What's Up With Fireball?

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What's Up With Fireball?
« on: October 08, 2014, 01:33:59 PM »
I spent a few hours trying to hunt for a Fireball supplier in the Houston, TX area with no luck. Fireball's Facebook page hasn't been updated in over a year. Their US website is useless and does not appear to be much of a priority.  Brad Laurine has left the company, and it doesn't look like there is anybody running the show in the US. I posted a request on their website for someone to email me with pricing and delivery times, but no response.
I understand that they are an Asian company, but does anybody know what's going on with Fireball in the US market? How do you buy one of these tables (I see one on Amazon)? Should I go with a Tornado T3000 instead because at least it is available and locally supported?
If you know what's going on with Fireball, please share.

Re: What's Up With Fireball?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2014, 11:39:46 PM »
Loaded questions...
1) fireball is popular in Asia and Australia, it will fade in North America without a critical mass of sponsored tournaments, table vendors , and commercial locations to practice.
2) there is distribution issues with sourcing new fireball tables in north america at this time, parts are difficult to find, yet are rarely needed by owners.  Sureshot coin is a similar design.
3)the fireball coin and tornado coin are more similar than different and rods/men are pretty much interchangeable.  Which is better is very subjective.  I think the fireball is a better design because of some minor differences in play, reliability, appearance, and clever secondary features.
4)Tornado coin is the north america standard period...warrior is emerging ... fyi...I have tornado rods in my fireball this week...cause I can.
5) used fireball coins come up in craigslist very rarely... buy a decent tornado coin as you won't regret it... wait for a fireball patiently if you're serious ... keep in mind it may never happen... I have heard Dennis / Mike sometimes have table(s) for sale after the Northwest open in Seattle.  I bought mine used and shipped it across north america because I was impatient and saw one in cragslist while travelling.  No regrets...

I own both... the fireball is very impressive when you spend time with it...the tornado is very standard/fixable/solid/loved

Re: What's Up With Fireball?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2014, 11:50:09 PM »
Wait a second... Don't you live in Texas?  Don't Texans eat breakfast on Tornadoes tables?

Re: What's Up With Fireball?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 09:11:11 AM »
Thank you for all the great info Johnwallen. It kind of seems like Fireball has given up on the North American market for some time. It's probably tough to justify investing in North American infrastructure when the market is so small and shrinking, which is probably the same reason that Tornado does not invest in significant product development to surpass the Fireball product. Does your Fireball play differently with the Tornado rods?  Is your Fireball a 1-man goalie? What's your preference 1-man or 3-man. The table that I'm getting rid of is a 1-man and although I started playing on a Tornado 3-man at my old workplace, I took a liking to the 1-man tables that had raised corners without inserts.

Re: What's Up With Fireball?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2014, 02:42:55 AM »
The tornado rods are just a shade smaller to place in a fireball, 5/8 (15.875mm) vs 16mm, I'm confident they will work OK when used with new bearings but I personally think it a bad idea to introduce any sloppiness.   I also consider a spare set of tornado rods a bad investment; I use fireball black rods with reamed/bored tornado figures...

Conversely the fireball rods will work in a tornado no problem but I have read some new rods might require a tiny bit of bearing shaving to spin freely. All my FB black rods fit with no mods into new tornado bushings..

I am not a high level player, so take the following advice with a grain of salt:

-I have a 3man goalie fireball, bought explicitly for the capability of tornado style play and easy bar removal (can be converted quickly to a side table and placed against the wall to keep my wife happy).  As far as eyecandy goes, the blue play-field makes the game very appealing and modern looking. (think windows 7 vs pong)  The fireball with tornado figures is close enough to a tornado to practice and provides the required feel.

-I learned on a tournament soccer table; yet I personally prefer the three man (3M) style.   The corner ramps are something I consider slow and awkward.  I do like both, but with a $1000 table, a flat playfield has more advantages in terms of repair, levelness, 1M conversion, and preparation for competition events.  Cheap ramps and bar stops can be added for a crude approximation of a 1M goalie to either the 3M tornado or 3M-FB; you cannot convert a 1M sloped to a 3M.  I suspect the fireball 1M is awesome with the seamless sloped bank...  I'd love to try one... One came up for sale in Portland 4 month ago...  I missed it by a day...

-I hate to say it again....  find a used tornado coin or TP3000... it is by far your best bet in Texas and will foster competition in your kids and their friends.  And... If you really want you can stuff hard to find fireball parts on it if you really want later. 

Re: What's Up With Fireball?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2014, 07:31:17 AM »
Thanks for your insight Johnwallen. I really appreciate it.