general rules of play are basically the same as those for Association
Football, with some necessary additions to govern their application to
Subbuteo Table Soccer. The
Elementary Rules are a simplified version of the Advanced Rules,
for the benefit of the beginner. A certain amount of duplication has
been retained for easier reference and to avoid confusion.
THE KICK-OFF AND AFTER
As in real football, a coin is tossed for ends and the losing
team kicks off. The centre-forward is gently propelled against the ball
and the game is on. If the ball does not touch an opposing figure the
team that has kicked-off is still in play. A nearby figure is again
played at the ball, and so long as the player
is 'kicking' the ball with one of his own figures - and the ball
does NOT touch an opposing figure - he remains in play.
Immediately the player MISSES the ball with his figure, or if
the ball touches an opposing figure, it is then his opponent's turn to
play in the same way. The figure that touches the ball last represents
the team that is in play, unless the figure 'kicks' the ball out of
play. Then the opposing side takes the goal kick - corner - or throw-in -
for the resumption of play. Goalkeepers are neutral and do not alter
the sequence of the possession of the ball. Player figures during normal
play must be flicked from wherever they happen to be on the field. They
cannot be picked up and placed to the ball before kicking.
PLAYING TIME - EXTRA TIME ETC
Twenty minutes each way is recommended for the duration of a
game, particularly for competition play, but this can be altered by
mutual consent between players. Whilst
Subbuteo Table Football is best suited to two players, any
number can participate providing agreement is reached as to who will
control which figures - forwards, mid-field, defence, etc. Half-time
interval to be agreed, normally five minutes.
In competition play if the score is level at the final whistle,
extra time periods of five minutes each way should be played. If still
level after extra time the following formula is recommended. Each side
to be allowed FIVE shots at goal, as for penalties but taken from
positions ON THE SHOOTING AREA LINE.
(1) where the shooting area line joins the touchline on left of pitch.
(2) where the shooting area line joins the touchline on right side of pitch.
(3) opposite the penalty area line on the left.
(4) opposite the penalty area line on the right.
(5) opposite the regulation penalty spot, centre of shooting area line.
In relation to the sizes of table-top pitch this method is more
interesting and demands more skill than the official five penalties
ruling. The goal shots should be controlled by the referee, as with
penalties, and all figures other than goalkeeper should be withdrawn
from the shooting area. The goalkeeper is not confined to the goal-line.
The figures must be flicked cleanly as described and
illustrated, NOT knocked, scraped, or pushed along. A free kick should
be awarded against any breach of this rule. No one figure
may 'kick' the ball more than THREE times in succession.
Following each third 'kick' another figure of the same team must play
the ball, and so on until possession is lost.
Before a shot at goal can be made the ball must be within
the SHOOTING AREA, indicated by a line across the pitch 280 mm forward
from the goal line. To qualify, the ball must be fully over the line.
After a bit of practice it is quite possible
to keep possession from the kick off, and by passing the ball in
the direction you wish to go,
to score direct from the kick-off without losing possession.
Either one of the fullbacks or a spare Standing Goalkeeper
may be used to take goal kicks. As in real football these are taken from
the side where the ball went out of play.
Throw-ins are taken from the touchline by 'kicking' the ball
in the normal manner from the point where it crossed the line, but the
figure taking the kick must not follow over the line into the playing
area. If it does, the opposing side is awarded a foul throw and re-takes
it. Alternatively, the special Throw-in Figure
can be used.
A foul is awarded when a figure hits an opponent's figure
WITHOUT first touching the ball, and a free kick is given. When the
offence takes place within the penalty area, a penalty is awarded
against the offending team.
During a penalty kick the goalkeeper must be standing still
on his own goal line. Figures of both sides that were within the penalty
area must be withdrawn outside the area and behind the penalty kicker.
A figure is considered 'injured' if during play it is
damaged. It may be taken off for repair and then resume play. If it
suffers further injury it must be retired from the game. Allowance
should be made for 'injury time' by the referee.
POSITIONING OF FIGURES
Figures may be placed in position for the taking of goal kicks and free kicks anywhere, except as follows:
No more than three defending figures may be placed in the
penalty area. Figures may NOT be positioned within the opposing SHOOTING
FREE KICKS AND FREE FLICKS
When throw-ins, corner kicks, etc. are to be taken, players may
use 'free flicks'
to put their figures into position to mark dangerously placed
opposing figures, and/or set up their own for defensive or attacking
movements. These are used for positional play and must not contact the
important thing is not to be hasty - aim carefully - imagine you
are playing shove ha'penny and try to place your figures in exactly the
(1) For Corner Kicks both sides may flick three figures for positioning and marking
with the attacking side flicking first.
(2) For Free Kicks both sides may move TWO figures.
(3) For Throw-ins ONE figure of each side may be flicked in position.
When 'free flicks' take place the defending side should be the last to move a figure.
Just as in real life football, 'kick and rush' tactics are
out-dated and do not pay. Instinctively, you will probably play a close
passing game or rely upon long sweeping passes to tactically placed
figures. A defensive or attacking
game, develop the game which comes most naturally to you, and
remember that it is the skilful positioning of your figures that gets
the results. When starting an attacking movement be sure to use
every 'free flick' you gain to send a figure towards or into
your opponent's half. In defence, always try to mark your opponent's
most dangerous figures. Subbuteo is a game of skill - always be
adventurous but never reckless.
When you have the ball to yourself in some area of the pitch,
with your nearest opponent some distance away, it is sometimes
worthwhile to miss hitting the ball so that you are in a position to
shoot straight for goal when next you are in play. Remember, every
'flick to kick' is important, be sure and make full use of it. Otherwise
you may let your opponent into play and find yourself on the losing
That Subbuteo Table
Soccer is THE game with which authentic football tactics can be
reproduced is proved by the fact that so many famous national and
international clubs use it regularly for tactical study and games
In all sports and games there must be honour between competitors, at
all levels. The losing
side has the right to declare the length of time that shall be
taken for the replacing of the figures for a goal
kick, free kick, corner or throw-on. Players should mutually
agree as to procedure when in doubt over any matter relative to the
game. If a third person is acting as referee his decision should be
accepted as final without dispute.
These Rules have been copied / written to help development of the game and may be freely copied under the terms of the Creative Commons licence.
This license allows the rules to be freely distributed or edited, even
for commercial use, as long as the original author is credited.
© 2002-12 The Independent Subbuteo Forum