Pro Action Football

Parker/Hasbro, £30
2 Players, about 30 mins
Reviewed by Mike Clifford

Here's a unique concept; an excellent game that doesn't work. To elucidate: Pro Action Football is a table soccer game in which the players glide across the playing surface, and have a unique magnetic mechanism (fitted to the player bases) which allows them to shoot, pass, etc. This all very commendable, and the design bears favourable comparison with the venerable Subbuteo. But the whole shebang is let down by a felt-like 'pitch' which will not, under almost ANY circumstance, lay flat.

Those survivors of the 'army blanket' days of Subbuteo will remember their irritation at the less than satisfactory cloth pitch. Nonetheless, the skilled amongst you stuck it down on hardboard, or got Mum the groundsman to iron it. In recent years, dear old Waddingtons (for it is they who now manufacture Subbuteo) Introduced the glorious Astro Pitch, banishing forever those terminal complaints 'curly corner' and 'goalline glitch'.

The Pro Action Football pitch is produced from a felt-like material, which is folded to fit into a recess in the otherwise well-designed box. No amount of flattening, ironing, or squashing produced anything other than a totally unsatisfactory surface. The tiny ball, about the diameter of a new five pence piece, was deflected by every kink, thereby reducing the potentially skilful proceedings to a sham.

I should point out that the Parker spokesman said that their pitch can be affixed to chipboard or the like, and that there are specific marketing reasons for the package to be presented as it is. And there's no denying the feeling of quality behind the veneer.

The individual player pieces supplied separately from the bases are well-crafted and accurately painted. A tap on the head enables the ball to be propelled in the right direction, whereupon a team mate should take possession. However, interception is permitted, allowing continuous action. The goalies 'save' potential goals by scooping the ball up which is then released by tapping the affixed handle on the table. The goals are held in place by means of a neat clip on the base, negating the need to hang on for dear life when a shot is net-bound.

The multi-lingual rule book is a little busy, but well-illustrated, even if the specifics are a tad vague. All-in-all, a potential stayer but for the lousy playing mat. At around £30 though, the physical components should be beyond reproach.

Mike Clifford

On to the review of Rheingold or back to the review of Chikara.

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