Patent application title: BOARD GAME
Lois N. Pollock (Waldorf, MD, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63F300FI
Class name: Board games, pieces, or boards therefor piece moves over board having pattern chess or checker type
Publication date: 2012-08-09
Patent application number: 20120200038
The board game includes a game board for each player, all of the boards
having identically configured playing positions. However, the playing
positions are numbered in a different order on each board. Each board has
a group of numbered playing pieces assigned thereto, the pieces of each
group matching corresponding playing positions and numbers for its
assigned board. Correspondingly configured pieces are numbered
differently in different groups. The game is played with the active
player calling out a designation (but not the number) for a playing
position and piece on his or her board, requiring all players to remove
the correspondingly designated piece from their boards. The winner is the
first player to reach a predetermined numerical total for the pieces
remaining on his or her board. An optional rule may be provided allowing
the active player to require that all players return a playing piece to
17. A method of playing a board game, comprising the steps of: (a) providing a plurality of game boards, each of the game boards having a matrix of playing positions disposed thereon, each of the playing positions being distinctively configured from one another on each of the game boards, each of the playing positions having an identical configuration to corresponding playing positions on each of the game boards, each of the playing positions being assigned a number, the number of each of the playing positions being different for corresponding playing positions on each of the game boards; (b) providing a plurality of groups of playing pieces, the playing pieces of each of the groups corresponding in number to the playing positions of each of the game boards, each of the playing pieces having a configuration corresponding to one of the playing positions of each of the game boards, each of the playing pieces having a number, the number of each of the playing pieces being different for like configured playing pieces of different groups; (c) assigning one of the game boards to each of the players; (d) designating the order of play in turn among the players of the game; (e) calling out the configuration of one of the playing pieces, by the player whose turn it is to call; (f) removing the playing piece of the called configuration from the game boards of each of the players, thereby exposing one of the playing positions of each of the game boards; (g) continuing play according to steps (e) and (f) in sequential turn by each of the players, until a predetermined numerical total remains on the exposed playing positions of one of the game boards; and (h) calling out the predetermined numerical total on the game board having the predetermined numerical total by the player assigned that game board, thereby winning the game.
18. The method of playing a board game according to claim 17, further comprising the step of replacing one of the previously removed playing pieces on each of the game boards, according to an instruction by the player whose turn it is to call.
19. The method of playing a board game according to claim 18, further comprising the step of limiting the number of times during the course of play that a playing piece may be replaced on each of the game boards.
20. The method of playing a board game according to claim 18, further comprising the step of limiting the playing positions upon which a playing piece may be replaced, upon each of the game boards.
21. A board game, comprising: a plurality of separately designated game boards, each of the game boards having a matrix of playing positions disposed thereon, each of the playing positions having a plurality of distinctive indicia from one another; the distinctive indicia including a first indicia identical to a corresponding first indicia on each of the game boards and a second indicia different to a corresponding second indicia on each of the game boards; and a plurality of groups of playing pieces, wherein each group of playing pieces is associated with a single corresponding playing board, wherein each playing piece has third and fourth indicia corresponding to the first and second indicia, respectively, on its respective board, the playing pieces of each group being equal to the playing positions of each of the game boards.
22. The board game according to claim 21, wherein the first and third indicia is represented by a color.
23. The board game according to claim 21, wherein the second and fourth indicia is represented by a number.
24. The board game according to claim 21, wherein the first and third indicia is represented by a symbol.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/439,699, filed Feb. 4, 2011.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to games, and particularly to a board game wherein each player is assigned an identically configured board, but in which each board has a distinct identification for the playing positions; each board has a set of playing pieces, each of the sets of playing pieces having identical configurations to one another but with each piece having a distinct identification corresponding to its distinctly identified position on its board.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 Board games involving the placement and removal of playing pieces thereon have been known for a considerable period of time. Nearly all such board games use a single board, and all players play in turn, manipulating playing pieces on the single board. One of the few exceptions is the game commonly known as "battleship," in which each player has his or her own game board that is not visible to other players, but all of the game boards are identical to one another, and, in fact, are required to be identical so that players can visualize locations on one another's boards using a common notation system.
 Such games nearly universally have as a goal the object of removing the opponent's playing pieces from the board according to a predetermined set of rules (e.g., checkers and battleship), or at least capturing one or more of the opponent's playing pieces according to predetermined rules (e.g., chess). In any event, all players are working from an identical game board, or at least from a series of game boards (as in battleship) in which each of the boards are identical to one another.
 The present inventor is aware of various board games that have been developed in the past. An example of one such game board is found in Japanese Patent Publication No. 2005-230,508 published on Sep. 2, 2005 to Toshio Ichinose, describing (according to the drawings and English abstract) a game board having a nine by nine matrix of playing positions. Each player has nine playing pieces, numbered one through nine. Players must correctly answer numbered questions in order to place one of their correspondingly numbered pieces on a corresponding position of the game board. Players work out the solution to a puzzle as the game progresses.
 Thus, a board game solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The board game includes a set of game boards, one board being assigned to each player. The game boards all have substantially the same layout, comprising a plurality of playing positions, each playing position being labeled with a different color name or other designation to distinguish them from one another. The names of the colors are included on the board (and on the playing pieces, as noted further below), as there are preferably a relatively large number of playing positions, and some colors may differ only slightly from one another. However, the playing positions of all of the boards have the same arrangement or order insofar as their relative color names or other designations are concerned. The boards differ from one another in that the playing positions are numbered, with the numerical order of the playing positions unique on each board. An exemplary game board layout may have twenty-five positions in a five-by-five matrix, but other dimensions and configurations may be provided.
 A corresponding group of playing pieces is provided with each board, the number of pieces in each group for each board being equal to the number of playing positions for the respective board. The playing pieces may be have any desired shape, and are colored to match the color names of the playing positions on their respective game board. Each piece has a number identical to the number of the corresponding color-matching playing position of the board. Thus, the playing pieces having corresponding colors in different groups of playing pieces are numbered differently from each other in order to match the numbers of their respective playing positions on their respective game boards. Each group of playing pieces is distinct from all other groups due to the different numbers assigned to each color, which correspond with the colors and numbers of the playing positions of the game board of that group. Thus, each group of playing pieces must remain with its assigned game board. The playing pieces cannot be mixed or assigned to different game boards.
 The game is played with players taking sequential turns of play. The active player (the player whose turn it is to play) calls out the color name of one of the playing pieces. The corresponding number is not called, as it will be different for each group of playing pieces for each of the players' boards. Other players then remove the correspondingly colored playing piece from each of their boards. The result is an ever smaller numerical total for the numbered playing pieces remaining on each player's board as the game progresses, the numerical total being different for each board due to the different numerical arrangement of each board and its playing pieces.
 The object of the game is to be the first player to reach a predetermined numerical total for the playing pieces remaining on the game board. When a player reaches the predetermined numerical total on his or her remaining playing pieces, the player calls out the predetermined number to win the game.
 Additional rules may be applied, if desired. For example, the active player may replace a previously removed game piece on his or her game board. This move also requires all other players to replace the correspondingly colored game pieces on their boards. It will be seen that this will not add equal numbers to each game board, as correspondingly colored playing pieces are numbered differently in each group for each game board. However, the astute player may use this strategy if he or she notes a remaining numerical total on another player's board that would allow that player to remove one additional piece to achieve the predetermined number and thereby win the game. This playing piece replacement rule may be limited in order to prevent players from using it too frequently, and it may be limited to only certain playing positions (and corresponding playing pieces) on the board.
 While the primary embodiment of the board game discloses four game boards, which each have a five-by-five matrix of playing positions totaling twenty-five positions, and each board having corresponding playing pieces for the twenty-five positions, it will be seen that more or fewer game boards may be provided, so long as each player has his or her own assigned board. The game boards may have more or fewer playing positions, and they may be arranged in other than a square matrix, if desired. Designations for the playing positions on the boards, and their corresponding playing pieces, may be other than colors, e.g., different shapes or symbols, etc. Also, while the present disclosure is directed primarily to a physical game structure, it will be seen that the board game is readily adaptable to electronic play a dedicated electronic game device or a general purpose computer and computer program.
 These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a game board and playing pieces for an exemplary embodiment of a board game according to the present invention, illustrating an exemplary playing position during play of the game.
 FIG. 2A is a top plan view of an exemplary first member of a set of game boards for a board game according to the present invention, the playing positions being numbered sequentially from "1" to "25" going left to right across the rows.
 FIG. 2B is a top plan view of an exemplary second member of a set of game boards for a board game according to the present invention, the playing positions being numbered from "1" to "25", but each row being numbered from right to left across the rows.
 FIG. 2C is a top plan view of an exemplary third member of a set of game boards for a board game according to the present invention, the playing positions being numbered sequentially from "1" to "25" going left to right across the rows, beginning with the bottom row.
 FIG. 2D is a top plan view of an exemplary fourth member of a set of game boards for a board game according to the present invention, the playing positions being numbered sequentially from "1" to "25" going right to left across the rows, beginning with the bottom row.
 FIG. 3 is a top plan view of an alternative embodiment of a game board for a board game according to the present invention, illustrating an alternative number of playing positions and alternative means of designating each of the playing positions.
 FIG. 4 is a flowchart describing the basic steps in the method of play of the board game of the present invention.
 Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 The board game includes a set of game boards, all of the boards differing from one another in some respect, but each board having a group of playing pieces assigned thereto associated with the corresponding positions on its specific game board. As each of the boards differ from one another, each board will present a somewhat different configuration from the others as play progresses. Each player is assigned a different game board. Eventually one of the boards will present a configuration allowing the player assigned that board to win the game.
 FIGS. 1 and 2A illustrate a first game board 10a from a set of game boards of the board game. FIG. 1 shows an exemplary game in progress, wherein certain of the playing pieces have been removed from the board during the course of play. The game boards 10b, 10c, and 10d of FIGS. 2B, 2C, and 2D show exemplary second, third, and fourth game boards, respectively, from the same set as the first game board 10a. The game boards 10b, 10c, and 10d would be used by other players in the play of the same game using the board 10a. The game board 10a of FIGS. 1 and 2A includes a matrix of twenty-five playing positions defined by five rows 12a, 14a, 16a, 18a, and 20a, and five columns 22a, 24a, 26a, 28a, and 30a, each playing position being defined by one of the rows and one of the columns. Each of the playing positions is designated in some distinctive manner from all other playing positions by a characteristic common to the other boards in the set, e.g., color names, symbols, etc. In the example of FIGS. 1 through 2D the playing positions are designated by different color names. The names of the colors are placed upon the corresponding playing positions. The playing positions may also be colored to correspond with their color names, but this is not a requirement of the game. While the various game boards 10a through 10e respectively of FIGS. 1 through 3 are rectangular in form and have a square matrix of square playing positions thereon, it will be seen that this is not a requirement for the game, and that other game board configurations may be provided, if desired.
 It will be seen in the example of FIGS. 1 and 2A that the position of the first row and second column, i.e., playing position 12a, 24a, has the color name "Dark Blue" thereon. In a similar manner, the playing position of the second row and first column, i.e., position 14a, 22a, has the color name "Bronze" thereon. Other positions are similarly designated with different color names, e.g., the second row 14a, fifth column 30a position designated as "Emerald Green," the position of the third row 16a and fourth column 28a having "Orange" thereon, the fourth row, first column position 18a, 22a designated as "Dark Green," the fourth row, third column position 18a, 26a designated as "Light Blue," and the fifth row, fifth column position 20a, 30a designated as "Shiny Blue." The various playing positions of the game boards 10b through 10d respectively of FIGS. 2B through 2D are designated in a similar manner. As the exemplary game boards 10a through 10d each include twenty-five playing positions, the exemplary colors used to differentiate those positions from one another may not appear to be sufficiently different from one another in some cases (e.g., "Green" and "Grass Green") for players to be able to determine their corresponding playing pieces from one another. Accordingly, it is preferred that the playing positions of each board have indicia identifying the name of the corresponding color placed thereon.
 The other game boards 10b through 10d respectively of FIGS. 2B through 2D have identical markings or designations in corresponding positions to the game board 10a. For example, the game boards 10b through 10d will be seen to have a "Shiny Blue" designation in their respective fifth row, fifth column positions 20b, 30b through 20d, 30d. However, each of the game boards also includes a numerical designator for each of the playing positions, and these numerical designators are different and unique for each of the game boards. In the case of the first game board 10a of FIGS. 1 and 2A, the playing positions are numbered consecutively from the number "1" for the first row, first column position 12a, 22a to "25" for the fifth row, fifth column position 20a, 30a, with the numbers increasing from left to right across each row and proceeding down to each subsequent row. In the case of the game board 10b of FIG. 2B, the position numbers begin with "1" for the rightmost fifth position of the first row, i.e., position 12b, 30b and increase from right to left across the first row 12b, continuing downward from right to left across each subsequent row. The game board 10c of FIG. 2C is numbered beginning with the lower left playing position 20c, 22c, continuing from left to right across each row and moving up for each row to end with the number "25" in the upper right playing position 12c, 30c. Finally, the playing positions of the fourth game board 10d of FIG. 2D are numbered beginning with the lower right playing position 20d, 30d, proceeding from right to left across each row and moving upwardly along the rows to terminate with the number "25" in the first row, first column position 12d, 22d. It will be seen that the numerical order of the playing positions of the boards 10a through 10d is exemplary, and that the arrangements are only limited by the factorial of the number of playing positions on the boards. Each game board utilizes the same set of numerical indicia, but the pattern of numbering the playing positions on each game board is unique within the set of game boards.
 Each board is provided with a group of playing pieces. The playing pieces correspond in number to the number of positions on the board. Thus, the game boards 10a through 10d, each having twenty-five playing positions, are each provided with twenty-five playing pieces. The various playing pieces may be cubical, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 2D, or may have any other desired shape.
 In FIGS. 1 and 2A the playing pieces are designated as pieces 101a through 125a and correspond to the twenty-five playing positions of the board 10a. Game boards 10b through 10d are provided with corresponding playing pieces, respectively playing pieces 101b through 125b for the game board 10b, pieces 101c through 125c for the game board 10c, and pieces 101d through 125d for the board 10d. The playing pieces will be seen to be resting upon their designated playing positions in the top plan views of the game boards 10a through 10d of FIGS. 2A through 2D. Each playing piece may be colored corresponding to its designated position on its game board, and pieces designated for corresponding playing positions on different boards having identical colors to one another. It should be noted that the playing pieces are preferably colored to match their respective positions on their assigned boards, but the names of the colors may be placed on the playing pieces instead or as well, enabling those who may be unable to visually distinguish the color differences to read the color names, and thereby match the playing pieces with their corresponding positions on their game boards.
 The playing pieces 101b through 125b of the game board 10b, playing pieces 101c through 125c of the board 10c, and pieces 101d through 125d each match (e.g., color or other configuration, etc.) the corresponding playing positions of their respective game boards. However, the numerical indicia placed upon the various playing pieces of each group correspond to the numbers of the positions of the specific game board to which that group is assigned. As an example, it will be noted in FIGS. 1 and 2A that the playing piece 101a, marked with the number "1", is marked as "shiny purple," the same color designation as the number one designated playing position 12a, 22a. However, the number "1" designated playing piece 101b of the game board 10b of FIG. 28 is positioned on the upper right ("light orange") playing position 12b, 30b, and is correspondingly colored or designated as light orange. The number "1" playing piece 101c of the game board 10c is located on the number "1" playing position 20c, 22c at the lower left corner of the board, and is colored (or has a color name) to match the color or color name ("Mandarin") of its playing position 20c, 22c. Finally, the number "1" playing piece 101d of the game board 10d of FIG. 2D is located on the lower right playing position 20d, 30d, which is colored or named as "Shiny Blue." The corresponding playing pieces are thus identically colored (or have identical configurations) to one another, and the pattern of colors on each of the boards is identical, but the playing pieces are numbered to correspond with the numbers assigned to the playing positions of the game boards. Thus, each group of playing pieces is unique to its game board, and cannot be mixed between the different game boards.
 It was noted further above that the use of colors or color names is but one characteristic or means of differentiating the playing positions of the game boards and their playing pieces from one another. FIG. 3 provides an illustration of another means of differentiation, in which a game board 10e has a four by four matrix of sixteen playing positions designated by first through fourth rows 12e through 18e and first through fourth columns 22e through 28e. The playing positions are numbered from one through sixteen, beginning with the upper left position 12e, 22e and continuing from left to right across each row and thence down to the next row, much like the numbering system used on the exemplary game board 10a. The playing pieces 101e through 116e are numbered correspondingly, and assigned to like numbered playing positions on the board 10e. However, rather than using colors (or color names) to designate the different playing positions and playing pieces, the game board 10e of FIG. 3 uses different symbols or geometric shapes, so that the playing positions 123, 22e through 18e, 28e are marked with the various symbols or shapes and the corresponding playing pieces 101e through 116e have planform symbols or shapes congruent to the shapes indicated on the board 10e. The exemplary shapes illustrated in FIG. 3 are but one example of innumerable different configurations that might be provided for game boards of the board game. It will be seen that additional game boards (not shown) having identically positioned and configured symbols or geometric shapes would be provided to form a set of game boards for the board game using the game board 10e of FIG. 3, as well as corresponding playing pieces. However, the playing positions of the subsequent game boards, and their playing pieces, would be numbered differently from the number pattern illustrated in FIG. 3 in order to provide unique game boards and corresponding playing pieces to each of the players of the game.
 FIG. 4 is a flowchart describing the basic steps in the method of play of the board game. The steps of FIG. 4 are applicable to all of the various game board and playing piece embodiments illustrated and/or described herein. The first step 110 of FIG. 4 describes the game board and playing piece configuration described above, i.e., boards and playing pieces with identical configurations, but with each board and corresponding group of playing pieces having a different numerical order. The playing pieces would be deployed on each corresponding game board at this point, the pieces being placed in their appropriate positions according to color (or other determining factor) and numerical match between each playing piece and its corresponding position on its game board. Some means may be provided to secure the playing pieces to their game boards, e.g., magnetizing the game board or playing pieces and forming the opposite component (playing pieces or game board) of a magnetically attractive material, if desired. Alternatively, the game board may have a receptacle for each playing position, the playing pieces seating in the receptacles.
 As in most board games, initially the players involved will determine the order of play among themselves, generally as indicated in the second step 112 of FIG. 4. This may be done by some random means, e.g., tossing dice, drawing playing pieces from one of the groups of playing pieces of the game with the player drawing the highest (or lowest) number playing first, etc. Another means of determining the order of play might be according to the ages of the players, with the youngest (or oldest) player going first. The method of determining the order of play among the players also determines which player is assigned to which game board, as each of the boards is numbered. Alternatively, the selection of game boards may be by mutual consent, and the order of play may be determined accordingly.
 Once the game boards have been set up and the order of play determined, play begins with the first player calling out the designation or description (e.g., color or color name, etc.) of one of the playing pieces on his or her game board, as indicated by the third step 114 of the flow chart of FIG. 4. As an example, the first player may call out "dark green," the designation of the playing piece 116a of the playing position 18a, 22a of the first game board 10a of FIGS. 1 and 2A. The first player removes this playing piece from his or her board accordingly, and all other players follow suit by removing the identically marked or colored playing pieces from their boards, as indicated by the fourth step 116 of the flowchart of FIG. 4. It will be seen that the correspondingly designated playing pieces, e.g., the dark green piece, are located in corresponding locations on each game board. However, due to the different numbering systems of the boards, the numerical designations or values of each of the dark green pieces are different from one another. For example, the dark green playing piece 116a of the game board 10a has a numerical value or designation of "16", while the corresponding dark green playing piece 120b of the second board 10b has a numerical designation of "20", the dark green playing piece 106c of the third board 10c has a numerical designation of "6", and the dark green playing piece 110d of the fourth board 10d has a numerical designation of "10". Thus, while the players have removed playing pieces having like configurations from each of their boards, the numerical values or designations are all different between the identically configured pieces.
 Play continues as described above, with the second player calling out the designation of one of the playing pieces and removing that playing piece from his or her board, and other players following suit. Once again, even though all of the playing pieces match one another in their color or other configuration, they will typically have a different numerical designation or value from one another. An exception is the central "shiny red" playing piece of each of the exemplary game boards of FIGS. 1 through 2D. Given that each of the game boards 10a, 10b, 10c, and 10d have a five-by-five matrix configuration, the central piece has a numerical value of "13" in each case. This is due to the numbering system used for the four exemplary game boards 10a through 10d. Other numbering systems may result in different numbers being assigned to each position and playing piece on each board, if desired.
 It will be seen that the progressive removal of playing pieces from each game board will result in an ever decreasing total numerical value or count for the remaining pieces on each game board. This total numerical value or count will be different for each game board due to the differing positions of like-numbered playing pieces on each board, as explained above. The object of the game is for a player to reach a predetermined numerical total for the playing pieces remaining on his or her board, as indicated by the fifth step 118 of the flowchart of FIG. 4. When this occurs, the player calls out the numerical total to win the game, as indicated by the sixth step 120 of FIG. 4. The predetermined numerical total to win the game is somewhat arbitrary, and may be some total agreed upon by the players or a number determined by an agreed procedure. It has been found in experimental play of the present game that a numerical total of "35" to win the game works well for game boards having a total of twenty-five playing positions numbered from "1" through "25."
 Additional interest may be provided by making a rule allowing one of the playing pieces to be replaced on each game board, generally as indicated by the optional seventh step 122 of the flowchart of FIG. 4. This rule allows the calling player to require each player (including the calling player) to replace a playing piece designated by the calling player. All players are required to replace the corresponding playing piece of the same configuration, i.e., having the same color or color designation. As will be seen by the rules described further above, this will result in an increase in the total numerical count or value of the playing pieces on each board, but the increase will vary according to the numerical indicia of each playing piece. This rule might be of value toward the end of the game, if, for example, the calling player notes that one or more other players are getting close to a total numerical count of remaining playing pieces that would allow them to win the game, the calling player may call out "restore" or some other appropriate term, requiring all players to return the playing piece to their game boards that is designated by the calling player. For example, the calling player may call out "restore dark green," resulting in the replacement of the dark green playing pieces 116a, 120b, 106c, and 110d to their respective game boards 10a, 10b, 10c, and 10d.
 Additional rules may limit the above replacement rule, if desired. For example, the replacement rule may be restricted to a certain number of times per game that a player may use the rule. Also, the rule may be restricted to use only on certain board positions. In the exemplary game boards 10a through 10d, it will be noted that there is a diagonal row extending from upper left to lower right of "shiny" (gloss or metallic) color names. These might be exempt from the restore rule, or perhaps some other area of the board (e.g., one of the horizontal or vertical rows, etc.). Placing such a limitation or limitations on the replacement or "restore" rule prevents such a rule from being over-used and thereby unduly prolonging the game and reducing interest in the game.
 In conclusion, the board game comprises relatively simple structure and rules, enabling even fairly young children to be capable of playing the game. Yet, the novel rules of play result in a game that is challenging to all players. While it is envisioned that the game may enjoy its greatest popularity as a physical board game, it will be seen that the game may also be readily adapted to electronic or computer play by means of hardware and software programming techniques known in the art. Moreover, while a game comprising four game boards and corresponding sets of playing pieces is disclosed herein as the primary embodiment, it will be seen that the game may easily comprise additional game boards, limited in quantity only by the factorial of the number of playing positions provided on the boards. Also, other means of designating the various playing positions and their corresponding playing pieces may be used desired (e.g., alphabetic), if desired. The game boards need not necessarily be rectangular in shape or have square arrays of playing positions, but may take on other configurations, if desired, so long as the basic rules of play remain. Accordingly, the board game may include a number of different embodiments to enhance the enjoyment of the players of the game.
 It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.
Patent applications in class Chess or checker type
Patent applications in all subclasses Chess or checker type