Product Type: other board games
Newest Review: ... such as Fifa games you cannot see this game hardly anywhere. I saw it the other week in my attic and it was a surprise and brought ba... more
I decapitated a superstar
Member Name: marcel_beren
Date: 01/05/01, updated on 20/06/01 (168 review reads)
Advantages: Hours of fun
Disadvantages: Hours of arguments
At the age of just 10 years old, acting alone and with full knowledge of what I was doing, I deliberately and cruelly executed a top football star, by means of decapitation.
While his identity is today lost in the fog of half memories, the evil action itself is seared into my memory, Your Honour.
I placed my foot across his neck and yanked viciously upwards with the little finger on my right hand.
I cannot shake the sense of guilt even after all these years and it keeps me awake at night.
I plead "guilty", Your Honour and throw myself on the mercy of the court.
This little incident happened at the end of a particularly bad-tempered Subbuteo game (in case you hadn't guessed, the star I beheaded was made of plastic) . If it had been a real-life encounter, no doubt it would have resulted in crowd violence more serious in nature than random acts of violence against inanimate objects.
But it should illustrate to one and all just how important Subbuteo skills and matches were to me and to what extent the game mirrors real life.
~~~What's it all about?~~~
Subbuteo, played by two players with a green felt/baize "pitch" and two teams of plastic footballers is the ultimate table-top football game.
Great attention was paid by the game developers to making the game realistic and the number and range of accessories available is quite breathtaking.
On occasion, I would play matches in front of stands packed with plastic fans, with a manager's bench complete with gesticulating coaches and subs, with St John's Ambulancemen standing by with plastic stretcher, a plastic (working) scoreboard standing proudly between (working) plastic floodlight towers. And that's just the start of it.
Actually, more accurately, the start of it would be one of the Subbuteo starter sets, which would usually include two teams (red and blue shirts, all with white short
s), two goals with real nets (wow!) a couple of balls (oversized - one of the few non-scale elements in the game, for gameplay reasons) and the pitch.
Those "in the know" would then tack the pitch to a hardboard backing, which would give a perfect surface - no annoying bumps! The baize would allow quite remarkable amounts of spin to be put on the ball by skillful players - and with a finger (when messing about) you could press down on the ball and put so much back spin on it, it would shoot away from you and then spin right back into your hand.
~~~How to "flick to kick"~~~
With your handy starter kit, you were ready to play "flick to kick". The players would be set up on the pitch in your favoured football formation. Goalkeepers had long handles on them, so that they could be controlled "through" the goalnets, but otherwise players had to be flicked.
Arguments raged long and hard about "flicking". For power and better swerve, there's nothing better than using your thumb as a fulcrum against which your first or middle finger would press before crashing into the chosen player. However, the official Subbuteo rules outlaw this approach - the only fulcrum you could use was the pitch.
You don't believe me? We'll end up fighting!
Each (human) player would take it in turns to try to score. This would entail flicking a player at the ball. If you successfully hit the ball, you could continue. You could use the same player a maximum of three times in a row. By moving the ball in this way, you would get within shooting range (beyond a line across the pitch) and then shoot.
Goalkeepers, often in "diving" pose, were mounted on longish plastic sticks, stuck through the goal nets and could move at any time. Throw ins and corners and goalkicks would mean an opportunity for both sides to flick a number of players positionally.
~~~No cash~~~ <
Subbuteo was incredibly good and excellent fun.
However, there were two main problems with the game, both of which make it better for a more adult (!) audience.
The first is that it became an addictive process to add more and more and more accessories. I remember the first of my friends to get the scoreboard was king, until someone else got the (astonishingly cool) floodlight towers. Every 5 minutes (even when I was a kid) clubs would change their kit, so a new team would need to be bought (fancy yourself an Al Fayed or Maxwell? Buy any team in the world for a few quid in Subbuteo!) It all amounted to a lot of cash, in short supply on 20p pocket money.
~~~Have a ruck on the terraces~~~
The second problem is that this game, for some reason, would almost inevitably lead to conflict and arguments. And I haven't a clue why.
I was a fairly placid child. My favourite game was chess - does that give some flavour to the op? The fact is that I can remember several huge rows with friends over this game. And speaking to other friends now, it seems they had a similar experience. I can offer no explanation.
It was following one of those spats that I attacked the plastic player. I was so frustrated with getting badly beaten in a typically argumentative game, that I took it out on my striker. Actually, the balance of the player was unaffected by the headlessness. He later went on to play for Graham Taylor's England side.
However, as an adult, I "rediscovered" this game as a student and play (very) occasionally over a pint. We don't seem to get worked up, probably because we're all *pretending* not to take it very seriously.
~~~A (Cup) final story~~~
A mate who had moved house even organised a "World Cup" at his new home the day before the furniture arrived, to raise money for charity.
And it was there that I saw the overhead bicycle kick goal, the M
aradona dribble, the Carlos Alberto screamer, the ultimate Subbuteo goal.
The Holy Grail.
In the final, a player knocked the ball into the shooting area and immediately, without waiting for the ball to stop (it's legal) shot using another man from a different angle to score in the opposite corner.
If I told you that there was a room full of overweight 30 somethings dancing you might believe me, but you'd probably shake your head and tut in disbelief at the immaturity.
It was a beautiful moment.
I guess you had to be there.
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