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Subbuteo Relaunched new for 2012


Can you remember a time before FIFA or Pro Evo? A time when football games were an altogether more analogue affair? If not, then you may have missed out on the classic childhood (and often somewhat older) pursuit of flicking plastic molded football players on weighted semi spherical bases around a green felt mat. Otherwise known as Subbuteo. Apparently the name come from a bird of prey – the falco subbuteo. No idea why.

Hang on, I hear you ask, Subbuteo has been around for ages hasn’t it? Well yes it has, since 1947 to be precise. Or rather it had, until the company that made it suddenly stopped production in the nineties. The final whistle had blown on table top football, or so it seemed. But then, after fifteen years off the shelves, in stepped Hasbro, giving the former champ one last chance. They brought the rights and repackaged Subbuteo for the twentyfirst century, releasing it earlier this year.

On the surface, it looks similar to old Subbuteo. The packaging is still mainly green (any other colour just wouldn’t have been right) and the logo is a modernized version of the original. But although the basics remain the same, the relaunched Subbuteo is bigger and better (or rather flatter and bendier) than its predecessor. The players now have flat bottoms, which apparently provides better control and precision when playing. Coupled to this is the mat, made of a high quality cloth which allows the ball and players to move at a greater speed with less friction.

subutteo_2They are also made of a more flexible, rubbery material. This is a big bonus. Anyone familiar with the old version will remember with a sharp wince of pain the horrific, career ending injuries that befell any player unlucky enough to be stood on by your mum/sister/girlfriend/dog.

One other noticeable feature of the new figures is that they reflect the multicultural Premier League of 2012. Teams have players of different races and all manner and colour of hair styles.

The relaunch has a definite UK focus with the home nations and big Premier League like Manchester Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool being the sides initially available to play as.

But is there anything going for it aside from the nostalgia factor? This writer certainly thinks so. Subbuteo is a more social alternative to video games like FIFA. Dads and their sons (or daughters) can play together. Added to this is the sense that, unlike video games, which aim to be a simulation of the real thing, Subbuteo is a unique experience in itself. There’s an almost chess like tactical quality to playing it, like Teddy Sheringham, you always need to have the next few moves in your head if you want to succeed.

So, Subbuteo is back off the subs bench, looking to score the winner for Christmas 2012.

About Joe D.