Planet Kubb Award 2015: First Baton Efficiency to Kubbitz

2015-07-12 14.09.45

In my book ‘Rebuilding Blocks’ I compare the relationship between the Inkastare and the First Blaster as the relationship between the pitcher and catcher in baseball. In kubb, as in baseball, communication between these roles is integral for success. The tighter the Inkastare throws – and the fewer options they leave for the defenders – the more field kubbs the First Blaster can topple with a single baton. The more field kubbs toppled with the first baton – the more progress that can be made on the baseline. This metric – First Baton Efficiency, the percentage of field kubbs toppled with the first baton – is a measure of how well the Inkastare and the First Blaster work together.

At the 2015 U.S. National Kubb Championship we at Planet Kubb wanted to see which of the eight teams playing on Sunday had the highest 1BE – and if this statistic could be quickly calculated for eight teams in real-time.

I’d like to thank Jim Bernard, Jesse Fraim, Brian Ramsey for helping me record every kubb inkast and every baton thrown in the Quarter Final round. As I received the scoresheets, I quickly added up the Is and the Fs, double checking and triple checking the math. At the beginning of Sunday’s award program, I presented the traveling Nyland Sack Trophy to Kubbitz for a 47.12% 1BE. Yes, that means they toppled slightly less than 50% of the available field kubbs with the first baton. Wow.

But remember, this is the Quarterfinals at the U.S. Nationals.

1. Kubbitz – 47.12% (41f/87i)
2. Furor Celtica – 45.71% (16f/35i)
3. Ringers – 45.45% (30f/66i)
4. Kubbsicles – 44.12% (15f/34i)
5. Damage – 42.86% (15f/35i)
6. X-Kubbed – 40.9% (36f/88i)
7. Ona Orth – 38.71% (24f/62i)
8. King Pin – 37.93% (11f/29i)

Yes, just 9.2% separated these eight teams’ performances with their first baton, 3% separate the top 4. That’s far tighter than I was anticipating. Here’s where I think the 1BE metric is really interesting – Kubbitz finished 1.41% ahead of Furor Celtica but did so by inkasting and toppling 2.5x the field kubbs. Kubbitz & X-Kubbed had more kubbs inkast in game 1 (and then again in game 2) than Furor Celtica and Kubbsicles had in their entire match.

Congrats again to Kubbitz for consistently making progress with the first baton across 3 long games.

And yes, we’re now taking suggestions for the kubb statistic Planet Kubb should highlight at the 2016 U.S. National Kubb Championship.

Special thanks to Dobbie for reviewing game state a few days later and highlighting where clarifications and corrections were needed to more clearly communicate the play.


Drilling a [[kubb]] from the middle of the [[baseline]] with the throwing arm on the same side of the pitch from where the kubb lands.

Commonly identified as a high risk, high reward drill. Used in conjunction with a [[regular cut]], it’s possible to cut the kubb back towards the [[centerline]] pin.

Rescue kubb

The act of hitting previously established [[field kubb]]s (i.e. field kubbs in play not previously thrown this turn) purposely knocked out of bounds by the [[inkastare]] ”’using a kubb”’ (not a baton) with intention of rethrowing for better placement on the [[pitch]].

Also called [[Throwing a Q]]

In 2015 The Nylund Sack Trophy Goes To…

This year, Planet Kubb will again be awarding the Nylund Sack Trophy at the U.S. Kubb National Championship. This year’s award will go to the team with the highest overall first baton efficiency in the quarter final round.

What is First Baton Efficiency?
It’s the % of field kubbs toppled by the first baton thrown in a turn.

To calculate this year’s winner, we’ll be scoring each quarter final match using the most recent Planet Kubb scoresheet then adding up all the kubbs inkast for each team and dividing by the number toppled by their first baton (see the efficiency equation at the bottom of the scoresheet). The team with the highest percentage wins.

We will need help scoring matches. If you’ll be watching the Sunday’s matches and can help document the game play to calculate the winner – contact Garrick – Thanks!

Scoresheet Updated to v11

Each year after scoring the US National Kubb Championship Garrick and I have identified improvements for the scoresheet. Real use is where we see big improvements. Scoring games in championship tournaments is super helpful for this. Last years change was radical! We flipped the entire scoresheet from portrait to landscape and it is so much better. This years changes are minor but very helpful.

  1. As I was scoring games on the pitch I started doing something that I really liked. When the throwing team had cleared all the field kubbs and could now move to attacking the baseline, I made a thick vertical line over the grid for that turn. This allowed me to very easily see the Batons to Clear (BTC) for each team. We decided to put this right into the scoresheet and put a blank in between the vertical lines in the score grid. These can be connected to indicate when the field was cleared. Obviously this is easy to calculate, but this visual cue is really nice.
  2. The throw count numbers were nice but it turns out that they are better not in increments of 10, but instead a the end of each turn. It’s more helpful to know that number so we moved those.
  3. Added a reference to the new rescue Kubb attempt (Y) notation.

The new scoresheet is up on the wiki as a PDF to easily download and print. We also for the first time ever have a Github organization for Planet Kubb, and a repository just for the scoring system. Using this, you can create “issues” in that repository if you have suggestions for ways the scoring system, including the scoresheet, can be improved.

Planet Kubb Live Tweets Throw-by-Throw Again

For the 2nd year in a row Planet Kubb has used it’s notation system to share with the world throw-by-throw action from the finals match of the US National Kubb Championship! People from around the world were able to follow the game in real time, regardless of country or language. Planet Kubb is the first and only venue to ever live tweet throw-by-throw Kubb matches. Here are our tweets archived as they were sent. It would be great to see the World Championship do this!

Continue reading “Planet Kubb Live Tweets Throw-by-Throw Again”

Introducing Y: Rescue Kubb Attempt

For the third consecutive year Planet Kubb was at the US National Kubb Championship and kept throw-by-throw records of the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals matches. This has become a bit of a tradition for us and people now eagerly look forward to getting their hands on the scoresheets after the tournament to look at what happened. Each year that we’ve done this we’ve found improvements to make to the scoresheet and notation. This year we had a first in US Kubb Championship play when King Pin attempted to rescue a Kubb.

The Scenario

Let me describe the situation. King Pin had left a field Kubb and given X Kubbed an advantage line, about 3 meters in. X Kubbed finished their attack and King Pin was left was 7 kubbs to throw in, along with the previous field Kubb. There were two baseline kubbs remaining. At this point King Pin decided they did not like the placement of the field Kubb that they had left in the previous turn and wanted to rescue it. JP Larson (J) picked up a Kubb and threw it bowling style at the field Kubb and missed. He threw a second and missed. At this point JP stepped aside and Mark Oman (M) threw a Kubb at the field Kubb and missed. He then threw another Kubb (totaling four kubbs) and this time he hit the field Kubb however it did not go out of bounds. King Pin decides to not attempt anything further. I’m not sure they could have anyway since the field was now laying down it would be very difficult to hit. So, they drill the remaining three kubbs, then rethrow the 4 kubbs they attempted rescues with. The field Kubb they were trying to rescue was set back up in it’s new spot.

That was a complicated set of events and it was pretty exciting to watch. As I wrote this down using Planet Kubb notation I had:

j:2i m:2i j:3i4r

This is completely accurate. JP (J) threw 2 kubbs, Mark (M) threw 2 kubbs. J threw 3 more kubbs and rethrew 4. There were no penalty kubbs. Accurate it may be but it completely misses the spirit of the action. Part of what made this interesting was the rescue attempt failed! If it would have been successful, let’s say that that 4th Kubb would have rescued the field Kubb, then we would have had this:

j:2i m:2iq j:3i4ri

The q would let us know a Kubb was rescued. Personally I stylistically put the rescued Kubb getting thrown back in as a final i by itself to highlight it. The q informs us of what happened with the previous 4 i‘s. But, that didn’t happen so we are left not really knowing what happened. After deliberating this we attempting a rescue of a Kubb deserves it’s own notation.

Introducing Y!

Y has now been added to the notation system to indicate a rescue Kubb attempt/throw. Using this, we would restate the scenario as:

j:2y m:2y j:3i4r

Much better! Now I know that those first four throws were not drills. They were special. I also know that since I don’t see a q they were not successful. Now I can see the notation and actually get a sense of what happened in the game.

Technically if we are just storing the data of the game Y isn’t needed. The first notation describes what happens, but it’s devoid of the excitement and emotion. Capturing the spirit of the game is something we are trying to do with the notation. For example, there technically is no reason for =. It’s just a missed throw. You could simply put and know that there was nothing else to throw at but the King so it must be a king miss. But that misses the point. It’s exciting to see:

3i  3f b b = = K

You know what happened at each step! Y solves this problem nicely for rescue attempts and captures the drama of the pitch. We think this closes one of the last areas of a Kubb match that the notation hadn’t been tested against before.