How do you structure a league or regular play with changing members?

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asked Aug 2, 2012 by ringerjr Kubbnoob (990 points)

Hi there. We like our kubb up here and are always finding new ways to play more kubb with more people. Here are a few of the events or styles of play we have tried. I've also heard of the "kubb collective" and the DMK ladder, but we haven't tried either ot those in the area that I'm aware of. We had a standard what I would call "bar league" here in town, too. I'd like to hear other ideas on how to organize a fairly large number of folks that want to play Kubb regularly. How do you do it? To start I'll share two formats we've used here in Kubbtown:

Kubb Friendly:

Set up a pitch in a populated area, play kubb and openly invite anyone else to join in to learn and/or just play. Sometimes we advertise these so that folks in town who have heard of kubb but never played have an opportunity to come to a specified place and time to learn. I find these are fun and critical to building community, but can be draining on those who sponsor or set up the friendly. Teaching anything takes effort and skill. An example of this is setting up a kubb pitch and playing adjacent to a popular farmers market in town. Thousands of people walk  by and see the game being played, a few stay and watch, a few ask questions, and a few drop in. Another example is, the local Sons of Norway group has a kids day every summer and they wanted to have kubb be part of it. I said "OK" and went down, set up a pitch in the park and played kubb with my son and dad until folks got interested and we then invited them into our game and explained it from there. This does not satisfy my need for "high level" or concentrated play, and I can get a little burned out teaching/talking. That said, I always walk away the better from these - you know how awesome this game is if you are reading this - and to be there when someone knocks down their first king, that is a gift.  I limit my participation in friendlies, but still do them usually at the request of community groups, which is actually pretty frequent and getting ridiculous here... 

Home league:

Last fall I organized a league at my single home pitch. I opened up to 14 people hoping for weekly 6 on 6 action. Each match we "drew straws" to split into two teams, so we played with different people throughout the night. People could drop in or out, and most came and stayed for 2 or more hours. Some nights we had 6 on 6, others 2 on 3 or whatever made sense. My kids played, too. I kept track of games and planned to give individual stats, but none of us cared about score (actually, I tallied the scores, my dad dominated and my son was at the bottom, and I didn't want to print out a sheet which would basically read  "look how bad the 8yo is" and "wow the 2010 National Champ is on top" Not good for growing boy self esteem, not good for kubb). We chose Tuesday evenings and played rain, snow or sun/moon shine and under lights, with a handwarming chiminea. This was a dream format for me and will be doing it again this summer, fall and winter. 

commented Aug 2, 2012 by Eric A. Kubblic ❚ (7,810 points)
Those were awesome evenings last fall. Glad you are going to do it again this year...on the kubb oasis.

1 Answer

+1 vote
answered Aug 2, 2012 by ChrisHodges Kubblic ❚ (7,300 points)

We have a format we call a Scrambler, which is similar to your Home League but has a little more structure:


At the start of the event everybody draws a number to find their place in the sheet and the round schedules dictate who each player will partner with each round, and who they will play against (all matches are 2-on-2). The schedule is set up to ensure that each player plays once with each other player and twice against each other player - picture yourself on a ptich and imagine 3 other "positions", those being 1) your partner, 2) one of your opponents, and 3) the other opponent - the schedules make sure that every other player in the tournamnet fills each of those roles exactly once. Individual scores are tallied, and ties in game wins are broken by win margins (how many base kubbs your opponents left standing).

The drawbacks are that it can take a while - the 8 person schedule (my favorite) requires 7 games so we put a 20-30 minute time limit on them, and it also requires all competitors to be there for the whole event so people can't drop in late or take off early. The larger ones (for 12 & 13 players) probably couldn't be done in a day, but I imagine that they could be scheduled over several sessions doing a few rounds at a time, we just haven't been ambitious enough to try this yet (the problem again being that everybody would have to show up to each session.)

To set up a "season" we assigned a given number of points to each place (depending on the number of people in the schedule - the more people that showed up in a given week the more points that were awarded) and tallied the points across several weeks.

No system is perfect, but this one is pretty fair and I'll tell you from experience that it does a great job of focusing on the social aspect of the game. People are competing individually, but you are also partnering with and cheering for everybody else (at least once!)

commented Aug 6, 2012 by ringerjr Kubbnoob (990 points)
Thank you for sharing this Chris and DMK! I think I am going to use these to set up a mini-tournament at the Bluegrass Festival later this month here in Eau Claire. I will gather participants in the morning and early afternoon, then start the tournament mid-afternoon. I'll let you know how it turns out!
commented Aug 9, 2012 by Evan F Ironkubb ✭ (1,960 points)
Great format.   Do you have a system for determining inkastare?  May be interesting making each team alternate field kubb tosses for this type of format.
commented Aug 9, 2012 by ChrisHodges Kubblic ❚ (7,300 points)
Actually yeah, we did just that! We allowed teams to choose whether to split kubbs each round or alternate rounds, but both players had to throw.