As you may already know – especially if you’ve paid a visit to Devolutions’ HQ – we are massive foosball (or “babyfoot”, as it’s called in Quebec) fans.
Honestly, it’s not just a pastime here that helps us relax, have fun, and spend time with each other. It’s a passion that can make the rivalries in Game of Thrones look like child’s play. After all, the only thing GoT clans want to do is to sit on the (very uncomfortable looking) iron throne. Here at Devolutions, our annual tournament offers a much more sacred prize: THE DEVOLUTIONS CUP.
As you might expect, achieving victory is a matter of careful preparation and training. We’re kind of like Spartans in that we work hard to be the best (but without killing people and screaming “THIS IS SPARTA!”). Let's not forget that behind all this “competition” (that is, in fact, really friendly). The main goal is to create a friendly (and yet awesome) environment that makes new employees integration easy and fun.
Legend has it that the first rule of Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club.
Well, at Devolutions, the only fighting that happens during our foosball tournaments is carried out by rotating miniature soccer players (poor little guys, that ball probably hurts!), and we’re more than happy to share the rules. Especially since, as we’ve experienced, foosball without rules descends pretty quickly into screaming and chaos.
Standard 2-on-2-Rules (The winner is the first to 10 goals)
- Rule #1: No spinning the handles (seriously, no spinning allowed!). We want teams to use their skills, tactics and strategies – not see who can whirl a lever the fastest.
- Rule #2: There has to be a legitimate “foosball play” before either team is allowed to score. That way, teams can’t just drill a shot from the center line the second the ball is in play. So there must be a pass, a change of possession, or some other gameplay activity. If a team violates this rule, their goal doesn’t count, and they must feel shame.
- Rule # 3: When one team scores 5 goals, the 2 players on that team must switch places – i.e. the player who controls the forwards must move to the defense/goalie, and vice versa.
- Rule #4: We play in a multi-table environment, and occasionally balls flip from one table to another. But guess what? The game must go on! The team that found itself with an extra ball must stop playing, and the team that saw their beloved ball hurl away must SWITCH TABLES and keep playing until a goal is scored.
Special 3-on-3 Rules (The winner is the first to 18 goals!)
We like to mix things up every now and then to give every member of the Devolutions Team (rookie or expert) an equal chance to win, and so we sometimes play mega matches, where teams are comprised of 3 (instead of 2) players, and must score 18 goals (instead of 10). As you can guess, we don’t do this often because it can get really crowded and crazy.
Here is what we do to impose some sense of control on the chaos:
- Teams must designate their best player, their second best, and their third best player (which is a nicer way of saying their worst player). For simplicity, we’ll call the best player “A”, the second-best “B”, and the third-best (who is usually pretty new to foosball) “C”.
- Teams flip a coin or play rock/paper/scissors, and the losing team gets to choose who is going to start the first game (we’ll explain in a moment why the losing team does this instead of the winning team). For example, they can choose the “B” and “C” players, and leave their all-star “A” player on the bench.
- Now that the losing team has selected its roster of players, the team that won the coin toss or rock/paper/scissors has an advantage (because they won!). Their advantage is setting their roster second, which allows them to strategically choose their players based on what the losing team has done with its roster. For example, if the losing team selected their “B” and “C” players, the winning team can (if they wish) choose their “A” and “B” players, and try and get a lot of goals right away.
- Every time that a team scores 3 goals, they must change their players. To keep things fair, every player must partner with every other player on their team. So, for example, the team setup could look like this (remember that teams change after every 3 goals, and we’re assuming that the team below is the winner because they changed 6 times and scored 18 goals to win):
- A, B
- A, C
- B, A
- B, C
- C, A
- C, B
To give everyone a fair chance to win the DEVOLUTIONS CUP, we use a double-elimination tournament structure. There are two categories: the winners and the losers (yep, I know, but that's how we call it).
As you’d expect, teams that win jump into the winners’ category. Teams that lose head for the losers’ category and MUST win their next game or else they are eliminated. Here’s a chart to give you a sense of how it all unfolds:
Over the years, we’ve developed many techniques and special moves. We’re trying to standardize them, and here’s a look at our list so far:
- “The Sniper”: Shoot from a defender or the goalie to the opponent goal.
- “The DeLorean”: Pass the ball from a forward to the middle and score a goal from the center. (Because the play went back in time… get it?)
- “The Tony Hawk”: The ball flies and roll on the top side of the table and then falls back into the game.
- “The Tony Hawk Pro Skater”: The ball flies and roll on the top of the table above the goal and then falls behind the goalie, into the goal.
- “The Rainbow Shot”: The ball is hit SO hard against the opponent’s wall, that it comes back in the air and goes in the shooter’s own net. (You’d be surprised at how often this happens).
- “The Stuff”, which is the forwards special, when he anticipates a shot from the goalie, and stuffs it for a goal the other way.
- “The Rebound” (we also call it the “Stef”, thanks to our CTO): The Rebound (or the Stef) is a shot that misses the net but is fired so hard that it rebounds all the way back for an own-goal.
Are You a Foosball Addict?
If you’re not a foosball addict – boy, you don’t know what you’re missing. Really, you can buy one (or have your wonderful CEO buy one), or you can probably find a table at a bar or community center nearby.
And if you are a hard core foosball addict, we’d love to hear your stories and strategies. Tell us what you love about the game and your favorite moves. And if you ever find yourself in our part of the world, please stop by and have some foosball fun with us!