What is Bubble Hockey? (Everything You Need to Know…)

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While most people are familiar with common game room games, there is one game in particular that often gives people pause because it is so unfamiliar. Bubble hockey, while growing in popularity, still isn’t a game that most people are familiar with, making it something that is unique and special.

bubble hockey shelti

Image Source From Shelti's Slapshot Video later in this article.

Bubble hockey raises a lot of questions, but is a really fun game. Let's learn a bit more about it...

What Is Bubble Hockey?

People who love the thrill and feeling of going to see a game of ice hockey, but don’t live in an area where they can easily make it to the rink can bring that same excitement to their home when they invest in bubble hockey. This is a fun sport that can be enjoyed without having ever been on the rink and is very reminiscent of foosball, making it an instant favorite for a lot of people.

A fun table game, bubble hockey allows players to enjoy the speed and thrill of an ice hockey game while controlling hockey players, who are on rods. This makes it easy for foosball players to quickly switch over to playing bubble hockey without a lot of difficulty.

These tables, unlike foosball, air hockey, and other game tables, have a clear and durable dome that is over the top of the table. This material is really hard and virtually indestructible, which is great for when players launch the puck into the air, as it can hit the dome and fall back down onto the table without damaging the dome. The dome is in place to protect both players and bystanders from being injured by a flying puck.

While the games themselves have changed a little since they were first released, they are still played in the same way. This fact, coupled with the growing popularity of bubble hockey, makes it easier than ever for players to find these tables for sale, for use in bars and restaurants, and to find local tournaments to play in.

How Do You Play Bubble Hockey?

Understanding how to play bubble hockey is key for anyone who wants to enjoy this game and wants to be able to participate in fun matches, as well as more serious competitions. While the rules are all very basic and should be followed as much as possible, they can vary slightly from one location to another, which means that players need to be willing to adapt to local or regional rules as necessary.

The goal of bubble hockey is not only to try to score goals by getting the puck through the opponent’s goal, but also to prevent them from scoring in your goal. In this way, bubble hockey is a lot like foosball. Goals do not count in bubble hockey unless the puck falls all of the way down the chute and the machine registers the goal. This means that pucks that bounce back out of the goal are considered live and play will continue.

Players start the game using a coin flip to determine which side the table they will be on, and the table itself will drop a puck down the center of the table to begin a game. Each full game consists of three 90-second periods, and there is a clock on the game that will count this down to ensure fair play.

No players may tilt, lift, or shift the table to affect where the puck goes, and each player may only control three men, including their goalie, at a time. Stalling, which occurs when a player holds the puck to delay the game and cause the clock to continue to countdown is punishable by a goal penalty.

Additionally, timeouts are taken when the puck is stranded in a dead area on the game. Players can only spin their men for one second per time, but if they continue to spin excessively then they can be warned or disqualified.

Finally, a tournament game ends if a team is ahead by two or more points at the end of the regulation time. Ties or losses by only one goal result in more play until one team is winning by two goals. During non-tournament games, however, players can win by a single goal or win during sudden death.

Is Bubble Hockey Fun?

Bubble hockey, though a little difficult to learn how to play at first, is one of the most fun table games that you can play. Because it is designed specifically to be durable and able to withstand flying pucks without any damage, bubble hockey is great for players who are looking for a game with a little more power than foosball.

It’s not a game that you can play on your own, which means that you need to have some people with you who also want to play bubble hockey. This, however, generally isn’t a problem, as families who love game tables will invest in a bubble hockey table for their home or players can easily go to a local gaming business or bar.

As long as players are willing to play by the rules and keep their head in the game for the best results, they will find that bubble hockey, though competitive and fast paced, is an incredibly fun game. It’s a great option for anyone looking for a game that is a little bit different than ones that they have played in the past.

Who Invented Bubble Hockey?

Bubble hockey has an interesting history that actually dates back to 1932, as this is when a similar game was first invented. This prototype had men who were controlled by rods and were used for both offense and defense during the game, making it very similar to today’s bubble hockey.

The bubble hockey that most people are familiar with today, however, wasn’t invented until 1982. This game was originally designed by Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, or ICE. They founded Chexx and started producing bubble hockey right away. Since the original game, featuring the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey team against the Russian Hockey team sold a surprising 5,000 tables in the first year and became popular both in hockey stadiums and arcades throughout the United States, it quickly became a staple for ICE.

In 1993, the Super Chexx table was released, which features the popular and ubiquitous large domed table that is so familiar. Throughout the 1990’s other companies began producing their own versions of bubble hockey. It’s now possible to buy versions from companies such as Stiga, Carrom Company, and Shelti. Some of the versions available on the market today don’t have domes, but the majority of bubble hockey tables do, both for aesthetics, but also for safety.

Who Makes the Best Bubble Hockey Game Table?

Shelti Breakout Bubble Hockey Table

Choosing the best bubble hockey game table can be a little tricky, because you need to consider a few different things. Make sure to take into consideration the quality of the table so that you can rest easy knowing that it won’t easily be damaged during play. Additionally, consider the size of the table so that you can make sure you have enough room for the game in your home. Finally, check the condition and durability of both the playfield and the dome.

Read Also: Best Bubble Hockey Table to Buy

All in all, the original ICE Super Chexx table is the best option on the market. It has a durable dome that is almost indestructible and won’t crack during competitive games. Additionally, the playfield is incredibly smooth and high quality, ensuring that the puck can easily slide and won’t be slowed down by friction. Thanks to the durability of the table, it is made to last for years to come without needing repair or part replacement.

Where Can You Play Bubble Hockey?

Sometimes, the best place to play bubble hockey is in your own home. Bubble hockey fans who live in an area without game tables in their local establishments may need to invest in their own game table so that they can enjoy bubble hockey whenever they want to.

Other bubble hockey fans may be lucky enough to live in an area where bars and arcades have bubble hockey tables ready for play. This is a great way for people to try out bubble hockey before they invest in a table to make sure that it is the right decision for them.

As you can see, there is a lot to love about this fun game. Even though it is not as common as pool and foosball, bubble hockey is a welcome addition to any home game room or bar. It’s easy to learn how to play, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to win, making it a great competitive game for any game room fan. Understanding the history and how to play bubble hockey will make you much more comfortable trying out this game the next time you are lucky enough to be in an area with a table.