Here is the second part of my interview with www.tablehockey.com's Rick Benej. Hope you enjoy it!
SH: What can you tell me about the history and various models of games that you have made.
RB: Well the current version for sale is the third official model that I have released. There have been plenty of trial and error versions that never made it. The first game I made was a sit down model, it weighed between 50-60 pounds. I was a little bigger than the current model and was made specific to scale of an NHL arena. The previous games were also made completely with walnut, and it took a little over 50 hours to build a game. The second model was ten inches longer than the current version and weighed 70-80 pounds and was made to the scale of an International ice surface. I had that made with maple and it was a stand up table with legs built in and turned out to be quite expensive and hard for the average person to be able to afford it which was the last thing I wanted, so I have moved on to this version since 2003 and it provides a better game than my earlier game at nearly half the cost!
SH: What are some of the ways you have improved game play over the different versions?
RB: Again balancing the game is key, I also wanted to ensure there are no gimme passes and that player could check each other all the way down the ice. The greatest improvement for myself was the fun factor. It is truly now to a point that anyone can pick up the game and have fun with it immediately and there is so much depth to the game that it will challenge the players for years to come. As I like to say playing table hockey is good healthy fun!
SH: I noticed you use the 2D models for your game. Why have you not gone to a 3D player model?
RB: There are a few reasons I have stayed with the 2D figures. The main thing is the profiling of the 3D players just looks wrong. For example the 2D players are always looking down at the puck while the 3D players only do that when it is on the forehand. Another reason is it is very easy to decal the 2D players and we even provide a poster that the people can scan into their home computer and make their own teams to place on the players. And another practical reason is it does keep the cost down on players so it is easy and inexpensive for someone to be able to get a lot of blank players and make their own leagues.
SH: Now as a former goaltender I was immediately fascinated by the goaltenders in your game. Can you explain the improvements to the goalies?
RB: This is what I consider the most revolutionary design to goaltending in table hockey. Not only can you go post to post as in any traditional game, the goaltenders also have three slots which they can move forward on and challenge shooters and play pucks. They also rotate 360 degrees so they can shoot the puck as well though we have yet to score a goal with a goaltender! So our goaltender can even go right out to challenge the center. It is also very satisfying with the feedback in the players hand when they make a save.
SH: I'd like to thank you for taking the time to explain the game to me and I have to say it is far and away the most impressive game I have ever seen.
RB: Well I appreciate the compliment, it does mean a lot when I get a chance to get feedback on my game. I also enjoy it when people give me a call to let me know what they think of the game and even make the odd suggestion for the future.
I have to let you all know that when I first called Rick to ask him about doing the interview he was very welcoming and spoke with such a passion about his game and the game of hockey in general, as he is a huge Rangers fan it was hard to not just immediately like Rick and have a great conversation about the history of hockey and listen to him tell me stories of the great players he had seen over the years.
He has put 30 years into this game, and it without any hyperbole the best game I have ever seen when it comes to table hockey. I would highly recommend that you check out his website at www.tablehockey.com, and if you have any questions about his game he welcomes phone calls to ask any question. The phone number is on his website.
Now the million dollar question… How much does the game cost? It is $565 USD in the USA and Canada which includes FedEx shipping. (The cost to ship at item of that size can be over $100) Which leads to the final question.. Is it worth it? In my opinion if you are in the market for a table hockey game that you can be proud to show off in your home and have for years to come the answer is simple. OH HELL YES! I have gotten a chance to try it out and as soon as I get a raise there will be one in my home! It is a beautiful piece of furniture that you do not need to hide away at all.
Hope you all enjoyed it if you have any questions about the game drop me a line and I'll find out for you or give Rick a call. He would love to hear from you.
Have a good one!
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About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!