Alpha, Beta, Game-uh: Playing Foosball with Players with Different Skill Levels

Updated November 23, 2018

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Written by Rex Cornwell

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How can you have fun playing foosball when one player is way better than the other?

When one player is clearly better than the other, one might wonder whether to spend (precious) drinking time playing a game against an opponent that so often has a sizable and pre-existing imbalance in skill.

We’re talking about, what, maybe 5 hours of lifetime game experience taking on 300 hours of lifetime game experience?  The player with the latter is sure to have an advantage in passing, blocking, and shooting skills, as well as strategic instinct, setting the table for a long and frustrating game that tramples the cheery alcohol buzz the first two or three pints so pleasantly achieved.  What’s the fun in that? I’d rather spin the handle on a Jack in the Box primed with a collection of one-line insults.

The Alpha-Beta Approach to Foosball

But wait ~ maybe we just need to change the rules so the game is challenging and passionately exciting, start to finish.  So here they are, and we hope these, or some similar, make your foosball friendly more buzz-sensitive.

~ For the following rules, the player with more experience = “Alpha”, and the player with less experience = “Beta” ~

  1. Beta can spin.  When the ball is in play, out of play, and especially during disagreements involving the rules. (Alpha cannot spin.)

  2. Both goalies are on Beta’s team.  

    1. “Dunking” with Shaq-like power and any sort of celebratory yell, or tennis-style grunting, is encouraged when Beta scores with the goalie on his or her offensive side.

    2. If the goalie rods have 3 players, then on the Beta’s offensive side, Beta can only use the middle player to dunk.  The other two players on the goalie rod must pass the ball backwards to the forwards on Beta’s 3-player rod before a shot can be fired.

  3. Alpha can’t pass from one player to another on the same rod (“tick tack”).  Instead, all kicking by Alpha must advance the ball forwards or backwards.

  4. If Beta attempts 3 passes or shots, and each pass/shot attempt is blocked but Beta gets the rebound at the same rod all 3 times, official’s time out is called and the ball is advanced to the next line of Beta’s offense.

  5. Cussing = legal for Beta; illegal for Alpha.  Any swearing or otherwise foul language by Alpha results in a single penalty shot for Beta at the 3 player rod.  (Ideally, a 3rd person referee would be present to decide if and when Alpha has broken this rule.) It is advised that Beta swear and/or talk dirty constantly in an attempt to influence Alpha’s dialogue.

  6. Beta gets a head start of (x) goals.

  7. Jarring (“any banging of the side walls or movement of the table that causes the opponent to lose possession or prevents them from catching the ball”) is legal for Beta.  Illegal for Alpha.

  8. At any point in the match, Beta may expose underwear, buttocks, bra, or cleavage, at which time Alpha must look for 5 seconds, away from the table.  

    1. This rule may be utilized only once every 15 seconds of play.

    2. If exposure occurs during a deadball, “looking” is counted as the first 5 seconds of play.

  9. Beta may re-position Alpha’s players on any of the rods Alpha is not holding, until Alpha grabs the handle of that rod.