Foosball (table soccer)

Number of players
2-4
Recommended age
3+
Competition type
1 vs.1, 2 vs. 2
Playing time
10
-20 min
Difficulty
Normal
Cost or investment
 

Brief description of the game

A foosball game simulates a soccer game played on a table and in which the players are dolls attached to rods that can be moved and rotated to hit the ball. A fun and exciting game of skill. A must-have.
Table of contents
Friends playing foosball football table

Elements of a foosball (Table soccer)

Foosball tables were invented over a century ago and have become a popular pastime for people of all ages. They are available in different sizes and styles, and can be found in homes, bars, arcades and even professional tournaments.

Let’s start by describing the key elements of a GOOD foosball table.

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THE TABLE

A foosball table simulates a soccer field. Its surface is smooth to facilitate the movement of the ball and also usually has a slight slope to avoid “dead spots” where the ball remains stopped and out of reach of the players.

Foosball soccer table top view
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THE RODS

The foosball table has bars that move and rotate to move the figures-dolls-players that are anchored to them to control and hit the ball.

There are usually 4 rods per team, each representing a different line of players: goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and forwards. Small foosball tables tend to have fewer rods for obvious reasons.

Quality foosball tables add shock absorbers to the rods to soften the blows when the rod travels too fast and reaches its stop. They are usually made of metal springs or soft plastic. They are recommended not only to extend the life of the table soccer but also to avoid a noise that can be frequent and annoying.

soccer table
foosball table
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THE PLAYERS

The match protagonists must be sturdy and well anchored to the rods. They are usually made of wood or plastic. Spare parts are available in case of “injury”.

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THE BALL

They are usually solid balls of hard plastic. Sometimes made of cork. Its size should be consistent with the distance from the players’ feet to the table and with the size of the goal.

foosball ball
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THE GOAL

And of course at the ends of the field are the goals, holes through which the ball enters and falls when a goal is scored.

foosball goal

Foosball tables are a great complement to any rec room, basement or game room. They provide many hours of entertainment for families and groups of friends and are a great way to spend time together. Many models are designed and built to withstand heavy use making them a great investment.

Nowadays it is also common to find them in the break rooms of many companies.

Basic foosball rules

The rules explained below are a selection of the official rules of table soccer, which we consider necessary and sufficient for playing with friends and family.

To have a good time, it is not necessary to establish possession times, or to call certain fouls, or to add limitations to the passes that can be made, much less to carry out anti-doping controls!

However, if you are curious or if your level is very good and you want to compete like the professionals, you will find below information about the official rules of table soccer in force in international competitions.

Players and teams

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PLAYERS

2 to 4 players.

Children from 3 years of age supervised by an adult and with a foosball table appropriate to their size.

TEAMS

2 players: logically you compete 1 against 1.
3 players: the most skilled player against the other two.
4 players: two against two, with balanced teams.

Duration of a match

Variant 1 - Table soccer match with predefined time

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DEFINED TIME

A match lasts 10 minutes divided into two 5-minute halves with a 2-minute break in between.

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SIDE-TABLE EXCHANGE

Players switch sides of the table after the break.

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WINNING TEAM in variant 1

Logically, the team that has scored more goals at the end of the game wins. If there is a tie, one more ball is played and the first team to score a goal wins the game.

Variant 2 - 5-game foosball match

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GAMES AND GOALS

In official competitions a match consists of 5 games (mini-matches). Each of these games ends when a team manages to score 5 goals. They switch sides, if agreed upon, after each game.

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SIDE-TABLE EXCHANGE

Players must agree whether after each game they will switch sides of the table or always play on the same side.

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WINNING TEAM in variant 2

The team that wins 3 of the 5 games is the winner. The last game must be won by a two goal difference up to a maximum of 8 goals.

Rules: serving protocol, fouls...

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WHO'S FIRST?

As in any football match, it is decided by flipping a coin.

Futbolín, poner bola en juego

SERVING PROTOCOL

The team that has won the coin flip starts the game by placing the ball next to one of its midfield players. But he cannot hit the ball immediately!

Fair play – and the official rules of table soccer – require this protocol to be followed:

1 – The player places the ball next to one of his figures on his bar in the center of the field.

2 – Ask the opposing player “Ready?

3 – When you receive the answer – Ready – you can put the ball in play.

4 – The first move must be a pass to a player on the same bar, it cannot be a direct shot on goal.

Futbolín, poner bola en juego

SERVE WHEN STARTING A NEW GAME

If the match is a 5-game match, from the second game onwards, the team that lost the previous game shall serve the first ball.

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DEAD BALL

If the ball becomes stationary and out of reach of both players, the game is stopped and the ball is put into play by the team that started the current game from its bar closest to the dead ball and following the serving protocol.

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PHANTOM GOAL

If a ball enters the goal, the goal is valid even if the ball rebounds and re-enters the field of play.

Futbolín, poner bola en juego

SERVE AFTER CONCEDING A GOAL

The team that has conceded the goal shall put the ball into play following the same serving protocol explained above.

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BALL OFF THE TABLE

If the ball goes out of the foosball table after being hit by one team, the opposing team will put the ball in play from its defensive players’ bar or from the goalkeeper.

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CHANGING POSITIONS

The two players of the same team cannot change their positions – the rods assigned to them – while the ball is in play but can do so when play is stopped for any reason.

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TIME OUT

Each team may request two time-outs per game, for a maximum of 30 seconds. Only the team in possession of the ball may call for it. If the ball is not in play, either team may call for it.

Arbirto pitando falta

FOUL!

Play will stop if a team fouls. The opposing team may make a shot from the forward bar as explained below.

FOUL SHOTING in foosball

    1. Only the shooting player and the defending player remain on the table.
    2. The shot is not direct, it must follow the serving protocol.
    3. The foul is considered to have been taken when the ball moves away from the forward bar, there are no second chances.
    4. It is considered that the defender has blocked the shot when the ball stops or, after passing through the defensive line, moves away from it.
    5. After the shot the game stops. If there is a goal, the team that has conceded the goal shall put the ball in play from the center of the field. If there is no goal, the ball shall be put in play in the position it was in when the foul was called.

And now you are thinking… What actions are technical fouls?

TECHNICAL FOULS in table soccer

    1. Interrupt the movement of the ball while it is in play in any way other than with one’s own rods.
    2. Strike or move the table.
    3. Switching positions while the ball is in play.
    4. Failing to comply with the serving protocol and making a direct shot when putting the ball in play.
    5. Blocking or hindering the movement of the opposing team’s rods in any way.
    6. Spinnig the rods. And what is that? Here we explain it to you.
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SPINNING THE RODS

Spinning the rods is to rotate a bar making the figures spin as if they were a fan. It is a type of move forbidden in the official rules, although playing with friends or family it is often considered valid.

We recommend that you agree NOT to do spinning rods except for children who usually love to do this type of movement, it comes out instinctively and they have a lot of fun.

But as we see in the following video, some adults can’t help themselves either.

And that’s all! With these basic rules, the foosball game is well organized and orderly.

Of course you can make changes to the rules, but whatever you decide, all players must be in agreement and well informed before the game starts so that there is no trouble later!

Official foosball rules

In case you are curious -or need to- here are the official rules of table soccer in force in 2022. The most recent version is dated 2022 and is available in English only. The rules in force from 2016 until 2022 are in several languages. You can check for any updates directly on www.tablesoccer.org/page/rules in the menu on the right.

Table soccer has been considered a sport for many years and now aspires to become an Olympic sport. This is what the international table soccer federation is working on with the support of national and regional federations around the world. If table tennis is Olympic, why can’t table soccer be?

The International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF)) is based in Nantes (France) and dictates the rules governing official international competitions, including all aspects of the game: players’ clothing, tables, regulation balls and handles, code of ethics, time-outs and of course the various rules of the game, including fouls, penalties and anti-doping controls!

Tips for playing foosball

EXPERT PLAYS

Typically, people just hit the ball when it passes near one of the player-dummies they control. But those who really know how to play the game have their tricks.

We encourage you to learn, practice and use these movements:

Lateral pass, pass between the lines, lateral pass, shot on goal and…. GOOOOOOOOAL!

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Guide and tips for buying a foosball table

If you are thinking of buying a foosball table for your own use or as a gift -what a great gift!- we encourage you to read our buying guide.

It will help you to know what is the situation of the foosball table market and what variables you should take into account to choose a product that fits your needs.

Types of foosball tables available on the market

1 - Portable tabletop foosball tables

They are the most common and are characterized by being small and portable, ideal to be placed on a table or countertop. They are suitable for all ages and levels of play, from beginners to advanced players.

Futbolín de sobremesa portátl pequeño
Futbolín de sombremesa portátil grande

2 - Fixed floor foosball tables

They are larger and heavier than the tabletop ones, and are placed on the floor. They tend to have a more robust construction and are ideal for playing in a living room or game room.

Mesa de futbolín mediana de suelo
Mesa de futbolín grande de suelo

3 - Foldable foosball tables

Halfway between table and fixed table soccer tables, we have the folding soccer tables. They are usually small or medium in size and incorporate wheels for easy transport from the play area to the storage area.

Futbolín plegable abierto
Futbolín plegable plegado

4 - Professional table soccer

Used by high level players and in competitions. They have advanced technical features and are more expensive than the other types.

Mesa de futbolín de competición Tornado
Book Dice Games Properly Explained

5 - Outdoor foosball tables

Resistant to inclement weather, they are designed for outdoor play and are larger and heavier than indoor ones.

6 - Multigames with foosball table

For those who want to make the best use of space. Several games in the same product.

Be careful if you opt for a multigame because sometimes “more” ends up being “less”. Don’t be impressed by products that include eight hundred games… sometimes games that are added for marketing purposes but are really unnecessary of poor quality.

Our advice: less games and more quality.

Considerations for choosing and buying a soccer table

There is no such thing as “the best foosball table” because not all of us have the same needs, nor the same preferences, nor are we going to make the same use of the game.

Each one must find “his best product” by taking into account these variables:

1 - Size

Important variable to take into account for two reasons.

First, because it conditions the space that is necessary to play comfortably, taking into account not only the size of the table soccer table itself but also the space needed for the players to move around the table.

And secondly, unless you have the space to have a fixed foosball table in a permanent place -if you are lucky enough, congratulations!- it is necessary to store it somewhere after use. In that case make sure it fits in the space you have available.

2 - Weight and portability

If the playing place and the storage place are not the same we will have to move the table soccer before and after each playing session. In that case the weight of the table soccer is a very important variable. We must also take into account whether one person can move it or two are needed and we will value that it has wheels in case it is a large and heavy foosball table.

3 - Stability during game play

It is important that the table soccer is not moving while we are playing.

But what if we buy a lightweight foosball table and invite our friends from the football team to play!

If the game is aimed at adults we need a table soccer table of robust construction, with good size, weight and grip.

If only kids are going to play we can afford a smaller and lighter foosball table.

4 - Quality of materials

More quality means more durability and better gaming experience. And a higher price too. But you already know that.

5 - Spare parts

It is not an important variable if you are going to play occasionally, but it is important if you are going to retabilize your investment by playing matches or competitions week after week.

Companies specialized in foosball tables not only ensure a better quality of their products but also provide spare parts if necessary: players, bars, shock absorbers, balls…

6 - Complements

Some foosball tables add a plus to their product that can tip the balance of our purchase decision to one side or the other: scoreboard, spare balls, sound effects, lights, electronic scoreboard, shock absorbers on the rods, padded grips…

Our selection of foosball tables

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We have selected for you the best products within each category taking into account their performance, ratings, reviews, sales and delivery conditions.

Selecting good products takes time and effort: to search for information, to analyze, to compare, to read reviews…

Well, we have already done it for you. Not at all.

As LOODENS is currently participating in Amazon’s affiliate program, we are going to offer you a selection of the best of their best products chosen taking into account their performance, ratings, reviews, sales and delivery conditions.

We do not sell foosball tables. We provide you with a link to the product we have selected in the Amazon store and then you do what you want. If you buy from Amazon we are rewarded with a small commission. And that helps us to maintain this website!

Our recommendation for a tabletop foosball

Best choice tabletop foosball for kids

27″L x 14.5″W x 9.5″H
12 Pounds

Best choice tabletop foosball for adults and kids

40″L x 20″W x 8″H
15 Pounds

Our recommendation for a fixed floor foosball

Best choice 48” for adults and kids

48″L x 24″W x 33″H
52 Pounds

Best 55” choice  for adults

56″L x 28.75″W x 34.5″H
91,47 Pounds

Our recommendation for a multigame with foosball table

Best choice 48” multigame for kids and adults

47″L x 29″W x 7″H
58 Pounds

Our recommendation for foldable foosball table

Best 27” choice for foldable foosball table

27.5″L x 23″W x 28.5″H
15 Pounds

Best 40” choice for foldable foosball table

48″L x 24″W x 32″H
53 Pounds

Best 55” choice for foldable foosball table

55″L x 30″W x 36″H
119 Pounds

Our recommendation for a professional foosball table

Tornado Tournament Quality for The Home!

56″L x 30″W x 36″H
225 Pounds

Our recommendation for an outdoor foosball table

Tornado Tournament Quality for The Home!

50″L x 30″W x 35″H
225 Pounds

As you can see, there are many options with very different features and prices.

And what we have already offered you is a selection of the best products in each category!

We wish you a good selection, a good purchase and many hours of unforgettable gaming with your family and friends.

Amazing foosball table pictures

We finish with some funny pictures that we have discovered while we were documenting to prepare this article. We hope they bring a smile to your face as they did to ours.

Futbolín móvil en triciclo
Three side foosball

Three-sided football table” by Kaeru is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Human foosball
Barbie foosball
large football table
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LOODENS rating

 
It is fun and exciting, perfect for sharing with family or friends, suitable for all ages. It can be played just for fun or 100% competitively. It is a game that you will return to again and again for a long time. The value of that played time will make the investment fully amortized in a very short period of time.

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