SnookBall is a combination of snooker and football – it’s crazy fun because you actually get to kick the balls into pockets instead of using a cue stick. The sport is played on a giant billiards table that multiple players can walk on. All the rules are the same as snooker, except that you use your feet instead of a cue and the balls are replaced by footballs.
The wacky sport is the brainchild of a couple of French entrepreneurs – Aurélien and Samuel – who are well known for their weird ideas. It is generally a two player game, but the table can accommodate up to four players. All the footballs retain the look of standard billiards balls, but are obviously larger and lighter. The white striker ball is slightly heavier than the rest, just to make the game more interesting.
SnookBall has two different variations – Game of 8 and Game of 9. In the Game of 8, the player who pockets the first ball gets to make his choice between the solid and striped balls. Then, the balls (either 9 or 15) are arranged in a triangle, with ball #1 at the top and #8 in the middle of the third line. The game commences and each player tries to pocket all the balls in his group. The game is lost when the #8 is either pocketed before all the other balls or leaves the playing surface, or when the white ball is pocketed or leaves the table after pocketing the #8 ball. If you’ve played billiards before, you already know these are standard rules.
In the Game of 9, players need to aim for the #9 ball. But this does not indicate an immediate victory – players need to go through a predetermined number of rounds and the one who wins the maximum number of rounds wins the game. Again, the balls are placed in a triangle with #1 at the top and #9 in the center.
The sport is flexible with its rules though, allowing players to mix them up or even create their own. Only one rule is constant – the ‘rule of snookball’, which occurs when a player manages to pocket one of his balls by passing the striker above a ball from the opponent’s group, with a move known as the ‘fishy’. If this happens, the player is free to claim a ball that was pocketed by the opponent. There’s a special 2 vs 2 rule as well – with four players, you have the ability to play a shot twice. A player can make a pass to his partner, who can then kick the ball towards the pocket.
If you’re interested in SnookBall, you could rent the equipment from the manufacturers at 500 euros per day. Or, you could buy your own for 6,000 euros ($7,500).