Viking chess (also called kubb) games can be seen in every park in spring and summer. The popular throwing game from Scandinavia is simple and perfect for everyone who likes to play together outdoors. This is what you need to know about Viking chess.
Viking chess is well known to the masses as a recreational game for friends and families. In fact, there are also professional players. The Kubb-EM has been taking place in Berlin every year since 2011. All European teams of six or more people can compete there. For those who play the game of throwing in the park or garden for leisure, Viking chess is a game of skill played on the lawn. It has been played in its current form since around 1990 and is particularly popular in Sweden, Belgium, Germany, the USA and Switzerland.
Viking chess: game material
The heart of Viking chess is the king in the middle of the board. The field itself is bordered by four wooden corner bars. Opposing teams place themselves on the short sides of the field and set up their five kubbs in front of them. With the help of six throwing sticks, the opponent’s kubbs must be thrown down in turn. A complete Viking chess set should therefore consist of a king, six throwing sticks, four corner batons and ten kubbs.
Viking chess: gameplay
Before the game starts, two teams of a maximum of six people must be formed. If you want to play the throwing game in the traditional way, mark out the playing field with the four corner sticks measuring five by eight meters. The greater the distance between the opposing kubbs, the harder the game. Therefore, the size of the playing field can be individual, especially when playing with children. Viking chess can be played on a variety of surfaces, such as grass or sand. The surface should not be too hard, otherwise the wooden game material could be damaged.
When the teams are formed, the five kubbs are lined up and the king is in the middle of the board, the game begins. The kubbs of the other team must be thrown off with the help of six throwing sticks. Important: the king in the middle of the playing field must not fall. Only when all of the opponent’s kubbs have fallen does it take the king’s turn and his fall marks the end of the game.
A game consists of several rounds. The starting team can be drawn at random or determined with a throw close to the king (similar to Boccia or Boule). Whoever places the throwing stick closer to the king begins.
If the throw succeeds and one or more kubbs go down, the team must throw the fallen kubbs into the opponent’s half of the field. The opposing team members then place the kubbs where they left off. The team has two attempts to do this, otherwise the opponent is allowed to throw the kubbs themselves and place them in an unfavorable way, making it harder for the team to knock over the kubbs. Ideally, the kubb lands as close as possible behind the center line, because it is easier to hit at the shorter distance. It is also worth positioning the kubbs as close together as possible so that a thrown wood can hit several of them directly.
After all kubbs are placed, it is the other team’s turn. Important: Before the kubbs at the end of the field can be felled, all kubbs in the field must be knocked over. Failure to hit the kubbs in the field allows the opposing team to advance to those kubbs, giving them a higher chance of hitting from that shorter range.
When all opponent’s kubbs are out of the way, the king must be hit, his fall marks victory in Viking chess. Caution: If the king falls before the end of the game, it means failure and the end of the game.
Viking chess for children
The little ones in the family may not yet be able to throw the throwing sticks so accurately. That is why there are modified versions of the popular Viking chess that are suitable for children.
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