Nothing beats a good game of hockey, that’s for sure. But if you don’t have the time—and access—to a real hockey rink, the next best thing you have to enjoying your favorite game of puck would be a rod hockey tabletop game.
But what is a rod hockey game?
Also known as bubble hockey and board hockey, rod hockey is a game derived from the real sport of ice hockey and played by two players. Just imagine playing ice hockey but on a tabletop hockey rink instead of the real one.
The players score goals by maneuvering cutout figures of hockey players to hit a small puck into the net. These players can be controlled through rods that are attached to their feet where that can move up and down the line.
This page might include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase. Read more here.
As compared to air hockey or glide hockey, rod hockey is more of a simulation of the real sport while air hockey is a more abstract representation of it.
The game of rod hockey has been around for many years and it is one of the top choices for entertaining guests at home or anywhere else.
Why should you invest in a rod hockey table?
While there are a lot of tabletop games out there for you to choose from, a rod hockey table is an absolute must-have because both kids and adults can enjoy it, thanks to the level of fun and competitiveness that comes with playing the game.
So, if you love to entertain at home, you can easily bring out your rod hockey table and your guests can have fun for hours.
Unlike big and heavy bubble hockey tables, a tabletop rod hockey is extremely versatile. Since it’s not bulky and some even don’t have legs, it wouldn’t take up space in your home and you can easily carry it from one place to another.
You also have the option to play hockey on the bed, on a table or even on the floor, and you can pack it for a trip to the beach or a picnic at the park.
What are the best rod hockey tabletop games on the market?
If you’re ready to invest in a good rod hockey table, you’re probably wondering which product is the best for your needs. To take the guesswork out of making that decision, we rounded up five of the best options you have on the market today:
Stiga Sports NHL Stanley Cup Rod Hockey Table Game
The Stanley Cup is ice hockey’s most prestigious event, so it’s only fitting that you invest in a rod hockey table that pays homage to it.
The Stiga Sports NHL Stanley Cup Rod Hockey Table Game is a great investment because it doesn’t only allow you to play for your favorite team with its distinct NHL team logos and colors, but you can also guarantee to enjoy it for a very long time because of its excellent quality.
Aside from being made of durable polystyrene material, this rod hockey table from Stiga Sports also has five three-dimensional players made from the same polystyrene.
Two of these players have right-hand controls while three have left-hand controls on either side of the table. These players are on Gretzky positioning where there is a center forward, left forward and marksmen. They are also interchangeable, which adds fun to the game.
The best part is that all these players and the rest of the table’s parts are replaceable, so you can really make use of the game for a long time. The Stiga Sports Rod Hockey Table Game is also suitable to be played by children as young as 3 years old.
Franklin Sports Rod Hockey Pro
One of this rod hockey table’s biggest advantages is the addition of rubber suction cups to its legs providing good stability no matter how rough the game gets.
The table is also pretty lightweight at just 6.5 pounds and it has dimensions of 6.5x32x20 inches. And since it’s particularly designed for kids, the tabletop game has bigger sticks and larger players making them easy to control even for the youngest players.
Other features of the game include an on-board scoring system and a plexi-glass enclosure style to give you that feeling of playing in a real ice hockey rink.
MD Sports 36” Rod Hockey Table Game
With dimensions of 36×4.6×19 inches, the MD Sports Rod Hockey Table Game looks and feels like your classic arcade game, but it is also light enough at just 8 pounds making it easy to carry around the house.
This table comes with five players and a goalie on each side of the rink. Players can be controlled through metal rods that spin back and forth for a fun game.
The tabletop game is made with sturdy materials like PVC, metal, plywood and plastic, all of which are highly resistant to wear and tear, so you can guarantee that it will last a long time. You also get a puck launcher with the table and the entire setup is easy to assemble even without any tools.
ManCave Games 28” Rod Hockey Game
Built and designed for both adults and children, the ManCave Games 28” Deluxe Rod hockey table is perfect to use for kids when they learn to play rod hockey.
Instead of using the traditional thin steel rods, this hockey table utilizes ABS rods that are durable enough to not bend over time and offer a smoother game for its users.
The hockey tabletop game measures 29x22x5 and weights just over 10 lbs. It includes two pucks, 5/16 levelers for a leveled playing field on any surface and a manual abacus-style scoring system. The game is also designed to be easily assembled using only a screwdriver.
Another exciting hockey tabletop game out there for children is the PLAYMOBIL NHL Hockey Arena Playset, which is designed to fit your game room table. This game looks like a small hockey arena where there are only two players that represent each team so the child can use both hands to control them.
Instead of the traditional rods, the PLAYMOBIL NHL Hockey Arena Playset uses a unique game controller mechanism where a movable arm and stick helps to control the players and a pull back lever moves the hockey stick for shooting the puck.
If you’re a huge fan of the NHL, you’d be glad to know that this tabletop game is highly customizable with a set of decals that you can put on the arena and your players for a more realistic experience.
What are the things to consider when buying a rod hockey table?
There are several things that you should keep in mind when buying a rod hockey tabletop game, especially since you’d want to invest in one that you could enjoy for a long time and even pass on to your grandkids.
- Think about material.
If you want a durable rod hockey tabletop game that does its job, you have to look at the material used first. The play surface needs to be constructed using a durable material that allows the puck to glide smoothly during the game.
Some manufacturers use durable plastic while more expensive, full-size bubble hockey models use thermal-fused marble for their playing surface. In general, rod hockey tables using expensive materials are pricier, but you also get the best value from them in terms of longevity.
- Think about controls.
While playing table hockey doesn’t require a lot of skill, not all tabletop games will make it easy for you to win. So when buying a table, make sure that you examine controls carefully. A good tabletop game should come with control rods that are easy to maneuver.
Having a manual counter or electronic scoring system would also be a huge plus. Some expensive models even have a puck return mechanism that allows you to restart a game immediately after each goal without chasing the puck yourself.
Of course, there is the budget. Prices for rod hockey tabletop games vary according to different factors. In general, top quality models using the best materials cost more than the average ones. Whether you’re willing to spend a lot on something that will last many years or go with a cheaper version just for fun, the choice is yours to make.
No matter what your budget is, there will surely be a good rod hockey tabletop game out there for you. Just think about all the factors that you need to consider before making your final decision.
If you are conflicted between price and quality, always go for quality because when it comes to entertaining your guests, you can always rely on a good quality rod hockey tabletop game to do the job for you.