US 3883137 A
This invention relates to game apparatus, and in one embodiment comprises a central funnel-shaped, transparent receptacle and a multiplicity of support stands which are interconnected by means of ramps along which indicia objects, such as marbles, may be made to move gravitationally, whereby players may respond to signal inputs from signalling apparatus facing toward the receptacle by causing indicia to be deposited in the receptacle wherein they will be retained in the consecutive order in which they are played.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Bengtson 1 May 13, 1975 GAME APPARATUS  Inventor: Paul J. Bengtson, 384 Main St.,
Danbury, Conn. 06810 22 Filed: May 20, 1974 -[21 Appl. NO.I 471,800
 U.S. Cl. 273/1 R; 46/43; 273/86 C  Int. Cl. A63f 9/00  Field of Search 273/1 R, 1 E, 1 M, 86 C;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,379,440 4/1968 Jaffe 273/86 C 3.463.487 8/1969 Tepper.... 273 1 R 3,502,332 3/1970 Wolf 273/86 C 3,524,645 8/1970 Breslow 273/] R 10/1973 Breslow 273/1 R 1/1974 Massicotte 273/1 R X Primary E.raminerPaul E. Shapiro Attorney, Agent, or Firm-William G. Rhines  ABSTRACT This invention relates to game apparatus. and in one embodiment comprises a central funnel-shaped, transparent receptacle and a multiplicity of support stands which are interconnected by means of ramps along which indicia objects, such as marbles, may be made to move gravitationally, whereby players may respond to signal inputs from signalling apparatus facing toward the receptacle by causing indicia to be deposited in the receptacle wherein they will be retained in the consecutive order in which they are played.
7 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure PATENTEB MAY 1 3!.975
,GAME APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In connection with playing a game as hereinafter described, it is desired to have apparatus which will enable the players to participate in a manner which will permit them to make individual judgements and responses which will be preserved in the sequence in which they are made for purposes of attributing scores to them. The structures herein disclosed are uniquely suited to this purpose.
A game with which the present apparatus is especially useful, involves logic, deduction and chance. In this game, each player has a small panel board standing upright in front of him or other means which permits the other players to observe a signal, such as a spot of color, without the player being able to see the signal from his side of the board he is using. Thus, for example, the rules of such a game may be that the side of each players board facing away from him will be marked with a red or black spot or other indicator. If any player sees at least one red spot on any of his opponents panel boards, he must announce to his fellow players, I see red." The object is for each player to deduce, by logic if possible, based on analysis of the other players responses, the color of the spot which is on his board without actually seeing it. Many times he will be able to do this by logic, but often he will have to resort to making judgement based on the demeanor of his fellow players and even to guessing in order to cast a vote as to his judgement of the color of his spot. In so casting his vote, it is obvious that he should do so in a manner which is unequivocable and definite, with a premium on more rapid correct votes and an extra penalty on hasty votes" which prove to be incorrect.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a means whereby the playing of games of the type hereinbefore described may be facilitated. It is a further object of the present invention to provide such means which will be simple structurally, easy to operate and maintain, and inexpensive to produce.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION The objects of this invention may be achieved through practice of the present invention, one embodiment of which comprises at least two ramps for causing indicia objects to travel along predetermined paths to a receptacle, a receptacle adapted for receiving the indicia objects from said ramps and retaining them discernably in the sequence in which they are introduced into said receptacle, and ramp retaining means for so retainably positioning each of said ramps that its end closest to said receptacle is lower than its other end.
DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES This invention may be more clearly understood from the description which follows and from the attached drawing in which FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprising a central receptacle which, as illustrated, is supported in an upright position by means ofa stand 11 and advantageously is generally funnel-shaped and made from transparent material, such as glass. or preferrably, plastic since the latter is less prone to breakage and consequent injury to persons to whom it might be exposed. The transparency of the material enhances the discernability of the indicia objects 12, such as marbles, which may be deposited in the receptacle, meaning the ability to see them from outside the receptacle as they reside within it. It will be apparent to those skilled in the cognizant arts however, that it would also be possible to utilize any of a number of alternative techniques for discerning the nature of the indicia contained therein, such as having an elongated slit (not shown) in the side of the tube portion 16 of the receptacle 10 through which the identifying characteristics of the indicia 12 might be observed. It will also be apparent that the receptacle 10 may take any of a number of other suitable shapes of varying dimensions and still serve the basic purpose herein disclosed, for example, a star-shaped array of substantially horizontal channels. (not shown) The receptacle 10 has an ingress means 14 in the form of a wide-mouthed opening of the funnel-shaped receptacle, whereby reception of the indicia objects 12 is facilitated. It also has a narrow, more tubular section 16 into which the indicia objects 12 will fall after having passed through the ingress means 14, and in which the indicia objects 12 will finally reside in vertical sequence according to the sequence in which they are intorduced into the receptacle 10. Since, presumably, the rate at which the indicia 12 will proceed along the ramps 18 as hereinafter described will be substantially the same since they will be impelled along the ramps 18 primarily by the action of gravity on them, this ingress sequence will also reflect substantially the sequence in which the indicia 12 are released by the respective players.
Associated with each ramp 18 is a support 20 which normally will be positioned in front of each player. As illustrated, it is in the form of an upright panel board 26. The top of each support 20 as illustrated is adapted to retainably support one end 24 of one of the ramps 18. In the embodiment herein illustrated the ramp 18 comprises a cross-brace 23 of angular cross-section which is suited to be placed on the top of the flat, planar upright member 26 of the support 20. This particular configuration is particularly suited to carrying out a medieval armour motif of this particular embodiment of the game herein described, since it enables shaping the ramp 18 into the general configuration of a sword; the cross-brace 23 comprising a member thereof corresponding to the cross-piece at the base of the handle of a sword and the ramp portion 18 itself corresponding to the sword blade. To carry out this motif, the upright portion 26 of the supports 20 may be made with the shape of a knights shield. The cross-brace 23 may optionally be augmented by a second cross-brace 25 which also is V-shaped in cross-section with the channel facing upward. By this means, one or more marbles or other indicia may be placed in the channel of the brace 25, so that the response time of the players in putting indicia into play may be accelerated.
It will be noted that as illustrated, the ramp 18 is generally V-shaped in cross section, thereby providing an effective means whereby the indicia objects 12, in this case marbles, may be easily rolled along to be deposited in the receptacle 10. It should also be noted that the top of the panel 26 of the support 20 is somewhat higher than the portion of the receptacle 10 which supports the innermost ends of the ramps 18, to enable gravitational forces to be utilized to propel the indicia objects 12 along.
In this connection, it should be noted that although the indicia objects 12 are described here as marbles, other shapes such as small cylinders might also be used advantageously; however, it will be apparent that because of the inherent uniaxial characteristics of spheres, marbles provide an excellent, cheap and readily available form of such indicia. Furthermore, it is advantageous to mark the indicia distinctively to identify them to particular players, as with spots of secondary colors, distinctively shaped marks such as circles, squares, etc., and/or numbers.
The planar upright member 26 of the support 20 is particularly advantageous in the practice of the game herein described, since it ensures that each player will not be able to see the signal being displayed by the signal means 30 associated with his particular playing position. As illustrated, this signal means 30 include a small tray 32 for holding all or part of a pack of playing cards 33. Such cards provide a readily available, cheap, and effective means for displaying a binary signal system, such as red and black colors, in a fashion which permits them to be easily arrayed in random sequence.
In use, the apparatus as hereinabove illustrated and discussed may-be used as follows. Each playing position has a card displayed, either by virtue of a dealer having placed it there, or by virtue of each of the players having removed the top-most card signal indicator from the top of their respective packs of cards 33. Each player then in sequential order going around says I see red if he sees at least one red card displayed by any of the other players. When any one player concludes, either by deductive logic, intuition, subjective measures, or guesswork, that he knows the color of the card at his playing place which is obscured from his view by the upright portion 26 of his support means 20, he so indicates by placing either a red or a black marble (as the case may be) on his ramp 18, whereupon it will roll along the ramp 18 and into the receptacle 10, where it will be retained in the consecutive order in which it was introduced into play. In scoring, value is given not only to the correctness of each players vote, but also to the rank order of his vote or marble counting from the bottom of the tube upward, since this places a premium on speed and penalizes erroneous responses in proportion to the haste with which they are made.
It is to be understood that the embodiments herein discussed and illustrated are by way of illustration and not of limitation and that the present invention may be practiced by those skilled in the cognizant arts in a wide variety of forms and embodiments without departing materially from the spirit or scope of the present invention.
l. A game apparatus for use in collecting indicia objects in the consecutive order in which they are played comprising at least two ramps for causing said indicia objects to travel along predetermined paths to a receptacle.
a receptacle adapted for receiving said indicia objects from said ramps and retaining said indicia objects discernably in the sequence in which they are introduced into said receptacle, ramp retaining means for retainably positioning each of said ramps with its end that is closest to said receptacle lower than its other end, and signalling means associated with each of said ramps, each of which signalling means, when the ramp with which it is associated is retainably positioned as aforesaid by said ramp retaining means, is not visible from beyond that end of its associated ramp which is farthest from said receptable.
2. The device described in claim 1 wherein said ramp retaining means comprises means integral with said receptacle and a support means for supporting said other end of each of said ramps.
3. The device described in claim 2 wherein each of said support means is an upright structure and said signalling means is at a surface of said structure which normally faces toward said receptacle.
4. The device described in claim 3 wherein said receptacle is funnel-shaped and made from transparent material.
5. The device described in claim 2 wherein said ;receptacle is funnel-shaped and made from transparent material.
6. The device described in claim 1 wherein said receptacle is funnel-shaped and made from transparent material.
7. A game apparatus comprising a funnel-shaped receptacle made from transparent material adapted to support one end of each of a multiplicity of ramps with one end of each of said ramps positioned above the ingress means to said receptacle,
a multiplicity of stands having planar vertical members adapted for supporting the other ends of each of said ramps at levels higher than the level of said one end of each, with the plane of said each of said members normal to the long axes of the ramps with which it is associated,
a multiplicity of ramps each of which is supportably positioned with one end on said receptacle and the other end on one of said members, and signalling means positioned on each of said stands on the side thereof which normally may face toward said receptacle.