Kubb: What is it?


a person holding a baseball bat on a field

It was started in Sweden 1000 years ago as simple entertainment. It would soon take off across Europe and then across America. It has the undertones of Bocce and horseshoes and adds some variations that makes it challenging, interesting, and most of all … challenging.  The most unique thing about it compared to Boccee or horseshoes, which are not outdoor games in the winter, KUBB can be, even when the ground is covered in snow!

For whatever reason, KUBB is not mentioned in the history the Föreningen Gutnisk Idrott, aka "Society of Gotland Games", which was formed in 1912. However, “Nordisk familjebok”, the Swedish Encyclopedia, mentions it to be in existence as early as 1911, but in a different manner. In that version of Swedish history of outdoor games, it talks about a Skittles war called "Kägelkrig" where a ball was used in a disparity of Skittles. The first commercial sets of KUBB were introduced at the end of the 1980s, and became popular.

Some say KUBB, an exciting, fun outdoor game, is pronounced ‘koob’, although the Sweds pronounced it as ‘kɵb’ and in Gutnish they pronounce it as‘kub’. Regardless of how you say it, KUBB is a game of strategy that takes a certain skill to play. Often referred to as theViking Chess Game. 

Today, the game is so popular, there are leagues and an annual World Competition held in Sweden on the island of Gotland. Yes, it is more than just one of the many outdoor lawn games that kids play during the summer or adults play on the beach. There are more than 200 teams in this annual event, with each team having 6 players.

Other outdoor games that have similar features of KUBB are bunnock and kyykkä, which are from the area of Karelia. What was once a game for Sweds is now an international game. And it has become a popular game in American, with Eau Clare, Wisconsin declaring itself to be “KUBB Capital of North America as of 2011. And it is there that the U.S. National Kubb Championship is held. There Kubbnation Magazine and multiple clubs as well as various leagues. In Eau Claire, there are teams at the local schools and even have sessions in the PE classes.


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