This game is known in France as “bobomimine” which literally means “my hands are hurting”. I am told it was popular in Flanders before World War I and that it is the ancestor of foosball. Most of the tables were destroyed during World War I, but my grandfather managed to save a few and my family has enjoyed playing it ever since.
We seemingly have a tradition of playing obscure games to guarantee we are the best at them.
Its quick pace requires fast reflexes. You play with the person opposite you against the people on either side of you. You use the mallet to push a metal ball in the goals of your opponents while protecting your own. As long as you keep the mallet below the metal hinges you are pretty much allowed to do anything including grabbing your opponent’s mallet or hitting him on the fingers 🙂
Be ready for your hands to hurt!
P.S. I am not quite sure if the English name for the game is knockerball, knocker ball, knock a ball or knockaball. If anyone knows, I would be delighted to hear the answer.
P.P.S. I also hear they still play it in some places in Holland. If anyone knows where I can find a modern table, I would be infinitely grateful!