2012 Photo: Becca Hodges blind-photography.com
Welcome to the U.S. National Kubb Championship rules webpage. The U.S. Championship is located in Eau Claire, WI, officially the Kubb Capital of North America. The U.S. Championship started in 2007 with under 40 players. In 2013, we hosted 88 teams with a total of over 310 players. The U.S. Championship is played on the second weekend in July. We would like to invite you to look around at the other pages on our website as well.
Kubb is an old Nordic game that some say the Vikings played. The game pieces include six batons, 10 kubbs, one king, and six marking stakes. Due to the strategy involved, the game's nickname is "Viking Chess". Regardless if the Vikings played the game or not, the modern birth of kubb was on the island of Gotland, Sweden, which holds the World Championship. You can read about the history of the U.S. Championship here.
The corner stakes are placed so that a rectangle is formed, measuring 5m x 8m. The centerline stakes are placed in the middle of the sidelines to designate the centerline of the pitch. The king is placed in the center of the pitch, and five kubbs are placed on each baseline. The pitch is ready for play.
The teams determine which team throws first and which side each team will be on. The game begins with the first team throwing six batons from behind their baseline, attempting to knock down the kubbs on the opposite baseline. Batons may rotate when thrown and must travel in a vertical manner (no helicopters).
Once all the batons are thrown, the opposing team gathers any kubbs that were knocked down. That team throws them back across to the other half of the pitch (the opponent’s side of the field). Kubbs thrown back into play are called field kubbs, and are raised by the first team where they came to rest. If a kubb comes to rest outside of the field of play, the team is allowed to throw that kubb again, after all kubbs have been thrown. If that kubb comes to rest outside the field of play a second time, it becomes a punishment kubb, and the other team is allowed to place it wherever they would like within one baton length of the king or marking stakes. The second team then throws the six batons, first attempting to knock down any field kubbs, then the kubbs on the baseline, then the king.
If they are unable to knock down all of their kubbs and the king, then the first team picks up all knocked down kubbs, throws them into play as field kubbs, and then tries to knock them over with the batons. Play continues until the game ends. If at any time a team does not knock down all the field kubbs in their opponents half of the pitch, the other team is allowed to move up to the kubb closest to the center line and throw their batons from that new line. Kubbs and batons tosses at the king are always thrown from the baseline.
The game is won by the team who knocks down all the kubbs in their opponents half of the field and on the baseline then knocks over the king. However, a team immediately loses if they knock down the king with a kubb or baton prior to knocking down all the kubbs. In tournament play, matches are often best-of-three games.
The official U.S. National Kubb Championship rules can be found here.
The U.S. Championship rules are the same rules that are used at the World Championship, with a couple very slight differences. The rules document was created by a collaboration between the U.S. Championship and Des Moines Kubb Club. It is the most in-depth kubb rules document in the world. Some phases and situations in kubb can be complicated and potentially indefinable by any set of rules. If a situation is not covered in these rules, the decision shall be made in accordance with fairness, with decisions being influenced by the spirit of the game. Often a logical extension of the closest existing rule or the principles embodied in the rules will provide guidance for determining the resolution.
At the U.S. National Kubb Championship, each team needs to have at least three players. No player may throw more than two batons during each turn. If a team has four or more players, it is up to the team to determine the number of batons per player in each turn. For example, for a four-player team, the batons could be distributed 2, 2, 1, and 1 or one player may sit out that turn so the baton count would be 2, 2, and 2. Only three players have to play at one time, so one or more players may sit out turns, games, and/or matches. Any inkastare (player that throws kubbs) in a turn has to throw at least one baton in that turn.
Pitch: 8m long x 5m wide (see image for layout)
Kubbs: 7cm x 7cm x 15cm
Batons: 4.4cm x 30cm
King: 8.25cm x 8.25cm x 30cm
Four corner stakes
Two mid-pitch stakes
For recreational play, a pitch can be decreased or increased in size.
Pictures of strategically raising kubbs. Left 2013 U.S. Championship Quarterfinals. Right: 2012 U.S. Championship Final.
Eau Claire, WI U.S. National Kubb Championship usakubb.org