US20080293467A1 - Skill game that can be played upon a casino type display combining determinative, fixed and random processes - Google Patents

Skill game that can be played upon a casino type display combining determinative, fixed and random processes Download PDF

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US20080293467A1
US20080293467A1 US12/127,660 US12766008A US2008293467A1 US 20080293467 A1 US20080293467 A1 US 20080293467A1 US 12766008 A US12766008 A US 12766008A US 2008293467 A1 US2008293467 A1 US 2008293467A1
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process
game
skill game
player
random
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US12/127,660
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Richard M. Mathis
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Mathis Richard M
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3225Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users
    • G07F17/323Data transfer within a gaming system, e.g. data sent between gaming machines and users wherein the player is informed, e.g. advertisements, odds, instructions
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3286Type of games
    • G07F17/3295Games involving skill, e.g. dexterity, memory, thinking

Abstract

A skill game additively combines at least one determinative process with a random process and/or a fixed process. The skill game can include at least one casino style award generation device that displays various awards for which the skill game is played. The skill game is, for example, a traditional game of chance modified so that a player's skill substantially determines the outcome of the game. In one embodiment, the amount of skill required is adjustable to meet varying regulatory and gaming guidelines and/or operator goals.

Description

    CLAIM OF PRIORITY TO PROVISIONAL APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/931,522, entitled “New Method For A Skill Game,” by Richard M. Mathis, filed May 24, 2007, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/247,092 entitled “Method and Apparatus For Skill Game Play and Awards” filed Oct. 11, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND
  • 1. Technical Field
  • The present invention relates to gaming devices and particularly to skill games. The present invention also relates to systems and methods for providing awards to players of games based on random factors as well as skill factors occurring during play of the skill game.
  • 2. Related Art
  • Casino gaming has offered games of chance that can be played upon a machine for many years. Typically the gaming machines employ some method of randomly selecting a game result and presenting it to a player. The random selection can be made by a random number or character generator with the result displayed to a player. A pseudo-random, or fixed process, can likewise be made by stopping a spinning reel in a manner not reasonably controlled by an operator. In the U.S.A., a distinction has been by the Federal Government as to whether a gaming apparatus generates game outcomes based upon a random or pseudo-random selection or whether player skill can influence game outcome to some degree in a determinative or non-random process. The determinative process is also referred to herein as a skill game.
  • Games that depend solely upon random selection for generation of game outcomes are classified as Class III, but those in which player skill can influence game outcome may be placed in another class not being subject to regulation. The classification is a regulatory matter, but can have very significant economic ramifications. For example, Class III gaming may be relegated to casinos and Indian Tribes that have suitable compacts with state governments. Class III gaming is highly regulated and requires large economic resources in order to comply with regulations in operation and reporting. Class II gaming, or games of skill, however, may be currently permitted on any Indian reservation whether or not an agreement exists with the state in which they are located and reporting and compliance with regulation is considerably simplified.
  • Skill games may be classified as non-regulated games, but award to a player must depend to some degree upon player skill. A significant risk to an operator exists if game outcome depends entirely upon player skill as a very skillful player can win every game with disastrous economic results for the operator. If game outcome is made to depend upon skill in such manner that skill level is beyond the bounds of normal human competence then the game outcome essentially becomes a process of random selection, the game is classified as Class III, and is not permitted to be legally operated in a Class II venue. The classification assigned is important and has been the subject of many court actions.
  • Several gaming machines that allow skill games to be played currently exist. Most of said gaming machines depend upon a video representation of a spinning reel and require a player to stop certain symbols at a given position in order to accomplish a winning result. Stopping the spinning reel depends upon player skill to influence a game outcome, but in nearly all cases the number of symbols is huge and/or speed at which symbols are presented to a player is much greater than can be expected to be processed within even the boundaries of superhuman capabilities. If game outcome can be influenced by normal human capabilities the operator of said game is in danger of losing money. It would be desirable to provide a game configuration that allows an operator to maintain a profit and player skill to significantly influence an award to a player.
  • SUMMARY
  • Embodiments of the present invention provide a method for implementing a skill game that employs random selection, while operating as an exciting skill game. These embodiments are realized to stay within the boundaries of skill game regulations. Generally a game is classed as a game of skill or a skill game if the outcome of the game is demonstrably affected by a player's skill in whatever type of skill is designed to be tested by said game. Embodiments of the present invention seek to achieve classification as such a skill game.
  • The skill game of the embodiments of the present invention includes additively combining at least one determinative process with at least one random process and/or fixed process. The combination of aforesaid processes is in particular done in an additive fashion and not in a multiplicative fashion. If combination of processes is multiplicative a totally random process will result. In some embodiments, the skill game according to embodiments of the present invention can include at least one casino style award generation device that displays an award for which the skill game is played.
  • An award can be provided to a player for successfully completing the skill game without causing operator losses. It is established that an operator of a game has a right to a profit that may be gained from players playing said game. This may be termed a management fee that is derived from player's losses of games played. In a skill game of embodiments of the present invention, game outcome is determined primarily by player skill. Although the player award is generated based on player skill, a portion of the player wager can be deducted for management fee to assure an operator profit occurs even if a player's skill enables the player to continually receive an award for each game played.
  • An embodiment of a method of the present invention may be summarized generally as follows:
      • 1) Player pays a buy-in amount to allow him to play a game.
      • 2) The gaming device generates an award amount for the current game that a player may win by successfully completing a game of skill. The award can be randomly selected, and may be calculated at any point in the game cycle or can be calculated before the game begins. Additionally, the game outcome can be drawn from a collection of predetermined outcomes, generally known as a pull-tab deck. The award amount selected can be set to assure an operator profit.
      • 3) The gaming device displays a total award amount that can be won by successfully completing a skill game by a player.
      • 4) The game begins by generation of one or more random and/or fixed variables that can provide random or pseudo-random results enabling completion of the game.
      • 5) The game continues by enabling a player to generate results using skill that are added to the random and/or fixed conditions, wherein the skill results can enable an average player to successfully complete the game.
      • 6) If said game of skill in (5) is completed successfully by a player, the game pays the displayed award amount. If the game of skill is not completed successfully, the game so indicates and player can lose all or a portion of his buy-in.
  • The skill game described in the present invention does not rely upon a player not being able to successfully complete the game of skill and therefore does not require that the game be nearly impossible to complete successfully by a person of average capability. The skill game in the present invention can be made reasonably simple for an average player to successfully complete since operator profit can be assured by management fee and means of subtracting said fee for each game. Successful completion of each skill game can add an element of excitement that is typically not available in a random or fixed type gaming device.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Further details of the present invention are explained with the help of the attached drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a skill game in accordance with the principles of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 which illustrates another embodiment of a skill game that may be played upon a spinning reel platform;
  • FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of the skill game of FIG. 1 as played on a spinning reel platform; and
  • FIG. 4 illustrates components of a system of skill games according to various embodiments of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a skill game that may be played upon a video display in accordance with the principles of the present invention. The skill game can be realized by combining at least one determinative process with at least one fixed process and/or at least one random process. The example of FIG. 1 includes a total of 4 fixed processes that are described by objects 2, 3, 4 and 5 that travel over respective paths 8, 9, 10, 11. The objects are constrained to always move upon each associated path during a game cycle. A random process is realized by object 6 which may move in a random or pseudo-random fashion as described by paths 12, 13 and 15. The number of said random paths in the example of FIG. 1 has been abbreviated for the purposes of illustration. A fixed object is shown at 7 and a triggering object is shown at 1. Additionally a timer 16 can be included for a player which provides a visual representation of time in which to complete a game.
  • The game begins with a player making a buy-in after which a credit account established upon a gaming machine upon which the game is running will have a predetermined credit amount deducted. Credits deducted from said credit account are shown at 18. A maximum award can be calculated by a method described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,192,346 and that award is displayed to the player at 17. The maximum award may be calculated at any time during the game process and results displayed to a player at the beginning of a game. Game results can be pre-calculated and stored in an array from which a game is drawn in a predetermined manner; such a game is generally called a pull-tab in the game industry. Predetermined award values may be assigned to objects 2, 3, 4 and 5 or award values may be randomly assigned to said objects.
  • The game is started by means of the player pressing object 1 on a touch screen overlaying a video screen. Objects 2, 3, 4, and 5 begin to move in a predetermined fashion, the speed and path of which is identical during a present game cycle. All paths of the aforesaid objects cross object 7 which is a targeting object. Object 6 may begin a random path at a speed that may vary during the game cycle and will also pass over object 7. Skillful completion of the game requires that a player press object 1 when object 2, 3, 4 or 5 passes over a predetermined area defining the center of object 7 within the time period allowed by timer 16. If object 6 is simultaneously passing over object 7 at the time any of the aforesaid four objects 2, 3, 4 or 5 are passing over object 7, the player incurs a penalty. Said penalty may be a deduction from a score or may be termination of the present game with the player buy-in forfeited.
  • The aforesaid game of FIG. 1 illustrates the basic premise that a game of skill can be constructed by additively combining a determinative process with a fixed process and/or a random process. If aforesaid processes were combined in a multiplicative fashion the deterministic process results would no longer determine the game outcome and either a fixed process or a random process would result and any game using said combined processes would be a game of chance.
  • FIG. 2 which illustrates another embodiment of a skill game that may be played upon a spinning reel platform or video display that includes a set of fixed reels 22 and a set of determinative reels 30. The set of reels 22 start spinning to begin a game. The stopping position of reels 22 within the reel set is determined by a random process such as that described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,380,008 that is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Another reel set 30 performs a determinative process and is employed as a determining factor as to whether a skill game was successfully completed. An award table 26 may be used to indicate to a player an amount that may be won upon successfully completing a game of skill. A timer 56 may be used to limit time that is allowed to complete said game of skill.
  • Operation of the game illustrated in FIG. 2 is as follows:
  • 1) Player makes a buy-in to begin the game and said buy in may be indicated at 52. In the figure the player has made a buy-in of 2 credits. Time-to-play indicator 56 is set to maximum time to play.
  • 2) After a buy-in is made by the player, a reel set or a representation of a reel set 22 begins to rotate and a stopping position can be determined by a random selection such as is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,380,008. Indication to the player of said award is made at 54 and in FIG. 16 is 4 credits. If a regulatory jurisdiction so requires, a portion of the player buy-in amount may be made available as an award to a player as a consolation prize. A portion of a bonus pool as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,192,346, incorporated by reference herein in its entirety, can be made available to a player and displayed additionally at 54. This step completes a random process that may be employed to determine an award. A person skilled in the art will see that a collection of awards could be pre-generated using the algorithm described in the U.S. Pat. No. 7,192,346 or any other suitable method for stochastic generation of awards and the collection used to play a finite game set as is commonly described as a pull-tab game. A person skilled in the art will additionally see that an award to a player may be generated at any point in the entire game process by any suitable random method and saved for later display during game play.
  • 3) Reel set 30 begins to rotate and time-to-play timer begins to decrement towards zero. Indication to a player of the maximum amount he can win by stopping reel set 30 to correspond to the pattern beneath win line 36 of reel set 22 is indicated in award table 24. Since a buy-in of 2 credits was made, a single CH symbol beneath said win line indicates that the maximum award available for successful completion of the game of skill is 4 credits.
  • 4) Successful completion of the game of skill requires that the player stop reel 40 when a CH symbol is beneath win line 32, reel 42 when a 7 symbol is beneath said win line 32 and reel 44 when a SP symbol is beneath the win line 32 and time-to-play timer has not reached zero. Reel spin velocity of reel set 30 may be such that a person of average reaction time may reasonably be expected to react to stop the reels at a predetermined location.
  • 5) Upon successful completion of the game of skill as described in step 4, the player is awarded the award as indicated in 54. If a player does not successfully complete the game of skill, all amount of his buy-in is forfeited. If the player has successfully completed the game, a bonus pool can be formed and a player can be awarded at least a portion of his buy-in.
  • FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of the skill game of FIG. 1 as played on a spinning reel platform. Like FIG. 1, the skill game shown in FIG. 3 includes a deterministic process in additive combination with a fixed process and a random process. The spinning reel platform or video display includes a set of random reels 22, similar to FIG. 2, and a single determinative reel 60. Unlike FIG. 2, the platform further includes a random symbol generator 62 that arbitrarily generates symbols such as Bar, 7, and CH that are included on the reels 22 and 60 and displays them in a timed manner so a user can see each displayed symbol as it is presented in a random fashion. Components carried over from FIG. 2 to FIG. 3 are similarly labeled
  • The set of reels 22, the random symbol generator 62, and the deterministic reel 60 all are functioning to start operation to begin a game. The reels 22, random symbol generator 62, and reel 60 do not stop until the reel 60 is pressed. The reels 22, random symbol generator 62, and reel 60 proceed at a rate enabling a player of ordinary skill to read the displayed symbols and press the reel 60 to stop the symbol beneath award line 64 when it matches one or more of the symbols beneath award line 36 of fixed reels 22. The symbol in the random generator 62 should further be stopped by a player with reel 60 stopped at a point where the symbol beneath award line 64 does not match the symbol displayed by the random generator 62. The reel 60, thus, performs a determinative process and is employed as a determining factor as to whether a skill game was successfully completed.
  • An award table 66 is included to indicate to a player an amount that may be won upon successfully completing a game of skill. The first line 67 indicates that the award with one token played “play 1” is 10 credits, while two tokens will give two credits. Note that the configuration of the game illustrated in FIG. 3 shows conditions for a match 1 award of line 67 of 20 credits in the awards table 66. Match 1 occurs in the game shown since the number “7” under line 64 matches one “7” under line 36 and the random symbol 62 is not a “7.” The configuration for a match 2 would be 100 for one credit played or 200 for two credits played as shown in line 68 of the awards table 66. The configuration for a match 3 would be 400 for one credit played or 800 for two credits played as shown in line 69 of table 66. Note that two credits have been indicated to be played at 52, and the maximum award available as indicated in box 54 is 800. As in FIG. 2, a time to play timer 56 may be used to limit time that is allowed to complete said game of skill.
  • Operation of the game illustrated in FIG. 3 is as follows:
  • 1) Player makes a buy-in to begin the game and said buy in may be indicated at 52. In the figure the player has made a buy-in of 2 credits. Time-to-play indicator 56 is set to maximum time to play and begins count down of time allowed.
  • 2) After a buy-in is made by the player, a reel set or a representation of a reel set 22 begins to rotate, as does reel 60. The random symbol generator 62 further begins to randomly display different symbols. The stopping of reel 60, as well as reels 22 and random number generator 62 is set to occur when the reel 60 is touched. The reels 22 provide a fixed pseudo-random process, while the random symbol generator 62 provides a random process that may be employed to determine an award.
  • 3) Successful completion of the game of skill requires that the player stop reel 60 when the symbol beneath award line 64 matches all three reel symbols beneath award line 36. The player, however, should not match the symbol in random generator 62, or run the time on play timer 56 down to zero. Reel spin velocity of reel 60 and reels 22, as well as the display of random symbol generator 62 are set such that a person of average reaction time may reasonably be expected to react to stop the reels in the reel set.
  • 4) Upon successful completion of the game of skill as described in step 3, the player is awarded the award as indicated in 66. If a player does not successfully complete the game of skill, all amount of his buy-in is forfeited. If the player has successfully completed the game, a bonus pool can be formed and a player can be awarded at least a portion of his buy-in.
  • Although a system is illustrated in FIG. 3 that requires matching the symbol of reel 60 with symbols of reels 22, and not matching random number 62, other configurations of this embodiment might be realized. For example, an award could be based on a player stopping reel 60 when it does not match any of the symbols of reel 22. Similarly, the symbol of reel 60 could be required to match the number in random symbol generator 62. Further, although one determinative reel 60 is shown, additional reels can be included in alternative embodiments of the invention. Further less or more of the reels 22 could be included and less or more of the random number displays could be shown.
  • An award can be provided to a player without eliminating operator profit in accordance with embodiments of the present invention in a number of ways. It is established that an operator of a game has a right to a profit that may be gained from players playing said game. This may be termed a management fee. The management fee can be derived from player's losses of games played. In a skill game of embodiments of the present invention, game outcome is determined primarily by player skill. Although the player award is generated based on player skill, to assure an operator's profit a portion of the player wager can be deducted for management fee.
  • In the gaming machine industry, an award that is based upon or determined by machine profitability or “machine hold” may be termed a reflexive pay. Reflexive pay can be used to forcefully decrease player win until machine hold is greater than or equal to a predetermined amount. In some embodiments of the present invention, reflexive pay can be used to increase the amount of an award to a player to encourage players to play more. In some embodiments of the present invention, if machine hold is greater than a predetermined amount said excess machine hold is placed in an adjustment pool that can be used to increase player awards.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates components of a system of skill games according to some embodiments of the present invention. In general, a skill game for embodiments of the present invention can be implemented in programming on a general purpose computer or processor as illustrated by processor 70 in skill game 72. The processor can further be included in a central location, such as central server 74, that controls multiple games. The skill games can operate in a stand-alone fashion or be networked using the central server 74 operating a wireless network made up of skill games 76 and 77 or a wired network made up of skill games 72 and 74 connected by wired network connection 75. The game results may be displayed on an output device connected to any of the skill games, as illustrated by display 78, or transmitted to a remote device (not shown) for output or display. In addition control of the skill games may be made using a keypad 71 directly connected to the skill game, or by a wireless remote device as illustrated by device 79.
  • Although the present invention has been described herein with reference to specific spinning reel type casino devices, the devices and processes of the present invention may be applied to many other games, including card games or other traditional casino games, as well as arcade games, and video games. The skill games described can further be dual player stations, or player stations that are networked with each other for multi-party play from remote locations.
  • Although the present invention has been described above with particularity, this was merely to teach one of ordinary skill in the art how to make and use the invention. Many additional modifications will fall within the scope of the invention, as that scope is defined by the following claims.

Claims (18)

1. A skill game comprising a game controller configured to additively combine at least one deterministic process with at least one of a random process and a fixed process.
2. The skill game of claim 1, wherein the game controller additively combines the at least one deterministic process with both the random process and the fixed process.
3. The skill game of claim 1, further comprising at least one casino style spinning reel device.
4. The skill game of claim 1, further comprising a pay line readout configured to display awards based on the player performance of the skill game.
5. The skill game of claim 1, wherein the at least one of the random process and the fixed process are additively combined with the deterministic process by completing the at least one of the random process and the fixed process prior to or at the same time as completion of the deterministic process.
6. The skill game of claim 1, wherein the deterministic process has results determined at least in part by results of the at least one of the random process and the fixed process.
7. The skill game of claim 1, wherein the processes are additively combined to allow the deterministic process to control the final results of the skill game.
8. The skill game of claim 1, wherein the at least one of the random process and the fixed process provide at least one value a player matches during the determinative process to obtain an award.
9. The skill game of claim 1, wherein the at least one of the random process and the fixed process provide at least one value a player avoids matches during the determinative process to obtain an award.
10. The skill game of claim 1, wherein the fixed process is provided by a device comprising a spinning reel.
11. The skill game of claim 10, wherein a user stops the spinning reel at a desired pay line.
12. A skill game comprising:
a display device;
a fixed process mechanism configured to implement at least one fixed process comprising an object and a path displayed on a display;
a random process mechanism configured to implement at least one random process comprising an object and a random path displayed on the display device; and
wherein the random device sends a first object on a random path across the display device;
wherein the fixed device sends a second object on a predetermined path on the display device; and
wherein the skill game player successfully completes the skill game by taking action when the first object and the second object enter certain areas of the display device according to rules of the skill game.
13. The skill game of claim 12, wherein the action taken by the skill game player comprises pressing a predetermined button when a fixed process object enters a scoring area of the display.
14. The skill game of claim 12, further comprising a timer device configured to display an amount of time remaining for the player to complete the skill game.
15. A method for operating a skill game comprising:
displaying at least one of a fixed process and a random process comprising an object that is moved on a path provided in at least a partially random manner;
providing a player control to allow a player to take an action when the object enters a predetermined area of the display according to rules of the skill game.
16. The method of claim 15,
wherein the step of displaying a first object for the fixed process and the random process on a path provided in at least a partially random manner; and
wherein the step of providing a player control allows the player to take action when the first object enters the predetermined area of the display.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein at least one of the fixed process and the random process is provided by a spinning reel.
18. The skill game of claim 17, wherein the player takes action by stopping the spinning reel at a desired pay line.
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