Fun With An Air Hockey Table

Air hockey is a fast, highly competitive game that is a little like ice hockey but doesn’t need an ice rink. The main piece of equipment required is an air hockey table. Following is a brief look at this equipment and the sport it is used for.

The game is usually played by two people, though teams of two people each can also play. As with the ice version, the goal is to get the puck into the opposing side’s goal. Each player has a mallet, sometimes called a sombrero, with which to hit the puck. In official tournament play, the winner is the first person or team to score seven points. Official games have many other rules, friendly games have just the rules that the players agree on.

Most tables have small air holes covering the playing surface. When air is being pumped through the holes, the puck slides over the surface with very little friction. This makes the game very fast and thus more exciting to play. Some tables rely on a very slick plastic surface instead of air flow. They are still called air hockey tables even though they don’t use the air.

There are several active manufacturers of these tables. For competitive play, the United States Air-Table Hockey Association (USAA) currently only sanctions the use of the Dynamo brand, made by Valley-Dynamo. Valley-Dynamo makes a number of models, some designed for home use and some for commercial applications. The commercial models can be setup for coin operation. Those who want to make a little extra cash or prevent excessive use can certainly use this option at home.

The Valley-Dynamo Fire Storm is their top of the line home model. It has all of the standard features, including a high performance air blower and overhead LED score display. It also has black light illumination which lights up the ultraviolet sensitive playing surface, plus graphics and sound to enhance the excitement of the play action.

Carrom makes a number of more economical models. Both counter top and free standing models are available. All are air powered. They have a NASCAR themed table top model for fans of stock car racing.

Innovative Concepts (Ice) has a number of high end tables. Their Double Fast Track model can be used by four players at once as two person teams competing with each other. It also has overhead scoring and sound effects. It is capable of coin operation for commercial use.

The Voit Products 40 Inch Competitor Rod Table runs quite a different game. Instead of each player having a single mallet as in the standard game, each player has five rods, each of which is attached to a swiveling plastic player. There is also a goalie.

Finally, for fans of the television show The Simpsons, we have The Simpsons 4 Foot Air Powered Table. It is basically a kids starter table. The appeal of adding Bart and Homer Simpson’s faces will be left to the reader to figure out.

Air hockey can be a very challenging game when played with someone who has skill and has practiced. Purchasing an air hockey table can be rather expensive, but there are models to fit almost any budget. A game like this can provide a setting for a family to have some great fun together.