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Swedish Culture

What is Kubb?

The Nordic Lawn Game that's spreading across the Midwest
October 11, 2023 By Darby Johnson

Pronunciation: [“k-oo-b”] (rhymes with tube)

Are you familiar with the lawn game cornhole? Or as it’s affectionately known in the Midwest, “bags”? Well, allow us to introduce you to another outdoor pastime that’s gaining popularity in the region: Kubb.

Kubb is an all-ages lawn game with supposed ancient Viking origins that has now spread around the world, gaining both competitive and recreational popularity. Some enthusiasts even lovingly refer to it as “Viking chess.” Imagine a game that combines elements of bowling and horseshoes, and you’re close to grasping the essence of Kubb. The primary objective? To strategically knock over wooden blocks called ‘kubbs’ by skillfully throwing wooden batons known as ‘kastpinnar.’ 

The game typically involves teams of 2–6 people and is played on a small rectangular playing field known as a pitch. At each end of the pitch, you’ll find the wooden blocks, or ‘Kubbs,’ and in the center stands the ‘king,’ a larger wooden block. While some rules may vary depending on your location, the ultimate goal remains consistent: knock over the ‘kubbs’ on your opponent’s side of the pitch and then take down the ‘king’ before they do. Games can be as short as five minutes or extend well beyond an hour.

Kubb can be played in grass, sand, or snow, regardless of the season and skill level. Whether you’re tailgating before a big game, enjoying a day at the beach, or embracing the snowy outdoors, Kubb fits right in. 

If you’re eager to get in on the Kubb action, you’re in luck. This summer, ASI is hoting an Open Kubb Championship for one day only. This double elimination open tournament is open to players of all skill levels, but only the best will be crowned ASI Open Champions. The victors will receive a custom King Kubb trophy.

ASI also hosts an exciting Kubb League Tournament each winter! Come watch as 16 teams compete on the ASI lawn—rain, snow, or shine. League play will take place Thursday evenings in November culminating in a tournament on Saturday, December 7 during ASI’s Julmarknad Holiday Market. 

So, whether you’re a seasoned Kubb pro or looking to try this intriguing Nordic lawn game, there’s a place for you on the pitch to join in on the fun and embrace the camaraderie.