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This table football game was a present at Christmas for my 5 year old son from his aunt and uncle last year. It has since been played with most weeks and has still held appeal for him nearly 9 months later so I thought I would share our thoughts on it.
There is minimal assembly with the table football game so much so that I have to say I can't remember there being any problems with it. The game is suitable for children 3 years and over and I would agree about this age range due to the material it is made form and the small balls included in the set.
The table set it is actually quite small measuring only 52 cm long and 42 cm wide. Whilst this does mean that it is easy to take on trips out and on holiday and store easily it does mean that compared to traditional size game it is substantially smaller. I actually think because of the size of it that the game wouldn't appeal really to children over 8 who may view it as too young for them as it isn't a proper size. However as an introduction it is a perfect size and it means that my 5 year old is able to sit in one place and easily reach all the poles to manoeuvre them around to play the various different players.
Each team be it the red or the blue team has actually 7 players now my football isn't the best but I have to admit of not hearing of 7 a side football before this. Two poles have 3 players on and the goal keeper is by himself. I had thought these were quite well spaced out on looking at the game but the problem is not so much with the 3 players poles but the goal keeper pole. The reason for this is that it can only move around the goal mouth and what this creates is a huge space on either side of the goal mouth where no player can reach the ball, which then leads to children either titling the table, blowing at the ball or lifting it out to get it back into place which can then lead to arguments about cheating!! So this means it is not an ideal set up and I would of prefer the player to be able to move more freely about or to have more players to the rear to tackle this problem. There are some other blind spots on the table but this is the most obvious one and the most likely to cause frustration and arguments in my experience.
The goals themselves whether in the upright position or lowered never seem to be actually able to catch the ball unless it trickles over the line and often the ball will end up on the floor after some particularly energetic kicking and moves. On the top of the goals at each end there is a scoring line where you move little cubes along to keep a track of your goals and this goes up to 8. These work well and are easy to move along however at times when moving the goalie the cubes bounce to and fro can move forwards or backwards so especially with younger children it can upset the scoring a bit so we have had to keep an eye on at times what the scores have been to stop some squabbling between my son and his friends.
There is a dip to either size of the board at the half way point for putting the ball into play and this work a treat to dribble it in.
The poles again initially I thought were very good and seemed robust with the payers nice and fixed in place and able to cope with the various ball kicks to them. But after nearly 9 months now one of the poles is developing a kink in it and I think this will ultimately break over time and even thought the table retails at under £13 pounds from Argos I would expect it to last longer than this. Whilst my son initially used to rattle the poles to get the players to kick the ball after being showed several times over the Christmas period how to do it properly he soon started to hold them and turn them nicely rather than spin the poles to get them to work, which I think makes it even more disappointing that the kink is starting to appear.
The game itself is good for helping children develop their hand eye co-ordination and to help them learn a little about tactics as you have to think ahead a little bit of where to place your players to get them into position to score a goal. But the main benefit of the game is just a bit of fun really which my 5 year old loves and enjoys and trying to beat people and to see who can get the most goals.
Overall my son loves this game and I am sure he will be very disappointed when the pole with the kink in breaks and the game becomes un-playable. At £12.99 form Argos for the set including 2 balls I don't think it is badly priced for the fun it gives but, I feel I can only really give it 3 stars as it isn't robust enough I feel for the age group it is designed for, the various blind spots that there are in the board and how the goals don't always capture the balls.