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How Kubb Works

Kubb's Critical Points

There are a few detailed kubb rules that make the game more sophisticated than just a bunch of block bludgeoning. Here are key points to remember:

In kubb the king is ... well, king. As with the 8 ball in billiards, the king must always fall last. A team that advertently fells the king prematurely automatically loses; in another version of the rules (in which a resurrection king is allowed), it means that team forfeits the rest of its turn, the king is righted, and the other teams goes on the attack.

Each match consists of three games (also called sets). To win the match, you must win two of the three games.

When a team throws kubbs into the field, sometimes they bounce out of bounds. You get a second chance to throw an out-of-bounds kubb. In the event that it goes out of bounds once again, the opposing team takes control of the kubb, which is now called a penalty kubb. A penalty kubb presents an interesting opportunity for the defending team, because they can place this kubb wherever they like. The only restriction is that the penalty kubb must be at least one baton length from the king or the corner markers.

Stacking (also called piling) is still another option that changes game play. When stacking is allowed, any thrown kubbs that hit each other are subsequently stacked (in a Jenga-like tower) in the field. These stacks obviously make field kubbs a lot easier to strike down, as multiple kubbs will fall easily when a baton strikes them.

In formal play, there must be at least two players for each team. In championship play, there are normally six players per team. The batons are distributed equally amongst team members, so teams with a greater number of skilled throwers have a substantial advantage.

In informal play, there can be any number of team members in each team. What's more, people can join or leave the game whenever they feel like it -- in other words, whenever they decide it's time to grab another grilled hamburger or beer. Because no one has to keep score, it's easy for random people to enter or exit the game at any time.