What is foosball?
Foosball, otherwise known as table football, is a fast and furious table game that brings friends and family together. Designed for play between 2-4 players, it’s easy to learn but difficult to master. That means, while everyone can get involved, it also offers continued learning and enjoyment for those who find they have a knack for it.
And the final whistle needn’t be blown when your friends have gone home as there’re a whole host of professional organisations and competitions where you can put those skills on display against other foosball-enthusiasts. Off the pitch, a foosball table adds an element of retro character to any room.
How to play foosball
There are 8 metal rods in the table and each team controls 4 – remember, yours are the ones with gripped handles on them!
The object of the game is to score the most goals against your opponent, which you do by manoeuvring a small ball across the table’s surface with the help of your diminutive plastic players.
Types of foosball tables
There are three main types of table football tables and we’ve given you a brief breakdown of each below.
Full-size gaming tables are designed to stay in one place and typically feature a solid wood construction. Models at the lower end of the price spectrum, however, tend to use a combination of real wood and medium-density fibreboard (MDF).
Tabletop tables are perfect for small children and those who have limited space to accommodate a full-size table. For these models, it’s crucial to have a sturdy playing surface available, such as a dining room table or countertop. Many parents opt for tabletop versions as they’re ideal to trial run before upgrading to a larger, high-end model.
But they’re not just for kids! Tabletop football tables are also great for students to keep them entertained between assignments, or as an alternative to beer pong!
Multi Games Table
If you’re shopping for kids or just want the most bang for your buck, then a multi games table is your best bet. These models offer incredible gaming diversity and can be converted into several different game formats, such as chess, hockey and billiards.
These tables are perfect for all the family and are ideal for parties and family tournaments. Another advantage is their cost-effectiveness. Our brand new 15-in-1 gaming table from Evostar, for example, offers a packed range of 15 games for just £199.95 – that’s just £13.30 per game!
What to look for in your new foosball table
Now you’re settled on your preferred table type, it’s time to look into some key considerations before making your first foosball purchase.
A full-size table measures 4.5 x 2.5ft. Bear in mind that the 2.5 ft width doesn’t include fully extended player rods, therefore if your new table will be confined in a narrow space, we recommend a playing space of 7 x 8 ft.
Most tables feature a 2-5-3 formation, while our sleek Riley table features an elusive 12th player set out in a 3-5-3 formation!
Table levellers are essential to keep the game fair and avoid any foul play.
Metal rods are much sturdier than plastic, while hollow rods are ideal when playing a high-speed match due to their lighter weight. Hollow rods will also place less strain on players’ wrists than heavy solid ones.
There are three main options when it comes to table football materials: solid wood, composite (MDF), and particle board
Generally, higher-end tables are crafted from solid wood, while particle boards tend to be used for lower-spec versions. MDF falls between the two but may be regarded as superior to solid wood in a couple of areas.
Firstly, solid wood is susceptible to humidity, which can lead to warping that’ll bend the playing surface out of shape. MDF, on the other hand, isn’t affected by humidity, so it won’t warp. The key takeaway here is that if you opt for a solid wood table, ensure you place it in a cool, dry room.
Laminate is superior to stick-on designs as the stickers will soon peel, severely affecting gameplay and costing you more in repair costs over time. Also bear in mind that the table’s surface will dramatically affect the speed of your games. Smooth hard surfaces are perfect for smooth foosball fixtures, while solid wood and soft surfaces can slow down ball travel.
Beginners (and young children)
As we’ve mentioned, a tabletop table is a good option as regular tables are usually too tall for most children, while their budget price tag appeals to parents who’re tentative to splash out on a full-sized version straight away.
Full-size, easy to assemble options are best in this bracket. Check out our smart, stylish Mightymast Gemini and the ever-popular EvoStar Folding Table – complete with an innovative scoring tracker – to assess your intermediate-level options.
High-end models like our Riley Folding Table and the Riley Olympic combine professional features with folding leg functionality, enabling fast, free-flowing foosball that’s easy to store away after the final whistle’s blown.