shape, a cross shape, a triangle shape, and a square shape.

22. The method of claim 14 comprising: maintaining a tally of at least one point score based at least partly on an arrangement of the at least one tile in the matrix of cells.

23. The method of claim 22 comprising: assigning a point score to each cell of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in the respective at least one cell, increasing the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective at least one cell.

24. The method of claim 23 comprising: assigning a bonus point multiplier to at least one cell of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in the respective at least one cell, increasing the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective at least one cell, wherein the point score is multiplied by the assigned bonus point multiplier of the respective at least one cell.

25. The method of claim 24 wherein the gaming board provides a visual indication representative of the assigned bonus point multiplier for each cell of the matrix of cells having been assigned a bonus point multiplier.

26. The method of claim 22 comprising: assigning a point score for placing the at least one tile in each cell of a respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in each cell of the respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells, increasing the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells.

27. The method of claim 18 comprising: maintaining a tally of at least one point score based at least partly on an arrangement of the at least one tile in the matrix of cells; assigning a point score for placing the at least one tile in each cell of a respective one of the sub-matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in each cell of the respective sub-matrix of cells, increasing the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective sub-matrix of cells.

28. The method of claim of claim 22 wherein each of the at least one point score is maintained for each player of an instance of the gaming board.

29. A gaming board apparatus comprising: a playing plane comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells; wherein each of four cells of the matrix of cells being positioned in the matrix of cells being joined to each nearby cell in the matrix of cells that is a distance of one cell away in a row, column, or diagonal, thereby defining a respective corner two by two sub-matrix of cells at each corner of the matrix of cells; and wherein each of four of the cells of the matrix of cells being positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells being joined to one another, thereby defining an interior two by two sub-matrix of cells.

30. The gaming board apparatus of claim 29 wherein each cell comprises a recessed area being walled by a raised edge portion around a circumference of the cell, the recessed area comprising a supporting surface upon which a square-shaped game piece token may be placed, and retained in the cell by the raised edge portion.

31. The gaming board apparatus of claim 30 wherein the recessed area of each cell comprises a cell aperture shaped to indicate a cell type of the respective cell.

32. The gaming board apparatus of claim 31 wherein the cell aperture shape comprises a geometric shape.

33. A puzzle game kit comprising: a gaming board apparatus comprising: a playing plane comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells; wherein each of four cells of the matrix of cells being positioned in the matrix of cells being joined to each nearby cell in the matrix of cells that is a distance of one cell away in a row, column, or diagonal, thereby defining a respective corner two by two sub-matrix of cells at each corner of the matrix of cells; and wherein each of four of the cells of the matrix of cells being positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells being joined to one another, thereby defining an interior two by two sub-matrix of cells; at least one set of square-shaped game piece tiles, each tile indicating thereon a respective tile indicia; and a set of game rules for playing a puzzle game with the gaming board apparatus and the at least one set of tiles, the set of game rules comprising: a rule that each tile of the at least one set of tiles is to be placed in the matrix of cells whereby no two tiles comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells; and a rule that the puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tile exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells.

34. The kit of claim 33 wherein four of the cells of the matrix of cells are each positioned in a respective corner of the matrix of cells, and wherein the defined set of rules further requires that no two tiles comprising a common indicia may be placed in a same two by two sub-matrix of cells defined from a respective one of the corner cells.

35. The kit of claim 34 wherein four of the cells of the matrix of cells are each positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells, thereby defining an interior two by two sub-matrix of cells, and wherein the defined set of rules further requires that no two tiles comprising a common indicia may be placed in the interior two by two sub-matrix of cells.

36. The kit of claim 33 wherein the at least one set of tiles comprises sixteen tiles, the sixteen tiles comprising four sets of four tiles each, wherein all tiles of a respective one of the sets are assigned common indicia, unique to the respective one of the sets from amongst the four sets.

37. The kit of claim 36 wherein each indicia represents a symbol comprising a predefined number of sides, and the set of rules comprises a rule that a point value shall be assigned to each tile based at least partly on the number of sides associated with the symbol assigned to the respective tile.

38. The kit of claim 37 wherein each symbol may comprise one of a circle shape, a cross shape, a triangle shape, and a square shape.

39. The kit of claim 33 wherein the set of rules comprises a rule that a tally of at least one point score shall be maintained based at least partly on an arrangement of tiles of the at least one set of tiles in the matrix of cells.

40. The kit of claim 39 wherein the set of rules comprises: a rule that a point score shall be assigned to each cell of the matrix of cells; and a rule that upon placing any respective tile of the at least one set of tiles in the respective at least one cell, the tally of the at least one point score shall be increased based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective at least one cell.

41. The kit of claim 40 wherein the set of rules comprises: a rule that a bonus point multiplier shall be assigned to at least one cell of the matrix of cells; and a rule that upon placing the respective tile in the respective at least one cell, the tally of the at least one point score shall be increased based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective at least one cell, wherein the point score is multiplied by the assigned bonus point multiplier of the respective at least one cell.

42. The kit of claim 41 wherein the gaming board provides a visual indication representative of the assigned bonus point multiplier for each cell of the matrix of cells having been assigned a bonus point multiplier.

43. The kit of claim 39 wherein the set of rules comprises: a rule that a point score shall be assigned for placing the tiles of the at least one set of tiles in each cell of a respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells of the matrix of cells; and a rule that upon placing the tiles in each cell of the respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells, the tally of the at least one point score shall be increased based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells.

44. The kit of claim 35 wherein the set of rules comprises: a rule that a tally of at least one point score shall be maintained based at least partly on an arrangement of the tiles of the at least one set of tiles in the matrix of cells; a rule that a point score shall be assigned for placing each of the tiles in each cell of a respective one of the sub-matrix of cells; and a rule that upon placing the tiles in each cell of the respective sub-matrix of cells, the tally of the at least one point score shall be increased based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective sub-matrix of cells.

45. The kit of claim of claim 39 wherein each of the at least one point score is maintained for each player of an instance of the puzzle game.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to puzzle games. The present invention further relates to puzzle game apparatuses and methods where tiles or symbols are arranged.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Numerous puzzle games exist which may be played on paper, on a computer, or on various game boards. Some features of puzzle games, such as tic-tac-toe, or Sudoku, involve the placement of symbols representing shapes or numbers on a specifically-designed accompanying game board. Some such puzzle games may include various iterations of the game board with one or more shapes or numbers already placed on the board in a predetermined arrangement, thereby requiring the game player to solve the puzzle under such constraints. Depending on the shapes or numbers already placed, the difficulty of the puzzle game may be varied.

Puzzle games typically are either played by one player (e.g. Sudoku) or multiple players (tic-tac-toe). Adapting the rules, game board, and symbols for a puzzle game for multiple players is not trivial. Accordingly, it may be desirable to devise a puzzle game that may easily be adaptable for play by both one player and multiple players.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A computer readable storage medium, method, gaming board apparatus, and kit is provided to implement aspects of a puzzle game played on a gaming board arranged into a 4 by 4 matrix of cells, the player being required to place gaming tokens (or tiles) each having an indicia thereon in each of the matrix of cells such that no two tokens comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells. The puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tokens exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells. The game may be played by one player, or by a plurality of players. Points may be awarded to a respective player for successfully placing a token, or for completing various arrangements of tokens on the gaming board. Two-by-two sub-matrices of cells may also be defined such that no two tokens comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in the same two-by-two sub-matrix of cells. Such sub-matrices of cells may be defined at the corners of the 4 by 4 matrix of cells, and by purely interior cells.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a non-transitory computer readable storage medium having stored thereon computer processing instructions that when executed by at least one computer processor coupled to the computer readable storage medium: presents a gaming board on at least one display device in communication with the at least one processor, the gaming board comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells; upon receiving at least one tile placement command to place at least one tile at at least one cell of the matrix of cells, updates the displayed gaming board in accordance with the at least one tile placement command, each of the at least one tile having been assigned a respective indicia; and indicates that the puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tile exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells in accordance with a defined set of rules requiring that no two tiles comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of playing a puzzle game on a gaming board in accordance with a set of game rules, the gaming board comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells, the method comprising: placing at least one tile at at least one cell of the matrix of cells in accordance with the set of game rules, each of the at least one tile having been assigned a respective indicia; and wherein the set of rules require that no two tiles comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells, and wherein the set of rules dictate that the puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tile exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a gaming board apparatus comprising: a playing plane comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells; wherein each of four cells of the matrix of cells being positioned in the matrix of cells being joined to each nearby cell in the matrix of cells that is a distance of one cell away in a row, column, or diagonal, thereby defining a respective corner two by two sub-matrix of cells at each corner of the matrix of cells; and wherein each of four of the cells of the matrix of cells being positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells being joined to one another, thereby defining an interior two by two sub-matrix of cells.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a puzzle game kit comprising: a gaming board apparatus comprising: a playing plane comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells; wherein each of four cells of the matrix of cells being positioned in the matrix of cells being joined to each nearby cell in the matrix of cells that is a distance of one cell away in a row, column, or diagonal, thereby defining a respective corner two by two sub-matrix of cells at each corner of the matrix of cells; and wherein each of four of the cells of the matrix of cells being positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells being joined to one another, thereby defining an interior two by two sub-matrix of cells; at least one set of square-shaped game piece tiles, each tile indicating thereon a respective tile indicia; and a set of game rules for playing a puzzle game with the gaming board apparatus and the at least one set of tiles, the set of game rules comprising: a rule that each tile of the at least one set of tiles is to be placed in the matrix of cells whereby no two tiles comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells; and a rule that the puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tile exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or the examples provided therein, or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood that the description and drawings are only for the purpose of illustration and as an aid to understanding, and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.

FIG. 1 illustrates a top view of a gaming board in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 1a illustrates exemplary symbols for use with the gaming board of FIG.

FIG. 2 illustrates the top view of the gaming board of FIG. 1 together with four sets of four gaming symbols for placement on the gaming board.

FIG. 3 illustrates a plurality of instances of the gaming board of FIG. 1 pre-populated with respective ones of the symbols of FIG. 1a.

FIG. 4 illustrates a plurality of instances of the gaming board of FIG. 1 pre-populated with respective ones of the symbols of FIG. 1a.

FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary numbering of respective cells of the gaming board of FIG. 1, for encoding an arrangement of symbols or tiles in the gaming board.

FIG. 6 illustrates the gaming board of FIG. 1 with some symbols placed, and some symbols remaining to be placed, in accordance with the gaming rules of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates the gaming board of FIG. 1 with the entirety of the symbols remaining to be placed in accordance with the gaming rules of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates an isometric view of an exemplary gaming board in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates an isometric view of exemplary symbol tiles for use with the gaming board of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 illustrates a top plan view of the gaming board of FIG. 8.

FIG. 11 illustrates a front elevation view of the gaming board of FIG. 8.

FIG. 12 illustrates a side elevation view of the gaming board of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This invention describes a puzzle game with a unique puzzle game board design, puzzle game features, and symbol/tile/shape placement limitations. Optionally, bonus components, other rules, and score keeping governing gameplay of the puzzle game of the present invention are provided. Optionally, the puzzle game of the present invention may be played by one player or by multiple players as described herein.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, a puzzle game board 10 may be provided. The game board 10 may be a physical gaming board apparatus, or may be provided drawn or printed to a piece of paper or other substrate. The game board 10 may also be presented on a display device of a computing device, optionally in a puzzle game application, optionally as an Internet-based web application or social network application. In any of these embodiments, the gaming board 10 is divided into sixteen squares, or cells 12, and organized into four rows 14 of four squares 12 each, as shown in FIG. 1, thereby defining a gaming board comprised of a 4-by-4 matrix of cells. The rules of the present invention provide for 4 sets of 4 game tiles 20, as shown in FIGS. 6 (showing some gaming tiles placed) and 7 (showing no tiles placed), each tile 20 from a particular set of tiles representing a common indicia 22, or symbol. Symbols 22 which may be used for sets of tiles are shown in FIG. 1a, as a circle symbol, a plus or cross symbol, a triangle symbol, and a square symbol. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, 4 tiles 20 representing a circle shape may be provided. For example, 4 tiles 20 representing a cross, or “plus” symbol shape may be provided. For example, 4 tiles 20 representing a triangle shape may be provided. For example, 4 tiles 20 representing a square shape may be provided. Other shapes or symbols may be used in place of any of these exemplary shapes.

As the game of the present invention may be played, for example, physically on a gaming board apparatus, electronically on a computer (e.g. personal computer, mobile phone, tablet computer, or other electronic device) or by hand on paper, the tiles 20 or symbols may be selected or drawn by the user for placement in the cells of the gaming board. Where the present invention is described herein with regards to placing tiles 20 or any rules governing such placements on the gaming board 10, it is to be understood that such description applies to each of the embodiments of the present invention, including any physical gaming board apparatus implementations, any electronic computer-based implementations, and any paper-based implementations as well.

Where the term “tile”, “symbol”, “shape”, or “square” is used to refer to one of the game pieces for placement in a cell of the gaming board, it is to be understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to game pieces of particular shape. For example, the cells 12 of the gaming board 10, although arranged in a 4-by-4 matrix, may not necessarily themselves be square-shaped to receive square-shaped gaming pieces. Other shapes of the cells 12 of the gaming board 10 and the pieces 20 are possible.

The rules of the game of the present invention dictate that the puzzle game of the present invention is solved when no remaining unplaced tile 20 exists that may be placed in any cell 12 of the four by four matrix of cells in accordance with a defined set of rules requiring that no two tiles 20 comprising a common tile indicia 22 may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells.

Optionally, the gaming rules may include defining one or more sub-matrix of cells 24 in the four by four matrix of cells, wherein the rules may dictate that no two tiles comprising common indicia may be placed in a same sub-matrix of cells. Accordingly, there may be such a two-by-two sub-matrix of cells defined at each corner of the four-by-four matrix of cells. A fifth two-by-two matrix of cells 26 (shown in FIG. 1 represented by two dotted bracketed lines indicating a two-by-two matrix of cells at the centre of the array of cells) governed by the same tile-placement rules may also be defined by four of the cells of the matrix of cells that are each positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells. In this way, a given cell may become part of both a corner-positioned sub-matrix and an interior sub-matrix, thereby, together with all of the tile-placement rules, potentially increasing the challenge of placing tiles in the given cell. Each sub-matrix of cells may be indicated on the gaming board 10 by showing a connecting element 16 defining the respective sub-matrix of cells to include each cell touched by the connecting element 16.

The player may choose from amongst the sixteen gaming tiles 20 for placement on the gaming board 10. After a tile 20 is placed, the player may choose from the remaining tiles 20 for further placement on the gaming board 10. Optionally, the gaming rules may provide for already placed tiles 20 to be moved after having been placed, optionally while incurring a point or turn penalty if playing a multiplayer instance of the game of the present invention, as discussed in greater detail under the heading “Game Score”, below. As stated, the sixteen tiles 20 comprise four sets of four tiles each, wherein all tiles of a respective one of the sets are assigned common indicia 22, unique to the respective one of the sets from amongst the four sets. Optionally, each indicia may represent a symbol comprising a predefined number of sides, optionally to be indicative of the number of points awarded for placing the respective tile.

Gaming Board and Kit

In accordance with various aspects of the present invention, the gaming board 10 comprises a gaming board apparatus 80 upon which the game of the present invention may be played. An exemplary such gaming board apparatus 80 is shown in FIGS. 8, and 10-12. The gaming board apparatus 80 comprises a playing plane 82 comprising an array 84 of cells 86 arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells. Each of four cells 86 of the matrix of cells may be positioned in the matrix of cells being joined to each nearby cell 86 in the matrix of cells that is a distance of one cell away in a row, column, or diagonal, thereby defining a respective corner 88 two by two sub-matrix of cells at each corner of the matrix of cells. Each of four of the cells of the matrix of cells that are positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells may be joined to one another, thereby defining an interior 89 two by two sub-matrix of cells.

The gaming board apparatus 80 may be physically structured as shown in FIG. 8. For example, the gaming board apparatus may be integrally formed of plastic or other material, or cells 86 may be individually formed, or formed in groups and secured to one another, optionally by glue or other adhesive, or by other connecting means, including, for example, screws, or interlocking fingers formed or attached to the respective gaming board apparatus components.

In the exemplary gaming board apparatus 80 shown in FIG. 8, there is shown five defined sub-matrices of cells as described previously. These sub-matrices are shown at the corners of the gaming board apparatus 80, and in an interior region of the gaming board apparatus 80. The sub-matrices are indicated by formed structural supports 85 shown interconnecting each cell of a respective sub-matrix at a centre meeting location of cells 86 of the respective sub-matrix. Optionally, these formed structural supports 85 may provide the only physical interconnections between any of the cells 86 of the gaming board apparatus 86, thereby optionally providing a unified structure to the gaming board apparatus 80, and may also serve a purpose of indicating to the player(s) where the sub-matrices of cells are located.

Each cell 86 of the gaming board apparatus 80 may be square shaped as shown. Each cell may comprise a bordered region 90 with a lowered interior floor region 92 within the bordered region 90 for receiving and supporting a gaming tile. The bordered region 90 may be beveled, tapered, multi-tiered, or otherwise recessed inwardly, as shown to receive a gaming tile 100, shown in FIG. 9, and retain the gaming tile 100 within the cell 86 while the gaming board apparatus 80 is facing at least in the orientation shown in FIG. 8. Accordingly, each cell 86 may comprise a recessed area being walled by a raised edge portion (e.g. the bordered region 90 or a separate structural surface encapsulated by the bordered region 90) around a circumference of the cell 86, the recessed area comprising a supporting surface (e.g. the floor region 92 or a separate structural surface at least partially defined by the floor region) upon which a square-shaped game piece token 100 may be placed, and retained in the cell 86 by the raised edge portion.

As described elsewhere herein, each cell 86 of the gaming board apparatus 80 may be defined to be of a particular cell type, thereby having associated therewith a point score or point multiplier in accordance with the gaming rules. The cell type may be indicated by at least one cell aperture indicated at the respective cell. Each cell 86 may comprise at least one cell aperture 94 which may be formed in the recessed area of the respective cell. Each cell aperture 94 may be a geometric shape, such as a circle, square, triangle, or other shape. For example, as shown in FIG. 8, cells 86 on diagonals of the matrix of cells are shown with a circular cell aperture, while remaining cells are shown with a square cell aperture. As explained, the circular cell aperture may be indicative of a different point score award or point score multiplier as compared to the square cell aperture.

Optionally, the cell apertures 94 may be instead replaced with raised or lowered portions of the floor region 92 of the respective cell 86. However, in the case of a physical gaming board apparatus 80, providing cell apertures 86 may allow for the player to push a given tile 100 up and out of a given cell 86 from below the gaming board, through the respective cell aperture 94, thereby facilitating easy removal of gaming tiles 100 from the gaming board apparatus 80 without overturning the gaming board apparatus 80.

Optionally, the gaming board apparatus 80 may be formed of a solid or substantially solid or continuous material with the matrix of cells indicated thereon by any known printing method.

The gaming board apparatus 80 may be provided in a puzzle game kit together with at least one set of square-shaped game piece tokens 100, each token 100 indicating thereon a respective token indicia 102, and a set of game rules (not shown) for playing a puzzle game with the gaming board apparatus 80 and the at least one set of tokens 100. The kit may be provided in a bag, box, or other containment device. The set of game rules included in the kit may define a rule that the game piece tokens 100 are to be placed in the matrix of cells whereby no two tiles comprising a common tile indicia 102 may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells, and a rule that the puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tile 100 exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells. The set of game rules included in the kit may include any of the other rules described herein. The tokens 100 included in the kit may each comprise a three-dimensional tile token of particular dimensions. Each cell of the gaming board apparatus 80 may therefore be structured to define a chamber (e.g. defined by the lowered interior floor region 92 and the bordered region 90 of the respective cell 86) sized to receive any one of the tile tokens 100.

The gaming board apparatus 80 may further comprise other markings 99, such as branding markings as shown in FIG. 10, which may appear at the edges of particular cells 86, in-between cells 86, on front or back surfaces of the cells 86 or elsewhere on the gaming board apparatus 86.

Optionally, at least one of the cells 86 of the matrix of cells of the gaming board apparatus 80 may comprise a raised corner or edge (not shown) proximate a back surface of the respective cell 86. This at least one of the cells 86 may be positioned along an outer edge of the gaming board apparatus 80. The rounded corner or edge may facilitate easier picking up of the gaming board apparatus off of a table or other surface by a hand or finger of a user. The rounded corner may further optionally be tapered or rounded.

Game Score

Point values may be assigned to successful placement of tiles having particular indicia. As stated, optionally, each indicia may represent a symbol comprising a predefined number of sides, and optionally, point values may be assigned to tiles corresponding with the number of sides of the indicia of the respective tile. For example, a tile having a circle indicia, or “0” tile, may be considered to be 1-sided, therefore being associated with a score of 1 for successful placement. For example, a tile having a cross indicia, or “+” tile, may be considered to be 2-sided, therefore being associated with a score of 2 for successful placement. For example, a tile having a triangle indicia may be considered to be 3-sided, therefore being associated with a score of 3 for successful placement. For example, a tile having a square indicia may be considered to be 4-sided, therefore being associated with a score of 4 for successful placement.

Instead of these symbols, the gaming tiles may provide numerical indicia which may be reflective of the point scores respectively associated with the gaming tiles for successful placement. In this case, the numerical indicia may be Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, tally marks, or any other indicia. While some instances of the game of the present invention may award the player(s) with point scores based on tile placement, the scoring aspect of the game may be optional. Therefore, any alphanumeric or otherwise symbolic indicia may be provided on the gaming tiles. For example, animal shapes or emoticons may be used in the place of numbers or other shapes shown on the tiles. Other possible indicia for the tiles may include: zombies; cats; food; aliens; colors; alternate shapes; letters; gems (e.g. diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc.); card suits (e.g. clubs, spades, diamonds, hearts); domino dots; and licensed characters from movies, TV, or other media.

The score may be maintained by the player(s) or, where the game is played on a computer, the computer may calculate each player's score. The computer may present each player's score on at least one display device, such as a LCD display coupled to a data processor of the computer. Accordingly, when a player successfully places a gaming tile in accordance with the gaming rules, the tally of that player's point score may be increased. Optionally, the point score may be increased by a point score assigned to the respective cell where the tile has been placed. Optionally, the point score may be increased by a point score assigned to the respective tile. Optionally, where the respective cell of the gaming board has been assigned a point multiplier or other point modifier, the multiplier or other modifier may also be applied to either the standard point score associated with the cell, the standard point score associated with the tile, or to both, depending on the gaming rules in play. Differing point scores or point multipliers assigned to respective cells of the gaming board may be indicated by indicia provided at the respective cell. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, cells along diagonals of the gaming board are shown with a circle within each cell. These circles may be identified in the rules as “bonus discs” and may indicate, for example, that successfully placing a gaming tile in a cell with a bonus disc would, according to the gaming rules, award the player with two times the points otherwise awarded for a cell without a bonus disc indicated therein. A bonus disc may be indicated by having a different cell shape or marking, such as a watermark, compared to other cells. For example, a bonus disc cell may have a circular backing surface compared to a regular cell which may have a square backing surface. These bonus discs may be in fixed locations (diagonals) or may be randomly distributed, or distributed in any other manner on the gaming board.

Optionally, the gaming rules may dictate that bonus points, such as plus two bonus points, may also be awarded for placing a tile to complete a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal arrangement of 4 cells. Optionally, the same bonus number of points may be awarded for each circumstance, or varying bonus points may be awarded. Optionally, completing any of these arrangements may alternatively provide a point score multiplier. Optionally, the gaming rules may dictate that any of the point score modifiers described herein may stack with one another, thereby magnifying the effect of any additional points when combined with a multiplier.

Optionally, the two-by-two sub matrices of cells described previously may also be assigned bonus points or point multipliers for completion in accordance with the gaming rules. For example, completing one of such sub-matrix including an exterior-bordering cell may award the player with plus five bonus points. For example, completing the exclusively-interior two-by-two sub-matrix of cells may award the player with plus ten bonus points.

Where multiple players are playing on the same gaming board, taking turns placing tiles, if one of the players is unable to place a remaining tile available to that player, then the gaming rules may dictate that that player incur a point penalty, for example minus 5 points. Alternatively, or in addition to the point penalty, the gaming rules may dictate that the player who was unable to place a tile may forfeit the turn and one or more subsequent turns, thereby providing any other player with an advantage. The gaming rules may also dictate that the player who was unable to place a tile during a turn may also be required to discard one unplaced tile. Optionally, where a player places a tile on the gaming board in a location forbidden by the gaming rules, for example for repeating the same tile type in a particular row, the player may also be penalized with a point score reduction, by losing one or more turns, or by losing the tile.

When playing alone and unable to place a tile, the gaming rules may provide for the player to remove one or more tiles from the gaming board in view of attempting a different arrangement of tiles on the board. In this circumstance, the gaming rules may dictate that the player may lose a certain number of points, optionally losing a certain number of points for each tile removed from the board.

There are 10 total rows, columns, and diagonals of cells on the game board (4 horizontal, 4 vertical and 2 diagonal). Completing any of these arrangements of cells may bestow the player with bonus points, such as plus 2 bonus points for each such completed arrangement. For example, a total of 20 bonus points may be earned in this way during the game.

There are 4 total two-by-two sub-matrices of cells at the corners of the game board (1 at each corner). Completing any of these arrangements of cells may bestow the player with bonus points, such as plus 5 bonus points for each such completed arrangement. For example, a total of 20 bonus points may be earned in this way during the game.

There is 1 two-by-two sub-matrix of cells comprised of the interior cells of the game board. Completing this arrangement of cells may bestow the player with bonus points, such as plus 10 bonus points for such completed arrangement. For example, a total of 10 bonus points may be earned in this way during the game.

Multiplayer Game Rules

The game of the present invention may be played by one or more players. In a variation of the gaming rules where multiple players (e.g. 2 or more players) are playing, the rules may be modified. For example, in order to determine which player plays first, the rules may dictate to place all tiles face down on the table and mix them up. Each player may then select a tile and reveal it to all other players. The player who selects the tile with the highest point value may then go first. If there is a tie, each of the tied players may select another tile and reveal it to all other players. The player who selects the tile with the highest point value goes first, repeating until one player's tile has the highest point value. After determining who plays first, the rules may dictate all players to place all tiles face down and mix them up again before starting the game.

The starting point of a multiplayer game may be with all cells of the gaming board being empty. Starting with all tiles placed face down so that the indicia of each tile is not visible to the players, player 1 may select a tile, reveal its shape, then place the tile on the board in an empty cell in accordance with the gaming rules. Player 1's score for the round may be calculated and added to the score sheet. Play may continue with players playing in sequence until all 16 tiles have been placed on the board or until the current player is unable to place a tile on the game board in accordance with the gaming rules. If a player cannot place a tile on the game board during the player's turn, the tile is discarded (set aside) and the player may incur a score penalty, such as, for example, a −5 point penalty. The next player in the sequence may then attempt to play a tile. This process will repeat until either all tiles are played, or, optionally, until none of the players is able to place a tile. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins. In the case of a tie, the tied player who played the highest point value game tile during the final round may win the game.

In puzzle, shuffle, puzzle book, and hand drawn versions of the game of the present invention, the above rules may be used, for example by substituting the word “shape” for the word “tile”. To decide who goes first in a multiplayer hand drawn or non-tiled puzzle game, optionally each player may flip a coin at the same time as all other players. If one player has heads and all other players have tails, the player with heads goes first. If more than one player has heads, all players flip their coins at the same time again. This process may be repeated until only one player has heads. Other methods of determining play order may also be employed.

Puzzle and shuffle versions of the game of the present invention are published or syndicated in print or electronically and are accompanied by either (a) a visual representation of shapes presented in a randomized order, or (b) a cypher or string of characters that contains an encoded representation of shapes in a randomized order. To play these versions of the game of the present invention, players take turns placing shapes on the game board in the order they are presented either (a) visually, or (b) in the encoded cypher or string of characters.

Encoding Game into Strings/Cyphers

Instances of the game of the present invention may be provided to the player either electronically through a mobile device or other computing device, or in a book of games, or in other formats. Each instance may comprise pre-placement of particular gaming tiles on the gaming board, and/or may comprise an ordering of the gaming tiles to be placed on the board. One method of communicating instances to the player for electronic transmission and/or syndication of puzzle games may be by encoding the instance data in a cypher. Examples of gaming instances are shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, showing a variety of arrangements of gaming tiles on the gaming board.

Optionally, each cypher may comprise the following components: identifier (ID); puzzle code; and symbols code.

The ID may comprise: Puzzle Type (P=Puzzle, S=Shuffle); Puzzle Edition (Red=Red, B=Blue, G=Green, Y=Yellow, S=Black); Puzzle Channel (T=Twitter, F=Facebook, Q=Quadroku, Sxxxxxxxx=Syndication Channel); and Puzzle Number (000 000 000). For example, cypher IDs read: PRT 010 961 945; SBF 145 013 881; PGQ 342 512 167; SRS00156464 401 556 921.

The Puzzle Code may comprise 16 characters divided into blocks of 4 characters, each block separated by a space. 5 letters may be interspersed amongst colons for puzzle format, and 16 colons for shuffle format. For example, cypher puzzle codes for puzzle format may read “:Q:: A:D: :::: :AU:”, while shuffle format may read “:::: :::: :::: ::::”. For example, the sequence of cells of the gaming board may be encoded in numerical order as shown in FIG. 5.

The Symbols Code may comprise 11 or 16 characters divided into blocks of 4 symbols, each block separated by a space. 11 characters may be included for puzzle format, and 16 characters for shuffle format. For example a cypher symbols code for puzzle format may read “QADD AUDQ AAQ” while a cypher symbols code for shuffle format may read “QADD AUDQ AAQD UQDQ”.

Components of each Puzzle Code and Symbol Code may be delimited by a pipe ‘|’ symbol, or other delimiter, with or without spaces preceding and following the pipe ‘|’ symbol.

Optionally, the cyphers may be decoded such that the letters Q, U, A and D represent the following shapes: Q=circle; U=cross; A=triangle; and D=square.

Various cypher examples are presented. For example, a shuffle format cypher on Twitter™ may read: SRT 010 961 945|:::: :::: :::: ::::|QADD AUDQ AAQD UQDQ. For example, a puzzle format cypher on Twitter™ may read: PRT 010 961 945|:Q:: A:D: :::: :AU:|QADD AUDQ AAQ. For example, a shuffle format cypher on Facebook™ may read: SGF 010 961 945|:::: :::: :::: ::::|AQDD AUDQ AAQD UQDQ. For example, a puzzle format cypher on Facebook™ may read: PGF 010 961 945|:Q:: A:D: :::: :AU:|AQDD AUDQ AAQ.

Game Strategy

In a multiplayer game, each player may be able to place tiles on the gaming board in accordance with the gaming rules in one or more patterns that force the other player(s) to subsequently discard a tile during their turn(s) and incur a point penalty.

Each player may also attempt to earn more points than other players by placing tiles on cells having higher point scores, or by completing row, columns, or sub-matrices of cells before other players, thereby gaining bonus points.

Computer Implementation

As mentioned, the game of the present invention may be played on a computing device such as a personal computer, mobile phone, tablet, or any other type of computing device. In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a non-transitory computer readable storage medium having stored thereon computer processing instructions that when executed by at least one computer processor coupled to the computer readable storage medium: presents a gaming board on at least one display device in communication with the at least one processor, the gaming board comprising an array of cells arranged in four columns and four rows to form a four by four matrix of cells; upon receiving at least one tile placement command to place at least one tile at at least one cell of the matrix of cells, updates the displayed gaming board in accordance with the at least one tile placement command, each of the at least one tile having been assigned a respective indicia; and indicates that the puzzle game is solved when no remaining unplaced tile exists that may be placed in any cell of the four by four matrix of cells in accordance with a defined set of rules requiring that no two tiles comprising a common tile indicia may be placed in a same column, row, or diagonal in the four by four matrix of cells. The computer readable storage medium may comprise computer memory such as a hard drive, flash memory, other computer media, or the like. The storage medium and computer processor may be included in one computing device and may communicate with one or more other computing devices for a multiplayer version of the game of the present invention playable over a communications network, such as the Internet, local area network, Bluetooth, or other network. The computing device may also receive game instances or updates to the gaming application stored in the storage medium for execution by the processor(s).

Optionally, four of the cells of the matrix of cells are each positioned in a respective corner of the matrix of cells, and the defined set of rules further requires that no two tiles comprising a common indicia may be placed in a same two by two sub-matrix of cells defined from a respective one of the corner cells. Optionally, four of the cells of the matrix of cells are each positioned at an interior position in the matrix of cells, thereby defining an interior two by two sub-matrix of cells, and the defined set of rules further requires that no two tiles comprising a common indicia may be placed in the interior two by two sub-matrix of cells.

Optionally, at least one tile is selected from sixteen tiles, the sixteen tiles comprising four sets of four tiles each, wherein all tiles of a respective one of the sets are assigned common indicia, unique to the respective one of the sets from amongst the four sets. Each indicia may represent a symbol comprising a predefined number of sides, and the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: assign a point value to each tile based at least partly on the number of sides associated with the symbol assigned to the respective tile. Each symbol may comprise one of a circle shape, a cross shape, a triangle shape, and a square shape.

Optionally, the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor cause the at least one processor to: maintain a tally of at least one point score based at least partly on an arrangement of the at least one tile in the matrix of cells; and provide an indication of the tally of the at least one point score on the at least one display device. The processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor may cause the at least one processor to: assign a point score to each cell of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in the respective at least one cell, increase the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective at least one cell. The processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor may cause the at least one processor to: assign a bonus point multiplier to at least one cell of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in the respective at least one cell, increase the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective at least one cell, wherein the point score is multiplied by the assigned bonus point multiplier of the respective at least one cell. The processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor may cause the at least one processor to: display a visual indication representative of the assigned bonus point multiplier for each cell of the matrix of cells having been assigned a bonus point multiplier. The processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor may cause the at least one processor to: assign a point score for placing the at least one tile in each cell of a respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells of the matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in each cell of the respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells, increase the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective row, column, or diagonal arrangement of cells.

Optionally, the processing instructions when executed by the at least one computer processor may cause the at least one processor to: maintain a tally of at least one point score based at least partly on an arrangement of the at least one tile in the matrix of cells; provide an indication of the tally of the at least one point score on the at least one display device; assign a point score for placing the at least one tile in each cell of a respective one of the sub-matrix of cells; and upon placing the at least one tile in each cell of the respective sub-matrix of cells, increase the tally of the at least one point score based at least partly on the point score assigned to the respective sub-matrix of cells. Optionally, each of the at least one point score is maintained for each player of an instance of the gaming board.

Game Formats

The game of the present invention may be made available and playable in a variety of formats, including: tabletop puzzle board game; print, snip & play paper version of tabletop puzzle board game; puzzle game books; syndicated print puzzle games (eg. in newspapers, as lottery tickets); and syndicated electronic puzzle games (eg. on websites, mobile and kiosk apps).

Rules and gameplay may remain consist where possible, but may be adapted and enhanced for use in variations suitable for each format.

General

It will be appreciated that any module or component exemplified herein that executes instructions may include or otherwise have access to computer readable media such as storage media, computer storage media, or data storage devices (removable and/or non-removable) such as, for example, magnetic disks, optical disks, tape, and other forms of computer readable media. Computer storage media may include volatile and non-volatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information, such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data. Examples of computer storage media include RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD), blue-ray disks, or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by an application, module, or both. Any such computer storage media may be part of the mobile device, tracking module, object tracking application, etc., or accessible or connectable thereto. Any application or module herein described may be implemented using computer readable/executable instructions that may be stored or otherwise held by such computer readable media.

Thus, alterations, modifications and variations can be effected to the particular embodiments by those of skill in the art without departing from the scope of this disclosure, which is defined solely by the claims appended hereto.

In further aspects, the disclosure provides systems, devices, methods, and computer programming products, including non-transient machine-readable instruction sets, for use in implementing such methods and enabling the functionality described previously.

Although the disclosure has been described and illustrated in exemplary forms with a certain degree of particularity, it is noted that the description and illustrations have been made by way of example only. Numerous changes in the details of construction and combination and arrangement of parts and steps may be made. Accordingly, such changes are intended to be included in the invention, the scope of which is defined by the claims.

Except to the extent explicitly stated or inherent within the processes described, including any optional steps or components thereof, no required order, sequence, or combination is intended or implied. As will be understood by those skilled in the relevant arts, with respect to both processes and any systems, devices, etc., described herein, a wide range of variations is possible, and even advantageous, in various circumstances, without departing from the scope of the invention, which is to be limited only by the claims.

Any and all features of novelty disclosed or suggested herein, including without limitation the following: