A brief history of the game and some foosball related websites with Graham Brown.
Table Football or, more correctly, Foosball (1) is currently (when this article was originally written it was!) wowing the public at the English Millenium Dome. It's a bumper version, with 44 rows of mini footballers twisled by 22 humans. The exhibit supposedly "demonstrates and encourages teambuilding" However, word has it that guests are wisely using it for a bit of cheap fun!
Origins of foosball
So how did Foosball make it to the Work Zone? Our journey begins in Germany. During the late 1920's, rudimentary Freeplay Foosball was used to rehabilitate wounded veterans. Then precariously - there are now only two surviving German firms - coin-operated machines appeared. At the same time the French and Italians started producing some very stylish exhibits. Interest in America was fueled by The U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and hey presto, Foosball is now one of the most popular and profitable coin-operated games in the whole of America.
Shooting a Snake Shot!
So if you fancy having a go, or wish to return to the game, but think that the tables must have vanished in this hi-tec age, check out the internet. I think you'll be surprised.
www.foosball.com/ has just about everything you need to know about the sport. The FAQ link houses a very detailed section on how to play including useful info like "How to Block a Snake Shot". Now if you don't meet many Snake Shots, why not learn "How to Shoot a Snake Shot"? That'll impress your friends! There is also detailed help; consider the following
..."Okay, you get set - you are ready to shoot. You look for the long hole. If it's open, you shoot it and score. But if it's not, you immediately shoot the straight. This way, if one man is covering the long, or whichever hole you have chosen to shoot, shooting the secondary shot immediately gives you a 50/50 chance of scoring." Rather complex stuff! However. the mini-movie page is easier to follow. There are demonstrations of all the main shots including the"Pull Straight" [382KB] the "Far Wall Fakey" [279KB] the "Dink" [218KB] and the indispensable "Tic Tac Stick Pass" [482KB]. These,thankfully, are all slowed 50%. The multifarious Snake family of shots are there, so venemous they have to be slowed to 25% normal speed. Of all the shots demonstrated though,the webmasters' favourite is "Jim's Tornado Aerial Shot" [2.4MB] "You gotta see it to believe it" he enthuses.
If you are going to play foosball you will probably at some point encounter "Spinning of the Rods" Now ... if you can not eloquently convince a spinee to stop, their frantically whirring men will reduce your careful plans to tatters. Foosball.com has the official line on this ...
"Spinning of the rods is illegal. Spinning is defined as the rotation of any soccer figure more than 360 degrees before or after striking the ball. In calculating the 360 degrees, you do not add the degrees spun prior to striking the ball to the degrees spun after striking the ball".
It may be prudent to memorise the above.
Closer to home The British Table Football Association has (update: sadly this is no more but see update at end of article for the good news) an excellent site. The database of playing venues is vast, detailed, and richly observed. You can find out that The Red Cow Inn, Devon has a Tornado table, has keen players and that the Landlord Jonathan Smith is very keen on encouraging new players. The White Hart Inn Bristol has an Antique wooden table, wooden square feet and wooden balls. It's free and played every night. The Old Peacock Kidderminster has "colourful clientele" and we are forewarned "definitely advisable to let the locals win!" The Friesian & Firkin, Clapham has a Garlando-type glass top and is 50p per game. It's also popular after football matches on telly and is next to the air conditioning!" Or how about the Hat & Feather Bath, Somerset with Garlando glass top, 20p per game. Best night Tuesday - the players are painted in red and green flourescent colours, and at night the table is illuminated by an ultraviolet light for floodlit foosball. And so the list goes on. There are 100s of venues mentioned from every area of the country. You can go into these pubs feeling you already know most of the regulars.
Just when I was thinking that the information-rich BTFA site made every bloated-corporate site redundant I came across www.cocacola.co.uk. They don't get much more corporate than coca-cola but this site has a really super foosball game. You may need to download the free Shockwave but the wait is worth it. Great fun and you may make the high score table!
So take to the web, find a venue you like and get some hints from www.foosball.com . Then challenge the local hero and you'll soon be producing a Back Wall Pass, Pull Long, Pull Kick Fake, Snake Middle ... Goooal!
Update July 2001
Boris - the man behind all those excellent venue reviews, emailed with the following news
"Unfortunately the BTFA site (and the BTFA with it) is no more, but you can get as much information and more from www.barfootball.com - Most of those venue reviews were those I wrote for both sites - and alas the Red Cow is no more - the BFA listings are as up to date as I can keep them."
It seems that this site is an amalgamation of 2 already excellent sites. The Goal is stated on page one
"The Bar Football Association, based in the UK, was established as a players Association. The founder members recognised the need for a players association in the UK to ensure the continued growth of of the game. In the past the game has not enjoyed the popularity it deserves due to the lack of a central point where all players can express their views and concerns"
Those venue reports are bigger and better than ever! And they are updated frequently.
"Boris has summarised the latest changes to the playing venues in the new venues and Footie 600 page, which now stands at at 679 known public venue tables. Help us to make it the Footie 700".
Well go on then! But be warned if you find some lovely old pub far off the beaten track and it has a table jealously guarded by locals and hidden behind a false door disguised as a disused space invaders machine, and you proudly send it in, it's probably already been listed
Oxbox Lake Inn nr Oxford: OX1 123 Bonzini - 2p for 100 balls. Popular table, jealously guarded by locals and hidden behind a false door disguised as a disused space invaders machine.
I don't know if Tim Berners-Lee plays foosball but he would still approve greatly of www.barfootball.com!
At www.britfoos.com/ don't miss the tournaments page and they are offing interesting support to corporate interests (beat the expert promotions etc).
Credit should also go to Dave Ziemann - BFA webmaster, who puts it all together and to Boris who provides a lot of the content.
Finally ... a beautifully designed (AND fast loading!) site is Montana's Foosball Connection, Big Sky Foosball. In addition to plenty of local information they have some experimental video's and some new video's are being edited due to the great response from around the world! They have a large links page and some excellent articles on foosball at all at www.bigskyfoos.com/
From the German for football - Fußball
back to top