Tables can be broadly categorised into country playing styles. Australia does not have a particular style of its own, but rather a number of styles corresponding to the import of tables from a variety of foreign manufacturers. Of greatest importance are the internationally sanctioned tables - meaning that competitions at a national and international level have to be played on approved tables. The current approved table manufacturers are Garlando, Leonhardt, Bonzini, Roberto-sport and Tornado. These are shown in bold below.
The common pub glasstop is characterised by Red and Blue players, a plastic ball and slippery glass playing surface. The style tends to be fast and free, with an emphasis on fast reactions. Pinning the ball is difficult but not impossible, and pin shots have become very common at tournaments.
Manufacturers include Garlando, FAS, FABI, Roberto-Sport and Sardi.
The open top Tornado table, with Yellow and Black players, is firmly established in the US and is also popular with many UK and European pro's. The table was designed as a high-quality cross between styles, and its design greatly facilitates controling and passing the ball, enabling skills to be developed with extremely high levels of precision and consistency. The angle on the feet of the players facilitates pinning the ball without it becoming de rigeur. The style play of is best described as controlled.
The primary table is the Tornado, although its success has led to numerous copycat manufacturers including Rosengart and Sivissidis. A Chinese manufacturer, Fireball now produces a Tornado equivalent table which is also a recognised international table.
Foosball Australia currently supports the Fireball Table as the sanctioned competition table. The Fireball is similarly supported across the entire Asia Pacific region.
The metal players, cork balls and linoleum surfaces characteristic of most French tables prohibit accurate passing and tap or drag based shots, but lend themselves to pinning the ball with ease. The style of play can be described as fluid, with the ball being moved freely between players in a pinned position.
The primary table manufacturers are Bonzini, René Pierre
Soccer 2000, Jupiter, Black Diamond, Stakanit, Topper, Royal Star
Lowen, Leonhardt, Saarland, Tournament Soccer, Vitalite, KCE, Eurosoccer, Deutscher Meister
Futbolin, Segarsa, Val, Bifuca
So which table should you buy?
The most over-riding decision is price and purpose. Everyone that plays started as a recreational player probably at home. Many of us then want competition with others so it becomes a sport - which is why playing to a standard (in terms of table) is important. All of the above are good tables built to last. Don't get anything that is flimsy. We would recommend a top level table that will last the distance and may have a resell value.
As to type – Fireball is our preference since this is the table standard for the entire Asia Pacific region and what we use in our tournaments.
‘K Mart’ varieties are a lot of fun (if you can find one that isn’t built at kids height) and are good to get you hooked but get a really tough solid one… anything flimsy will not last.
For more detailed information in tables - have a look at http://www.foosballzone.com