Photo courtesy of Bryan Jones.
In any kubb tournament, backyard friendly, or league match, you will meet new and interesting people that appreciate the game for various reasons. In my years of playing kubb, meeting so many people from different places, with different lifestyles, you start seeing patterns. This article is not meant to stereotype players or individuals into specific buckets, but more to celebrate the diversity in why we play the game, and what we find so great about the sport. Consider this an “psychographic and aesthetic profiles” that explores why players enjoy kubb, and what players enjoy about the sport.
The psychographic profile digs into why a player enjoys the game. The aesthetic profile digs into what the player likes about the game.
It is entirely possible that you will not fit into any of these profiles… that just means you are more awesome than I can articulate. Honestly, very few players will fall into one and only one category; there is a lot of overlap between these categories, and as I tried to visualize, they don’t exist on the same axis. You may find you are a Kubb-King-Athlete, for example. Others may find they are a Baton-Viking-Athlete.
The purpose of this thought experiment is not to label individuals; it is to try and understand the motivation behind why a player enjoys kubb (psychographic) and what they enjoy about it (aesthetics). This can be a good resource for clubs, tournament organizers, or suppliers to better help them target their marketing to the right people in the right way. The role of a tournament organizer, a club, or a maker of kubb sets is to create products and environments kubb players love. We can explore what players love about the game with a profile dialogue.
Now let’s dive into upsetting the community (not on purpose of course)…
A King is characterized by wanting to play large and experience the rush. Heavy and exciting blasts, amazing combos, and “10 in play” motivates a King player.
Kings play for fun, are social, and interact the spectators and opponents during the game.
Kings will applaud an opponent when they do something amazing. “Amazing! Six with One!”
Kings defend a group of kubbs by putting the most space between the kubbs.
Kings enjoy hitting multiple 8 meter shots in a row, and try for baseline doubles using a powerful shot. A King may place a punishment kubb at 8 meters to make a challenging shot for their opponent.
Batons want to be technically precise in play. They focus on the rotation of their throws, they find the combo with finesse, and wish to close games quickly and efficiently.
Batons play to demonstrate their uniqueness, skill, and ability. They may adopt unique throwing stances, play styles, and game tendencies to find a unique advantage on the pitch. Batons may rescue kubbs, and may drill long-side goofy cut.
Batons will applaud technically precise misses, but may groan at a sloppy or unlucky hit. “Perfect rotation, friend. Just missed it.”
Batons defend a group of kubbs delicately. There is a procedure Batons go through when defending a group. Batons may put three kubbs tightly together to build a wall, safeguarding a kubb further back.
Batons will analyze a group and identify how to attack it, oftentimes coming at the group from an angle. They may ignore rescuing a kubb to demonstrate their precision at 7 meter shots. Batons may maintain a specific style of drill throughout the tournament. Batons may take the lone field kubb without much regard for a long double.
A Baton may oftentimes place a punishment at 7 meters to force a shot not practiced by an opponent, and to mitigate a rescue.
A Kubb is characterized by their competitive nature and play primarily to prove how good they (and their team) are. Kubbs spend time calculating percentages, evaluating their opponents game, and playing to their strengths (and their opponents weaknesses). Kubbs have no problem copying another innovation they have seen at the tournament.
Kubbs look to efficiently grind out the opponent in every phase of the game, and squeeze every advantage possible. Their gameplay is designed to secure efficient victories. A Kubb can play ten games and only lose one, but if they feel they should have won them all, they will be upset with themselves.
Kubbs will applaud a two-for-two open from their opponents. “Best start in the game, so they say.” Kubbs will start defense by asking “How many do we need them to use in the field?” then attempt to create a situation where it results in the expectation.
A Kubb will calculate “par” in the field before placing a punishment. Placement is situational; on the baseline if their analysis concludes the opponent has not practiced rescues — behind a king on a windy day, offset based on direction of wind.
Vikings love the culture, history, and flavor of the game. They appreciate the lore of the game, and will envision a match they are in being played on the shores of the Baltic.
Vikings like the variety the game of kubb offers. They have no problem playing on creative kubb sets, flavorful backyard variants, and love sharing the game with friends and family.
Vikings will applaud an opponent that hits, misses, or whatever. They are just happy to be sharing the experience with another team “And the king has been slayed….great game!”
“All in good fun!” says the Viking.
Athletes love the strategy and tactics that kubb offers. They appreciate the competitiveness of the game, and will envision a match they are in being played on ESPN.
Athletes like the consistency of tournaments that use universal rule sets. They want to play on competition kubb sets, and may have preferences on tournament format. They love competing with other competitive players.
Athletes will applaud an opponent that demonstrates athletic skill. They don’t mind a great team beating them, as long as they played a strong, disciplined game. “Congratulations! That was the best round of kubb I’ve seen in my life.”
“Our goal is to raise the trophy!” says the Athlete.
Which do you identify as? Is it a combination of two or three? Let us know in the comments.