LEGO has scrapped nearly 21,337 new soccer balls

The LEGO Ideas team “nearly scrapped” 21337 Table Football during a development cycle filled with “real highs” and “very deep lows”.

It’s no secret that 21337 foosball – revealed earlier today – differs markedly from the original submission of fan designer Donut Ferrary, who launched an extensive foosball table with 11 players per team. In contrast, the end product cuts things down to two to five teams, with only two rows of players per team.

According to the LEGO Ideas team, this is the result of a difficult development process that started with a problematic sketch model, and eventually led to an “awkward meeting” on how to progress on the set.

22 project LEGO Ideas 21337

“When I decided on the winner of the ‘We Love Sports’ competition, I built a model and thought it was good.” LEGO Ideas’ lead designer, Samuel Johnson, said the Brick Set. “It was before we moved on to product development that they found some issues, which arose after we announced that the football game had been won.”

This was followed by an intense development cycle, during which the team “extensively tested” the various designs in Fehérvári’s original scale of 11.

“It’s probably the most tested LEGO model ever,” Johnson explained. It’s not necessarily as relaxing as we’d hope, so we built a lot of models into the 11 and they were completely destroyed in testing.

LEGO Ideas 21337 Foosball 15

“We found that the cross-axles, which were the obvious elements to create the control rails, would bend and sometimes even hit. From there we tried to strengthen the walls, but frankly we found ourselves running into the same issues. All the designers on our senior team helped us get to this point with the model.

“At some point, we thought we had come up with the solution by joining square beams along with the nested beam technique, but even that bends a lot.

Marcus Rashford and Terry Henry launched LEGO Ideas 21337 Foosball
LEGO explains why 21337 table football games leave little yellow characters behind

In the end, the team realized that it was impossible to maintain the planned scope of the Fehérvári product offering – resulting in an “uncomfortable” situation for the LEGO Ideas crew.

“We had a bit of a tough meeting,” said Monica Pedersen, Senior Director of Marketing. “We are fortunate to have the best designers in the world in LEGO Ideas, so there were a bunch of different possibilities to choose from. One of them was a mini version that still allowed people to play, so that wasn’t a difficult decision, but before that it was inconvenient.

LEGO Ideas 21337 Football Thierry Henry Marcus Rashford 1

“We’ve really tried to give everyone what they voted for, just like giving fans,” Johnson added. “At the end of the day, though, we want to make it fun and we want to keep the match going strong, so we chose to build the football table on this smaller scale.”

However, reducing the group did not prevent a new compromise with the goalkeeper who, unlike real table tennis, sits on the same rod as the defenders. According to LEGO designer Antica Bracanov, that’s because the set’s four push rods use the longest tech hubs currently available — and the goalkeeper will have to bypass those.

“We thought about including the goalkeeper in a separate column, but they will have to cross the farthest distance and they need a longer column,” she explained. “That’s why we put the goalkeeper between the defenders instead.”

21337 Foosball launches on November 1 for £214.99 / $249.99 / €249.99. Click here for more details and a full photo gallery.

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