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Publication numberUS3588114 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1971
Filing dateAug 10, 1967
Priority dateAug 10, 1967
Publication numberUS 3588114 A, US 3588114A, US-A-3588114, US3588114 A, US3588114A
InventorsCharles B Vogel
Original AssigneeCharles B Vogel
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Board game apparatus
US 3588114 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] lnventor Charles B. Vogel 5612 Wickersaam, Houston, Tex. 77027 [21] Appl. No. 659,627 [22} Filed Aug. 10, 1967 [45] Patented June 28, 1971 [54] BOARD GAME APPARATUS 11) Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.

{52] 51.5.EL 273/131, 273/134, 273/137 {51] 501., C! A63f 3/02 [50] Field of Search 273/130, l31,134,135,136,137

{5 6] References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 463,378 11/1891 Atkinson (273/137UX) 534,080 2/1895 Preston 273/131 717,105 12/1902 Mansfield... (273/130UX) 817,233 4/1906 Emmerling.. 273/131 1,472,657 10/1923 Lillard 273/137 2,536,380 1/1951 Lucassenum 273/131 3,099,451 7/1963 Newhouse 372/134 1,492,071 4/1924 Cornell et a1. 273/131 2,602,667 7/1952 Poarch 273/134 3,165,318 1/1965 Lissandrello 273/137X 3,433,482 3/1969 Castellano 273/131 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,290,928 3/1962 France 273/130 926,397 5" German 273/137 499.99% Great 273/131 30 l fi l-3 1 Switzerland 273/131 Primary Examiner- Delbert B, Lowe embodiment has cubical pieces each bearing the letter Z on one face as an indicium of rank which can be changed to N by orientational adjustment. The Z (or N) bearing face may be turned toward one player, thus continuously reminding him of v k the rank of the piece while concealing it from his opponent. A

second embodiment has pieces in the form of short cylinders which respectively have an identical directional indicium on one flat face and one of several difierent symmetrical indicia on the other face. The directional indicia serve as identifying indicia which are adjustable by orientation, whereas the other different indicia are indicia of rank which nay be turned downward and thus hidden. A third embodiment also has cylindrical pieces, one flat surface of each piece being rotatably adjustable with respect to the other, to exhibit one of three selectable rank indicia. This surface is initially turned down for concealment. Each of the other flat surfaces bears a different numerical pattern of dots as an identification of respective pieces after adjustment of the rank thereof. A fourth embodiment has cubical pieces, each bearing the letter Z as a rank indicium on an initially concealed lower surface.

The Z can become N by orientational adjustment. The upperj most surfaces respectively bear symmetrical alphabetical indicia sufficient to spell several words. These serve to identify the pieces after adjustment. For use with the above pieces a special checker board is provided which is imprinted with the same letters used on the pieces and is suited for four person games. A track-type board also is provided, which has a separate track for each of four players.

PATENTEU M28 19?] 3,588,114

INVENTOR.

CHARLES B. VOGEL PATENTEU JUN28 I9?! SHEET 2 OF 2 INVEN'I'OR.

CHARLES B. VOGEL AWT,

GE@@@@@@@E H UE@@@@@@@@@ w BOARD GAME APPARATUS This invention pertains to gaming and specifically to gaming in which playing pieces are moved upon a playing board di vided into a matrix of playing positions in which the pieces may be placed in the course of play, according to a preagreed upon set of rules. It is common for board games to provide an element of skill or a predominating element of chance. For example, checkers" is a game of skill, whereas Pachisi" is primarily a game of chance. Board games usually do not pro vide an element of incomplete information, as is found in card games such as Contract Bridge," Nor do they commonly provide to a marked degree a combination of the elements skill, incomplete information, and chance.

Accordingly, it is a principal object of this invention to pro vide a gaming system and apparatus adapted for use in board games combining the element of skill with the element of incomplete information and/or of chance.

It is a further object to provide a gaming apparatus adapted for use in board games, in which pieces associated with indicia may be placed upon the board and used in play with the associations concealed from one or more players during portions of a game and revealed to all players during other continuing portions.

It is a further object to provide playing pieces associated with indicia of rank for concealment of the association during a portion of the game, and for subsequent indication thereof to all players during continuing portions of the game, without confusing alterations of the orientational appearances of the pieces.

It is a further object to provide a novel set of playing pieces adjustable to form upon a board patterns of position hidden from an opponent.

It is a further object to provide a novel playing piece for board games associated with an index of rank and in addition an identifying index.

Another object is to provide for board games playing pieces associated with individually adjustable indicia.

Another object is to provide a system and apparatus for play optionally by four to enhance the element of incomplete information and to add interest.

The advantages of the present invention are obtained by providing a gaming system and apparatus comprising a novel assembly of playing pieces moveable upon a suitably divided playing board, and manipulatable to exhibit an unconcealed pattern of appearance perceptible by all players when the pieces are placed upon the board and observed in the usual manner. The pieces are associated with indicia to form an initially hidden permutation upon the board which is later changed to be perceptibly distinguishable by all players during continuing portions of the game when revealed in a special manner. The hidden permutations may be formed in accordance with preagreed upon rules at the choice of an individual player by corresponding adjustment of the individual pieces, by choice of a hand of playing pieces of preagreed upon number from a set of greater number, by chance, or by other means as described in the following. The individual pieces are of geometrical shape such that the act of revealing an initially hidden indicium association causes no confusing change in the general shape or profile presented to the eye. Preferably the geometrical shape is that of a cylinder, a cube, or a prism with square or other regular cross section, since these shapes generally may be rotated without change in the shape presented to the eye.

Thus, in games played with the system and apparatus of the present invention, a player may be kept in ignorance of the disposition and/or composition of an opponent's hand of pieces during a portion of the play. Furthermore, the concealed association of indicia with the pieces may be revealed to all players during continuing portions of the game according to a preagreed upon set of rules.

The above and other objects of this invention will be readily understood from the following description, when taken with reference to the corresponding drawings.

FIG. 1 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the invention, wherein indicia on individual playing pieces are adjustable by orientation.

FIG. 1A illustrates an alternate embodiment providing a piece bearing several indicia.

F IG. 2 illustrates an alternate embodiment providing a relatively large set of pieces bearing indicia of rank and identification from which a playing hand may be chosen.

FIG. 3 illustrates an alternate embodiment wherein individual playing pieces bear identifying indicia and adjustable indicia of rank.

FIG. 4 illustrates a novel board for use in the present invention whereby four players may participate in the game; playing pieces also are shown.

FIG. 5 illustrates a board for use in the present invention for playing a track game similar to the traditional game Pachisi.

With reference to FIG. 1, at l is illustrated a playing board preferably identical to the type used in the traditional game checkers, wherein the playing space is divided into 64 squares of two colors, as indicated at 2. Pieces of the opposing players are arranged on opposite halves of the board, designated R or Red and B or Black, corresponding to colors commonly used to distinguish pieces of respective players. The squares are arranged in rows as at 3 running in lines across the board parallel to a center line 6 dividing the board into halves respectively occupied by the opposing players at the beginning of the game. The two rows farthest from the centerline as at 3 and 4 are known as king's rows. The squares form also lines running across the board at right angles to the kings rows, and these are designated columns as at 5.

Also illustrated in FIG. 1 are playing pieces as at 7 and 8, which are placed upon the board, preferably upon the black squares, and moved thereon in play. Each player is provided a set of pieces, preferably twelve in number, which he disposes along the black squares of his kings row and of the two rows adjacent thereto; as in the game Checkers. The respective sets are identified by distinguishing colors, preferably red and black.

The playing pieces are of novel construction, adapted to be used in games which provide an element of incomplete information, and also as an element of chance if desired. They are preferably cube shaped, though they may be in the shape of a prism with square or other regular cross section. For each set there are 10 pieces of a first kind, illustrated at 7, each bearing five unmarked surfaces and one surface marked with a symbol N, which may be rotated as explained below to form the letter Z, as at 8. There are two pieces of a second kind, illustrated at 9, each bearing four unmarked surfaces and two marked surfaces, one marked surface bearing the letter N and the other bearing the letter I. The letters Z, I, and N are indicia of rank borne by the pieces according to their respective orientations as adjusted by the players. Z and I are of equal highest rank and N is of lowest rank.

Various games may be played according to the principles of the present invention. In the following some illustrative games will be described and for purposes of orderly discussion they will be consecutively numbered as a first game, a second game, etc.

Returning to FIG. 1, the apparatus and systems there illustrated are especially adapted for use in a first game named ZIN.'ln this game the playing pieces are placed upon the board and'played preferably diagonally according to the accepted rules for checkers, with certain noted exceptions. The pieces are initially placed upon the board by the individual players with sides parallel to those of the board with the surfaces bearing the letters N or Z facing toward the board or toward the respective player and away from his opponent, from whom the letters are thus concealed. With the exception of the two pieces in each set bearing an I, the individual player may by rotation about an imaginary axis perpendicular to the letter bearing surface adjust each piece so that it bears either an N or a Z as he desires, thus forming combinations upon the board unknown to his opponent. The pieces bearing an I Must be oriented to show an N, with the l bearing surface facing the board initially. After commencement of the game players are not allowed to rotate any piece except in a special move designated the challenge.

Now, the object of the game is different from that of the game checkers; namely the object is to have any one piece bearing a Z or an I reach an opponent's king's row. Pieces are captured by jumping" as in the game checkers. They may be captured also by a special move designated the challenge, whereby a player manipulates an opponent piece in a manner adapted to reveal the rank thereof. With the pieces illustrated in FIG. 1, the challange" is effected by a player rotating an opponent piece through 90 about an imaginary axis parallel to the transverse centerline of the board, to expose the concealed vertical surface and the indicium of rank borne thereon, provided the said player has a piece in a row or column containing the challenged piece. This move may be made in lieu of any other move by a player at any time when it is his turn. If the challenged piece is not of the higher rank, for example, an N or unmarked, then the challenger loses all of his pieces in the row or column containing the challenged" piece. If the challenged" piece is of the higher rank, a Z or an I, then the challenged player loses all of his pieces in said containing row or column.

If the challenger has pieces both in a row and in a column containing the challenged piece, then the challenging player has the option of choosing whether the captured piece or pieces (lost to one player or the other as determined by the outcome of the challenge") shall be from the containing row or from the containing column.

Thus the above-described embodiment of the invention offers facilities for a fast-moving game of unusual interest and variety, wherein the playing pieces bear indicia of rank adjustable by orientation, which are concealed from an opponent during an initial portion of the game and which are ex posed to all players by the above-described special Challenging move. By this special move pieces may be lost or may be retained in play in a manner whereby the related indicia readily identifiable by all players without confusing change in the shape presented to the eye. The initial concealment and subsequent exposure of indicia of rank greatly add to the interest and rapid movement of the game by providing an element of incomplete information.

A second illustrative game named Roulette Checkers, with an enhanced element of change, results when the rules are changed so that a player may challenge any opponent piece without the requirement for having a piece in the same row or column, but with the requirement that he first expose the rank of some desired piece of his own, capturing the opponent piece where the exposed indicia of rank are the same, and losing his piece where they are different.

If desired, the playing pieces may be especially adapted to this type of game, as illustrated in FIG. 1A, by increasing the number of sides on each playing piece, so that the players have a greater number of alternatives in choosing the rank of each individual piece. Of course, the condition should be met that the indicia-bearing surfaces be in the shape of regular polygons or other FIGURES providing several indistinguishable orientations so that an opponent player cannot infer the chosen rank of a piece from its observed orientation. Also, the convention must be adopted that the orientation of respective playing pieces on the board be maintained constant, after initial adjustment, from play to play, and that the rank be that associated with the symbol nearer to an opposite opponent on a challenged piece. Thus each piece is to be set on the board with the indicium to be associated therewith uppermost and facing the respective player. For example, the piece illustrated in FIG. 1A is adjusted to have the rank Z. It is a red piece and faces the red side of the board. It may be challenged by turning it through 90 so that the indicia face upward and the Z is closest to the black opponent side.

Referring now to FIG. 2, there is here illustrated an alternate embodiment of the invention wherein the playing pieces bear indicia of rank which may be concealed from all players and are provided in a set of relatively large number from which a playing hand may be chosen. The playing board for this embodiment is preferably identical with that described above with reference to FIG. 1. The playing pieces are illustrated at l0, ll, 12, 13, and 14. Preferably they are of two colors as at 10 and 11 and have the shape of short cylinders. Preferably on one surface of each piece there is identifying index as at 15.- On the opposite surface there is an index of rank. There are two or more kinds of pieces distinguished by indicia of rank which may be colored dots or imprinted symbols as illustrated at l2, l3, and 14, where the square symbol at 16 indicates the lowest rank, and the triangle symbol at 17 and the star symbol at 18 indicate successively higher ranks, the star indicating the highest rank. There are preferably 12 pieces of each rank in a set of 36 pieces provided to each player. Initially a hand of 12 is chosen and placed on the board.

Each player is allowed to touch only his own pieces except in making a challenge" move as explained below. Each player places his individual pieces upon the board in a desired combination of ranks and positions, respectively, with the indicia of rank facing the board and thus concealed. Each player may identify the ranks of his individual pieces by placing them on the board with the identifying indicia pointing in desired directions according to a secret code. He may then associate each rank with a direction, or directions, maintained fixed by him during the course of the game. Thus he is relieved of the necessity for remembering the initial and final positions of pieces bearing various concealed indicia of rank during the course of play. For example, he might point all star-imprinted pieces toward his opponent, all triangle-imprinted pieces toward his right, and all square-imprinted pieces in diagonal directions. As the game progresses, a player may attempt to unravel his opponents code by Challenge moves.

The playing pieces of this embodiment may be used in either of the first and second illustrative games described above, provided that the Challenge" move is redefined. As in the preferred embodiment, the Challenge" move involves the revelation of the concealed rank of an opponent piece; in this case, however, it is effected by inverting the challenged piece.

This alternate embodiment, which is a second embodiment, is especially suited for games played by more than two people upon a special board described below. It is also especially well suited to a third illustrative game played according to the rules of the first game, with the modification that each players pieces are chosen at random after shuffling. For this game identifying indicia may be ignored or omitted.

An important though not essential feature of this second embodiment is the presence of identifying indicia on the playing pieces in addition to indicia of rank. Of course, the indicia of rank for this embodiment may be of types other than the imprinted symbols above described. For example, the pieces may be of three substantially different weights, being made of aluminum, brass, and lead, respectively, according to rank. Challenging in this case would be carried out by lifting an opponent piece to determine if it is heavy, or medium weight, or very light.

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is here illustrated a third embodiment of the invention, wherein the advantages described above are combined with provisions for greater convenience in play. The playing pieces number 12 for each player. Each piece is adjustable as to the concealed indicium of rank borne on a lower surface and in addition bears two alternate identifying indicia for use in various games as explained in the followmg.

In. FIG. 3, I9 is a playing piece according to this third embodiment, in which the upper surface 20 is exposed, bearing thereon an identifying indicium 21. On the curved surface an index of rank 31 is visible. At 36 the playing piece is illustrated in the inverted position exposing a lower surface 22 bearing thereon an indicium of rank 23. The playing piece is constructed of two members, an upper, solid, flanged, cylindrical member 24 and a lower hollow cylindrical member 25 hearing two circular openings 26 and 27. Exploded views of the playing pieces are shown at 28 and 29 in the initial upright playing position and in the inverted challenged position, respectively. The flange of the upper member is shown at 30. The upper member 24 is constructed to fit snugly into the lower member, being held therein by friction after assembly. Alternatively, screws or rivets may be used. The bottom surface of the upper member bears two sets of indicia of rank 32 and 33 which are identical, except that for the set 33 there is imprinted a black dot 34 in the center of each indicium. On the curved surface of the upper member there is an alternative set of indicia of rank 35 preferably identical in appearance to the set 32. The indicia of rank may be of any desired type and may conveniently be colored spots. However, for the purpose of illustration in the drawings, they are shown as well-known geometrical shapes, the star being chosen for the highest rank, and the triangle and square providing respectively the lower and lowest ranks. The indicia comprising set 35 are aligned directly below corresponding indicia of set 32.

Thus, by grasping the lower, outer member 26 in the left hand, and the flange 30 of the upper member in the right hand one may be a twisting motion adjust the piece to expose through openings 26 and 27 any chosen indicium of rank of the sets 32 and 35. Or, he may alternately select through opening 27 one of the dot-imprinted indicia of rank comprising set 33. In this latter case there is not visible through opening 26 any corresponding indicium ofset 35.

With respect to the identifying indicium 21 borne by the upper surface of the playing pieces, there are corresponding different indicia for'each of the 12 playing pieces, comprising respectively for successive pieces sets of dots numbering one through 12. For example, the playing piece illustrated in FIG. 3 bears four dots as an identifying indicium.

Now, each player is provided with a set of 12 of the abovedescribed playing pieces, the two sets being distinguished preferably by being respectively colored red and black as is conventional for playing pieces of the traditional game checkers. With these sets and with a checkerboard players may play any of the above-described illustrative games, adjust ing the ranks of their playing pieces as desired or as required by the rules ofthe game being played, with the provision, however, that the Challenge" move is effected by inverting a given challenged piece as described above for the second embodiment of the invention.

In addition, the playing pieces described according to this third embodiment may be used to play an interesting game named Adaptor," which constitutes a fourth illustrative game. This game is played according to the rules of the first illustrative game described above, with the added provision that a player may at any time when it is his move reconceal the rank of any one of his pieces which has been previously challenged, and may at the same time readjust the rank of the piece, thus continually adapting the composition of his set of pieces to take advantage of the information he has obtained about his opponents forces as a result of the course of play up to that point.

Thus this third embodiment provides new and unique playing pieces individually adjustable without reorientation as to indicia borne thereon and adapted to be used with the adjustable indicia concealed from all players or exposed during the course of play. Also, the pieces bear identifying indicia to assist the memories of players.

FIG. 4 illustrates embodiments by which the advantages of the invention may be extended to additional games and to games played by four persons. Here 37 is a playing board similar to a Checker board except that it contains a larger number of squares and two centerlines imprinted parallel to the sides, and reference symbols 40 explained below. The centerlines are 38 and 39. The game board is divided into five regions. There is a central square region as at 41 having eight squares along each side. Adjacent the central region are four peripheral regions as at 42, within which, each player can arrange his playing pieces at the beginning of the game.

The playing surface may be the imprinted surface of wood, cloth, paper, or other material which may be folded out for play. Moreover, it is intended that the expression playing board" as used here and herebefore should include such imprinted flexible surfaces as formed by cloth, plastic sheeting, or paper, for example. For play by four persons, it is clear that the main requirement of the divided playing surface is that the number of small squares running across the surface from one side to the other should accommodate the number of playing pieces to be arrayed across the board when the pieces are in their initial positions before the commencement of play.

It should further be noted that, here and herebefore, although the playing board has everywhere been described as being divided into small squares, defining possible positions of the playing pieces upon the board, these positions may equivalently be defined by circles, triangles, or other geometrical areas forming a matrix of positions.

With the board illustrated in FIG. 4, any of the abovedescribed illustrative games may be played. When four players are in one game, partners may sit adjacent each other, each player arraying his pieces on his respective peripheral region of the board at the beginning of the game. If desired, the convention may be adopted that only opposite players may challenge each other when four players use the cubical or polygonally faced pieces of FIG. 1 or FIG. 1A, since, in this case, adjacent opponents will otherwise be able to observe the indicia of rank on each others pieces in certain positions.

To make the playing faster, it is desirable to modify the rules of the above-described illustrative games when played on the board of FIG. 4 so that each player may move optionally one or two squares for each move. The provision should be included, however, that a player may jump an opponent only on the first part of a double move. These rule modifications are desirable when using the board of FIG. 4 because the number of squares between opposite king's rows is twice that of conventional boards.

Playing pieces especially adapted for four-person games are illustrated at 43 and 44. The pieces at 43 comprise a set of 24 pieces for each player. The pieces bear respective imprinted markings on one surface of each. Twelve of the pieces bear markings which each may be adjusted by orientation to represent either of at least two optionally selectable indicia of rank; for example, as illustrated at 45, these pieces may bear the letter Z, which becomes the letter N by rotation as illustrated at 46. The remaining 12 pieces each bear on one surface identifying markings; for example, these pieces may each bear one of the letters E, A, I, O, U, R, S, T, B, L, and D, as illustrated at 47.

These pieces illustrated at 43 may be used to play a fifth illustrative game. In this game each player places pieces bearing identifying marking upon the board along the three rows including and adjacent to his kings row as in the game Checkers;" these pieces are subsequently moved in play. He also places pieces bearing indicia of rank adjacent respectively corresponding reference symbols 40 imprinted upon the playing board, with the indicia concealed from his opponent; these pieces are not moved in play, but remain stationary respectively adjacent the reference symbols. The reference symbols match respectively the identifying markings borne by the playing pieces placed upon the board for movement in play. Thus, as illustrated, these reference symbols may comprise the letters E, A, I, O, U, R, S, T, B, L, and D. Thus for each piece there is an indicium of rank associated with a corresponding identifying indicium.

Each player moves his pieces from square to square as in the game checkers. Pieces are captured by jumping or by challenging as in the above-described illustrative games. However, when using the pieces illustrated at 43, a player may challenge an opponent playing piece which bears an identifying letter and which is moved in play upon the board, by exposing to the view of all the index of rank (which is the letter Z or N) borne by an opponent stationary piece which is adjacent the letter reference symbol matching that of the challenged piece. As in above-described games, a player wins by moving into the opponent kings row a piece bearing an identifying letter for which the matching letter reference symbol is adjacent a sta tionary piece adjusted to bear Z, as described in the preceding paragraph,

The alternative pieces at 44, comprise a set of twelve distinctively colored pieces for each player. respective pieces bearing imprinted markings on at least two surfaces. THe markings on one set of surfaces serve as identifying indicia and may be letters as for the pieces at 43. The identifying indicia are imprinted in such a way as to have the same appearance to all players, irrespective of various adjustable orientations of the pieces upon the board. Markings on the other surfaces are such as may be adjusted by orientation to represent respectively either of at least two optionally selectable indicia of rank. For example, as illustrated, each surface may bear the letter Z which becomes the letter N by rotation.

The pieces illustrated at 44 may be used to play various above-described games. In some instances it will be desirable in two-person games to place the pieces upon the board so that the indicia of rank face the corresponding respective players. In this case, the letters may be ignored.

The pieces illustrated at 44 are especially well suited for a sixth illustrative game named Alphabet Zin," which will now be described. This game may be played by two or four players. At the beginning each player arrays his pieces in his kings row and in the two rows nearest thereto, and orients each piece so that it bears on its lower surface a Z or an N as desired. The choice of Z-bearing pieces must be made such that corresponding identifying letters borne on the exposed surfaces comprise a word spelling combination. Pieces are moved diagonally, one or two squares optionally at each play, and

men are captured by jumping. However, the jump may be made only on a one square move. Pieces may be captured also by challenging. The challenge is effected by rotating the challenged piece about an axis parallel to a kings row to expose the concealed index of rank. If the index of rank is a Z, then the challenging player captures all opponent pieces in the row or column containing the challenged piece and one of his own pieces. Otherwise, he loses his own pieces in the row or column. Of course, the challenging player must have a piece in a row or column containing the challenged piece.

The object of the game is to move a piece bearing Z into the opponent kings row. It is helpful in achieving this objective to remove from the board by challenging as many as possible of the opponent pieces. This in turn becomes less hazardous as more and more successful challenges are made, because in this way a player obtains additional clues as to the word formed by the identifying indicia of his opponents Z-bearing pieces.

The above-described illustrative board games have been of types which generally emphasize an element of skill. However, the apparatus and system of the present invention are applicable also to board games in which chance is a very important element. Within this classification fall track-type board games, in which playing pieces are moved along a divided path, or track, from respective starting positions toward final home positions in accordance with numbers shown at random by dice thrown by the respective players in rotation.

Apparatus especially adapted to such games is illustrated in FIG. 5, where 48 is a playing board bearing imprinted thereon individual tracks 50, 51, 52 and 53, each divided into separate positions of play including starting regions marked S; and home regions marked H. The tracks are further divided into first, second, third and fourth sectors each comprising five adjacent triangular playing spaces for the playing pieces upon the board, as at 49, 54, 55 and 56, respectively. The first sector includes triangular spaces marked S, 2, 3, 4, the second sector includes spaces 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10; etc. Although not illustrated in FIG. 5, the respective identically numbered play ing spaces and corresponding sectors of the different tracks may ifdesired be identified by various matching colors.

The board illustrated at FIG. 5 is especially adapted to a seventh illustrative game named Race Track Zin. In this game each player sues four above-described playing pieces preferably of the type illustrated at 8 in FIG. I. In play the players in rotation cast a pair of dice. After his turn at casting dice a player may elect to use any one of four alternate moves. He may place one of his pieces upon the board at the starting positions S with its indicium of rank (2 or N) face down and thus concealed, and adjusted to indicate the indicium desired. Simultaneously, he may advance the piece the number of positions indicated by the dice toward the H position. Alternatively, he may pass; that is, do nothing more. Alternatively, he may advance one of his pieces already upon the board the indicated number of positions toward H. If, by any of these moves, he occupies a position corresponding with that occupied by an opponent piece, as indicated by identical numbering of the position of the opponent piece, for example, then he captures the opponent piece. Alternatively, he may challenge any opponent piece for which the index of rank is concealed and which is in a sector of the track corresponding with that occupied by one of his own pieces. If the challenged piece is a 2 he captures all opponent pieces in that sector. Otherwise, he loses all his pieces in that sector. That player wins who first moves a Z-piece (a piece oriented to display the letter Z, thus excluding a piece oriented to display N) into his home position H. Needless to say, a player may not change the indicated rank of a piece after it is put into play.

Having thus described the invention, what I claim is:

I claim:

1. A group of playing pieces, provided in two sets, wherein each piece is a unitary, rigid, symmetrical member formed to stand with stability upon a surface during play while disposed in either of two visually indistinguishable orientations; a first indicium on said member positioned to be concealed when the member is in either orientation, and formed to produce two perceptibly different indications in response to disposition of the member in different ones of said orientations; a second indicium on said member effective to identify the same in either of said orientations as being a part of one or the other of said sets, said indicium being of such nature and so arranged as to convey no information as to the orientation of the member; a third indicium on said member identifying the same as a particular member of one or the other of said sets, said third indicium likewise being of such nature and so arranged as to convey no information as to the orientation of the member.

2. A group of playing pieces, provided in two sets, wherein each piece is a unitary, rigid symmetrical member formed to stand with stability upon a surface during play while disposed in either of two visually indistinguishable orientations; a first indicium on said member positioned to be concealed when the member is in either orientation, and formed to produce two perceptibly different indications in response to disposition of the member in different ones of said orientations; a second indicium on said member effective to identify the same in either of said orientations as being a part of one or the other of said sets, said indicium being of such nature and so arranged as to convey no information as to the orientation of the member; a third indicium on said member identifying the same as a particular member of one or the other of said sets, said third indicium being formed in a symmetrical manner to produce said result of conveying no information as to the orientation of the member.

3. The group of playing pieces of claim 2 wherein said third indicium is rendered symmetrical by the symmetrical arrangement of repetitions of a respective single one of a group of letters of sufficient number and of such selection as to be adequate to spell any one of at least two words.

4. The group of playing pieces of claim 3 wherein said member has two square opposite faces, and wherein said first indicium on said member is the letter Z borne on one of said faces, said first indicium appearing as either the said letter 2 or the letter N in response to said disposition of the member in difierent ones of said orientations, said first indicium letters being formed to present the same appearance to players on opposite sides of said member.

5. The group of players pieces of claim 4 and a playing board comprising a square central region and four lettered rectangular outer regions; said regions being divided into a matrix of playing positions, and each of said lettered outer regions having imprinted thereon as reference symbols each of the said letters respectively repeated to form each said third indicium.

6. A group of playing pieces, provided in two sets, wherein each piece is a unitary, rigid, cube-shaped member, and a playing board divided into a matrix of playing positions; a first indicium on said member comprising the letter Z and positioned to be concealed when the member is in either of two visually indistinguishable orientations, said first indicium being formed to present the same appearance to players on opposite sides of said member and to appear as either of two recognized letters in response to disposition of the member in different ones of said orientations, said letters being the said letter Z and the letter N; a second indicium on said member efi'ective to identify the same in either of said orientations as being a part of one or the other of said sets, said indicium being of such nature and so arranged as to convey no information as to the orientation of the member.

7. A group of playing pieces, provided in two sets, wherein each piece is a symmetrical member formed to stand with stability upon a surface during play while disposed in either of two orientations and to present the same appearance to players on opposite sides of said member while in either on said orientations; a first indicium on said member positioned to be concealed when the member is in either of said orientations and fonned to produce two visually difierent indications in response to adjustment of the member to said orientations; a second indicium on said member effective to identify the same .as being a part of one or the other of said sets, said indicium being of such nature and so arranged as to convey no information as to said adjustment; a third indicium on said member positioned to be revealed while said first indicium is concealed, said third indicium being formed to produce a fixed visual indication so as to convey no information as to said adjustment and being formed in a symmetrical manner so as to present substantially the same appearance to players on opposite sides of said member; whereby one of said first and third indicia is effective to identify said member as a particular member of one or the other of said sets while the other of said first and third indicia is concealed.

8. The group of playing pieces of claim 7 wherein each said member has a simple unitary outward appearance and a pair of similar parallel faces, said faces respectively bearing said first and third indicia.

9. The group of playing pieces of claim 8 wherein said third indicium is a symmetrically duplicated indicium.

10. The group of playing pieces of claim 9 wherein said third indicium is formed by the repetition of a respective single one ofa group of letters of sufficient number and of such selection as to be adequate to spell any one of at least two words.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification273/260, 273/261, 273/290, 273/291
International ClassificationA63F9/00, A63F3/02
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2003/00826, A63F3/00697, A63F2003/00854, A63F2250/025, A63F2250/027, A63F3/00176
European ClassificationA63F3/00P, A63F3/00B1