- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to apparatus and methods for playing a number selecting game. More particularly, the present invention relates to apparatus and methods for number selecting games to include a feature whereby a player with skill can obtain an increased prize award for play.
Gaming has become a significant industry providing entertainment for players as well as revenue sources for government agencies approving gaming operations. Among gaming operations are various individual game devices such as slot machines as well as multiple person games such as cards, dice, and the like. One popular game known as Keno involves picking a set of numbers from a pool of numbers and then comparing the set of selected numbers with a randomly generated set of numbers from the same pool. Payoffs or winnings are based on the quantity of matching numbers. The game typically is played quickly. Once the player has selected the set of player-selected numbers, the player is foreclosed from affecting the randomly selected set of game numbers. The game lacks a skill aspect. While there are some who insist on sequences or runs of particular numbers or types of numbers, generally Keno lacks a skill aspect and rather relies on random occurrences of player-selected number matching randomly generated numbers. The player effectively has no opportunity to improve the winnings through a skill aspect of the game.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly there is a need in the art for providing an apparatus and method for a number selecting game to have features whereby a player with skill can obtain an increased prize award for play. It is to such that the present invention is directed.
The present invention meets the need in the art by providing a method of playing a game of selecting a sub-set of numbers from a pool of numbers and comparing the selected sub-set with a second sub-set of numbers selected from the pool of numbers to determine a prize, in which at least a portion of the second sub-set are choosen with skill, comprising the steps of:
(a) displaying in a first format in a selection field for a number selecting game a pool of discrete numbers;
(b) distinguishing by displaying in a second format in the selection field a first quantity of discrete numbers selected from the pool of numbers by a player of the number selecting game to define a first sub-set of numbers;
(c) displaying in a game field a second quantity of discrete numbers selected randomly from the pool of numbers by a controller operating the selecting game to define a second sub-set of numbers;
(d) enabling the player to select at least one discrete number from the pool of numbers to be included in the second sub-set of numbers; and
(e) determining a prize to be awarded to the player based on a quantity of numbers that match between the first sub-set of numbers and the second sub-set of numbers.
In another aspect, the present invention provides a game apparatus having a skill feature for playing a game of selecting a sub-set of numbers from a pool of numbers and comparing the selected sub-set with a second sub-set selected from the pool of numbers to determine a prize, in which at least a portion of the second sub-set is chosen by the player as a test of skill. The game apparatus comprises a display having a selection field in which is displayed in a first format a pool of discrete numbers and of the pool a first quantity selected by a player for display in second format as a sub-set of play numbers and a game field in which is displayed a second quantity of numbers selected from the pool to define a sub-set of game numbers. A controller operates the sequence of steps for the player to play the number selecting game in which the player selects the sub-set of play numbers, the controller randomly selects a first portion of the game numbers, the player selects a second portion of the play numbers, and the controller awards the player a prize based on a quantity of numbers that match between the sub-set of play numbers and the sub-set of game numbers. The player uses a selector to select numbers from the pool of numbers to define the first sub-set of numbers which are displayed in the selection field in the second format. An actuator enables the player to signal the controller to advance through the sequence of steps to play the game.
- DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become apparent from reading of the following detailed description of the invention and claims in view of the appended drawings.
FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a game apparatus according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 illustrates a display for the number selecting game according to the present invention.
FIG. 3 illustrates a player selecting a quantity of numbers from the numbers field during play of the number selecting game.
FIG. 4 illustrates the set of game-selected numbers during play of the game.
FIG. 5 illustrates a first embodiment of the skill feature of the number selecting game according to the present invention.
FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate a second embodiment of the skill feature of the number selecting game according to the present invention.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION
FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of the game in which the number blocks have dimensional characteristics.
Referring now in more detail to the drawings in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 illustrates a schematic illustration of a game apparatus 10 for playing a number selecting game with a skill feature according to the present invention. The game apparatus 10 includes a housing 12 which encloses a microprocessor controller 14 that operates the game and interacts with a screen 16. The screen 16 is preferably a touch-sensitive device for selective entry of game playing commands as discussed below, although other conventional input devices such as mouse button, keyboard, pen-style, roller, or the like device can be used. A currency receiving device or bill acceptor 26 communicates with the microprocessor controller. The bill acceptor is conventional, and in the illustrated embodiment is a MARS ZT Series that communicates by a JCM-ID 03 Serial protocol with the microprocessor 14. The microprocessor controller 14 also communicates with a printer 28 such as an Ithaca 70, Citizen 3551 or equivalent, communicating by conventional serial/parallel/USB communications protocol.
FIG. 2 illustrates the display 30 for the number selecting game according to the present invention presented on the screen 16. The display 30 includes a game name field 31 above a number card 32. In the illustrated embodiment, the number card 32 is divided into two number selection fields 34, 36 with an information or instructions banner 38 disposed between the fields. The number selection fields 34, 26 each have subdivided blocks 40 that display a unique number 42. In the illustrated embodiment, the blocks 40 are square and are numbered in sequence 1 through 80. The blocks 40 define a pool of available numbers for selecting by the player and selecting by the controller 14 during play of the game. The blocks have a background color and the numbers are displayed in a second contrast number. The instructions banner 38 presents game operating information to a player. An accumulator field 44 displays a plurality of game-selected number during play of the game as discussed below. (Two game-selected numbers 45 are shown for purposes of illustration.) The game-selected numbers are displayed in a geometric shape that contrasts with shape of the blocks 40, such as the circular shape as shown. The game-selected numbers are presented in a color different from the player-selected numbers.
The display 16 also includes game operation and status fields. A “help” field 46 allows the player to seek game playing instructions from the controller 14 which presents information or instructions in the instructions banner 38. An “exit” field 48 terminates the play of the game apparatus 10. A status field 50 includes a players position report 52 as to the cash or tokens value entered by the player into the apparatus 10, a current bet field 53 that shows the amount of the current bet of the player prior to play of the game, and a score field 54 indicating the amount of the winnings for the player during the game.
Changes in the amount of the bet shown in the current bet field 52 are made by selective activation of a bet up button 56 or a bet down button 58 to increase or decrease the amount displayed in the current bet field 52. A quick selection button 60 enables the player to have the controller 14 randomly select a quantity of ten of the numbers for use as the player-selected number used in the play of the game. A wipe card button 62 clears the selected numbers shown in the number selection fields 34, 36 in preparation for a subsequent play of the game. The “selected” numbers are shown in a color different from the color for the field of nonselected numbers. A “pick” field 64 displays the quantity of player-selected numbers before play the game. A results table 66 displays a table of potential winnings based on the quantity of numbers picked by the player that match one of the game-selected numbers. The prize or winnings depends on the quantity of player-selected numbers that match the game-selected numbers. A game play button 68 instructs the controller 14 to initiate play of the game after the player has selected the player-selected numbers.
FIG. 3 illustrates the display 16 on which a player has selected a quantity 80 of numbers from the numbers field 34, 36 during play of the number selecting game. The numbers 80 selected by the player are displayed with a distinguishing feature including a different color, font, block background color, or frame pattern (as illustrated with a thicker border).
FIG. 4 illustrates the display 16 after the player has selected the set of player-selected numbers 80 for play of the game as well as a set of winning or game-selected numbers 82 selected by the controller 14 during play of the game. The winning set of numbers 82 are displayed in the accumulator 44. The blocks of the numbers 82 in the set of game-selected numbers are presented in contrasting color or feature, so that the player can readily distinguish the selected numbers 80, 82 from the numbers in the pool fields 34, 36. Matching numbers of the sets 80, 82 are also distinguished, such as by background color, number color, border pattern, and the like. Music adds to the enjoyment of the play of the game and is communicated through a speaker. In the illustrated embodiment, four numbers match between the sets 80, 82.
FIG. 5 illustrates the display 16 during play of a first embodiment of a skill feature of the number selecting game according to the present invention. The controller 14 randomly selects a pre-determined quantity of the game-selected numbers and displays these in the accumulator field 44. In the illustrated game shown in FIG. 4, the controller 14 picks nineteen of the twenty winning numbers 82. In one game mode, the controller 14 picks all but one of the quantity of the game-selected numbers. The instruction window 38 displays an instruction for the player to pick the remainder of the winning or game-selected numbers. As discussed below, the player picks the final winning number to include in the set 82 of game-selected numbers. With skill, the player picks one of the unmatched numbers 84 in the player set 80 of numbers, such as number 26. The player thereby increases the quantity of picked numbers that match between the sets from four to five, and thus increases the players winnings.
FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate a second embodiment of the skill feature of the number selecting game according to the present invention. In this embodiment, the game first highlights (FIG. 6A) the numbers 86 selected by the player that do not match any of the game-selected numbers and second returns the numbers and blocks to the original field coloration (FIG. 6B). The highlighting of the nonmatched numbers 80 in FIG. 6A is shown in by crossed comers in the blocks 40 to change the shape of the blocks. The non-matched numbers could also change color, flash between two different colors, change the background, or fie like. The highlighting occurs for a short period of time, several seconds, before the nonmatched numbers 86 return to the appearance of the other unselected numbers in the fields 34, 36. The player thus has to remember which numbers were selected by the player but were not included in the game-selected numbers. By selecting the remainder of the game-selected numbers, the player can with skill improve the winnings derived from the game.
FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of the game in which the number blocks 40 have dimensional characteristics accomplished by shading and coloring to enhance the appearance of the display 30 of the game on the screen 16.
With reference to FIG. 3, the number-selecting game of the present invention involves the player selecting from the pool of numbers shown in the fields 34, 36 a set of between 4 and 10 player-selected numbers. As the player selects this set of numbers, the controller 14 changes the appearance of the selected numbers on the display 16. The pick number field 64 shows the quantity of numbers picked by the player. The results field 66 changes as the quantity of player-selected numbers increases.
With reference to FIG. 4, the game then randomly selects the set of game-selected numbers. In nor skill mode, the game typically selects 20 numbers for the set of game-selected numbers. In one embodiment of the game, the balls with the game-selected numbers enter the display 16 near a top edge and fall into the channel or accumulator 44 where the balls are displayed stacked one on another. Based on the quantity of numbers matching between the two sets, the player is awarded a prize as shown in the results table 66. The current winnings are shown in the current winnings window 54.
In accordance with the present invention, the player, with skill, however can improve his winnings during skill mode of the play of the game. This is accomplished by the game selecting a first portion of the numbers in the game-selected number set and the player selecting the final quantity of game-selected numbers. With reference to FIG. 5, the game displays in the instruction field 38 a request that the player select the remainder of the game-selected numbers. This involves the player evaluating which of the player-selected numbers does not match one of the game-selected numbers. The player selects the remainder of the game-selected numbers and if the player chooses one of the unmatched numbers in the player-selected field, the score field 54 increases as shown in the results table 66.
In a second embodiment, the skill factor becomes more important. As discussed above with reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, the game proceeds with the player first selecting the set of player-selected numbers and the game second randomly generating the first quantity of game-selected numbers. The game in this second skill mode then invites the player to select the remaining quantity of game-selected numbers. With reference to FIG. 6A, this is accomplished by the game first highlighting the nonmatching number in the player-selected set of number. Highlighting can be accomplished by flashing the coloration of the number between two distinct colors for a predetermined number of occurrences. In the illustrated embodiment, the colors changes occur three times. With reference to FIG. 6B, the unmatched numbers in the set of player-selected numbers then second revert to the initial background and number coloration. Effectively, the nor-matched numbers blend in with the others of the numbers in the pool or fields 34, 26. The player must therefore exercise skill in remembering which the numbers originally selected were not matched with the randomly selected game-selected numbers.
In anther embodiment of the game, the controller 14 picks the maximum quantity of game-selected numbers (typically, 20). The player is then invited to de-select one of the selected numbers and to select a replacement. With skill, the player will pick a number that is one of the unmatched numbers in the player-selected set of numbers.
In one aspect of the game, the player can made financial wagers against monetary winnings. The player uses the bill acceptor 26 to deposit funds into the player account, as shown in the player position report 52. The score field 54 is zero. The player then plays as discussed above. The score field 54 reflects the accumulated winnings by the player based on the results table 66. In the skill mode, player has opportunity to increase his winnings. Upon completion, the printer 28 prints a receipt showing the winnings as appropriate for redemption by the player.
The game exits upon activation by the player of the exit button 48. If there are no cash/credits in the score field 54, the game apparatus 10 will make a “null” type sound. If there are cash/credits in the score field 54, a message is displayed in the instruction field 38 seeking confirmation of cashing out. If positive response is out denoting the amount cashed out. In one aspect, the cash/credits referenced in the “cash in” field 52 can not be cashed out, but only played.
Prior to a play, the player selects values from the number card 32. The numbers can be selected and deselected infinitely before play begins. Once a player has picked at least 4 numbers or a maximum of 10) the results table 66 displays the prizes for matching quantities.
Before play, the player must bet. Touching the bet up 56 button or the bet down 58 button changes the bet 53. The program operated by the controller 14 can be set for the amount of the increase of decrease, for example, changes by $0.5, $0.10, or $0.25. in accordance with the operator set unit credit e.g. 0.25 cents. The current bet filed 53 reflects the changed amount of the bet.
Using the wipe card button 60, the player can delete all current selected numbers in the number field 32. This feature is disabled during the play of the game as the game-selected numbers are being chosen.
With a card 32 having no selected blocks 40, the player can operate the “quick pick” button 62. The controller 14 then randomly selects 10 numbers for play. The player may select one or more by touching the screen and the select touching a replacement number if desired. The quick pick button 62 is disabled during game-selection of numbers.
Once the player has set the game parameters, e.g. bet amount 53, number choices from the fields 34, 36, the game play is commenced. The start button 68 is operated, and game-selected numbers begin to be displayed in the accumulator 44. Numbers selected in the previous game disappear (for example, the balls fall out through the bottom of the accumulator while the newly selected balls fall into the accumulator. The matched numbers change from the first color to a second color on the card 32 to represent matches. Ball values that do not match player defined values change to another color. The amount bet (53) is subtracted from the cash 52.
In skill play mode, the controller 14 prompts the player to “choose the final ball” with a display in the information field 38. The player selects the last game-selected number by touching the block 40 for that number on the number field 34, 36. When the player is satisfied with the selection, the start button 68 is operated, and the ball displaying the selected number falls into the accumulator 44. If the play results in a win, the amount won is displayed in the information block 38. In one aspect, the corresponding value on the results table 66 highlights (for example, flashes between the base color and an alternating color). The current win cash field 52 and the score field increments with the winning amount.
This represents the end of a round of play. The player can then change the numbers that were used previously (pressing selected ones of the buttons 40), raise/lower the bet (buttons 56, 58), wipe card to re-set the player selected numbers, quick pick to have the game locate numbers.
It is to be appreciated that in the embodiment that accepts money for play, appropriate accounting tracks revenues and payouts, and reports of the use of the game can be generated.
This specification has described the present invention that provides a number selecting game having a skill feature, including the steps necessary for using various embodiments thereof. It is to be understood, howewr, that numerous changes and variations may be made in the random number game with skill playing features within the spirit and scope of the present invention, and that modifications and changes may be made therein without departing from the scope thereof as set forth in the appended claims.