How Kubb Works

The Battle Rages

The king block in a game of kubb, topped with a jaunty wooden crown.
The king block in a game of kubb, topped with a jaunty wooden crown.

It's possible that a game will end in the first six throws. However, it's much more likely that some of the Lannister kubbs will still be standing after the Starks run out of batons. In that case, once all of the Starks' batons are thrown, the Lannisters begin their turn.

In the most basic version of the game, toppled kubbs are removed from the pitch as they fall, until the king is finally taken down. However, in one of the most widely played versions of this game, toppled kubb go right back into play. Here's how:

After the Starks run out of batons, the Lannisters pick up their fallen kubbs and throw them into strategic positions onto the Starks' side of the pitch. Then, the Starks stand these kubbs right where they fell. These are now called field kubbs.

To begin their attack, the Lannisters must first topple all field kubbs. Once the field kubbs are down, the Lannisters may go after the Starks' baseline kubbs, and if successful, may then attack the king.

Let's say the Lannisters throw all of their batons and some of the Starks' field kubbs are still standing. Just as the Lannisters did before, Team Stark picks up all fallen kubbs and then tosses them to the Lannisters' side. There's one twist -- Team Stark leaves one of their still-standing field kubb in place.

Then the game changes in a hurry. Team Stark is allowed to advance to a temporary baseline created by the remaining field kubb that Team Lannister failed to overturn. This temporary baseline creates a tremendous advantage because Team Stark will likely be in closer range, making all of the kubbs on the Lannisters' side much easier to overturn.

If Team Stark knocks over all of the Lannisters' kubbs and then the king, it wins the game. If not, Team Lannister tosses back fallen kubbs to the Stark side and another round begins. This back-and-forth continues until one team is finally able to knock down all of the kubbs and then the king.

During all of this, many players take pride in the quality of their Viking trash talk, perhaps hoping to distract the other team (or maybe just to speak in a funny accent). As with all lawn games, kubb is often interrupted by tasty snacks and drinks, a fact that undoubtedly adds to its appeal.

Now that you know the basics of kubb, read on for some of the finer points on game play.