Disclaimer: This article aims give newcomers a helping hand starting this great hobby. It does not focus on the history of the game, the focus is on products that are being produced today. The majority of the products mentioned can be purchased through our store.

1. What is Subbuteo?

Subbuteo is a football game played on a table, with toy players affixed to rounded bases which are flicked with the fingers.

Playing Subbuteo is a physical simulation of association football, involving dexterity and skill. Subbuteo is easy to learn and hard to master.

The basic components of the game are: a football pitch, goals, figures on bases and a ball. There are a ton of optional stuff like team benches, stadiums and fans, ad boards, floodlights, trophies and many more. Detailed information on each, you will find below.

Surely, by now, you have an idea what the game is about, but now it is time to watch the video below to see how exciting it can be!

Where to start?

New to Subbuteo? Let me help you with your first steps.

You can start with a game set. They have what you need to start playing. A playing surface, 2 teams, 2 goals, a ball and the game rules.

Now if you are looking for something more than the standard red and blue teams, then you may choose teams , goals and balls that you like and of course, a pitch as well. Fencing, although not mandatory, is convenient.

Laying the pitch flat can be quite challenging for someone who is new to the game. This video will show you how to build a table and achieve your goal, while investing a very small amount of money.

If that isnt for you though, you can always try the rubber backed pitches. They are pricey, but lay flat and dont require extra treatment. Just roll and play.

If you are interested in a more competitive style of play and looking forward to meet the community and make friends, you will find a list of all the german clubs natiowide here.


2.Basic Accessories

Pitches

  • Cotton/Nylon Pitches

The cotton and nylon pitches are the standard playing surfaces for occasional gamers or newcomers. They come in multiple designs like the Champions League and winter snow pitches and need to be pinned down on a board or carefully ironed in order to lay flat. They are affordable and deliver a good playing experience.

  • Polyester rubber backed pitches

The Rubber backed modern pitches offer first and foremost convienience to the user. The playing surface is made of polyester.They come in a tube, lay flat, and can be rolled back easily into the tube. Rubber backed pitches are the Subbuteo Deluxe Pitch, the Zeugopitch and Zeugopitch Compact.

The Rubber backed modern pitches offer first and foremost convienience to the user. The playing surface is made of polyester. Just like the astroturfs, they come in a tube, lay flat, and can be rolled back easily in to the tube.Rubber backed pitches are the Subbuteo Deluxe Pitch, the Zeugopitch and Zeugopitch Compact.

  • Astropitches

Astropitches were originally developed by Subbuteo and sold in tubes to ensure they did not crease. They are widely considered the best type of playing surface as they are faster, less prone to defects and do not require ironing. Astro football pitches are used in all major table football tournaments because of their durability and playability. They are highly sought after and represent a major advancement in pitches. They are rubberised, have a nice felt-like playing surface and come rolled in a large tube. They are a pleasure to play on.

Goals

Subbuteo, in the past, has produced a lot of types of goal. We are not going to list every goal ever created but we can generally place them in two categories, plastic and metal goals.

  • Plastic goals

The plastic goals are the standard option that came with all the Subbuteo sets from the 80s till today. There are many different types with different bases. They need to be held by the defending player when a shooting action takes place as the tend to be thrown out of position from the movement of the goalkeeper. The modern plastic goals can be pinned down on the playing surface. Subbuteo and Zeugo produce plastic goals.

  • Metal goals

The metal goals are beautiful, very robust and are used from regular Subbuteo players and stadium builders. They can be screwed on boards so that the stay on the position the whole time. The sound the make when the ball hits the bar is quite satisfying. Much more expensive than the plastic ones, they are absolutely their moneys worth. Various individuals or companies produce metal goals. Our metal goals are handmade and come from Italy.

 

Balls

The modern balls used in exhibition and tournaments are 22mm. There are also smaller balls, used mainly for training and sharpening ones skills.
The most popular Subbuteo ball is Adidas Tango, produced in the 80s and 90s. Rightfully so, its a thing of beauty! In the modern era, the Top Spin balls are considered of uncomparable quality. The table football balls come in a great amount of designs, largely due to the technological advances of the modern day which give the opportunity to everyone to create their own design.

Figures

Through the decades, Subbuteo and the other table football companies ( more below) have developed several kinds of figures but in this article we will focus on the most popular ones.

  • Heavyweight

The classic heavyweight figure (HW) is the standard Subbuteo figure is attached to the base by a thin bar. This figure cannot be found in any modern Subbuteo products. The modern Zeugo figure is almost identical.

  • Lightweight

The LW Subbuteo figure is much more detailed – with bent knees like a heavyweight, but in a much finer, lighter design. This time they fit on the round bases through a round opening and not a thin bar. These figures can be found on the Subbuteo la Leggenda Collection.

  • Stefan Corda 2k4

A very popular and balanced figure which can be attached at any base with a round opening.

  • 3D Soccer

Modern figure designed and 3D printed by Paul Goad. A figure of unparallel detail, represents male or female players and comes with different haircuts, t-shirt and shorts styles. More expensive than the standard ones, they are very popular in the painting community and can be attached at any base with a round opening.

  • Tchaa4

Modern figures from Tchaa4. Very popular among tournament players, these figures may look like they spent a bit too much time in the gym but they are designed to be absolutely symmetric and balanced and deliver the same result on each flick. They come in 22 different colors and can be attached at any base with a round opening.

  • Modern Subbuteo figures

Τhe modern Subbuteo figures can be found on modern Subbuteo sets and teams and come with different hairstyles. They are flexible and much less prone to breaking. They can be attached at any base with a round opening.

Bases

Bases are crucial to your game. They dictate how you play and can be a deciding factor between winning or losing. To the obvious question “Which are the best ones” , the obvious answer is” the one that suits you best”.

Nevertheless, there are some information that are very useful to know :

  • The HW / Zeugo / Santiago figures fit only on bases through a thin bar. Bases with a round opening are not compatible.
  • Generally speaking, there are 2 kinds of bases. The round and the flat.
  • Depending on the company or individual producing bases, there are slight but significant design differences in weight and shape of each base.

3.Optional accessories

Stadiums

  • Zeugo Stadium

Available in blue with red corners, Zeugo Stadium has been a popular option for stadium enthusiasts in the past decades.

  • 3D Soccer Modular Stadium

Designed by Paul Goad, the 3D printed modular Stadium offers a great variety as it can be reassembled according to your needs. It is also about 15% smaller than the Zeugo or the original Subbuteo stadium ( which is no longer in production) and makes playing around it much easier.

Fans and other figures

  • Zeugo Fans

The Zeugo fans are identical to the old Subbuteo fans. They come in 6 different sitting postures. You have the option to paint them on your own or purchase the handpainted version.

  • The firm

Created and 3D printed by Legends of Football Miniatures. An excellent way to add variety to your stadium. Inspired from the English hooligans, the firm includes standing figures in over 40 postures. They come unpainted.

  • Reporters and Photographers

Created and 3D printed by Legends of Football Miniatures. A fantastic collection of reporters and photographers for your sidelines. They come in both painted and unpainted variations.

Referees

  • Subbuteo VAR set

The Subbuteo VAR set includes 1 referee, 2 linesmen, a 4th official and a VAR monitor as well. A nice cosmetic addition to any pitch.

  • Zeugo referee set

The Zeugo referee set includes all 4 officials in 3 different outfits. Black, red and green.

Trophies

You can purchase a large number of trophies in 3 different sizes from our store. Currently they come unpainted. Designed and 3D produced from Paul Goad.

Fences

  • Subbuteo Champions League Fences Set

Includes a set of fences to install around your stadium with logos of the Champions League sponsors.

  • Zeugo Fence set

Another fencing set with a different design and stickers which mainly represent sponsors from the Italian football.

Team Benches

Zeugo produces team benches in 3 different colors, black, blue and red.


4.Who are all these companies?

I suppose that if you red all this, you are confused about all these company names. I feel you. Just a few lines of story will explain everything you need to know. Let go :

Subbuteo was launched in March 1947. It was invented, manufactured and solely distributed by Peter A Adolph. In the mid 90’s, Hasbro acquired Subbuteo.

The decline of Subbuteo’s brand in the late 90’s, gave the chance for other companies to fill in the gap. The most notable of those are: Zeugo, Superfooty, Top spin, Soccer 3D and 3D Soccer.

  • Zeugo Table Football 

We start with what is really the father of all Subbuteo clones. Zeugo is an Italian Subbuteo table football clone that was first introduced in 1997. It was designed by Edilio Parodi who had been theItalian distributor for Waddingtons since the early 1970s. When Waddingtons were purchased by Hasbro in 1995, the new company advised Parodi that the distribution deal was not going to continue – that Hasbro would be doing their own distribution. Rather than let all their knowledge and experience go to waste, Parodi decided to produce their own table football game, going back to their most successful period, the 1970s, for inspiration. It was a great idea!

The player figure used in Zeugo is a second generation casting of the old heavyweight Subbuteo player of the 1970s. Zeugo offers a wide range of teams and accessories such as, pitches, goals, balls, custom figures and more

The goalkeeper is also the sturdy upright 1970s version. In Zeugo he comes on a blue rod which is a couple of centimetres longer than the Subbuteo version.

In another throw back to the classic era, the teams are hand painted.

With Zeugo, Parodi sensibly follows the Subbuteo approach to teams; that a good team range creates repeat sales which strengthen the game. It seems obvious, but it is amazing how many football games miss this trick. Individual Zeugo teams are produced in large and attractive display boxes.

  • Super Footy

The beautifully presented Super Footy set was launched in three “flavours”. The budget version was the U-Paint Set, where the customer could pick his/her own base colours, and the figures were unpainted. The standard “Classic” edition had painted teams, whilst the “Pro” edition features GT Turbo bases (which were based on the old reliable ptf sureshot base).

Superfooty is one of the games that has switched to the Stefan Corda 2k4 figure, which had proved to be very successful among table soccer players. It does make the game design appear forward-looking, as opposed to backward-looking. 

  • Top Spin

Top Spin are essentially an Italian manufacturer of heavyweight clones, along the lines of Santiago. Like Santiago, their bases are also a heavyweight replica.

They also produce modern hybrid figures – i.e. heavyweight style players on pegs to be used in modern flicking. 

  • Soccer 3D by Astrobase

Astrobase is a company based in Italy offering a large variety of accessories. The Astropitch is certainly the most popular product here, widely considered as one of the best playing surfaces one can play on. The Soccer 3D range gives good coverage of the Italian leagues, and English Premiership of course. There are World Cup teams featuring most of Europe and Africa (there are more than 50 nations in each of these qualifying sections alone!). There are some smaller English sides, and a reasonable spread of top European sides. There are world cup minnows, non-fifa Islands and regions.

  • 3D Soccer

3D Soccer is a new company that has caused quite a stir between the table football fans the last years. Paul Goad designs and 3D prints a quite large variety of products. Figures, bases, trophies and the modular stadium are some of its constantly expanding product range.

5.Rules and other links

Use the link below to find the rules in many languages.

https://sites.google.com/site/subbuteorules/subbuteo-regeln-d

An advanced version of rules in German can be found below.

http://dstfb.de/download/fistfregeln00-01neu.pdf

 

If all the information above got you interested and want to learn more, much more, then click on the links below:

http://www.peter-upton.co.uk
http://www.subbuteo.is-great.net
https://subbuteo.ugocapeto.com/index.shtml

OR if you prefer watching, instead of reading:

Table Football Monthly is an excellent video series that will make you fall in love with Subbuteo.
https://www.youtube.com/c/TableTopYears

Table Football Monthly is currently no longer uploading videos on Youtube, but on Patreon. You can find new content there.

Some of the information used on this article are taken from www.peter-upton.co.uk and edited for the needs of Subbuteomarkt.de

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