The issue with overlapping footprints:

The ability in the Midwest is amazing, especially in the last year regarding drilling kubbs. We are getting to a point where good groups are common in tournaments, and sometimes the U.S. National Ruleset doesn't cover a specific scenario. One such scenario came up recently at the Rockford 2012 tournament, and it brought with it some great international discussion regarding the very interesting and (on the other hand) very irksome kubb arrangement.

In the example above, both kubbs have unobstructed in-bounds footprints, yet the standing of one disallows the ability to stand the other. A kubbadox, so to speak.

Before we get too in-depth into the official U.S. Nationals ruling on this scenario, lets take a look at the overall "mantras" when standing kubbs. You will see all the kubb standing rules in the U.S. Nationals adhere, for the most part, to these guiding principles:

1. Any field kubb that can be raised in bounds must be raised in bounds.(Ex. This is why if a field kubb is half-in and half-out, you are forced to raise it in-bounds by rule)


2. Move pieces as little as possible to avoid confusions and ambiguity (Ex. This is why a defender is not allowed to raise a kubb one way, then raise it another way)

So with our example photo above, these two guiding principles clash. I went to some big names in kubb to find out how this is handled.

 First I did research online and found that the Netherlands ( have discussed this point in a 14 page dissertation on "doubting rules" (translated to "let's ask the questions and see what people think"). On page 13 the scenario was shown, and several options for resolution were identified. I reached out to Tony, who wrote the article, and asked what his findings were from the survey and he stated that all the answers were different, and all were "based" on the World Championships. I chuckled a little.

Second, I reached out to one of the greatest teachers of kubb I have met (and I have never met him face to face). Smitty (name changed to protect the innocent) has provided mentoring and guidance from an international kubb perspective to me, and is someone I look to for feedback and direction in my game. I have learned a lot just asking him questions. He has been to all the big kubb tournaments in Europe, and has been an official referee as well.

So what did he say? He stated that it really depends on who you ask. In Rone, the standard is to raise them both in-bounds, and that the kubb that ends up being out is "shunted" in, just to 50% in-bounds. In Kubbistan, they do not allow "shunting". In this example, one of the kubbs is simply rethrown. So, at the end of the day, it all depends on what "house rules" are in effect, and how the tournament director is feeling that day. I cried a little.

Next, I turned to my partner in crime, the President of DMK, Chris Hodges. He explored the ideas in great depth, and came up with a very logical argument both for and against the "shunting" they do in Worlds.

This might be the best time to describe what I mean by "shunting" and how that differers from "sliding". A slide happens when you have a kubb that is down, but has kubbs obstructing it on both sides. Both sides are obstructed, so you begin the "hinge" motion, then you make contact with an obstruction, and put it up, sliding it to stand it, touching the obstruction. A shunt would be a motion you take AFTER a slide, one way or another. It's a deviation from the normal motion of the "hinge", so to speak.

Keep with mantra #2, and move the pieces as little as possible. Most of the 'art' of kubb is to control how pieces come to rest. Don't twist them, don't test both ends, and if you allow shunting, which way do you shunt it? Is it defender's choice? Do you "twist" the kubb in? There are too many variables to controlling shunted pieces.

The object of inkasting is to group the kubbs as closely together as possible. Why punish someone for a good group? Why would a kubb thrown in the same position in the same place sometimes be in and sometimes be out? If the footprint is in-bounds, then how is it out?

Chris has some great example questions for both, and now I was split as well down the middle on what I thought made sense (we have "shunted" in the backyard, for example). An inkastare by heart (I never liked the feel of a baton) I always felt shunting in this scenario was more in the spirit of the game, but now I wasn't sure. I asked myself "If someone is a world-class inkastare then they should get them over the line more, and avoid the situation entirely. I cannot think of a great example in another sport, but in baseball after you hit the ball, if the ball bounces, then goes over the home run wall, you don't get a Home Run. You get a Ground Rule Double. Yes, it was an amazing hit, but you best make sure it gets over the wall without hitting the outfield first. Same in kubb perhaps. Get it more over the line and you don't have a penalty kubb.

So, what is the Rule at US Nationals:
I first scoured the US National Rules for this scenario, and did not find it. I then went through the specific rules for the Standing Kubbs Phase. First there was this rule, but it didn't seem to do the specific scenario justice.

D.3. states:
Any field kubb that can be raised in bounds must be raised in bounds. 

Well, in the scenario above, I suppose the second kubb cannot be raised in bounds...(reading on)

D.4.c states:
(c) If one end is obstructed and the other end is out of bounds then it must 
be raised on the inbounds end touching the obstruction, and as close 
as possible to the position it would have been raised in had there been 
no obstruction. Note: It is entirely possible the kubb will end up being 
out of bounds.

Aha, we found the key. So, we set one kubb up, then the scenario in D.4.c comes up. We have one kubb that only has an obstructed, in bounds footprint. The note at the end specifically states that we have to rethrow the kubb.

 So at the end of the day, when you see this at US Nationals, one kubb is put up in-bounds, the next kubb is tried and fails to make it in-bounds. It is given back to the kubb throwing team. The first kubb you put up (to test) is lowered exactly how it was prior to testing for in-bounds, and the inkastare throws the kubb again. If by some crazy happenstance it makes it way in the same exact position again, it is a penalty.

And that is the rule for this situation, according to US Nationals. I think after all my findings and asking around the kubb community, this is the right way to do it. I think if we open up the idea of shunting kubbs in bounds, we start asking rhetorical questions (which way do you go, around the pin, twist it in, etc.) we cannot answer, and a referee has to essentially make a strategic decision for us, which is something referees should never have in their job description. Not allowing the shunting is the right move, and allows the teams to resolve the issue on their own. And that is how it should be.