Viking Bowling Chess
July 30, 2013 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Kubb is a lawn game that was (maybe) invented by Vikings, and is often described as a combination of bowling, horseshoes, and chess. This adorably-accented video explains the rules, as does the helpful infographic here. It's easy to make your own kubb set- and once you have, you can ask all about the finer points at Planet Kubb, read Kubbnation Magazine, and sign up for the National Kubb Championship.
posted by showbiz_liz (19 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
Seems more like a cross between petanque and croquet, if you ask me.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:00 AM on July 30, 2013


In actual practice, it's really a cross between drinking beer and throwing things and hanging around outdoors, which is all I really need in life
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:06 AM on July 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


Vad roligt! My wife and I were introduced to Kubb at a Swedish Midsommar party, and it is indeed great fun. Ska vi spela nu?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:06 AM on July 30, 2013


I played it once - at my skill-level it didn’t seem very chess-like at all. It seemed genuinely popular in the corner of Sweden where I used to live: I often saw people out in the parks playing it in summer.
posted by misteraitch at 8:08 AM on July 30, 2013


In actual practice, it's really a cross between drinking beer and throwing things and hanging around outdoors, which is all I really need in life
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:06 AM on July 30 [1 favorite −]


This is it in a nutshell. We used to play croquet which is pretty great _except_ you really need both hands to hold the club, so you need tables placed around to hold people's drinks. Whereas Kubb, you really only need the one hand - never have to put down your drink! Brilliant.
It's a damn near perfect lawn game.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:14 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


To me this looks like whoever starts the game has considerable advantage for a win.
posted by bigendian at 8:23 AM on July 30, 2013


In a better world, this would have prevented a silly-assed carnival game like Cornhole from taking over every backyard party and picnic I've gone to for the last 10 years.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:23 AM on July 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


To me this looks like whoever starts the game has considerable advantage for a win.

Not really. I learned the game this past weekend, and of the five or six games I saw played, not one took less than half an hour to finish. The first team to go might knock over half your kubbs, and you have to toss them over- but then, you can knock over the kubbs you just tossed to their side and get them right back again. All of the instructional things in this post just show the shortest possible game, because watching kubb is pretty boring. Playing it's the fun part.

I've seen some instructions that say field kubbs get removed after being knocked down, which would shorten the game significantly, but if you don't play it that way, then they'll get traded back and forth dozens of times per game.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:27 AM on July 30, 2013


WANT!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:29 AM on July 30, 2013


We have converted all our family members, and are slowly taking over the neighborhood, one game at a time. Mwa ha ha.
posted by Malla at 8:33 AM on July 30, 2013


My husband's team, the Kubbchucks, played at nationals the last two years, but weren't finalists. Kubb is super fun, and there a ton of tournaments in the upper Midwest.
posted by Malla at 8:43 AM on July 30, 2013


Watching Kubb isn't so boring, because much like baseball, one is drinking.
posted by wotsac at 9:04 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this looks like a lot of fun, and making one's set is definitely part of the fun.
posted by namewithoutwords at 9:19 AM on July 30, 2013


Yeah, it seems like the chess analogy is mostly because of this business with the "king" piece. (Though even then, maybe billiards would be a better comparison? With the "king" playing the role of the eight ball?)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:29 AM on July 30, 2013


Oooh, fun! I get to play Kubb only when I go home to see my parents during the summer, which isn't that often. It's a great game particularly because you can play with all ages and all skill levels. And yes, it's handy because you can hold a drink in your other hand...
posted by gemmy at 9:34 AM on July 30, 2013


Fantastically fun game, and a staple at many a family gathering back in Denmark in recent years. It's both more compelling and more difficult than you'd think.
posted by Dysk at 9:43 AM on July 30, 2013


This looks like a lot of fun, thanks.
However, this quote...
"Bocce is fun, but it requires a very specific court condition that is not easy to create."
is flat-out false. Sure, there are specific bocce courts but my family always had an incredible time with fewer restrictions. We would play on any surface, without a formal court. The best place to play was at the beach where there was a mixture of sand (both deep and hard-pack) and grassy areas. The winning team of the previous round would toss the pallino wherever they wanted, using the previous round's end point as the new tossing spot. It made for really enjoyable games when the surface could change so dramatically between rounds.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 10:29 AM on July 30, 2013


Kubb is fun! My dad got into the idea after playing with some strangers on vacation in Norway. No one shared a language, so he didn't get the rules, but he loves a new woodworking challenge, so he made several sets for Christmas gifts. They turned out so beautiful that it's a shame to throw them around in the grass and bang them up. I had him make me an extra "king" just to set on the mantel. The game is fun, as it's adaptable to any number of players and skill levels. When you read the directions, they seem impossibly confusing, but if you just play a trial round, you'll get them hang of it. Any game that can be played with a drink in one hand is OK by me!
posted by TrarNoir at 12:45 PM on July 30, 2013


I want to see an episode of Vikings which consists entirely of Ragnar, Lagertha and their friends playing this game. Maybe the priest will join them this time.
posted by homunculus at 4:20 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


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