So, what’s the best table hockey game for you and your family?
As I stated in one of my recent blogs (“Games/Toys of Our Youth: Can They Appeal to Millenials?“), I recently purchased a table hockey (a.k.a., “rod hockey”) game similar to one that I had enjoyed as a kid with my neighbor friend. I wasn’t sure if my kids would find the same enjoyment playing it as I had, given all of the more modern means of entertainment (e.g., video games, high-tech gadgets and other forms of digital entertainment) available to them. I have been pleasantly surprised at their interest and the hours of fun we’ve had playing this together. It really took me back to my youth, and I enjoy it every bit as much as my kids do. With table hockey we have running tournaments, we each have our favorite team(s) and we spend hours in friendly competition, laughing and talking as we play.
As you can see from the video below, the Stiga High Speed table hockey game is quite suitable for even the most avid, skilled players:
For any of you parents who may have enjoyed playing table hockey as a youngster, I’d like to encourage you to introduce your children to this fun passtime. So, what’s the best table top rod hockey game for you and your family? The answer may be different depending on the age of your children, your budget and your personal preferences. I want to provide you with some information regarding some of the best table hockey games that are on the market today so that you can make an informed decision in selecting the right product for your family.
Stiga NHL Stanley Cup Hockey Table Game:
This is the game currently on the market that comes closest to what I grew up with. Some of you may have been familiar with the Eagle and Munro table hockey games from the 1960’s/1970’s or the Coleco Power Play Hockey game from the 1980’s, with the two dimensional players. Or maybe you’re more familiar with the Wayne Gretzky version that came out in the 1990’s with three dimensional players. These were certainly great games for their time, and you can still find these for sale by owner on eBay and elsewhere, but they are no longer in production.
The closest product that I’ve found on the market today, with the features and functionality of the aforementioned classic games is the table hockey game produced by Stiga. It’s similar in size and construction to the Wayne Gretzky game and, like it, has three dimensional players available in all official team colors/logos. Like the 70’s Eagle game, it allows for behind-the-net play, which the Gretzky game does not.
Other cool features include:
- Official NHL team colors and logos
- Expertly crafted 3D players outfitted in Maple Leaf and Red Wing uniforms (other teams available to be ordered separately)
- Easy-to-move control rods; behind-the-net plexi-shield protectors
- Puck ejectors in each goal; goalies move from side to side
- 1.65-inch legs; measures 37 x 3 x 19.75 inches (W x H x D)
Stiga High Speed Hockey Table:
This game will cost you a bit more, but there is a noticeable improvement in speed of play for more experienced players (see the video below). With a polished playing surface and precision gears, the players get around on the ice quicker, and with no dead spots. This is a really slick game!
Is it right for you and your family?
As with all table-top versions of rod hockey, care must be taken not to bend the rods. The game is not built for very rough play: this is not the type of game you would find in an arcade. However, the Stiga game is great for a fun, fast-paced, competitive game. The large playing surface is ideal for more realistic play and yet the low profile (3″ high with removable 1.65″ legs) makes it easy to store under a bed or in a closet. I would not recommend this game for very young children who may accidentally bend the rods or put weight on the playing surface. However, under supervision, children as young as 8 (to as old as 80) can thoroughly enjoy this game. Additional NHL teams, with official colors and logos, can be purchased quite reasonably and easily swapped out. At around the $100 – $140 price point, you can’t go wrong. You may initially have to pry your kids away from their video games, but soon they will be begging you to play more table hockey.
Looking for a table hockey game for younger children?
If your children are younger (i.e., 7 years old or younger), you may want to start with a smaller, less expensive version of rod hockey to whet their appetites without spending quite so much. There are a couple good products on the market that fit this bill:
The POOF-Slinky game is recommended for ages 5 and up. The board is considerably smaller than the Stiga game and the players do not have official team colors/logos. However, it has 3-d players, has on-board scoring and supports behind-the-net play. At around $35 – $40 is a good starter game to play with young children.
The Franklin game has a larger playing surface than the POOF-Slinky game (32″ x 20″ LxW), but is about 5″ shorter than the Stiga game. Here too, the players do not have official team colors/logos. It does support behind-the-net play, on-board scoring and a plexiglass enclosure. It is comparable to the Stiga game in terms of playability and feel. One thing I actually like better about the Franklin version of the game is the larger hockey sticks which give additional control over the puck. However, due to the fact that it is not as sturdily constructed, it is not as suitable for aggressive, competitive play. Still, at around $50 it is a good table hockey game to start with in determining if this is a game that your family will enjoy.
Got room (and a little extra $$$) to spare?
If you want to bring arcade action home and you’ve got a bonus room or a “man cave” :), you may want to consider one of the hockey games produced by Carrom. Yes, you will need to dish out some additional cash, but if you’re a hockey enthusiast or love a rough-and-tumble game where you can really “pound the boards”, the Carrom games provide a very sturdy product (both table-style and pedestal-style) which is comparable to the versions of the game that you might find at an arcade or bowling alley. You don’t have to worry about bending the rods, which are similar in construction to those found on foosball tables. Also, the playing surface is considerably larger and flatter than even the Stiga board. In addition, the entire playing surface is enclosed in a shatter-proof plastic bubble and there is an electronic scoreboard.
IMPORTANT TIP: There are a couple different Carrom models to choose from and you’ll want to consider the average height of the players when selecting a model. Taller players will perfer model 435.01 model which is 51 inches tall, while if you have children who will be the primary users, you may opt for the shorter (47-inch) 415 model.
Carrom Super Stick Hockey Table (model 415):
Carrom 435.01 Signature Stick Hockey Table: All the bells and whistles…
If you want all the extra amenities (pedestal base for added stability, cup holders, higher playing surface for teens/adults and lights/sounds to celebrate each goal), you’ll want to consider the Carrom 435.01 model:
Super Chexx: The Crème de la crème of hockey games:
My list of hockey games would certainly not be complete without honorably mentioning Super Chexx! This is the “Lamborghini” of hockey games. Granted, we can’t all afford a Lamborghini, but we can all dream. For those of you with the room and the budget, or those who own a bar, bowling alley, arcade or lounge: this is the pinnacle of hockey games.
- Sturdy arcade-quality bubble hockey game
- Custom graphics
- Meticulously hand-painted players with official, licensed NHL logos and uniforms (all NHL / AHL teams available)
- Smooth [as silk] movement of players and gears
- Overhead, automatic, electronic scoring and shot clock
- Live sound calls by Rick Jeanneret
- Goal ejector
- Coin-operated and home (non-coin operated) versions
- Lifetime tech support and in-stock parts
Super Chexx Bubble Hockey
NHL, USA & Canada Editions on Sale
ICE Factory Direct Pricing & FREE Shipping
|Picture << CLICK Banner Ad to Purchase -or- Get More Details >>|
Super Chexx Deluxe Home Bubble Hockey
Home Edition [not coin operated]
Factory Direct Price: $2295.00 USD [as of 05/21/14]
Super Chexx Coin-op Bubble Hockey
Factory Direct Price: $2495.00 USD [as of 05/21/14]
Super Chexx USA Bubble Hockey
"Miracle on ICE" USA vs. USSR Edition
Factory Direct Price: $2595.00 USD [as of 05/21/14]
Super Chexx Canada Bubble Hockey
USA vs. Canada Edition
Factory Direct Price: $2595.00 USD [as of 05/21/14]
Super Chexx NHL Bubble Hockey
Official NHL Edition
Select Your Favorite NHL / AHL Teams
Factory Direct Price: $2995.00 USD [as of 05/21/14]
Family Staples Rating Summary:
|Product||Family Staples' Rating|
NHL Stanley Cup Hockey Table Game (Detroit Red Wings / Toronto Maple Leafs)
|Stiga USA vs. Canada High Speed Game||
|POOF-Slinky 33207BL Ideal Sure Shot Hockey Tabletop Game||
|Franklin Sports Rod Hockey Pro Game||
|Carrom 415 Super Stick Hockey Table||
|Carrom 435.01 Signature Stick Hockey Table with Pedestal (Blue)||
|Super Chexx Bubble Hockey||
As you can probably tell, I am personally partial to the Stiga High Speed product and I dream that I may someday own my own Super Chexx bubble hockey game, but that doesn’t mean that these are the most suitable for you and your family. You need to take into account your personal preferences, your children’s ages and your budget in selecting what will work best for you. I hope that this review helps to give you an idea of what is currently available on the market and helps you to select the right version of this game for your family.
I welcome your feedback in the comments section below.
-Patrick @ familystaples.com
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