How to Play Table Football with Coins

by RuthJ ; Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Smooth, flat surface such as a table top

  • 3 coins

  • A friend to be your opponent

This is a classic game that goes back decades. Many adults will remember playing this as a child, perhaps at school lunch hour or at scout meetings.

Put the coins in their starting position on the edge of the table, in a triangle formation with the coin at the point of the formation sticking halfway off the table.

The first move is to hit that end coin, the one that is sticking halfway off the table. Usually the "heel" of the hand is used to make this first move.

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The object of the game is to move the coins down the table toward the far side. However, only the coin closest to the player may be moved. That closest coin must be "shot" through the space between the other two coins, using a push/slide motion. (Lay your index finger on the coin and give it a firm shove across the table.)

The first player's turn is over if he fails to get the nearest coin through the space between the other two, or the nearest coin hits one of the other coins as it passes by. If one of these occurs, play passes to the second player and he gets to start a fresh game from his side of the table. He sets up the coins in the starting position on his end and begins the trek down the table.

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When one player manages to advance the coins down to the opposite side of the table and is ready to try for a goal, the opponent must place his hand on the end of the table to form a goal, with his index and pinky fingers forming the sides of the goal area. If the advancing player can manage to shot the coin into the goal area between those to fingers, he wins that round and scores a point.

About the Author

RuthJ is the author of a student guide to Beowulf, published by Greenwood Press. She is currently writing a book on the technology and material culture of the Middle Ages. She taught her kids at home for many years and learned many offbeat things.