Kubb might seem a little unusual at first glance. But the game is quite simple when you know what to do. So, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Kubb in more detail, shall we?
What is Kubb?
So, what is Kubb? Well, you can think of Kubb as a horseshoes-like game. The objective of the game is deceptively simple. Player’s need to knock over each team’s wooden blocks (the titular Kubbs) in order to win.
However, things aren’t quite that simple. The game can only be won when King Kubb is knocked over. But the King can only be knocked over after all the other Kubbs have been. You also only have a limited number of throws during each round. If you enjoy throwing games like Mölkky, then you’ll enjoy Kubbs.
Plus, Kubb needs to be played on a very specific-sized pitch too. But we’ll talk more about the game rules later on in this guide. Let’s take a quick look at the history. Kubb is a Swedish game that some people believe dates back to the Vikings.
Although there isn’t any supporting evidence for this, however, similar games were around in the early 1900s. Kubb as we know it today originated in the 1980s when some of the first known Kubb sets were manufactured.
While Kubb might not have the instant name recognition of some other outdoor games, it is still pretty popular. There are numerous tournaments held in America and across Europe every year. If you want to give Kubb a try, let’s take a look at what you need to play.
What You’ll Need To Play
Now to play Kubb, you’ll need a Kubb set. Finding one of these in a shop might be difficult. But the good news is you can find a wide variety of Kubb game sets online. This wooden set from Ropoda is a great example.
There are quite a few different components in a Kubb set. We’ll take about each of them below so you can better see what each does. Don’t let all the different pieces put you off playing, though. Once you know what to do, Kubb is quite a simple game.
The main components of any Kubb set are the Kubbs themselves. They are also known as Skittles to some people. These are the wooden blocks that need to be knocked over. In most Kubb sets, you’ll get 10 of these blocks.
Alongside these ten blocks, you’ll also get one larger Kubb block. This block will have a crown-like head on it and be taller than a regular Kubb. This has, I’m sure you have already guessed, is the King Kubb.
One of the things that makes Kubb quite distinct is that it’s played with Batons. These small wooden sticks are thrown during the course of the game. You should receive six of these batons with your set.
You should also receive at least four pitch stakes with your Kubb set. Some sets may include more. These are used to mark out the playing field for your game. While these are commonly included, they aren’t always. We strongly recommend finding a set with stakes as it will make playing Kubb much more accessible for beginners.
Kubb Rules and Gameplay
The Aim of The Game
The aim of Kubb is quite simple. The game is played with two players, one on each team. To win, you need to be the first to knock over your opponent’s Kubbs. Then you need to knock over their King Kubb, and you win!
We know it sounds easy, but it’s more challenging than just throwing your batons. If you hit the King before all the other Kubbs have been knocked over, then you’ll be penalized. Kubbs also need to be thrown in a specific way.
The pitch also needs to be set up to a specific size, and things can change each round. Once you know everything, Kubbs is quite a simple game to play and is a great outdoor game for adults and children. So, let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
The first thing to do is decide on how big your pitch is going to be. When you’re playing at home, you can use your own rules. But there are generally considered to be three different standard pitch sizes. These are as follows:
- 10 x 8m
- 10 x 5m
- 8 x 5m
8 x 5m is the official tournament size but is generally considered unsuitable for new players. Remember, when playing at home, you can relax the size rules and play your own way. So, don’t worry too much, just use them as a guide if you prefer.
Use the pitch stakes to mark your playing field, and then you can get your Kubbs ready. The lines at either end are called baselines. The middle line won’t be marked but will run in the center of the playing field.
Once everything is ready, you should place your King Kubb in the center. Each team will have 5 Kubbs they should put these against their respective baselines. The first round can then start. You can decide which player goes first by flipping a coin or choosing at random.
For the first round, you can only throw four batons. Batons need to be thrown vertically in an underarm fashion. They also need to be thrown from behind the opponent player’s baseline. It is doubtful that a player will be able to win in round one. But they should still aim to knock over as many Kubbs as they can.
From the second round onward, the rules of the game change slightly. First of all, each team will be able to throw six batons instead of just four. But that is just the beginning of the changes. The most crucial difference is the addition of field Kubbs.
Any Kubbs that were knocked over during your opponent’s turn must be collected. You’ll then throw these Kubbs into your opponents half of the court. The throws must be done from your baseline.
Your opponent will then need to place the Kubbs up where they land, and this will create the field Kubbs. These will need to be knocked over on your next turn. However, rather than throwing from your baseline, you’ll be throwing from the new throwing line.
The throwing line is essentially the space from just behind the closest field Kubb. So, when throwing Kubbs, you’ll want to create the ideal throwing line to make the next round easier for yourself. Gameplay follows this loop till one player is in a position to win.
So, how do you win Kubb? Well, first, you need to be able to knock down all the baseline and field Kubbs. Once this is done, if you have any remaining batons, you can aim for the King Kubb.
Any throw at the King must be taken at the baseline and not the throwing line. If the King is knocked over, then you win the game! If the King is knocked over before the other Kubbs, then you will be instantly penalized.
This is either immediately losing your turn or under traditional rules; you instantly lose the game. Ensure all players agree on what this rule will be before starting the game to ensure everything is fair.
Traditionally Kubbs is a two-player outdoor yard game. However, for at-home games, you can easily play in groups and take turns when throwing batons. Teams don’t even need to be equal either. So, if you’re looking for a fun outdoor party game, Kubbs is certainly worthing playing.
Kubb – A Splendid Swedish Classic
Kubb is a tremendous outdoor yard game! The rules are simple, and once you get used to the set-up, you should have no problems playing. You’ll need good aim and steady hands just like in darts. But there is also a strategic element to the game as well.