Just a few??
I have been involved with Subbuteo for fifty years and in that time I have been a player, a tournament player (not brilliantly I add), a collector, a painter/seller of replica items (Santiago Topspin etc) and a dealer from time to time.
In that time I have met many people from many different areas of the hobby and it is abundantly clear that there are several distinct groups with very little cross-over.
There are pure collectors who hardly ever play, they are driven by the desire to collect the items, their pleasure is gained from the teams and the ephemera. They played as kids, but wouldn`t entertain playing even semi-seriously.
The next group is the player/collectors. Those of us who enjoy the collecting aspect and the joy of creating our own teams via the paint your own stuff. We play occasionally with friends for the fun, sometimes its competitive but it is not the be all and end all. There is an awful lot in this group probably more than we realise!.
Lastly, there is the serious players. This group derive their pleasure solely from the competition of the game. A good chunk of them shun the collectors as weirdos. There is a small section of them that are collector players, they are of a certain age (usually 50+) they played with friends as kids and moved into more serious playing in their teens, drifted away and are now back within the hobby. But they are a small percentage of the playing fraternity.
One problem is the "playing rules". There are some many sets and derivatives. I will not attempt to name them all as I will certainly miss something out. I know the last edition of the serious playing rules is more like a book than a leaflet. There are members on here that have had first hand dealing in drafting and writing the rules.
I have played under Subbuteo rules (at least three versions of "advanced") ETSA, FISTF and TSPA. The latter when I returned to playing about twenty years ago. For me they were the most enjoyable set to play with.
When playing in other "open" tournaments I have fallen foul of certain rules and been unaware of others. Its like a Rugby League and Union commonality yet difference. Also interpretation goes along way.
I won`t decry rulesets etc as it is each to their own. The problems come when playing someone from a different era and governing body and the referee is also from their world. As mentioned in previous posts this is where rule interpretation becomes muddied and tournaments can be hurt by deviations from the agreed rulesets in certain games. I`ve seen it happen and been a victim of it myself.
I suppose the point I am trying to make after a ramble. Is that all of the above aspects share the same ultimate DNA. The game we all love for different reasons should bring us together rather than cause division.
We collect for the history and I suppose nostalgia. Some play for fun. Those that take the sport seriously are equally as valid in continuing to promote the game as a sport/hobby and keep it in the public eye.
How many times do we see a Subbuteo style figure still used as an advertising image. The player silhouette is an iconic image, instantly recognisable.
Myself and a number of others think that SSG missed a trick back in the day. Personally I believe the Waddingtons involvement may have been a contributory factor in this. When they agreed the transfer with Mr Adolph, did they know what they were getting. Did they want a toy or a hobby product that ultimately became a sport. My take is they pushed the toy and game part rather than getting fully behind the sport side of things. As a result the more serious players divorced themselves away from the "toy" aspect.
Admittedly Waddingtons did support serious competitions over the years but never really devoted the time money and effort they could have.
I wonder what the global market is now in terms of actual monetary value, especially when you take in all of the excellent after market items such as bases, pitches, goals, figures etc for the serious players and then add in the "collectable" side of things. Not just the vintage stuff but the whole raft of after market painters who create one-offs and specials.
If you`ve got to this point, thanks for reading my two bobs worth.