Kubb is one of the classic lawn games that combines the best aspects of both horseshoes and bowling. Because of its alleged Viking heritage, it is recognized by one of its nicknames “Viking Chess”.
Kubb involves strategy and skills while throwing wooden blocks at your competitor’s pieces. The point of the game is to knock down all your competitor’s wooden blocks before they knock yours down.
To win, you must knock down all the wooden baseline Kubbs and then the King piece. You take turns throwing up to 6 Batons at their 5 wooden blocks while standing 24 feet apart.
One of the oldest lawn games, it was created in Sweden more than 100 years ago. They still host a world championship every year in case you are interested.
There are a few different sets of rules that differ between countries but the main principles remain the same. We cover the US National Kubb Championship Rules and feature some of our official Backyard Games drinking rules at the end.
Photo Credit for this image: Amazon
What is Included in Kubb Game Set
There are 23 pieces including:
- 10 Kubb wooden blocks 3″ x 3″ x 6″ inches
- 1 King wooden block with crown
- 6 Wooden throwing Batons, known as kastpinnar’s
- 6 Corner markers for corners and Kings line. (not included in most sets)
- A Field – 24 Feet Long and 15 Feet Wide (not included but required)
How to Setup Kubb
One of the great things about Kubb is that it can be played 1-on-1, 2-on-2, or up to 6-on-6. When playing for fun you can even play with uneven Teams not leaving anyone out.
There are 3 different types of wooden pieces in a set that include 10 Kubb, 6 Baton, & 1 King. Start off by measuring out a field, known as a pitch, that is 24 Feet X 15 Feet.
You can play this game in all seasons, on grass, sand, gravel, and even snow. Use 6 markers to set out all 4 corners and on both sides of the middle line. If you do not have any corner stakes then use shoes, rocks, string, or anything else you can find as markers.
The last step is to set up all 5 Kubb pieces on each player’s baseline putting the kind of the center of the middle line as below.
Now your Kubb Field is all set up and ready to play!
How many people can play kubb
Once the Kubb field is set up and you have chosen your Team names next is to decide who throws first. Each team can consist of 1 to 6 people per team.
Choose a team member from each team to throw a Baton at the King and closets go first. To make this easier for explaining we will just refer to the two teams as Red & Blue, where Red goes first.
You can designate an “Inkastare” on your team. This person is the player that will throw the Kubb back into the opposite team’s field, making it a field piece.
Another team position is the Driller, the person who might be skilled at throwing the Batons and knocking 2 pieces down together in the same throw.
Rules for How to Play Kubb:
Before you begin throwing those Batons, keep in mind, if any team knocks down the Kingpin in the middle, it’s an automatic loss. So be careful with your aim!
In accordance with the US Championship rules the number of Batons you can throw from starting a new game is (2,4,6). This is a bit of a confusing part so please pay close attention to this.
The team that gets to throw first (Red) only throws 2 batons this round. The second team (Blue) gets to return to play with 4 Batons.
After this, it is always 6 batons per round, and is Red’s turn to throw back the Batons. Let’s go over the rules in detailed step-by-step instructions on how to play.
- The game will begin with the first Team (Red) throwing their batons. From behind their baseline, they will try to knock over the Kubb on the other team’s (Blue) baseline. The first team (as mentioned above) will have only 2 Batons to throw. All batons must be thrown underhand and go end-over-end. Sorry folks no spinning circles or infamous helicopter moves. For this example, we are going to say that Red hit both baseline Kubb with their 2 throws. Good job Red!
- The second team (Blue) now has 4 Batons to throw back. If the Red team had hit any of their Baseline Kubb (2 as we stated above) Blue would throw those same pieces back into the Red’s Field area, the area between the middle line and the baseline. Once landed, Red will then place them standing up. These are now used for protection in the next round. If Blue throws a Kubb outside the Field of play, they can throw it again after all other Kubb have been thrown. If they miss it again for a second time the other team can place it wherever they like if it is one Baton length from the King or any markers. For this example, both throws land successfully in the Field area.
- Now that The Blue team has thrown their Field Kubb they now have 4 Batons to throw. They will first have to knock over the Field Kubb before throwing at the Red team’s baseline. For this example, the Blue team hit 3 out of 4 of their targets with the batons. This was the Red team’s 2 field Kubb and 1 of their Baseline pieces. Now Blues 2 field Kubb will be returned and added to their baseline. As the Blue Team knocked over one of Red’s baselines they will have to throw it into the field on the Blue teams side.
- The Red team is now third to shoot and has 6 Batons to throw. This will be the same as all other rounds going forward. They must first hit the field Kubb before throwing at the Blue team’s baseline. Turns out the Red team played too many versions of the Kubb outdoor drinking game first and MISSED all 6 shots!! This is a huge advantage for the Blue team now because as Field Kubb’s were still left in the Field Blue will get to throw from the nearest Kubb.
- The Blue team now has 6 Batons to throw back and gets to do it from the closer line of the nearest Field Kubb. The Blue Team was on first and hit all 5 baseline pieces in 5 shots. With their last Baton, they hit the King knocking him over and winning the game! Great job Blue!
Kubb Drinking Game Rules
One of my favorite things about this game is that it can be played with a refreshing drink in your hand, whether that’s a soda, lemonade, iced tea, or an adult beverage if you prefer. Just remember to drink responsibly. Kubb is an engaging lawn game that is a big hit at the beach, and it’s always a choice I bring when going camping.
With this game, you won’t have to worry about breaking a sweat, and you can focus on enjoying the game and the company of your friends. You can save all your energy for friendly banter with your opponents and crafting clever Viking Team cheers.
Follow these 8 simple Kubb Drinking Game Rules:
- Must have a drink in hand = Or take 1 sip of your drink
- Spill your drink = Take 1 sip
- The shooting Team misses all Batons = 3 sips each
- Shooter Team hits all Batons = Other Team 3 sips
- Missing 1st throw = Take 1 sip
- Missing 2nd throw = Take 3 sips
- Throwing out of turn = Take 2 sips
- Losing Team = 1 sip and cheers each
- Knock over the kingpin by mistake = 4 sips
These rules don’t just add extra fun to the game but also promote good sportsmanship and team spirit. Whether you’re sipping on a cool glass of water, a homemade lemonade, or your favorite beer, gather your friends, grab your batons, and enjoy a fantastic game of Kubb! Always remember to drink your beverages responsibly and to know your limits.
Before you leave us, here’s one more fun fact. There is now an International Day of Kubb on May 5, standing for 5/5. Cute! Haven’t purchased your game yet?
Order your game online and I’m sure you can see above how your backyard isn’t going to be the same without a “Viking chess” game of Kubb.