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Peter Upton's

Newfooty Tribute Website.

or 75 Years of Table Football.

Page 3: Keeling's Action Packed Games.

Newfooty's Other Sport Games.

As mentioned in the history of Newfooty, W.L. Keeling and Sons also invented and manufactured a range of other games. Most of these were sports related, and so seem to fit nicely into this website. The details and descriptions of these games come from an advertising sheet supplied in a 1958 copy of Newfooty. The sheet illustrates most of the games available, but sadly these are "poor photocopy" standard and therefore have limited use. A big thank you at this point should go to John Marney who provided the paperwork that enabled this page to be produced.

As usual on this site, text in italics is quoted from the original documentation. As reference, at the time of these games Newfooty was sold in three sizes costing 10/11d, 19/11d and 44/11d respectively. 

"Pel-Mel" Steeplechase. 

 

The amazing new race game where the individually controlled horses actually jump the fences. This game is a must for all horse-racing enthusiasts. Sure to be a grand national pastime. Test your skill against the other players - you are the jockey in this exciting sport. "Pel-Mel" is operated simultaneously by each player. 

Setting the tone for the whole leaflet, this blurb successfully tells you nothing about the game. Still, it has less hype than the Subbuteo speedway adverts.... There were two different sizes of set to chose from. The thin box shown above is the two lane version.

Four track set  49/6d
Two track set  29/11d

  

Having now seen the four track Pel-Mel set, it is no surprise to report that the game was close to "Escalado" in its execution. The track rolled out from a green box with a grandstand printed on the end. The track finished with a coloured card section and "reins" were extended from this for each of the lanes. The reins moved the track, and the track moved the horse. Well, that is the theory. Here are some extracts from the rules, which might help explain more.

 

"The model horses in Pel-Mel are scientifically designed and operate by the teeth at the rear of the base engaging in the mesh of the race track as it is moved. The teeth are slanting towards the front but perfectly straight at the back, enabling the horse to be moved forwards, but not backwards. This is most noticeable when the horse goes over a jump, for as the track is pulled forward the teeth catch in the mesh bringing the horse forward, so that the curved front on the base meets the curved side of the fence, and the horse is brought over".

"Approaching the jumps. Draw the reins tight, bringing them straight forward, so that the track is taut, then give the reins a series of short, sharp pulls in fairly rapid succession, so that the track keeps moving "to and fro" about an inch until the horse reaches the jump. Do not pull too violently or jerkily, otherwise the horse will bound forward and probably fall over"

"Taking the jump. Once the front of the horse is almost touching the jump, and the reins are slack, it is in a position to take the jump. Instead of giving the reins short, sharp pulls, give a long slow pull; this will bring the front of the horse over the jump and a second pull will be required to clear it completely, but before making the second pull be sure to release the reins so that the track retracts, otherwise it will be impossible to move the horse effectively. Should the horse be approaching the jump slightly askew, the jump guides will often correct the fault.

So how well does it work? Well, sadly the set featured does not belong to me, and we were too nervous (given its age) to try it out.

Many thanks to Trevor Smith for sending pictures and rules for this lovely four track set, and also new owner Paul Woodhouse, who allowed me to set out the game and take yet more pictures.

"Socrates" Magnetic Table Football. 

        

The novelty craze for fun and action. This is a two-a-side model, and is not to be confused with the larger models of which details are given below. Game is actually played in the box with magnetic players, control rods, ball, goals etc. The ideal gift for the younger members of the family. This model sells at 19/6d. Ask to see it at your local toy or sports store.

It's not recommended to ask for such things at your local sports store in 2004. Although I think we all have a duty to go into sports shops to ask for cricket bails or snooker chalk, just to remind them what a sport shop is supposed to sell.....

There were a number of magnetic soccer games produced in the 1950s, and others are shown on the Subbuteo rivals page. This was the basic Newfooty version, and probably looked to undercut the rivals, which had higher quality wooden framed pitches. On this set, the legs were just metal bolts screwed into the corners of the pitch. The box sides gave a high surround, which was useful for keeping the ball in play, and this was decorated with packed stands. The goals appear to be just the front uprights and bar, with no nets. There seems a distinct lack of goalkeepers. The outfield players were pretty much identical to the Newfooty figures of the period.

"Socrates" was a pun. It is supposed to sound like "soccer-at-ease", although how many kids in the 1950s pronounced it like Bill and Ted, I don't know. Whether the Brazilian footballer of the same name enjoyed the same pun, or whether he was named after this game, I don't know either.  In Richard Payne's book, "Fifty Years of Flicking Football", he mentions that Peter Adolph did not see Bayna's magnetic games as a rival to Subbuteo, but felt that the games complimented each other. With WL Keeling as a rival to both, was this a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"? 

"Socrates"/"Newrugger."

    

Here's a bargain! - Two games for the price of one. For the magnetic enthusiast we present a dual-purpose game. On one side soccer - on the other rugby. Two of the most popular sports - two complete games played on the reversible board.... "Socrates/New Rugger" is a new game this season and takes the place of previous models.... Complete with players, control rods, reversible board with detachable legs, goals, balls etc. Don't delay - see it today!

Like Pel-Mel there were two sets. 

Three-a-side  34/11d
Five-a-side  59/6d 

The three-a-side version was designed for two players, and the five-a-side for four players.

    

More Socrates. This version is much more similar to those sold by the firm's rivals, with a one-sided wooden soccer board, and three players per team. Probably a fore-runner to the combined New Rugger version.

"Net-A-Ball". 

Netball or basketball. Rules for both are included in each game which consists of two full teams, goals etc., and a marked out court on green baize. Endless enjoyment is assured with this game - for young and old alike, another realistic game of skill. One model only at 12/11d. A game for girls and boys.

 

Here Newfooty found a game that Subbuteo were not reproducing in miniature. It was also a game aimed at girls long before Subbuteo tried that market with hockey. It is never as easy to represent games were the ball travels through the air rather than along the ground, and the above picture hints at a tiddlywinks feel. This might be slightly ironic, given that Newfooty was originally invented because tiddywinks soccer games were so terrible. This was one of WL Keeling's cheapest games, which is not bad considering that it has a baize pitch. Okay, this is a lot smaller than a soccer field but even so, its inclusion is a surprise. It isn't as if netball and basketball are played on grass.

July 2015: I've now illustrated both the girl and boy teams from this game. You really want to get out your pencils and colour them in (best not though, eh?). Also illustrated are the hollow bases. These have been seen in red, blue and white.

"Magna-Golf".

It's magnetic! At last here is a table game for the golfers of the family. Nine hole miniature course, two foot by two foot, with all the hazards of a real golf links. Played with golf clubs, balls etc., on course with magnetised holes. This is another game requiring a great deal of skill and the actual course for play can be altered to vary the difficulty of the match. Sure to keep everyone entertained with its variety and novelty. One model only which sells at 39/11d. A game that Dad will only be too pleased to play with the youngsters. 

... Except for my Dad who wasn't interested in golf. Or football for that matter. In fact, he was a nightmare to buy Father's Day cards for. He didn't like golf, football, fishing, or beer. He was not very interested in cars, and he was a retired carpenter, so cards featuring botched DIY didn't work either.*

As you can tell from this entry, I know nothing about Magna-golf at all, and am hoping for enlightenment. It does give me a chance to mention carpet golf, which was a silly game from the 1970s where you could plug different golf clubs into a little spring loaded plastic golfer. This game was sadly ruined by the small steep putting green. You would use two lovely driver shots to clear the laundry hill, and the cat bowl water hazard. And then it took twenty shots trying to get the ball to stay on the damn tiny little green.... Arrgggg. Hopefully Magna-golf was better than this.

I did try to think of a joke about balls and magnetic holes, but decided it was a bit of a cheap shot. 

*2021: Again, the age of some of these old website pages shocks me when I edit them. I've swapped this comedy paragraph to the past tense. In loving memory of my dad - Dennis Upton 1927-2006.

"Show Jump"

Another new game to test your skill. Track with fences, gates, walls etc. Faults recorded on the electric clock as you endeavour to clear the obstacles with your horse. Each player tries for a clear round - it's not easy - but it's grand entertainment. Complete set with clock, horses, course and obstacles etc., retails at 39/11d Everyone will enjoy themselves with "show jump". 

February 2015:- At last we have a couple of pictures of the lovely Show Jump, but sadly I've lost the e-mail of who to thank... The set is in lovely condition, because rather like Pel-Mel the game was much to fiddly for children to actually manage to set up and play.

"Newcrikit" Table cricket. 

You can enjoy the thrills and excitement of county and test-match cricket, on your table at home, all the year round with "Newcrikit". It reproduced the real game with unique bowling, batting and running methods, marked out pitch etc. This is the best and most realistic cricket game on the market (please don't buy the Subbuteo version!!!!). Complete set with full compliment of cricketers, balls, wickets, score-sheets etc., retails at 19/11d. Try it now. 

Given the rivalry between Newfooty and Subbuteo in the 1950s, a Newcrikit game was probably inevitable. That said, Newfooty did seem intent on covering most of the popular sports of the era. Subbuteo's cricket game arrived at the end of the 1940s, and I am assuming it predated even the earliest form of Newcrikit. However, unlike their football games, neither cricket game borrowed from the other.

The original Subbuteo cricket set did not have a pitch, and even here the "marked out pitch" was just the bit between the wickets, with room for the running batsmen. That made sense given the price, which matched the pitch-less medium sized Newfooty. "A table 5ft by 3ft, covered with a cloth is recommended" for the outfield. As with Newfooty (and Net-a-ball), note the all action poses for the card figures - Newfooty products always look great.

The Early Edition/rules.

   

This must be the original Newcrikit set, and it is a much better quality version than the later game. Certainly the batting and bowling apparatus and the wickets all seem much more robust. Perhaps all the components were just too expensive/fiddly to manufacture in the long term. Then again, Keeling was always fiddling with Newfooty as well. It's rare to get two identical sets of that game with regard to bases or goals.....

The set came with a rule book (printed in red) consisting of two sheets stapled together. This gave six pages of assembly instructions/rules, plus an illustration of a typical fielding set-up on the back cover (see above). Will Keeling had a novel solution to the problem of small, wobbly wickets. He supplied a piece of plasticine to support them (mind you, there were no bails). The assembly section says "stand the wickets on the soft ground of plasticine inside the plastic moulding on the pitch, pressing them on to it just enough to prevent them falling over through any vibration caused when the batting arm is operated, yet able to be knocked over by the ball if a batsman is bowled out." The balls are described as "rubber" in the components list.

For bowling "Place the ball in the holder and rotate device by placing a finger on the centre piece, pushing it so that it rolls. This lifts the ball and projects it on to the pitch. Practice is necessary to obtain direction and length". Earlier in the rule book, Keeling seems to acknowledge the issue of generating a too fast bowling speed. "It is always advisable to bear in mind when "bowling" the object is not merely to dismiss the batsmen but to minimise the number of runs scored by your opponent. This is particularly important with regard to extras; concentrate on accuracy and length before trying to bowl fast....." It also advises "by altering the angle of the control lever opposite to the bowling arm on the bowling unit, the pitch of the ball can be controlled effectively." That sounds much more sophisticated than it actually is. The unit is (as the pictures show) basically a bent piece of wire with a loop to hold the ball.

The bat is on a long metal arm, and this hooks onto a little knob in the batting crease to add stability. Indeed, so stable is this set up that the rules suggest that "remote control" batting is possible, by have a strong thread tied to the batting arm handle, so you don't have to lean over the table. The batting arm is fashioned to "loop" over the figure of the batsman who stands at the wicket. As with the Subbuteo cricket rules, a lot of accurate cricket reproduction is promised from a rather basic device "The bat is operated by movement of the small handle on the batting arm. The bat can be moved either backwards or forwards and as it moved in n are all wickets are covered in any one stroke. Distinct defensive or attacking strokes can also be made. To defend give the handle on the batting arm a slight twist, this will move the bat as though to block the ball. To attack move the arm backwards fairly quickly, this moves the bat forward to strike the ball."

In this version, the players had bases in the two-piece style of early 1950s Newfooty, with a grooved lead weight, placed under a white plastic disc which was "cupped and slotted". The cup allowed the figures to catch the ball using an accompanying "celluloid fielding unit" that required basic assembly. "Cut and bend the celluloid strips to shape... If desired the infielders can be made smaller than the size of the strips supplied (Do not bend celluloid more than is necessary). These were placed at least half an inch in front of the fielder. "If a shot hits the fielding unit it is considered "fielded" and returned to the bowler for no run. If the ball "runs up the ramp in the celluloid, and without touching the ground again comes to rest in the cupped disc on the fielder behind it, the batsman is caught and is out." An interesting way of using a high catching base when most shots are going to be along the ground. The same bases were used on the running batsmen, and this allowed a nice LBW rule -  i.e. if the batsman figure "catches" the ball on his disc without touching the wooden bat first he is out. In fact, all the methods of being out in real cricket seem to be represented very well in Newcrikit. The wicket keeper had a bigger plastic wicket-keeping guard made of a curved piece of cellulose. Even if the celluloid only partially stopped the ball, this was counted as fielded by him. The rules explain that this is to do with construction, and to cut down on retrieving the ball from the celluloid!

The key innovation with Newcrikit, and where the game diverges from Subbuteo cricket (or any other cricket recreation I can think of), is the attempt to making running between the wickets part of the physical game play. The rules state proudly - "several features exclusive to "Newcrikit" are included, foremost of these being the special pitch embodying the batting device and method of moving the batsmen between the wickets to record runs". You can see in the above illustration how the batsmen are slotted into the pitch. The rules explain it thus "Batsman making hit is moved first by means of the rod, to a  position midway along the slot. The second batsman is moved likewise in the other slot. Both will then be opposite. First batsman is then moved to the end of the slot and second batsman drawn to batting crease to complete the run. Number of runs scored depends upon time taken by fielders to retrieve the ball."

If the ball doesn't hit a fielder, the ball is retrieved in a way that resembled Newfooty itself (or indeed 1950s Subbuteo cricket) thus - "The side of the hand is rested on the table with a finger pointing downwards and touching the table close to the base of the man. The inside of the hand must face the direction in which the man is to be moved. With a sharp movement of the whole finger flick the man in the desired direction, holding the hand still. Repeat this action until the ball is reached." Then you get more entertainment because the ball "is returned by means of the bowling device and is considered as fielded as soon as it reaches the pitch." Of course, this allows for short throws, or even over throws.

This all sounds fine (if complicated) in theory, but I don't know how it would stand up in competition..... Actually, the rules seem to acknowledge the problems with running between the wickets, clearly stating "This method of running between wickets should not be altered as it facilitates "running out". You wouldn't need to add this if players weren't ignoring it!

September 2021: I'd never seen this version of Newcrikit before, so it came as a complete surprise. Many thanks to Alan Sissins for sending in the pictures and rule book details.

The Late Edition/rules.

 

 

This seems to be the more common of the two Newcrikit sets, and the set has been simplified somewhat. Some of the components do now have a resemblance to the Subbuteo sets of the 1950s - i.e. the yellow stumps, and an abundance of plastic coated wire.... However, in play it still differs quite significantly from that game. Note that these figures now share the standard bases used in both Net-a-Ball, and the magnetic football/rugby games. The rules are now a single black and white sheet, opening out to just two pages of rules. (The back cover is an advert for Newfooty). This advert, along with the bases suggests a late 1950s date for this set.

   

In general appearance, the set is similar to the earlier version. The "box interior" shot, shown at the top of this section, shows the new layout very nicely, and you can compare it with the above set - the chief difference being the lack of grooves for the batsmen.  My pitch picture also shows a couple of the "caught and fielded" cards, which are new to this edition. These replaced the celluloid fielding pieces, and the idea was to "crease them slightly along the line down the middle, so that when placed on the table with a man on one half, the other half tilts upwards just enough to allow the ball to roll underneath." Okay, cheaper than a catching base, but perhaps not so impressive. The wicket keeper now had a thin plastic guard (as with Subbuteo really), but this could be used to generate a stumping if the ball deflects back onto the wicket. There were also smaller fielding cards for the slips (as they were placed closer together). At the start of the game, only three fielders were allowed to have the "caught" side of the card showing, but after the first four batsmen have been dismissed, one more card was turned over each time another wicket fell, and this represented the the tail-enders coming in to bat. A clever touch.

The bowling and batting equipment is also shown above. They have only cosmetic differences with the early set, and are hopefully self explanatory. The rules say that if "full tosses" are bowled, the pace is too fast. The bat still hooks around a post on the field to provide a little stability.

The important running and fielding game play have been changed to match the simplified new components, and not necessarily to the game's advantage. With regard to the running batsmen, the field illustrated above has two clear plastic "T" shaped objects one on each side. The rules say this :- "Position the transparent "T" pieces by the batting creases, one on each side of the pitch. Stand the batsmen on these at the end near the wickets.... Batsman making the hit is moved first, by placing a finger on the grooved portion of the "T" piece and pushing it to a position midway along the pitch, without the batsman falling off. If this occurs, the "T" piece must be moved back to the man before it is replaced. The other batsman is likewise moved to the middle of the pitch so that the two men are opposite, then the first player is moved forward again, and the second one drawn to the crease by the batting arm, so that both men complete the run. Subsequent runs are made in this manner and the number of runs made depends upon the time taken by the fielder to retrieve the ball." So while you are fiddling with the batsmen, what is the player in charge of the fielders doing? I'm glad you asked.....

"If, at any time, the ball rolls under a fielder's card when "fielded" is facing towards the pitch, the ball is considered as fielded and is returned to the bowler. If, however, the ball stops in the outfield it is fielded by pushing a man towards it, with the finger tip on the base. When the ball is reached the man is lifted between finger and thumb, by the head and swung pendulum fashion at the all so that the base strikes it and knocks it towards the pitch. If it does not reach it first time, then the action is repeated from the spot were the ball stopped." So we've gone from flicking to pushing, and from throwing the ball to.... kicking it?

I've no idea why Keeling decided to spell cricket in such an eccentric way. I mean, at least football gets called "footy" and rugby gets called "rugger". 

May 2021: A further set of the late edition Newcrikit passed through ebay, allowing me to illustrate the later game more fully.
September 2021: A huge thank you to Alan Sissins who kindly photographed the two different rule books, the batting and bowling equipment, and the early pitch with running fielders.

     Other items produced by WL Keeling.

"Monte" Car race game.

Another new winner to entertain all of the family. "Monte" is played on a variable rally course board of an entirely new design. Miniature cars and packs of cards, by which the races are run and the cars moved, are provided. Every game you play will be different - this is ensured by the newly devised map-board supplied and method of moves - another game of exceptional value - the game will intrigue everyone. "Monte" sells at 17/11d. The ideal family or party game.

This is simply a Will Keeling board game, as is....

"Targette"

        

The ever popular improvement on draughts. An exciting game for children of all ages - "Targette" is played on a specially designed board showing an aerial view of two coasts separated by the sea. Players control their own fleets of bombers and fighters in an effort to bomb enemy targets and destroy their aircraft. This is a game giving non-stop interest and excitement. Complete with 22 plastic miniature jet planes and operational board. Every time you play you'll enjoy it more. "Targette" Ace-of-the-air game sells at 5/11d.

... except on the other advertising slip I own, where it sells for 8/11d. Possibly a nice attempt to liven up draughts, decades before the joy of Simpsons chess sets. It looks worth owning for the lovely box illustration featuring early twin-tailed jet fighters.

January 2012:- I've now acquired a copy of this game, and find that the advertising blurb is reasonably accurate. The board was laid out like draughts, but was actually bigger, being eleven squares by eleven. As stated, both ends of the board represented a coastline, and the final row of squares showed a series of bombing targets - dockyard, naval depot, oil refinery, aerodrome, rail yards, and Subbuteo factory.... no hold on, it's an ammo dump. Two rows in front were printed a couple of anti-aircraft positions, which enemy planes could not land on. Each player had six bombers, and five fighter planes. The bombers moved forwards like ordinary draughts, and the fighters like "crowns" i.e. forwards or backwards. The aim was to get as many bombers onto enemy targets as possible. Planes were shot down by jumping them as in draughts. Apart from a few extra tweaks (bombers could not shoot down other bombers, planes in their initial positions were "grounded" and could not be attacked, trapped bombers crashed if there were no other planes to move), it was simple to play.

The planes were very tiny, and produced in bright red and yellow plastic. Although they were a nice representation of planes of the period (a Vulcan bomber, and twin-tailed fighter), frankly they would not look out of place in a cracker.

May 2021: There is currently a lovely boxed set of Targette on ebay, from which I've borrowed a couple of pictures (as I only own the set, not the box!)

"75,000!"

Calling all pools fans! It's here at last - the game for which all football pools enthusiasts have been waiting... "The Family game of the Year" - this is in big letters, but it doesn't say who has awarded this distinction. Probably the Newfooty marketing manager methinks.....

This new and novel game brings the excitement and disappointments of actual pools investments (a game that brings disappointments then). The game comprises a speically designed board, printed in colour combining artistry with humour (this alone will cause great amusement), imitation cheques, monetary vouchers, forecast cards, dividend statements, counters marked with pool symbols, dice with plastic shaker cup, all contained in an attractive box 16" x 15.5". You will be amazed how closely this game resembles the real thing. Treble Chance, Points Pool, three draws, four aways, etc. etc. you'll find them all and excitement galore in "75,000!" Retail price 18/6d.

This game isn't on the big list of Newfooty games with the other items on this page, but is on a thin single sheet advert with Targette (from a slightly earlier Newfooty box set). I guess 75000 was the 1million of its day. Who wants to be a 75000aire?

Finally (hurrah) the 1958 advertising sheet has one more joy to tempt us with....

"Junior Miss" Washing Set.

Of very special interest to the very junior miss. This will keep her amused for hours - the set includes attractive pink apron, washing line, plastic pegs, and a genuine miniature "Omo" pack. Ideal for little girls to use when keeping their dolly's clothes bright and clean. Sets are carded and contained in polythene bag. "Junior Miss" sets cost only 5/11d.

And no, I'm really not making this up. Ahh, the innocent days of the 1950s when little boys dreamed of being footballers, and little girls dreamed of being washer women.... It's a useful life-skill I suppose.

Okay, so Newfooty Co. did do the Net-a-ball game for older girls and this is quite a sweet little set. I was going to suggest that this would be a useful item to annoy Newfooty collectors with - "I've got all the different Newfooty teams", "Yes, but do you have a Junior Miss Washing Set?". Oddly though, I've started to want one myself. I can picture myself finding one at a toy fair "It's for my Newfooty collection" I'll exclaim excitedly to the unconvinced stallholder....

That's enough nonsense for this page.


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