US 3759526 A
Game apparatus is disclosed including game pieces each having at least one face with at least one pattern thereon, the pattern extending to an edge of the piece. Complete, conventional numerical and/or alphabetical characters are formed by joining pairs of game pieces along the mentioned edges in various combinations, a given pattern representing, in a particular combination of pieces, either the upper or lower portion of the completed character.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 1111 3,759,526
Estvan, Jr. 1 1 Sept. 18, 1973 1 GAME PIECES SELECTIVELY JOINABLE 176,532 4/1876 Hughes.... 273/157 R ALONG EDGES THEREOF o FORM 1,129,604 2/1915 Rice 273/157 R LETTERS 0R NUMERALS FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS  Inventor: Charles Estvan, Jr., 5615 Valley 177,703 2/1954 Austria 273/157 R Oak Dr Los Angeles 88,3l2 ll/l92l AUStl'lfl 273/157 R  Filed: 1971 Primary Examiner-Anton O. Oechsle  App]. No.1 176,148 Attorney-Robert H. Fraser et a1.
52 11.5. C1. 273/157 R, 35/70, 35/71,  ABSTRACT 35 72 273 137 C, 273 137 D Game apparatus is disclosed including game pieces 51 1111. c1. A63f 9/10 each having at least one face wi h at le ne p n  Field of Search 273/152, 152.7 R, thereon, the pattern extending to an edge of the P 273/152-7 A, 155, 156, 157 R, 137 B, 137 C, Complete, conventional numerical and/or alphabetical 137 I); 35/31 G, 35 J, 69, 70 71 72 73; 4 /1 characters are formed by joining pairs of game pieces along the mentioned edges in various combinations, a
 References Cited given pattern representing, in a particular combination UNITED STATES PATENTS of pieces, either the upper or lower portion of the com- 550,563 11/1895 Pierce, Jr 35/69 pleted character 7 1,973,564 9/1934 Graham 273/157 R UX 6 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures J 20 20025 21 zo zo 21-21 20 20e 2| 2s 21 PATENTED SEPI 8M5 SHEET H- BF 4 m m w N I CHARLES E STVAN JR.
ATTORNEYS GAME PIECES SELECTIVELY JOINABLE ALONG EDGES THEREOF TO FORM LETTERS OR NUMERALS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to game apparatus and particularly to educational and amusing games comprising a plurality of interchangeable pieces which may be matched in various combinations to form complete arabic numerals and/or lettersof the alphabet.
2. Description of the Prior Art The prior art includes game apparatus in which a plurality of game pieces, such as rectangular blocks, having designs or numerals on the faces thereof, may be brought into contiguity in various combinations. In the case of certain prior art games involving numerals, complete numerals appear on the faces of the game pieces and the object generally is to match as many pieces with like numerals as possible. Such games, besides the amusement they provide, often require the exercise of ingenuity and mathematical skill and therefore have significant educational value.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention comprises an improvement over previous games of the class mentioned by the introduction of additional factors requiring a higher degree of skill and ingenuity in the playing of the game. The invention is based on the discovery that there is a substantial degree of interchangeability between the upper and lower portions of conventional symbols or characters. For purposes of describing the presentinvention, conventional symbols and conventional characters" encompass either or both arabic numerals and letters of the alphabet.
Broadly, the game according to the present invention comprises a number of game pieces each having at least one edge adapted to match corresponding edges of other game pieces. Each piece also includes a face with a pattern delineated thereon terminating along the aforementioned edge. To a great extent, pairs of game pieces are interchangeably matchable along the edges so that the pattern of game pieces so paired form complete, conventional characters. In the combination of a given pair of game pieces, the pattern on one of the pieces of the pair may comprise the upper portion of the complete character, while when paired with another piece, the one piece may comprise the lower portion of a different, complete character. One of the attributes of the game of this invention is that the patterns appearing on many of the game pieces by themselves do not have any recognizable shape, but when paired with other pieces, conventional characters or symbols are formed to which may be attributed a numerical value for scoring purposes. Thus, the game as an educational device aids in the recognition of numbers and letters and the formation thereof.
In more particular forms of the invention, the game pieces may have specific, identical, polygonal shapes, such as squares or hexagons with one or more joinable edges. A three-dimensional version, in which portions of charactersare delineated on the faces of cubes, also falls within the purview of the invention. Further, there may be a plurality of individual patterns on the face of each game piece and according to another specific form of the invention, the face may be divided into quadrants one or more of which may be occupied by a pattern which may be used to form various characters in the manner described. It will thus be evident that the game may take a great variety of forms within the confines of the inventive concept, and play thereof may be conducted under many different sets of rules and scoring procedures.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Other advantages, objects and features, which will subsequently become apparent, reside in the details of the inventive structure more :fully described and claimed hereinafter, reference being had to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of game pieces according to an embodiment of the invention in which the patterns on the game pieces may be used to form arabic numerals;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the game pieces of another embodiment of the invention in which the characters which are formed comprise letters of the alphabet;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of game pieces which may be used as alternatives to certain of those shown in FIG.
FIG. 4 shows a plan view of the game pieces of another embodiment of the invention in which the characters comprise slanted arabic numerals;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of a pair of game pieces showing a configuration of the numeral 3 forming an alternative to that shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a plan view of a pair of game pieces showing a configuration of the numeral 8 forming an alternative to that shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a plan view of game pieces according to another form of the invention in which the game pieces are hexagonal;
FIG. 8 is a plan view of game pieces according to still another embodiment of the present invention in which multiple numerals may be formed;
FIG. 9 shows a form of the invention in which the game pieces are square and divided into quadrants, one or more of which quadrants contain one or more patterns which may be combined to form complete, arabic numerals; and
FIG. 10 is a perspective view showing a threedimensional embodiment of the present invention in which the game pieces comprise cubes.
Detailed Description With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown an embodiment of the present invention in which square game pieces 20-41 have on their faces patterns representing the upper and/or lower portions of one or more conventional characters in block or upright form. The pieces may be combined in various ways to form complete characters. By way of example, the game elements 20 each have delineated thereon a rectangular pattern 20a extending to opposed edges 20b and 20c of the game piece. It will be seen that the piece 20 may be used in the formation of the numerals l, 4 and 7 and the letters F. I. J, L and P. Thus, to form the complete numeral 1 (or the letter I) edge 20b of one of the pieces 20 is joined with edge 20c of another of the pieces 20. The numeral 4 is constructed by combining game piece 26, which has a triangular pattern 260 on the face thereof, and game piece 20 along edges 26c and 20c, respectively, and the numeral 7 is formed by bringing together pieces 23 and 20 along edges 23b and 20b, respective-1y. The game piece 23 may also be used in conjunction with the game piece 21, whose face displays a U-shaped pattern 210, to construct the numeral 2 by joining edges 21c and 23b. The game piece 21 is a particularly universal element and may be used as part of the numerals 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and and the letters A, J, O, Q, S and U by connecting this piece with other game pieces such as 38 (to form the letter O), 39(to make the letter S), and so forth, along the edge 21c.
Piece is an example ofa game element which may be combined along either of opposed edges 20b and 20c while piece 21, in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, is joinable only along the edge 210. In contrast, game piece 28 may be oriented in either of two ways along adjacent edges 280 or 28d to form parts of the letters A, E, F, H, K and R.
The foregoing are to be construed as examples only, the cooperation of the patterns of the various pieces being evident from the drawings, some, like the piece 35, being extremely versatile while others, because of the unique configuration of the character involved, only being usable in the formation of one specific numeral or letter, for example, pieces 26 and 38.
It will be obvious that the versatility of given game pieces may be altered, that is, increased or decreased, by revising slightly the configuration of the patterns. In all cases, the patterns on the faces of the game pieces extend to at least one edge of the piece so that pieces may be combined in various combinations along such edges to form complete, unitary conventional characters. Furthermore, in all cases the patterns comprise the upper and/or lower portions of conventional characters.
The combination of various game pieces does not need to be limited to specific character configurations such as the upright or block character configurations of FIGS. 1 and 2. Thus, with reference now to FIG. 3, alternative character configurations may be introduced by combining certain of the game pieces of FIGS. 1 and 2 along edges other than those that will produce the character configurations of FIGS. 1 and 2. Game pieces 21 may thus be joined along edges 21d and 2le to form either the letter E or the numeral 3 in alternative configurations.
By way of summary, the game pieces thus far considered (FIGS. 1-3) are interchangeable to form complete, conventional characters as set forth in the following table:
Game Piece 20 21 B, R (FIG. 3)
N, E, 3 (FIG. 3) E, 3 (FIG. 3)
, N, U, V, W alt. A, R, N (FIG. 3)
The players may adopt any set of rules to govern play and scoring and it is not intended to limit the present invention to any specific manner of utilizing the game pieces other than that the invention contemplates the formation of complete, conventional characters or symbols by pairing-the game pieces along the mating edges as described.
Further, the game pieces may be made of any suitable material wood, plastic, metal, or the like, with the patterns printed, engraved, etched or otherwise applied to the faces thereof. Thus, the invention is not limited to any specific material or any particular manner of application of the patterns. Further, particular game pieces may be duplicated beyond the number shown in the drawings and pieces with a given pattern may be assigned values for scoring purposes based on the number of such pieces provided. For example, the more unique a particular game piece, the greater the value that might be assigned to it.
Turning now to FIG. 4, there is shown another embodiment of the game of the present invention in which slanted, numerical characters are formed by combining game pieces having patterns representing the upper and/or lower portions of such numerals. All of the foregoing discussion in connection with the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3 is applicable, the only difference being that arabic numerals of slightly different configuration are used. This particular embodiment has the advantage of requiring fewer game pieces to form the numerals 1 through 9. Whereas in FIG. 1, eight different patterns were required, in this configuration only six are necessary to form all of the numbers 1 through 9. The game pieces are denoted by reference numerals -55, and, by way of example, the piece 51 is used in the formation of the numerical characters 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9, the edge 51b thereof being the joining edge. Game pieces 54 and 55 are unique, being usable only as upper portions in connection with the construction of the numerals 4 and 5.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show alternative embodiments of the numerals 3 and 8 in which the game piece 53 may be used instead of the piece 51 for the upper portion of the numeral 3 and the piece 52, instead of the piece 51, forms the upper and lower components of the numeral 8.
The invention is further intended to cover game pieces having regular, polygonal shapes which may be combined, along one or more of their edges, for example, squares, equilateral triangles and regular hexagons. FIG, 7 illustrates a form of the invention in which exemplary game pieces -64 are each in the shape of a regular hexagon. In the example shown, the combinable patterns are disposed along at least one edge of each piece and may be paired to construct complete numerical characters. Thus, the game piece 60 has four patterns 60a, 60b, 60c and 60d while the piece 63 has patterns along each edge 630-631 of the hexagonal piece. The patterns of the numerical characters may be according to the embodiments already described. Further, the characters may include both numerals and letters, instead of only numerals as shown in FIG. 7.
With reference now to FIG. 8 of the drawings, there is shown another version of the. present invention in which exemplary square game pieces -79 have patterns along some of their edges combinable to form arabic numerals. Thus, the game piece 74 has four adjacent patterns along the edge 74a which form the numetal 1000 when joined with the patterns along edge 73c of the game piece 73. In contrast, a single pattern 74e is disposed along edge 74b which pattern is matched, in the specific example shown, with a like pattern along the edge 78d of the piece 78 to form the numeral 0. In like manner, a single number 9 is defined by the game pieces 74 and 75 and a three digit number, 800, is defined by the pieces 74 and 70 along the contiguous edges 74d and 70b, respectively.
The game pieces may also be divided into sections such as that shown in FIG. 9 in which square game pieces 80-89 have faces divided into quadrants, at least one of which quadrants may contain one or more patterns comprising portions of conventional characters as heretofore described. Thus, the face of the game piece 84 has quadrants 84a, 84b, 84c and 84d, the quadrant 84b containing patterns 84e and 84f and the quadrant 84d containing a single pattern 84g.
It will be obvious that the game pieces, irrespective of their configuration, may be divided in ways other than shown, for example, hexagonal pieces might be divided into six equilateral triangles one or more of which might contain one or more portions of conventional characters along the edges of the game piece.
In FIG. 10, an embodiment is shown in which the game pieces are three-dimensional rather than generally flat as in the embodiments discussed so far. In FIG. 10, exemplary game pieces 90-94 are in the shape of cubes the surfaces of which may be provided with any of the patterns previously discussed. In the specific example of FIG. 10, the faces of the cubes 90-94 are divided into quadrants similar to the configuration shown in FIG; 9. The combination of multiple patterns along adjoining edges and the three-dimensional geometry of the game pieces introduce a high degree of complexity into' the playing of the game. The combinations in which'pieces may be combined can be formulated so as to be essentially unlimited thus providing a substantial test of the ingenuity of the players.
While there have been shown. and described preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be apparent that further modifications and changes may be made therein, particularly in the form and relation of the patterns and the game pieces, without departing from the spirit of the invention.
What is claimed is:
I. A game comprising a number of pieces, each of said pieces including a face and at least one linear edge joinable with corresponding edges of other playing pieces, a pattern delineated on said face and terminating along said edge, the patterns on certain of said pieces including a single segment extending along said edge, the patterns on others of said pieces including two segments of equal length extending along said edge, said single segment of the patterns on said firstrnentioned pieces having a length at least equal to the length of each of the segments of the patterns on said other pieces, said game pieces being interchangeably matchable in pairs along said edges joining said patterns to form complete, conventional characters, said conventional characters comprising either arabic numerals or letters of the alphabet.
2. A game, as defined in claim 1, in which the faces of all of said pieces have an identical polygonal shape.
3. A game, as defined in claim 2, in which said shape is square.
4. A game, as defined in claim 2, in which said shape is a regular hexagon.
5. A game, as defined in claim 2, in which said shape is an equilateral triangle.
6. A game, as defined in claim 1, in which said pieces comprisecubes and at least one of said patterns is delineated on at least one face of each of said cubes.