If you've ever been traveling in Europe, you're sure to have experienced some culture shock. They drink with lunch, their servers don't smile, they use a lot more public transit... and their foosball tables are totally different.
What are these differences, why do they matter, and is one type of foosball table more superior than the other? In this article we find out.
European vs American Foosball Tables
Let's start with the basics. To the casual observer, the tables may look the same - but they're really not. When you start playing on a European foosball table, you'll feel the difference. Here's what makes it such a unique experience:
- Only one goalie. On a US table, there's a row of three foosmen directly in front of the goal. Go to Europe and there's only one. Well, they're the soccer experts, after all... Of course, some American tables like the highly sought after Tornado T-3000 Tournament table come in both one-goalie and three-goalie versions, depending on your preference.
- Players made of metal. US foosball tables typically use plastic foosmen, but on a European table, they're made of stronger stuff. This difference isn't just aesthetic. It makes the table handle differently, and your gameplay will be affected.
- Lighter, telescopic bars. Again, these handle quite differently from an American foosball table and allow players to move their foosmen with a greater degree of accuracy.
- Tables have a Gerflex coating, rather than plastic. This gives a bit of grip, which allows players to try trickier shots.
- The structure of the table is usually made completely of wood and metal, with no plastic. This is more of an aesthetic concern. European tables often feature foosmen that are carefully painted, so they're wearing the uniforms of famous rival soccer teams, like Barcelona and Real Madrid. If you're a soccer fan, this might add an extra level of fun to your game.
Gameplay on a European Foosball Table
How do these differences affect your game? You might be surprised by just how different the experience is, beyond the 3 vs 1 goalie setup. The European foosball table is designed for a game based on accuracy, tactics, and skill. The lightweight rods, in combination with the better grip of the table surface, make it easier to line up shots, and precision is the name of the game. Watch Europeans play a game of foosball, and you might be surprised by how much quieter it is.
On the other hand, the American style of foosball table is a lot more energetic. The game moves faster, with less time spent carefully lining up individual shots, and it is more intense. You can expect a game on an American foosball table to finish quicker than the European equivalent.
Teamplay is another important factor here. On the European foosball table, the goalie is much more important, because he's alone. The player controlling him has to really know what they're doing, and there's a lot more skill involved. If you want to play on a European table, you'll need to trust your teammate.
Which is Better?
Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. Some players like the speed and aggression of American foosball, which is certainly a great way to let off steam. Others prefer the careful tactics of the European game.
Casual players will often prefer to stick to a US table, not just because it's what they know, but also because it doesn't involve learning a new, more precise system. It's definitely worth trying a European foosball table if you've never had the chance, though be warned: The first time you use one, it can be a frustrating experience as you get to grips with a new system.
If you want to play foosball outdoors, by the way, American tables are really your only option. The metal foosmen on a European table are not designed to be outside, while hard-wearing American plastic will withstand different weather conditions. However, if you're looking for a foosball table for your rec room or office break room, European styles are definitely suitable.
Want to give the European style a go? The good news is that we have European foosball tables available, so if you're planning on buying a foosball table, there's no need to cross the pond to get one. The Garlando brand, which comes from Italy, is often regarded as the gold star of European foosball tables.
Whatever you choose, remember: Foosball is hugely popular on both sides of the pond for a reason, and both systems are fun and rewarding for players.
Best European Foosball Table
Garlando G-5000 Wenge
The G-5000 Wenge foosball table from Garlando is designed with all foosball players in mind. Its color scheme makes it suitable for homes, cafes, bars, and gaming rooms. Buying this Italian foosball table is the right choice if you want a table with long life, smooth play, stability, and a stylish design.Read Table Review Check Latest Price
Best American Foosball Table
Tornado 56" T-3000 Foosball Table
The Tornado T-3000 is for anyone, but is primarily built for intermediate and professional level players. It's also for anyone who wants to invest in a top-of-the-line table that will last a lifetime, and for anyone who has $2,000 to spend on a table.
It's as good of a table as you will probably find on the market.Read Table Review Check Latest Price