Today’s Skill Builder Wednesday practices focuses on phantom games. Working the skills for different parts of the game is important, but you also need the full game experience as often as you can. Today’s practices mark the last of a 12 part series. Look for more skill builders in my book, “Kubb Remastered,” scheduled for release worldwide on July 4, 2019.
Me Against Me
The most common way competitive players practice when they are alone is by playing phantom games. These are normal games of one versus one by yourself, and against yourself, moving from one baseline to the next until you (or you) win. It works all the skills. If you want to add difficulty, play using only five batons. Playing one hour alone is like playing two hours with a partner or three hours as a threesome.
Down Five Game
Play the Down Five phantom game by yourself or with your team. Being five down and having all five of your base kubbs standing is the worst it can be in a game. This practice game helps you prepare to overcome this low. Drill the five opponent’s base kubbs into the upfield and play a phantom game. Always stay on the same side of the pitch and keep adding any new base kubbs you get down after each turn. Continue playing until you can slay the king.
In the Two Kings game, you play a phantom game against yourself until both sides win (two kings are slayed). When the first king falls, you only need play from one baseline—the one that still needs to slay the king.
Play a phantom game, but stay on the same side of the pitch. Keep pulling one kubb off your opponent’s baseline (the one you’re standing behind) each turn. Add any base kubbs you knock down from the upfield into the mix. Do this until you can clear the five upfield base kubbs and slay the king.
Counting batons is just what it sounds like. You’re going to count the number of batons it takes to finish two phantom games and there are 10 in play. If you knock down the last base kubb and have a baton left, you can slay the king. Set a desired goal, say 50 or less. World class is 30 or less batons to finish two games. There are 11 individual pieces of wood to hit plus piles of field kubbs. If you are 50 percent on 8 meter kubbs, you will be using 20 batons which means you only can spare nine batons to clear field kubbs and one for the king to achieve 30 throws. Not easy!
10 in Play
10 In Play is one of the most difficult ways to play a phantom game. Play a game against yourself back-and-forth, but don’t finish the game until all 10 kubbs are off the baselines. Keep going back-and-forth until you can finish the game. The catch: you can’t hit the last kubb with a baton and then the king in the same turn. You must drill all 10 kubbs before you can slay the king.
Phantom X is the hardest of all phantom games. It’s grueling. You play this game against yourself until all 10 kubbs are in play, but you only increase each turn by adding one kubb—as long as you’ve earned it by knocking it off the baseline. Use a 2-4-6 opening. You throw one kubb the first round, two kubbs the second round, three kubbs the third round, and so on. If you can’t get a base kubb down, you’re stuck throwing the same number of kubbs in as you did in the previous turn. If you knock down more than one base kubb, you only pull one and replace the others on the line. This game can be long and challenging, but it’s worth it. It’s a minimum of 10 turns to complete, but usually takes a lot more. This game will give you a lot of practice on every part of the game and with different numbers of kubbs to throw in. And, if you want to make it more difficult, use only five batons. It’s not for the faint of heart!