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United States Patent Application 20170354863
Kind Code A1
Denbigh; Peter December 14, 2017

SELF-INDUCED DYSARTHRIA GAME

Abstract

A self-induced dysarthria game that forces communication of specially-chosen phrases or performance of other common or humorous tasks involving use of the cheeks or lips despite an induced speech impairment, so that players inevitably experience initial failure but must compensate to win. Game play may involve individual competition or team play. A mobile software application for enabling game play is also disclosed.


Inventors: Denbigh; Peter; (Staunton, VA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Denbigh; Peter

Staunton

VA

US
Family ID: 1000002780455
Appl. No.: 15/618956
Filed: June 9, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62347919Jun 9, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63F 11/00 20130101; A63F 9/00 20130101
International Class: A63F 9/00 20060101 A63F009/00; A63F 11/00 20060101 A63F011/00

Claims



1. A method for playing a game that simulates dysarthria, the method comprising the steps of: providing a table as a playing area, and a sand timer on said table; appointing a plurality of players to one of a plurality of teams; said plurality of teams each appointing one of its players to be a speaker; providing a deck of playing cards each having a word or phrase written thereon; randomizing the deck of playing cards; dealing a playing card to an appointed speaker; requiring said appointed speaker to self-induce dysarthria by insertion of a dental cheek retractor; inverting said sand timer on said table; requiring said appointed speaker to communicate the word or phrase written on the dealt playing card to their team mates before said sand timer expires despite said self-induced dysarthria; awarding points to said appointed speaker if the team mates repeat the correct word or phrase written on the dealt playing card before expiration of the sand timer by understanding the speaker; repeating the foregoing steps with the other teams; tallying accumulated points on a tally card, said accumulated points being equal to the number of points earned by each member of the team.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein said dental cheek retractor comprises an integrally molded component with left and right curvilinear troughs for seating and spacing a left and right sides of a mouth of said appointed speaker, wherein said left and right curvilinear troughs comprise an upper arch sized to saddle an upper lip of said appointed speaker, and a lower arch sized to saddle an lower lip of said appointed speaker, said left and right curvilinear troughs being connected by a resilient connector for maintaining an outward spring bias against said left and right curvilinear troughs.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein said method further comprises a predetermined number of rounds, wherein said steps of dealing, requiring said appointed speaker to self-induce dysarthria, inverting, requiring said appointed speaker to communicate the word or phrase, and awarding are undertaken by said appointed speaker from each team during each of said rounds.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein points are allotted per round and wherein said accumulated points equals the number of points scored during each said round for each team.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein each said word or phrase is paired with a predetermined number of points.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein said predetermined number of points for varies based on a predetermined difficulty of said word or phrase.

7. A method for playing a game comprising the steps of: providing a table as a playing area, and a sand timer on said table; appointing a plurality of players to one of a plurality of teams; choosing one player on each team to be an actor; providing a deck of playing cards each having an interactive task to be completed; randomizing the deck of playing cards; dealing a playing card to an appointed actor; requiring said appointed actor to self-induce dysarthria by insertion of a dental cheek retractor; inverting said sand timer on said table; requiring said appointed actor to complete said appointed task by interacting with their teammates while their speech is impaired despite said self-induced dysarthria before said sand timer expires; awarding points to said team if the actor completes the task written on the dealt playing card before expiration of the sand timer; repeating the foregoing steps with the other teams; tallying accumulated points on a tally card comprising said accumulated points being equal to the number of tasks successfully completed by each of said actors.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein said one or more tasks includes one or more activities selected from the group comprising: blowing through a straw, sucking through a straw, using a noisemaker, blowing bubbles, drawing with a marker being held in a mouth of said one or more actors, drinking through a straw, singing, and holding a household item in a mouth of said one or more actors.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein said at least one actor comprises a first actor and a second actor, and wherein said second actor is chosen randomly by roll of one or more dice.

10. The method of claim 7, wherein said dental cheek retractor comprises an integrally molded component with left and right curvilinear troughs for seating and spacing a left and right sides of a mouth of said appointed speaker, wherein said left and right curvilinear troughs comprise an upper arch sized to saddle an upper lip of said appointed speaker, and a lower arch sized to saddle an lower lip of said appointed speaker, said left and right curvilinear troughs being connected by a resilient connector for maintaining an outward spring bias against said left and right curvilinear troughs.

11. The method of claim 7 wherein each said task is paired with a predetermined number of points.

12. The method of claim 7 wherein said predetermined number of points for varies based on a predetermined difficulty of said task.

13. A system for playing a game utilizing an induced speech impairment, the system comprising: a deck of playing cards, a rules and instructions card, a collection of scoring sheets, a one-minute hourglass-type timer, a plurality of differently-sized speech impediment-inducing devices, and a compartmentalized box for storage.

14. The system of claim 13 wherein said deck of playing cards comprises a plurality of playing cards each having a word or phrase written thereon.

15. The system of claim 13 wherein said deck of playing cards comprises a plurality of playing cards each having a task written thereon.

16. The system of claim 13 further comprising one or more challenger dice.

17. The system of claim 13 further comprising at least one additional component selected from the group consisting of: a noise maker, a straw, a marker, a container of bubbles, a clothespin, a necklace and a ping pong ball.

18. A system for playing a game, the system comprising: at least one cheek and lip retractor; and a mobile application configured to perform the steps of: soliciting user input of a variation of game play; receiving input from a user of said variation of game play; soliciting user input of a number of teams; receiving input from said user of said number of teams; soliciting user input of a name or designator for each said team; receiving input from said user of same name or designator for each said team; determining, based on the received inputs, an appropriate game card to present to said user; presenting an image of said appropriate card to said user via a graphical user interface (GUI); and repeating the foregoing steps with the other teams.

19. The system of claim 18 wherein said mobile application is further configured to perform the step of displaying a dynamic timer counting down a predetermined amount of time for one or more rounds of game play.

20. The system of claim 18 wherein said mobile application is further configured to perform the steps of soliciting user input of "Pass" or "Got it!"; receiving user input of "Pass" or "Got it!"; and presenting an image of an additional card to said user via said graphical user interface (GUI).

21. The system of claim 20 wherein said mobile application is further configured to tally a score for each team based on the number of "Got it!" inputs received from said team during said team's turn.
Description



CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application derives priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/347,919 filed 9 Jun. 2016.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to games and, more specifically, to a game in which contestants draw cards and attempt to communicate phrases or complete other physical challenges despite wearing a cheek and lip retractor.

2. Description of the Background

[0003] Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder resulting from neurological injury of the motor component of the motor-speech system and is characterized by poor articulation of phonemes. Dysarthria makes it very difficult to pronounce words. People with normal speech tend not to understand such impediments and, if not intolerant, are completely ill-equipped to deal with the impediment.

[0004] Dysarthria is treated by speech language pathologists using a variety of techniques. Traditional treatments try to correct deficits in rate, prosody, intensity, resonance and phonation. All such treatments involve exercises to increase strength and control over articulator muscles. By such exercises exposure to and training in dysarthria not only helps improve tolerance for the condition, but also the afflicted person's adaptation to the condition.

[0005] Dysarthria intolerance becomes painfully apparent when a speech impediment is induced in a normal person and they are tasked with trying to communicate or perform other common tasks involving manipulation of their cheeks or lips. Indeed, by using a mechanical device to induce an impediment and requiring a subject to move their lips or pronounce certain phrases, communication of those phrases or completion of certain "simple" tasks is nearly impossible until the subject learns to adapt and compensate. Their speech becomes nearly incomprehensible and it may be impossible or very difficult to properly perform other common tasks like drinking water from a glass. Frustration grows as the speaker experiments with different approaches to improve their communication. Meanwhile, listeners trying to interpret the impaired speech become frustrated, begin shouting out guesses, which in many instances are unabashed and overly creative.

[0006] This process of confronting the impediment, speaking despite it, listening, and adapting to it is in the long term constructive and therapeutic inasmuch as it improves both tolerance and communication efficiency. Persons with dysarthria learn the following: [0007] To introduce a topic with a single word or short phrase before beginning to speak in more complete sentences; [0008] To check with listeners to make sure that they understand; [0009] To speak slowly and loudly and pause frequently; [0010] To try to limit conversations; [0011] To use pointing or gesturing, to get a message across.

[0012] Conversely, the listener learns the following: [0013] To reduce distractions and background noise; [0014] To pay attention to the speaker; [0015] To watch the person as he or she talks; [0016] To let the speaker know if there is difficulty understanding.

[0017] In the short term the process is difficult, frustrating, awkward, and emotional. These are the ingredients of comedy, and indeed if this is kept in mind the process becomes both funny and fun to the participants. What is needed is an interactive game framework to implement and ease the process, make it comical, give it play value, and thereby serve dual-purposes.

Objects of the Invention

[0018] It is an object of the invention to provide a method of playing a game that self-induces dysarthria and then compels urgent communication of specially-chosen phrases or performance of other common tasks despite an induced speech impairment, so that players inevitably experience initial failure but must compensate to win.

[0019] It is another object of the invention to provide a method of playing a game of self-induced dysarthria that is comical, engaging, entertaining and has play value.

[0020] It is another object to provide a method of playing a game in which dysarthria is selectively induced with a mechanical restraint and the subject is required to say carefully chosen phrases or complete other tasks, such as drinking water, blowing air, and manipulating objects with the mouth.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021] Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments and certain modifications thereof when taken together with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0022] FIG. 1 is a diagram of the physical components of the game according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0023] FIG. 2 shows a compendium of exemplary of playing cards 10 with several exemplary phrases according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0024] FIG. 3 is an illustration of a cheek and lip retractor 50 in use according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0025] FIG. 4 shows an exemplary scoring sheet 30 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

[0026] FIG. 5 shows an exemplary deck of cards 100 according to an additional embodiment of the present invention.

[0027] FIG. 6 is a composite ((A)-(E)) showing exemplary implements for use in game play 100 according to an additional embodiment of the present invention.

[0028] FIG. 7 is a composite ((A)-(B)) showing exemplary implements for use in game play 100 according to an additional embodiment of the present invention.

[0029] FIG. 8 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0030] FIG. 9 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0031] FIG. 10 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0032] FIG. 11 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0033] FIG. 12 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0034] FIG. 13 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0035] FIG. 14 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0036] FIG. 15 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0037] FIG. 16 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0038] FIG. 17 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0039] FIG. 18 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0040] FIG. 19 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0041] FIG. 20 is a screen shot of a mobile application for use in game play according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0042] FIG. 20 shows an exemplary game box containing playing cards, timer, cheek retractors and other implements for game day according to embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0043] Reference will now be made in detail to preferred embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Where the same reference numbers are used throughout the drawings they refer to the same or like parts.

[0044] In one preferred embodiment, the present invention is a method of playing a game with particular game pieces that pits teams of players against each other in timed situations requiring one member to communicate selected phrases to other team members despite self-induced dysarthria that obfuscates communication of the phrases, such that communication is nearly impossible until both the subject and team members learn to adapt and compensate for the impediment. This process of confronting a speech impediment and adapting to it not only has enormous entertainment value, but also sensitizes players to the true nature and extent of the speech impediment.

[0045] FIG. 1 is a diagram of the physical components of the game according to one such embodiment of the invention. The components generally include a deck of custom playing cards 10, a rules and instructions card 20, a collection of scoring sheets 30, a one-minute hourglass-type timer 40, a plurality of differently-sized speech impediment-inducing devices 50, and a compartmentalized box 60 for storage.

[0046] The deck of playing cards 10 comprises any number of individual cards each bearing a coherent phrase of words. The phrases are preferably modeled upon traditional speech therapy sentences used to elucidate particular speech impediments, but "humorized" for play value. Traditional speech therapy sentences test for morphology and syntactic deficits, e.g., word formation (morphemes) and phrase/sentence formation (syntactic structures). At the word level, a cheek retractor impedes use of plural forms or verb tenses. At the phrase or sentence level, a cheek retractor impedes complex sentences, such as those that contain prepositional clauses. The object here is to maximize the degree of difficulty with a funny phrase. Thus, a variety of known phrases that were professionally selected for practice with speech therapy sentences are modified to be funny. Pronunciation of the letters "P", "F", "M", "V", "B" and "W" is especially impeded by use of a cheek retractor, and so certain phrases or words containing these letters may be specifically selected to present a challenge.

[0047] FIG. 2 is a compendium of exemplary playing cards 10, according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention, with several exemplary phrases, including "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER", "IN MY PEPSI", "FULL OF POOP", and "BIBLE BOOK CLUB."

[0048] The rules and instructions card 20 articulates the method of playing the present game.

[0049] The scoring sheets 30, as will be described, allow for proper team scoring according to the present method.

[0050] The timer 40 is a conventional two-minute hourglass-type timer.

[0051] The collection of differently-sized speech impediment-inducing devices 50 comprise a range of child-to-adult sized cheek and lip retractors made of clear plastic.

[0052] FIG. 3 is an illustration of a cheek and lip retractor 50 in use. The cheek and lip retractor 50 (shown in front view) generally comprises an integrally molded component with left and right curvilinear troughs 52 for seating and spacing the left and right sides of the mouth. The troughs 52 arch upward to upper lip shields 54 which saddle the upper lip, and lower lip shields 55 which saddle the lower lip. The left and right curvilinear troughs 52 are connected by a resilient connector 56 for maintaining an outward spring bias against the left and right curvilinear troughs 52. In preferred embodiments, connector 56 contains a reinforcing bump (not shown) to add to the strength of this resilient member. The cheek and lip retractor 50 is fitted to the mouth as shown, and induce a variety of speech impediments depending on the phrase pronunciations. A variety of sizes are provided for different age groups, and each cheek and lip retractor 50 is preferably dishwasher safe for convenient sterilization.

[0053] The compartmentalized box 60 separates the foregoing components for storage.

[0054] The rules and instructions card 20 recites the method of playing the present game, according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention, which is as follows:

[0055] 1.sup.st: Any number of players are divided into teams, each comprising an assigned "reader" and one or more assigned "interpreters". The assignment of the "reader" and/or "interpreter(s)" for each team may be made by team vote, by draw of number, by preference of individual team members, or by other selection means known in the art (i.e., selection of the person who has gone the longest without brushing his or her teeth). The cards 10 are randomized (shuffled) and placed on the table in a stack.

[0056] 2d: The assigned Reader fits a cheek and lip retractor 50 to his or her mouth, draws or is dealt one card 10 from the stack, and inverts the timer 40 onto a designated playing surface or other solid surface, such as a table.

[0057] 3d: The assigned Reader with cheek and lip retractor 50 tries to read the phrase on the card 10 to their team mate(s) (the Interpreter(s)).

[0058] 4.sup.th: The goal is for the "Interpreter(s)" to understand what the "Reader" is trying to say. Each team has a predetermined period of time, such as 2 minutes, to interpret as many phrases as possible. When the "Interpreter(s)" correctly repeat the phrase on card 10, another card 10 is drawn and the game continues. Each team interprets as many phrases as possible, progressing from "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER", "IN MY PEPSI", "FULL OF POOP", and "BIBLE BOOK CLUB", etc., until the timer 40 expires. Importantly, in one embodiment of the present invention, the reader must keep trying until the interpreter gets each phrase and cannot "pass" on a phrase unless the phrase is an extra credit difficult phrase. This ensures that the Reader must confront their impediment and adapt to it, which maximizes play value and ensures an engaging and entertaining game.

[0059] FIG. 4 is an exemplary scoring sheet 30, which illustrates that the game is played in rounds. Round 1 is completed when each team has had their designated "reader" attempt to read words or phrases on dealt cards, as described above, for the predetermined amount of time. For Round 2, the team's rolls may reverse (the Reader becomes an Interpreter and one of the Interpreter(s) becomes the Reader). Points are awarded for each word or phrase that a team's reader reads (under the influence of cheek and lip retractor 50) and that same team's interpreter(s) correctly repeat. In some embodiments, the same number of points may be awarded for each correct word or phrase (i.e., one point per correct word/phrase). In other embodiments, as described below, certain words/phrases may be worth more points due to the difficulty of each phrase to be read and correctly understood while the reader is under the influence of cheek and lip retractor 50. The number of points may be indicated on the card on which the word or phrase is written.

[0060] The number of points earned by each speaker (on behalf of his or her team) during each round is tallied on a scoring sheet 30, such as that shown in FIG. 4. The exemplary scoring sheet 30 shows four rounds, each entailing role reversals, though the number of rounds is a matter of design choice and/or may be based on the number of players on each team. The order of assignment for players on each team to be "readers" can also be assigned randomly by number draw or other means known in the art.

[0061] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, certain phrases are intentionally chosen to be extra hard. These are the extra credit difficult phrases, and these are preferably worth more than the standard number of points (i.e., 2 points instead of 1 point) and are the only cards that the reader may pass on in the present embodiment. Cards containing extra difficult phrases may have indicia indicating that a correct guess of this phrase by the reader's teammates will be worth extra points, and also indicating that the reader may pass by choosing another card if he or she doesn't believe his or her teammates will guess the phrase before time expires.

[0062] The team with the highest score after a predetermined number, e.g., four rounds wins.

[0063] According to the present embodiment of the invention, there are a two primary variations on gameplay:

[0064] In "Open Season" gameplay the reader is free to drop hints, make motions, wave arms, do an interpretive dance, or whatever else to get their phrase across.

[0065] In "Legit" gameplay there are no hints, no actions, just strictly saying the phrase and figuring it out.

[0066] In additional embodiments of the preferred invention, termed herein the "Throwdown" method of playing, additional variations on gameplay are envisioned. Under the various Throwdown methods, players compete directly against one another in head-to-head battles to complete various challenges while each participating player is fitted with his or her own cheek and lip retractor 50. Players may be organized into teams, with each round involving the face-off of one or more members selected from each team, or may compete individually against one or more other players. Like in the conventional method of game play, the components used in the Throwdown method of play generally include a deck of challenge cards 100 (FIG. 5), a rules and instructions card, a collection of scoring sheets, a plurality of differently-sized speech impediment-inducing devices 50, one or more "challenger dice" each comprising a six-sided die with a different number or other indication on each side, and a compartmentalized box for storage. The Throwdown method of game play may optionally include a one-minute (or other predetermined length of time) hourglass-type timer as described above with respect to additional embodiments of game play.

[0067] Additional components for game play according to the Throwdown method are shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. Specifically, FIG. 6 shows a noise maker (FIG. 6(A)), a straw (FIG. 6(B)), a marker (FIG. 6(C)), a container of bubbles (FIG. 6(D)), a clothespin (FIG. 6(E)), a necklace (FIG. 7(A)) and a ping pong ball (FIG. 7(B)). Additional components, including various household items such as cups and saucers, may be used for Throwdown game play methods as described herein. As described herein, multiples of each of the herein-described components may optionally be included in the game package.

[0068] As described above, a rules and instructions card pertaining to the Throwdown versions of game play may recite the method of playing the present game according to the Throwdown method, which is as follows:

[0069] 1.sup.st: If more than two players are participating, players may divide into two or more teams, or decide to each compete individually against each of the other players. Where players decide to compete in teams, play proceeds according to the "team Throwdown" method of game play. Where players decide to compete individually, play proceeds according to the "individual Throwdown" method of game play.

[0070] According to the "individual Throwdown" method of game play, a chosen player will roll the challenger dice to determine who his or her opponent will be. The challenger dice is preferably a die containing the following symbols: left arrow, right arrow, and "?". The chosen player rolls the dice and plays against whichever person the arrow on the dice points to. If the "?" symbol is shown upon rolling the dice, the chosen player can choose his or her opponent. In alternative embodiments, opponents may be selected using traditional dice each having six sides with a number or other indicia printed on each side. According to this embodiment, prior to beginning game play, each player that wishes to participate may be assigned a number, or other identifier corresponding to one of the six indicia on the sides of a challenger die. Where more than six players wish to play, additional die with additional numbers or indicia may be used to select a challenger, and one of the die containing indicia or numbers corresponding to the players in the game may be selected at random for rolling by the chosen player to have his or her opponent selected at random. Order of play (i.e., which player proceeds first, second, etc. to roll the die to select a challenger) may be determined by initial dice roll or other method known in the art. In additional embodiments of the "individual Throwdown" method, additional dice rolls may be used to select multiple challengers for the chosen player, or all interested players may participate at once.

[0071] According to the "team Throwdown" method of game play, one or more members from each pre-selected team will be chosen by their team, by number draw/dice roll, or other means known in the art, to participate in each round.

[0072] 2.sup.nd: Each participating player fits a cheek and lip retractor 50 to his or her mouth.

[0073] 3.sup.rd: One participating player, preferably the one who rolled the dice to choose his or her opponent(s) for the round, chooses a card from the deck of challenge cards.

[0074] As shown in FIG. 5, each card in the deck of challenge cards includes instructions for performing a certain activity while hampered by the presence of the cheek and lip retractor. The challenge "activity" may also include saying certain words or phrases, for which the player may be required to draw a word or phrase card from a deck of such cards, as described above. Exemplary challenge cards include the following instructions: [0075] (a) "Place this card on top of any bottle. Use the noise makers to knock the card off the bottle. The first player to knock it off wins!" [0076] (b) "Place a card and any bottle in front of each player. Use a straw to suck up and hold the card. The first to place it on top of the bottle wins!" [0077] (c) "Place this card between the players. Use the straw to blow the card toward your opponent. The player who moves the card the furthest away in 30 seconds wins!" [0078] (d) "Both players sing a nursery rhyme of their choosing at the same time. The player whose song is guessed first wins!" [0079] (e) "Use the wands to blow as many bubbles as you can in 30 seconds. The most bubbles wins!" [0080] (f) "Use a straw to drink a glass of water. Both glasses are equal size. First to finish wins!" [0081] (g) "Use the noise makers to make the most noise in 90 seconds. The most noise wins!" [0082] (h) "Use the straws to drink from the same glass at the same time while staring at each other. First player to break eye contact or laugh loses!" [0083] (i) "Sing the song `I Like Big Butts` by Sir Mix-a-Lot at the same time. Other players vote who should win!" [0084] (j) "Face each other and use the noise maker to make the other person laugh. First player to laugh or break eye contact loses!" [0085] (k) "One player blows bubbles. The other uses the noise maker to pop the bubbles. During 30 seconds, if a bubble touches the ground that player wins."

[0086] 4.sup.th: After all players have read and understood the instructions on the selected card, and gathered the game components necessary to follow the instructions on the selected card, game play begins with each participating player following the instructions on the selected card.

[0087] 5.sup.th: At the end of each round, a winner is chosen according to the instructions on the selected card, and points are awarded either individually or to the team of the winning player, depending on the type of game play that was initially selected.

[0088] Additional aspects of the Throwdown method of game play may be similar to that described above with respect to other embodiments of the present invention, such as the ability of participants to pass and additional points to be awarded for especially difficult tasks.

[0089] In certain embodiments of the present invention, aspects of the method of game play may be performed or assisted by a system comprising a software application, preferably a mobile software application. Such a system may be a downloadable mobile application designed to be downloaded onto a mobile phone or other mobile or remote computing device and programmed to perform the steps of: (a) receiving input regarding the variation of game play chosen by prospective players of the game, and the number of players and/or teams, depending on the game play variant, that will be playing; (b) receiving inputs of a name or designator for each individual player or team to be involved in a given game; (c) determining, based on the variation of game play chosen, an appropriate game card to present to a user; and (d) presenting an image of the card to a user via a graphical user interface (GUI) on one or more remote/mobile computing devices/phones. The application may be operatively connected via the internet or other communications means to additional mobile computing devices, or to an application server, for this purpose. In certain embodiments, the application will be configured to receive inputs regarding the IP address, device ID (DID), or other identifying characteristic of each remote computing device accessing the application, and to associate each such device with an individual player and/or team, depending on the variation of game play selected. Further, in this preferred embodiment, the software will be configured to only display certain phrases or instructions to individual players or teams, where such phrases or instructions are meant to be hidden from the other player(s) or team(s) according to the various methods of game play set forth herein. Additional functionalities of the software according to the present embodiment of the invention that are envisioned by the present inventors include a timing function where portions of the game involve timed segments, a function for displaying, and/or allowing a user to browse or search through, rules of the game according to the various embodiments of the method of game play, etc.

[0090] For example, one preferred embodiment of the method of game play utilizing the software application is illustrated with reference to FIGS. 8-18. As shown in FIG. 8, the software application, upon launch, may present an opening "start screen" to the user via his or her mobile device. The application may solicit information from the user such as: (1) the "pack" from which words or phrases to be used in a given game may be selected, wherein each pack consists of words or phrases with a common theme, such as "Superbowl LI" as indicated in FIG. 8; (2) the number of teams that will be playing the selected game (FIG. 9); and (3) a name for each team, which name can be input by the user via a keyboard on his or her mobile device, or which, in the absence of any input from the user, may be defaulted to predetermined names for each team (FIG. 10). Additional inputs may include the number of players or number of rounds for each game. As shown in FIG. 10 the user then has the option to start the game by clicking the "Play!" button on his or her mobile device.

[0091] Upon initiation of the game by a user, the application would then preferably provide an output graphically indicating which team is up first, which designation may be randomly made by the application, and which round of play is active. The user has the option to advance by clicking "Start!"

[0092] With reference to FIGS. 12-13, the application then provides additional outputs in the form of successive screens displaying a word or phrase that the "reader" must recite, and/or instructions for the players to follow, as in the Throwdown version of the game play described above. The screen may also contain additional information pertaining to each word, phrase or instruction as described above, such as the number of points that each word or phrase is worth if guessed correctly by the user's teammates. Underneath the display of each word, phrase, or set of instructions, the application may solicit input from the user such as "Rate phrase", "Got it!", or, optionally as described above, "Pass." The application may move through successive words, phrases or instructions upon receipt from the user of "Pass" or "Got it!" inputs from the user. The application may also include a timer that counts down the predetermined amount of time for each round (i.e., 1 minute) and consistently displays the time remaining per round to the user during the entire round across all screens.

[0093] As stated above, the application tracks the timing of each round and outputs a message, such as that shown in FIG. 14, when time has expired for a given round. The message may also include the number of points received by the "playing" team during the immediate past round, the tally of total points earned by each team or player during the game thus far, the number of rounds remaining, etc. The application solicits input from the user that the players are ready to start the next round. The application tracks the number of rounds selected (or predetermined by the application) and the progress of play through the rounds and optionally displays this information to the user at the conclusion of each individual round. Subsequent rounds then proceed as described above based on inputs from the user. After the expiration of all rounds in the game, the application may display a message such as that shown in FIG. 15, which may also indicate which team won and the number of points received by a given team in the immediate past round or the entire game. The application may also solicit input from the user to proceed to a results page, as shown in FIG. 16. The application preferably collects and displays results from multiple games and may display the rankings of each team over multiple games at the request of the user.

[0094] As shown in FIG. 17, the user can also choose to end the game prematurely (i.e., before time has expired on a given round), and may provide input to the application indicating this choice, upon receipt of which input the system may display a message as shown in FIG. 17 along with the results of the game and/or each round.

[0095] As shown in FIG. 18, the user can select different "packs" of cards to use during a given game, and may purchase additional "packs" via the application. The application preferably also allows a user to "mix" various available packs to make the game more challenging by allowing words or phrases (or instructions) to come from more than one consistent theme during that game.

[0096] FIGS. 19 and 20 show additional features of the application, such as display of instructions for game play in one or more modes as described herein, and the option to connect the user to a website for purchase of game equipment, such as cheek retractors.

[0097] Although the present subject matter has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments, it will be evident that various modifications and changes may be made to these embodiments without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the subject matter. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many variations and modifications of the embodiments described herein will be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the above disclosure. The scope of the invention is to be defined only by the claims, and by their equivalents.

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