Silvano Landi is a successful writer who, at the age of 50, sees his family leave him and his life fall apart. Landi's great-grandfather, Mauro, is an anxious soldier being fed to the maw of carnage in the First World War. . . .
For years Joe Harrington played football games on his computer. Then his father, Gerry , introduced him to his own childhood game - Subbuteo. They are among a growing number of people who have fallen (or re-fallen) in love with Subbuteo. What's The Appeal of the (miniature) beautiful game?
" Subbuteo is making a resurgence in the UK, " says Gerry Harrington. " I think it coincided with lockdown, when people found themselves At Home more and looked in their lofts for board games to play. "
Mr Harrington senior runs the Haverhill Rovers Subbuteo and Table Football Club in Suffolk.
" We Are kind of in a resurgence here.
" The hobby has diversified. It is not just about playing. I enjoy the playing but Some People have got stadiums - There 's a guy with a replica of Aston Villa's stadium and he is putting in the fans. A lot of people are recreating stadiums, " says Mr Harrington, who played for West Ham 's youth team and once for their reserves.
" The art work that is done on the players has to be seen to be believed - Some of the players even get their own hair styles.
" I know of players at other clubs who have had Mental Health issues and it has really brought them out.
" Since lockdown it has been phenomenal. There are multiple clubs all over the country now.
" People who were not so great at football but who nevertheless really loved football can end up being great at Subbuteo, and end up playing at The National level. "
The Bbc has asked the current makers of Subbuteo, Longshore Limited, whether the resurgence claimed by people like Mr Harrington is being reflected in set sales.
The Company is yet to respond.
Joe Harrington says he used to be an avid player of console-based football games.
That changed, he says, when he bought his father a Subbuteo set and the pair started playing together.
" I've not looked back, " he says.
But while his father often wins matches At Home , Joe often wins at club nights.
" I tend to be a quick player, " he says. " And sometimes you can win by playing quickly as it gives The Other player less time to think. "
Before matches, Subbuteo enthusiasts give each of their players' bases a quick rub and polish to help them slide better across The Pitch .
" Some People even grow their index fingernails to help with the flicks, " says Joe.
Recent club joiner Mike Williams , who lives in Cambridge, has normal fingernails.
His route to becoming a Subbuteo fan began with a sense of nostalgia about football sticker albums from the 1980s.
" It is really friendly and good fun. "Subbuteo, a short history
Subbuteo was created by Peter Adolph in 1946 and The First set contained goals made of wire With Paper nets, a ball and cardboard playing figures on bases made from buttons weighed down with lead washers.
In 1961 Peter Adolph introduced a three-dimensional hand painted plastic figure and after several design modifications, this figure evolved into The Classic " heavyweight" player.
In 1980 the new lightweight figure was introduced.
Hasbro bought the rights to Subbuteo in 1994. In 2020 Longshore Ltd was awarded the license to produce sets by Hasbro.
Friendly and fun, perhaps, but serious too. This is especially the case when It Comes to collector-players.
Originally from Pisa, Italy, Walter Baroncini has More Than 200 team sets in his collection.
But while his fellow club members tend to play with the more modern flat-base players, Mr Baroncini's passion is for the original, semi-circular based, Subbuteo models.
In his Spare Time , he will sometimes play alone, using two teams.
" I love it, " he says. " This is how I played 40 Years ago when I started. "
" When I found in The Loft an old box with the Subbuteo sets that I collected as a Child I said, 'Oh dear, I want to go back and play,' and I found There was a great community in Italy and in the UK. "
While a damaged metatarsal, groin strain or pulled hamstring will put a professional footballer out of action, the Achilles Heel for Subbuteo players is a sore back or an injured finger.
One such casualty is Adam Moss.
" I'm doing the admin tonight, " he says.
" I normally play but I've pulled a muscle in the bottom of my back. Unfortunately, in this game, The Position you play in doesn't lend itself to having a sore back.
" It is a great craic here, " he says. " We have banter between all The Lads who play, it is great together and we have a laugh. "
Sam Curtis was taking part in his first night with the Haverhill club.
" It has gone really well, everybody is really nice and welcoming.
" There 's a good mix of abilities and a nice competitive atmosphere here.
" It is something to test your mind a bit, " he says.
" I don't want to play chess, I don't want to play draughts so I get to have a go at something that is a bit like chess but better, and more akin To My interests in football. And it is something you can visibly get better at as well. "
Having played at a high level as a child, Mr Curtis described how he was keen to return to playing after lockdown.
" It is The Social aspect of it, " he says, " as well as the competitiveness and just trying to aim towards something and be good at something and to craft your ability".
While all of the Haverhill members are currently men, Gerry Harrington says he really wants that to change.
" We're hoping we can take it to the younger generation and get them involved. "