Advantage for first team to throw?

+2 votes
asked Feb 21, 2012 by thingles Kubblic ❚ (6,110 points)
My buddies and I were wondering if and how much of an advantage the first team to throw has in a given Kubb match. We also found this recent post from the guys in Des Moines that suggests that the team to throw first has a 75% chance of winning. That is huge.

What do others think about this? Does the math hold?
commented Jul 24, 2012 by garrickvanburen Kubblic ❚ (7,390 points)
At Nationals, the Kubbchucks played for hours without hitting an 8m baseline. Some of those games we even won. ;)
commented Jul 24, 2012 by ChrisHodges Kubblic ❚ (7,300 points)
That's undeniably true (I've won more than a few games that way myself), but I don't see the connection to the topic at hand here. What exactly is the downside to starting with a strong round and forcing your opponent to clear a few fields before moving on to attacking the baseline? Don't you always want to be putting kubbs in your opponent's hands, and the more the better?
commented Jul 25, 2012 by Eric A. Kubblic ❚ (7,810 points)
It simply comes down to the inkastare (and if they have a solid team around them), especially with three person teams. How many 2-1 matches were there at the U.S. from the quarterfinals to the Final? One, I think. Think about it. 4 + 2 + 2 = 8 matches. Only one was 2-1. Not that a 2-0 cannot be close, but the discussion is that whoever goes first has a HUGE advantage and that is the most important thing/throw in kubb. If there were 17 games, it had to have been 9/8 or 8/9, which is statistically equal, right? Nothing against baton play at all in the Final, but there were a lot of missed chances to win games, but there is no coincidence that the two (unquestionable) best inkastares that weekend were in the Final. Were the two best teams that can throw at the king to see who goes first in the Final? Perhaps, but I highly doubt it. As more inkastares reach the level of Team Knockerheads and Kubbsicles, things will level out. But, if we played another U.S. Championship this next weekend, I would suspect that those two teams would reach the semifinals again, and probably the Final. Would a team that has an average inkastare, but wins the king toss every time even make it to Sunday? I say not.

I will also say this, I would love to start off with knocking down four batons. BUT, if the other team comes out strong and take two baselines down the next time, and if my team does not have a good inkastare, that is six batons already going back and forth. Now, six field kubbs, six batons, and one baseline kubb. Even though you are "up" 4 to 2, with an average inkastare on the "ahead" team, things are looking pretty even.
commented Jul 25, 2012 by ChrisHodges Kubblic ❚ (7,300 points)
Point conceded - the drill IS the most important throw in Kubb. The best inkastares are always finishing in the top of tournaments, and it's their drills (not the opening tosses) that get them there.

That said, given the choice just about everybody will chose to throw first unless one side of the pitch is at a pretty big advantage, right? Exactly how big that advantage has to be varies from player to player, and it will give you an idea of how much advantage they believe there is in throwing first. As for me, it's going to have to be pretty big to get me to give up the toss!

For the record, I always thought 70% plus for the opening team seemed high, but I don't argue with numbers or make them up - I just report 'em. I was surprised enough by the data we had collected that I felt the need to share it, and was always worried my sample size was too small, as well as being club specific. Dobbie and I are way over-represented in those 72 games above - I'd guess at least one of us was in close to 50 of them so that 72.2% is more a statistic on us than on the game of Kubb in general. Hey, I was asking for more data! I'm really glad Planet Kubb has this games database now - I will be very interested to see how the statistics evolve.
commented Jul 26, 2012 by Eric A. Kubblic ❚ (7,810 points)
I will say this though Chris, and Planet Kubb. When you have two teams that have equal inkastares on them, as I am sure we will get more and more, then, that evens things out and things change, perhaps. It will come down to kubb mistakes (still on the inkastare), but also what will then be the most important throw in the game and/or will another throw start to be almost as important. I think your blog post shows that the eight meter throws in the first two turns plays a big part in that. I punch you. You punch me. Who and what is left standing. The absolute great thing about this game is this. You can be in a situation where you are up 20 points with two minutes left in the basketball game in kubb, right? All five kubbs down and none on your side, BUT, if you make the mistake, the game can be even Steven in just one turn OR, you could be shaking your opponents hand in two because they just finished you off. There is always that in the back of the heads of both teams.

1 Answer

0 votes
answered Feb 22, 2012 by anonymous
I think this 75% thing is crazy. We play in Oregon, and we will take on any of those DM "guys". If they go first, we will win over 50% of the matches. Period.
commented Feb 24, 2012 by thingles Kubblic ❚ (6,110 points)
Well thanks for visiting Planet Kubb! Register and stay a while. And if you like register your team on the wiki here:

Might connect with some more Kubb enthusiasts!
commented Feb 29, 2012 by desmoineskubb Ironkubb ✭ (4,390 points)
See you at Nationals? DMK is working on a 6 player all ladies team, so the "gals" of Kubb should be well represented in Wisconsin.
commented Mar 1, 2012 by THansenite Ironkubb ✭ (2,660 points)
I was just thinking that myself.  Come to nationals and let's settle this mano y.....womano.
commented Jul 24, 2012 by garrickvanburen Kubblic ❚ (7,390 points)
I'd love a PacificNW vs Midwest show down.
commented Jul 26, 2012 by hardcoreleftie Ironkubb ✭ (1,210 points)
I'll be in the Pacific Northwest next weekend. Wanna play some Kubb? Seattle and Portland area. Would love to see how the West Coast plays vs an Average Midwesterner