The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

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matteo
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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby matteo » 24 Mar 2011, 22:41

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...a review of Zeugo, Soccer3D and Total Soccer.

Last Christmas I decided to order some Zeugo. Total Soccer and Soccer 3D teams as a kind of product test to see if any of them were any good. I thought I'd share my findings as it may help people like myself that are returning to the game after a long absence and are utterly confused by what's taken the place of Subbuteo. So if you are a Newbie this is for you.

I am limiting this review to three table soccer brands – basically the mass produced stuff that is readily available, cheap and comes pre-painted. I'm looking at individual teams as additions to an existing collection rather than a complete box set/starter kit scenario.

I have chosen not to include Santiago, Top Spin, Replay HW, Superfooty and Stefan Corda as they are well covered by this forum and require self assembly and painting. That's not to say that they aren't any good of course – quite the contrary - it's just not what I am covering here. Not to confuse issues I do realise that each of those products can be bought pre-painted from a variety of sources but I'm concentrating on what's available from major retailers.

So first up is Zeugo by Parodi. The first thing that strikes you about a Zeugo team is the blue box which is uninspiring in its aesthetic design. Apparently the 2011 edition has a new green design which looks a great deal better. Aside from a boring picture the box features two player windows with fairly strong acetate, has relatively sturdy card and generally feels decently made. The interior contains a thin clear plastic team tray which appears flimsy but actually holds up pretty well to wear and tear. The players are held in very firmly but remain easy to pop out. The area that contains the goalie has an overly large indent for the keeper which means you can also fit a ball in there which is handy. Overall the box is functional if a little boring.

The team itself is a very different affair – the players are striking in appearance. They appear to be a second generation classic hw casting. They're a bit uglier and have lost some of the detail but they are close to a hw. The painting style is glossy and thick which again is striking but not to my taste and they also bear little resemblance to the real kits. Perhaps they'll hold up well in terms of play wear due to the liberal paint though. The base is a Profibase design and is pure table soccer. For any of you returning to the game this means that the base is flat and designed to be played with in a different style to the Subbuteo you remember as a child. Basically they travel further and faster along the pitch and chip the ball more easily but don't generally curl . A mid range curl is achievable with a bit of practice but offers little value in play. The bases are solidly made and have a satisfying weight and clunk about them when they strike the ball. I would definitely recommend a slightly heavier modern ball like a pegasus for these as they have a tendency to make tangos a bit skippy due to their low profile. The goalkeeper rod is interestingly longer than traditional Subbuteo but seems to be little more than a pointless differentiator. They also come with an additional player and having a spare is a welcome addition. Overall this a decent product – it's not perfect and it's definitely only for the table soccer variation of the game – but if you have to have something new it's not a bad choice.

SOCCER 3D by Astrobase also includes an extra spare figure. Unlike Zeugo, Soccer 3D is a modern interpretation of the LW era rather than the classic HW. I am a LW fan, having grown up with them, but remarkably Astrobase have managed to include all the worst aspects of the LW era in one box. And it's a truly terrible box sporting two windows like the hasbro era ones yet made of even thinner card. It's printed with an awful generic football picture where the footballer's head is cut out by one of the windows – no doubt to avoid paying for some sort of image rights. And the football is clearly a drawing inserted in place of a copyrighted ball. Everything about this screams cheap and nasty. Upon opening the box it gets worse still. The two displayed figures are so tight to the box that they are prone to catching themselves and breaking ankles. Like Zeugo the 2011 range has brought about a cosmetic change to the box – which is a real shame as they should have re-designed it completely.

The team inside comes completely unassembled (even the goalkeeper needs glueing together) and a number of quality issues arise from this. The bases, discs and players are not uniform and I struggled to make all the pieces fit together. The biggest issue coming from player pegs not fitting in certain discs and certain discs not wanting to go into certain bases. All together a frustrating start. The one positive is that no glue is required for the outfield players. Once assembled the figures don't actually fit into the inner plastic tray provided. They are too tall – a real LW only just gets in. The figure itself is a late Italian LW and the base is the flatter variety originally made for Parodi Subbuteo by Astrobase. The bases have a very cheap and hollow feel to them. The painting style is passable but pales in comparison to the machine printed Subbuteo. Nothing about this product exudes quality. I almost gave up assembling them and really couldn't be bothered to test them in play. Yet when they got on the pitch something miraculous happened. They're actually really rather fun to play with. They play very much like LWs, they fall over, they curl - they require the deftest of touches and because of the lower profile base they chip much more easily. This is all because despite the flat base they have a taller figure which unbalances everything so much that the flatter base is pretty much negated. I'd love to recommend these teams as they are fun in play but there is so much wrong with the rest of product that I can't.

Total Soccer by contrast to the Italian brands doesn't have an extra man – simply because you should never need one. Spanish newcomers Netcam have brought something truly innovative and also shockingly ugly to the table with their rubber players which are far more difficult to break than the traditional plastic of Zeugo and Soccer 3D. Total Soccer teams come in boxes with designs that are individual to each club – with licensed logos and themes. This immediately puts them streets ahead of the competition in terms of the wow factor though it does mean a more limited range of teams. The box itself is probably the best ever made for any table soccer product. My only criticism being that the inner clear plastic tray provides such a tight fit to the players they are quite hard to prise out.

Visually it really is quite impressive and the inclusion of squad names and number stickers is a fantastic idea – though slightly disappointing in that you can't choose from the whole squad and the team is chosen for you. And the disappointment doesn't end there. Removing the players from the box reveals they are painted to an extremely poor standard and look hideously ugly close up. The player peg doesn't sit flush with the base either which just looks like a mistake (apparently this has been corrected on later issues) though the discs do have team names and badges which are a nice touch. In play things go from bad to worse as the bases are awful. They're flat like Zeugos but with a rounded, smoother edge. They just don't perform very well at all. The only positive would be that they can manoeuvre around the ball in a tight space whilst keeping contact (possession) without moving the ball. So they're good for setting up shots. They don't glide as well as the Zeugo Profibases either. The one standout part of this product though was the Goalkeeper which has an attractive design and really is rather good. My particular team also came with a free ball – again another nice touch in theory but it was so poorly made and printed that it is of no use to me. Overall Total Soccer is the most disappointing product as it brings so much in the way of innovation and also presentation that the fact Netcam have not realised their core product is total poo is thoroughly frustrating. There is so much to praise about what Netcam have tried to do with this product that I hope they introduce an improved base and player design. At the moment though Total Soccer is not only the most expensive option here it's also the poorest value for money.

So what did I conclude from my little product test? Well I'll be sticking to my original Subbuteo gear and Santiago replicas for now. I might get some Top Spin next time I fancy some new teams. Of the products reviewed here I'd reluctantly recommend Zeugos. I was hoping that one of these products would provide me with a couple of teams to play with that I wouldn't have to worry about breaking but the best solution really does seem to be via the replica/blanks route.

Anyway I hope this is of some use to someone. Might save someone a few quid at least. I'll post some pics when I get a chance.

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby ANDO » 24 Mar 2011, 23:00

Wow, Great stuff Matteo and thanks for shareing =CLAP

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby newgolddream » 24 Mar 2011, 23:10

Good effort Matteo. A pretty clear, if not damning review.

I quite like the Zeugo's - they aren't 'Subby' but I play that style of play with my two lads. We also play with SuperFooty HW figs that I use in Santiago Spitfires they are a really good option as the combination offers a bit of everything. Sadly the figs are no longer available.

There is another type of Soccer3D fig available pre-painted the HW have you tried them?

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby matteo » 24 Mar 2011, 23:25

Thanks Ando & newgolddream - appreciated. Hopefully everyone else can chip in with their experiences of the new products. Not just the limited stuff I've covered here. There is so much new stuff out there and it's just too expensive to be trying everything out. Would be great to hear more opinions - other reviews. For example I find the pegasus pitch and goals to be very good but haven't tried the metal ones yet and would love to hear how they compare with other metal goals before forking out £40.

@ ngdream - No not yet - I was thinking about picking up some Soccer 3D HW but read somewhere they weren't painted very well. Going by the LWs I'm assuming that's a pretty accurate description. Still maybe someone else can post a first hand review. You would think someone on this forum given the interest in HWs would have had a look at them.

At the moment I'm saving my money for the genuine articles or santiagos/top spin. I haven't tried the spitfires yet - I'm curious are they the same profile as the early hasbros (really flat bottom) or closer to the LW profile hasbros of 2001?

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby newgolddream » 24 Mar 2011, 23:57

I have two HW Soccer3D teams, I bought them from Astrobase and when they arrived one of them was wrong.
- they came unassembled and the parts didn't fit together properly, I had to trim the players bars. The painting is ok - nothing to write home about. Very similar to the lw figs, I found the colours a bit wishy washy.

I've never played with them tbh - I will try them and let you know.

The quality of the SuperFooty team painting is good. I have some SuperFooty teams Argentina, Italy if people want to try them. Any base colours you fancy.

The Spitfire bases are like Subbuteo Hasbro's - They have great playing qualities - sliding, spinning, chipping the ball (from far and near) are no problem with these bases. I rate them highly.

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby NicolasP » 25 Mar 2011, 06:47

Sorry matteo, but I will disagree a bit with you on the Soccer 3-D part.
I ordered 2 teams from a site almost a year ago (Subbuteo introduction birthday coming up :clap: )
The box is a bit rough, but compared to some others, it's not as bad.
The players are painted OK, not too many details, but I like them.
The paint used seems to be a bit horrible, as it's already started wearing off.
However, mine did come assembled. The bases are like the initial Hasbro ones.
That may, or may not, annoy some people, but they actually play the 'professional' game well.
The only issue I've had so far was a player I'd broken.
Still looking for that damned 21...

ralphtheclaret

Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby ralphtheclaret » 25 Mar 2011, 07:21

"but they actually play the 'professional' game well"

incorrect term :wink: :roll: nothing professional about people playing the dumbed down version of our game and then claiming to be good at it

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby NicolasP » 25 Mar 2011, 07:33

"but they actually play the 'professional' game well"

incorrect term :wink: :roll: nothing professional about people playing the dumbed down version of our game and then claiming to be good at it
There is some truth in that.
But it appeals to some people I suppose...
Still looking for that damned 21...

ralphtheclaret

Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby ralphtheclaret » 25 Mar 2011, 07:51

some truth ? :lol:

....Hoffmans disciples make me laugh out loud

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby DJ_BiGT » 25 Mar 2011, 08:14

Matteo, great heads up on the new stuff, quite an interesting read. Being back in the game this year (last played in the mid-80's), I have been through the process of getting new teams, accessories etc to use so I though I'd throw my thoughts in.
I must say, after introducing my 9 year old son and a few of his mates (and mine) to the game, the Total Soccer range has been a breath of fresh air. I have tried all 3 of these newer styles and found that certainly for the younger/beginner player the Total Soccer teams are perfect. The robustness of the players makes for a less fearsome moment everytime a player flies off the table and detail of the figures helps them identify their 'heroes' so to speak. Whilst learning the game its good that one doesn't need to anticipate a breakage when trying a hard shot or a manouver from an awkward angle to the goal - using a TS player means you can really go for it without the worry of knackering a players' ankle or arm.
I have found myself playing with these increasingly more over the last couple of months and I think without doubt should be the choice for a novice/first time player. I got the lad a TS set for Xmas and whilst the goals were a bit naff (got metal Pegasus ones now) the pitch has been a pleasant surprise, especially now fixed to a proper board etc.
I find the Zeugo teams good to play with once you have got to grips with the basics, probably the best of the 3 overall and they do have that 'retro' feel. Downside though is a certain amount of rattlers that will develop which can disrupt your play a bit and they can break in the traditional sense - I still wont let my son use them unsupervised :wink: . The TS players can get in the 'rattler' state but I've only noticed this in some Club sides from last 'season'. All of our World Cup teams seem to have endured the test very well of various Subbuteo parties my son keeps arranging! :O
Lastly I have found the Soccer3d ones the least enjoyable to play with of the lot. They seem to be too light, possibly from using the others too much, and they feel more like a traditional 'Zombie' to play with as opposed to an old style h/w.
I reckon there is a place for all 3 type in anyone's collection and playing the game again with my son has certainly brought us together playing a game around a table instead of sitting in front of a console zapping aliens.

Just my twopenneth anyways.

Terry
http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/kentinvictatfc/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.subbuteoassociation.co.uk/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby matteo » 25 Mar 2011, 11:48

Each of the three has it's pros and cons. As an overall product I don't think there is a clear winner. For me Zeugo nudges it - just. I think what these companies have tried to do with their products is admirable but none of them has really nailed it. I really like the way the soccer 3D figures play - I think they act well as a bridge between both codes and are versatile yet I can't recommend them because despite the design of the base suiting my style the actual execution of the product is of a lower standard than the others. The quality of the plastic feels like something you'd get in a Kinder surprise. They're also the least kid friendly imo which is another consideration for many and the box is woeful. Total Soccer is very much a child friendly product as Terry rightly points out and has many qualities and innovations that impressed me - but the bases are limited to table soccer and aren't as good as Zeugos which are their direct competitor. So the Zeugos come out ahead - Parodi have taken their product in a certain direction and have delivered what they intended to. It's not spectacular, it's not what I want from a product but it does exactly what it's supposed to.

What's frustrating is that with tweaks all three could end up being cracking products. If Soccer3D used better plastic, had better qc and redesigned its box I'd defintely get more. If Zeugo did a range that had a more traditional base I'd buy those. If total soccer did the same then I'd want those too.

Anyway what I find really interesting is that most of us returning to the game are going through the process of trying everything out.
Hopefully this thread and our collective experiences will help guide people returning to Subbuteo.

subbuteoman

Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby subbuteoman » 25 Mar 2011, 14:37

Excluding the child factor I honestly think that the Superfooty BOX set is by far the best of the new products you are talking about. You didnt review them. When I say the best I mean from the point of view of a returning player HW fan coming back to the game. What any returnee should do is obvious.

1. But a Superfooty Box set.
2. When you want more and new individual teams move on to Santiago / Top spin etc.

This assumes that you are a returner who wants something that looks and feels ( to some extent ) like the Subbutteo Heavyweight figures of old. Superfooty has the following to recommend it and almost nothing against it.

Pros

1. Price.
2. Good Box.
3. Decent Machine Painting.
4. Good HW Figures / Bases
5. Decent Pitch.
6. OK Balls.
7. Teams Are Assembled.
8. Teams Play Well.

Cons

1. THE WORST goals Ive ever seen. Solution, buy some goals on Ebay for £5.

Its a No- Brainer, really. SUPERFOOTY by a country mile. If you are a HW player.

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby matteo » 25 Mar 2011, 16:12

I've heard very good things about Superfooty box sets and subbuteoman's assessment seems to tally with those. I like the look of the innovative inclusion of the dvd instructions and the box design looks great. I chose not to review Superfooty here for the following reasons.

1. I don't own any and have never used them.
2. I was reviewing individual teams not box sets.
3. Superfooty sell individual teams but they are not painted, come unassembled and have no goalkeepers or boxes and are very much a u-paint product - and therefore imo fall into the category of u-paint/blanks/replica items I feel include Santiago, Top Spin, Replay HW and Stefan Corda. They are not an off-the-shelf product like the ones I reviewed.
4. The range of ready painted Superfooty teams has been listed as coming soon for a long time but are still not available as far as I know.
5. The products I've reviewed have a greater market penetration and are far more widely available being stocked by major retailers and have multiple sales channels - online and in shops. Subbuteoworld and a number of subbuteo retailers, Ebay, Amazon, El Corte Ingles (Like John Lewis In Spain) the manufacturers own online sales sites and many toy importers stock these products. Therefore these are the products, rightly or wrongly, that are going to catch the general consumer's attention initially.
6. The u-paint products are generally very well covered by this forum and some key players within those fields are members of this forum. I think they are all doing an excellent job and hope they can continue to grow.

If someone else has the time and spare cash to review all the box sets against each other then go for it. I'd be interested to see which comes out top. I lumped for the Subbuteoworld starter kit with Zeugos (now comes with total soccer though) when it was on special offer a while back for my six-year-old cousin as the Astropitch was more suitable to his particular requirements as he needs to play on the floor and space is an issue. The pegasus gear that comes in the bundle is very good indeed and is pretty much the same as the original Subbuteo accessories they've based their new stuff on. That was the best option for my particular buying scenario. Superfooty and all the other box sets only lost out because of the need for the astroturf.

World_Table_Soccer

Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby World_Table_Soccer » 27 Mar 2011, 12:29

Guys,
Thanks for starting this thread. I'm a regular user of this forum but sadly not a regular contributor
which I aim to change.

SuperFooty welcomes all feedback and many thanks to all those who have given their time to do so.

Firstly. apologies for our goals :cry:
The frames are generally fine however the nets aren't.
I now, personally hand cut and fit each net which has solved this issue.

Painted teams........more apologies :cry:
Quite correct, we've been saying that they were going to be produced for a long time now.
The good news is that they're currently in production. We were hopeful of getting them for
last Christmas and it's almost April now - you get the picture.

The first 10 teams should be available April/May with new additions every 8 weeks or so.
There will be a broad spectrum of kits spanning the last 50 years - some generic and
some specific.

I'll post a preview on the Forum as soon as I have samples.

Without giving too much away, the teams and packaging embrace some of the feedback
we've already received to provide a quality product at an affordable price.

As I said, we welcome all feedback and please feel free to contact me via the Forum or WTS website
with your thoughts or questions.

Thanks again and all the best.

David Baxter
dave@worldtablesoccer.com
dave@superfooty.com

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Re: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...New Stuff review

Postby NicolasP » 27 Mar 2011, 14:32

Interesting to hear that.
I actually bought an unpainted Superfooty team from a bloke on Ebay.
Not bad, they look like the heavies, but with 'professional' bases.
Their performance is good, and they actually managed to reach the final four of my solo tourney!
Still looking for that damned 21...


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