FIELD OF THE INVENTION
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The present invention relates to games, and more particularly to wagering games incorporating symbols or indicia that can be used in both instant win and extended play games associated with a single wager.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
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Multiple play wagering games are provided on certain instant lottery tickets to give players more than one play for a single wager. These games typically employ a playing area having a scratch-off or otherwise removable layer on top of playing indicia that indicate whether the ticket is a winning ticket. Multiple play games in the “match 3” or “slot machine” style can give players several chances to match three symbols or indicia on a line in order to win the prize associated with that line. Some multiple play games have multiple play areas with, for example, a first area having a first game and associated first prize, and a second area having a second or bonus game that is played at the user's option and that can enhance, reduce or even eliminate the first prize.
Extended play wagering games, such as Bingo or Crossword games, for example, permit players to spend more time on a game before knowing whether or not the game has been won. Some extended play games also provide for second chances or bonus plays based on a single wager. However, it is not known to provide an instant win game that uses indicia or symbols that are also used in an extended play game based on the same wager, particularly where prizes are awarded independently for each game.
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OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
The present invention provides a combination instant and extended play game with at least two games playable in separate areas and having associated prizes, wherein indicia from a first game are used to determine whether the player is a winner of the first game and a second game. The game can comprise a first play area using a set of indicia associated with one or more instant games, whereby the player can win any of the instant games according to its rules. The game can further comprise a second play area for playing a second extended play game, such as a Bingo style game, but instead of using ranges of numbers, it uses some or all of the indicia from the first play area in the second game to determine whether the second game has been won. This creates an attractive game with a positive play experience in the second play area even though the player may not win in the first play area. In one embodiment of the present invention, the game is designed such that the indicia in the first play area are covered or not revealed prior to receiving the wager from the player, while the second play area is generally uncovered. In this way, a player cannot know in advance whether either play area will yield a winner. In an alternative embodiment, the extended play game is played first and an instant win game is played alongside it or afterward.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
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FIG. 1 is a display of a sample game in accordance with the present invention where the game indicia in the first play area has not been played.
FIG. 2 is a display of the sample game of FIG. 1 where the game indicia in the first play area have been revealed.
FIG. 3 is a display of another sample game in accordance with the present invention where the game indicia in the first play area has not been played.
FIG. 4 is a display of the sample game of FIG. 3 where the game indicia in the first play area have been revealed.
FIG. 5 is a display of a sample game in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention.
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OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
The present invention provides a game that can be played on multiple types of media or representation objects, including a self-service video lottery or slot machine-type terminal, or a scratch off instant lottery ticket, for example. In the examples shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, the depicted game ticket 10 has two general play areas. The first or primary play area 12 shows a slot-themed game with multiple “spins.” After the player purchases the ticket, he or she can determine whether the ticket is a winner by, for example, scratching or rubbing the protective covering(s) 14 off of the play area and the prize area(s) 16 to reveal the underlying play indicia 18. By indicia, it is meant a symbol, word, character, number or single icon representing an image such as a clover, bag of money or other item. The protective covering can be latex or other known opaque coating that prevents the underlying indicia from being seen prior to removal.
If the rules of play dictate that one must match three identical indicia in a row in order to win, then, in the specific example of the invention shown in FIG. 2, there are no winners of the six spins in the first play area 12. If any of the rows contained all matching symbols, the prize 16 listed at the end of the corresponding row would have been won. In the specific example of the invention shown in FIG. 4, there are similarly no winners of the games in the first play area 12, because none of the rows includes three identical indicia.
As further shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, secondary play area 20 allows the user to use the uncovered indicia from the primary play area in the play of a secondary game. The secondary game in the example shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 uses a Bingo style play mechanic but instead of using ranges of numbers it uses the symbols across the entire grid. The result is that a player who matches all three symbols on a single spin on the slot themed game instantly wins a prize, but the secondary result is the player has only one symbol to match on the Bingo grid. On the other hand, if the player has three unique symbols on a spin of the slot themed game, he or she is not an instant winner but then has three symbols to match on the Bingo grid. Thus, even though the ticket 10 shown in FIG. 2 does not reveal any winners in the primary play area 12, there are more indicia for the player to use in the secondary play area 20. This creates a positive play experience in the second play area even though the player did not win in the first play area.
The second themed area need not be a Bingo-type game. Other themes can include poker (where the symbols are cards and you need to make a five card poker hand in the first game), tic tac toe (where symbols are used in place of X's and O's), licensed games such as Tetris™, or any themed “match 3” style game, for example. As an alternative example, the secondary game shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 uses a pyramid match style play mechanic where the player can win the amount in each row by matching symbols from the first play area 12 to the symbols in the second play area 20. Thus, for example, the player of the ticket shown in FIG. 2 can win five dollars by having a diamond revealed in the first play area. The player can win fifteen dollars by having both an orange symbol and a moon symbol. The more symbols required in this particular game, the higher the payoff.
In the printed ticket embodiment, the primary play area 12 has indicia under an opaque removable layer that hides the symbols from view until the player removes the layer such as by scratching it off. The indicia or symbols in play area 20 are visible to the player, and allow the player to see which symbols to mark off upon playing the game in play area 12. In the slot machine and/or graphical user interface embodiment, the indicia for the game in play area 12 would not be known until the player pulled the slot machine arm, pushed the button or otherwise initiated play. It is possible that not all of the indicia in play area 12 would be used in play area 20.
In one embodiment of the present invention, as illustrated in FIG. 3, a first set of indicia can be associated with a first portion 15 of the primary play area 12, and a second set of indicia, having no common indicia with the first set, can be associated with a second portion 17 of the primary play area. In this embodiment, the secondary play area 20 can thus be played using the indicia from both play area portions 15 and 17. The indicia in the secondary play area would thus include all or some of the first set of indicia and all or some of the second set of indicia.
In an alternative embodiment to that described above, the game of the present invention can be applied to tournament style games, such as on the Internet, for example, where a second game can be played in coordination with a first game. For example, the first game can be a tournament Bingo game played against other players, and a second game can be added which utilizes numbers from the player's set of Bingo cards in the first game, as illustrated at 30 in FIG. 5. While the player uses the called numbers to try and win the Bingo game on the first play area 32, the player can also use the matched numbers in a second game in the second play area 34 for instant or progressive style prizes. This embodiment thus uses numbers as the indicia rather than symbols or icons. Further, this embodiment does not require the covering or hiding of any indicia, as the indicia in the instant win game do not affect the play of the extended play (i.e., Bingo) game. As shown in the example of FIG. 5, if the player receives either set of four numbers in play area 34, the player would win the associated instant prize indicated at 36.
One method of providing the game of chance associated with the present invention can proceed as follows. A wager or payment is received from a player, such as by the player paying cash or using a transaction card (e.g., debit card, credit card, player account card) to pay a cashier or unattended machine for a game. The game can appear on a different media or game representation object, such as a ticket or a graphical user interface associated with a computer or a stand-alone terminal in a gaming establishment, for example. In one embodiment of the present invention, the computer can be outside of a gaming establishment, such as in a player's home, for example, and the game can be accessed over a network such as the Internet where available.
The game representation object has at least a visual representation of a primary game and a secondary game, including one or more sets of primary game symbols for use in the primary game. The primary game symbols are revealed in response to player action, such as by the player scratching or rubbing off a removable layer on the physical ticket, or by the player pulling a slot machine-type arm, pushing a physical button provided as part of the gaming terminal or pushing a touch-screen interface, for example.
If the revealed primary game symbols or a subset thereof appear in a pre-defined pattern, such as all cherries in a row, for example, the player is awarded a primary game prize.
By “awarded”, it is meant that the player is deemed a winner, whether or not the winnings have been redeemed. The primary game prize can be cash, a credit to a gaming establishment or the player's own financial account, a physical prize or product, a service, or any type of award suited to the game and/or establishment in which the game is operated.
The secondary game on the representation object has a pre-defined pattern of indicia that includes some or all of the primary game indicia and that also defines one or more potential winning patterns. If one or more of the displayed primary game indicia appear in one of the potential winning patterns of the secondary game, a secondary game prize is awarded to the player. Any pattern of indicia in the secondary game can be considered a potential winning pattern regardless of whether the primary game indicia reveal that there is an actual winning pattern in the secondary game. Also, a pattern can include as few as one indicia. The secondary game prize can comprise one or more of the same types of prizes as identified above with regard to the primary game prize.
In one embodiment of the present invention, the second game pattern is revealed prior to play of the primary game. Further, the primary game prize and the secondary game prize can be awarded independently of one another, and any primary game prize can be awarded regardless of whether the secondary game prize is won. In other words, the secondary game has no effect on any primary game prize previously won in the play of the primary game. As shown in FIGS. 1 through 5, the primary game is different from the secondary game. In one embodiment of the present invention, the pattern of indicia on the secondary game includes less than all of the primary game symbols. In another embodiment of the present invention, the pattern of symbols on the secondary game includes all of the primary game symbols.
In one embodiment of the present invention, the game itself comprises a game representation object, one or more unrevealed primary game indicia in the primary game area and at least one unrevealed primary game prize. The secondary game area on the object has at least one revealed secondary game indicia and at least one secondary game prize. The secondary game prize can be unrevealed or revealed prior to game play. The game further includes a mechanism that is responsive to player action so as to reveal the primary game indicia so that a player can determine whether the primary and secondary game prizes have been won. Since the indicia are consistent from the first game to the second game, revealing the indicia in the first game allows the player to know whether the first and second games have been won.
In the embodiment of the present invention where the representation object is a ticket or card, the mechanism responsive to player action is an opaque removable layer, which can be a scratch-off varnish or similar layer as is known in connection with instant lottery tickets. Removal of the opaque removable layer indicates if the player wins the primary game prize. Further, removal of the opaque removable layer indicates which secondary game indicia to mark off in the secondary game. In the embodiment of the present invention where the secondary game is a BINGO or similar type game involving marking of spaces, the secondary game area can include a marking system. In one embodiment of this aspect, the marking system can incorporate the specifics of the marking system and method co-owned herewith, and that is the subject of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/485,820, filed Jun. 16, 2009 and entitled “Marking System and Method and Scratch-Off Game Incorporating Same”, which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. In such an embodiment, at least one removable layer covering at least a portion of the revealed game indicia in the secondary game is provided, and at least one overlying screen comprising a pattern of opaque ink elements printed on the at least one removable layer is provided such that the ink elements are blended into smooth tones when viewed by the human eye and allow the game indicia to be at least partially visible.
With regard to marking, the rules of the game can dictate whether a player can use a single instance of a specific indicia in the primary game to mark multiple instances of the indicia in the secondary game. For example, there is one horseshoe indicia in the primary game of FIG. 2, while there are three horseshoe indicia in the secondary game of FIG. 2. If the rules permit, the user can mark off all of the horseshoe indicia in the secondary game based on revealing the single horseshoe indicia in the primary game. Alternatively, the rules can require that a user only mark one instance of a specific indicia in the secondary game for each instance of the same indicia in the primary game, which inserts an additional aspect of chance into the secondary game. Appropriate verification measures can be employed in such an embodiment in order to ensure that players do not attempt to mark additional indicia in the secondary game that do not have corresponding indicia in the primary game.
In the embodiment of the invention where the representation object is the user interface of a gaming machine, a player action input mechanism can be used in order to reveal the initially unrevealed indicia of the primary game. This mechanism can be a pull-arm, a push-button, a touch screen interface, a keyboard, microphone, mouse or other input mechanism that provides instruction to a computer system operating the display to reveal the indicia of the primary game. Further, once the indicia in the primary game are revealed, the present invention can permit the player to mark the appropriate corresponding indicia in the secondary game, or the invention can provide an auto-play option as part of a game program for playing the present game, wherein the auto-play option can be selected by the player prior to or during play. The auto-play option automatically chooses the best indicia to mark on the secondary game.
Additionally, in this embodiment, the secondary game can be refreshed at particular intervals such that the indicia to be matched do not remain the same for each play or set of plays of the primary game. For example, a player can be given a certain number of plays or spins (e.g., ten spins) in the primary game, and if the player has not achieved a prize in the secondary game by that point, the secondary game is re-set. The secondary game can be re-set with different indicia or with the same indicia. In an alternative embodiment, the secondary game does not re-set until a prize is won, which can have the effect of promoting more plays of the primary game.
It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that any computer system that includes suitable programming means for operating in accordance with the disclosed methods also falls well within the scope of the present invention. Suitable programming means include any means for directing a computer system to execute the steps of the system and method of the invention, including for example, systems comprised of processing units and arithmetic-logic circuits coupled to computer memory, which systems have the capability of storing in computer memory, which computer memory includes electronic circuits configured to store data and program instructions, programmed steps of the method of the invention for execution by a processing unit. Aspects of the present invention may be embodied in a computer program product, such as a diskette or other recording medium, for use with any suitable data processing system. The present invention can further run on a variety of platforms, including Microsoft Windows™, Linux™, Sun Solaris™, HP/UX™, IBM AIX™ and Java compliant platforms, for example.
The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The present embodiments are therefore to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive, the scope of the invention being indicated by the claims of the application rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are therefore intended to be embraced therein.