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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

Playing Instructions and Rules.

Appendix: International Rule Books.

This page is a little different to the other rules pages, as it simply illustrates the foreign language and international versions of the Subbuteo rulebook. I had always assumed that the local distributors had responsibility for their own language rulebooks, and this might have been the case in the Peter Adolph era of the 1950s-60s. However, the late 1970s books are fairly similar across various territories, and look as if they were done to a template.

The need for separate language rulebooks was largely removed in the 1980s with the arrival of the green rule sheet. Anyone who received a Subbuteo set in the 1980s probably remembers unfolding these huge sheets (and usually finding they were trying to read the second sheet that had no English on it at all).

This page is also related to the International box sets page, which shows the sets these rules generally came from. In addition, European Catalogues and Catalogues - Japan & NZ list the other paperwork you were likely to find in international sets. As with those pages, this list is in alphabetical order by country.

Belgium - Football de Table/Tafel Voetbal.


These are the first of several similar looking late 1970s foreign language rule books on this page. See Denmark or Portugal. The difference with the Belgian book is that it is reversible, and features the two native languages of Belgium. The two illustrations show the two different sides, but they are also from different books. The second picture has the details of Unica, who took over Belgian distribution at some point in the 1970s.

Brazil - Pelebol

The wonderfully named Pelebol was a short-lived Brazilian version of Subbuteo. They went with their own fold out design of rulebook. Pelebol 1979 has all the details of this quirky little range.


The Danish language version of the 1970s heavyweight catalogue template. Their set was otherwise just the standard UK Club Edition.


This is another stunning rule book from the Subbuteo Museum collection. Again, the format is similar to the 1970s template, although the standard British playing picture has been used here.


This is an early Delacoste rule book, matched to the "blue" period catalogues of the early 1970s. The booklet is exactly the same size as the catalogue. This one came from a Munich set.

Germany - Tischfußball.


The first two pictures are from the 1950s German rules as produced for the sets imported by Vetrieb Czarkoski. They must have worked, as his son was the first winner of the Subbuteo World Cup back in 1970. The final picture is the Schnipp & Schuss version from the early 1970s.



Like the Italian rule book shown below, the cover is a simple reproduction of one of the UK's black and white basic rule books.


A trio of Italian rule books from the early 1960s. Following the UK example, this is the Basic rules, Advanced rules, and Spin leaflet.



Two bigger pictures here, just to show off the unusual Japanese language versions. The 1970s version looks like the standard heavyweight era Subbuteo handbook, but with a difference. The 1980s version is rifting off the American NASL version of the rules. However, seeing the Subbuteo logo completely in Japanese script is amazing. Can I have this on a t-shirt somebody?

Netherlands - Tafelvoetbal.

1950s Distributor Es-Es-Es,, Voorburg. 1980s Distributor - Clipper Games.


Dutch rule books from three eras. The original Es-Es-Es book is from the 1950s has a familiar look. The sky blue issue from Clipper Games is from the late 1970s, when the Grandstand was new. The Dutch language Hasbro sheet is from circa 1997, and is an unusual item in this late era of universal paperwork.



The Portuguese distributors were unusual in that they actually produced their own players and equipment, rather than importing it from the UK. However, their catalogues are very much on the standard templates. The 1970s version is similar to many of the others on this page. However, the picture is unique, as it features the legendary Eusebio, adding to a long list of distinguished footballers to appear in Subbuteo paperwork. The 1980s version has the Subbuteo line drawing also featured in Japan and the USA. Subbuteo produced quite a few of these illustrations to advertise their products in British comics. This might be using the original version, as the ball illustrated is a standard C144 rather than the Ariva ball used on the Japanese and USA versions.


This is the Borras rulebook from the early 1980s, and as with their boxes in general, they went for something unique - showing the impractical stadium set-up that is familiar from their Editions and accessory range.



I'm cheating a bit here. This is clearly only a Subbuteo promotional leaflet in Swedish. Still, it is so good it has to be here. Does anyone have the rule book?


So far, this is the only rule book on this page that is actually in English. Perhaps the Americans objected to our spelling, or the use of "football". Either way, this is an attractive large format rule sheet. Note that this illustration was used in Portugal, and also in Japan, who were the other country to sell the NASL edition of Subbuteo.

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