US 20030057649 A1
A word game apparatus is disclosed which comprises of:
(1) A supply of four identical sets of 52 printed alphabet tiles, each set with letters printed in one of four different colors for a total of 208 tiles which includes eight joker tiles.
(2) A supply of 52 printed game cards specifying four words from two to six letters in length, each word to be assembled in one of said colors for a total of 15 letters.
(3) Four alphabet tile and game card holding racks configured to hold 15 alphabet tiles and one printed game card. To play the game, each player (from two to four can play) is supplied at random with one of the 52 game cards described in (2) above. Each player then makes a random selection of 15 alphabet tiles from a supply means, such as a bag or with all tiles lying face down on the playing table. Each player then separates their 15 tiles into four specified colors with the object of making four words of two, three, four, five or six letters in each color specified by game card supplied to him. Included are eight “joker” tiles which can be used to represent any desired letter in any word of three or more letters. The winner is the first player to complete four words in the color and length indicated on player's game card. Winning player receives one point for each unused tile and five points for each unused “joker” on all losing player's racks.
1. A word forming game apparatus comprising four identical alphabet letter and joker supplies, each of which is printed in one of four different colors.
2. The game apparatus of
3. Fifty two different game cards specifying four word groups in each of four specific colors in word lengths of two to six letters for a total of fifteen letters.
4. The means to support 15 alphabet tiles plus the game card of
5. The manufacturing methodology making possible the injection molding of the 52 alphabet letter and joker tiles described in
6. The manufacturing methodology making silk screening or hot stamping of all 52 alphabet and joker tiles at one pass in each of four desired colors.
7. The manufacturing methodology of including the holding means described in
8. The packaging simplicity by having a single tile and card holding assembly as described in
9. The packaging simplicity made possible by the family mold described in
10. The use of exactly 52 printed game cards, thus making possible production from existing dies, paper stock and boxes already in use in the playing card industry.
 Not applicable
 Field of Invention
 The present invention relates to a word forming game apparatus. Word forming games or anagrams are well known and have developed in many variations throughout the years. The most well known apparatus is a word game identified commercially by the trademark Scrabble. Subject game comprises of a game board, a plurality of alphabet tiles, each letter having a specific numeral value and a support rack for each player's supply of letters. The game is played from a single letter supply from which each player selects a specific number of letters and must in alternate fashion place letters on the game board to form words thereon. Placing of letters on board squares of certain colors can double or triple the point value of a specific letter or the entire word.
 Similarly the following U.S. patents have been noted which, in general, disclose a variety of word forming games and related apparatus, all of which employ a predetermined number of letters from which each player must make specific quantitative selection and attempt to form words. This may be accomplished by the addition of letters to words already formed by other players or by formation of independent words.
 In particular, the patents noted are as follows:
 U.S. Pat. No. 1,553,835 to Peters; U.S. Pat. No. 3,195,893 to Friedman et al; U.S. Pat. No. 3,396,972 to Smith and U.S. Pat. No. 3,655,195 to Bean et al. Additional prior art patents are included under U.S. Patent Documents.
 In addition, the advent of computer games has produced certain electronic word games which simulate the functions of conventional boxed games. Examples of same include the word games Wordox and Doublecross by Hoyle Computer Games. These games disclose random selection of letter to create words on a board. Each player gains points by adding to words previous placed on the game board by an opponent. Live players can compete or play against an imaginary computer generated opponent. Apparently no patents exist for these games. They are copyrighted and are in common use. Thus these electronic games can be construed as prior art.
 All of these games are similar in that they restrict the mode of play to a predetermined selection of alphabet letters to make words in anagram type arrangements.
 Additional prior art discloses word games employing supply means of alphabet letters printed on tiles, strips, cubes and cylinders. Most of same provide point value for common frequency of usage.
 As a result of detailed investigation, prior art games share the following disadvantages:
 a. No limit to length of words makes scoring more difficult for adults and, in particular for children to compete.
 b. Difficulty in scoring as letters have variable point values and scoring must be calculated and recorded on each player's move.
 c. In many games, a special printed board is required for placement of tile letters.
 d. Inasmuch as rules and scoring are complex, learning how to play the game efficiently takes more than one playing session.
 e. Timing devises, such as three minute hourglasses, are frequently required to limit time consumed by each player's move.
 f. Many games require special scoring pads, which, when all sheets have been used, the game cannot be played without acquisition of same.
 g. In production, letter tiles require printing as well as handling of a multiplicity of individual tiles. To avoid this problem, requires complex and costly mechanical equipment to keep parts costs down.
 h. The above disadvantage makes the production process labor intensive, which usually requires non-domestic manufacturing, assembly and packaging.
 To summarize prior art, it is of significance to call to the attention of the examiner, that, over the years many domestic and foreign patents have been issued for word games. However, very few have ever achieved mass production. This due to two fundamental considerations: (1.) The word game was too complex in instructions, too complex in word-building procedure, too complex in scoring, and too complex in game board design to achieve success or (2.) production of word tiles, game boards, scoring pads and other paraphernalia as well as packaging of same proved to be prohibitive from a cost standpoint. The exception, of course, is Scrabble, which is relatively easy to play and has all labor intensive parts, such as wood letter tiles, produced and packaged in China.
 Overcoming Negatives
 The present invention overcomes these negative considerations. The present word game seeks to provide a game of such simplicity that it will be challenging and fun to children as well as adults. A word game that is limited to a maximum of six letter words. A word game in which the goal of each person is to form only four words at each round. A word game in which printed game cards are distributed to describe the length and color of each of the four words. A word game that is easier to understand as well as to score. A game that also permits each player to exercise individual imagination in playing the game.
 In addition to the above desirable and novel features as a word game it is important to emphasize unique production and packaging features of the present invention. In particular, simplification in handling a multiplicity of parts. These features result in practicality and cost savings. The uniqueness of these features will be described in detail under the headings and drawings that follow,
 In accordance with the present invention to be known as Whiz@Words, a word game is provided that is easier to play, easier to score, easier to produce and easier to package. It is both challenging and is fun to play for adults as well as children.
 Objects and Advantages
 In accordance with the present invention, a word game apparatus is disclosed which is comprised of four separate supply means of alphabet letters. All of the letters in each of the four respective alphabets are printed in one of four different colors, such as black, red, green and yellow. Each of the four letter supply means contains a full complement of all of the letters of the alphabet, with certain letters provided in plural numbers. In addition, two joker tiles are included in each of the four supply means, for a total of 52 tiles printed in each of the four colors. For production and packaging convenience, all 52 tiles are injection molded in white or ivory polystyrene in a single flat mold with break-off runners connecting the tiles. As reference, this method of connecting parts with break-off runners is commonly used in the production of plastic model airplane kits.
 The present game apparatus includes 52 printed cardboard game cards. Each of same shows four colors with numbers two, three, four, five or six listed directly under each one of the four colors. These colors and numbers indicate to the player the required number of letters in each word as well as the color of that word, for a total of four words totaling 15 letters used for all four words. Example: A six letter word in black, a four letter word in red, a three letter word in green and a two letter word in yellow. All 52 game cards are different, except the total number of letters will always be 15. Such game cards would be printed on thin cover stock similar to conventional small sized decks of playing cards and boxed accordingly.
 The present game apparatus includes support means to hold 15 letter tiles as well support means to hold one game card. Such support means consists of a wood or plastic rack. If plastic, such part can be either injection molded, extruded or vacuum formed. Such part will be designed to permit game card and letter tiles to be visible only to one player and concealed to opponent players. Such rack, if injection molded, can be made in one piece or in two separate pieces with means provided to provide simple assembly upon initial usage of game. An advantage of two-piece construction is that both members can be relatively flat making possible inclusion of such rack in a family mold with the 52 tiles. Such flatness is desirable to provide savings in the tooling cost of the mold.
 Based upon the aforementioned one-piece mold containing a complete set of 52 tiles, the process of hot stamping or silk-screening the alphabet letters onto the tiles is greatly simplified. Only one hot stamping tool or one silk screen would be required, as completed parts in each of the four colors can be accumulated. The only change required would be the color of ink or the color of the hot stamp foil.
 The present game apparatus offers obvious packaging advantages as only four family molded assemblies, containing 208 letter tiles, are placed in each retail game box. The addition of the box of game cards would complete the packaging operation at great labor cost savings. The end user would be required to separate the four sets of tiles and assemble the two-piece racks on a one time basis.
 Distribution of Letter Tiles
 The letter distribution of the 50 alphabet tiles is as follows:
 A=4, B=1, C=1, D=1, E=4, F=1, G-1, H=1, I=4, J=1, K=1, L=2, M=1, N=3, O=3, P=1, Q=1, R=3, S=4, T=4, U=3, V=1, W=1, X=1, Y=1, Z=1. Add two joker tiles for a total of 52. This number is significant because, 52 permits four rows of 16, resulting in an ideal layout for injection molding. See FIG. 5 in drawings.
 Game Card Assortment
 The following numbers indicate number of letters for each word in black, red, yellow and green as printed on game cards which are distributed to each player at random for each round of play. 6522=6 black, 5 red, 2 yellow, 2 green. 5622, 2562, 2652, 2256, 2265, 2625, 2526, 6225, 5226, 6432, 4632, 3642, 3462, 2346, 2354, 2634, 3624, 5532, 5325, 3255, 5235, 2355, 5523, 2553, 3552, 6333, 3336, 3633, 3363, 5433, 4335, 3354, 3453, 3543, 5334, 3345, 4533, 4443, 4434, 4344, 3444, 5442, 4425, 4254, 4542, 2544, 5244, 4452, 4245, 2445, 4524. The number of 52 cards is significant as it simplifies production of these cards as follows: Die cutting dies and die cut folding boxes for 52 card decks of conventional miniature playing cards can be used at great savings in production cost.
 FIGS. 1 to 4 show one alphabet letter tile printed in each of the four colors.
FIG. 5 shows plan view of 52 tiles molded in one piece with break-off runners between tiles.
FIG. 5A shows end view of 52 tiles.
FIG. 6 shows angled letter holding section of two piece rack.
FIG. 7 shows vertical section of two piece rack with provision for holding game cards.
FIG. 8 shows end view of assembled two piece rack.
FIG. 9 shows appearance of typical game card
 A preferred embodiment of the alphabet tiles of the present invention are shown in FIG. 1 to FIG. 4. One complete set of 52 alphabet and joker tiles to be silk screen printed or hot stamped in black 20, red 21, yellow 22, green 23. (Black and white drawings indicate color differences with crosshatching of letters.) Any other four colors that are visually differentiated can be used.
 A plan view of the 52 alphabet and joker tiles are shown in molded configuration in FIG. 5 with vertical runners 24 and horizontal runners 25 making possible a compact, easy to mold injection molded part. FIG. 5A shows an end view of same. The above part can be injection molded in white or ivory polystyrene plastic which can be readily hot stamped or screen printed. For clarity, size of individual tiles can be 0.75 in. wide×1.0 in. high×0.150 in. thickness. These dimensions are not critical and can vary.
FIG. 6 shows a perspective drawing of the tile holding half of the two piece tile and card holding rack. A raised front stop 26 is provided laterally at the bottom edge of part to support the tile letters. A plurality of assembly tabs 27 are located along top edge of part to facilitate ease of assembly.
FIG. 7 shows a perspective drawing of the rear section half of the two piece rack. A plurality of slots 28 are located laterally along the center of part through which assembly tabs 27 of tile holding half are inserted and locked into position to form a finished rack. A game card holder 29 is provided on this part by means of a pair of flanged ribs through which the bottom of card is inserted so that printed surface of card is facing the player. (To play the word game, subject rack can readily be molded in one piece and is described above as a two-piece assembly to facilitate production and packaging economies.)
FIG. 8 shows end view of assembled two piece rack showing locked position of tabs 27 and slots 28.
FIG. 9 shows one of 52 printed game cards which inform each player the color 30 and length 31 of each of the four words to create on each turn. Above information is repeated upside down to facilitate easier insertion in rack This sample card is shown as printed in black ink. Four color printing of subject game cards would be more desirable as each numeral showing length of word would be printed in the corresponding color of the word to be created.
 Back of card would have optional generic design as used on playing cards.
 Accordingly, the reader will see the present word game to be known as Whiz@Words overcomes the complexity and high production cost of most prior art. It provides a game that is, first of all, very simple to play. Even a young child can spell most words of two to six letters in length. Prototype samples of this game have been tested among family and friends of the inventors with unanimous expressions of enjoyment.
 The game provides a challenge, requiring a certain amount of skill required to make words out of a jumble of letters and a certain amount of luck in the random selection of tiles. For example, the game card dealt to the player may require a six letter word in red and in the random draw of 15 tiles, the player acquires only two red tiles. Jokers, which can be used in all but two letter words, take the place of any letter in any color, thus adding the element of luck to the play of the game. Another element of luck is provided by the rule that you have the option of using the discard of the previous player. Should that player have already completed a small word in yellow, and you need yellow tiles in a six letter word, you will enjoy the advantage of his yellow discards.
 Scoring in Whiz@Words is very simple: The player who completes all of the words listed on his game card is the winner of that round. The winner receives one point for each unused tile and five points for each unused joker from each opponent.
 The game moves at a fast pace. The game ends after a predetermined number of rounds have been played or when one player receives a specific score or best of all, when everyone is ready to stop playing. (Unlike Scrabble, which ends only when all of the tiles have been used.)
 To reiterate the practical advantages of low production and packaging costs will not be necessary herein. These details have been previously covered.
 Field of Search: 273/240, 273/240, 273/139, 273/299
 U.S. Patent Documents: