US 3827694 A
Constructions are provided in game boards and game board assemblies which employ one or more balls or otherwise manipulateable objects requiring skill on the part of the player by tilting, and in certain cases upending, the device in order to obtain an objective or predetermined movements of the manipulated device.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Lemelson 1 Aug. 6, 1974 1 GAME APPARATUS  Inventor: Jerome H. Lemelson, 85 Rector St., Primary Exam".1er Rl9hard Pmkham Metuchen NJ 08840 Assistant ExammerR1chard J. Apley PP NOJ 220,345 Constructions are provided in game boards and game board assemblies which employ one or more balls or 52 us. c1. 273/113 Otherwise manipulateable 1 requiring 819110" the 51 1111. C1. A631 7/00 Part of the Player by tilting, and in certain cases  Field of Search u 273 R 108417 ending, the device in order to obtain an objective or 273 53 R 153 S 5 46/1 predetermined movements of the manipulated device. In one form, the gameboard is provided with a  References Cited plurality of playing surfaces angulated with respect to UNITED STATES PATENTS each other and is shaped to permit a ball to travel 558066 4/1896 Happersett 273/113 ne.p1aymg sllrface to the other by properly 579 485 3/1897 Jensen 273/109 mampulatmg the devlce' In another form one or more 740:980 10/1903 Hughes 273/113 holes are Provided in the P y board Surface 2,011,266 8/1935 Boynton 273/153 R through which a hall y fall and y be manipulated 2,563,608 8/1951 Laufer 273/153 R X thereafter on the other playing surface. Suitable 2,998,973 9/1961 Schaper.. 273/123 R X means are provided to restrict the movement of the 16,558 1 1/1965 Marsh 273/153 3 ball against the other playing surface after it has fallen 3,561,757 2 1971 5611111 273/155 ux through the hole. 3,610,628 10/1971 Promm 273/153 R X 3,623,728 11/1971 GOldffll'b 273/109 Y another f m 2 l z iq g gs o maze type paymg ev1ces are provi e w 1c a FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS to the playing interest and vary the degree of skill 1,146,275 5/1957 France 273/109 required 752,110 7/1956 Great Britain 1 273/153 R 1,534.096 6/1968 France 273/109 9 Claims, 10 Drawmg Flgures Z MUM u GAME APPARATUS SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to new and improved structures in manipulation toys and in particular to toys which require the manipulation of an object such as a ball across a surface containing obstacles such as walls, cavities or holes which guide or retain the ball depending on how it is manipulated by tilting or upending the playing board.
It is known in the art to provide a flat maze type playing device containing a substantially flat surface on which is formed or against which are provided a plurality of walls which are angulated with respect to each other and normal to the surface of the playing board for guiding a ball along a plurality of paths along the surface of the playing board. While such games and playing devices have been popular, they are limited substantially to a two dimensional movement of the ball or balls along a substantially flat playing surface.
The instant invention is concerned with the construction of different types of manipulative game boards, preferably although not necessarily of the maze type, which involve playing surfaces other than those provided in the single plane. By forming the game device having playing surfaces which are located in planes angulated or different from each other, the degree of skill and interest in playing with such devices are greatly enhanced.
Accordingly it is a primary object of this invention to provide new and improved structures in manipulation toys.
Another object is to provide an improved maze toy having a playing surface or surfaces which are not in a single plane wherein the toy or game requires an added degree of skill, that of not only requiring tilting the playing device in two directions to manipulate a ball through the maze but also, concurrent with the manipulative tilting, a rotation of the device in order to retain the ball travelling along the maze.
Another object is to provide a maze game having a totally transparent wall construction permitting it to be properly manipulated to properly direct a ball or balls along the maze passageways, not only below the eye level of the player but also at eye level or above the head of the player, thereby substantially enhancing the play value of the device.
Another object is to provide a maze game having a housing containing a plurality of walls which are angulated with respect to each other wherein two or more of said walls contain passageways formed therein along which one or more balls may be manipulated by properly tilting and rotating the housing.
Another object is to provide a maze garn containing a cylindrical wall which is shaped with a plurality of passageways which are directed to permit the manipulation of a ball both along and around the cylindrical wall by properly tilting and rotating the device.
Another object is to provide a maze game device containing a playing board, the opposite surfaces of which are each provided with passageways permitting the movement of balls therealong.
Another object is to provide a maze game device having a playing board, the opposite surfaces of which are each provided with a plurality of passageways for manipulating a ball and one or more holes extending through the game board so that a single ball may be manipulated from one side thereof to the other, the device also including means for retaining a single board within the passageways on each side of the board during the upending operation when the ball is transferred from one side to the other.
Another object is to provide an improved construction in a maze toy having a spherical shape and maze passageways extending around the sphere.
Another object is to provide a maze toy including the playing board containing maze passageways and a cover for at least certain of said passageways wherein said cover is at least partially opaque to hide certain of the passageways from the view of the player.
With the above and such other objects in view as may hereinafter more fully appear, the invention consists of the novel constructions, combinations and arrangements of parts as will be more fully described and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, but it is to be understood that changes, variations and modifications may be resorted to which fall within the scope of the invention as claimed.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is an end view with the end wall thereof removed of a maze toy made of two board portions which are angulated with respect to each other and interconnected with at least one passageway;
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a portion of the maze toy of FIG. 1 showing further details of its construction;
FIG. 2 is an end view with the end wall thereof removed of a maze toy made of three board portions which are angulated with respect to each other in the form of a prismatic structure;
FIG. 3 is an end view with the end wall thereof removed of a maze toy having a semi-cylindrical wall defining the maze structure,
FIG. 4 is an end view with the end wall thereof removed of a cylindrical maze toy the details of which may also be applied to a spherical maze toy;
FIG. 5 is an isometric view of a portion of a maze toy having angulated playing board portions showing details of hidden passageway structures applicable to various maze toy structures;
FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of a maze board structure permitting a ball to be played on both surfaces of the board;
FIG. 7 is' a cross sectional view of another form of maze structure showing a fragment of a playing board;
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of a fragment of another form of maze board and FIG. 9 is an end view of a corner of a maze board.
FIGS. 1 and 1 illustrate a game device 10 composed of respective flat playing surface portions 11 and 12 each of which contain respective surfaces 11' and 12 along which a ball may be rolled as guided by respective angulated guides or wall formations 13 and 16 defining respective mazes formed in or assembled with the flat playing surface portions 11 and 12. The device 10 may be hand held or manipulated by a mechanism operated by hand. Preferably device 10 contains a circumscribing side wall extending peripherally around portions 11 and 12 to prevent the manipulated ball from falling off the edges of the device although one or more portions of the side wall may be removed to permit the ball to fall if the device is not properly manipulated. This is illustrated at 13' which defines an edge wall of the playing surface portion 11 which contains an opening or interruption 13H in said edge wall through which the ball may fall either as a penalty or means for attaining an objective.
The game device of FIG. 1 provides for the movement of a ball between the flat playing surface portion 11 and playing surface portion 12 at one or more locations along where they join each other as illustrated in FIG. 11. Wall portions 14 and 15 of the maze on surface portion 12 extend uninterruptedly to wall portions 17 and 18 of the maze provided on playing surface portion 11 so that a ball may be rolled from portion 11 to portion 12 or in reverse during its manipulation throughout the maze formed on or provided against both surfaces through a passageway 16.
The game device 10 preferably also includes one or more starting locations for a ball and one or more objectives such as cavities within or holes through the playing portions 11 and 12 or in the circumscribing side walls thereof.
While the device 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 1 is shown as having open maze formations, it is noted that said maze formations may also be closed by clear plastic covering sheets disposed against the outer edges of said maze walls or integrally formed with the maze walls and assembled with the playing surface portions 11 and 12.
In FIG. 2, the configuration shown in FIG. 1 has been modified to totally enclose same with three flat playing surface portions denoted 21, 24 and 27 which form the inside walls of a prismatic-type enclosure made of transparent plastic and preferably having either or both ends thereof also closed with respective end walls (not shown). Each of the playing surface portions 21, 24 and 27 are capped with flat wall portions 22, 25 and 28 along each of which are formed respective maze wall portions 23, 26 and 29 which protrude inwardly and substantially normal to the playing surfaces of the portions 22, 25 and 28.
Preferably disposed along one or more portions of the surfaces of walls 22, 25 and 28 are maze walls defining passageways similar to the passageway 16 of FIGS. 1 and l which permit the movement of a ball from the maze formed in one wall to the maze formed in the adjacent wall. In other words, one or more suitable passageways are provided in the device 20 of FIG. 2 which extend between any two or all three walls thereof so that a ball may be continuously moved along and between all of the walls to obtain an objective. The objective may comprise a hole through one of the walls 22, or 28 or indicia formed by molding or printing on the interior or exterior surfaces of one or more of the walls of device 20.
It is noted that the prismatic shape of the device of FIG. 2 may also be varied to define same as a rectangular parallellepiped pyramid, cube or other shape with passageways extending between each two adjacent angulated surfaces to continue the game by permitting the ball to be rolled between the mazes of each of said two surfaces. Thus walls 21, 24 and 27 define to a hollow container disposed within the interior of the maze containing capping members 22, 25 and 28 which abut the outer edges of the maze walls 23, 26 and 29, thereby substantially confining the movement of the ball to an annular passageway defined between the outer surfaces of members 21, 24 and 27, the inner surfaces of members 22, 25 and 28 and the maze walls 23, 26 and 29.
The members 21, 24 and 27 may also be eliminated from the assembly 20 which will require that the maze toy 20 be manipulated in a different manner than if it is provided as illustrated.
The maze walls 23, 25 and 28 may also be formed integral with the outer surfaces of members 21, 24 and 27 which may be covered with flat, transparent plastic sheets replacing members 22, 25 and 28.
Notation 27H refers to an opening provided along member 27 through which a ball may fall into the interior volume 20V upon attaining an objective or if not properly manipulated to serve as a penalty whereaftcr the ball may be rolled to the end of the assembly to a starting location at which it is directed by properly tilting the device 20.
FIG. 3 illustrates a modified form of the invention comprising a maze game device 30 having a game board 31 composed of one or more moldings formed in the shape of a semi-cylindrical wall 32 having a semicylindrical inside playing surface 33 from which there protrudes a plurality of guides or maze walls 34 defining one or more passageways for guiding a ball or balls along the surface 33. The device 30 illustrated in cross section in FIG. 3 may also comprise a semi-spherical shell containing the maze walls 33 disposed on the inside wall thereof as illustrated and adapted to be rotated by hand or rocked on a surface to cause a ball to travel along a passageway defined by the surface 33 and particular maze wall portions 34 thereof to attain an objective as described.
The device 30 illustrated in FIG. 3 may be totally enclosed or may be open at the top as illustrated. It is shown having wall portions 35 disposed at the ends of the semisphere or semi-cylinder for retaining the ball within the confines of the maze. An opening 36 is shown provided in wall portion 35 to permit a ball to fall therethrough either in disposing said ball in the maze during the initiation of a playing cycle or if the device 30 is not properly manipulated. The maze is configured so as to permit a ball to travel a pathway uninterruptedly either longitudinally back and forth along the cylinder, diagonally or transverse with respect to the cylinder or in a combination of such directions. If the device 30 is a semi-sphere, the ball may be permitted to travel in any predetermined path thereof from a starting location to an objective.
It is also noted that an insert may be disposed in engagement with the inner edges of the maze walls 34 as indicated by notation 37 to confine the ball to the annular space between said insert and the playing surface 32 of wall 31. The insert, as hereinbefore set forth, may also contain indicia printed thereon and/or openings therewith through which the ball may fall to the interior of the insert. By rendering portions of the wall 31 opaque, if an opaque cylinder or sphere is disposed within the cylindrical or spherical enclosure engaging the inner edges of the maze walls 33, the player cannot always observe the ball during its travels along the maze and must properly manipulate the device 30 in a so-called blind manner to properly cause the ball to continue along the proper passageway of the maze. This adds to the play value and is, in effect, a feature requiring both skill and memory based on previous proper manipulation of the ball along the maze.
The constructions illustrated in FIG. 3 may be further modified to include provision of maze walls extending along the exteriors of the playing walls either to be utilized per se for the maze or as a continuation of the maze on the opposite surfaces illustrated.
It is a further noted that, in addition to the shapes illustrated, games may be provided utilizing such shapes or flat maze boards which are formed in a plurality of layers or tiers, one above the other and each accessible to the other through one or more openings in the playing surface or wall of each tier to permit a ball to be manipulated from one layer to the other, preferably by gravity or by tilting as described to travel a complex passageway from a starting location on either the top tier or the bottommost tier to an objective location on the tier or layer farthermost therefrom or centrally located.
In FIG. 4 is shown another form of three dimensional maze toy 40 having the general shape of a cylinder with a cylindrical wall 41 formed of a plurality of components having a hollow space 42 between an outer wall portion 43 and an inner wall portion 45 and defining a plurality of passageways therebetween having side walls which are radial formations 44 projecting inwardly from the outer wall 43 and other radial formations 47 projecting outwardly from the inner wall 45. The cylindrical wall assembly 41 is actually made of six molded components each two of which forms a third of the cylinder as shown. In other words, outer wall 43 is composed of three segments 43a, 43b and 43c each of which is assembled to the corresponding inner wall portions 45a, 45b and 450 to form the annular volume of space 42 therebetween and the assemblies of inner and outer wall portions are abutted and welded or bonded to each other to form the cylinder.
Passageways extend throughout the hollow space 42 ad defined by radial maze wall portions 44 and 47 formed respectively in the outer and inner walls 43 and 45.
As hereinbefore provided, eachof the segment assemblies forming the cylindrical assembly 41 has its maze walls shaped such that one or more passageways formed in each of the cylindrical segments will extend to respective passageways in each of the cylindrical segments properly abutted and assembled thereto so that the ball may be continuously rolled around the cy lindrical assembly on either the outer surface of the inner wall 45 of the inside surface of the outerwall 43 from a starting location to one or more objectives which may comprise a location indicated by means of an embossment or printing or a hole in either the outer or inner wall of the cylinder through which the ball may fall or nest.
The toy assembly 40 of FIG. 4 may be molded entirely of transparent plastic or the inner wall portion 45 thereof may be opaque plastic with the outer wall 43 being transparent plastic so that the player may view one or more balls he is directing throughout the maze by properly manipulating the attitude of the cylinder.
Variations in the structure of the toy 40 of FIG. 4 may comprise rendering one or more portions of the outer wall 43 opaque by silk screening opaque ink or paint thereon so that the player will have to manipulate the toy without the benefit of viewing the ball, thereby enhancing playing interest and increasing the skill required to properly manipulate a ball throughout the annular volume 42.
A plurality of openings in the inner wall 45 may also be provided through which a ball may fall into the inner volume 48 if the assembly is not properly manipulated by hand.
It is noted that the maze may also extend across either or both end walls 46 of the cylinder wherein travel of the ball would require proper manipulation of the cylinder to cause the ball to roll through an opening in one portion of the inner wall along a passageway defined along the end wall and, when properly manipulated along said end wall passageway, the ball would be directed through an opening in an opposite or adjacent portion of the inner wall 45 to continue its travel throughout at least a portion of the annular volume or space 42 between the inner and outer walls.
In another construction, it is noted that the structure shown in FIG. 4 may be modified to provide the inner and outer wall portions shown as respective spheres to define a spherical assembly containing one or more passageways provided throughout the annular shperical volume through which one or more balls may be manipulated.
In FIG. 5 is shown another form of the invention which is applicable to the structures shown in FIGS. 1 to 4. The maze toy assembly 50 of FIG. 5 is shown as composed of two angulated playing boards denoted 51 and 54 which are substantially at right angles to each other as in the structure shown in FIG. 1. Maze wall portions 52 are preferably integrally molded in the upper surface of the playing board 51 providing one or more passageways therebetween along which a ball may be directed by properly tilting the toy 50. Playing board 54 contains a plurality of horizontally protruding maze wall portions 55 preferably integrally formed in the surface 54 of the board by molding and defining one or more passageways 56 therealong which are continuations of the passageways 53 provided along the upper surface 51 of playing board 51 and defined by the maze walls 52. Notation 57 refers to one or more common extensions of the passageways 53 and 56 in playing boards 51 and 54 along which a ball may be rolled from either playing board to the other.
Shown assembled against the outer edges 52 of the maze walls 52 of playing board 51 and 55 of playing board 54 is a capping member 58 of opaque material which may be welded or bonded to selected portions of the outer edges of the maze walls 52 and 55. The capping member 58 covers certain portions of the passageway or passageways defined along the surfaces of both the playing boards 51 and 54 requiring that the person manipulating the maze exercise a certain degree of skill in tilting the board to cause a ball to travel through the portions of the maze hidden by member 58. In order to make the game more interesting if not simplify it a bit, one or more slotted openings 59 may be formed through the opaque capping member 58 to permit the player to observe certain of the movements of a ball throughout the blind portion of the board.
It is noted that by modifying the shape of the board structure in FIG. 5, it may be readily applied to a variety of different maze toy configurations such as those shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
In FIG. 6 is shown a modified form of maze toy 60 composed of either a single flat wall or plurality of wall segments joined together as shown in FIGS. 1-4 and shaped with maze wall portions protruding outwardly from both sides of a playing member. The playing board 61 of FIG. 6 is sheet like in shape and contains integrally molded therewith maze wall portions 62 and 63 which respectively protrude outwardly from opposite surfaces of the sheet like board 61. One or more holes 64 extend through the board 61 through which a ball B may be made to fall so as to be accessable to the maze formed in the other surface of the toy 60 along a passageway which is a continuation of one or more passageways of the opposite surface.
Disposed in alignment with the hole 64 on both sides of the playing board 61 are respective retainers 65 and 66 containing outer wall portions 67 and 68 which extend across the hole 64 and momentarily retain a ball dropped through the hole thereagainst to prevent it from falling away from the board. Thus the board may be turned over after a ball has fallen through the hole and if properly manipulated, the ball may then be made to roll along the passageway extending to the holes through which it has fallen. While retainer 65 is shown as integrally molded with the board 61, the retainer 66 may be assembled thereto after the board, its maze walls and the retainer 65 have been molded.
In a modified form of construction, the embodiment shown in FIG. 6 may contain transparent capping sheets disposed against or integrally molded with the maze walls 62 and 63 so as to place said capping sheet said distance away from the outer surfaces of the playing surface member 61.
In FIG. 7 is shown a modified form of the construction shown in FIG. 6 wherein the retaining means described are separate sheet formations 74 and 78 which are preferably opaque material or contain opaque printing on the surfaces and are bonded to predetermined locations along the outer edges of the maze wall portions 72 and 73. The assembly 70 of FIG. 7 is shown also containing a transparent capping sheet 76 which is secured to the outer edges of the maze wall portions 73. Notation 75 refers to opaque printing on the outer surface of capping sheet 74 while notation 77 refers to an opaque strip or sheet which is assembled to a selected area of the outer surface of the transparent capping sheet 76. Thus, if a ball falls through an opening 79 at the center of a playing assembly, it will be kept from falling off the board and may be further manipulated along one or more of the passageways by properly tilting the assembly 70.
In FIG. 8 is shown a modified form of the game apparatus of FIG. 7 wherein transparent capping sheets 84 and 88 are provided spaced apart from the central, two sided playing sheet 81 and may either be integrally molded with 81 or molded integral with the capping sheets 84 and 88. Maze wall portions 82 protrude outwardly from the upper surface of playing sheet 81 while maze wall portions 83 protrude downwardly from the lower surface of playing board surface 81. Notation 87 refers to one or more holes extending through the playing board 81 through which a ball may be made to fall in either direction to continue its travel from a passageway defined extending across the upper surface of playing board 81 to a continuation thereof, a passageway extending along the lower surface of playing board 81. Capping sheet 86 is shown as containing opaque material 88 which is predeterminately located and applied to its outer or inner surface for masking movement of the ball along the playing surface.
The constructions illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 for maze toy structures may be composed of a plurality of components which are hand assembled by the user when it is desired to play a game. For example, the L-shaped playing board of FIG. 1 may be composed of assembleable sections of maze toy components such as one defining each of the legs of the L-shaped assembly. Accordingly, in FIG. 9 is shown a construction wherein a maze toy assembly 90 is provided composed of a first playing board 91 having upwardly protruding maze wall portions 92 and a plurality of slots 93 extending through the end wall 96 and its adjacent maze wall to permit coupling between slotted portions of the end maze walls of a second playing board 94 to be frictionally engaged therewith to provide assembly of the toy as indicated in the other drawings. Playing board member 94 contains maze wall portions 95 integrally molded therewith and has its end walls 97 shaped to frictionally engage channels or slots 97 in the end walls 96 of the playing board 91. Thus the toy 90 may be packaged with the playing boards 91 and 94 flat against each other and assembled by the player to angulate the playing board sections to provide different configurations as hereinbefore described.
1. A game apparatus comprising:
a playing board having first and second playing portions defining respective first and second playing surfaces on each of which a ball may be rolled to attain an objective,
said first surface lying in a first plane, said second surface lying in a second plane, said planes being angulated with respect to each other, said first and second playing portions being joined together along border portions of each in said angulated position,
a first maze formed in said first playing portion and composed of a plurality of guideways each of which projects above said first playing surface of said first portion and defining therewith a network of passages along which a ball may be guided in rolling movement along said first playing surface by properly tilting said playing board to the horizontal, a second maze formed in said second playing portion and composed of a plurality of guideways projecting above said second playing surface of said second playing portion and defining a network of passages along which a ball may be guided in rolling on said second playing surface, and
respective of said guideways of said first and second mazes extending respectively to the border portions of said first and second playing portions and serving to block the rolling movement of a ball between said playing surfaces and along respective portions of both the playing surfaces, there being at least one passageway between said two playing surfaces defined by an interruption in the guideways of the mazes of said first and second playing portions permitting a ball to roll between the passageways defined by said first and second mazes when said playing board is properly tilted after moving along one playing surface whereby the ball may be rolled from said one playing surface to the other playing surface to permit the continuation of a game by the continued movement of the ball along said passageway which is defined by both said first and second mazes of said first and second playing portions.
2. A game apparatus in accordance with claim 1,
wherein said first and second playing portions are so joined as to define an acute angle between said first and second playing surfaces.
3. A game apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first and second playing portions are so joined as to define a right angle between said first and second playing surfaces.
4. A game apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein the first and second playing portions of said playing board are joined by a third portion operable to support the two playing portions at an angle to each other.
5. A game apparatus in accordance with claim 1 including first and second transparent sheet-like coverings for said first and second playing surfaces disposed above said first and second mazes for preventing a ball from rolling off the board.
6. A game apparatus in accordance with claim 1 including means for movably joining said first and second portions of said playing board together, permitting them to be stacked one on top of the other.
7. A game apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said joining means includes means for slidably assembling and disassembling said first and second playing portions to secure them together in alignment with each other.
8. A game apparatus in accordance with claim 1 wherein said first and second playing portions contain space separated outer border portions and including a third playing portion defining a third playing surface joined to said outer border portions, third maze means disposed above said third playing surface and defining at least one passageway, said passageway of said third playing surface being connected to at least one of the passageways of said first and second playing surfaces to permit a ball to travel between said first, second and third playing surfaces.
9. A game apparatus in accordance with claim 8 wherein the maze means of said three playing surfaces are interconnected to permit a ball to roll between all three mazes.