Will you get a kick out of LEGO Ideas 21337 Table Football [REVIEW]

LEGO Ideas has produced an increasing number of sets based on contests, in addition to the regular get-10,000-votes method. Most of these have been smaller gift-with-purchase items, but LEGO Ideas 21337 Table Football joins 21329 Fender Stratocaster as a full-size retail set. This was the winning submission in the We Love Sports LEGO Ideas contest, and let’s get right to the main question: the winning submission was a full-size, 11-on-11 table football setup (usually referred to as foosball in the U.S.). When the contest results were announced, lots of fans were excited to get a near full-size playable game. That swiftly turned to disappointment when the official pictures were released. The set has been scaled down to 5-a-side, less than half the size of the original! While there are very clear reasons for that choice, does it still leave us with a desirable set? LEGO Ideas 21337 Table Football, with 2,339 pieces and a whopping 22* minifigures (* and even more hair and heads), is available now for US $249.99 | CAN $309.99 | UK £214.99.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

Unboxing the parts and instructions

The set comes in a large box with taped sides and the now-familiar LEGO for Adults/18+ branding – black background, stylized strip of LEGO elements along the bottom, a stylized “Table Football” name and logo, and some alternate views of the set on the back. The front also notes that this is the 45th LEGO Ideas set – a detail I do see on the Fender Stratocaster box now that I’m looking for it, but that I hadn’t noticed before.

The top of the box shows one of the potential ways you can combine the included minifigure parts into two full teams of 11.

Inside the box are 14 numbered bags (several have duplicates), one un-numbered bag with larger pieces, and a cardboard envelope containing the instruction booklet. There are no fully new parts included. We’ll talk about the minifigures later, as there are a ton of new prints and colors there. The large bright green playing surface tiles are the only other new prints. There are a large number of curved and sloped pieces that provide finish throughout, though, if you’re looking at the parts value of the set.

Similar to other LEGO Ideas sets, the booklet includes several 2-page spreads providing an overview of the set, including the as-submitted winning model with 4 control rods per side and eleven players…

The build

We start by building the “bench” area, where the players who aren’t currently strapped in can rest and wave flags – two per team – to cheer their compatriots on. It’s a pretty nice stadium seating arrangement and the techniques for spacing the armrests are nice to keep in mind for your own creations!

We’re about to put a roof over it, though, and while the finished piece looks good, getting to the minifigs in the back row is really not possible without some disassembly. So if your Table Messi suffers an injury during a match, you may just need to play a minifig down until maintenance can come to disassemble the roof.

Now we start on the frame for the table itself. There are some tiles placed as easter eggs here that are a tribute to the LEGO designer’s work on the Friends theme, and the asymmetry also helps you orient the build to the instructions for the short time they remain visible. There are a lot of SNOT brackets here, which will be an ongoing trend.

After the main playing surface is done, the next sections build the table legs and the ball catch/return pockets. The ball return pockets have a bit of unevenness; if both balls end up in one pocket, the second one won’t always roll out to the edge smoothly on its own, but it just takes a nudge to get it to reset and roll out. The feet end up quite solid once they are tiled over, and the rubber tires fitted onto the bottom help the table to stay in place, or at least not to skid wildly, during play.

With the feet settled, we build up the sides and start to build the side wall holders for the rods and the rods themselves. This is where we come up against one of the core design constraints of the set – the best piece for the spinning rods is a technic axle, and the longest technic axle is 32 LEGO units, or studs, long. That’s how LEGO arrived at the final size for this set.

A few hitches show up here as well. Placing the final side support is tricky – because of the way it collides with the corner, as seen below, you have to be willing to bend the axle quite a bit to get it in to place.

There’s also a minor error, at least in my instructions, that tripped me up a bit – the order of the bushing and the 1/2 bushing is swapped from the assembly instructions to the step that illustrates placing the finished sub-module:

And after some more tiles and finishing pieces, the build is done. I really look forward to paper replacing plastic parts bags.

The minifigures

This set doesn’t have the most minifigures in a single set (even if you don’t want to count education packs and chess sets, there are both Death Star sets, the Ninjago City series, etc.), but it is likely close to the top for number of head and hair pieces! It’s hard to say what the “full roster” of minifigures is because they are explicitly mix-and-match, but let’s take a look at the building blocks you get.

The base uniforms

There are 11 torso and leg pairs for each team, with contrasting designs in red and blue. I really like that each team gets a distinct design instead of just being a color-swapped version of the other one. The jerseys will probably be useful for lots of situations where a uniform is appropriate, not just sports – the red ones especially have a team crest that isn’t obviously sports specific. The blue team’s crest looks like the standard illustration (and seam pattern) of a volleyball, though, not a soccer ball. It would have been amazing if the legs were dual-molded, allowing the players to be in shorts and also to provide lots of different skin tone options, but I can understand how that might have been over the top. You do get several of each torso in each of the six available skin tones.

The goalkeeper uniforms

Goalkeepers must have a uniform that contrasts with their own team, as well as with the opponents and the opposing goalkeeper! These do a good job and indeed use colors that are often found in real keeper jerseys. Conveniently, goalkeepers wear gloves, and accordingly both figures have dark hands representing gloves allowing them to match any of the head options. The orange jersey, for the red team’s keeper, is a clear winner for me, with the sash detailing adding significant visual interest compared to the plainer lavender.


A whopping 44 heads are included – at least six in each skin tone. There are glasses (some looking like sport goggles, some in other styles), two hearing aids, all kinds of facial hair, and a very cool shaved pattern on one head. One minifigure has the common skin condition vitiligo – something that affects up to 1.5% of the world’s population. It’s undoubtedly going to be a polarizing decision to include skin tone minifigures in this set, but I absolutely respect LEGO’s decision to go all in this way.

I don’t think kids will mind one way or another, but for adults like me who want to try to match the skin tone of the head and hands, the sheer variety included in this set does present a bit of a challenge. I believe LEGO hands are ABS just like solid-color heads, but they are matte instead of glossy, and they’re also just small. It took a lot of squinting in very good light for me to be pretty sure I had matched up heads and hands in my review build. Ultimately though, it’s fantastic to have such a range of colors available!


There are also 43 hair pieces included. There are a wide range of styles and colors, none of them an entirely new mold, but 10 are new in the provided color. It’s nice that older players aren’t excluded, but having just one lonely gray hairpiece seems a little odd.

The finished model

This set is a very polished demonstration of what is possible with today’s LEGO part assortment. Nothing in the build is particularly complex, but it showcases the modern range of curved slopes and finishing tiles to great effect.

Providing a built-in storage solution for the unused hair and head elements was thoughtful, though also somewhat unavoidably creepy:

Ultimately it’s a well-finished build that looks the part from every angle. Everyone who saw the review copy was impressed; lots of folks who are not dedicated adult LEGO folks said something like, “how did you do THAT part”, always pointing to one of the nicely finished elegantly sloped ends of the table.

Play experience

It’s a nice model, but it’s supposed to be fully functional – is it fun to play? There’s a short answer and several longer answers. The short answer: yes, it’s fun. It is generally playable and probably comparable to other miniaturized and tabletop table football games. My twelve-year-old has asked me to play at least a little bit just about every day it’s been available; they aren’t tired of it yet.

That said, here are certainly some notes, as they say. The designers put effort into making sure that there weren’t dead spots on the table, and the corner flags work well for that purpose. However, there are places on the surface where none of the players can reach the ball, and frustratingly, the most prominent is the very center of the table – where there is also a seam between the large tiles, a place where a slow-moving ball might get trapped. The seam between the goal-defending players and the attackers is also a potential dead spot.

In actual play, this isn’t usually an issue, because the whole table is light enough that you are inevitably knocking it around a bit, so the ball will probably unstick and roll just because you are spinning or pushing the control rods enough to nudge it.

Then there’s the touch, finesse, or control elements of table football. The LEGO version is consequentially clunkier than a real table. Experienced players, or arrogant college kids, often trap the ball underneath the foot of a player, or tap it back and forth between two players on the same stick. This kind of touch is really not possible – at least with this reviewer’s level of skill – in the LEGO version. Among other things, there just is not enough friction on the bottom of minifigure legs to grip the ball and move it. The rods are also very poorly balanced – if you let go of them, they always settle with the minifigures leaning slightly forward because of the weight of the assembly on the back. This also means that any time you have to let go of the rod to adjust your grip, it is going to try to swing back to that “neutral” position. And even if your opponent has taken their hand off the rod for a second, you are very unlikely to be able to smash the ball through them – there is enough weight even without a hand on the rod to stop most shots.

However, to come back to the short answer, it is still a playable game. It’s miniaturized, and simpler, but you can still get an angle shot or otherwise outwit your opponent, and it’s still fun. One thing that is weirdly, eerily right – it sounds good. The ball bonks off the walls in a way that is very satisfying to listen to.

Conclusions and recommendations

I don’t remember another set that has so many different things that people can be split on. It’s too scaled down! It’s non-licensed skin tone figures! It’s as expensive as a real foosball table! So: do we recommend it?

It’s fun to play with; if it catches your eye, you’ll probably enjoy it! If you have been hoping for a widely diverse set of minifigure heads (and hands, if you’re willing to swap them), this checks that box. At $250 in the US for 2,339 pieces, it’s not an obvious parts pack bargain – the minifigures probably have a lot to do with that. But it’s still a lot of pretty basic brick, plate, bracket, and tile pieces. The curved slopes and tiles especially are pretty well supplied.

What about getting a “real” table football setup instead? Well, to get a full size one at the same price, you’re probably looking at used options. $250 goes a long way, but based on minimal research, you could easily spend ten times that on a table if you really wanted to. Comparing the set to other miniaturized (2 rods vs. 2 rods) games, you can easily spend a lot less on a non-LEGO version. But then you don’t have the 22 minifigures and all the pieces and the hair assortment, etc.

So, what to do? Here’s our recommendation: if two aspects of the set grab you – you like the play and the minifigures, or the figs + the pieces, etc. – then go for it. If only one aspect calls to you, and you haven’t already made a decision? You might want to watch for potential sales, but otherwise, let this one pass.

LEGO Ideas 21337 Table Football includes 2,339 pieces and is available now for US $249.99 | CAN $309.99 | UK £214.99.

The LEGO Group provided The Brothers Brick with an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

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2 comments on “Will you get a kick out of LEGO Ideas 21337 Table Football [REVIEW]

  1. polkergeist

    What kind of dummy would complain about the tremendous variety and amount of minifig heads just because they were flesh-toned? It’s like, c’mon, if you’re stuck on that point I just KNOW you have about five hundred regular ol’ yellow minifig heads lying around ready to swap in.

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