How Kubb Works

Kubb Rules

The rules of kubb are easy enough to understand, but they are a tad more involved than those in a game of say, bean bags. The best way to learn is to play. Here's how you get started.

You can buy a kubb kit online or in many hardware stores. A word of note about some of these games sets: Some stores sell versions of the game that don't even remotely resemble the original, so be sure to double-check a product before you buy.

You can even make your own set from lumber that you might already have lying around the house -- see the first page of this article for the dimensions.

With your kubb set in hand, you must mark the playing field (or pitch) using corner pins. In championship rules, the pitch measures 8 meters (26.2 feet) long by 5 meters (16.4 feet) wide. It's not uncommon for casual or new players to shorten the field to 6 meters (19.7 feet) by 4 meters (13.1 feet) to make the game easier and faster. Some players mark the out of bounds line with chalk or other material that doesn't interfere with game play.

You can establish your pitch nearly anywhere. Kubb works on a sandy beach, an ice-covered lake, or a fairly level part of your own yard. If you make your game pieces from foam, you can even play inside.

Then, each team sets up its five kubbs, placing them at even intervals at the far ends of the pitch, on the baselines between the corner pins. The king goes directly in the middle of the pitch, on the centerline.

To determine who goes first, one person from each team tosses a baton from their baseline towards the king. Whoever lands closest to the king without touching it may go first; for this example, we'll refer to this as Team Stark. The second team, who we'll call Team Lannister, may choose the side of the pitch it would like to play from.

Then, the battle commences. From behind its own baseline, Team Stark throws its batons, one by one, at the kubbs on Team Lannister's baseline. Each throw must be underhand and the baton must spin end over end. No overhand throws are allowed, nor are sideways or helicopter throws.

In a perfect game, Team Stark would strike down each of the Lannister kubbs and still have one baton remaining, which it would then use to knock over the king and then end the game. This almost never happens, though. On the next page you'll read about how a game of kubb proceeds.