This article appears in the 2013 issue of Kubbnation Magazine.
Very late one evening in February of 2012 I sent this email to my friend Garrick:
Subject: Kubb River From: Jamie Thingelstad <jamie@_____.com> Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 00:15:20 -0600 To: Garrick Van Buren <email@_____.com> Got timestamps working on feeds so it is right now. Just need to move this river to Planet Kubb and give it a better HTML. http://river.thingelstad.com/kubb/index.html -- Jamie Thingelstad via iPhone
Three days prior to that I had thought to make a feed of Kubb blog posts, videos and anything else I could find just for my personal use. When I saw that river of Kubb come together I thought it was immediately useful and interesting. I’ve been an Internet geek since the early 90’s and knew that there were a number of “planet feeds” out there that aggregated everything they could find on a topic, usually an open source project. I saw my little river of Kubb and thought to myself “I wonder if there should be a planet feed for Kubb? Planet Kubb?” And with that and the email above Planet Kubb was created.
For years I’ve hosted my own personal and hobby websites. I run several WordPress blogs, several MediaWiki powered wikis. I’ve been a constant explorer of this type of software for over a decade. I have two virtual servers at Linode to run all of my projects on so after I setup the initial Planet Kubb website I started thinking about more interesting things that could be put up for the Kubb community. I was poking around and discovered an open source package called Question2Answer that can be used to power question and answer websites. Right away I knew this was something that would be interesting for Kubb so I pinged Garrick since I couldn’t figure out what to call it and he immediately replied…
Ask Planet Kubb
Ask Planet Kubb was launched just 4 days later on February 18th. Today, Ask Planet Kubb has over 300 answers to more than 100 questions. Topics ranging from how to practice to optimal placement of penalty kubbs to the more light-hearted question of all the pre-throw baton flipping.
Ask Planet Kubb has become the “go to” place to get input on whatever questions you have about Kubb. There are Kubb players from the US, Sweden, Germany and a number of other countries actively answering and exchanging comments. A major highlight occurred on Ask Planet Kubb on August 7, 2012 when a discussion around the process of standing Kubbs near the center pin resulted in a rules clarification with US, Swedish and German Kubb players engaging in the discussion.
Quickly Ask Planet Kubb became a place to discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of competitive kubb – but where to document the decisions?
Planet Kubb Wiki
The Planet Kubb Wiki started as a directory of vocabulary, tournaments, teams, players, and a nascent page about Kubb notation “Some ideas on how to keep something like a box score for a Kubb match. The most repeatable action is the baton toss so that is the key to pace the sheet.”
A couple months later, Garrick brought a blank piece of paper to a lunchtime game of lunch and we took turns documenting each baton throw. Over the next few weeks, the Planet Kubb Game Notation and Scoresheet were flushed out. Both got their first real test during the championship bracket at the 2012 US National Kubb Championship where Garrick, Tony Hansen of Des Moines Kubb, Chad Bevers of Fox Valley Kubb, and I scored all the championship games. With the notation now baked deep into the wiki with automatically calculated game, teams and player statistics we can start to raise our level of understanding of Kubb to an entirely new level.
I have great hopes that we will see further adoption of the Planet Kubb Notation system and that it starts to be used as a means of archiving and sharing game results across clubs as well as countries and languages. I truly believe it is the most significant contribution that Planet Kubb has made to the game in our brief time working on stuff. I hope to be able to follow the championship game at the Kubb VM someday by getting Tweets of each turn transmitted using the notation. “8i3r 4f 3f f b K – # Team Ekeby wins the Kubb VM!”. Please see separate article in Kubbnation on the Planet Kubb Notation System.
The Planet Kubb Wiki aims to be the central archive of all Kubb related information available. It is a directory of Kubb clubs, an archive of games played, a place to see the brackets from previous tournaments and the most complete reference of Kubb content on the web. The best part? You can help make it better of course by creating an account and contributing additional content!
Planet Kubb Network
I have long wished that there were more Kubb teams with blogs. I wish that there was a better option for tournaments and clubs to have a nice website platform. There are a lot of Facebook pages for Kubb clubs, but they lack more depth on the clubs, members and their thoughts on Kubb. After wishing something better would exist it hit me that Planet Kubb could make that something better and on October 20th the Planet Kubb Network was launched.
Using the Planet Kubb Network any Kubb team, club, event or even player can have their own WordPress-powered website to share whatever Kubb related information they want. You don’t have to pay anything. The sites are hosted via Planet Kubb. And the content is all yours. If you wish to move it somewhere else later you can export everything and head off to a different website.
All of the sites in the Planet Kubb Network are automatically included in the distribution feeds we syndicate on Facebook and Twitter so you get an instance tap into Kubb fans around the world. And, the network supports localization into Swedish, German and Dutch right now and other languages are easy to add.
In the past 6 months Planet Kubb has had over 15,000 visits from over 50 different countries around the world. What’s next for Planet Kubb? In 2013 Planet Kubb will award the US Kubb Club Championship for the first time. The Kubb Club that collects the most points from it’s three representative teams in the US National Championship will be named the top Kubb club in the US! Will your club be the one?
To a large extent thought he future of Planet Kubb is in the Kubb communities hands. Get involved on Ask Planet Kubb and answer some questions. Contribute some content to the Planet Kubb Wiki. Score some games and add them to the corpus of games on the Planet Kubb Wiki. Add your local Kubb clubs and events. Thank you for helping build out the most vibrant Kubb community on the Internet!