2015 Rockford Swedish Historical Society Kubb Tournament

2015 Rockford kubb tournament trophyThis past weekend Kalamazoo Kubb members Jesse Fraim and Christopher Jones (half of The Settlers of Baton) competed with friend-of-the-club Phil Dickinson at the 2015 Rockford Swedish Historical Society Kubb Tournament in Rockford, Illinois.

After a strong first match, the team, playing under the name Kubbigans, struggled to stay consist throughout the qualification rounds. It wasn’t until the team fell to consolation bracket C that they finally found their groove.

In the consolation bracket it was “win or go home.” The Kubbigans managed to stave off the competition and hit that all-important final king shot to bring home some trophies. Congrats, guys!

The Kubbigans pose with their consolation bracket trophies.

Kubb in the Zoo Postponed!

Kubb in the Zoo logo.Kalamazoo Kubb’s inaugural Kubb in the Zoo tournament has been postponed. The tournament, originally planned for June, will now be held in August. Due to a number of factors, including park renovations at the tournament site, the decision was made to reschedule. Kalamazoo Kubb sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience. An announcement with final details will follow soon.

Player Profile: Abby Anderson Jones

Photo of Abby Anderson Jones playing kubb in the snow.Name: Abby Anderson Jones

Age: 29

Team: Kubbing up with the Joneses

Where are you originally from?

Holland, MI

What’s your day job?

Graphic Designer

What do you like best about kubb?

It’s a challenge even when it seems SO easy. I can’t tell you how many times I said ‘I’ve got this next shot’ and was thrown totally off. It really keeps you on your toes. I also love spending time outside with my kubb pals.

What’s your kubb speciality? (short, long, king, etc)

I have a decent ‘short game’ though I’d like to improve my 8m throw.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

My husband (Christopher) and I played kubb in the snow on Thanksgiving this year. It was much more fun than I thought it would be because of the challenges that came with playing in different weather. I’ve also loved playing at the beach during the summer. Different terrain forces you to play differently and laugh a lot more at all of those close calls or waaaay off throws.

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

I would like to play in a tournament and meet other kubbers!

Where do you see the future of kubb?

Let’s get a team USA for the summer Olympics, okay!?

What are your interests outside of kubb?

Let’s see, I really like kayaking and yoga, though not together, yet… I also blog and travel. The next big trip I’m going on is to London this summer!

Name a fun fact about yourself.

My actual real name is Abby, not Abigail.

Player Profile: Joey Wood

Photo of Joey Wood.Name: Joey Wood
Age: 30
Team: The Settlers of Baton

Where are you originally from?

Sturgis, Michigan

What’s your day job?

I have the pleasure of working with kids at Battle Creek Central High School as they learn about history, government, and economics.

What do you like best about kubb?

I am a very social person. Kubb is an incredibly social game. What is better than a yard game that encourages you to play a game outside, with friends, where every game is different and everyone can contribute to the team? As much fun as I have at tournaments, I think I have more fun at friendly get togethers  where we are able to convince everyone to play Kubb at some point. Winning is fun, but the face on a “newbie” after they hit a big shot is priceless.

What’s your kubb specialty? (short, long, king, etc)

I always joke during games that any scum-sucking yahoo can inkast 9 kubbs. I am pretty sure that is why I do some of my team’s inkasting. To me, there is nothing more satisfying in than inkasting 8 or 9 kubbs really well. Over the last two years I have tinkered around with my technique and have become more consistent. After attending the U.S. Championship, it became very apparent that the difference between the very good teams and the championship caliber teams was inkasting. I would like to think that someday I could help inkast a group of 8 or 9 that could put our team in a position to win a big game at Nationals.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

My favorite Kubb memories center around teaching the game to new players.  A few summers ago we were at a baby shower and set up the kubb pitch. The game was a hit as there were quite a few “newbies” who played with us. One of the newcomers was a boy who was around 8 years old. After a few group games, I challenged him to a one on one game. Lo and behold, that kid had me on the ropes the whole game and had the back row cleared with 7 in play before I finally turned the game around and won. Some would consider almost losing to someone a quarter of their age a terrible memory, but that game showed me how much fun you could have with a complete stranger playing the game of Kubb.

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

I would like to throw a perfect game (even though they are not allowed in most tournaments).

Where do you see the future of kubb?

I would like to see variations of kubb take root. For example, last summer we had set up two kubb pitches next to each other (with about 2 meters in the middle). After a few games we decided it would be fun to play a game of MEGAKubb. 12 dowels, 20 kubbs, 2 kings. The rules kind of made themselves up as we went along. Throwing up on one pitch onto the other field became common. When a teammate hit a really cool field / back-line double from the opposite pitch, we all lost it. That is when I knew we were on to something really fun. I would like to see more fun variations of Kubb develop.

What are your interests outside of kubb?

I love reading non-fiction, trying to solve the worlds problems, designing (hopefully) engaging learning opportunities for teenagers, playing board games that require more strategy than luck, hanging out with friends, playing any sort of trivia game, watching or playing baseball, watching college football, running, biking, and helping people move (I like to think of my self as a packing expert).

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I have kept book on every Major League Baseball All Star Game since 1994 – a tradition that started with my father that someday I hope to share with my child.

Player Profile: Bryan Jones

Photo of Bryan Jones inkasting a kubb on the beach.Name: Bryan Jones
Age: 23
Team: Kubbing up with the Joneses

Where are you originally from?

Monroe, Mich.—south of Detroit and north of Toledo

What’s your day job?

I’m currently a substitute teacher while I look for a position as a graphic designer. I’m also a freelance graphic designer and artist.

What do you like best about kubb?

I like how easy it is to learn the basics of kubb, and how there are always new strategies and techniques to learn and practice.I also appreciate how kubb can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s great to play a game that can be shared with many generations. There also seems to be a great deal of good sportsmanship involved with kubb. Everyone I’ve played with has always been encouraging and helpful even when we are each other’s competition.

What’s your kubb speciality? (short, long, king, etc)

I’m not sure I have a true specialty yet, as I continue to figure out my best kubb skills. I am a lefty though, so that becomes an advantage sometimes for certain shots.

What’s your favorite kubb memory?

My favorite kubb memory would have to be from this past Fourth of July when I played in a Kalamazoo Kubb random draw doubles tournament. My teammate Joey Wood and I took home 1st place that day!

What’s your biggest kubb goal?

I would love to help make kubb a huge deal wherever I end up. I’d also like to improve my skills enough to help my team do well at one of the bigger tournaments someday.

Where do you see the future of kubb?

I see kubb gaining popularity as it continues to be shared in various outlets across the country. I believe social media will be a major part of spreading the greatness that is kubb.

What are your interests outside of kubb?

Other than kubb, I enjoy disc golf and bowling. I’m into making pottery, painting, and printmaking (especially using letterpress). Travel is also a huge interest and I take every chance I get to explore someplace new.

Name a fun fact about yourself.

A poster I designed called “Mitten Rewritten” can be seen on display in the Anderson House Building in Michigan’s capital, Lansing. That same poster was also purchased by the Gwen Frostic School of Art to become part of their permanent collection.

Punting: A Legitimate Kubb Strategy?

In football, if you don’t get a first down in your first three plays, then you will more than likely punt the ball to the other team. Ideally, this forces the other team to start their drive deep in their own zone, with more yards to go to score points.

But I know what you’re thinking. Punting? In Kubb? What in the world is that? Punting is the name that some members of Kalamazoo Kubb gave to a strategy Michael Economy vehemently lobbies his teams to use. His strategy was to not toss field kubbs back just beyond the 4 meter mark, but to toss kubbs deep into your opponent’s zone. Now this isn’t a strategy he implements at every turn, but he has key times in the game where he wants to discuss punting.

In the image below, the blue kubbs show a typical spot a team’s inkastare would drill his kubbs. They are grouped together and as close to the center line as possible for a shorter throw. The red kubbs show how the other team might “punt” and keep the kubbs deep in their opponents zone. If they cannot knock down these field kubbs, then the opponents only move up a few feet instead of moving up potentially 4 meters.

Diagram of kubb gameplay.The first time we discuss punting is when we get more than 3 kubbs in play. He will routinely ask the inkastare if they feel good about grouping them. Then, if a kubb or two skips, bounces, or in any way goes astray, we must discuss our options. Do we feel good about getting those field kubbs down now that they are not grouped? Should we try to group remaining kubbs, try to throw them in a spot to make it a group, or should we toss our remaining kubbs deep just in case we cannot down the kubbs with have already thrown? These are all things our team must discuss, resolve, and decide what gives us the best chance of winning. If we leave kubbs standing on a turn and our opponent does not finish us off on their own turn, then you can bet the farm Mike will make us discuss punting.

His view is very simple, you should never allow your opponent to move up. If this must happen, you make their advantage as minimal as possible. The team our club sent to the U.S. National Kubb Championship last July took huge advantage of our opponents not listening to his advice. Until we played Kubb’d for a spot in the top 16, we had not won a game from the back line. We had dominate wins, we had wins we just squeaked out, but they all came after our opponent gave us an advantage line.

Now I’m not really going to ask if this is a legitimate kubb strategy. I think we all know it is. I’ve seen it used at the two tournaments I attended in 2014 and we’ve all seen Eric Anderson talk about it in his YouTube videos. My question is, can this be used to help you win games?

I’ve been very anti-punting in our club. I’ve been known to mock its wisdom and to make fun of those who use it. You see, in the games we’ve played in our backyards, in our city parks, and in tournaments, I rarely see it help you win games. What it is very good at is extending games. I’ve seen it used to earn a tie or partial points in tournaments with time limits. But in a world where the top inkastare’s can drill an awesome group just 4 meters away, how can a winning strategy be to put them farther away?

My response is always the same when it comes to discussing whether a team should punt. To win consistently at kubb you must group them well and take only a couple batons to knock over your group. If you can’t do that, you can’t win. You can punt, but if you do, you are only prolonging your defeat. If I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose on my terms. I want to lose because I couldn’t group them or I couldn’t blast effectively. I get up to two throws at each kubb to get them as close as possible, and that’s how I win or lose. Perhaps I’m jaded because I’m the usually the inkastare and I’m the first blaster. How dare you think I can’t make that shot!

Kubb is about adjusting to your game and to your opponents. So the truth in this debate is probably somewhere in the middle. But I’ve often wondered if there are people out in Kubbnation that have had this same debate. Do you use the punting strategy? Is it effective for you? How do you decide when it’s time to punt? Please join the debate, we’d love to hear from you.