The 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 different
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 AREA.
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 ball. 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 required position.
(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 side.
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 analysis.
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.