Just last week, we received a delivery of these beautiful hand-made Kubb sets from Jason Larson in Chaska, MN. Kubb is the perfect yard game for any season (but especially summer). They include a convenient tote-bag for storing and/or transporting the game to your nearest park for a fun-filled match! The sets also come with a nice write-up of the rules (as well as some variations on them) to help you get started if you’ve never played Kubb before. The following description comes directly from the included write-up:
“Kubb (pronounced koob) is a fun Nordic game of mysterious origin. Some say it’s Viking and ancient; some say it’s Swedish and modern; most just say it’s the best lawn game they’ve ever played! The skill of the tosses, the luck of the bounces, the ever-changing patterns of Kubbs to knock over, the satisfying clunk of wood hitting wood — once you start, it’s hard to stop. So, find a patch of grass (or sand or even snow), get some friends, and toss some lumber!”
Kubb has been called a 1000-year-old game in keeping with the legend of Vikings playing it with the skulls and thighbones of the victims of their pillaging. The story goes that they played the game for entertainment as well as to keep their strategic skills sharp in between raids. However, there is no real evidence of this being the case.
The game’s modern popularity emerged in the 1990’s with the manufacturing of the first commercial sets. Various comparisons to other games have been made, calling Kubb a combination of bowling and horseshoes, billiards and chess, or much more simply, just throwing sticks at (somewhat shorter and stockier) sticks. Whatever you want to call it, its popularity continues to grow: an annual World Championship has taken place on the Swedish island of Gotland every summer since 1995 and the U.S. National Championship was arranged for the first time in Eau Claire, WI in 2007.
Despite the historical evidence to the contrary, I still like the nickname, “Viking chess,” and encourage one and all to get down to the store, get your set, and head out to the park for many matches filled with fun, intrigue, silliness, strategy, competition, as well as a healthy dose of trash-talking. Just remember the ultimate goal: knock over the king before the other team! Who knows, maybe someday soon you’ll be ready to compete for the U.S. and/or World Championship!