All About Kubb – The Outdoor Swedish Ancient Viking Game

Kubb Game

When my family would go on a family vacation to Northern Wisconsin, we would usually bring our Kubb game. Kubb is a game similar to the English Game of Skittles.

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Legend has it that Kubb was an old Viking game, but this rumor has never been confirmed. We know that Kubb is an old Nordic outdoor lawn game that continues to take Europe, the United States, and even the world by storm. Kubb is a game that almost anyone of any age can play, but to play it well requires strategy and skill.

The Ancient Vikings And The Swedish Kubb Game

Legend has it that the Vikings used to play a version of Kubb, but they played the game using real bones and human skulls, probably the bones and skulls of their enemies that had been captured and killed.

The Viking Kubb game legend has been floating about Scandindivan for years, even though the rumor has never been confirmed. Some say that the Swedish Kubb game is over 1,000 years old.

I can see those strong, fierce Viking men tossing the human bones to tip over the human skulls while having fierce competition. We do know that Kubb is an old Nordic game, so it is easy to imagine that on the wind-swept grassy areas of Gotland Sweden, an island in the Baltic sea, our Viking forefathers played the Kubb game on a grassy part of the island.

Many in Sweden call this game Viking Chess or the old log game. Allan Pettersson, on the official Swedish Gotland Kubb World Championships website, said this about the Swedish Kubb game and the island of Gotland:

“As a native of Gotland, I can only claim the following:

Of course, kubb is an old Gotland game, which came into being at the time when there was “a vidflo pa var storgard” (a pile of wood on every yard). 

You simply picked firewood in the appropriate size and number and in no time you had a log game!

Allan Pettersson

Today the World Championships of Kubb are still played on the Swedish island of Gotland. You can discover more about the Kubb World Championships by clicking here.

In the United States, the U.S. Kubb Championship takes place each year in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has rightfully claimed itself as the Kubb Capital of America. You can find out more about the U.S. National Kubb Championships by clicking here.

Other parts of the world, such as England, Switzerland, Holland, and France, also have active Kubb associations. The International Championship games have over 165 teams from eight countries participating.

We know that this Swedish outdoor lawn game is taking the world and the United States by storm; Kubb (pronounced in Swedish as KOOB) is fast becoming a popular outdoor lawn game.

All About The Outdoor Game Kubb

Kubb is usually played out on the grass, but it can also be played on the sand, dirt, and even snow. It is considered an outdoor board game, so it is best played on a smooth and flat surface; the grass is the most popular surface it is played on.

What makes it such a popular game is almost anyone can play it. Both old and young are known to play Kubb; anyone of virtually any age can participate.

Just two people can play Kubb, or you can have two teams. A good number for a team is usually no more than six people per team.

Having six people maximum on the team allows each person to throw the baton at least once for every turn. Because you can have teams or just two people can play against each other, it ensures that Kubb is a very versatile game.

The official Kubb game is usually made of pine as follows:

  • 1 King about 9x 9 cm and 30 cm high or 3.54 x 3.54 inches and 11.81 inches tall.
  • 10 Kubbs that are 7 cm X 7 cm and 15 cm high or 2.75 x 2.75 inches and 5.9 inches high, each Kubb should not weigh more than 0.5 kilos or a minimum of 0.3 kilos.
  • 6 throwing sticks, also known as a baton, are 44 mm in diameter and 30 cm long or 1.57-inch diameter and 11.81 inches long.
  • 4 corner sticks can be any size and are usually used to mark out the field. Many kits also include 2 center sticks to mark where the center is to place your King. These sticks are usually 2 x 2 x 30 cm.

The pitch area or field for Kubb is measured to be 5 M x 8 M or 16.4 feet x 26.25 feet. The Kubbs are placed on the baseline and the king in the center of the fields.

The Kubb and field are set up as shown below:

Kubb Game
Kubb – Ancient Viking Game (Playing Field)

The Basic Aim And Rules Of Playing The Kubb Game

The game’s purpose is to knock over the King, but you can only knock over the King when you have knocked over all the Kubbs or sticks your opponent has with a baton. If you happen to knock down the King accidentally, you have lost the game.

It may sound like an easy game, but like any game, it takes some skills and strategy, and other rules also must be considered.

Kubb is a game of skill and strategy. After all, remember that your opponent is also trying to knock down your Kubbs so that they can then knock down the King and win.

There are many different ways that people may play Kubb in their backyard, but the official rules for Kubb are as follows:

  • To toss the batons, you need to throw them underarm and stay within the throwing area.
  • Each team will toss their baton towards the King to see who goes first. The closest one will throw or toss first.
  • The object is that players need to try to knock down the Kubb of the opposing team. When Kubb is knocked down, Kubb is tossed into the opposing team’s field and put upright.
  • Before that team can knock down any baseline Kubbs, they must first knock down the tossed or field Kubbs.
  • They go back and forth between each of the teams, knocking down the kubbs. As you can see, it can take a lot of skill as, essentially, you will need to knock down 11 Kubbs with only 6 batons.
  • The one who can knock down all their opponents, Kubbs, can then knock down the King and will win the game.

This short video gives a great explanation of the Kubb game and how it is played.

Watch How To Play Kubb By Triple S Games

If you want to download the official copy of the U.S.National Kubb Championship Rules, download them below.

Kubb is an old Viking game that continues to gain popularity around the world. It continues to be popular as it requires skill and strategy. Kubb is a fun and sometimes highly addictive game that anyone can play.

Buying A Kubb Game Set

Today there are many Kubb Sets out there, but one of the Kubb sets we love is this set that comes with a handy carrying bag. We love the bag as you can take the game with you anywhere.

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Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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All About Kubb - The Outdoor Swedish Ancient Viking Game