Tuesday, May 06, 2008

April Board and Card Game Patents

Welcome to another edition of board and card game patents. April's list is a long one, so let's get started.

Educational game - An educational math puzzle to teach the multiplication table. Tiles with the correct products go into the correct rows and columns of board containing the multiplication table, and each piece also has two colors representing the row and column so as to eliminate the need for actually learning any math.

Big money playing card game and method - A financial card game called "Big Money". Also includes a die. You must first play a Business License card and then play your lowest money cards in order. If you don't have a Business License card, you can trade money with someone who has a duplicate. The highest money card in your hand is deducted against you at the end of the hand.

There are hazard cards which you can play on other players, making the game looks nearly identical to Milles Bornes.

Poker-type card game method - By New Poker Championships, players are dealt three cards each and only four cards are turned up. Wow. What a patent. I feel heady. I think I need to lie down.

Card game - A game of seven card stud (aka Pai Gow Poker), with a joker in the deck. Supposedly the patent simplifies the betting somehow, but I didn't see how.

September 11, 2001 commemorative chess set - A design patent:

I assume that these are both white and black pieces, since only one set is shown. So you can sacrifice your black firefighter, for instance, to take down the white World Trade Center. For some reason, the patent also references Martin Luther King's 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, although it doesn't say why.

Method of automatically and fairly playing a die game and machine for the same - By Jumbo Technology, a machine that shakes dice in an opaque cup and lets players bet on them before they are revealed. It also determines the dice results electronically.

Method for playing casino poker game - "Each player is dealt five cards, with an option to utilize a sixth card to improve the five-card hand. The players pay a percentage of their ante wager, e.g., 10% or 20%, for the right to use a sixth card, and the dealer pays a set fee, e.g., $0.50, $1.00, or $2.00 for the right to use a sixth card."

Poker style game and method - Players split their cards into multiple hands and bet against the dealer's hands after he did the same.

Apportionment of pay out of casino game with escrow - By Progressive Gaming, it's an attempt to provide a knowledge-based game (trivia) into a casino without losing the house advantage. It does this by stealing the losses of some players and using that money as the payout for correct answers.

Yangtze hold 'em and other poker games played with a chinese poker deck - Texas Hold'em with a "Chinese" deck of cards and a few rules about wild cards.

But man, does this guy go on and on about the Chinese, cards, and the state of the universe in his background information. Some samples:
As we, the "earth people" living in this planet, enter into the 21.sup.st century, there have been profound changes in world affairs that severely impact the well-being of our society. One can list a number of such events that led to those changes. But among them three really stand out. The first event has to be the end of the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States which led indirectly to the breakup of the Soviet Empire. This event has changed many lives, both within and without the former Soviet Union. Many people living formerly under the Soviet rule are today enjoying their political freedom for the first time after many decades. More importantly they have now become productive and free citizens once again in their new environments leading to significant economical gain because of their entrepreneurship and hard work.


It is well known that over centuries the Chinese love to play the games of chance or to put it simply, they love to gamble. Gambling is literally in their blood, so to say, just as the Irish love visiting their neighborhood pub for a drink of beer after work prior to going home.


It is difficult to imagine a Chinese who is indifferent to Feng Shui--the age old Chinese concept of associating harmony with luck and good fortune! Feng Shui in Chinese means wind and water. Its origin dates back several thousand years to ancient China. The geography of that vast land requires careful consideration when constructing a building since the mountain winds can be severe and the lower areas are prone to flooding. Thus for the ancient Chinese, Feng Shui literally means "luck engineering".

Die eye number determination method, die eye number determination apparatus, and electronic apparatus using same - An electronic doodad that can scan a box and determine the results of dice that have been thrown into it.

Board game - A design patent for the game board Chexagon. You can download rules for how to play four adapted classic games on the board.

System and method for playing a role-playing game - Yah, um, this is a patent on some sort of Keno betting variant by GameLogic, Inc. This has nothing to do with role-playing games. ???

Card making device, card making method and recording medium thereof - Unless I'm mistaken, I believe that this is a device that allows one to print out a game card using any characteristics stored in the system, so that CCGs don't have to be so collectible.

Book with rotating device - A trivia book with questions and answers, where you make guesses by rotating tabs around the circular edge of the book and then look at the answers on the page that is selected.

Mosaic playing-cards - This was the most promising looking patent I've seen all year. Just look at the abstract:
A new gaming tool and method of game play including an unconventional deck of playing-cards not employing symbolic relations, but rather employing actual relations between rectilinear geometric regions. The playing-cards preferably employ geometric interactions of reflection, complementarity, contrariety, and identity. Geometric card properties that further enhance game play include figure-ground reversibility, handedness, rotational transformation, and perpendicular association.
This sounds pretty cool. At this point, I was envisioning playing cards that weren't rectangular but made of weird shapes. I'm figuring: pick a card and try to place it like a puzzle piece, or something.

Further description made it sound even cooler (samples):
A multi-dimensional system of relations between cards, and various subsets of cards, is essential to the versatility of a successful deck of playing-cards. The success of a deck of playing-cards, as a gaming tool, is also due in no small way to its ergonomic physical attributes. Cards are portable and inexpensive. Opaque construction provides the security needed for competitive game play. The conventional rectangular shape facilitates shuffling the deck, a function that is essential in playing card games.

While many unique decks of playing-cards exist, the state of the art is overwhelmingly emblematic, employing symbolic marks on the card's playing face. The multiplicity of games that can be developed is based upon, and limited by, the relations of the various symbols.

The most popular deck of playing-cards is related as a simple matrix consisting of a hierarchical sequence with the addition of suit modifiers.

There are of course limits to the symbolic relations in this simple matrix. A deck of playing-cards having playing faces that are subdivided into geometric regions, or play-fields, would allow for geometric relations in a physical or non-symbolic manner. Thus, such a deck would provide the opportunity for new and unique games that are not possible with decks of emblematic playing-cards.

Cultural bias can be observed in many of the symbols employed in emblematic playing-cards. Corner indicia of the popular English playing-cards employ numeric symbols that are foreign to non-English speaking peoples. Symbols of the English Royalty and the superiority of King over Queen could be offensive to some and foreign to others. Similar cultural symbols can be observed in emblematic playing-cards around the world.

In today's highly communicative world, the cultural bias of conventional emblematic playing-cards limits the opportunity for cross-cultural play. By contrast, games that employ the more fundamental and universal concepts of geometric shapes and relations are trans-cultural and timeless. Geometric playing-cards provide the opportunity for truly global game play.
Unfortunately, I missed the part where it said "having playing faces that are subdivided into geometric regions", i.e. not the shapes of the cards themselves. If I hadn't missed that, I would not have been let down when I saw the result:

Which is still pretty cool, but not as cool as I was expecting.

The inventor actually goes on to give names to each of the possible orientations of cards with two divided boxes (pictured) or four divided boxes on each card.

So what can you do with cards like these? Play games where you try to form matching objects by collecting, swapping, or reorienting cards, not only by having them on the cards themselves, but by creating them by laying cards next to each other.

Card game suitable for casino play - An additional bet made before any game of poker that the common cards will be all black or red, or above or below a certain value.

Game and system for nostalgically replicating baseball and a method for playing a baseball game - "A need ... exists for a game and a system for nostalgically replicating baseball." Which means, not simply representing it, but representing it nostalgically. Which means I don't know what, but it comes with little craft items that look like old baseball bats, dugouts, and score flippers.

The game, whose mechanics are buried in the patent, looks comparable to War.

Royal game and method of playing - An additional bet made before any game of poker that your hand will contain four cards valued 10 or higher.

Card game and method of playing the same - A three-card poker game of some kind using three sets of card numbered 0 to 14. Various payouts for different types of hands.

Cheerleader action-figure board game - A roll-and-move board game, where, after drawing a card, you take your movable cheerleader action figure and physically fling her through the air hoping she will land upright. Uses Velcro for catching the dolls, somehow. It's supposed to teach about competitive cheerleading.

Interactive educational game - A toy called "Match 'N Trace", where you draw a disk and then trace or draw what's on the disk.


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