Bubble hockey is a table game that came out in the early 80’s but is still popular today. Just like any other game everyone is allowed to play it how they want to. However, these are a series of official rules created by the original manufacturers of bubble hockey, Super Chexx.
Official Bubble Hockey Rules
- A coin toss will decide who will be on which side.
- A game is made of 3 90 second periods.
- The one to win 2 periods first wins the game.
- If the puck bounces out of the goal it doesn't count as a point. It must go down the goal shoot to count.
- Hockey players can hold the puck for a maximum of 5 seconds.
- Using distractions to get points is illegal. This includes excessive spinning and moving of the rods.
- Shifting the table is illegal unless it's to get the puck out of a dead zone.
Starting The Game
To start most games off you need to do a coin toss. In bubble hockey, a coin toss is used to decide which player will play on which side. Most players have their favorite teams they want to play for so the winner of the coin toss gets to pick. The original bubble hockey tables had teams like U.S v the Soviet Union or U.S v Canada
Each game is made up of three periods that are typically 90 seconds long. The scoreboard has a timer to show the players how much time is left in a period. Just like real hockey, in bubble hockey a puck is dropped in the middle of the rink to start each period.
Because there are a total of three periods, the first person to win two wins the whole game. If the first two periods are won by the same person then the third period will not be played. If the time runs out at the end of the third play, most tables will allow the round to continue if the puck has not been scored yet.
Breaking The Rules
There are a couple things you can do to break the rules in bubble hockey but most of them are obvious or are similar to other table games rules. Bubble hockey rules most relate to air hockey rules.
One similar rule is what to do if the puck bounces out of the goal. Sometimes the players hit the puck too hard and cause the puck to hit the side of the goal and not go down the shoot. Because the sensor doesn’t know the puck went into the goal this does not count as a goal.
Another similar rule is the amount of time a player can hold the puck. Because each period is timed, stalling the puck over five seconds is not allowed. A player can pass the puck to other members of their team but if one player holds the puck over five seconds a goal penalty will be enforced.
A distracted player can’t lose a point. This includes distractions from outside the game but also inside the game. If a player moves their hockey players back and forth rapidly causing the table to shift or they spin their players fast repeatedly they could get a warning.
Tilting the table for distracting purposes or for an advantage is also illegal. The only time tilting the table could be allowed is if the puck is in a ‘dead zone’. This is where the puck can’t be reach by any players and is stuck. If this happens then you must call a timeout and stop the timer.
Bubble Hockey Strategies:
There are strategies every player uses for any game. Professional bubble hockey players use certain techniques that help them win their games. If you’re new to the game of bubble hockey there are a couple things you should know.
Because bubble hockey is such a fast game it can be hard for players to keep track of the puck. You can use this to your advantage. If you have a plan you want to set in action make sure you do it quickly so your opponent can’t see it coming.
Another thing you can do is to avoid spinning the rods to much. Just like in foosball, doing this will make the puck go everywhere and potentially back into your own goal area. Doing this requires no skill and is a total rookie move.
Working on your defense is just as important as working on your offense. Anytime the puck moves to a different area it’s important to move your other players in front of your goal to avoid a shot from going in. Any slight adjustments throughout the game will go a long way.
Bubble Hockey Trick Shots:
There are a couple moves that you can use to help you score a point. One of the most basic moves you can use is hitting the puck off at an angle against the wall in a way that will cause it to go towards your opponents goal.
Most professional players take advantage of what their opponents believe your move will be. Faking out your opponents can be a useful skill. Once you have possession of the puck you can tap it forward a little and then follow it up with a powerful hit. Your opponent was ready for the first hit but not the second.
How Can I Update My Bubble Hockey Table?
There are many ways that you can update your bubble hockey table. Touching up the colors of your board and your players is a cheap and easy way to do so. You can also buy other parts or create your own to add to your table.
A lot of the newer bubble hockey tables include jumbotrons. If your table just has an older scoreboard you can see if the jumbotrons will be compatible with your table or you can just build your own using electronic picture frames and make a wooden frame.
Decorating your bubble hockey with stickers and logos can make it look more personal. You can buy customized hockey players or stencils for your favorite hockey teams logo. Your pedestal or table that the bubble hockey is on has a lot of empty space you can decorate with different stickers.
Where Can I Buy Bubble Hockey Parts?
Because different manufacturers use different part it can be hard to find a replacement part for your specific brand of bubble hockey table. Most of the time you’ll either have to go to a used parts online store like ebay to find you specific part.
However, if they are still making the model of you bubble hockey table then you can probably go to the website of your manufacturer and they might have it. A lot of them don’t have all the parts for their tables available on their website but if you contact them personally they might be willing to find what you need.