Patent application title: METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR PLAYING WORD GAMES
James C. Mckay (Chevy Chase, MD, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63F300FI
Class name: Amusement devices: games board games, pieces, or boards therefor word, sentence, or equation forming (e.g., scrabble, hangman)
Publication date: 2011-02-17
Patent application number: 20110037224
Patent application title: METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR PLAYING WORD GAMES
James C. McKay
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC
Origin: ARLINGTON, VA US
IPC8 Class: AA63F300FI
Publication date: 02/17/2011
Patent application number: 20110037224
A method and apparatus for playing a word game with two, three or four
players competing to spell as many words as possible within a period of
one minute. The game includes a deck of 59 cards, each having two or
three letters on its face. Words must start with the letters shown on a,
card which is drawn from the deck. Each syllable of a word counts one
point. Selected words must comply with specified rules. The players
decide in advance whether bonus words are to be included in the game. The
score is doubled for a bonus word. If bonus words are included, selected
words must also comply with additional specified rules. The players agree
in advance on a dictionary to be consulted, if necessary. The winner is
the player with the highest score.
1. A method of playing a word game comprising:presenting a plurality of
players with a letter combination;recording character strings of each
player within a certain time period; andcomputing a score for each player
based on the number of syllables of words said player specifies in words
formed by said recorded character strings.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the letter combination comprises two letters.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the letter combination comprises two or three letters.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein said recorded character strings must each begin with said letter combination.
5. The method of claim 1 further including allowing any player to challenge words recorded by other players.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein a computer automatically randomly or pseudo-randomly selects said letter combinations.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein players must record only words having at least four letters.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein each word recorded by each player must be correctly spelled.
9. The method of claim 1 wherein only foreign words in the dictionary are allowed.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein contractions, abbreviations, proper nouns and hyphenated words are not allowed.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein all forms of the word other than contractions, abbreviations, proper nouns and hyphenated words are allowed.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein all classes of a word may be separately used.
13. The method of claim 1 further including scoring certain words as bonus words, wherein the letter combinations are entirely between the first and last syllables of a selected word.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein in order for a word to count as a bonus word, none of a predetermined three-letter combination may be part of the first or last syllable of the word.
15. The method of claim 1 wherein the beginning and end of a syllable is determined in a manner that syllables are shown in the dictionary.
16. The method of claim 1 wherein said letter combinations comprise at least ten or more of the following, BE, TER, CHA, DIS, UND, APP, RE, GRA, TRA, BRA, COM, REL, BL JE, PRO, PA, OP, NE, NO, BA, LE, STR, EX, FL, YO, STA, VE, SP, CO, LA, DE, MIS, MAN, PAR, QUI, REC, TE, WA, YE, SE, IN, IM, GR, FO, KI, KE, ANT, EXC, JA, WI, VI, OR, AL, ALL Ml, CON IND, IMP, BR, QU, RA.
17. A kit for playing a word game comprising:a timer;a recorded listing of predetermined letter combinations that are randomly or pseudo-randomly selected and displayed to each of said players,means for recording words provided by a plurality of game players that use said letter combinations in a manner such that each player cannot see words being recorded by other game players until after a time period timed by said timer expires;wherein, in use, said kit is used according to game play rules that score players based upon the number of syllables the players record.
18. Apparatus for playing word games comprising:at least one input device through which a game player can input character strings;at least one display device capable of displaying letter combinations;a timer that is automatically capable of timing a time period; anda processor coupled to said timer, said at least one input device and said at least one display, said processor causing said display to display randomly or pseudo-randomly-selected predetermined letter combination, receiving inputs from said at least one input device, and generating at least one score based at least in part on the number of syllables inputted into said input device.
CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The technology herein relates to a method and apparatus for playing word games.
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY
Word games and puzzles are fun and entertaining. They are also useful for educating children and non-native speakers about spelling and vocabulary. Solving crossword puzzles, which requires familiarity with a large vocabulary, is a pastime that many have long enjoyed and profited from. Scrabble® is hugely popular, with its scoring based on word length as well as double and triple letter and word score squares on a game board. Spelling bees are a perpetual favorite.
Many or most word games and puzzles require, as ingredients of success, swiftness of thought, a well-developed vocabulary, and good general language skills including spelling. There are popular televised word games with valuable monetary prizes for the winning contestants. Many word games enjoy international popularity across a multitude of languages.
Some word games use a playing board, other word games use only a paper and pencil, and still other word games use computers.
While there are a large number of existing word games, additional interesting concepts and techniques are possible. For example, Sudoku experienced a recent wave of popularity resulting in the sale of many thousands of Sudoku books and widespread publication of Sudoku puzzles in newspapers across the country. Those who like word games are often on the lookout for new and interesting games to play. Therefore, further improvements and interesting new games are always possible and desirable.
One exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation herein provides a method of playing a word-forming game, with two, three, four or more players, competing to properly spell as many words as possible within a given time period (e.g., one minute), with each syllable of a word counting one point. The game may be played in four quarters or some other number of periods. It may use playing cards (e.g., 59 cards) each having two or three letters on its face.
An exemplary illustrative non-limiting method may have the players agree in advance on a dictionary to be consulted, if necessary. In one example, each player writes on a tablet, within a period of one minute, as many words as possible beginning with the letters on the card. In one specific implementation, each written word must comply with the rules of the game as for example set forth below.
In one example non-limiting implementation, the players decide in advance of each game whether bonus words will be included. If bonus words are included, three-letter cards may be used both for words beginning with the three letters, and also for writing bonus words. The score can be doubled or otherwise multiplied for a bonus word. In order for the scoring of a bonus word to be allowed, the player complies with the rules applicable to bonus words as for example set forth below.
Each quarter or other period may, for example, begin with a player ("shuffler") shuffling the deck of cards. The first shuffler will be selected by any agreed method of selection. The shuffler changes with each quarter to a player designated by any agreed method of selection in advance of the start of the game.
In one example non-limiting implementation, after shuffling, the shuffler places the deck of cards on the table face down. The first quarter begins when the shuffler turns the top card face up, and simultaneously activates a timer. The timer can be mechanical, electronic or of any desired type.
In one non-limiting example, players should stop writing at the end of one minute, except that a word started may be completed. Each player adds up his or her score and turns his or her tablet face up. If there are two players, each may challenge the correctness of the other player's word. If there are three or four players, the shuffler has the first opportunity to challenge the correctness of the words of each of the other players. If the shuffler does not wish to challenge the correctness of the words of one or more of the other players, the right to challenge passes to the player immediately to the shuffler's left. If that player does not wish to challenge any one of the other players, the right to challenge passes to the player on his or her immediate left. If that player does not wish to challenge, the right to challenge passes to the player, if any, on his or her immediate left.
In one example implementation, a challenge is sustained if the challenged word violates any of the rules. If a challenge is sustained, the score of the challenged player will be reduced by the point value of the challenged word. If the challenge is unsuccessful, the score of the challenging player will be reduced by the point value of the challenged word.
The first quarter of this example non-limiting implementation ends after the scoring is completed. The score of each player is recorded on a separate sheet of paper. The card which was used is discarded.
Each of the next three quarters is played as described above. In this example implementation, the card used in each of the succeeding quarters is discarded at the end of the quarter. The role of "shuffler" changes with each quarter. If there are two players, the role of shuffler rotates. If there are three players, the first shuffler has that role twice; each of the other two players has that role once. If there are four players, each has that role once.
The winner is the player with the highest score at the end of the four quarters.
Thus, in one example illustrative non-limiting implementation, the players spell out separate words. The longer the word, the larger the number of points. In addition, the players write words that show the two or three letters on the upturned card. Each syllable counts one point. There can also be a bonus feature, in which the three letters on a card must be placed in the middle of the word, without touching either the first or second syllable. The scoring is doubled as to only one form of such a word, if more than one form is used. The winner is the player with the highest score after the requisite number of games have been played.
Further exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementations are implemented by computer arrangement comprising one or a plurality of computer input devices coupled to a processor. Each player can input sequences of letters using the input device(s). The computer input device(s) can be connected locally or remotely (e.g., over a network) to the processor. Any number of players (i.e., one or more) can participate. The processor may display to each player (using the same or different display devices) a sequence of letters and display a timer counting down to indicate the amount of time left for completion. The player(s) may input as many words as he or she can think of in the allotted time that comply with the game rules. The processor can automatically score the results. The player may play against the computer, against himself or against other players.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other features and advantages will be better and more completely understood by referring to the following detailed description of exemplary non-limiting illustrative embodiments in conjunction with the drawings of which:
FIG. 1 is a diagram of an exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation of a word game playing kit;
FIG. 2 shows an example deck of game playing cards;
FIG. 3 schematically illustrates an exemplary illustrative non-limiting computer-implemented method and apparatus for playing a word game; and
FIG. 4 is flowchart of exemplary illustrative non-limiting set of program controlled steps performed by the FIG. 3 computer implementation.
Example Illustrative Non-Limiting Apparatus
Example non-limiting apparatus as shown in FIG. 1 includes a kit 10 consisting of a deck 12 of 59 cards, each the size of a playing card, and each with two or three letters on its face; written rules of the game 14, and additional rules applicable to bonus words 16; a timer 18; four tablets 20; four pencils 22; and a scoring sheet 24. A dictionary 26 may also be used.
Kit 10 can be used for playing a word game with two, three, four or other number of players competing to spell as many words as possible within a time period, such as one minute. Words must start with the letters shown on a card which is drawn from the deck 12. Each syllable of a word counts one point. Selected words must comply with specified rules. The players decide in advance whether bonus words are to be included in the game. The score is doubled or otherwise multiplied for a bonus word. If bonus words are included, selected words must also comply with additional specified rules. The players agree in advance on a dictionary 26 to be consulted, if necessary. The winner is the player with the highest score.
Example Illustrative Non-Limiting Rules for Selection of Words
1. Each word must have at least four letters.
2. Each word must be correctly spelled.
3. Only foreign words in the dictionary are allowed.
4. Contractions, abbreviations, proper nouns, and hyphenated words are not allowed.
5. All other forms of a word are allowed. For example, the letters "in g" or "ous" at the end of a word are allowed, and the letters "un" at the beginning of a word are allowed.
6. All classes of a word may be separately used, i.e., the noun, adjective, and adverb of a word.
Example Illustrative Non-Limiting Additional Rules for Bonus Word Games
1. In order to count as a bonus word, the three letters must be entirely between the first and last syllable of the selected word. For example, if the three letters on the card are "cha," and the player writes "merchantability," the score is doubled from six (the number of syllables) to twelve. The score of another form of that word is not doubled. For example, if the player also writes "merchantable," the score is not doubled, but reflects the number of the syllables, four in this instance.
2. In order to count as a bonus word, none of the three-card letters may be a part of the first or last syllable of the word. For example, if the three letters on the card are "end," the word "engender" would not count as a bonus word because the letter "d" is a part of the last syllable.
3. The beginning and end of a syllable is determined in the manner that syllables are shown in the dictionary 26.
Example Illustrative Non-Limiting Cards
The cards are shuffled after each game. Thee top card is turned at which point the game starts. There may be 59 or 61 cards for example. In the game the cards can be the size of regular playing cards and have attractive designs on them, with large letters. Example illustrative non-limiting letters on the cards in no particular order can be as follows:
BE TER CHA DIS UND APP RE GRA TRA BRA COM REL BL JE PRO PA OP NE NO BA LE STR EX FL YO STA VE SP CO LA DE MIS MAN PAR QUI REC TE WA YE SE IN IM GR FO KI KE ANT EXC JA WI VI OR AL ALL Ml CON IND IMP BR QU RA
Not all possible letter combinations will work since no valid words might begin with some combinations such as "QZH" or "XD."
TABLE-US-00001 Representative List For Regular Card Set (2 letters) Letters Words Score BE BEREAVE 2 RE RELATION 3 BL BLASPHEMY 3 JE JEALOUSY 3 PA PATENTABILITY 6 OP OPERATIONAL 5 NE NECESSARY 4 NO NONEQUIVOCATING 6 BA BANDYLEGGED 4 LE LEOTARD 3 EX EXPLANATION 4 FL FLEXIBILITY 5 YO YOUNGSTER 2 VE VERISIMILITUDE 6 SP SPECIALIZATION 5 CO CONTEMPTUOUSLY 5 LA LATITUDINAL 5 DE DELIGHTFULLY 4 TE TEMPERAMENTAL 5 WA WASHERWOMAN 4 YE YEARLING 3 SE SENTIMENTALITY 6 IN INCOMPREHENSIBILITY 8 IM IMPECUNIOUS 5 GR GREGARIOUS 4 FO FORTUITOUS 4 KI KIMONO 3 KE KEYBOARD 2 JA JACKOLANTERN 4 WI WILLOTHEWISP 4 VI VIBRATOR 3 OR ORGANIZATIONAL 6 AL ALTERNATIVE 4 MI MICROSCOPIC 4 BR BRIGANTINE 3 QU QUINTUPLET 3 RA RAVENOUS 3
TABLE-US-00002 Representative List For Regular Card Set (3 letters) TER TERRIFYING 4 CHA CHAMPIONSHIP 4 TRI TRIUMPHANTLY 4 UND REFUNDABILITY 6 APP APPREHENSIBLE 5 GRA GRACIOUSLY 3 TRA TRANSFORMATIONAL 5 BRA BRAGGART 2 COM COMMENSURABLE 5 REL RELATIVITY 5 PRO PROCRASTINATION 5 STA STANDARDIZATION 5 MIS MISDEMEANOR 4 MAN MANICDEPRESSIVE 5 PAR PARALLELOGRAM 5 QUI QUINONIMINE 4 REC RECIPROCATING 5 ANT ANTITHETICAL 5 GEN GENERALITY 5 CON CONQUISTADOR 4 IND INDEFATIGABLE 6 DRE DREADNOUGHT 2
TABLE-US-00003 Representative List for Bonus Card Set (3 letters) TER COLLATERIZE 10 CHA UNMERCHANTABLE 10 TRI IRRETRIEVABLE 10 UND REFUNDABILITY 12 APP UNHAPPINESS 8 GRA TELEGRAPHICALLY 14 TRA ADMINISTRATIVELY 12 BRA CELEBRATORY 10 COM TELECOMMUNICATION 12 REL UNCORRELATED 10 PRO DISAPPROVINGLY 10 STA UNDERSTANDABLE 10 MIS IMPERMISSIBILITY 14 MAN INHUMANITY 10 PAR INCOMPARABLE 10 QUI INEQUITABLE 10 REC UNPRECEDENTED 10 ANT MERCHANTABLE 8 GEN UNREGENERATE 10 CON TRANSCONTINENTAL 10 IND REMAINDERING 8 DRE MISADDRESSED 6
Exemplary Illustrative Non-Limiting Computer-implemented Implementation.
FIG. 3 shows an additional, example illustrative non-limiting implementation of a word game playing apparatus and associated method parts of which are implemented by computer. In the example shown, computer server 100 includes a processor coupled to a disk storage 102 and a timer, the processor 100 performs automatic processing to provide word game play. Server 100 may be connected directly or through a network 104 to one or various user input and one or various display devices 106 that are used to interact with associated game players 108. The game players 108 can be in the same location or in disparate locations across the country or the world.
In the example shown, each game player 108 has access to a display 112 and associated input device 110. The server 100 causes information to be displayed on each of displays 112, and may accept input via each of input devices 110. In the example shown, each of input devices 110 comprises a keyboard but other types of input devices (e.g., voice recognition, pointing interfaces, gesture recognition, etc.) could be used instead or in addition.
In the example shown, server 100 may cause display of a letter combination (e.g., "BE" in the particular example shown) along with timer 116 indicator. Each of game players 108 may view timer 116 to see how much time is left in a particular game play period. A computer-implemented timer 116 can count down interactively so that each of players 108 can see the precise amount of time left in a game playing period. In some example implementations, timers 116 need not be exactly synchronized to one another (e.g., when the game players 108 are in different locations) so long as they each time precisely the same time period length so that no player receives an unfair advantage in terms of more or less time.
FIG. 4 shows an example illustrative non-limiting flowchart of program controlled steps that may be performed by server 100 to implement a word game play session. In the example shown, the server 100 may randomly or pseudo-randomly select an initial letter combination (block 152) from a prestored list 102a and send the letter combination to each of players 108 for display on their respective (or common) displays 112. In one exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, only letter combinations that make sense are sent and displayed. For example, the letter combination "ZH" might never be used except for "bonus" purposes because no words other than proper nouns begin with those two letters. Thus, in one exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, a set of valid letter combinations 102a as described above may be stored on disk storage 102 and the processing block 152 referenced above may randomly or pseudo-randomly select from one of such predefined letter combinations.
The server 100 may then send a command to start the timer 116 (which may be common to all of game players 108) to count down in a manner that can easily be seen by each of the players, while inviting the game player(s) to input character strings using their respective input device(s) 110. In one exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, as each player 108 inputs his or her respective character strings using a keyboard or other input device 110, the character strings inputted by that particular player are displayed on the player's own display 112 but are not displayed on any other player's display. In this way, each player 108 can see his or her own inputted words but cannot see words inputted by any other player at this stage of game play.
In the exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, the server 100 then waits for time-out of the timer 116. If the timer has not yet timed out, the server will continue to accept inputs from each of game players 108 (block 156, 158). Upon timer timeout ("yes" exit to decision block 156), the server 100 may send a message to each of game players 108 indicating that the time is up (block 110). In one exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, if a player has already started to input a word by the time the timer 116 counts down to zero, the player may be given an additional predetermined period of time (e.g., 15 seconds) to complete the word before further inputs are no longer accepted by server 100.
Once the timer has timed out and all player word inputs are complete, the server 100 may score each of players 108 based on the number of syllables of valid words each player has entered (decision block 162). In one exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, server 100 can automatically compare each entered word against an electronic dictionary and refuse to score any words that are invalid. However, since challenges are a fun part of game play, in another exemplary illustrative non-limiting implementation, server 100 can send to each of players 108 the word lists created by some or all of the other players and ask each player (e.g., in a round robin fashion as disclosed above) whether he or she wishes to challenge words inputted by other players. If a player does indicate a wish to challenge, then the player must specify a particular word he or she wishes to challenge and the computer server 100 can then automatically perform a dictionary check and automatically credit or debit the appropriate player an appropriate number of points as described above based upon on the challenge outcome. Server 100 may then rank the players in terms of their scores (decision block 164).
If the players wish to play again or there are more quarters or other periods left in the game ("yes" exit to decision block 166), program control can return to block 152 to select a different letter combination and game play continues. Once the game is over ("no" exit to decision block 166), server 100 can declare and display a winner (block 168). While the technology herein has been described in connection with exemplary illustrative non-limiting embodiments, the invention is not to be limited by the disclosure. For example, while the English language has been used herein as an example, any language and any set of character sets can be used instead or in addition. The invention is intended to be defined by the claims and to cover all corresponding and equivalent arrangements whether or not specifically disclosed herein.
Patent applications in class Word, sentence, or equation forming (e.g., SCRABBLE, hangman)
Patent applications in all subclasses Word, sentence, or equation forming (e.g., SCRABBLE, hangman)