US 3643954 A
A game of the type having a playing surface, a playing piece and playing piece recesses at the edges of the playing surface characterized by the provision of a playing piece launching rotor positioned centrally of the playing surface, the speed and direction of the rotor being controllable by the player to launch the playing piece into a desired recess. Movable blocking elements are provided adjacent the recesses for preventing the entry of the playing piece into a recess. Also, the game is characterized by the provision of reversible recess insert pieces capable of being oriented in one fashion to block some of the recesses when the game is being played with a reduced number of players, or to be oriented in a reverse fashion to provide plural cavities for receiving the playing piece.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Meyer et a1.
 GAME WITH PROJECTILE LAUNCHING ROTOR  Inventors: Burton S. Meyer; Marvin 1. Glass, both of Chicago, Ill.
Marvin 8r Associates Aug. 8, 1969  Assignee:
-  Appl.N0.: 848,574
1 Feb. 22, 1972 Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle Assistant Examiner-Theatrice Brown Attorney-Hofgren, Wegner, Allen, Stellman & McCord  ABSTRACT A game of the type having a playing surface, a playing piece and playing piece recesses at the edges of the playing surface characterized by the provision of a playing piece launching rotor positioned centrally of the playing surface, the speed and direction of the rotor being controllable by the player to launch the playing piece into a desired recess. Movable blocking elements are provided adjacent the recesses for preventing the entry of the playing piece into a recess. Also, the game is characterized by the provision of reversible recess insert pieces capable of being oriented in one fashion to block some of the recesses when the game is being played with a reduced number of players, or to be oriented in a reverse fashion to provide plural cavities for receiving the playing piece.
10 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures GAME WITH PROJECTILE LAUNCI-IING ROTOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to game devices.
2. Description of the Prior Art There are many well-known games employing the concept of attempting to project a ball or similar type of playing piece into a pocket like recess in a game board. These range all the way from the well-known large table games of pool or billiards to the very small finger manipulatable games. Generally speaking, the ball or other projectiles are attempted to be gathered into the recess or pocket by direct application of digital force or manual manipulation of some sort of an instrument such as a pool cue or the like. Furthermore, usually the recess or pocket is unobstructed so that only accurate guidance is necessary to insure a successful entry of the ball into the pocket.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention is directed, in brief, to the provision of an improved game of the type having a playing surface with peripherally located recesses and a ball-like playing piece intended to be launched into the recesses with a driven playing piece launching device, the speed and direction of the launching device being governed by a player.
The best mode currently contemplated by me for carrying out the invention includes the provision of a generally dished, concave playing surface having a peripheral border thereabout with recesses spaced about the border. The playing surface is provided with a generally centrally positioned rotating element having upstanding vanes or the like, the rotating element being driven by a motor with player manipulatable means provided for changing the speed and direction of the drive imparted by the motor to the rotating element. Movable player manipulatable blocking elements are provided adjacent each of the recesses to assist opposing players in preventing the entry of a ball into the recess which they are guarding. Also recess inserts are provided which may be reversely oriented in the recesses. In one position, the inserts block the recess so that the game may be adapted for play by a reduced number of players. In a reverse orientation, the inserts divide the recesses into three compartments so that different values may be awarded for entry of the ball or projectile into different compartments of the recesses.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the game of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a section view taken generally along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a section view taken generally along the line 3--3 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary enlarged sectional view showing the mounting arrangement of the motor in the interior of the game;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary bottom plan view showing the mounting arrangement of the battery elements which supply power for the motor;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one of the recess insert pieces; and
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary enlarged sectional view showing in greater detail the structural arrangement for driving the central rotor.
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail a specific embodiment therefor, with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiment illustrated.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Game 10 of this invention includes a frame or housing 12 generally defined by sidewalls 14, 16, 18 and 20 which are connected by substantially right angular inset corners 14a, 16a, 18a and 20a. Preferably the frame is made of a suitable, durable, rigid material such as plastic or the like and the frame and dished concave playing surface 22 may be formed as an integral, one piece plastic molded member.
The playing surface 22 is provided with a plurality of playing piece recesses or slots 24, 26, 28 and 30, which are spaced about the periphery of the playing surface 22 adjacent the borders or confines afforded by the portions of walls 14, l6, l8 and 20 which extend upwardly above the playing surface 22.
Generally centrally of the playing surface there is provided an upstanding sleevelike hub 32 having a hollow interior 32a. A diallike playing piece projecting means or rotor 34 is rotatably mounted to the playing surface 22 by means of a depending stub 35 which extends into the hollow interior 32a of the central sleevelike hub 32. Rotor 34 has a ringlike periphery 36 and an upraised center 38 with a plurality of generally radially extending vanes or ribs 40 that are substantially transversely oriented relative to the playing surface 22. Rotor 34, and the vanes 40 thereof, are utilized to launch a playing piece 42, such as a marble or the like, for intended occupation in one of an opponents recesses 24, 26, 28 or 30. The underside of the periphery 36 of rotor 34 has a downwardly opening channel 44 bounded by inner and outer depending walls 44a and 44b, as seen in FIGS. 2 and 3 and in greater detail in FIG. 7.
Means are provided for driving the rotor and controlling the speed and direction of rotation thereof. Included in this means is a miniature electric motor 46 having the drive shaft 48 which extends through an opening 49 in the playing surface 22. Opening 49 is near hub 32 but spaced therefrom a distance approximately the same as the radius of rotor 34. The free end of shaft 48 is provided with a driving surface 50 which may he compressible resilient material, such as a rubber or expanded plastic sleeve or the like. To provide a source of power for the motor 46, a pair of batteries 52 are mounted in a rack 54 adjacent wall 16. Contact springs 54a and 54b at each end of rack 54 normally hold the batteries together in electrical contact. Switch means 56, including a battery disengaging end 56a, is reciprocally mounted in wall 16 for push-pull movement. When switch 56 is pushed inwardly so that the end 56a is forced between the batteries, this separates the batteries in opposition to the forces exerted by springs 54a and 54b to interrupt the electrical contact therebetween and therefore terminate the supply of current to motor 46. It is to be understood that other suitable switch means could be utilized to control the supply of power to the motor from the batteries 52. Lead wires 58a and 58b extend from their electrical connection with the batteries 52 to the motor 46 to supply current thereto in the well-known fashion.
Motor 46 is nestably received in a basket 60 having a pair of oppositely extending stub pivot shafts 62a and 62b. Shafts 62a and 62b are rotatably received in openings 64a and 66a in depending webs 64'and 66 which extend downwardly from the underside of playing surface 22 near the hub 32 and generally in the area underlying the intended occupation of the channel 44 of rotor 34. Basket 60 and motor 46 intersect control arm 68 which extends generally horizontally through the housing 12, between the corner insets 14a and 18a thereof. In particular, the basket 60 extends through an opening 70 in the central web 72 of the control arm 68. The control arm is further provided with spaced downwardly extending flanges 72a and 72b and ribs 72c which extend above the central web 72 in the area of each of the inset comers 14a and 18a. A slot 74 is provided at the inset corners 14a and 18a for receiving the control arm 68 and an outwardly extending shelf 76 is positioned therebelow on which the flanges 72a and 72b rest to support control arm 68. in addition, slot 74 is provided with a central upwardly extending slot portion 74a for receiving the rib 720 of web 72 to assist in maintaining the control arm in its orientation relative to the other components of the game while permitting it to be reciprocated to a to and fro movement to control the rotor as will be explained. A plurality of playing piece retaining channels 78 are provided at each of the four inset comers 14a, 16a, 18a and 200 so that the playing pieces 42 which are utilized with the game of this invention may be stored prior to use by each player of the game.
A plurality of playing piece feeding members in the form of scooplike trays 80 are mounted at each of the inset comer portions 16a and a. These feeding members have a closed end 8011 and an open end 80b and are pivotally mounted by a post arrangement 82 to the frame 12 of the game.
Means are provided on the playing surface for impeding or retarding the path of travel of the playing piece, this means taking the form of post elements 84 and 86 projecting upwardly from playing surface 22 adjacent to each of the several slots or recesses 24, 26, 28 and 30.
Recess insert means 88 are also provided for each of the recesses 24 through 30. As best seen in FIG. 6, these insert members 88 include a pair of flat, elongate panels 90 and 92 which are positioned at right angles to each other. In addition, panels 94 and 96 extend transversely to each of the panels 90 and 92. When the insert members 88 are in the orientation shown in FIG. 6, they may be positioned in each of the recesses 24 through 30 and as such divide the recesses into three different compartments for receiving the playing piece. Different numerical values may be assigned for reception of the playing piece in each of the compartments, these numerical values being represented by the indicia 97a and 97b formed on the playing surfaces 22 adjacent each of the recesses 24 through 30. However, when the insert member 88 is reversed in its orientation, with the panel 92 facing upwardly, it closes the recess and provides a somewhat raised portion on the playing surface 22. This is illustrated in FIG. 1 at the area of recesses 24 and 28 where the insert pieces 88 are shown as being reversed in their orientation so panel 92 completely covers the recess areas. In this fashion, the game may be adapted for play by a lesser number of players such as two as is the case illustrated in FIG. 1.
It is to be understood that, generally speaking, the panel 92 will generally be of a size and shape to occupy the opening in the top panel 22 of each of the recesses and that the panel portion 90 will have a vertical dimension sufficient so that, when insert 88 is inverted to close off a recess 24-30, portions of the insert will rest on the bottom of the recess to support the panel 92 in elevated relation to the playing surface so as to facilitate its removal.
Means for blocking each of the slots 24 through 30 to prevent the entry of a playing piece thereinto is provided in the form of the slot blocking members 98. Generally speaking, these members include an upright panel 100 terminating in a shallow, inverted U-shaped portion 100a at the upper end and a trailing rear flange 102 at the lower end. A forward leg 104 extends from the inverted U-shaped portion 100a and terminates in a surrounding downtumed lip 106. A riblike upstanding central web 108 is provided for affording a grasping surface for manipulation of the slot blocker 98. It is intended that the inverted U-shaped portion 100a would generally be of a size and shape to matingly embrace the sidewall portions such as l4, l6, l8 and 20 at the top thereof. The blocking members 98 could be moved laterally in the area of the recesses so as to attempt to block the entry of any playing piece therein, it being understood that the portion 104 would be intended to extend forwardly a distance to project beyond the inner border of the recesses and that the downtumed lip 106 would be of sufficient dimension such that the intended playing projectile or piece could not roll thereunder.
To play the game, a player feeds a playing piece, such as a marble 42, onto the playing surface 22 by means of the tray 80. In combination with the position of the tray 80 and the concave inclination of the playing surface 22, the player attempts to feed the playing piece 42 so that it will be engaged by the vanes 40 of the rotor 34. The rotor may be initially activated by means of the switch 56 following which the player may control the speed and direction of the rotor 34 by means of the control arm 68. More particularly, it will be noted from the foregoing description that the motor control arm 68 is shiftable lengthwise through manual movement of one of the projecting end portions of the arm, and that such shifting motion pivots the motor mount 60 to provide movement of the shaft and drive element 50 between wall portions 44a and 44b of rotor 34 (FIGS. 4 and 7). Furthermore, since the motor drive shaft 48 always rotates in the same direction, the engagement of drive element 50 with wall 440 will effect a direction of movement for the rotor 34 which is the reverse of the direction provided when drive element engages wall 44b. The rate and frequency of rotation of the rotor 34 can be varied considerably by simply manipulating the element 50 into and out of engagement with one or both of the driven wall portions 44a and 44b. Thus, the player operating control arm 68 can readily control rotor 34 to drive it in either direction, or permit the rotor to stop by placing the drive element 50 intermediate the walls 44a, 44b and out of engagement with both walls.
While one player is manipulating the control arm 68, oppos ing players may be moving blocking elements 98 in an effort to prevent entry of a playing piece launched by rotor 34 into their respective recesses. For each successful launching of a playing piece into one of the opponent's recesses a point value is awarded depending upon the compartment of the recess into which the playing piece is received. However, if the player controlling the rotor 34 causes a marble to be propelled into his own recess, he is penalized. When the players have exhausted their supply of playing pieces, the game is terminated and the winner is determined by the total point value.
The foregoing detailed description has been given for clearness of understanding only, and no unnecessary limitations should be understood therefrom, as some modifications may be obvious to those skilled in the art.
1. A game apparatus comprising means defining a playing surface, means bounding said playing surface and affording a peripheral border therefor, a generally spherical playing piece, a playing piece receiving area on said surface, playing piece propelling means rotatably mounted on the central portion of said playing surface and having a playing piece propelling surface portion in position to strike said playing piece disposed on said playing surface in the path of rotation of said propelling surface portion, and means for selectively effecting rotation of said playing piece propelling means, said propelling means including a pair of facing surfaces and said means for effecting rotation of said playing piece propelling means is disposed for movement into engagement with either of said facing surfaces to thereby selectively change the direction of rotation of the playing piece propelling means.
2. Game apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the selective rotation means for effecting rotation is a motor pivotally mounted in a linearly movable arm, with the motor having a rotatable drive shaft terminating in a drive member for selective engagement with either of said facing surfaces, whereby pivotal movement of the motor provides frictional engagement between the drive shaft of the motor and the propelling means.
3. Game apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the playing piece receiving areas are recesses formed in the playing surface.
4. Game apparatus as set forth in claim 3, wherein the playing piece receiving recesses are provided with receiving recess converting means including a member of a size and shape to substantially occupy the receiving recess and having a panel of a size and shape to cover the same, the member being constructed and arranged to afford an opposite side of a size and shape to be received within the receiving recess and having partitions for providing different playing piece receiving compartments therein.
5. Game apparatus as set forth in claim 4, including blocking members movable mounted on the bounding means adjacent the playing piece receiving recesses, the blocking means being movable along said bounding means and having portions extending over said recesses to prevent the access of playing pieces into the receiving recesses.
6. Game apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein the blocking means includes a portion of a size and shape to generally embrace the top of the bounding areas with a lip depending therefrom and an upwardly extending web for digital manipulation of the blocking means.
7. Game apparatus as set forth in claim 4, wherein the playing piece projecting means includes a rotatable rotor generally centrally positioned on the playing surface.
8. The game apparatus of claim 7, wherein the rotor has a plurality of radially extending ribs for launching the playing pieces toward an intended recess.
9. The game apparatus of claim 8, wherein the rotor has a downwardly facing circular channel bounded by inner and outer channel surfaces, and wherein the rotor is driven by motor means having a driving element positioned for engagement with either of the sides of said channel, with the motor being mounted in means for moving the driving element thereof into and out of engagement with the opposite sides of said channel to change the direction of rotation of said rotor.
10. The game apparatus of claim 9, wherein the motor is pivotally mounted in a pair of spaced webs depending from the underside of the playing surface and extends through an opening in a reciprocal motor adjusting arm, so that to and fro movement of the motor adjusting arm changes the engagement of the motor driving surface with the surfaces of the channel of the rotor.