Play Chess like a Viking! Learn Kubb!

What's Kubb? Think bowling, bocce, and horseshoes all combined into one. Now add some wooden blocks and batons and you've got Kubb (pronounced "Keb").

Kubb is a lawn game that originated in Sweden but is now played around the world. The objective is to knock over the opposing team's 'Kubbs' and eventually the neutral 'King'. The game is rumored to have been played by Vikings and has been dubbed "Viking Chess" due to the level of strategy involved in the turn-by-turn gameplay.

The Kubb World Championship is held in Gotland, Sweden each year and the USA Kubb National Championship is held in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Eau Claire is also the self-proclaimed "Kubb Capital" of North America. Keep an eye out, perhaps we'll be seeing Kubb in the Olympics someday. Get outside and practice! For the full rules and more information on the game, visit the U.S. National Kubb Championship site.

Activity:

Have any empty milk cartons or plastic bottles laying around? Odds are, you won't have many household objects that you'll want to be throwing wooden batons at, but here are a couple quick solutions: Grab ten plastic bottles (roughly 16 oz.) and fill them with a small amount of water, enough that the wind won't blow them over but not so much that they won't fall over when hit with your batons. These ten bottles will act as your 'Kubbs'. Now do the same thing with a milk carton, two liter soda bottle, or another similarly sized container to crown your 'King'. If you have trees in the yard, you can scavenge a few good "batons" from fallen sticks. If not, you can forego the baton idea altogether and grab some tennis balls, golf balls, or something else you're comfortable giving to your kids to throw across the yard.

Each team throws six batons per turn but unless you have a full match of three vs. three, you may not need six. You'll also need six stakes to mark the four corners of the 'pitch' and the two midpoints of the long sides of the pitch (watch the above video for a better sense of this). If you have stakes, great; if you don't, you can use just about anything to mark the boundaries of the playing area (baseball gloves and frisbees work fine!). You now have everything you need, so get out there and play! Kubb can be played on grass, sand, concrete, snow, or even ice. If you have any Viking hats from Halloweens past, now is a good time to dust them off!

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