US20030176221A1 - Generalized electronic game tool for board and parlor games - Google Patents

Generalized electronic game tool for board and parlor games Download PDF

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US20030176221A1
US20030176221A1 US10/385,544 US38554403A US2003176221A1 US 20030176221 A1 US20030176221 A1 US 20030176221A1 US 38554403 A US38554403 A US 38554403A US 2003176221 A1 US2003176221 A1 US 2003176221A1
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game
device
microprocessor
programming
input
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Andrew Chung
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Chung Andrew B.
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F9/00Games not otherwise provided for
    • A63F9/04Dice; Dice-boxes; Mechanical dice-throwing devices
    • A63F9/0468Electronic dice; electronic dice simulators
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F1/00Card games
    • A63F1/06Card games appurtenances
    • A63F1/18Score computers; Miscellaneous indicators
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2250/00Miscellaneous game characteristics
    • A63F2250/10Miscellaneous game characteristics with measuring devices
    • A63F2250/1063Timers

Abstract

A generalized game device may be used as any or all of a game timing device, a game management device (e.g., scoring), and a game randomization device. Internal memory includes programming that allows user inputs of selectable parameters, such as time allowed and number of dice to be simulated. In one embodiment, the device is a “game tool” that features a display and various controls for setting the selectable parameters. The device includes an input/output arrangement to enable network connectivity with at least one peer device, so that timing operations of the peer devices are synchronized. In a second embodiment, the device is a “game tool hub” that is better suited for games requiring a “Master of Ceremonies.” Any of a number of game tools may be connected to the game tool hub, such as simple lock-in buttons and a “Master of Ceremonies” keypad.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority from copending provisional application Serial No. 60/364,235, filed Mar. 12, 2002.[0001]
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The invention relates generally to devices for coordinating game play and more particularly to devices which may be used to manage game timing, game scoring and/or game play randomization for any of a wide variety of board and parlor games. [0002]
  • BACKGROUND ART
  • Most games feature some combination of timing, scoring, and/or randomness components in their rule base. This applies to board games, parlor games, bar games and many athletic events. Consequently, convenient tools that facilitate the tracking or application of these components can enhance the enjoyment of participating in the games. Timing devices that are used for games range from a simple hourglass that may be included with a board game to sophisticated electronic clocks with one or two distinct displays for tracking head-to-head competition. Scorekeeping is often manual, but may be performed by an electronic scoreboard. A randomness component is often added to a game by activities such as card shuffling, dice rolling, and use of a spinner. [0003]
  • For time tracking, hourglasses lack the ability to provide a quick reset, so that players are sometimes required to stop play while the hourglass “resets” itself. In games such as chess, mechanical clocks that provide a dual timing system may be used, but the clocks cannot be quickly reset to precise programmable settings, other than a “zero time.” Stopwatches and kitchen timers are precise, but they typically are not readable beyond a short distance. Digital game clocks which are currently available operate well when used in certain games. However, the digital game clocks have a limited functionality that restricts use to certain types of games. [0004]
  • Similarly, existing electronic scoring devices and electronic randomizers impose limitations on the types of games with which the devices may be used. For example, a scoring system may be limited to tracking only two players. As another example, a randomizer may be unsuitable for certain types of games (e.g., dice games) or may not provide some functionalities that are important to the rules of a particular game. [0005]
  • One of the reasons that games which are popularized on television do not make the successful transition to acceptable home versions is that the electronic infrastructure is not available within a home. Instead of a light indicator that responds to the contestant who first pressed his or her trigger button, a designated “Master of Ceremonies” is required to select the competitor who provided the first indicator, which may be a simple hand gesture or the sound from a board game “clicker” accessory. Moreover, rather than a buzzer that indicates the expiration of a session's time limitation, the home version of a game may merely include an inexpensive hourglass. Unfortunately, the inexactness of the techniques may result in disagreements. [0006]
  • Another concern with games designed to be played in a social environment of friends and family is that game pieces that provide the randomization component may be lost. As an example, some games require specialized dice that are difficult to replace and are important to proper play of the game. [0007]
  • What is needed is a portable device that may be used in playing any of a wide variety of games. [0008]
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A device in accordance with the invention may be used in the (a) monitoring and/or tracking of at least one of a timing component, (b) a scoring component and (c) a randomization component of a game. The device may be specific to one of these components, but preferably is applicable to all three components. [0009]
  • As a game timing device, internal memory includes programming that is specific to allowing timing parameters to be monitored during a game. In order to enable the device to be used for different game types having different rule bases, the programming is configured to accommodate variations in user selectable parameters. The device includes an embedded microprocessor for executing the programming. Also included is at least one control that is cooperative with the microprocessor and the programming to enable a user to dynamically set the user selectable parameters. An input/output arrangement is configured to enable network connectivity with at least one peer game timing device. After a handshaking protocol has been completed, timing operations executed by the microprocessor of the device are synchronized with timing operations of each peer game timing device currently active within the network connectivity. [0010]
  • The device preferably includes a display that is driven by the microprocessor to visually display times indicative of game time tracking. The game time tracking includes start, stop, pause and reset capabilities for maintaining the continuity of game times, while enabling manipulations in the timing on the basis of player activities and game rules. The device preferably includes time indicators, such as a visible and/or audible indicator that time will soon expire. For example, the programming may trigger a speaker when there is a certain time remaining (e.g., 10 seconds). While not critical, the display is preferably capable of showing sub-second timings, which may be important in some games. [0011]
  • As a game device for score tracking, the microprocessor contained within the housing processes data on the basis of generalized game-play programming and on the basis of user inputs that are specific to participation in a particular game type. Input/output ports allow interconnection of a number of input devices, which may be used by the players on a per player basis. That is, each player has access to a particular input device, which may merely be a trigger switch. The microprocessor is used in the sensing and reporting of which input signal was received first, so that the first responding player may be identified during play of a game. Preferably, the order of all input signals is identifiable by the device, since this may be important in some games. The device includes generalized game-playing programming that is adjustable to adapt to any of a variety of game types on the basis of user inputs. After the user inputs have been entered during the setup time for a game, the device controls the presentation of player scores on the basis of the particular rules base of the game. [0012]
  • With regard to randomization capability, the programming may be established to simulate number randomizations representative of a series of dice rolls. Again, the programming is configured to enable variations in user selectable parameters. A display is used to present the random numerical values. For games in which multiple dice are used, hold and re-roll functions are available. Thus, if after a first roll of five dice, a player may hold the results of three simulated dice and re-roll the other two simulated dice. As in the game timing capability, the device includes an input/output arrangement configured for network connectivity with at least one peer device. The network connectivity may be a peer-to-peer arrangement (such as a serial network configuration) or the devices may be connected to a central hub in a master/slave(s) configuration (such as a starfish network configuration). [0013]
  • In a first embodiment, the game device is a “game tool” that features a digital elapsed time or countdown timer display with single-key reset, pre-set or selectable audio warning/end-of-time signals, indicator lights, a roll dice simulator based on a random number generator function, a built-in electronic dice feature that allows players to participate in dice games that use five six-sided dice, and the ability to connect multiple devices so as to allow synchronization of the attached game tools and to allow communication with a “game tool hub” of the type described immediately below. [0014]
  • In a second embodiment, the game device is a “game tool hub” that offers the key features for enhancing participation in popularized television game shows. This game device includes lock-in button capability (wired or wireless) that allows the device to identify the first player to press one of the buttons, a display to track contestant scores, a built-in calculator to modify the scores, indicators that identify the order in which the lock-in buttons are pressed (rather than just the first), a microprocessor that can manage the game play based on the rules and logic of specific supported games, and the ability to communicate and share data with connected add-on accessories, such as screens with electronic pens for writing answers or values. [0015]
  • An advantage of the device is that it is not dedicated to a single game or even a single game type (e.g., dice games). Particularly in embodiments in which the device provides all three components (i.e., timing, scoring, randomizing) of a rules base, the invention may be used to enhance the game-playing experience for a wide variety of games and game types.[0016]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a game device in accordance with the invention. [0017]
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic view of external components of the game device of FIG. 1. [0018]
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of electrical components of the game device of FIG. 1. [0019]
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a game device in accordance with the invention. [0020]
  • FIG. 5 is a front view of the display of the game device of FIG. 4. [0021]
  • FIG. 6 is a block diagram of electrical components of the game device of FIG. 4. [0022]
  • FIG. 7 is a process flow of steps for utilizing the randomization functionality of the game device of FIG. 1.[0023]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the game device [0024] 10 in accordance with a first embodiment may be referred to as a “game tool.” The components of the game tool are contained within a heavy duty, free-standing housing. The game tool is a portable device, such as a table-top member having a weight significantly less than fifteen pounds. The game tool is an all-in-one device that combines the various function features that enhance enjoyment of board games and parlor games intended to be played in a home. However, the game tool is not designed for any particular game. In fact, the game tool is not designed for any particular game type, such as a board game type or a dice game type (“Liars Dice”).
  • The game tool [0025] 10 includes a display 14. As best seen in FIG. 2, the display may include five 7-segment LED (light emitting diode) members 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24. The LEDs are arranged to indicate time, but may also be used for indicating a score, such as a point value or a monetary value, or may be used to indicate separate values, such as a randomized die value in the range of one to six. Below each of the five LEDs is a “hold” button 26, 28, 30, 32 and 34. The hold buttons may be used for games such as dice games in which a player has an option of re-rolling a limited number of dice after a first roll.
  • The game device [0026] 10 also includes a multi-function control 36. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the control 36 has six positions, which are labeled “Single Play” 38, “Timed Match Play”, “Elapsed Time Play” 42, “Kitchen Timer” 44, “Dice Game” 46, and “Program” 48. The Program position 48 is operatively associated with activating a program setting slide switch 50. While not critical, the slide switch is shown as having six positions, namely “Countdown Time” position 52, “Warning Time” position 54, “End of Time Chime” position 56, “Warning Chime” position 58, “Number of Dice Sides” position 60, and “Number of Dice” position 62. In operation, the slide switch 50 may be used to enable user inputs for setting game time parameters for a particular game. Of course, the game time parameters will vary significantly among the various games for which the game device 10 may be used.
  • The Program position [0027] 48 is used when setting countdown times, warning times and chimes, as well as dice configurations. The Single Play position is used for standalone countdown times for games in which players have isolated times of performance. On the other hand, the Time Match Play position 40 is identified for timing total playing time per contestant for games in which multiple turns take place over a predetermined amount of time. The Elapsed Time Play position 42 is used for tracking the amount of time that has been taken since the start. The Kitchen Timer position 44 is for use as an all-purpose elapsed time reminder. Finally, the Dice Game position 46 is for use in multiple player dice games using a number of six-sided dice, such as Liars Dice. Possible additional settings may be used to suspend play without losing time or status, such as a Stop Countdown Temporarily position. When the multi-function control 36 is in the Program position 48, the time indicated will determine which value will be set. The control may be pulled upwardly to set and at least temporarily store the value.
  • With the multi-function switch set to the Program position [0028] 48 and the program setting slide switch 50 set to one of its six positions 52-60, an incrementing switch 64 may be used to adjust the user input for varying the selected parameter. Other controls which may be included are a start/reset switch 66, a stop/pause time switch 68, and a roll switch 70.
  • An indicator light [0029] 72 and a beeper 74 may be used to provide visible and audible warnings and play/stop indications. As one possibility, the indicator light is an LED and the beeper is a piezoelectric enunciator, but persons skilled in the art will recognize that other possibilities are readily available, such as the use of a speaker.
  • Another indicator light [0030] 76 is used to identify a condition in which the game device 10 is connected to another unit, which may be one or more peer game devices that are connected in a serial configuration or may be a central hub that provides a starfish configuration of network connectivity. The central hub will be described below. An input/output port 78 for the network connectivity may merely be a cable having an RJ-type connector at a distant end. Alternatively, the input/output port 78 may be an RJ-type connector to receive a cable having a compatible connector at its end or may be a wireless transceiver (e.g., infrared).
  • Referring now to FIG. 3, some of the electrical components will be described. Power may be provided by one or more batteries [0031] 80 and 82 or by an external direct current (DC) input 84. Merely as one example, the external DC input may be an AC-to-DC converter that connects to a conventional house power source. A power on/off switch is used to regulate power to a converter 88 that is used to establish the desired voltage level for powering anode drivers 90 and other components of the game device. The anode drivers may be an array of drive transistors that separately regulate power to each of the seven segments of each LED 16-24. Cathode drivers 92 are also provided.
  • A microprocessor [0032] 94 controls the various operations of the game device. Thus, the microprocessor is connected to the anode drivers 90 and the cathode drivers 92 to selectively activate or deactivate each segment of each LED 16-24. The microprocessor also sends the appropriate signals to the indicator LEDs 72 and 76, as well as the signals to a driver 96 that is used in activating and deactivating the piezoelectric enunciator 74.
  • A memory [0033] 98 is used to store the programming that is executed by the microprocessor 94. The programming is universal with respect to games and game types. The memory may be any non-volatile storage arrangement. Optionally, the memory is able to store user-selected parameters that have been input by an individual who designates the selected parameters as being intended for future use, was well as current use. In this preferred embodiment, the individual can recall the selected parameters each time that a particular game is to be played. A control matrix 100 represents the various switches and switch positions that were described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 for enabling user inputs.
  • A timer [0034] 102 is connected to the microprocessor to enable timing functionality. The timer may merely be a conventional crystal, such as used in personal computers, or may be a component that is specifically designed for the game timer in order to provide increased capabilities. Finally, a randomizer 104 functions as a random number generator for use in dice games and the like. Thus, the randomization component required for some games is available. The scoring component for game play is provided by the calculating power of the microprocessor 94.
  • An example of game programming and game play will be described with reference to FIGS. 1, 2 and [0035] 3. The first sequence of steps is to provide the user inputs for the rules base of the particular game. This example of the programming follows the steps: (a) Turn the multi-function control 36 to the “Program” position 48; (b) Move the program setting slide switch 50 to the “Countdown Time” position 52; (c) Use the incrementing switch 64 to set the desired time, which is displayed on the display 14; (d) Raise the multi-function control 36 and provide a twist in order to set the displayed time as a selected game time parameter; (e) If a warning chime is desired, move the program setting slide switch 50 to the “Warning Time” position 54; (f) Use the incrementing switch 64 or a rotation of the multi-function control 36 to set the desired warning time (e.g., ten seconds); (g) Again move the program setting slide switch to the “End of Game Chime” position 56; (h) Listen to different chimes by using the incrementing switch 64; (i) Set the desired chime by depressing the multi-function control 36; (j) Move the program setting slide switch to the “Warning Chime” position 58; (k) Use the incrementing switch 64 as before in order to listen to and set the warning chime; (l) Depress the multifunction control 36 to save the selected parameters relating to “countdown,” “warning times,” and “warning chimes;” and (m) Move a warnings switch to the desired on/off setting. The warnings switch is part of the control matrix 100 of FIG. 3 and may be a function of the incrementing switch 64.
  • In the second sequence of steps, the game is played. The game is played using the selected countdown time, which is presented on the display [0036] 14. As an example, the process may follow the steps: (a) Turn the multifunction control 36 to the “Single Play” position 38; (b) Press the start/reset button 36 to ensure that the countdown time is displayed; (c) Press the start/reset button a second time in order to initiate the countdown; (d) Press the stop/pause button 68 to stop the countdown, when appropriate; (e) If time remains, the countdown can resume by again pressing the stop/pause button 68; and (f) Press the start/reset button 66 again in order to re-establish the programmed countdown time on the display 14.
  • The single game device countdown from thirty seconds, for example, can be accomplished by depressing the start/reset button [0037] 66 once in order to present the programmed countdown time and depressing the button a second time in order to begin play. As previously noted, the game device 10 may be entered into network connectivity with other game devices of the same type and/or with a central hub. The programming within the memory 98 of FIG. 3 includes the necessary program for allowing the microprocessor 94 to implement a handshaking protocol to allow all of the network devices to have synchronized times. Thus, the multi-function control 36 may be rotated to the “Timed Match Play” position 40 that allows the controls at each device to affect timing at the other devices in the network.
  • In some games, the “Match Play” may have a different setup. With multiple game devices [0038] 10 connected and the multi-function control 36 set to the “Timed Match Play” position 40, only one clock is actively controlling counting down at any one time. Then, when the start/pause button 68 is depressed, the displayed clock is paused and the next game device connected in the series of devices is triggered to countdown. In this arrangement, if there are four game devices connected in series and the second player is eliminated during play, the first game device will bypass the second game device automatically in order to trigger the third game device in its countdown.
  • The network connectivity does not necessarily include cabling, since light emissions (e.g., infrared) may be substituted. The intelligent input/output ports [0039] 78 enable the microprocessor to identify when another game device 10 is connected. Thus, as long as the closed-loop circuit among multiple game devices is complete, the Match Play mode is enabled. The indicator light 76 of FIG. 2 identifies when the handshake between devices has been completed. The connections allow data communication among the devices, so that user-selected game time parameters can be shared among the devices on the network. For example, the countdown time can be entered into one game device and can be automatically sent to the other game devices in the network.
  • A second embodiment of the game device is shown in FIG. 4. In this embodiment, the game device [0040] 106 may be referred to as a “Game Tool Hub” or a “Master of Ceremonies Hub.” In this embodiment, the game device has the capability to connect a number of game tools, including a number of game devices of the type shown in FIG. 1. In FIG. 4, a pair of “Lock-in” buttons 108 and 110 are shown as being connected to RJ ports 112 of the game device. An alternative Lock-in button 114 is shown. The simple Lock-in buttons may be used as alternatives to the more sophisticated game tool described with reference to FIG. 1. The lock-in capability establishes the order in which players respond. Preferably, the entire order of responses is reportable when more than two players are involved, but this is not necessary in most games in which only the first to respond player must be identified.
  • A separate game tool [0041] 116 is designed for use by a designated “Master of Ceremonies.” In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the game tool 116 is a keypad which may be used to provide pre-game selections of game time parameters and to enable the user to vary the dollar scoring or other type of scoring suitable for the game.
  • The game device [0042] 106 is shown as including a pair of identical displays 118 and 120. However, a single display may be used. FIG. 5 illustrates an example of a display readout. The display is divided into a time region 122, a current value region 124, and a current players' score region 126. A total of eight players are represented. As one possibility, the game tool 116 may be a limited set keyboard for entering values and adding the values to the individual scores. During play, the operator of the game tool 116 may enter the value of a next question within region 124, press an “Enter” key, announce the question, and then poll the participants for the answer to the question. The first player to respond by depressing his or her lock-in button 108 and 110 qualifies to answer the question (of course, more buttons are required if more than two players participate in a game). The game hub 106 will automatically indicate which player has responded first, and a time limit will be established within the time region 122 of the display 120 of FIG. 5. Depending upon whether a proper answer is given within the time limit, the game tool 116 can be used to award or subtract the answer value within the current value region 124.
  • If a number of game devices [0043] 10 of FIG. 1 are connected to the game device 106 of FIG. 4, a starfish configuration of network connectivity is established. In the master/slave relationship, the hub game device 106 can control the timing functions of each of the slave game devices, can dictate play (e.g., order of play, score, and monitor for illegal moves) and can receive information regarding the displays of each slave game device.
  • A limited number of components of the game device [0044] 106 will be identified with reference to FIG. 6. The device may be powered by one or more batteries 128 and 130 or by an adaptor 132 that connects to a standard source of AC power. A converter 134 regulates the voltage level. A microprocessor 136 receives user inputs from a number of control input devices 138. The control input devices are not shown in FIG. 4, but may be substantially the same as those described with reference to FIG. 1. A keypad input port 140 may be the port that is dedicated to connection to the game tool 116. On the other hand, a number of communications ports 112 are provided and are interchangeable. An indicator lamp 142 is shown in FIG. 6 and may be used for any of a number of purposes, including warnings. While not shown in the drawing, the game device preferably includes an audible indicator, as well as the visible indicator.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates one possible embodiment of random number generation for use in either the game device [0045] 10 of FIG. 1 or the game device 106 of FIG. 4. Random number generation may be used in dice games, as well as other types of games. The generation is random, but is dependent upon factors such as the time during which a user depresses or otherwise manipulates a control for continuing the randomization. Thus, at the start of the random number generation 144, there are steps 146 and 148 of determining the time and storing the start time counts. Then, in step 150, the display 14 of FIGS. 1-3 is started and each single-digit display continues to loop through its number sequence (step 152) until an interrupt is detected at step 154. The detected interrupt may be the release of a button by the user. The loop of the single-digit display will be a range of one through six for game play which simulates the roll of a single die having six sides.
  • When the user interrupt is detected at step [0046] 154, the time is acquired at step 156 and the end time count is stored at step 158. The start time count and the end time count allow the randomizer 104 to calculate the user's influence on the randomization, as determined by the duration factor. This is represented by step 160. The random generator (“RANGEN”) is accessed at step 162 with the calculation from step 160 in order to generate an output indicative of the randomization result. The output of the random generator is scaled to the time domain at step 164 and the result is displayed at step 166. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 7, one digit is generated and displayed at a time (as indicated by decision step 168), so that the process is repeated five times if the display 14 is of the type shown in FIGS. 1-3. In a “Hold-and-Re-Roll” sequence, less than all of the five digits will need to be randomly generated.

Claims (24)

What is claimed is:
1. A game timing device for use with any of a plurality of games comprising:
a housing;
memory having programming specific to implementing game monitoring that includes game time tracking, said programming being configured to enable variations in user selectable parameters, said memory being dedicated to said housing;
a microprocessor embedded in said housing, said microprocessor being operatively associated with said memory to execute said programming;
at least one control cooperative with said microprocessor and said programming to enable user inputs for dynamically setting said user selectable parameters; and
an input/output arrangement configured for network connectivity with at least one peer game timing device, said input/output arrangement being cooperative with said programming and said microprocessor to implement a handshaking protocol in which timing operations executed by said microprocessor are synchronized with timing operations of each said peer game timing device currently active within said network connectivity.
2. The game timing device of claim 1 further comprising a display at an exterior of said housing and cooperative with said microprocessor to visually display times indicative of said game time tracking.
3. The game timing device of claim 2 further comprising a timer within said housing, said timer being responsive to said microprocessor and being coupled to said display such that said display receives drive signals that are specific to said game time tracking.
4. The game timing device of claim 3 wherein said programming and microprocessor enable said game time tracking to include start, stop, pause and reset capabilities for count continuity in presenting game times via said display.
5. The game timing device of claim 4 wherein said at least one control includes a plurality of user-manipulable electronic members connected to enable control with respect to generating start signals, stop signals, pause signals and reset signals.
6. The game timing device of claim 5 wherein said user-manipulable electronic members are operatively associated with said microprocessor and said programming to enable input of settings for said user selectable parameters, including parameters relating to time-expiration warnings.
7. The game timing device of claim 6 further comprising at least one indicator that is time-triggered on a basis of said settings related to said time-expiration warnings.
8. The game timing device of claim 6 wherein said memory is non-volatile memory which stores said settings for said user selectable parameters in response to a command signal to store said settings.
9. The game timing device of claim 3 wherein said drive signals are generated to enable sub-second display of said times.
10. The game timing device of claim 1 wherein said input/output arrangement includes a port configured for connection to a central hub to which each said peer game timing device is responsive in a master/slave relationship.
11. The game timing device of claim 1 further comprising at least one audio indicator that is responsive to said programming and said microprocessor to provide audible time warnings.
12. A game device for tracking scoring within any of a plurality of games comprising:
a free-standing housing;
at least one display exposed at an exterior of said housing for dynamically exhibiting player scores;
a microprocessor contained within said housing for processing data on a basis of generalized game-play programming and user inputs that are specific to participation in a particular game type; and
a plurality of input/output ports for connection to input devices that include electronic player input devices for use on a per player basis, each said electronic player input device being configured to transmit player input signals to one of said input/output ports in response to manipulations by a player, said microprocessor being accessed to sense and report at least a first received said player input signal of a plurality of competitive player input signals from said electronic player input devices;
wherein said generalized game-playing programming is repeatedly adjustable to adapt to any of a variety of game types on a basis of said user inputs and is cooperative with said microprocessor to control presentation of said player scores via said display.
13. The game device of claim 12 wherein a plurality of said input/output ports are connected to play push controls which generate and transmit said competitive player input signals.
14. The game device of claim 13 wherein one of said input/output ports is connected to a master of ceremonies input device for providing said user inputs.
15. The game device of claim 12 wherein said display is configured to present a separate current score for each of a plurality of players in which each player has a dedicated said electronic player input device.
16. The game device of claim 12 wherein said microprocessor has computational capability to dynamically calculate and update said player scores during participation in accordance with one of said game types.
17. The game device of claim 12 further comprising an audible or visible indicator on said housing to automatically indicate a reception of said player input signals.
18. A game device for use with any of a plurality of games comprising:
a housing;
a display for presenting random multi-digit numerical values, said display being attached to said housing;
memory having programming for simulating number randomization representative of a series of dice rolls, said programming being configured to enable variations representative of user selectable parameters, said memory being contained within said housing;
a microprocessor embedded within said housing, said microprocessor being operatively associated with said memory to execute said programming and to control said display to present numerical values indicative of said simulating;
at least one control cooperative with said microprocessor and said programming to enable user inputs for dynamically setting said user selectable parameters; and
an input/output arrangement configured for network connectivity with at least one peer game device, said input/output arrangement being cooperative with said microprocessor to implement a handshaking protocol to enable game monitoring and game scoring after said network connectivity is established.
19. The game device of claim 18 wherein said user selectable parameters which may be dynamically set include number of dice to be rolled and number of sides on each die.
20. The game device of claim 19 wherein said programming implements a random number generator which executes to determine a random number within a range determined by said user selectable parameters.
21. The game device of claim 20 wherein said random number generator is responsive to manipulation of a ROLL control connected to said housing, said random number generator having an output that is influenced by duration of said manipulation of said ROLL control.
22. The game device of claim 18 wherein said programming includes a rules base for a plurality of specific dice games, wherein said monitoring and scoring is executed on the basis of said rules base when one of said specific dice games is selected for play.
23. The game device of claim 18 wherein said microprocessor is responsive to hold and re-roll functions for said multi-digit numerical values presented on said display.
24. The game device of claim 18 wherein said programming provides a timing function that can be executed without interruption by activation of a dice roll function.
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