If A Productions had a heart it would be the football table. If it had a brain it would be Mark Taylor the boss. Its arms and fingers would be the staff and the building would be the torso. The legs are… er… um. Anyway, what I am basically saying is that table football is very important to A Productions. It builds a sense of community and more importantly allows staff members to challenge each other to pointless contests in which they hope to humiliate their opponents.
Over time rules and specific terminology have arisen which define an A Productions game of table football. Now, for the first time ever, you can read the rules and discover the almost interesting facts of the game.
[R] = Rule
[T] = Terminology
[P] = Players
[T] ABBA: An Abba occurs at the moment when the two team scores out of ten are numerically opposite. For example 3-7, 1-9, 6-4, 8-2 etc. Term invented by Dave Evans.
[T] A couple of girls: A mocking term usually used by a team made up of either Katherine Bolton, Libby Bass or Jane Davies against any other all male team. For example: “Oooh look at you! You got beaten by a couple of girls! Ah Ha ha ha!”
[R] [T] Adjustee: If the ball leaves the pitch and hits the score beads altering the score then that score must stand. This phenomenon has never happened.
[T] Angles: A vocal suggestion to kick the ball at an angle. Often said to the player in control of defense when they continue to mindlessly kick the ball directly at the opposing player’s attacking men.
[R] [T] Anti-Rabbit: This term refers to when the ball enters the goal and comes back out again. This does not count as a goal. If one team performs three anti-rabbits in a row (See Warren) the opposing team automatically gains a point. The term anti-rabbit is loosely derived from the fact that rabbits burrow down into holes. Therefore the opposite of going down the hole (the goal) would be ‘anti.’
[T] Anti-Vinicombe: Scoring an own goal directly from a Spin In. Usually occurs when too much sideways force is applied to the ball coursing it to ricochet into the wrong direction. (Also See Vinicombe)
[T] Arsenaling: Used to describe when a player passes a ball backwards and forwards between his/her own men. Thus slowing the game and boring the other players.
[P] B.A.F.T.A: Team name of Dave Connaly and Duncan Beedie. In this case B.A.F.T.A is an acronym for British Academy for Fusball Table Arts. The team was christened after they finally beat The Mountain after a string of defeats. The team name was deliberately chosen because Mark Taylor had recently missed out on a BAFTA award for the kids TV series Boo!
[T] Baggy: A failed Spin In. The ball simply spins in the side entry hole’s socket before dropping onto the table.
[T] Ball: The spherical object which is propelled around the table. Usually white in colour unless needing to be cleaned.
[T] Beige Maneuver: Similar to a Brown Maneuver but with a goal scored with a direct kick from the opposing team’s defenders.
[T] Blooter!: Description of a powerful shot usually resulting in a goal. Term invented by Dave Evans. Very rarely used in the modern game.
[R] Blowing: Blowing the ball on the table is allowed providing that it is out of reach of all the player’s men. (See Dead Space)
[T] Boomerang: Boomerangs are powerful shots performed by the player in defence which result in the ball hitting the far wall and ricocheting back down the table into their own goal.
[P] Bozza and Bazza: Not to be confused with terrible ventriloquist act Bodger and Badger. The unofficial team name of Katherine Bolton and Libby Bass. You too can have a nick name like Katherine and Libby. Simply take the the first syllable of your surname and add “zza” on the end.
[T] Brown Maneuver: A goal scored by a direct kick from the opposing goal keeper. Named after Gary Brown. Traditionally the scoring player should proceed to perform the official Brown Maneuver dance.
[T] The call of the ball: This term is now redundant. It refers to games played in the old A for Animation studio. The old studio had a concrete floor. Anyone wishing to play a game would bounce a table football ball on the floor which would emit a clicking noise. This noise would summon additional players to the table.
[R] Catch: If a player successfully catches a ball that is propelled off the table his/her team automatically scores two points. The player in defense can then perform a spin in as normal. A catch can only be claimed if the ball has not touched the ground or come to rest on an external object. The ball can not be caught directly above the table. To do so would constitute a hand ball. In this event the opponent’s team can claim one point.
[R] [T] Chisholming: Similar to spinning. The act of rapidly and repeatedly moving your men from side to side. A small amount of this action is allowed. However, constant or persistent chisholming is a foul and requires that the rod used be held horizontally out of play until either team scores a goal. Named after George Chisholm, the Jazz trombone player.
[T] Chop Sticks: The action of passing the ball between the goalie and defenders in a haphazard and uncontrolled manner resulting in an own goal.
[T] Clicker!: Description of a powerful long distance shot that directly hits the opponents goalie and bounces off. Term invented by Jane Davies.
[T] Contre lapin: Pronounced ‘contre la pan.’ Another term for Anti-Rabbit. Term invented by Dave Evans.
[T] Costner: Description of when the ball ricochets off one post of the goal and onto the other. Named after Kevin Costner, director of the film The Postman.
[P] Dave Cropley: An energetic player who’s fast reflexes and powerful straight shots can sometimes backfire on him. (See Boomerang)
[P] Dave Vinicombe: Ex A Productions staff member. Turned to the dark side. Now a storyboard artist at Aardman Animation.
[T] Davies: A goal scored when either the goalie or the defenders kick the ball forward whereupon it is instantly kicked back into their goal by the front row of attacking men. Technique invented by and named after Jane Davies.
[T] Dead Space: An area of the table where the ball can not be reached by any of the player’s men.
[T] Finger of Zan: A term that is rarely used in the modern game. However, the action that it describes still regularly occurs. Used by people who are unable or not inclined to blow the ball. (See Touching the ball whilst in play)
[P] Gary Brown: Old firm player. Once, when happily explaining the rules, Gary was heard to say “I don’t make the rules.” Gary is the closest the game has to an official rule master and creator.
[T] Gimped: Term used to describe when a player makes the rod handles sweaty.
[R] Goals: The rectangular holes at either end of the table. The first team to score ten goals is the winner (Also see Score Beads).
[T] Golden Brown: Term used when three Brown Maneuvers are performed in a row. This is a new term which may become know as The Strangler. Golden Brown was a hit for the band The Stranglers in 1982.
[T] Grobbelaar: No longer commonly used. Refers to an own goal scored carelessly by the goalie.
[T] HA HAAARRRR!: A loud and victorious cry used immediately after an anti-rabbit. Invented by Ian Friend to upset his opponents further.
[P] Ian Friend: One half of infamous ‘The Mountain’ team (See Mark Taylor, The Mountain). Ian is a respected and skilled player mainly due to the large amount of time that he devotes to the game. However, Ian’s skills can be severely hampered by the use of innuendo in his opposing team’s banter.
[R] [T] Illegal Parker Maneuver: The act of deliberately using your attacking men to slam the ball against the side wall causing it to jump off the table. Thus facilitating an easy catch. Invented by Phil Parker whereupon it was immediately banned.
[R] [T] Jackson: If a player can make ten individual 360 degree bodily spins, before a goal is scored, his/her team can claim a goal. Named after Michael Jackson and his exuberant dance moves.
[P] Jane Davies: Senior pro. One of the original core of A For Animation players (Old Firm) Creator of the lethal Davies goal scoring technique. (see also A couple of girls)
[P] Jovis and The Robot: A great name for a 1980s kids TV series. Jovis and the Robot is the partnership of Louis Jones and Paul Hill. The team name was mainly created as a formal challenger to The Mountain.
[P] Katherine Bolton: A promising player. Occasionally violent. In times of stressful play she has been known to use a banshee-like scream with a pitch so high that it is only partially audible to the other human players. However, neighborhood dogs stand to attention ready to come to her aid. (see also A couple of girls and Bozza and Bazza)
[T] Kipling: Similar to a Stay Puffed. A kipling is a final score of 10-1. Exceedingly good.
[T] Last orders: A score of 10 – 2.
[R] Let in: . Performed either when the ball leaves the table during play without a catch or after an interruption to the game. The ball is inserted back into play through the side entry hole without any spin (See Spin In and also The Two Touch Rule)
[P] Libby Bass: A solid player. Libby is always able to deliver at least one of her trademark injuries or complaints during a game. These complaints include; hurting her thumb or wrist whilst spinning in the ball, itchy nose, being either too hot or too cold and having belly ache from laughing too much. (see also A couple of girls and Bozza and Bazza)
[P] Louis Jones: Also know as Jovis, a deliberate misspelling of his first name. The young upstart of the game. He acts like the game is just a bit of fun but underneath his happy go lucky exterior there is bloodlust for victory. (Also see Jovis and the Robot)
[T] Magic Speed: An unusually slow ball speed that players brains are unable to cope with during a typically high speed game. Often players will flail their men about the pitch unable to stop the genteel travel of the ball before it drops into their goal. Term created by Louis Jones.
[P] Mark Taylor: Ultimate old firm player. The boss of A Productions and owner of the game. Recognizable by his characteristic leg kick. During a high speed game Mark will tactically keep control of the ball for long periods of time as he carefully lines up a shot. Only once all the other players have lost interest will he make his move. (Also see The Mountain)
[T] Men: In the case of table football, the men are the plastic figures squired onto the rods like shish kebabs and used to hit the ball. As far as can be seen, there are no women.
[P] The Mountain: The colossal combination of Ian Friend and Mark Taylor. This team was unbeatable until they got beaten. Then they won some more games and were unbeatable until they lost again. The Mountain has lowered it’s smug attitude somewhat ever since they were defeated by Dave Connaly and Duncan Beedie (see B.A.F.T.A.) who reveled in their victory. Now days The Mountain plays fewer games often with less experienced players to ensure a hollow victory.
[T] Norris: The act of trapping the ball under the feet of one of the men before pushing it forward as if the ball had been squirted out. The term Norris comes from the rhyming slang of Norris McWhirter squirter. Norris McWhirter was the co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records and regular adjudicator on Roy Castle’s Record Breakers. Norris is now sadly deceased.
[T] Old Firm: The old firm consists of four players, Jane Davies, Phil Parker, Mark Taylor and Gary Brown. These four players represent the longest serving members of A for Animation/A Productions even though Gary Brown has technically left the company. An old firm game will usually be held when Gary Brown pops in for a visit. Other staff members feel no bitterness what so ever towards this elitist, self important group.
[T] Parker Maneuver: A goal scored when either the left or right field attacking man makes a quick pass to the central man who is then used to slam the ball into the goal. Technique created by and named after Phil Parker.
[P] Paul Hill: A calm player. Remains almost completely silent throughout a game. Paul has garnered the nick name Ian Holm (an actor who played an android in the film Alien) and The Robot due to his apparent unemotional responses to the game. (See also Jovis and The Robot)
[P] Phil Parker: Senior pro. Another Old Firm player. Phil no longer plays regularly. Can often play highly calculated and precise shots. Phil invented the Parker Maneuver and the Illegal Parker Maneuver.
[R] Players: A standard game of A Productions Table Football requires four players, two on each team. Each team player controls two rods. A game can also be played with only two players controlling all four rods of their team. Two player games are rare and generally only take place when either all other staff members are busy or all other staff members bitterly dislike the two people playing. Three player games have also been known to occur. A three player game will usually occur whilst the players wait for the forth player to arrive or when one player is particularly cocky and confident (See Ian Friend).
On special occasions eight player games can take place with one player in control of eack rod. The normal Player Swap rule does not apply during an eight player game. Instead, the players swap positions every time their team scores. As follows…
Goalie moves to defense . Defense moves to mid field. Mid field moves to attack. Attack moves to goalie.
The player in control of the goalie must remember to keep track of the score (See Score Beads) and Spin In the ball when required.
[R] Player Swap: When a team reaches five goals their two players swap positions. Attack into defense and vica versa. The opposing team can use this opportunity to place the ball back into play and try to score before the other team is ready (See Stallone).
[T] Quentin: Term used for when the ball jumps back into the side entry hole during play.
[R] Round Robin: Three games played in succession with the same four players. After each game the players swap teams so that every game has a different combination of players. During the three games every player should play with every other player. Each player should keep track of how many of the three games they win and how many goals their team won with. After the games have been completed it should be possible to work out which individual player was the overall winner with the most wins and most goals.
[R] Score Beads: At the beginning of a fresh game the ten plastic beads or markers at either end of the table should be set into the default position i.e.all beads positioned away from the relevant team. Failure to do so is frowned upon by Paul Hill who takes this sort of thing far too seriously. When a goal is scored one marker should be moved towards the scoring team by the player currently in defense. The following phrase can prove useful to remembering this rule “When a goal you do score. A bead towards you, you must draw.” There is an additional rule that is sometimes used depending on how ruthless the players are. If you forget to mark up a goal and the opposing team then scores you can not claim your unmarked goal.
[T] Spang: Sound made by the ball as it hits the back of the goal.
[R] Spin In: Used in three situations, at the start of a game, immediately after a goal has been scored or after a catch. The defending player is allowed to place spin on the ball when it is inserted into play through the side entry hole. If applied correctly, the spin can propel the ball into the opposing teams half. This technique is used to achieve a Vinicombe. (Also see Anti-Vinicombe)
[R] Spinning: Not to be confused with a ‘spin in.’ Spinning is the act of twirling the table rods quickly. This action requires no skill and is off putting to other players. It is therefore a foul to commit spinning. However, occasional accidental spinning can occur when a player’s hand may slip. One occurrence of spinning qualifies for a yellow card. Two occurrences of spinning is a red card offence. In this case the rod that was spun must be held horizontally to effectively keep it out of play. Only when either side scores a goal can the rod be returned to normal playing position.
[T] Stallone: The act of scoring a goal as your opponents swap positions. (see Player Swap) Named after Sylvester Stallone because it is sly.
[T] Stay Puft: A reference to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the film Ghostbusters. The worst thing to think of. A Stay Puft is a score of 10 – 0. No team wants to think that they will be beaten with such a score. Inversely, it is common knowledge that if you think that you are going to win with a Stay Puft then the opposing team will immediately score. Never think of a Stay Puft.
There is now a Stay Puft trophy which is awarded to any team that achieves a Stay Puft.
[T] Super Stay Puft: A Stay Puft achieved with a final catch theoretically giving a score of 11 – 0. Extremely rare.
[P] Team Egg: The team name used by A Production staff members to describe any two players from Fictitious Egg. Fictitious Egg shares studio space with A Productions. May also be referred to as The Egg.
[R] Ten Ball Frenzy: A quick game played with all ten balls. The two central rods of each team are held horizontally. A ball is then balanced on each of the five men on both rods. On the count of three the rods are dropped, releasing the balls. The aim is to then score as many of the ten balls as possible. The game is finished when the last ball is scored and the totals can be counted. Ten ball frenzies no longer take place after one ball was lost. Another ball was given away by Gary Brown, without official authorization, to another staff member’s child. Therefore, only eight ball frenzies can now be played.
[P] The Toadie Brothers: Team name for Louis Jones and Ian Friend. The name is derived from the observation that the combination of Louis and Ian’s characteristics would result in the creation of Toadie from popular daytime soap Neighbours.
[T] Tolstoy: The name for the rare event when both teams perform a warren. A warren a piece. Name taken from the writer Leo Tolstoy.
[R] Touching the ball whilst in play: Some players prefer to move the ball out of dead spaces by pushing or knocking it with their hand. However, it is not permitted to touch the ball if it has come to rest in the mouth of the goal. A ball at rest in the mouth of the goal can only be blown out. (see Blowing and also Finger of Zan)
[R] [T] Tramline: Very occasionally the ball may jump off of the pitch and land on top of either of the table’s side walls. The tops of the walls have two raised lines or tracks. The ball may then role along between these tracks and fall from the end of the table. The game is instantly won by whichever team catches the ball as it falls.
[T] Trombone: When a player moves their goalie backwards and forwards across the goal and fails to save a slow moving ball. (See also Magic Speed)
[T] Travolta: Used to describe a win by a team who initially seemed to be heading for a huge defeat. Named after John Travolta and his amazing come back to popularity with the film Pulp Fiction. Sadly every new film that John Travolta makes now erodes the accurate meaning of this term.
[R] The Two Touch Rule: After a Let In the ball must be touched twice by any of the plastic men on the rods. This is to prevent a player from simply immediately kicking the ball into the goal. It forces a respectable etiquette on the players. A goal scored after only one touch will be disallowed. The opposing team then automatically score a point and may Spin In the ball.
Recently the two touch rule was amended. It is now required for the ball to touch men on both teams before a goal can be scored. Controversy surrounds this new rule. Theoretically one team could lift all their rods into a horizontal position making it almost impossible for the other team to get the ball to hit any other men but their own. Thus a goal scored at either end would always automatically go to the opposing team. Paul Hill has publicly declared that this rule is a nonsense and is no more fair than the original two touch rule.
[T] Yep yep: Phrase used to alert your team mate that it is time to swap positions. (See Player Swap)
[T] Vaporizer: Basically a very fast Vinicombe. So fast that non of the players see the ball enter the the goal.
[T] Vinicombe: A Vinicombe is a goal scored directly by a Spin In. Named after Dave Vinicombe. (Also see Anti-Vinicombe)
[R] [T] Warren: Three Anti- Rabbits performed by the same team. The completion of a Warren automatically results in the opposing team gaining a point.
[T] Wiggum: A final score of 10 – 4. Named after Chief Wiggum from The Simpsons for his use of CB radio terminology. “10 – 4, boys!”
[T] Zico: Named after the Brazilian football player. The act of using the corner slopes of the pitch to curve the ball in and around the back of the goalie to score. This action exploits a known dead space at the corner of the goal.