US 20070049425 A1
A multiplayer game, having rules with aspects of the games of Four Square and Volleyball, is played with an apparatus that can optionally be respectively disassembled and set up.
1. A game apparatus in which a projectile is projected among players, the game apparatus comprising:
at least three substantially equal volumes contiguous one to another, each:
for being occupied by a respective player; and
defined by a plurality of elongate members above a playing surface at least some of which are above the heads of the players and over which the projectile is projected;
means for connecting each said elongate member to at least one other said elongate member; and
means, for at least some of the elongate members, for adjusting the length of the elongate member.
2. The game apparatus as defined in
3. The game apparatus as defined in
the connecting means connects each elongate member substantially normal to at least one other said elongate member; and
each said volume has three dimensions defined by a linearly moved shape selected from the group consisting of a substantially rectangle shape, a substantially circular shape, a substantially octagonal shape, a substantially triangular shape, and a substantially polygonal shape.
4. The game apparatus as defined in
5. The game apparatus as defined in
6. The game apparatus as defined in
7. The game apparatus as defined in
8. The game apparatus as defined in
an operative position in which each elongate member is substantially normal to at least one other said elongate member; and
a collapsed position in which each said elongate member is substantially parallel to each other said elongate member.
9. The game apparatus as defined in
10. A method of playing a game, wherein the method of the game is played with the game apparatus defined in
11. An apparatus for playing a game with a projectile, the apparatus comprising:
a plurality of poles oriented substantially vertically; and,
a plurality of bar members oriented substantially horizontally, wherein:
said bar members are connected to said poles through corner junctions;
said poles and said bar members define three or more substantially equal volumes each being substantially contiguous to the others; and
at least some of said bar members each being a barrier over which the projectile is projected in the game from one said volume into another said volume.
12. The apparatus as defined in
13. The apparatus as defined in
14. The apparatus as defined in
15. The apparatus of
16. The apparatus of
17. The apparatus as defined in
18. The apparatus of
19. The apparatus of
20. The apparatus as defined in
21. A method of playing a game comprising:
(a) placing a player in each of three or more play boxes upon a player surface, wherein:
each said play box is contiguous and substantially equal in size to all other said play boxes; and
a barrier is defined at the top of and between any two contiguous said play boxes;
(b) the player projecting the projectile from the player's play box into another said play box over the barrier there between;
(c) the player in the another said play box projecting the projectile into any other said play box over the barrier there between; and
(d) repeating (b) and (c), for respective players and play boxes, until a first condition occurs in which the projectile contacts the player surface.
22. The method as defined in
entering another said play box; or
being projected over the barrier between the player's play box and the another said play box.
23. The method as defined in
one of said play boxes is designated as a serving play box; and
the player in the serving play box is designed as a server.
24. The method as defined in
25. The method as defined in
26. A game apparatus having three or more play boxes each substantially contiguous to the others and sized to receive respective players for playing a game with the method as defined in
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to method and apparatus for playing a ball game. More specifically, the present invention provides for an apparatus that enables players to engage in a fast-paced game that combines aspects of the games of volleyball and foursquare while providing a game frame that is portable and deployable in a variety of environments.
2. Description of the Related Art
There are several prior art variations of the traditional playground game of Four Square, but they share many of the same characteristics. Typically, the game is played with an elastic ball such as a rubber playground ball on a solid ground surface such as a concrete or asphalt playground or parking area. Referring to a top view of the prior art game square arrangement shown in
Once served, the ball enters one of the other internal play boxes (A, B, or C). It is allowed to bounce once, and then the player within the box that received the serve must strike the ball by hand, returning the ball so that it may bounce within another interior box before the ball bounces again. In one version of the game, a receiving player may hit the ball to another interior box before the ball bounces in that player's play box. The rally continues by players striking and returning the ball to other internal play boxes until a player is unable to successfully return the ball to bounce within another player's box.
The player that is unable to correctly return the ball to another square is considered “out,” and leaves the game square (10), optionally moving to the end of a queue of waiting players (30). If the server was not the “out” player, the server then receives one point toward that player's individual score, with an overall goal of remaining as server and accruing points as long as possible. After the “out” player leaves the game square (10), players rotate counterclockwise (from A to D) to fill in the gap of the missing “out” player, and then a new player enters into box A from the front of the player queue (30). In this arrangement, play continues indefinitely with players rotating through the game as players go “out,” and additional players may join by simply joining the end of the player queue (30).
What is needed, then, is a game that combines the excitement of volleyball with the rapid and fun game of four square. What is also needed is an apparatus that can be erected in a variety of playing environments without extended set up time. What is further needed is a gaming apparatus that is easily portable and breaks down to a size that lends itself to easy transportation and storage. What is further needed is a mechanism to create a foursquare-like game play area such as a beach or grass lawn that does not require a hard, completely flat surface with scuff-resistant edge indicia. What is further needed is an exciting, fast-paced interactive game that combines aspects of foursquare and volleyball, allowing for play on either hard or soft playing surfaces.
In view of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to improve various problems associated with the prior art. More specifically, it is an object of the present invention to provide a portable game apparatus that enables players to perform a method of game play that combines aspects of volleyball and foursquare into a fun, exciting, multi-player game. To that end, the method and apparatus of the present invention provides a Four Square-like game that is played in the air above players' heads. By-providing for a portable, elevated game frame, player squares that are provided on a hard ground surface in Four Square are now elevated above the players' heads, and a player now uses volleyball-like ball strikes to hit the ball up and out of the players' game square and into another player's game square. Alternatively, the present invention may be viewed as a 4-way volleyball game without the need for nets or markings on the ground.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by means of the elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention, as claimed. Thus, the present invention comprises a combination of features, steps, and advantages which enable it to overcome various deficiencies of the prior art. The various characteristics described above, as well as other features, will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, and by referring to the accompanying drawings.
For a more detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the present invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of the specification, and wherein:
Reference will now be made in detail to exemplary embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.
Each said volume has a three dimensional (3D) shape. The 3D shape is defined by the linear movement of a 2D object, such as a rectangle, a circle, an octagon, a triangle, or a polygon. Thus, a linearly moved square (2D) forms a volume that is a cube (3D).
The adjustment means can be one or more joints for moving the elongate member between an open and a closed position thereof. The closed position, for instance, can be a pole that is folded in half. The joint can be hinge or a bending member formed in the middle of the pole. The adjustment means can be capable of allowing the pole to be disassembled. Also, when a pole is made up of substantially concentric poles, the adjusting means can be for telescoping an inner pole within an outer pole. Also in the inflatable embodiment, the adjustment means may comprise inflation or deflation of an inflatable pole.
For each volume, the connecting means and adjusting means respectively articulate to collapse the volume such that the plurality of elongate members thereof are parallel one to another. Also, the connecting means and adjusting means respectively articulate such that the plurality of elongate members can be moved into an operative position in which each elongate member is substantially normal to at least one other said elongate member, and a collapsed position in which each said elongate member is substantially parallel to each other said elongate member. Examples of the foregoing, for one embodiment, are seen in
Each volume will preferably have a width and height suitable for the players. For instance, adults would prefer a width not less than four feet and a height not less than six feet.
In yet another embodiment, the game frame (300) is comprised of horizontal bar members (350) substantially parallel to a ground or play surface interconnected to form an orthogonally-bisected square defining the top of four interior play boxes (A′, B′, C′, and D′) with one connection point (360) common to all four interior play boxes (A′, B′, C′, and D′). While one embodiment illustrated in
The twice bisected square that defines the top of the game frame (300) is supported above the ground or play surface by four vertical corner poles (310), four mid-poles (320), and a center pole (330). The poles, together with the bar members and the bottom play surface, define a polyhedron-like shape, which further comprises the interior polyhedron volumes or play boxes (A′, B′, C′, and D′) that are occupied by players. The volumes defined by the interior play boxes (A′, B′, C′, and D′) may be contiguous or substantially contiguous, and one player is intended to occupy each volume. Each top side of an interior play box (A′, B′, C′, and D′) is comprised of two substantially horizontal bar members (350) hingedly or detachably connected at their midpoints by articulation points (340) comprised in one embodiment of locking bar hinges. In alternate embodiments, the articulation points are comprised of flexible bending points, friction-fit connections, double pin hinges, or snap-fit connections. In an alternate embodiment, each top side (A′, B′, C′, and D′) of the interior play boxes is not defined by two hingedly interconnected bar members, but a single rigid bar member, and in additional embodiments, the bar members (350) may further comprise two or more articulation points (350) for enhanced disassembly. In yet another embodiment, the game frame (300) is comprised substantially of inflatable elastomeric structural members, that deploy from a flaccid, portable collapsed shape, to a rigid or semi-rigid structure upon inflation. In such inflatable embodiment, bar members (350) and poles (310, 320, 330) may be permanently or detachably affixed to form the game frame (300). By operating a valve that is integrated with such bar members (350) or poles (310, 320, 330), the user may allow for deflation and subsequent storage of the game frame (300) in a substantially compressed condition.
The bar members (350) that do not reside on the outside edge of the game frame (300) not only serve to add structural integrity to the game frame (300) but also provide a barrier over which a projectile (50) (for instance, a ball, a birdie, or another object) must pass during play, much as a volleyball must pass over a net. The projectile may be projected by a player simply by throwing, kicking, punching, or hitting it, or by a player hitting the projective by a bat, a racket, a stick, a paddle, or another instrument. Preferably, the projectile is a ball that is manually projected by the players among themselves over the barrier and into each respective player's play box or volume.
Each interior play box is further comprised of one outside corner (370), two mid-corner proximal connections (380) and a connection (360) proximal to the center pole (330). While in one embodiment the poles (310, 320, 330) may be rigid and incapable of folding, in an alternate embodiment, the poles (310, 320, 330) further comprise a take-down element (345) whereby the poles may be shortened in length through a flexible bending point, a locking hinge-fold mechanism, or through a concentric inner pole element capable of telescoping into and out of a hollow outer element of the pole. While bar members (350) may be permanently connected to poles (310, 320, 330), in one embodiment, bar members (350) are attached to the poles (310, 320, 330) through a friction fit socket, or in another embodiment, bar members (350) attach at outside corners (370), central T-junctions (380) and the central four-way junction (360) through hingedly-movable connections. Takedown and disassembly of the game frame is discussed in more detail below.
In one embodiment, poles (310, 320, 330) and bar members (350) may be manufactured from tubular steel, aluminum, PVC, polystyrene, polyethylene, nylon, vinyl, or any substance that is sufficiently lightweight to be person-portable yet rigid enough to be self-supporting and resistant to bend forces induced by ball or player strikes. In an alternate embodiment, poles (310, 320, 330) and bar members (350) may be manufactured from transparent material, wherein light strings such as miniature Christmas-type bulbs or LED lights are contained within the poles and bar members to light the structure and alternatively to provide ambient light for night-time play or decoration. Alternatively, the poles and bar member may be manufactured from either semi-transparent or partially transparent material, and string lights are molded into a channel within each frame member. In another embodiment, poles and bar members further comprise channels substantially aligned with the central axis of the poles and bar members, wherein LED lights and wiring strings are retained within the channel by a friction fit, a set of clamps, or conventional adhesives. In an alternate embodiment, the lighting system further comprises an electronic control unit that provides a pulsed signal to the lights, so that various patterns of flashing and/or multicolor display may be achieved, such as provided by prior art synchronous Christmas “chaser” lights.
In one embodiment of the game frame illustrated in
In one embodiment, the projectile (
Turning now to
In an alternate embodiment, the articulation points (340) on the top surface of the game frame (300) do not hingedly connect; rather, bar members (350) separate at the articulation points (340) through fastening means such as friction fit or pin-fastened connections, and then bar members (350) are free to rotate downward through hinged communication with corner junctions (360, 370, 380), and each pole (310, 320, 330) separates from the game frame with either two, three, or four bar members (350) hingedly attached.
Referring to the apparatus shown in
In one embodiment of the method of the present invention, the serving player (460) should observe the following rules when serving: (a) one of the serving player's feet should be in contact with the outside corner pole (410), (b) the serving player (460) should annunciate that player's current score aloud before serving, and (c) the serving player (460) should serve the ball into another player's (465) box (A′, B,′ or C′) without the ball (50) touching any of the game frame's horizontal bar members (or barriers) as shown by the two exemplary bar members (350) in
Although an exemplary, preferred embodiment of this invention has been described using preferred commercial products, it will be readily understood by those skilled in the art that modifications of the methods and apparatuses described, as well as substitution of equivalent commercially available products may be made without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention claimed.