Underneath the pitch is a set of two electromagnets with Etch-a-Sketch controls. One electromagnet is weak, and aligned sideways. The other electromagnet is strong, and is aligned vertically. In addition, there's an LED bright enough to see through the pitch.
Each Subbuteo figure is equipped with
a small rare earth magnet embedded in the base. This magnet is aligned sideways.
First, the player uses the X-Y Etch-a-Sketch controls to line up the electromagnets underneath the Subbuteo figure. The LED is used to line it up.
Second, the player uses the sideways pointing weak magnet to rotate the figure in place. The figure will naturally attempt to line up with the weak magnet.
Third, the player adjusts a rheostat control to set the strength of the flick.
Fourth, the player presses a button, which sends a pulse of electricity to the strong magnet. The magnet in the figure will attempt to rotate to line up with the vertical magnetic field, but it won't succeed. Instead, the round Subbeteo figure base will translate this rotation into forward motion.