Everything you need to know about Kubb

Kubb is an old Nordic yard game that some claim even dates back as far as Vikings. It originated from Sweden and began to see global popularity in the 1980s, which is when the first commercial kubb sets were produced. 

 The game has grown to a point where there are annual championships and leagues held, so we’re going to run you through everything you need to know about it, in case you want to get in on the fun. 

What is Kubb?

Kubb is often referred to as a combination of bowling and horseshoes. Each game takes place on a small rectangular pitch, which is what makes it so well suited to back yards. 

Kubbs are placed on each side of the pitch, with a kind piece being put in the middle of the field between the two players. 

Each player then gets a set of batons, with the objective of the game to knock down the opponent’s king first. However, you can only knock down the king once all of your opponent’s kubbs have also been knocked down. 

What are the Kubb Rules?

The kubb rules are relatively simple. Two teams play the game. These teams may consist of one or more persons. 

The first team throws six batons at the opponent’s kubbs. The throws must be underhanded, and the baton must spin end on end; otherwise, the throw is disqualified. 

After the six batons are throwing, the opposing team tosses any kubbs that were knocked down onto your side of the field, at which point the kubbs are stood up and known as field kubbs. 

When it is the opponent’s turn to throw, they must knock down the field kubbs before they can target your baseline. 

Once a team has successfully knocked down all of their opponent’s kubbs, they can target the king. If the king is knocked over at any other point during the game, the team responsible automatically loses. 

If during a round a team is unsuccessful in knocking down all of their opponents kubbs, the kubb that is closest to the centerline now is now the opposite team’s baseline, and players can step up to that point to throw at their opponent’s kubbs. 

However, fallen kubbs are still thrown from the original baseline, as well as any attempts to knock over the king. 

Play continues like this until one team is able to knock all of their opponent’s kubbs down. If that team has any batons left, they can then attempt to knock over the king. 

Another rule you should be aware of is what happens if a kubb is thrown out of bounds, or not beyond the middle line. In this case, you get one more attempt. If it happens again, then it can be placed anywhere in the target half by the opposing team, instead, provided it is one baton’s length distance from a corner line or the king.

Also, if a Kubb is hit but corrects itself back to an upright position, it is still considered knocked down, and the game is played as usual. 

What You Need to Play Kubb

The complexity of Kubb instructions has led players to adopt the name “Viking chess” for it. Despite that, there are only a few pieces that you need to play it:

  • Ten kubbs. These are typically wooden blocks 10-15 cm tall and 5-7 cm square on the end.
  • One king. This is a taller wooden piece, usually around 25-30 cm tall and 7-9 cm square on the end. Sometimes this is adorned with a crown on the top.
  • Six batons that are 25-30 cm long and 2.5-4.4 cm in diameter.
  • Six field marking pins. You use these to mark out the corners of the pitch, as well as the center-line. 

Kubb Game

Hopefully, we’ve been able to shed some light on how to play the kubb game. 

It is as sophisticated as it is beautiful, and its level of popularity attests to that. There are world championships, national championships, leagues, and even certain schools and towns that adopt it as their primary sport. Whether it be the United States, Sweden, or anywhere else, you’re bound to find kubb players if you go searching for them.

If you’re looking for a new and unique game to try out, there aren’t many yard games that are as rewarding as kubb.