US 20040135314 A1
A parlor game having game playing pieces which can be used to play conventional parlor games, such as a game of chess, and which can still be personalized to provide an aesthetic appearance or decor consistent with that desired by a user. The game board and playing pieces can still nevertheless represent playing pieces for particular games, as for example, those pieces used in the game of chess. A unique game board having a three dimensional playing surfaces is also provided.
1 A parlor game which is capable of being personalized to the tastes of a particular user of the game and which still allows for play of a game using conventional rules for the play of that game, said parlor game comprising:
(a) a game board having a plurality of playing piece spaces and which are adapted to receive playing pieces thereon during the play of a game;
(b) a plurality of individual playing pieces with certain of the playing pieces adapted for one opponent player and certain others of the playing pieces adapted for use by another opponent player;
(c) means for allowing personalization of certain of the playing pieces so as to effectively customize the parlor game to the tastes of a particular user thereof.
2 The parlor game of
3 The parlor game of
4 The parlor game of
5 The parlor game of
6 The parlor game of
7 A parlor game arrangement having a game board which allows for the play of a conventional parlor game but which also increases the skill or perceptive ability of the players and which may be played using conventional game rules for the play of that parlor game or modified game rules, said game board comprising:
a) a plurality of levels of playing boards spaced apart from one another such that certain ones of the tiers are located above others of the tiers;
b) each of said tiers having a plurality of playing piece spaces thereon;
c) each tier having a lesser number of playing pieces spaces than the tier located immediately therebeneath.
8 The parlor game assembly of
9 The parlor game assembly of
10 The parlor game assembly of
11 The parlor game assembly of
12 The parlor game assembly of
13 A parlor game arrangement having unique individual playing pieces which can be personalized to the tastes of the players or users thereof, said playing pieces comprising:
a) a first playing piece having a base capable of supporting an upstanding element thereon;
b) means associated with said upstanding element representing a certain type of playing piece in accordance with a conventional parlor game; and
c) means for allowing for the personalization of said playing piece to fit the customs or design of a particular user.
14 The personalized game playing pieces of
15 The personalized game playing pieces of
16 The personalized game playing pieces of
17 The personalized game playing pieces of
 1. Field of the Invention
 A parlor game having game pieces which can be personalized and which still nevertheless represent unique playing pieces in a parlor game, as for example, a game of chess, as well as a game board having a three dimensional playing surface arrangement thereon, and more particularly, to a well known parlor game which can be both personalized and provide a unique play experience which allows for use of the rules of the game, but alters the effects of playing the game.
 2. Brief Description of Related Art
 The game of chess has been well known for hundreds of years and is indeed so popular, that it has fostered game competitions, tournaments, and the like. It is also a game frequently played by many people in many countries as a recreational pastime. The same holds true with other parlor games which may not have the same popularity and presence of chess, but which are still well known and frequently played.
 There have been very few changes in the game of chess over these hundreds of years. In essence, the rules have changed only very slightly, if at all. There have been various forms of game boards and game playing pieces with some being more valuable than others, depending upon handmade components and materials of construction. As a simple example, many of the game playing pieces in the game of chess have been carved from wood by numerous wood craftsmen. The game boards have been formed of wood, marble, and other decorative materials. However, beyond these aesthetic appearances and value of the components used in the games, very little has changed.
 In essence, the playing pieces and the game board in the game of chess is actually quite static in that the playing pieces all have known shapes, as for example, a King, a Queen, a Knight, a Bishop, a Pawn, and a Castle. Moreover, the game board itself also is quite static in that it contains the same board pattern used not only for the game of chess, but for other games as well. As a result, once a household, interested in maintaining a game of chess, has purchased this game, new purchases are not made, except where one or more of the game playing pieces are lost or the game board itself may have been damaged or destroyed from use. Consequently, sales of the game of chess, remain somewhat static.
 Inasmuch as the playing pieces and the game boards in the game of chess, as well as other well known parlor games, such as checkers and the like, have not changed over the years in any appreciable sense, there is very little motivation to purchase a new replacement of the same game.
 It would be desirable to provide a game, having well known playing rules, such as the game of chess, and particularly strategy games such as the game of chess which can be played with the same game rules, but with a new playing effect. In other words, games having the capability of being played with the same game rules, such as chess or checkers, but which provides a totally different play environment would have enormous player appeal with a concomitant advantage of increasing otherwise stagnant sales. In addition, it would be desirable to provide game playing pieces which can be personalized to the tastes of a particular user and which would still represent recognizable playing pieces, to enable the orderly play of a game, such as a game of chess.
 A game board having multi-level playing surfaces could still be capable of allowing for the play of a game with standard game rules, and which would still nevertheless provide a very different game playing environment, such that a player would feel that he or she is playing a new game but nevertheless with the rules employed in a well known game. Such a game playing board would necessarily have to allow for complete visibility of the location of the various playing pieces to enable a player to observe the locations of relevant playing pieces and still plan his or her strategy in moving the playing pieces.
 It is, therefore, one of the primary objects of the present invention to provide a parlor game having unique playing pieces and a unique game board, and which playing pieces can be personalized to conform to the tastes of the user thereof.
 It is another object of the present invention to provide a parlor game of the type stated which allows for play of a conventional game as for example, a game of chess, but with a different playing effect and playing environment.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a unique game board which allows for playing and movement of game pieces at different levels of the game board, thereby providing a new play effect and feel, but also still allowing for the play of the game in accordance with conventional game rules.
 It is an additional object of the present invention to provide a method of playing a game which allows for personalization of certain of the game pieces and which also allows for play in a different game board environment, but which still allows for use of the conventional rules for that game.
 It is another salient object of the present invention to provide a parlor game of the type stated which can be constructed at a relatively low cost and which allows the user of the game a wide variety of changes to personalize the game to that user's taste and for that matter, to some extent the user's desired mode of play.
 With the above and other objects in view, my invention resides in the novel features of form, construction, arrangement and combination of parts and components presently described and pointed out in the claims.
 A parlor game such as a game of chess having standard playing rules but which employs a unique game board and/or unique personalized game playing pieces. The invention thereby allows not only for a different game board and playing pieces, but also for a different environment in which to play a well known parlor game.
 Although the invention is applicable to a large number of games, including, for example, backgammon, checkers, chess, and the like, with both unique playing pieces capable of being personalized, and/or a unique game board, the parlor game of the invention will be described in connection with the play of the game of chess. Thus, and for this purpose, standard chess rules could be used in connection with the play of the game or for that matter, other rules could be modified to take advantage of the unique playing pieces and/or unique game board. Thus, and while the present invention is described in connection with the game of chess, it is to be understood that the invention is not so limited.
 In one embodiment of the invention, the playing pieces are uniquely designed so that they can be personalized by a user. The playing pieces in this embodiment have a base, so that the pieces are capable of standing, as well as at least one transparent plate, located along with another backing plate, which may be transparent or which may be opaque. Preferably, each playing piece has a pair of transparent faces on each of the opposite sides so that it may be observable to both players who are sitting on opposite sides of the game board.
 In this embodiment of the invention, the game playing pieces have a pair of upstanding plates separated by a gap sized to receive a photograph or other personalized substrate having indicia thereon. As a simple example, a playing piece is adapted to receive a conventional photograph, or otherwise, a personalized drawing or the like. It is preferable to have a pair of photographs facing through opposite transparent faces of the game piece so that each of the players will be able to simultaneously view each playing piece. However, it is possible to use game playing pieces having one transparent face, as well as one opaque face and which opaque face has a mirrored surface facing the transparent plate.
 In another embodiment of the parlor game, there is provided a unique game board which allows for play of the game at different vertically spaced apart levels of play. In this respect, it should be understood that the game board could be played without the unique personalized game playing pieces and therefore with conventional playing pieces. In like manner, the unique playing pieces of the invention could be used with the game board of this invention, or they could be used on a conventional game board.
 The game board is comprised of a plurality of different playing board sections which are located in vertically spaced apart relationship. Each game board section or tier which is higher than the next succeeding game board section or tier also has a surface area less than the playing board section located immediately therebeneath. In one embodiment of the invention, there are provided, for example, five board sections which are vertically spaced apart. Thus, the uppermost board section has the small surface area, with the second uppermost board section having the next smallest surface area, and so forth, so that the lowermost board section has the largest surface area.
 In accordance with the above-identified construction, playing piece spaces, such as playing squares, are located on the periphery on each of the board sections for easy visibility. Thus, for example, the lowermost playing board section will have playing spaces located only on the periphery thereof. The same holds true with each of the other game board sections except for the uppermost game board section. Nevertheless, all tiers in combination present the same number of spaces and in the same two dimensional arrangement as a conventional game board. The individual playing piece spaces must be completely observable from both sides of the game board, so that each succeeding level of game board section must be sufficiently smaller than the game board section located therebeneath, and so that there is no obstruction in viewing of the playing pieces.
 In one embodiment of the game board, each of the game board sections may be provided with a transparent plate and an opaque plate. The transparent plate may be separated from the opaque plate by a coin or like member designating the location for any playing piece, and to thereby constitute a playing space on the game board.
 It should be recognized that it is not necessary to use coins to designate a playing space. Rather, pieces of paper or other substrate could be located between the transparent sheet and the opaque sheet to identify a playing space. Other markings could also be used for this purpose, as for example, etching on the upper plate which may be a glass plate.
 It can also be observed in connection with the invention that it is possible to play the game with conventional game playing rules, as for example, a game of chess with well known chess rules. However, because of the unique arrangement of the playing board and the difference of the playing pieces, it is possible to alter the rules in accordance with the desires of the players of the game.
 This invention possesses many other advantages and has other purposes which may be made more clearly apparent from a consideration of the forms in which it may be embodied. These forms are shown in the drawings forming a part of and accompanying the present specification. They will now be described in detail for purposes of illustrating the general principles of the invention. However, it is to be understood that the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings are not to be taken in a limiting sense.
 Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a game board having multi-level playing surfaces thereon and constructed in accordance with and embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the game board of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevational view showing an arrangement for spacing two board tiers by means of spacers used in the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one of the board tier spacers of the invention;
FIG. 5 is fragmentary side elevational view showing the construction of each board tier in the game board of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary top plan view taken essentially along the plane of line 6-6 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the game board of FIG. 1 showing all of the game board sections therein;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of one personalizable game playing piece in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view showing the insertion of a personalizing element into the playing piece of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a playing piece having the representation of a Knight in accordance with the game of chess;
FIG. 11 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 8 and showing a representation of a modified form of Knight used by an opposing player in the game of chess;
FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a drinking goblet representing a Bishop in accordance with the play of the game of chess; and
FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a modified form of playing piece in the nature of a modified form of Bishop used by an opponent in the playing of the game of chess in accordance with the invention.
 Referring now in more detail and by reference characters to the drawings, which illustrate several practical embodiments of the present invention, there is illustrated and described a unique parlor game comprised of a unique game board 20 and a set of unique playing pieces used therewith. This game board and the game playing pieces allow for play of conventional games in accordance with conventional rules, but in a modified manner, all as hereinafter described in more detail.
 The game board 20 of the present invention is comprised of a plurality of game board sections or tiers 22, as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 7 of the drawings, and each of these board sections constitute tiers and are frequently referred to as “board tiers”. Each game board section has an upper playing surface in a manner to be hereinafter described in more detail. Moreover, each of the game board sections are spaced apart from one another by means of tier spacers 24 which allow for spaced apart separation of each of the game board sections. These tier spacers 24 may be provided with enlarged heads and enlarged feet so that when used in combination with other posts, they will support the tiers thereabove in a stable manner. Moreover, if desired, the posts could be secured to the tiers spaced thereabove and therebeneath, either through a permanent securement means or a releasable securement means.
 Each tier spacer 24 is more fully illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings. In this particular case, it can be observed that each tier spacer 24 is comprised of a lower foot plate 26 having an upstanding post 28 extending upwardly from the upper surface thereof. Mounted on the upper end of the post 28 is a head plate 30 comprised of a plastic sheet 32 and a glass sheet 34, disposed on the upper surface of the sheet 32. In this case, the sheet 32 could be formed of an opaque plastic, or otherwise, it could be transparent along with the glass sheet 34. The same holds true of the base foot 26.
 Each tier has a construction which is more fully illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings. Thus, one tier 34 may have a black plastic base 36 and a spaced apart glass top plate 38. A glass sheet 40, also operating as a spacer, carries on its upper surface, a coin such as a silver dollar 42, all as best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings. In accordance with this construction, when one looks through the glass plate 38, they will readily observe the glass spacer 40 along with the coin 42. Although this is one form of spacer which can be used in the present invention, it should be understood that any of a variety of spacers could be used.
 In the embodiment of the invention as shown, there are four board sections, although, the number of board sections or tiers could vary in accordance with the invention. By referring to FIG. 7, the exact spacing of each playing piece face can be observed. In effect, FIG. 7 constitutes a top plan view of all of the tiers, and emphasizing the peripheries of each of these tiers, which constitute playing piece spaces.
 Each board section is substantially similar in construction, except for size. As indicated previously, any one of the intermediate board sections is smaller in surface area than the board section immediately therebeneath, and is larger in area than the board section immediately thereabove. The uppermost board section has the smallest surface area and the lowermost board section has the largest surface area. If desired, the lowermost board section could be spaced from a supporting surface by means of a base plate, but which would not constitute a board section since it would not be involved in the play of a game.
 The individual tiers forming part of the game board are all preferably mounted on a base 50, comprised of a base plate 52 formed of a black glass material. Disposed on the upper surface of the base plate 52 is a glass sheet 54, having a mirrored surface thereon. Thus, the base plate can actually show through the mirrored surface and moreover, the base plate is preferably formed of a black material. In this way, the base 50 does not really interfere with the playing of a parlor game, but merely serves as a support for the various tiers. Mounted on the upper surface of the uppermost tier 34 is a top plate 56. In this case, the top plate could also be a mirrored surface, but in the preferred embodiment, is a generally solid surface. Here again, the top plate 56 could have the same construction as the base 50. The top plate 56 primarily serves to cover any space that does not constitute an outer row of playing spaces.
 For the game of chess and similar games in a rectangular grid pattern having rectangular and particularly square shaped playing areas, the lowermost board section of the invention will have a total of twenty eight playing piece spaces located along the periphery thereof. Thus, there will be eight playing piece spaces on each of the sides of a generally square lowermost playing piece board section. The next upper playing piece board section will have a total of twenty playing piece spaces, again all located on the periphery thereof. Thus, six playing piece spaces will be located on each of the four sides of the generally square shaped playing board section.
 The next uppermost board section will have a total of twelve playing piece sections thereon, in a grid of four playing pieces by four playing pieces, with four playing piece spaces located along each of the four sides of that game board section, and, again, which will all be located along the periphery thereof. Finally, the upper board section will have four spaced apart playing piece sections located thereon, with two on each side.
 In the embodiment as shown, each side of the lowermost playing piece tier will have eight spaces, and four of those spaces are of one color, such as a black color, and the other four of those spaces are of a white color. This arrangement follows around the periphery of the entire lower tier. Again, in the next uppermost tier, there will be six playing piece spaces on each side, and three of those playing piece spaces will have one color, whereas the other three playing piece spaces will have the opposite color. In the third tier, there are twelve playing piece spaces, with two playing piece spaces on each side having a dark color, and two having a light color. Finally, the uppermost tier will have only four playing piece spaces with two diagonally located black playing piece spaces, and two diagonally white playing piece spaces.
 It should be recognized that the colors could be partially transparent only providing a pigment, if desired, but would not otherwise obscure the sight through the board. Thus, even with a black colored playing piece space, the black would be relatively transparent so as to allow viewing through the game board.
 It is also possible to designate playing piece spaces by the use of a coin located at each of the playing piece spaces. Thus, a particular tier spacer could be used with certain types of coins on the upper surface thereof. Thus, one type of coin could represent black spaces, and another type of coin could represent white colored spaces. Any arrangement for designating the particular colors of the spaces, to distinguish one player's space from another, can be employed.
 As indicated above, an individual coin can be located at each playing piece space and identifies a landing position for any particular playing piece in the game. Here again, the individual plates and the coins therebetween are preferably secured to one another to prevent movement thereof. A conventional clear adhesive can be used for this purpose so that each coin is permanently affixed to the plate thereabove and the spacer plate immediately therebeneath. When so laminated, the pair of plates with the coins therebetween constitute an individual board section.
 It can also be observed that additional identification can be located on each of the plates or between the plates of each board section to further identify a playing piece space. In the embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, there is also preferably provided a paper or paperboard substrate 46 located between the upper plate 38 and the lower plate 36. Moreover, that substrate is preferably located on the upper surface of the lower plate 36 so that a coin may be disposed on that upper surface of the substrate and appear through the upper transparent plate.
 In accordance with the invention, the upper plate 38 should be completely transparent so as to allow ready visibility of each of the individual playing spaces located along the periphery thereof. The lower plate of each board section could be opaque as for example, provided with a black surface. This is due to the fact that with the construction of the invention, it is only necessary for the players to observe the playing piece spaces located along the periphery of each board section. Moreover, a view of the interior portions might be confusing to the players. However, if desired, each of the plates of each board section could remain transparent.
 It should also be understood that it is not necessary to use posts per se in order to maintain a spatial relationship between each board section. For this purpose, square blocks or the like could be employed. Moreover, it is even possible to employ prisms or other structures to obtain a spatial separation between each of the individual tiers forming part of the game board. It is, however, important to be able to insure that each of the spacing elements can be secured to the board section thereabove and the board section therebeneath. Moreover, the spacing elements can be selected with a desired shape to provide an overall theme or appearance to the game board.
 By reference to FIGS. 1, 2 and 7, it can be seen that a pair of players on opposite sides of the game board can easily and readily observe all of the playing piece spaces. Moreover, since each tier provides playing piece spaces located above or beneath the spaces of that tier, a new dimension in the play of the game has been added. Not only is there the addition of a third dimension to the game board, but this presence of the third dimension actually requires an increased degree of concentration on the game board in order to spatially determine, in a player's mind, the desired move for the next playing piece. In other words, the player is not merely concerned with moving his or her playing piece on a flat game board, but the player must take into account the actual difference in perception of the playing piece being located at a different height than others of the playing pieces. However, it is important to note that the playing piece spaces are immediately apparent to each of the players of the game since they are located at the peripheries of each playing piece section.
FIG. 8 illustrates one of the playing pieces that may be used in a game, such as the game of chess. In this case, a playing piece 60 is comprised of a support block 62, having an elongate slot 64 extending therethrough. Mounted in that slot 64 are a pair of either glass or plastic transparent vertically arranged plates 66 and 68. Moreover, a space 70 can be created between the two plates 66 and 68, by merely engaging the upper edges and spreading the plates slightly apart. In this way, a personalized item, such as a photograph 72, may be inserted fully within the space between the two plates 66 and 68.
 In order to enable some yieldable movement of the plates 66 and 68, without risk of breaking, these plates are preferably formed of a transparent plastic material, such as a transparent polyethylene or transparent polyvinyl chloride.
 In place of the photograph 72, any other personalized item can be inserted in the space 70. However, it is preferable for the personalized playing piece 60 to have some substrate 72, which will at least partially identify the type of playing piece. However, it should be recognized that certain of the playing pieces could be provided with differing sizes or shapes. Moreover, some could have differing appearances. Thus, for the purposes of a king playing piece, that piece could be of a relatively large size compared to the other playing pieces. For a queen playing piece, it could be formed of a size larger than other playing pieces, but smaller than the king, and so forth.
 Notwithstanding the foregoing, the plates 66 and 68 are rigidly mounted within the base 62. Thus, a simple adhesive, or the like, would be sufficient for suitably mounting the plates in the base block 62.
FIG. 9 is an embodiment of the playing piece 60 of FIG. 8, with the personalized substrate 72 inserted therein. In this case, it can be observed that the two vertically arranged transparent sheets 66 and 68, will close and tightly hold the substrate 72 therein. Thus, this playing piece functions as a single playing piece, but which is nevertheless personalized in accordance with the taste or preference of the players.
 In order to further distinguish certain of the playing pieces, FIG. 10 illustrates a knight playing piece 76. This knight playing piece is comprised of a pair of vertically arranged plates 78 and 80, which can also be spread apart in order to receive a personalized substrate. These plates are similarly mounted on a base 82. However, in order to distinguish this playing piece as a knight in the game of chess, it is provided with a ball and chain arrangement, having a chain 84, and a ball 86, with a handle 88 on the opposite side. This ball and chain arrangement may be affixed to the plates in any conventional manner.
 In order to distinguish from this particular knight, a second knight 90 is provided, as best shown in FIG. 11. In this case, there is only a single plate 92 mounted in a support base 94, which may be a support block. However, the plate 92, which is preferably formed of a plastic material, has an elongate recess 96 extending vertically therein, and located in this recess is a miniature representation of a sword 98. Moreover, the sword could be inserted in the slot or recess 96, and physically held therein by a suitable adhesive. Nevertheless, this knight in FIG. 11, along with the knight 76 in FIG. 10, illustrates at least the two knights which may be used in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 12 is a small representation of a miniature goblet 100, which may represent, for example, a bishop in the play of the game of chess. In order to represent a bishop for the opposing player, there is provided another goblet 102 in FIG. 13. Again, these goblets are designed to represent wine glasses, and thereby depict a bishop. However, other representations could be used. For example, a cross on the surface of one of the vertical sheets could be used to represent a bishop. The exact form of the playing piece is not necessarily critical, but it is important for each playing piece to identify a particular playing piece of the type used in the game of chess, so that there are a sufficient number of playing pieces.
 In each of the embodiments, where the sheets are capable of being spread apart, one of the sheets may be formed of a glass or plastic transparent material, and the other sheets could be opaque and provided with a black surface or the like. Otherwise, one of the sheets could have a black color to it, but nevertheless still be transparent, such as a smoked glass. The exact form of the plates are not absolutely critical in accordance with the invention. Furthermore, it should be recognized that certain other playing pieces could have individual representations for such playing pieces.
 Thus, and in accordance with the invention as described, it can be observed that a conventional game, such as a game of chess or checkers, or the like, can be played using the game board of the invention. Moreover, the game can be played in a different format than with the standard game board, since it can be played on a game board having a plurality of individual tiers. In addition, each of the game playing pieces can be personalized to conform to the tastes of the individual players or users.
 It is preferable, however, to ensure that each of the playing pieces are capable of being observed by both players on opposite sides of the game board. In this way, the players may very quickly and readily determine the position of each of the individual playing pieces in order to determine their strategy.
 Thus, there has been illustrated and described a unique and novel personalized parlor game, and which thereby fulfills all of the objects and advantages which have been sought. It should be understood that many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which will become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering the specification and the accompanying drawings. Therefore, any and all such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention.