US 20040051246 A1
A hoard game for a number of players comprising a playing surface having a plurality of defines spaces (3) arrayed in two dimensions and playing pieces having an upper and a lower surface each including a representation of one letter of an alphabet character set. The first player forms a word on the playing surface, each subsequent player in turn places playing pieces upon the surface to form a word wherein each subsequent word added must incorporate at lease one playing piece previously played by the same player and play continues until one player forms a bridge of playing pieces in which each piece, except the first and last piece, is adjacent two pieces, and the first and last pieces are adjacent one piece.
1. A board game for a number of players comprising:
a playing surface which contains a plurality of defined spaces arrayed in two dimensions within a framework;
playing pieces for placement on the playing surface, each playing piece having an upper an a lower surface, both the upper and the lower surface including a representation of one letter of an alphabet character set; wherein
each player chooses a plurality of playing pieces from a common pool of playing the pieces;
a first player is determined;
a starting and ending side is determined for each player;
the first player places some or all of his playing pieces upon the playing surface to form a word in a language predetermined before play commenced;
each subsequent player in turn places playing pieces upon the playing surface to form a word; wherein each subsequent word added to the playing surface must incorporate at least one playing piece previously played by the same player; and
play continues until one player forms a bridge of playing pieces in which each piece, except the first and last pieces, is adjacent two pieces, and the first and last pieces are adjacent one piece.
2. A board game as claimed in
3. A board game as claimed in claim any preceding claims wherein at least one of the first played pieces of each player must lie adjacent each player's own side of the playing surface.
4. A board game as claimed in any preceding claims wherein each subsequent word added to the playing surface to form a section of a bridge is comprised:
wholly of a player's own playing pieces;
of a player's own playing pieces, and incorporates one playing piece played by another player; wherein the playing piece incorporated is either a consonant or a vowel, as predetermined by the players before commencement of play.
5. A board game as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the playing surface is a playing surface with a framework which is a geometrically regular array of 15 by 15 spaces per side.
6. A board game as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the upper and lower surface of the playing pieces are visually distinct.
7. A board game as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the upper and lower surfaces of each playing piece are visually distinct one from the other.
8. A board game as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the alphabet character set is selected from the group: English, Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian or Georgian or a combination of any of these.
9. A board game as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the playing pieces are manufactured of material selected from the group: wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, and a combination of these.
10. A board game for one or more players as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the rules of play are embodied in at least one computer program, the playing surface being displayed on at least one visual display unit, and the placement of the playing pieces is conducted by means selected from: keyboard, mouse and other computer control devices, and a combination thereof.
11. A board game substantially as hereinbefore described and with reference to any one of FIGS. 1 to 3 of the drawings.
 The present invention relates to a game for two or more players. In particular, the invention relates to a board game. However, it will be appreciated that the game may also be played on a computer.
 There are known numerous word games using two or more players who play letters that are randomly selected onto a board to compose words. One of the most popular of these words games is “SCRABBLE™”. In Scrabble™, words are formed using single letter tiles selectively placed on a game board, in a crossword-type pattern, with scoring determined by point values assigned to the tile, and bonuses assigned to letter spaces on the board.
 Games of this type rely on the player to base their strategy on the placement of tiles on the board in such a way as to gain the maximum points and bonuses available, with words using uncommon letters giving a higher score. Thus older players, or players with an extensive vocabulary are more likely to use less common letters and thereby have an advantage.
 It is an object of the present invention to provide a board game which overcomes the above difficulties and provides a board game wherein players may vary in age and vocabulary, while still retaining an equal opportunity to win the game.
 It is a further object of the present invention to address the foregoing problems or at least to provide the public with a useful choice.
 Further aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the ensuing description which is given by way of example only.
 According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a game for a number of players comprising:
 a playing surface which contains a plurality of defined spaces arrayed in two dimensions within a framework;
 playing pieces for placement on a playing surface, each playing piece having an upper an a lower surface, both the upper and the lower surface including a representation of one letter of an alphabet character set; wherein said pieces are placed in accordance with the following rules and objects.
 The object of the game is to build a “bridge” of tiles from one side of the board to another side, before the opponent or other players complete their bridge from one side to another side, each player taking a single turn in sequence.
 Alternatively, the game is played in accordance with a rule in which each player's starting side and finishing side may be determined before beginning play. If so desired, it may be required that at least one tile be placed adjacent a yet further side of the board before tiles reaching the finishing side is achieved.
 A player's first placed word must touch the side defined as that player's starting side. Each subsequent word forming a section of the “bridge” must be a complete word made from a single player's tiles, played in a single turn, incorporating one tile played during a previous turn.
 Preferably, that playing surface is an array of 15 by 15 spaces per side.
 Preferably, the area of each tile is equal or slightly less than the spaces defined upon the playing surface. Preferably both the upper and lower surface of the tile have the same alphabetical representation. Preferably the upper and lower surface of the tile are visually distinct from each other. Preferably there are a number of ‘blank’ tiles with no representation on either the upper or lower surface.
 Preferably, the tiles may be manufactured of material from the group: paper, cardboard, plastic, and a combination of these.
 Optionally, each player will choose individual tiles at random from a common pool of tiles. Preferably, the player will be unable to view the alphabet character of the tiles as the tiles are chosen.
 Preferably, each tile will have the same alphabet character on the upper surface and the lower surface. Preferably, the colour and/or case and/or font of the upper and the lower surfaces will differ, to aid players to visually distinguish their own played pieces from another player's played pieces.
 A further aspect of the present invention is the provision of the above described board game wherein the alphabet character set is are selected from the group: English, Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian or Georgian.
 Further aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description which is given by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a playing piece showing one surface and a second surface;
FIG. 2 shows a two player game with one completed bridge; and
FIG. 3 shows a completed bridge from one side of the playing surface to the other.
 Referring to FIGS. 2-3, a square board 2 is there shown. The board 2 has playing spaces 3 defined in a matrix of fifteen squares by fifteen squares. It will be appreciated that the orientation of the individual tiles will be appropriate to the players.
 The rules of the game include the following:
 The players determine the starting player, either by chance or by arrangement and selection.
 The players take turns sequentially. Each player starts by removing from the common pool of playing pieces a set of tiles 4. The tiles 4 (FIG. 1) are stored in such a way as to ensure that all players may remove tiles 4 as necessary, but no player may view the tiles 4 before the tiles 4 are removed from the common pool. The number of tiles 4 per player may be determined before play commences.
 The first player (north) places tiles 4 upon the board 2 using as few or as many tiles 4 as is desired. Said tiles 4 must combine to spell a legitimate word 5 in a language predetermined before play commenced.
 The tiles 4 combining to make the word 5 may be placed vertically or horizontally. At least one of the tiles 4 placed upon the board 2 must lie adjacent the first player's own side of the board.
 The first player then replaces the number of used tiles 4 by choosing the equivalent number of tiles 4 from the common pool of tiles 4.
 Play then passes to the next or second player (south).
 Each player takes a turn to make a word 5 out of the tiles 4 pieces in his set. Each player's first word 5 must start from that player's side of the board and may be placed either vertically or horizontally. When play returns to the first player, the player then uses further tiles 4 to form a second word 5 b, which word 5 b must incorporate any one tile 4 from any previous play by that same player only.
 Play continues until one player completes a bridge from one side of the board 2 to another side.
 The degree of difficulty for this game may be lowered by allowing the borrowing of another player's previously placed tile 4 as a component of the present player's word 5. Optionally, the tile 4 borrowed by another player must be a vowel.
 A player may block another player's continuation of its ‘bridge’ by placing a word 5 in such a way as to ensure the other player will not be able to build a further word using their previously played tiles 4.
 Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, a completed game is there shown. The north player has completed a bridge from the north side to the south side. The south player has not completed a bridge.
 The playing pieces may be of any appropriate material for retaining colour, impressions or the ability to be visually distinctive. The board may be of any appropriate material (if non electronic). The playing surface may be permanently printed or impressed thereon. While the preferred embodiment of the board 2 of the present invention has been shown using two players, north and south, it will be appreciated that up to four players may play at one time.
 It will be appreciated that the size of the playing board and the number of squares upon the playing board may differ. It will also be appreciated that the board may be portable. Further, it will be appreciated that the orientation of the individual tiles will be appropriate to the players.
 Also, it will be appreciated that the rules regarding the number of playing pieces chosen initially may be varied before each game or decided on before play commences. It will also be appreciated that by the suitable arrangement of such rules, the same set of board 2 and tiles 4 can be used for a game for young children as an aid in learning to spell or for a player of any age with any degree of skill.
 In a second preferred embodiment the board 2 and playing tiles 4 are all represented on a visual display unit (not shown) and the rules and operation of the game embodied on a computer program. The game may be played electronically with the placement of tiles 4 being controlled by a keyboard, mouse, joystick or other means of instructing the operation of a computer or electronic device. The computer program may also be embodied in a micro controller for a games machine, which may not necessarily be viewed as a computer or a computer controlled device.
 It will also be appreciated that the game may be played electronically as described above, with the players being remote from each other. For example, the game may be played across the internet or any other network of electronic machinery with the appropriate equipment at the site of each player.
 It will also be appreciated that with appropriate programming in the second embodiment, and appropriate modification or addition to the rules for the first embodiment, that the game may be played by one player only, playing “against the computer” or with pre-set rules determining the play by one or more imaginary players.
 Aspects of the present invention have been described by way of example only and it should be appreciated that modifications and additions may be made thereto without departing from the scope thereof.