CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
FIELD OF INVENTION
This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/563,763, filed Apr. 20, 2004.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to the field of games, and more particularly, to word games.
Games involving words are very popular, and are ubiquitous in the prior art, both for sight-impaired persons and signed persons.
In one game, taught in U.S. Pat. No. 4,014,548 (Trilling), issued Mar. 29, 1997, a pot is provided which contains a plurality of tiles. Each tile bears a letter or group of letters. The player draws tiles from the pot, and attempts to build a word in a set period of time. When a word has been built, the tiles are returned to the pot, and new tiles are drawn. Scoring is based on word length. As this game does not contemplate the creation of large numbers of words in a predetermined period of time, it can suffer in the opinion of some players in the matter of excitement. Also, it does not lend itself to use by sight-impaired persons, since the conventional mechanism for doing so, namely, the addition of the Braille indicia to the tiles, would provide to sight-impaired persons an unfair advantage when retrieving tiles from the pot.
Another word game is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 6,098,983 (Kennedy), issued Aug. 8, 2000. In the game, each player receives a sheet of paper containing three words or word-groups. The players are provided a period of time, fixed by an hourglass, to form as many words as possible using the letters which form each of the words/word groups. The words are written on the sheet in spaces provided therefor. The player with the most words wins. This game is known to provide for a relatively enjoyable experience, and can easily be accommodated for use by the sight-impaired by the addition (or substitution) of Braille letters to the sheets. However, it can suffer in terms of the production of refuse, since play practically demands that a plurality of game sheets be provided, which will typically be disposed of after a single use.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In another game, taught in U.S. Pat. No. 1,509,873 (Ordway), issued Sep. 30, 1924, a plurality of tiles are provided; players are provided a set period of time to pull letters from a pile using a magnet, and a further set period of time to produce as many words as possible using the letters pulled. This game has features which can produce exciting, enjoyable play. However, the game is not well-suited for use by sight-impaired persons, who would be disadvantaged when drawing letters from the pile as compared to sighted persons.
A game apparatus for use with a container forms one aspect of the invention. The game apparatus comprises one or more scoops and a plurality of game pieces disposed in said container in use in a starting arrangement of the game apparatus. Each game piece bears at least one visually-perceptible character and a corresponding tactile representation of said at least one character. The game pieces are sufficient in number such that, from the starting arrangement, each of said one more scoops can be manually manipulated to randomly withdraw from said container a respective group of game pieces, said group containing a sufficient number of game pieces to permit the game pieces of said group to be arranged in at least one subgroup wherein the characters of said pieces collectively form a linguistic element.
A game apparatus for use by a plurality of players forms another aspect of the invention. The game apparatus comprises an opaque bag, a scoop for each player and a plurality of game pieces disposed in the bag in use in a startling arrangement of the game apparatus. Each game piece bears at least one visually-perceptible letter and a corresponding Braille representation of said at least one letter the game pieces are sufficient in number such that, from the starting arrangement, in use, each player can, in turn, manually manipulate the scoop provided therefore to randomly withdraw from the bag a respective group of game pieces, said group containing a sufficient number of game pieces to permit the game pieces of said group to be arranged in at least one subgroup wherein the characters of said pieces collectively for a word. The game apparatus also comprises a timer for demarcating a period of time in which each player can arrange the pieces of the respective group into said at least one subgroup.
A method whereby a plurality of players can play the game apparatus for use by a plurality of players forms another aspect of the invention. The method comprises the steps of providing each player with a scoop; placing the game apparatus in the starting arrangement; allowing each player, in turn, to withdraw a respective group of game pieces from the container with the scoop provided to said each player; using the timer to provide a predetermined period of time to each player to arrange the group of game pieces into subgroups, wherein the letters of the game pieces of the subgroup form a word; assigning a score to each player based on the number of words formed by the player in the predetermined period of time.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention produces exciting, enjoyable play by both sighted and sight-impaired persons, alone or in combination, and does not Suffer from a propensity for the production of refuse. Other advantages, features and characteristics of the present invention, as well as methods of operation and functions of the related elements of the structure, and the combination of parts and economies of manufacture, will become more apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description and the appended claims.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a game piece constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the additional components of the game.
For playing the game, a plurality of game pieces or tiles 20 are provided. One or more scoops 23, at least one timer 25 and a tile container 26 are also provided. The tiles 20 preferably are 228 in number, with each tile measuring 1¼″×1″×¼.″ In respect of each tile 20, a letter 24 of the alphabet is imprinted, preferably on each of the large faces or sides of the tile, in high contrast, large print type. Each tile also preferably has Braille indicia 22 that corresponds to the imprinted letter 24 on each face. The scoops 23 preferably are 6 in number and preferably take the form of collapsible cups. The timer 25 is adapted to demarcate a predetermined period of time, preferably, a period time that is adjustable between about 1 and about 2 minutes. The tile container 26 is preferably an opaque bag with an adjustable closure.
The game is preferably played by 2-6 players at a time.
Prior to playing the game, the players preferably designate one person amongst their number to act as scorekeeper and agreed upon a target score and, if the timer is adjustable, agree upon the predetermined period of time.
It is suggested that sighted adult persons will find a period of time of one minute to provide for enjoyable play; children and sight-impaired persons may benefit from a longer period of time, such as two minutes. A target score of 300 is suggested.
To play a round of the game, all of the tiles 20 are placed in the bag 26, which arrangement defines a starting arrangement of the game apparatus.
Thereafter, in turn, each player fills his or her scoop 23 with tiles 20 by dipping it into the bag and manually manipulating same to randomly withdraw a group of tiles.
When all players have filled their respective measuring cups 23 with tiles 20, and announced their readiness, one of the players starts the timer and the players all empty their tiles in front of them.
Then, each player tries to arrange his or her group of tiles 20 into as many words as possible, by arranging the tiles into subgroups wherein the characters of the pieces collectively form a word. Preferably, each player tries to make as many different words as possible using the tiles they have drawn from the bag. In so doing, each tile is preferably used only in a single word. Thus, if a player has drawn 50 tiles from the bag using the measuring cup 23, he or she can, for example, make a maximum of ten five-letter words, five ten-letter words, or any other combination of words having an aggregate of 50 letters.
When the time indicates that the predetermined period of time has elapsed, a score for each player is calculated. Scoring is preferably based on the number of words and word length.
A preferred scoring regime is:
- words two to six letters long receive two points for each letter
- Examples: CAT (3 letters×2 points)=6 points
- HORSES (6 letters×2 points)=12 points
- words seven to nine letters long receive a base of twenty points for the first seven letters plus ten points for each additional letter
- Examples: IMPRINT (7 letters)=20 points
- IMPRINTS (8 LETTERS) (20+10+10)=30 POINTS
- IMPRINTED (9 LETTERS) (20+10+10)=40 POINTS
- words ten letters or more in length receive a base of fifty points for the first ten letters plus twenty points for each additional letter
- Examples: IMPRESSION (10 letters)=50 points
- IMPRESSIONS (11 letters) (50+20)=70 points
- IMPRESSIONIST (13 LETTERS) (50+20+20+20+20)=110 POINTS
Rounds of the game are preferably played until the aggregate score of any one of the players meets or exceeds the predetermined target score, whereupon a winner or winners is determined on the basis of the player or players having the highest score.
From the foregoing, it will be evident that the game has many advantages.
Firstly, it is educational; play can improve reading skills, spelling, counting and multiplication skills.
Additionally, it is inclusive; each tile has Braille lettering, and the high contrast and large lettering make it easy to read. This allows seniors, young readers and visually impaired individuals to play with any member of the family. The tiles are also manageable sizes, making them easy to manipulate.
Further, the game is versatile. The game can be adjusted for individuals of low literacy by allowing them to make smaller words, and by increasing the predetermined time. As well, whereas in the preferred embodiment described above, only a single timer is expressly described, multiple timers can be used to give persons of differing abilities different periods of time for word construction. Each player could be provided with a timer, if desirable. All players can play simultaneously, or one after another. Players can be creative and make the game more challenging by requiring words in any particular round to be based on a category, for example, animals, places, etc. As well, instead of returning tiles to the bag, players can swap hands with other players, and attempt to beat that person's score. Further, for even more challenge, before the round begins, players can agree to make only words with the same amount of letters, for example, eight-letter words. As well, whereas the preferred embodiment contemplates the predetermination of a target score, the players cold equally predetermine a game duration, based on time or number of turns, and select the winner of the game on the basis of the highest aggregate score at the end of the duration.
Moreover, the game is portable; the game requires only a relatively flat surface.
Whereas only a single embodiment of the game is herein described, it should be understood that variations can be made. For example, whereas in the preferred embodiment, letters of the alphabet are imprinted, printing is not strictly necessary. The game contemplates the use of visually-perceptible characters of any type. Further, whereas Braille representations are provided on the tiles, this is not necessary; any other tactile representation of the character could be employed. As well, whereas in the preferred embodiment, the same character and tactile representation appears on each side of the tile, it is possible to put different letters on opposite sides of the tile. Tiles could also be avoided, in favor of other styles of game pieces, such as dies or tokens. As well, it is conceivable that the visually-perceptible character may be put on only one side of the game piece and the tactile representation put on the opposite side or both, to more evenly match sighted and sight-impaired persons. Yet further, groups of letters which appear together commonly could be put on selected tiles, such as “qu” in the English language. Wild card game pieces, usable for any letter, could also be provided.
In view of the foregoing, it should be understood that the scope of the invention is limited only by the appended claims, purposively construed.