US 20070093285 A1 Abstract A multi-pattern bingo game is provided. Using matrix multiplication, a selected bingo card is compared against multiple patterns that are played for simultaneously in a bingo game. If a pattern match is detected, the card is a winning card. In an online version of the game, winning cards may be determined and the information forwarded to individual player computers for simulation of the bingo game.
Claims(22) 1. A method for determining a winning card in a multi-pattern computerized bingo game, comprising:
a. setting multiple patterns to be played for simultaneously in the bingo game, each said pattern being stored in a computer memory as a pattern matrix; b. generating call numbers from a range of available numbers, and a sequence in which the call numbers are to be called, the call numbers and the sequence being stored in the computer memory; c. providing at least one bingo card for selection by a player, the card comprising card numbers from the range, the card numbers being associated with virtual positions on a grid, and, storing the card numbers and the grid positions thereof in the computer memory; d. calling the call numbers in the sequence to construct, for each card, a daub matrix of grid positions corresponding to any card numbers which match the called number, and, for each called number:
(i) multiplying the daub matrix by each pattern matrix to produce a product matrix for each pattern; and
(ii) determining from each product matrix whether the card matches the pattern; and
e. repeating steps (i) and (ii) at least until such time as a pattern match is determined for any pattern, the card being thereby determined as a winning card, and determining how many called numbers must be called to generate said winning card. 2. The method of 3. The method of 4. The method of 5. The method of 6. The method of 7. The method of 8. The method of 9. The method of 10. The method of 11. The method of 12. The method of 13. The method of 14. The method of 15. The method of 16. The method of 17. The method of 18. The method of 19. The method of 20. The method of 21. A method for determining whether any winning cards have been selected in a multi-pattern computerized bingo game, comprising:
a. setting multiple patterns to be played for simultaneously in the bingo game, each said pattern being stored in a computer memory as a pattern matrix; b. generating call numbers from a range of available numbers, and a sequence in which the call numbers are to be called, the call numbers and the sequence being stored in the computer memory; c. providing at least one bingo card for selection by a player, the card comprising card numbers from the range, the card numbers being associated with virtual positions on a grid, and, storing the card numbers and the grid positions thereof in the computer memory; d. calling the call numbers in the sequence to construct, for each selected card, a daub matrix of grid positions corresponding to any card numbers which match the called number, and, for each called number:
(i) multiplying the daub matrix by each pattern matrix to produce a product matrix for each pattern; and
(ii) determining from each product matrix whether the card matches the pattern, the card being thereby determined to be a winning card; and
e. repeating step (d) until a predetermined number of call numbers have been called, and determining how many called numbers must be called to generate a winning card, if any winning cards can be determined in the predetermined number of call numbers. 22. A method for determining a winning card in a multi-pattern online bingo game accessible to players over a distributed network, comprising programmed steps for execution on a server, the steps including:
a. setting multiple patterns to be played for simultaneously in the bingo game, each said pattern being stored in a computer memory as a pattern matrix; b. generating call numbers from a range of available numbers, and a sequence in which the call numbers are to be called, the call numbers and the sequence being stored in the computer memory; c. providing at least one bingo card for selection by a player, the card comprising card numbers from the range, the card numbers being associated with virtual positions on a grid, and, storing the card numbers and the grid positions thereof in the computer memory; d. calling the call numbers in the sequence to construct, for each card, a daub matrix of grid positions corresponding to any card numbers which match the called number, and, for each called number:
(i) multiplying the daub matrix by each pattern matrix to produce a product matrix for each pattern; and
(ii) determining from each product matrix whether the card matches the pattern; and
e. repeating steps (i) and (ii) at least until such time as a pattern match is determined for any pattern, the card being thereby determined as a winning card, and determining how many called numbers must be called to generate said winning card, wherein said server is programmed for communicating the winning card or cards to a plurality of client computers, each said client computer being programmed for displaying a game re-creation to announce the winning card or cards. Description The invention relates to bingo games, and more particularly to bingo games played on a computer. Bingo has been played for many years and its popularity continues to grow. In its simplest form, the game employs paper cards containing numbers in a grid formation. The cards contain numbers selected at random from a set of possible numbers (or letter/number codes). Cards are distributed to players (for free or for money) and the game play begins. An operator announces or calls numbers drawn at random. Each player marks his/her paper card as a number is matched. If the daubed numbers on the card match a pattern that has been set as the played-for pattern, then the player yells “bingo”. In some instances, the “bingo” leads to a new round and new cards must be selected/purchased. However, the play in a single round may also continue to a second or further “bingo”, such as to make a pattern that is a compound pattern of the first pattern. For example, the first played-for pattern might be a single outside line, while the second played-for pattern might be a box (□), and a further played-for pattern might be a “blackout” (i.e. every space on the card grid filled in). This type of sequential play is sometimes called “progressive bingo”. Various forms of computerized and online bingo have been proposed and realized. The systems, in one form or another, all attempt to replicate the in-person experience of playing bingo in a bingo hall. However, the systems may be clunky and unappealing precisely because of the attempt to latch on to the known methods of real world bingo playing. As processing power becomes increasingly available and inexpensive, it would be desirable to use this to add greater feature-richness and excitement to the bingo game. One such improvement would be to change one of the fundamentals of the bingo game—that the players play for one and only one pattern at a time. The present invention is directed at providing a true multiple pattern capability in computerized and online bingo. Unlike in traditional paper-based bingo, the multiple patterns are not played for sequentially, but simultaneously. In the paper-based bingo world, this would be confusing and difficult to implement as players would have difficulty identifying when to shout “bingo”. However, the applicants have made the surprising discovery of a way to implement multi-pattern play in a computerized/online bingo game. This has been found to increase the excitement and perception of “unpredictability” in a game as players can win on any of several patterns. Each “bingo” also comes up faster, which keeps the excitement high, without the need to increase the speed of the calls. Depending on the set-up of the game, the multiple pattern play can also increase the card turnover, which may benefit the operator of the game who can therefore sell more cards in a given span of time. One of the difficult aspects of providing multiple pattern play is the determination of winning cards. An efficient method is needed for finding winning cards as each pattern must be compared to each card at each call. Furthermore, the method must have a way of tracking the number of calls to reach the first, second and subsequent winning cards. The applicants have found a way to do this using matrices for an elegant and efficient comparison process. Adding to the efficiency (for an online environment particularly) the applicants' method can perform all of the calculations in advance, sending results to the client computers, thus making the “game” seen by the players effectively a re-creation or simulation. Of course, it will be understood that the calculations can be performed live, i.e. concurrently with the game play as seen by client computers. According to a first aspect of the invention, a method is provided for determining a winning card in a multi-pattern computerized bingo game. The method comprises the following steps: -
- d. calling the call numbers in the sequence to construct, for each card, a daub matrix of grid positions corresponding to any card numbers which match the called number, and, for each called number:
- (ii) determining from each product matrix whether the card matches the pattern; and
- e. repeating steps (i) and (ii) at least until such time as a pattern match is determined for any pattern, the card being thereby determined as a winning card, and determining how many called numbers must be called to generate said winning card.
Steps (i) and (ii) may be repeated in a game until a predetermined number of winning cards is reached. Alternatively, steps (i) and (ii) may be repeated in a game until a predetermined number of called numbers is called in the sequence, regardless of the number of winning cards determined. Each daub matrix comprises a matrix of 0s and 1s, each 1 representing a match in the grid position. The determining step involves evaluating each grid position in the product matrix and finding a pattern match if values stored in the grid positions making up the pattern are greater than zero. In a given game, it may be set that only one winning card is determined, or the game may be continued after a winning card is determined. The number of winning cards may be predetermined by an operator. The number of called numbers may also be predetermined by an operator. There may be 75 call numbers in the sequence. There may be 90 call numbers in the sequence. These represent American style and European style bingo games, respectively. However, other call number configurations may also be provided. In a preferred embodiment of the method, the bingo game is accessible to players over a distributed network (e.g. the Internet). In this embodiment, a game server is provided that is programmed to determine the winning card or cards. Client computers are also provided, and the game server (which may physically consist of one or more server machines) is in communication with the client computers. The server communicates the winning card or cards to the client computers. Each client computer is programmed for displaying a game re-creation and announcing the winning card or cards. The game re-creation is preferably interactive. The multiple patterns may be set by an operator or by a player. These can be any configuration of markable bingo card positions—representing an identifiable shape (such as an X, an L or a line across or down) or a random configuration. Multiple patterns are played for simultaneously in a single bingo game. All cards in play in a single game are evaluated for matching the multiple patterns at the same time. In the game re-creation, each pattern may be displayed graphically for the players. There may also be a display indicating, for each card, and each of the multiple patterns, how many “numbers away” from matching the pattern the card is at a given time in the re-creation. During the game re-creation, the player's card may be marked automatically to show the card numbers that have been “called” in the sequence. This is known as an “auto-daub” feature. The client computer may be programmed to provide this feature as a toggle option. If auto-daub feature is off, the player may be permitted to manually mark (or daub) his/her card(s) during the calling of the numbers. If the player gets behind in marking the card(s), the program may also provide the option to “catch-up” (i.e. to automatically mark the missed numbers). According to a second aspect of the invention, a method is provided for determining whether any winning cards have been selected in a multi-pattern computerized bingo game. The method comprises the following steps: -
- d. calling the call numbers in the sequence to construct, for each selected card, a daub matrix of grid positions corresponding to any card numbers which match the called number, and, for each called number:
- (ii) determining from each product matrix whether the card matches the pattern, the card being thereby determined to be a winning card; and
- e. repeating step (d) until a predetermined number of call numbers have been called, and determining how many called numbers must be called to generate a winning card, if any winning cards can be determined in the predetermined number of call numbers.
According to a third aspect of the invention, a method is provided for determining a winning card in a multi-pattern online bingo game accessible to players over a distributed network, comprising programmed steps for execution on a server. The steps include: -
- d. calling the call numbers in the sequence to construct, for each card, a daub matrix of grid positions corresponding to any card numbers which match the called number, and, for each called number:
- (ii) determining from each product matrix whether the card matches the pattern; and
- e. repeating steps (i) and (ii) at least until such time as a pattern match is determined for any pattern, the card being thereby determined as a winning card, and determining how many called numbers must be called to generate said winning card,
- wherein said server is programmed for communicating the winning card or cards to a plurality of client computers, each said client computer being programmed for displaying a game re-creation to announce the winning card or cards.
As shown in the figures, the invention uses matrices for determining whether a pattern match has been achieved. An example of such comparison in a 75 ball bingo game is shown in One of the multiple patterns played for in the sample game is shown (p) at A call number sequence having already been determined before the card was selected, the comparison proceeds as each number in the sequence is “called” To determine result matrix (r) A different example is shown in The use of 1's and 0's is particularly useful in the present matrix computation, as these numbers have particular properties in multiplication. Multiplication by 1 maintains “identity”. Therefore, multiplying 1*1 in a grid position produces 1. Multiplication by 0 always produces 0. Therefore, multiplying either 0 or 1 by 0 produces 0. In the present case, the result matrix (r) The calculation for remaining squares is shown as a mathematical model in In the course of the method as set out in the claims, the mathematical calculations are done for each card, for each of the multiple patterns, as each number is called. All of this is done before a player at a client computer sees the progress of the “game” in the usual sense. The game seen by the player is in effect a re-creation or simulation of the process that has already gone on—at high speed—in advance by the server. When a player sees a screen, such as shown in Each game plays simultaneously for multiple patterns. The patterns may be shown in a graphical display ( Playing for multiple patterns does not have an impact on the basic odds of the game. That is, each card played by each player has an equal chance of winning. Provided that the numbers for the call sequence are selected randomly and the outcomes are maintained in secrecy until after the card selection period has closed, the fairness of the game is preserved. Not all of the possible numbers in the sequence will need to be called. The operator can control the payout by setting how many prizes he/she is willing to award. Alternatively, the operator can control the number of called numbers without knowing how many prizes will be awarded in that time. Various hardware configurations of the system are possible. For instance, the method could be implemented using a client-server model in which a server entity is used to process the game data and then transmit the output to one or more client machines. The client-server model could also be implemented using one or more game terminals as clients, such as terminals using touch screens. The client-server could also be implemented in a casino or bingo hall environment where the game terminals are multi-function, operating the bingo game as part of a slot-machine based game. Alternatively, the method could be implemented using a stand-alone computer, in which a standalone application would do the game processing of the card data and display the output in graphical form to the user. While an online (or Internet-based) embodiment has been described most particularly, it will be understood that the system could equally well be implemented for a single-user on a stand-alone computer. The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact processes, components and applications shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention and the appended claims and their equivalents. Referenced by
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