Kubb

From Academic Kids

Kubb is an outdoor game where the object is to knock over wooden blocks by throwing wooden sticks at them. The word "Kubb" (pronounced KOOB) is Swedish for "wooden block".

Kubb can be quickly described as a combination of bowling, horseshoes, and chess.

Rules vary from country to country and region to region, but the ultimate object of the game is to knock the king over before your opponent does. This, combined with the fact that there is a surprising level of strategy that can be used by players, has led some players and kubb fans to nickname the game "Viking Chess."

Contents

History

It is often claimed that the game dates back to the Viking Age and survived on Gotland, but this seems to be a marketing ploy by manufacturers of Kubb games. The game does show some similarity to other types of Bowling games, and may share a common medieval source with them. However, the most distinct feature of Kubb, that it is played by teams on a two-sided field, seems to be an invention from the 20th century. There are anecdotal evidence of Kubb being played in various places in Sweden in the early 20th century, but how similar those rules are to the ones used today is unknown. It is significant to show that "Föreningen Gutnisk Idrott" (The Society of Gutnic Games), formed in 1912, did not (and still do not) list Kubb as one of the traditional games from Gotland.

Commercial Kubb sets were first manufactured in the 1990s, and the previously unknown game quickly became very popular. It has now gained international interest, and since 1995 there is a World Championship held on Gotland every year.

Game pieces

There are typically twenty-one game pieces used in Kubb:

  • Ten Kubbs, rectangular wooden blocks about 15cm tall and 8cm square on the end.
  • One King, a larger wooden piece around 30cm tall and 10cm square on the end.
  • Six Sticks, wooden batons around 30cm long and anywhere from 3-5cm in width.
  • Four Stakes, to mark the corners of the pitch.

Setup

Kubb is played on a rectangular pitch around 5m by 8m, though there are no hard, fast rules to the size of the field, and 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.

Stakes are driven into the ground at the corners of the pitch. No other markers are used to demark the field's boundries. The narrow ends are called "baselines."

The king is placed in the center of the pitch, halfway between baselines. An imaginary line drawn through the king divides the field into two halves.

The kubbs are set up across each baseline, five to a side.

Rules

Any number of people may play kubb, but typically matches are one-on-one or two teams of two.

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 underhanded, and the sticks must spin end over end. Throwing sticks sideways or spining them side-to-side 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. Again, kubbs that are knocked down are thrown back over onto the opposite half of the field and then stood.

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 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. 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, the offending team immediately loses the game.

Victors are typically determined by playing best two out of three.

See also: Bowling, Game of physical skill

External links

sv:Kubb (spel) de:Kubb

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