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Publication numberUS3899169 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 12, 1975
Filing dateSep 12, 1973
Priority dateSep 12, 1973
Publication numberUS 3899169 A, US 3899169A, US-A-3899169, US3899169 A, US3899169A
InventorsRhodes Timothy L, Wagner John L
Original AssigneeRhodes Timothy L, Wagner John L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Building game
US 3899169 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 BUILDING GAME [76] lnventors: Timothy L. Rhodes, 250 Curtis St.;

John L. Wagner, 2389 Medina Rd, both of Medina, Ohio 44256 [22] Filed: Sept. 12, 1973 21 App]. No.: 396,607

[52] US. Cl. 273/1 R; 46/27 [51] Int. CL' A63F 9/00; A63I-l 33/06 [58] Field of Search 273/1 R, l E, l M, 135 F, 273/134 C; 46/29, 28, 27, 24

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,557,583 6/1951 Vitale 273/134 C 2,712,199 7/1955 Latimer 46/28 X 3,300,891 l/l967 Glass ct al. 273/135 F X 3,471.147 10/1969 Glass et a1 273/1 R 3,690,656 9/1972 Hughes et al 273/135 F X Primary ExaminerPaul E. Shapiro Attorney, Agent, or Firm-John Harrow Leonard 5 7 ABSTRACT A game apparatus for building representations of skyscraper types of building frames of low stability. The pieces of each group are substantially identical with each other, but different from the game pieces of other groups, distinguishing therefrom in cross sectional shape and size, or both, and in length. The game pieces of some groups are pillars to be stood upright,

[ 1 Aug. 12, 1975 each pillar having planar opposite ends normal to its longitudinal axis with each end of such size that, when the pillar is positioned upright with one of its ends resting on a planar horizontal surface and is unsupported laterally, it is self-supporting in upright position against the force of gravity, but has such a low degree of stability that it can be toppled over readily by small laterally applied components of extraneous forces. Other game pieces are cross beams each of which has parallel planar opposite faces so that each cross beam can be supported in horizontal position by juxtaposing the lower face on the upper ends of two associated laterally spaced, upright pillars, and, in turn, can support, in upright position, superposed pillars of which the lower ends rest on the upper face of the cross beam. The game pieces of each group are coded by suitable indicia which designate their permitted uses. Pieces designated for a specific permitted use are prohibited by the rules from being put to any other uses. The play indicator devices are manipulatable by the players, respectively, and bear pertinent play indicia for indicating at each manipulation, the act or acts to be performed with the game pieces by one or more players. One such device is a set of dice with special indicia on the die faces for providing different play indicating combinations upon random throws of the dice. Another, and optional, device is a set of cards, for blind selection, indicating alternative actions to be taken whenever the action indicated by the dice cannot be taken.

7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures BUILDING GAME BACKGROUND OF INVENTION 1 Field of Invention Game pieces for building representations of the frameworks of skyscrapers and play indicating devices for indicating actions to be taken by a player with the game pieces under the rules of the game.

2 Description of the Prior Art Heretofore game pieces have been provided for building various structures by manipulation of the pieces and by actions taken in response to play indicating devices operated by the players. Generally stability of the structure being built is enhanced by the configuration of the game pieces themselves or by mechanical connectors which interconnect the game pieces and hold them securely in assembled relation.

In some instances, the play pieces employed are such that the structure built is somewhat in the nature of a puzzle in which each part or game pieces has one, and only one, specific position relative to all of the others.

SUMMARY The present invention is drawn to a building game in which the game pieces impart only limited stability, approaching the unstable, to the structure being built. To this end the game pieces are free from any mechanical connectors. They are so shaped that even the limited stability can be attained only by great manual dexterity in delicately placing the pieces in the positions in which they are directed to be placed by the rules of the game and by the play selectors. Success requires taking the maximum advantage of the individual inherently limited stability of the individual pieces. By careful placement a building several stories high and relatively high in relation to its own overall base dimensions can be constructed. By the rules of the game, the player first building a framework of the greatest previously agreed to number of stories is the winner. Thus manual dexterity in manipulating the pieces to build the structure is one very important factor. Mental acuity in election of the order in which the building is to proceed and the nature of the individual stories to be attempted also is important.

Various specific objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description in which reference is made to the drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. I is a collective view of typical game pieces of the present invention, showing each game piece in perspective;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a set of dice with special indicia and used as a play selector of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a deck of cards with play indicating indicia thereon illustrating another play selector which may be used in combination with the dice of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic illustration of a part of a building frame structure constructed of the game pieces illustrated in FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION As more fully disclosed hereinafter, the object of the game is to be the first player to build a skyscraper framework of a substantial number of stories and capped by a dome or peak, and flagpole. To add excitement and require the exercise of mental acuity and normal dexterity by the players, the framework structure to be constructed is usually one having several stories; for example, from five to ten stories. As the height increases, the stability inherently decreases, requiring progressively more care in placement of the pieces. Since the number of floors first constructed determines the winner, it is, of course, desirable not to use more than four basic pillars and necessary cross beams for the lower or any other floor, in an attempt to increase stability, but instead, to make each story one employing four corner pillars, thus using the pieces to the greatest advantage toward the end of greater height or more stories. Mechanical connectors of any nature for connecting the game pieces together defeat the whole basic conception of the game and are not used. Instead, the pieces maintain their assembled position due to very careful proper initial positioning of them, each in its intended assembled relation to the others. Due to this initial proper positioning and to the proper positions selected for resulting effective weight distribution with the centers of gravity of the first floor and each succeeding floor within the base defined by the four pillars of the bottom floor, a degree of stability is obtained which can withstand toppling by gravity. However, inadvertent extraneous forces directed laterally of the structure by a player during the building construction necessarily have to be kept to a minimum so as not to topple individual elements of the floor being constructed, and other floors, in whole or in part.

Referring to FIG. 1, a set of play pieces is illustrated and comprises pillars or columns 1, 2, and 3, respectively, each of which is cylindrical. In addition to the cylindrical pillars 1, 2, and 3, pillars of rectangular cross section are provided. In the form illustrated, two pillars 4 and 5 of square cross section are preferred.

Cross beam members 6 are provided. The cross beam members 6 are preferably of rectangular cross section with opposite faces planar and parallel to each other. If desired, of course, the beam members 6 may be of some other cross sectional shape in between their ends, but it is necessary that each beam member have, at each end, a pair of oppositely facing parallel supporting surfaces spaced apart from each other. Those surfaces of the two pairs which are at the same side of the member are coplanar.

In addition to these general game pieces, special finishing game pieces are provided, these being in the form of triangular peak forming game pieces 7 which may be of uniform thickness throughout their extent, a single flagpole supporting piece 8 and a flagpole 9. The installation of the flagpole 9 indicates completion of the structure.

The game piece 8 is the only one of the pieces which is not free from connecting means of any nature. It has at one end a bore 10 adapted to receive the lower end of the flagpole 9 for designating that the structure has been completed. The bore 10 is sufficiently larger in diameter than the flagpole 9 so that there is little resistance to insertion of the flagpole. This feature is necessary because of the low degree of stability of the structure.

It has been found generally that the quantities of the .v different game pieces required works out rather consis-l tently.

3 A typical set of game pieces is illustrated in the following Table I wherein the game pieces, with the size and quantity of each piece opposite it, are listed. Table l is merely an illustrative example of the number, sizes,

could were the end surface continuous.

The cross beam game pieces 6 are of selected size so as to use a minimum amount of material for performing their cross tie function. Since they do not have to bear and shapes of game pieces which can be used. Obvi- 5 any substantial amount of load as beams, they may be ously, each type of game piece can be different size and made relatively thin, but they must be stiff enough so shape than illustrated, but each game piece of each that, on the top floor, they can support the game pieces type should be the same as others of that particular 7 and the flagpole supporting piece 8, and flagpole 9. type. For example, in the Table, the pillars 2 may be the Their end portions are merely in direct compression. A same length as the pillars 1, respectively. The triangular l limitation is that each should be wide enough so that pieces 7 may be as thick as the width of the flagpole the under face at each end covers substantially the ensupporting piece 8, for example /2 inch, instead of tire end face of a pillar and their upper face is at least somewhat less thick, as illustrated. as wide as the lower end of the pillar to be supported Further, in Table l, the reference numerals used to thereon. designate the pieces in the drawing are not the play 15 Generally, all of the cross beams or game pieces 6 are numbers by which latter the pieces are referenced to identical, being of rectangular cross section and of the the play indicator. same length,

TABLE I Drg. Type Play Cross Length X-sectiion No. of Ref. Piece sectional (inches) dimensions pieces No. No. Shape (inches) 1 pillar circular 4 /2 D /a l6 2 pillar 9 circular 3% D-Vz l6 3 pillar 4 circular 2% D- /s 8 4 pillar 6 square 5% /zXVz 28 5 pillar 8 square 4 /2 /zX /z 28 6 beam 7 rectangular 4% /aX /s 80 7 finish triangular base 1% Thickness l6 (elevation) alt. 4 /2 /2 8 flagpole 3 circular l0 D-3/l6 4 9 flagpole 11 square 5 /2X/2 4 support bore 7/32 Certain characteristics of the game pieces are criti- Each game piece 7 is in the form of a right angle trical. As mentioned, none, except the game piece 9, has angle so that, such pieces can have their lower edges or any means for connecting it to any other game piece. legs resting on a platform of play pieces 6 with the It is necessary, therefore, that both ends of each of the other legs of the right angle extending vertically and pillars be planar and normal to the axis of the pillar. bearing against the side faces of the flagpole supporting Further, the ends must be of such shape that if a pillar game piece 8. is stood upright on a horizontal supporting surface with A play indicator that may be used constitutes a pair its lower end juxtaposed thereagainst, it will retain its of dies 11 and 12, as illustrated in FIG. 2 and having upright position against the normal forces of gravity. specially numbered faces. One die 11 bears on its faces However, standing alone, it has little resistance to topnumerals 1 through 5 and X, respectively. The other pling by extraneously applied lateral components of die 12 bears on its faces numerals 2 through 6, and X, force of substantial amount. This is true for all pillars. respectively. Thus the dice are conventional except Of course, assuming pillars with identical ends, the that on one die, numeral 6 is replaced by X, and on the longer the pillar, the less is its inherent stability. other die numeral 1 is replaced by X.

It is desirable that the pieces be simple, and that each As exemplary of a game which can be played, using be of uniform cross section throughout its length. If deth above die 11 and 12 a the play indi tor, and sired, the columns may be fluted, or otherwise given an which combines mental acumen and dexterity follows. attractive appearance, care being taken not to reduce The game can be played by from two to four players too much the areas at the outer peripheral margins of a d the obje t i t b the fir t l r to o l t the the end Surfaces, as it is the Outer Peripheral margin of construction of a skyscraper framework of a predeteran end, not the central portion, which determines the mined number of stories, topped by the peak section, stability. Consequently, though the entire end surfaces flagpole holders, and flagpole. Each story must include of the pillars as shown are planar, the word planar, four pillars, no more and no less, and at least two, but as used herein, means that the supporting portions of not more than four, horizontal cross beams. These each end surface lie in a common plane, even though cross beams may not be used in any other manner than the supporting portion is not continuous across the enfor horizontal beams. The pillars of at least two comtire end. For mpl an end which has IC CU! plete stories must be cylindrical, exclusively, although transversely of the pillar, or an end with a concavity more stories may also employ cylindrical pillars. The formed therein which leaves the outer peripheral marplatform on the top story on which the peak pieces are gin of the end as the supporting portion, is a planar surto rest may include any number of reinforcing beams. face, even though the various portions are not coexten- No pillar, whether cylindrical or polygonal in cross secsive in area with the end. Actually, such a concavity could be of advantage, in that small irregularities of the supporting surface located a short distance inside the peripheral margin cannot interfere with stability as they tion, may be used as a horizontal beam. The game pieces must be built into the structure, one at a time, and no two or more of them can be assembled as a subassembly before adding to the structure. For example,

the flagpole support piece 8 and flagpole piece 9 cannot be connected together before installation of the piece 8 in the structure.

The play stops while a player is building any portion of his structure. Each player collects an inventory of 5 game pieces from a center stockpile. He has the right to determine when he will begin building, to what extent, and at what pace. The first person to complete a multi-story structure of the number of stories agreed upon, complete with a peak and installed flagpole is the winner.

For beginning the play the game pieces are sorted and like pieces are arranged in separate piles in the center of the play area. Each player, in turn, then rolls the same one of the dice. The player obtaining the highest number initiates the play. The first player rolls both dice. If either of the dies stops with an X up, the player loses his turn and the dice move to the next player to the left. If neither die shows an X, the first player takes from the appropriate one of the stockpiles a play piece bearing the play number, not the drawing reference numeral, equal to the sum of the numbers on the show faces of the dies. The game pieces bear their designated play numbers, respectively. The play pieces so obtained are placed in the players private inventory. This completes his turn and the dice are passed to the next player to the left.

If a player rolls two Xs, he can select any one game piece he desires from any one center stockpile he elects. Should he roll two Xs a second consecutive time, he may then select and take game pieces, one from each of the remaining players inventories, respectively. He then can roll the dice again and complete his turn as above prescribed and again selects a piece from the appropriate center stockpile, as indicated by the sum of the numbers on the dice. The game continues with all players rolling the dice successively, and each establishing his own inventory of game pieces.

A player may elect at any time to begin construction of his skyscraper, provided he makes his election at the beginning of his turn and before he rolls the dice for that turn. He may build the stories in any sequence he desires. For example, he may build one story at a time between his drawings of game pieces, or he may wait to build several stories at once after accumulating a large stockpile of game pieces. He may begin with any size and shape of pillars, although that decision usually depends on what game pieces his dice rolls have allocated to him.

Certain incentives are offered to each player as the game proceeds. For example, assuming there are four players, the first player to complete two stories of his structure may select two game pieces of his preference from the inventory of any one of the players, that is, a total of two pieces, not two from each of the inventories of the other players.

The second player to reach tow complete stories may likewise make a selection in like fashion from the inventory of any one of the other players except the first player to reach two stories, whose inventory is ex cluded. The play continues in this manner and selection to which a player is entitled is limited to the inventories of those players who have not yet reached two complete stories, or whose building, after having reached two stories, has collapsed to less than two stories. There is, therefore, a distinct advantage in being the first player to complete two complete stories as expeditiously as possible. Thus, assuming four players, three of whom have completed two stories, the fourth player obviously is without any privilege in taking game pieces from the inventories of other players upon his reaching the two stories, except one of those, if any, whose structure has collapsed to less than two stories. No player may remove any game piece from another players structure, but only from/an inventory.

If a player is constructing a story and a portion or all of that story collapses before being completed, the player may, with no penalty, start again and continue building. If, during construction or at any time, a story other than the one currently being built collapses, all pieces from the structure which collapsed and those pieces not constituting a complete story must be returned to the center stockpile and the player may resume the play from the point where a story of at least four vertical pillars and two horizontal beams remains intact.

If an entire structure collapses, which is most often the case, all game pieces that were a part thereof are returned to the center stockpile, but in no event after such collapse does the player return to the center stockpile those pieces that were in his inventory and not yet a part of the former structure.

After all pieces are returned to the stockpile following a collapse, the player takes his turn rolling the dice and the. play continues as usual. Thus, when a part of the structure other than what is currently being built collapses all pieces which collapsed and those not constituting a complete story are returned to the center stockpile and the structure remaining determines the status of the player, that is, whether he has completed the two stories of the four stories requisite for special consideration as above provided in the case of building to four stories.

The game ends when a player finishes the skyscraper conforming to the previously agreed upon guide lines.

As a further refinement, a deck, indicated at 15, of cards 16, as illustrated in FIG. 3, is provided. These cards bear instructional indicia as noted in the following Table II, wherein the quantity of like cards and the instructions borne thereby are indicated.

TABLE [1 Quantity Type 12 Return one game piece to stockpile.

8 Player to your right return one game piece to the stockpile. 8 Player to your left return one game piece to the stockpile.

Take one piece from any players inventory. Take one piece from the stockpile.

All players return one game piece to the stockpile.

OOCOO Thus the deck of cards provides an alternative in those cases in which one cannot draw game pieces in accordance with the throw of the dice.

It is advisable not to play this game on a light table, such as a folding card-table, due to the wobbly condition of the table itself and the fact that the structures are of low stability. It is better, therefore, to use a floor area and perhaps in order to eliminate any unevenness that might exist in the floor each player may build on a stiffly bound book resting on the floor.

To make the play more interesting, as to physical dexterity, variations in diameters, shapes, and sizes of the game pieces may be used, the specific shapes and sizes not being critical except that in all cases the end surfaces of each pillar must lie in planes normal to the axis of the pillar, and the length to end area or shape must be such that the building framework is inherently of low stability.

As mentioned, if desired, at slight expense the ends of the pillars can be countersunk at the central portion leaving only a narrow peripheral planar margin. This has an advantage in that small localized irregularities in the surface might be objectionable were they engaged by a central portion of a pillar coplanar with the margin. Such would prevent the pillar from standing in true upright position on a horizontal surface whereas, with the end portions countersunk, such localized irregularities in the surface may fall within the countersunk portion, leaving the margin to rest properly on the surrounding planar surface of the floor or base.

Having thus described our invention, we claim:

1. A game apparatus comprising:

groups of like game pieces for constructing a reprepillar which has planar parallel ends normal to its longitudinal axis, and each of said ends of each pillar being of such size and cross section and so related to the length of the pillar that when the pillar is disposed on one end on a horizontal planar surface with its axis upright and is free from laterally imposed extraneous forces, it is capable of remaining in upright position against the forces of gravity, but with a low degree of stability against toppling;

each of the pieces of another group being a cross beam which is relatively long and narrow and which has on one face a pair of parallel coplanar face portions and on its opposite face a pair of coplanar face portions parallel to those on said one face;

the face portions of the pair disposed at one face of the cross beam being related in length and breadth to the ends of the pillars, respectively, so that the face portions can be juxtaposed on the upper ends of two laterally spaced upright pillars, respectively, when their upper ends are coplanar and the faces are horizontal and when so juxtaposed, can support the cross beam in horizontal position, and so that the lower ends of two such spaced pillars can be supported in upright position on the face portions, respectively, opposite those supporting the cross beam on the pillars, and each face portion of each beam extending from a location inwardly from its associated end of the beam a greater distance than the greatest cross sectional dimension of said ends, respectively, entirely to said associated end;

said pillars and cross beams and the game as a whole being free from accessory connectors and connecting portions, other than frictional engagement between the pillar ends and the said faces, which can mechanically hold the beams and pillars together in assembled relations and which can constrain them from movement relative to each other; and so that the pillars and cross beams are held in said assembled relations solely by friction between said juxtaposed ends of the pillars and the associated face portions of the cross beams under gravitational forces acting on said groups of game pieces, and said groups being the only pillars and only cross beams, respectively, of said game so related to each other; and

the ratio of the length of each pillar to the maximum transverse dimension of its ends, respectively, falls within a range from about 3.6 to about 7.7.

2. The game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein each pillar is of regular geometrical cross section, symmetrical about the pillar axis and uniform throughout the pillar length.

3. The game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein each cross beam is a right angled parallelepiped of a width many times its thickness.

4. The game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the ends of the pillars are so related to said face portions in size and shape that the entire periphery of each supporting, or supported, end can lie within the peripheral limits of the face portion against which it is engaged.

5. The game apparatus according to claim 1 wherein play indicator means, manipulatable by players, respectively, and bearing informative indicia delineating by chance positioning resulting from each manipulation an action to be taken by one or more of the players with respect to the game pieces.

' 6. The game apparatus according to claim 5 wherein the play indicator means includes a pair of dice having indicia on their faces, respectively, the combinations of which indicia indicate the action to be taken, the indicia on one die being the numerals 1 through 5, and x, arranged one indicium on each die face; and

the indicia on the other die being the numerals 2 through 6, and x, arranged one indicium on each die face.

7. The game apparatus according to claim 6 wherein the play indicator means also includes a deck of cards, one of which cards is to be selected blindly when the game pieces are so distributed and disposed relative to the players that the action indicated by the dice cannot be taken, and which cards bear instructions for alternative actions to be taken, and which can be taken, de-

spite said distribution and disposal of the game pieces.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2557583 *Sep 12, 1947Jun 19, 1951Vitale Guy WilsonGame board for simulated naval games
US2712199 *Oct 6, 1952Jul 5, 1955Latimer Henry RToy building blocks
US3300891 *Dec 23, 1963Jan 31, 1967Marvin Glass & AssociatesConstruction toy amusement device
US3471147 *Feb 9, 1967Oct 7, 1969Marvin Glass & AssociatesStructural balancing game
US3690656 *Jan 6, 1970Sep 12, 1972Dalan CoTable game
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4162069 *Feb 9, 1978Jul 24, 1979Adolph E. GoldfarbAction skill game
US4895548 *Dec 5, 1988Jan 23, 1990Tonka Corporation, Kenner DivisionCollapsible construction set
US5067729 *Oct 15, 1990Nov 26, 1991Hunter Gary WBlock stacking game apparatus
US5611544 *Nov 27, 1995Mar 18, 1997Pokonobe AssociatesStacking brick tower game
U.S. Classification273/450, 446/85
International ClassificationA63F9/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63F9/0073
European ClassificationA63F9/00H