Is the title a typo? No. Is the image above a mistake? No. If you know me well, you know that I dislike all spectator sports and the kind of mindless behavior that seems to follow them.
In this case, however, I am discussing a table-top tactical/dexterity boardgame. But Subbuteo is not what you might think. It plays like football (American soccer) amazingly well for such a simple set of basic rules. Here's the Wikipedia entry for it.
The playing surface is about 4x3 feet with standard football lines laid out on it. Quality ones feel like a plush but smooth felt. This is mounted on a hard flat surface with short walls all around, except for the areas behind the 2 goals.
Each player has a team of 10 players plus 2 different goalies. Standard players are plastic men mounted on a weighted and cupped base. The main goalie is mounted on a rod that the player can use to move it around. The secondary goalie piece is similar to a normal player. It is used in situations where a goalie would kick the ball like a normal player would.
The ball is half the height of the players, made of hollow plastic, and is very light.
The basic play is very simple. To flick a player, you use your index or middle fingernail. You can use the table top, but not your thumb, to give you power.
At any given time, one player has possession and is called the attacker. The other player is the defender. The attacker flicks a player so that it contacts the ball. The same player may be used up to 3 times in a row. The attacker may switch players any time. As long as the ball stays in bounds, and it does not touch a defending player, possession is maintained (there are many complex rules to cover offsides and other fouls).
After each attacking flick, the defender may make a defensive flick to move a player into a position to force a turnover of possession. The flicked player may not touch the ball or another player. The attacker does not have to wait for the defender to make a defensive flick before going again.
In this way, the attacker can take his time, while the defender must react quickly. Of course, the attacker might also want to flick quickly before the defender has a chance to think or flick.
These are the quick rules. These are the long rules.
The only way to really get an appreciation for this game is to see it in action. Here's a video of the game in progress.
If I had the space, I'd probably be all over this. Fortunately, someone in my gaming group just bought himself a set and is currently building a fancy table for it.
Subbuteo image by Bob3K