US 3638948 A
Chance-controlled game apparatus comprising a plurality of differently colored sets of marbles which are individually captured and retained by receiving cells in a base to form a like plurality of random-shaped patterns, a transparent cover overlying the base for viewing the patterns, upstanding posts on the cover in vertical alignment with each receiving cell, and color-matched rubberbands for selective connection of adjacent pairs of posts to form closed loops on the cover corresponding in color and shape to each of the patterns. Relocation of the marbles among the cells changes the shapes of the patterns.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [151 3,638,948 Smith 51 Feb. 1, 1972  CHANCE-CONTROLLED MARBLE FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS GAME  Inventor: Richard D. Smith, 913 North Liberty St.,
Arlington, Va. 22205  Filed: Jan. 31, 1969  App1.No.: 795,582
 US. Cl ..273/l35 AA  Int. Cl.  Field ofSearch ..273/130, 134, 135, 136, 139
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,061,313 10/1962 Greene ..273/l39 3,240,496 3/1966 Reynertson.. .....273/l36 3,484,108 12/1969 Geiger ..273/l35 852,755 11/1960 GreatBritain ..273/135 916,914 l/l963 GreatBritain.... ..273/134 Primary Examiner-Richard Pinkham [5 7] ABSTRACT Chance-controlled game apparatus comprising a plurality of differently colored sets of marbles which are individually captured and retained by receiving cells in a base to form a like plurality of random-shaped patterns, a transparent cover overlying the base for viewing the patterns, upstanding posts on the cover in, vertical alignment with each receiving cell, and colormatched rubberbands for selective connection of adjacent pairs of posts to form closed loops on the cover corresponding in color and shape to each of the patterns. Relocation of the marbles among the cells changes the shapes of the patterns.
6 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures CHANCE-CONTROLLED MARBLE GAME This invention relates to a game of chance and skill which is colorful and interesting, and which further serves to improve upon the manual dexterity capability of the players owing to the required manipulation of small rubberbands or equivalent links to fulfill the game objectivevln general terms, the game objective is to be the first of several players to complete a loop whose configuration is specified by the manually effected random lie of a set of like-colored marbles in several of many marble retaining cells provided in or on an appropriate base. A transparent cover overlying the base serves to confine the movement of the marbles to a limited volume, enables visual observation of the patterns formed by the lie of marbles, and provides a plurality of cellaligned upstanding posts about pairs of which the bands or links are mounted in seriatim to eventually complete a continuous loop which includes all the positions of one set of marbles.
A chance device such as a conventional cube-shaped die is preferably used to dictate the number of post-pair connections that a player is allowed to make during any one turn. One of the six numerical indications on the die is used to dictate the removal of some previously applied bands or links; e.g., the roll of a-:could dictate the removal of two previously applied bands. Which of the die indications is used for the latter purpose may be invariably stipulated or selected by the players prior to the start of play, such latter mode of play permitting variations as to the number of turns required to complete a loop, probability wise, and thus the time to complete any one game.
The skill aspect of the game derives from the fact that a large number of differently shaped closed loops can be made from any given random lie of one set of marbles. The player able to recognize which of the many possible loops attendant to his set requires the least number of post-pair interconnections is thus in the best possible position, exclusive of chance, to fulfill the loop completing objective of the game.
Other features of the invention will become apparent upon review of the following description in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. I is a plan view of a preferred form of base member mated to a receptacle, with the overlying transparent cover in lace; p FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the preferred base embodiment showing the minimum volume packaging arrangement achievable therewith;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the preferred base embodiment showing one completed loop and one partially completed loop corresponding to two random patterns formed by the lie of two different colored sets of five marbles each;
FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8 show partial plan and section views of two alternative base member embodiments.
With reference to the drawings, the preferred embodiment is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 as comprising a rectangular-shaped open-top box 1 of cardboard or the like including four sidewalls and a bottom. Arranged in stacked relationship within the box is an apertured base 2 and a transparent cover member 3 adapted to overlie the base. Base 2 and cover 3 are essentially open-bottom boxes including respective peripheral aprons or sides 4, 5 which function as standoffs for maintaining the base and cover in the desired spatial relationship to each other and the bottom of box 1. The base and cover are separate units and thus individually removable from box 1. The apertures in base 2 provide a plurality of small cavities or cells 6 which are preferably circular in form although other equivalent shapes can be used. The sole requirement of the cells is that they each be capable of capturing and snugly retaining a single marble 7 as shown in dotted lines FIG. 2. When circular cells are employed, the marbles are prevented from falling through the cells to the bottom of box 1 by the use of a cell diameter slightly smaller than the diameter of the marbles. The number of cells employed depends upon several factors, including size of the game, the number of players able to play, etc. Regardless of their number, each cell is visibly related to two or more other cells by way of connecting lines 8 imprinted on the marble running upper surface 9 of base 2. These lines somewhat limit the number of possible patterns as will presently become clear.
In addition to previously mentioned standoff aprons 5, the cover 3 includes a plurality of preferably integral upstanding posts 10 which, taken as a group or individually, are aligned with the cells in base 2; each cell is thus visibly related to a single particular post. Inasmuch as cover 3 is fabricated from transparent plastic, preferably by the injection or other molding of polystyrene, the direct relationship between a cell and its respective post is clear from inspection. The transparency of cover 3 affords a clear view of cells 6 and lines 8 on the upper surface of base 2, with any marbles present on the surface or in the cells also being clearly evident and their colors readily distinguishable.
The implements used with the subject game are shown in FIG. 3. The functions of the differently colored marbles 7 and the die 12 have already been mentioned. Cell plugs, as the name implies, are used in varying numbers to plug one or more of the cells in base 2 so as to alter the number and types of patterns realizable from any given apertured base configuration. In the preferred form of the game, these plugs may be simply neutral colored marbles such as the one shown at 13 in FIG. 3. Diminutive rubberbands 14 of colors corresponding to the colors of the marble sets, as previously mentioned, are used to interconnect pairs of posts to fabricate closed rubber band loops in keeping with the game objective. In the case where the cells of base 2 are arranged in an equidistant geometrical pattern as shown in FIG. 1, and further given that only pairs of posts visibly related by fixed length lines 8 imprinted on base 2 may be interconnected, nonelastic link means identical in shape to the stretched rubberbands of FIG. 4 may be used in lieu of the flexible bands.
With further reference to FIG. 3, note that transparent cover 3 has been inverted relative to its game playing position of FIG. 2. Owing to the previously discussed alignment of cells 6 in base 2 with the upstanding posts 10 on cover 3, the posts slip easily through the cells whereby the base and cover mate in back-to-back relation with a minimum of space consumption. The volume confined by the sides 5 of inverted cover 3 provides for the convenient storage of all the game implements when not in use. An open-bottom box 15 serves as a cover for open-top box 1 to completely enclose base 2, transparent cover 3 and the game implements and thus provide a minimal volume package.
In the preferred method of play of the game and assuming the use of colored rubberbands, each player selects a color as faces of base 2 and cover 3. Return of the device to its normal playing position as in FIG. 2 and nominal additional agitation results in the immobilizing of all the marbles by their capture and reception in the various cells of base 2 on a one marble per cell basis. The patterns formed by the individual sets of marbles are thus strictly random in nature. Possible random marble patterns formed by two different colored sets of five marbles each are shown in the lower portion of FIG. 4 which also illustrates the plugging of two cells by a pair of neutralcolored cell plugs 13. That more than one or two sets of marbles can be used is obvious, as is the use of more or less than five marbles per set as well as more or less than two cell plugs.
Continuing on with the game play description, the first player to select a color then throws the die to determine how many pairs of posts 10 he may connect with rubberbands l4, or.whether he must remove some bands from pairs of posts which he had previously interconnected. In the case where a player has no previously connected post pairs to his credit as would be the case during the early stages of play, and when he is instructed to remove hands by the roll of the die, such player simply takes no action except to pass thedie to the next player so that the game may continue. By way of example, a roll of a one, three, four, five or six allows the die-tossing player to respectively interconnect one, three, four, five or six pairs of posts while a roll of a two requires that he remove two bands which he had previously wrapped around two pairs of posts. The choice of a two for the latter purpose can be arbitrary as previously noted. A repetition of the die tossing, band connect and band disconnect procedures by the remaining players in alternation then follows, the cycle being repeated until one of the players completes his loop to end the game.
The top portion of FIG. 4 shows a completed loop, generally indicated by the numeral 16, corresponding to the pattern formed by a set of marbles 7, and an incomplete loop generally indicated by the numeral 17 corresponding to the pattern formed by a set of marbles 7. Note that the loops of the various players may overlap, that each may use the same posts for making the die dictated interconnections, but that only pairs of posts linked by an imprinted line 8 may be connected by rubberbands l4, i.e., no skipping of posts is permitted.
As an alternative mode of band connecting, the plugs 13 may be related to upstanding posts 10 to the extent that the posts which happen to overlie the plugs may be forbidden from use as rubberband connecting means, i.e., these posts only would have to be sidestepped (skipped) in any loop constructing operation. This latter mode of play is not illustrated in the drawings.
As exemplified by FIG. through 8, the marble capturing and retaining base used in the play of the subject game may assume any of several forms. Aside from the shape of the cells, the major difference between the embodiments of FIG. 5 through 8 and the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 4 is that the imprinted lines 8 are applied to the covers 3 FIGS. 6 and 8 rather than to the base 2 of the preferred embodiment. Representations of such lines are shown at 8 in FIGS. 6 and 8. FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate the use of a honeycomblike grid configuration 20 adapted for insertion into the bottom portion of open-top box 1 and providing a plurality of open-ended cells 18 consisting of contiguous walls 19. The individual cells of honeycomb 20 operate to capture and retain marbles 7 for purposes as previously discussed, as well as physically support transparent cover 3 with the integral posts in alignment with each of the cells 18.
A further embodiment showing the use of an integral basebox unit 30 is provided by FIGS. 7 and 8. The base of this modification is in the form ofa waffle-iron-type grid which includes a plurality of upstanding truncated polyhedrons 29 providing a plurality of cells 28 for capturing and retaining marbles 7 as aforesaid. A curiosity of this embodiment is that the marbles are captured or otherwise immobilized only in base locations bounded by four different polyhedrons as shown in FIG. 7; a marble at any other location shown in the drawing is unstable and can be shifted to a relatively stable cell location by very slight movement of the base. Base-box unit 30 also functions to physically support transparent cover 3 with the posts 10 thereof in alignment with the various cells as aforesaid.
Having thus described my invention of a chance-controlled game, and recognizing that certain modifications of detail may be made thereto without departing from the scope or spirit thereof,
What I claim as new is:
1. Game apparatus comprising means for establishing at least one pattern, said means comprising a base with a plurality of cells and at least one set of movable elements, said base and elements being relatively movable whereby said elements are captured and retained by said cells to form said pattern, a substantially transparent cover overlying said pattern establishing means and through which said pattern is viewable, a plurality of elements carried by said cover and positioned in alignment with said cells for establishing on said cover a second pattern conforming to the pattern established by said first-mentioned means, and link means for interconnecting selected pairs of said cover carried elements for outlining sal second pattern on said cover.
2. Game apparatus as in claim 1 wherein a plurality of sets of differently colored movable elements are utilized, said sets establishing a plurality of patterns each formed by an individual set of like-colored movable elements.
3. Game apparatus as in claim 1 wherein said transparent cover is provided with peripheral side portions for forming an enclosed cavity between said base and said cover carried elements whereby said movable elements are confined to movement within said cavity.
4. Game apparatus as in claim 3 wherein said base is provided with visible connecting lines between pairs of said cells.
5. Game apparatus as in claim 3 wherein said cover is provided with visible connecting lines between pairs of said cover carried elements.
6. Game apparatus comprising a base, means on said base for establishing a set of multiple patterns which are distinguishable from each other by color, said set of patterns being viewable through a substantially transparent cover which overlies said means and through which all patterns of said set are viewable, said means being adjustable relative to said base to establish a different-shaped set of multiple patterns on said base, a plurality of elements carried by said cover, certain of said plurality of elements being positioned in alignment with corresponding parts of any pattern established by said firstmentioncd means for establishing a correspondingly shaped pattern on said cover, and link means for interconnecting selected pairs of said certain elements for outlining said correspondingly shaped pattern on said cover.