The Stiga table has it all. The three-dimensional player figurines are interchangeable from the rods so you're not stuck with the same old teams for every game. The official NHL insignias give it an authentic game-day feel, with all thirty team logos emblazoned on the boards and uniforms. There are even Plexi-shield protectors at the ends of each the table to keep the puck from flying off the ice on a slap-shot.
Playability on this one is the best you can find for the money, as players can actually move behind the nets and the goalies are fully functional in the crease, just like the real thing! The metal playing rods are effortless to use and move players smoothly all around the game surface with top-notch puck control. For about a hundred bucks, it's the closest thing you're going to get to having a real live NHL hockey recreational game in your home.
This table-top game from Franklin uses a tabletop design similar to the Stiga, even down to the use of a Plexi-glass enclosure surrounding the "ice" just as you would find at any real-life hockey game. The rods are made of fiberglass and come five to a side, one for each player on the team and use a polished gear system to ensure every movement of your “players” is as fluid as possible. But let's face it, when the game gets heated we don't always realize the force we're exerting in our frustration and that can lead to some snapped rods. It's not a common occurrence with fiberglass material such as this, but it can happen.
The Ultimate also has electronic scoring to keep track of your goals scored and the bright LED's on the side of the unit keep track with total accuracy. There is one other drawback on this product as it takes forever to assemble. You'll need a lot of patience and a little bit of engineering know-how to put this together exactly as intended. The game comes with two hockey pucks (because you know you're going to lose at least one) and uses 2 AAA batteries to keep the scoreboard running.
The Carrom 435.01 Signature game is the first pick on our list that comes as a table instead of a table-top structure. The cabinet is made of bright blue Melamine, so it can withstand the constant shock and jolts of players banging against it as they move the rods back and forth during gameplay. The rods are made of strong fiberglass; precision injection-molded gears keep the figures on the ice moving smoothly and accurately. Yes, there are even cup-holders included.
Electronic scoring is built into the game system, so every time someone puts the biscuit in the basket, the scoreboard announces it with lights and sound - just like at the arena. It also keeps time with a fully functional game clock. The players are pretty simple, again with one red team and one blue so don't expect NHL insignias on this unit. But after you get the puck on the ice, you likely won't care because of all the fun you're having.
In terms of the playability factor of the 435.01, you get exceptional puck handling capability with a custom-coated styrene playing surface. Passing and shooting doesn't get much better than it does on this Carrom unit. One thing to keep in mind, the price tag is a bit high for a consumer game but you get what you pay for on this pick.
Ideal's table-top unit measures twenty inches in length, making it one of the smallest games on the list. So it's well-suited for younger children to use, with easy grip levers, bright colors, and a playing surface that's been manufactured to look just like the ice at any major arena, complete with red face-off circles, blue lines and two goals at either end for scoring. Speaking of scoring, keeping track of goals is easy with two scoring slides at either end of the unit.
Game play is about what you'd expect from a unit of this size and price range. It's certainly good enough to keep the puck moving from figure to figure and scoring is challenging without becoming a frustration. The size of the game makes it portable, so you can move it from room to room or even take it to Grandma's house for the weekend.
The Super Chexx may look a lot like the Carrom with its high dome and pedestal base but there are some major reasons why this machine is almost double the price. This one offers arcade quality gameplay with the durability and functionality of a machine for professional use. The bubble dome is made of heavy duty Lexan to withstand high impact abuse while the resilient, lightweight aluminum cabinet making it the strongest choice on our list. The players on the ice are fully-formed three-dimensional figurines with good detail and easy maneuverability; for an extra few hundred bucks, you can get real NHL logos and color schemes if you'd prefer to have your favorite team at your control.
The Super Chexx is chock full of features to make your game look and sound just like the real thing, including sound effects to imitate a night at the arena along with legendary Buffalo Sabres announcer Rick Jeanneret doing play-by-play. The fully electronic scoreboard at the top of the dome displays goals, shots, period, and a clock to let you know how much time is left in the period. There's even a button you can push to make the fans "boo" when your opponent scores while an automatic puck return and eject system gets the game going again. Best of all, when you buy one of these you're getting free lifetime technical support and a one year warranty on all parts.