Kubb is a lawn game where the object is to knock over wooden blocks by throwing wooden sticks at them. Kubb (the vowel is pronounced similar to the “oo” in “boob”) means “wooden block” in Gutnish, a Swedish dialect. Kubb can be quickly described as a combination of bowling, horseshoes, and chess. Today’s version originated on Gotland island in the kingdom of Sweden.
A Kubb game consists of
- 1 x King
- 10 x Kubbs
- 6 x round wooden sticks
- 4 x pegs to mark out the foeld
Kubb is typically played on a rectangular pitch approximately 5 m by 8 m. Although there are no official rules as to the size of the field, the dimensions can be altered for younger players or to accommodate faster games. Typically the pitch is grass, but kubb could also be played on sand, snow, or dirt. The pitch should always be level, with no more than a 3 inch drop from one end – or one side – to the other. Stakes are driven into the ground at the corners of the pitch. No other markers are used to demarcate the field’s boundaries, although an amateur league in Somerset uses twine (in Swedish known as “Klumpa ihop sig av tvinnar” – literally “The cord that cannot lie”.) to assist in discussions when fallen kubbs are returned. The narrow ends are called “baselines.” It is worth noting that in serious play, or in games where the players are skilled, or where money is bet, the use of twine or strings should not be encouraged, as the ability to reach common agreement over whether a kubb is “in” or “out” promotes sportsmanship and a sense of fair play, which is a trademark of this unique game. The king is placed in the centre of the pitch, halfway between baselines. An imaginary line drawn through the king and parallel to the two baselines divides the field into two halves.The kubbs are set up across each baseline, five to a side.
There are two phases for each team’s turn:
- Team A throws the six sticks, from their baseline, at their opponent’s lined-up kubbs (called Baseline kubbs). Throws must be under-handed, and the sticks must spin end over end. Throwing sticks sideways or spinning them side-toside is not allowed.
- Kubbs that are successfully knocked down are then thrown by Team B onto Team A’s half of the pitch, and stood on end. These newly thrown kubbs are called field kubbs.
Play then changes hands, and Team B throws the sticks at Team A’s kubbs, but must first knock down any standing field kubbs. (Field kubbs that right themselves due to the momentum of the impact are considered knocked down.) Again, kubbs that are knocked down are thrown back over onto the opposite half of the field and then stood. In New Zealand, knocking down a Baseline kubb before all field kubbs would result in the throwing team forfeiting the rest of their turn. If either team leaves field kubbs standing, the kubb closest to the king now represents that side’s baseline, and throwers may step up to that line to throw at their opponent’s kubbs. This rule applies to field and baseline kubbs only; fallen kubbs are thrown from the original baseline, as are attempts to knock over the king.
Play continues in this fashion until a team is able to knock down all kubbs on one side, from both the field and the baseline. If that team still has sticks left to throw, they may make one attempt at knocking over the king (In Somerset, as a sporting gesture, right-handers will attempt this using the left hand, and vice versa). If a thrower successfully topples the king, they have won the game.
However, if at any time during the game the king is knocked down by accident – even by a newly thrown kubb – the offending team immediately loses the game. For informal play between players of widely differing abilities, such as an adult and a child it is permissible to shorten the width of the arena on the child’s opponent’s side, making it easier for the child to hit the kubbs, and it is also permissible to move the king closer to, but not behind, the child’s line.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Kubb”.