A Kubb Game, or Viking Chess, is one of the best family games for the family reunion. Family reunion activities and games need to accommodate several generations and appeal to groups of all sizes. Outdoor lawn games such as Kubb are perfect!
Even though Kubb (pronounced KOOB) is also called Viking Chess, many say that the game better resembles a combination of bowling and horseshoes, rather than chess.
It is a simple, yet highly addictive game from Sweden that involves throwing sticks at blocks of wood. In Swedish, the word "kubb" means block of wood. Appropriate, don’t you think? That a game all about throwing wooden sticks at wooden blocks would be named wood?
Our family was first introduced to Kubb at a BBQ. You know that awkward moment at the end of a meal in a crowd of people that you don’t know very well, when all the casual chit chat conversations are over, the kids are off playing and you start to feel uncomfortable and antsy but it’s too early to leave? Well, even if you don’t know that moment, *I* do! Thankfully, Kubb came to the rescue.
Kubb rules are simple and play is casual. It doesn’t require a whole lot of physical exertion or skill or strategy. It’s easy to join a game already in play and creates an opportunity for comfortable conversation with the other players – even if they are people you don’t know.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again –
The best games for a family reunion are those that can be played by multiple generations at the same time. And Kubb fits the bill perfectly!
A Kubb pitch, or field, is set up as a rectangle, with 5 kubbs along each baseline and the king in the center. Like this:
(diagram compliments of US National Kubb Championship)
The game begins with the first team throwing all six batons from behind their baseline, attempting to knock down the kubbs on the opposite end of the pitch. Batons may rotate when thrown but must travel vertically. In other words, no helicopters.
If any kubbs are knocked down, the opposing team gathers them and tosses them back across to the other half of the pitch. Kubbs are stood on end by the first team, where they came to rest. These blocks of wood are now called field kubbs.
The second team then throws all six batons, first knocking down all field kubbs before aiming for baseline kubbs.
The game is won when a team knocks down all the field kubbs, baseline kubbs, and king in their opponents half of the pitch.
The king acts like an 8 ball – if you knock it down too soon, you automatically lose; it must be knocked down last in order to win.
Official kubb rules can be found on the US National Kubb Championship website. But the beauty of games for the family reunion, is that you don’t need the official rules to play and have fun.
My husband, Jason, recently made a kubb game out of a 4x4 fence post and wooden dowels for us to take to our most recent family reunions for a real, live, in-person test.
Would it surprise you to know the kubb game was a huge success??
Several different times, just two of us would start a game, only to quickly be joined by many others wanting to play. Grandpa has a bad back so he we didn’t let him bend over to pick up the pieces. Instead, that became one of the littlest kids’ jobs. Some of the other little kids participated by being the one to toss knocked over kubbs to the other side of the pitch. The teenagers loved talking smack to the adults. And the adults kept trying to steal throws from their children teammates.
Only once did we have to stop the game due to violet baton throws. And – wouldn’t you know it? – it was my boys who were in the middle of that brotherly "love."