Subbuteo has officially relaunched in the UK with two new box sets revealed for the first time.
Hasbro has joined with new joint-license holder University Games to relaunch the game for the first time since 2012 and they have described the new box sets as a ‘supreme generation of product’.
Subbuteo.Online attended the London Toy Fair 2020 to take a look at the new Subbuteo box sets.
They include a standard Subbuteo box set featuring red and blue reference 001 and 002 teams. This will act as the backbone to the Subbuteo range.
However, the best seller is likely to be an officially-branded England box set to be launched in time for Euro 2020. The set includes an official England team with new and improved player detail including different ethnicities, hair colour and even boot colours.
We spent some time talking to the new custodians of the game to find out everything you need to know about the new Subbuteo.
What is the new Subbuteo?
In short, it is two entirely new box sets featuring two teams each, goals, a pitch and balls. The standard set features red and blue teams and a specially-badged England set features an official England team.
The boxes themselves are higher quality than before and have a more grown-up design to them. They use more of the dark Subbuteo green (although we’d like to see the lighter colour make a return) and the cardboard is thicker and better quality.
What about the players?
Inside the players are very much modern Subbuteo, with a more chunky, muscular profile to match the new toned and trained professional players of today. Gone are the spindly lightweight era players and the new players are now more durable and able to bend in their bases so that ankles do not snap.
The detail is impressive. It’s easy to spot the likes of Sterling, Kane and Maguire in the England set.
The bases are flatter than traditional lightweight, with a lower profile and larger flatter area on the bottom. However, they are still curved and that makes for some solid curve action in gameplay.
However, the players do come out of the bases quite easily. While this opens up new options in terms of swapping players and teams to different colours, and ensuring fewer breakages, it does mean some stops in play to reassemble your players.
What about the accessories?
The balls in the new set are based on classic white balls with the Subbuteo logo. The logo is black, not green, so may be one for collectors. The ball is smaller than traditional Subbuteo but works well with the new, flatter bases.
Those who want a more traditional game can easily swap with a larger ball and that should be very easy to chip while not compromising on the ability to curl the players.
The goals are probably the least impressive part of the new sets. They are easy to assemble for children but feel lightweight and flimsy.
The pitch, however, is a triumph. Made with new thicker material it is a long way from the threadbare efforts in recent years. It feels luxurious and we are promised that it is less inclined to crease when stored for quicker setup.
When is Subbuteo released?
The new sets will be released in April, along with a TV advert that really captures the nostalgia of the game and how University Games wants a new generation to take it up.
The advert will be shown from April and is part of the biggest marketing campaign the game has seen in 40 years.
It will be sold in Argos but University Games also wants Subbuteo to be a high street staple once again. They are talking to other high street sellers and want Subbuteo to be sold in independent shops for that ‘Dad or Grandad and child shopping experience’.
Will there be new teams and accessories?
University Games was tight-lipped on the ins and outs of new teams but were keen to stress it was on their radar. Things like licenses will need to be looked at and we can expect new announcements based on the success of the first two box sets.
In the meantime the company was displaying some of the Paul Lamond teams, which is excess stock from the previous launch.
So what is the plan?
We talked about a lost generation of Subbuteo and the staff at University Games agreed. It was promising to hear people involved in the relaunch played as a child and there is plenty of passion for the game.
The plan is very much aimed at getting a new generation involved with Subbuteo. More accessible sets sold in shops, easy set up, durable players and licenses such as England to entice kids to try the game are top of the agenda.
That means collectors and older players may need to be patient to get things they deem important such as collectable sets, reference numbers and nostalgic designs.
However, older players have not been forgotten. They do get a mention in the press blurb.
“Subbuteo is a brand that has a unique energy and vibe of its own, believes Richard Wells, Managing Director of University Games. “The response we experienced when we first re-introduced Subbuteo was phenomenal and we cannot wait to see the reaction to this supreme generation of product.
“The innovative marketing campaign is set to both introduce the iconic game to younger generations as well as reignite the passion for this iconic game amongst the long term faithful fans of Subbuteo.”
We’ll be revealing more about the new Subbuteo in the coming days, so check back for the latest news.