Moving games from the gaming table at home to the outside area is a real trend, especially in the warm summer months. The XXL chess games, which can often be found in recreation parks or swimming pools, should be familiar to almost every game enthusiast. In particular, games of skill can be played in the open air: the combination of low material requirements and simple rules make outdoor games of skill great alternatives to the otherwise table-based board games. One of the summer trends is Kubb, also known as Viking Chess in this country.

Historical roots: Kubb is a game with history

It is not true that in the game of skill Kubb you thoughtlessly with throwing sticks to knock over other blocks of wood: Viking chess symbolizes a battle in which two warring parties fight against each other for victory - and for their king. Kubb is therefore a Two-party game with duel character, which further increases the attractiveness of this game of skill. The tournament compatibility results directly from the playful framework, so that Kubb will also be found on more and more playgrounds in this country in the future. In the Scandinavian countries, including the home of the Vikings, Kubb has been played for many years. Viking chess has been played in the modern version since around 1990.

Trend game Kubb: fight battles in Viking chess

The fact that this game of skill is particularly popular in Norway and Sweden is hardly surprising, given that the two countries are kingdoms. Norwegians and Swedes like to fight for their royals, even if it's only with wooden figures.

Incidentally, the naming is not particularly consistent. Even if Kubb and Viking chess are currently the most popular titles for the Nordic game of skill, there are also the names of pawn skittles, Viking games, Hägars Viking chess, Viking skittles or, quite simply, sticks.

For ambitious Vikings: Kubb as a tournament game

If you want to deal intensively with a game of skill like Viking Chess, you may, if you discover talent, intend to compare your skills with those of other players in different tournaments. Thanks to the trendy game theme, various tournament events take place: from small local events to the German championship in Kubb to the world championship, which has been held annually on the Swedish island of Gotland since 1995. The most recent lists of results are particularly astonishing. Were the world championships in Viking chess held by the Swedes until 2012 (approx Team Ekeby) dominated, in the past four years it was mainly German players who were able to establish themselves at the top of the world's best Kubb players. Anyone who would like to see the spectacle for themselves without having to travel to Sweden will find the opportunity to attend the European Championship at the Kubb in Berlin every year at the end of July. The EM 2017 is planned for July 22nd.

Because Viking chess is becoming more and more popular, regional championships are also being held in more and more federal states. Interested players are sure to find a Kubb club near their place of residence - also because apart from a playing area, there are no special requirements to be able to play Kubb.

The basic rules of Kubb

Before the first block of wood (kubb) can be knocked over, two teams of 1 to 6 people each must be formed. This means that Viking chess can also be used as a classic two-player game. The size of the playing field can be adapted to the skills of the players, but is traditionally five by eight meters. The surface does not matter: Kubb can be played in a meadow as well as in the snow, on the street or in the sand. Viking chess is therefore also the ideal beach game for the next summer vacation. All you have to do is pack the six tossing logs, the ten kubbs (wooden blocks to be knocked down) and the king, who is obviously taller than his wooden followers.

The structure of the game is reminiscent of a series of battles. The king piece is placed in the middle of the playing field, i.e. on the central point of the center line. Five of the kubbs are on the baselines of the two game teams (base kubbs); at a distance of about one meter. Then it is drawn by lot which team is allowed to start and thus has the first litter right of the first round. Alternatively, a round wood throw in the direction of the king can decide the first throw right: whose stick is closer to the king piece, the game begins. 

Trend game Kubb: fight battles in Viking chess

The game is always played in teams, not alternately. Each team may use all six round sticks, with each team player receiving the same number of sticks. The rule-compliant throwing technique now plays an important role. Throws may only be thrown from below in order to cut down the logs when playing Kubb. The throwing stick usually flies lengthways towards the opposing kubbs or the king. Throws from above, horizontal throws or rotating throwing techniques are not allowed. Playing viking chess Being able to do this actually requires a high degree of skill and, in addition to target accuracy, also focuses on the expenditure of force.

Tactical Approaches become visible from the first team change. After the first team tries to throw, the following team of players collects all the throwing sticks and the fallen kubbs. The latter are then thrown into the opposing half of the field, where they are set up at the landing site (field cubes). Tactical foxes must have immediately recognized that the now active team will try to place the Kubbs as close as possible behind the center line and as close together as possible. Before the basic cubes can be tackled on the opposing baseline, all field cubes must be felled. The structure of the playing field and also the throwing positions change steadily with each further game round. It is played until a team could (and was allowed to) bring down the king. The king is something like the black eight in billiards: if he falls too early, the team that knocked him down loses.

Variety through game variants

If the basic game becomes routine despite the fact that the game rounds are always different, you can Game variants to rekindle the passion for Viking chess. Even small modifications have noticeable effects on the course of the game or the skill requirements of the Kubb. In a modification, the king may only be felled with his back to the playing field and with a throw through his own legs. In another variant, the king piece may only be knocked over with the active player's “weaker” hand. Anyone who has ever thrown a ball with their left hand as a right-hander can immediately understand how this small change affects the level of difficulty.

Who has found interest in the game of skill and Buy Viking Chess would like to find complete game sets in well-stocked game stores or on the Internet. Aspiring players should definitely pay attention to the use of solid materials: due to the high demands made on it, hardwood is the best starting material for the figures. Traditionally, however, the figures are built by yourself with the following dimensions:

  • King, about 9 cm × 9 cm × 30 cm
  • Four corner bars, approx. 2 cm × 2 cm × 30 cm
  • Six throwing sticks, diameter approx.4,4 cm × 30 cm
  • Ten kubbs, approx. 7 cm × 7 cm × 15 cm

Because rule variations are common, Kubb can also be played with children without any problems. The younger throwers can then prove their skills, for example by throws from the center line - and thus celebrate motivating successes with their own hits. Viking chess is extremely family-friendly thanks to the use of so-called house rules.