It’s been a little while since it was announced – LEGOCON 2021 to be exact – but the LEGO® Ideas Table Football is just about set to arrive. Suffice to say it is a little bit different to what people might have been expecting. The original submission by 16-yo Hungarian LEGO fan Donát Fehérvári as part of the We Love Sports challenge in early 2020 was for a close to full size table, with 11 players per team, on 3 rails. The challenge to ensure that submission would translate to a robust set, tha would stand up to the rigors of friends and family battling out their different fell to LEGO Designer Antica Bracanov, also responsible for realising last year’s Home Alone set, after several years working on LEGO Friends. Antica and the rest of the LEGO Ideas team outlined some of the challenges face at the recent Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days.
After several iterations, it became apparent that to build the table at the originally proposed scale would be met with failure: to make the rods out of multiple Technic axles joined together would cause too much torsion, resulting in the axles breaking, while using technic beams over that distance (around 60 modules) would result in the bars flexing, and the game play not working as intended.
After a lot of soul searching, and investigating a number of options(one of which was scrapping the project completely), the decision was made to scale the model to the longest Technic axle available: the 32 modules long, similar to that seen in the floral bouquet (only black!).
the final model is 41cm from one end to the other, and 29 cm from side to side. There are. Pieces, and it will be available from 1st November 2022 via LEGO Stores and www.lego.com/table-football priced at $/€249.99 / £241.99 / 379.99 AUD / 309.99 CAD
This has resulted in the final model being significantly smaller than the original submission. Play has been modified to suit 5 players per side, with only 2 versus 3 rods per team. The original design was submitted as a digital version, and had never been translated into a physical model until it was put into development.
Since the model was completed, it has apparently been quite popular to ‘test’ by members of the design team, and others around the office – with over 300 people involved in physically testing the game by now.
Will this detract significantly from the game play? I had the opportunity to give it a try, and while the game felt tight, it was certainly playable. There are two minifigures on the front row, and three on the back row. A new weighted ball element – larger than the standard GBC soccer ball is used.
There are coloured markers above each goal to keep score and when the ball is snapped into the goal, it certainly made all the right sounds.
Now, playing a 5 a side football is all very well, but as a nod to the original design, the designers have included torsos and legs for a total of 22 minifigures, along with 44 different minifgure heads, and 43 different hairpieces. There are five different skin tones in use including the new medium brown. Foot ball is a game that appears to people all over the world, add this setwill provide the opportunity for virtually everyone to see themselves represented here. There are male and female faces, young and old, and all sorts of hair colours and styles are represented. There is even one footballer’s face shown with vitiligo.
There is a brick build stand for the additional 6 players for each team to sit on, and this incorporates storage for the spare heads and wigs.
The LEGO Group has revealed the ultimate global celebration of play with the launch of the new LEGO Ideas Table Football set. From the highs and lows of the goals to the cheers echoing throughout the stadium, football lovers can now build and play their favourite game with this exciting new fan-designed LEGO set.
The first to test the new fully functional table football were legendary football icon, and World Cup winner, Thierry Henry and current Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford MBE – who take on each other with their team of minifigures in a new video. Each player can first build their five-a-side team of LEGO minifigures plus a crowd of teammates and fans that watch from the sides from over 60 different elements before competing in a match.
The LEGO Ideas Table Football set honours football players and fans from around the globe and features a diverse line-up of minifigures. In total, 22 different minifigures can be built to play or watch with a diverse range of hair styles, facial expressions and skin tones to choose from. The portable size of the set means it is perfect for transporting to play with friends and play ‘away’ or ‘at home’. It also makes an ideal display cabinet piece.
Thierry Henry says: “Throughout my career I’ve played football everywhere you can imagine – from my garden to stadiums across the world and now in a LEGO Ideas Table Football set! LEGO play is all about harnessing the unifying spirit of sport to rebuild the game for fans everywhere. I am very excited to see the new LEGO set bring people together across the world as they master the table football game in brick form.”
Also talking about his involvement in the campaign, England and Manchester United star Marcus Rashford said: “I love building with LEGO bricks – but to now build and play football against Thierry Henry in LEGO form is amazing! Football brings fans together and it is great to see that the LEGO Ideas Table Football set does the same.”
The set was designed by 16-yo Hungarian LEGO fan Donát Fehérvári as part of the We Love Sports Contest on LEGO Ideas, and then made into a real set by LEGO Designer, Antica Bracanov,who said: “What makes the LEGO Ideas Table Football set so amazing is that it harnesses the spirit of sport. Donat’s design champions the shared rollercoaster of emotions that fans experience when watching football games. At the LEGO Group, we are incredibly proud to have brought this set to life, allowing fans to swap football boots for bricks, and be inspired take part in the game of play, for the love of play.”
Bringing culture, creativity and play together, the new LEGO Ideas Table Football launches as part of the LEGO For The Joy of Play campaign at 35–37 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in Paris on 29th – 30th October.
The two-day event will feature the opportunity to compete in the ultimate LEGO Table Football competition, plus talks from inspiring speakers and the chance to get hands-on with LEGO bricks with an amazing mural and free building areas. In addition, Thierry Henry will be present at the event. For more information and tickets visit www.lego.com/table-football.
The LEGO Ideas Table Football set is available from 1st November 2022 via LEGO Stores and www.lego.com/table-football priced at $/€249.99 / £241.99 / 379.99 AUD / 309.99 CAD.
So, this is a big set. While not officially licenced, its early November release precedes the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica in November 17, running concurrently with the Men’s World Cup which starts on November 20, 2022. Certainly this will be a time when the idea of football (or soccer ) will be in the minds of people around the world – regardless of age and gender – and I feel it is fitting that this set reflects that.
BUT: at $USD250/$AUD380 it is a pretty steep price, and people will question the value of including the elements for 22 minifigures (with spare parts for another 22 heads and wigs) in the set? The design team feel that out of the total cost of the set, the minifigures ‘do not really amount to much’ but there is no doubt that other ways of purchasing (unlicenced) minifigures are relatively expensive – including build a mini stations, collectable minifigures, or even through the online replacement parts service. Even then, the best price for a minifigure without an accessory is around $AUD3.50. To stretch this out to 22 figures certainly contributes at least $AUD60-70 to the price, before you start to consider unique prints, and skin tones, which tend to be a little more expensive.
I am, however, intrigued at the idea of so many natural skin tones being included in a non licenced set. Work done by the Women’s Brick Initiative has shown that many non-white people do not readily relate to ‘yellow’ as a skin tone when constructing a minifigure avatar, and as such, I wonder if the time is coming for ‘non licenced minifigures’ to start to shift towards more natural skin tones.
We have had natural skin tones in sets based on third party intellectual properties ( starting with sport based sets in 2004), before rolling out to other 3rd part IP such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. Could the time be coming for more natural tones to be embraced in other story telling themes such as Ninjago, Monkie Kid and LEGO City, just as they have been n LEGO Friends. Perhaps yellow figures can be kept in the ‘traditional LEGO’ models, such as Creator 3in1, and Collectable Minifigures? What do you think? Is this a heretical Idea? Or a way for the minifigure to approach its 50th birthday in 2028? At this time, the Ideas team were tight lipped on the subject.
But I digress…
Overall, the set provides an opportunity to build your own table football game – certainly this is a fun activity – but when you get a product where the playability is compromised by size, and yet costing about the same as a full size, non-LEGO Foosball table, you might find yourself questioning your commitment to the cause.
I appreciate what this set represents: a football game, providing the opportunity for everyone to feel represented. The compromises in size, compared to the original submission were necessary to create a workable model, but does this come at the expense of on of the key things that makes table football fun: when the whole gang is crowded around the table shouting, and shaking the field back and forth?
I’d love to know your feelings about this set – why not leave them below, and until next time, Play Well!