For the past couple years, we here at Kubbnation Magazine headquarters have been really intrigued by what is happening with kubb in the northern half of Belgium. We recently saw that they have an annual ranking/scoring system for teams, and we knew we needed to know more, as we would love to see that happen in the U.S. We contacted one of our contacts in Belgium, and he put us in contact with Mr. Jonas Steelandt. Here are the highlights of what we found out.

The system was taken from a similar system used in Germany. Belgium has tweaked it a little.
-14 of their tournaments were selected to be part of the ranking/scoring system. We counted 57 tournaments in Belgium this year.
-11 of the tournaments are minimum four-player tournaments and three are minimum six-player tournaments.
-There is a multiplicator that is used to give points to the teams based on their finish. So, for instance, in a 48 team tournament, the multiplicator is multiplied by 48. If you win a tournament, the multiplicator is 4.0, 2nd is 3.75, and depending if tournaments play out all places/finishes, the 32nd team would get .02 or .18. The top 32 teams get points.
-Different players can play on the team throughout the year.

It is no secret that we love four-player teams. Two batons half the time and one baton half the time. We had to ask Jonas what the deal was with four-player tournaments. His response was, "We like the 6-player teams but because many teams don't get 6 people we changed to 4. Not three because that advantage is too big." He also said, "4-player teams are cool because if you have 2 eight meter throwers and 2 close throwers you can give two stick to the close ones if there are many kubbs in the field and two to the eight meter throwers when there are many baseline kubbs left." Amen Jonas, amen.

So, in Belgium, three-player teams are viewed as too much of an advantage that in their national team ranking system they do not allow it. Very, very interesting. We asked about the rules regarding four-player teams regarding how they throw the batons. It gets even better. No player can throw consecutive batons. Wow. That gives us a lot of ideas for possible variations in the U.S. for different tournaments. Can you imagine a two-player team where you always have to alternate, or three-player teams where nobody can throw two batons in a row? There was a great three-part blog from Des Moines Kubb about the six-baton open this week and how it gives an advantage to the opening team. We wonder if splitting up batons would be part of the solution. Not saying it would or wouldn't, but we are very interested in thinking and discussing this more.

When talking to Jonas, he said that his team (
De Mirakelkubbers) often has to travel the farthest, which for getting to Heist-op-den-Berg, it is 1 hour and 30 minutes, and that most other teams are closer, so he thought the average is 1 hour. As you can read in Kubbnation Magazine, millions of people live within a two hour drive of each other, and that is just in Belgium and does not count The Netherlands and other surrounding countries. One of the reasons that they can have so many tournaments is that they have millions of people so close together, as opposed to the U.S. Upper Midwest and Sweden.

When we told Jonas that he was living the dream, his response was, "Yep, indeed. Each week we play a tournament, so it is pretty busy."

No country has a higher percentage of its population playing kubb than Sweden. That is a absolute fact. And Rone is the mecca. But we will say it right now that Belgium is the most active and largest organized kubb country in the world, and at least for us, one of the great leaders and innovators of the game and sport.