Foosball is also known as table soccer, table football or babyfoot. It is a table-top game based on soccer. Players attempt to use figures mounted on rotating bars to kick the foosball into the opponent's goal. A foosball may travel at speeds up to 35 mph in competition. The sport requires quick reflexes and fine motor control.
A winner is determined in foosball when one team scores a predetermined number of goals, say 5 or 10.
A foosball table can vary in size, but is typically about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. The table usually contains 8 rows of players, which are plastic or wooden figures mounted on horizontal metal bars. Each team of 1 or 2 human players controls 4 rows of figures.
The arrangement of foos-men is standard. Looking from left to right on one side of the table, you see:
Row 1: Your goalie. Usually 1 Foosman, but sometimes 3.
Row 2: Your defense. 2 Foosmen.
Row 3: Opponent's attack. 3 Foosmen.
Row 4: Your midfield. 5 Foosmen.
Row 5: Opponent's midfield. 5 Foosmen.
Row 6: Your attack. 3 Foosmen.
Row 7: Opponent's defense. 2 Foosmen.
Row 8: Opponent's goalie. Usually 1 foosman, but sometimes 3.
Foosball is often played for fun in pubs, bars, workplaces, schools and clubs, with few rules! "House rules" often include banning spinning your foosmen: your hand must maintain continuous contact with the handle.
Foosball is also played in official competitions organised by a number of national organisations. The two main table types used in official tournaments are "Italian-style" Garlando and "American-style" Tornado.
Garlando tables have ramped sides and use smaller thinner foosmen with blocky feet. This leads to an open, flowing style of play.
Tornado tables use bigger foosmen with wedge-shaped feet. This allows balls to be pinned to the surface of the table, before skill moves like the "snake" are executed.
Foosball strategy varies greatly. With teams of 1 human each, it is impossible for each person to control all 4 rows of foosmen simultaneously. Some players keep the left hand always on the goalie or defensemen and move the right hand among the other 3 rows. More aggressive players may take up an attack with the offense and midfield, leaving the goalie unattended.
With practice, it is possible to learn very fast "set-piece" moves, including the "snake", "pull-shot" and "tap-bang".