Subbuteo and the big ball.

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Johnny Reb
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Joined: 23 Jul 2011, 09:21
Location: March, Cambridgeshire.

Subbuteo and the big ball.

Post by Johnny Reb »

I have often wondered why the "old Subbuteo" fraternity use the "modern" 22mm (3/4") ball in their matches.
Since Peter Adolph introduced the game to us 75 years ago the standard ball was the ball included in every Subbuteo box set up until till 1981.
It was a 25mm (1") ball, 2 or 3 paneled in brown, white or orange, Brown being the norm in most box sets.
This size of ball must have been designed to play in conjunction with the design of the playing figures used at the time.
These figures were flat card progressing to celluloid. It wasn't until 1971 that Waddington's dropped this range, but sill continued with the 25mm ball in all Subbuteo box sets. The 3 dimensional OO scale figure had been released in 1961 with an improved design shortly after the wonderful World cup of 1966, yet the 25mm ball was still the standard ball being played with both flat figures and the new continental OO scale figure. It wasn't until 1969 that the first 22mm (3/4") (modern) ball appeared as an accessory in the Subbuteo catalogue. The big ball was discontinued as the ball in new redesigned Subbuteo box sets in 1981, at the time when the "zombie" peg fitting player was first introduced.
This would suggest that the 25mm (1") standard ball was the ball that was intended to be played with both the "flat" figures and "heavyweight" figures, with Waddington's (the new owners of Subbuteo) "Zombies" and "lightweights" using their preferred ball of 22mm (3/4") in all Subbuteo box sets, which has carried on into the modern game played today.
The small 18mm ball was released as an accessory early in the production of Subbuteo, with the smaller goals it never caught on with Subbuteo leagues and associations at any time although many players still use it in their games.
I personally will play with the bigger ball in my Subbuteo games with both "flats" and "heavyweight" teams. I find the game more controlled, and played at a pace this old duffer can handle.
It would Be good to hear how other forum members view my comments.
There are lots of modern 22mm (3/4") balls with a variety of colours and transfers available on the market at this time, but very little, if none of the "Standard" Subbuteo ball.
With no replica's on the market and only a handful of transfers for those old style balls made by Subbuteo. Is the day of the Subbuteo "standard" ball coming to an end ?

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope 2022 brings much cheer to you all. :D
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