Air hockey

From Academic Kids

Air Hockey is a game for two competing players trying to score points in the opposing players goal.

Contents

Equipment

Air hockey requires an air hockey table, two strikers, and a puck.

A typical air hockey table consists of a large smooth playing surface, a surrounding rail to prevent the puck and strikers from leaving the table, and slots in the rail at either end of the table that serve as goals. On the ends of the table behind and below the goals, there is usually a puck return. Additionally, tables will typically have some sort of machinery that produces a cushion of air on the play surface, with the purpose of reducing friction and increasing play speed. In some tables, the machinery is eschewed in favor of a slick table surface, usually plastic, in the interest of saving money in both manufacturing and maintenance costs. Note that these tables are technically not air hockey tables since no air is involved, however, they are still generally understood to be as such due to the basic similarity of gameplay.

Air hockey pucks are usually slim discs of plastic that are a couple of inches in diameter, and about an eighth of an inch thick.

A striker (sometimes called a mallet or paddle) consists of a simple handle attached to a flat surface that will usually lie flush with the surface of the table. The most common strikers resemble small plastic sombreros.

Gameplay

The players stand at opposite ends of the table. One player starts by serving the puck by hitting it with his striker towards his opponent. Players hit the puck back and forth until the puck goes into one player's goal. A goal is worth one point. The player who lost the point is then entitled to serve. Play continues until one player reaches 7 points. Most tables also have a time limit on how long gameplay can continue before shutting off automatically. If time runs out in the middle of play, then the player with the highest score wins. If both players have the same score when time runs out then the players tie.

Air hockey is a fairly informal game, and as such, rules usually need to be agreed upon by both players before the start of a game. Some common house rules are as follows:

  • Players are only allowed to hit the puck with their striker, no part of their body is allowed to come in contact with the puck.
  • Players may not place their striker on top of the puck for any reason.
  • A player's striker may not leave his play area.

Irregularities

There can be any number of irregularities during play usually depending on the condition of the table, puck, and strikers.

  • If a puck leaves the table for any reason, then the player who retrieves it is entitled to serve.
  • If one side of the puck is determined to be "better" in that it allows for smoother play, it is generally speaking acceptable to flip the puck over with one's hand if the puck is accidentally placed on its "bad" side.
  • If the automatic scoring mechanism found in most air hockey tables does not register a valid goal, it is expected that the player who was just scored on will manually place the puck in his own goal in order to correctly count the score.

Competitive play

Air Hockey is played competitively by a community of serious players around the world, and at least one world championship event is held every year. These events are sanctioned by the United States Air Hockey Association, which was formed in 1978 to oversee the official rules of the game.

External links


de:Air Hockey

fi:Ilmakiekko

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