Introduction: How to Be King of Kubb

I learned how to play Kubb (pronounced koob) when my neighbors came home from Sweden with a game they had played with their Swedish relatives. Kubb is a lawn game in which the goal is to "conquer" the field by knocking down all of the opponents' blocks on the opposite side of the field. You can play this game one on one or with two teams of two players. I prefer four players because more people make a more competitive game. Kubb is a great game for a sunny summer afternoon with friends.

Step 1: Make the Field

The supplies for this game are pretty simple. The game comes with the following supplies:

10 wooden blocks
1 "king" block 
6 throwing sticks

Outside of what is supplied in the game, you will need a big patch of grass or sand. The field will be about 5 meters (15 ft.) by10 meters (30 ft.).  If you have young players, old players or players lacking in athletic skill, feel free to make the field shorter than 10 meters.  

On each 5 meter side, place 5 wooden blocks standing upright like in Picture 1. They should be about 1 meter apart so they cover the width of the field. There will be no markers on the 10 meter sides. Place the king block in the center of the field. Refer to the diagram and picture 5 for further help.

Step 2: The First Move

The first team (Team A) takes all six throwing sticks. If there is one player on the team, he/she will throw all six sticks. If there are two people on the team, each player will throw three sticks.  I will explain the game with one player to ensure simple directions.

Player A throws the sticks trying to hit down any of the 5 wooden blocks at the opposite side of the field. Player A must stay behind his/her line of wooden blocks when throwing. If you like to take steps when you throw, make sure you start back a little farther than the line of blocks.

The official way to throw a Kubb stick is underhand (see picture). When I play, I allow other throwing forms because sometimes with a bumpy or hole-filled playing field you need more force behind your throw to knock the blocks down. Just make sure the other team is not in your way if you throw a stick overhand.

If Player A knocked down a block, go to step 3. If Player A failed to knock down a block with any of the six throwing sticks, Player B should perform step 2 again. If player B then fails to knock down a block, Player A should repeat this step until someone hits down a block.

Step 3: Player B's Preparation

After Player A is finished with his/her whole turn, if Player A hit a block/blocks down, Player B picks up the  knocked-down block/blocks and throws them anywhere on Player A's side of the field. In other words, the block must fall in the field between Player A's blocks and the middle line marked by the king. If this is confusing, there is a diagram in Step 4 that indicates the Player A side and Player B side. Player A then places the blocks standing up where they land. 

Player B has two chances to get the blocks to land in Player A's side of the field. If Player B does not succeed, Player A may place the block wherever he/she wants on their side of the field. We will call these thrown blocks "field blocks" and blocks at the edge of the field "base blocks".

Go to the next step to understand why Player B throws the knocked-down blocks.

Step 4: Player B's Move

When there are field blocks on Player A's side, Player B must knock these down before she knocks down Player A's base blocks. For an example, let's assume there are three field blocks on the field. Remember Player B has six sticks to throw so she may be able to knock down all three field blocks and three base blocks if she is a good thrower.  Let's say she is not a very good thrower and only knocks one field block down with six sticks (see diagram). Step 5 continues with this example.

Step 5: Player a Moves Up/Field Strategy

Now it is Player A's turn. The standing field block closest to the center of the field forms a temporary throw line until Player B hits that block down. This means that during this turn, Player A may throw her six sticks from anywhere along the dashed line (see diagram). There is therefore a strategy on where to throw field blocks.

2 Location Decision Components
    * Must knock down field blocks on opposing side of field before base blocks
    * If standing field blocks are left after a turn, player may throw from temporary throw line on 
       their own side of the field.

If Player B is confident in her aim, she may want to throw the blocks that Player A knocked down as close to A's baseline as possible. Then if Player B happens to leave standing field blocks, Player A cannot move forward very far in her turn. However, if Player B is not confident in her aim, she may throw the blocks as close to the middle as possible so she will be able to knock down the field blocks with few sticks.

Step 6: Continue and Conquer

Keep going in this manner until one player can say that all blocks, both base blocks and field blocks, on the opposing side are knocked down. Here's a simple overview of the steps that must be repeated.

     * Player A-Throw six sticks and knock down field blocks, then base blocks.
     * Player B- Adjust throw line if applicable, pick up down blocks and throw them on field.
     * Player B- Throw six sticks and knock down field blocks, then base blocks
     * Player A- Adjust throw line if applicable, pick up down blocks and throw them on field.

To conquer, the player that has all other blocks down goes for the king that has been in the center of the field the whole game. This player must have two sticks left before they can try for the king. This prevents an amazing player to, in the first turn, throw five sticks at the five base blocks and one stick at the king. It may be fun to win in the first turn, but it is not fun to lose in that manner. The king is like an eight ball in billiards. If you knock the king down before the end of the game, your opponent automatically wins.  This is not fun either so please take the rules of the king seriously.

Kubb can be an expensive game. Prices can range from $30 to $100 depending on the quality of the game. You can purchase the game online, or if you don't want to spend the money, check out this Instructable on how to make a Kubb set

When it gets warm out, go out and play around with Kubb. You will get the hang of it after a game or two. Good luck and have fun conquering Kubb.