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Kubb Review – The Yard Game For Board Gamers

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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This is a board game review site but with nicer weather around the corner it’s always nice to get outside and enjoy it so we’re reviewing something a little different this time around.  Kubb is a lawn game you might have never heard of but the closest thing to an outdoor strategy board game you are probably going to find.  

Kubb Review

8 out of 10

Is it Good For Two Players? : Might be the best!

Kubb is great for two players, you might not be able to strictly follow the official tournament rules since both players will be throwing all six batons but it is still great for some casual fun. Games are usually shorter and easier with two and you get to make all the throws and strategic decisions.  It’s a one-on-one battle between you and your opponent, making the game even more like a stick-throwing form of chess.

Theme: 0/10
Replayability: 8/10
Components: 7/10
Conflict: 3/10
Fun: 8/10

Husband’s Rating
8 out of 10
Wife’s Rating
8 out of 10

Pros

Truly a fun game

The player count scales well

Deeper and more strategic than similar games

Cons

A little difficult to explain to new players

Requires a large playing area with optimal surface

Pieces take a beating and may need replacing at some point

Gameplay Experience:

Seems like washers and cornhole are the only games people play when the weather starts getting nicer.  There’s nothing wrong with those games and we like playing them just as much as the next person, they’re nice casual games for chilling and hanging out but we just like my games to have a little more strategy and depth to them.

After hearing about a game often referred to as Viking Chess, the board game nerd and Ragnar fanboy in me just had to have it.  Scouring far and wide, and going on raids to neighboring cities my wife was able to pillage us a Kubb set, (for a fair amount of money), as a gift for my birthday.

Kubb from a distance may look like a game for cavemen, with a bunch of people standing around throwing literal sticks at other chunks of wood but in reality there can be a lot of strategy to it.  

We’re not joking though, Kubb is basically about throwing some cylindrical pieces of wood at some other square chunks of wood, and knocking down more than your opponents do.  There are some other rules in there but that’s the basics.  But hey, who doesn’t love throwing stuff around?

All our friends and family are cornhole enthusiasts and were a bit hesitant to try Kubb at first but once they started playing nobody wanted to stop.  It is a great lawn game especially for people who like board games and one of the best things about it is you can play with as few as two and up to 12 people if you want to.

Kubb Rules Summary:

Kubb, as we said, is pretty simple at its core, throw sticks at other chunks of wood to knock them down.  It’s the more minor rules that turn this from a classic chuck it yard game into a more strategic game that is deserving of the name Viking Chess.

Kubb Setup

A Kubb set consists of 10 baseline Kubb blocks, 6 dowels, one King Kubb, and 4 corner stakes which are arranged into a 16’ x 26’ playing field called the pitch, in meters that is a 5 x 8 field.  The pitch is divided in half with the King Kubb placed dead center and 5 baseline Kubbs are lined up on each side of the pitch with each side belonging to a team of 1-6 players.

Kubb Game Review

The goal of Kubb is to knock over all of your opponent’s kubbs and the King first before your opponent does.  The King Kubb cannot be knocked down before all other kubbs on the opposing team’s field side are knocked down or gone.

Honestly this already sounds more confusing than it is,  and I’m starting to remember when I originally tried to learn the game by reading, let’s just say it didn’t go so well. Kubb is really better explained visually so before we confuse you even more you can just watch the video below for a quick rundown of how to play Kubb. It’s a game that’s a bit hard to grasp until you actually play it, so hopefully the video helps.  

If you are somebody who does better with reading the rules you can find the official tournament rules here and there’s a pretty good visual representation of the game rules here too.

Kubb Strategy 

I know we might not have been the best at summarizing how to play but you have to admit it’s a pretty hard game to describe because of all the back-and-forth style gameplay but hopefully, with the aid of the video, you have at least a little idea of how it works.  Now we can get into why this lawn game is being reviewed on a board game review website.

At first, Kubb may just seem like a game of skill and luck but only the most strategic team will succeed.  From the way you stand your opponent’s field Kubbs back up, to the distance you decide to toss them back is very important.  You do have to be somewhat accurate at throwing too though, but once you are you can start to strategize and plan your actions.  

Throwing your Field Kubbs

When throwing your toppled Kubbs back into your opponent’s side of the field you have a few plans of attack.  You’re almost always going to try and throw them in the same spot so you can attempt to topple them with as few batons as possible.  Now though is where choice and strategy come into play.

Kubb Strategy
Throwing kubbs close together is usually easier said than done

You can either throw them close to half-field to make them easier to knock down but doing so comes with risks, because if you miss your opponents will get to throw closer on their next turn.  Alternatively, you could throw them towards the back to reduce that risk and maybe also knock down some remaining baseline kubbs.  The best choice really depends on the current state of the game which will change each and every turn.

Standing Up Your Opponent’s Field Kubbs

Even how you stand up your opponent’s kubbs takes a little bit of strategy.  You are allowed to stand them up from any corner as long as they do not leave the ground.  This may not seem that important but what direction you stand them up really does make a huge difference.  

Players will need to look at all the field Kubbs and try and predict what angle their opponents will throw from and then stand them up in a way that will spread them out.  Doing this correctly will hopefully lead to your opponents using more batons to knock down the field kubbs and thus help you in the game. 

Conclusion:

Now, there’s no denying Kubb is pretty strategic for a lawn game, but don’t be expecting the level of complexity and strategy you get with modern board games.  You have to be comparing apples to apples here, or in other words lawn games to lawn games.  

Kubb definitely is quite a large step above things like cornhole, washers, and other similar games in terms of depth, complexity, and strategy.  So if you want a little more meat to your lawn games, Kubb might be perfect to bring out for your next family gathering.  Your non-gamer friends and family still get to chuck stuff and you board game lovers still get to enjoy some strategic thinking all while enjoying some fresh air.  What more could you ask for?

Kubb really is a great game, it has quickly surpassed most other outdoor games for us, but it still does have a few quirks that you should consider before deciding if it’s the right game for you.  The biggest of these is the space requirement.

To play you will need to have a pretty level and well-maintained 16’ x 20’ playing area, so if that’s not something usually available to you, you might not have many opportunities to play Kubb.  

Even if you have the space, it can create some minor annoyances if it isn’t optimal.  Depending on your playing area, kubbs can be difficult to stand up or too hard to knock down.  This can be a minor or major annoyance depending on the type of person you are but if you are just playing casually and for fun, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue for most people.

One other thing we want to mention about Kubb is that if you do get a set, just know that it will take a beating.  This isn’t a game that you can baby or keep in pristine condition.  We know this might be a challenge for a lot of board game players out there, especially those with a still-shrink-wrapped shelf of shame.    Our set is pretty banged up but it doesn’t affect play dramatically.

Wear and tear on Kubb pieces

So if you have the space and at least a little bit of patience Kubb might be the perfect game for your next family gathering or even just the next nice day.  Kubb might be one of the best lawn games of all time, we know it’s for sure our number one in this category.

Is Kubb Good For 2 Players?

Kubb is great for two players, you might not be able to strictly follow the official tournament rules since both players will be throwing all six batons but it is still great for some casual fun.  We enjoy playing Kubb with lots of people but it is actually just as good, if not better with only two.  

Games are usually shorter and easier with two and you get to make all the throws and strategic decisions.  It’s a one-on-one battle between you and your opponent, making the game even more like a stick-throwing form of chess.  If you’re looking for another two player lawn game for you and your gaming partner you should consider adding Kubb to your collection.

Kubb King Knocked Down

Pros:

  • Truly a fun game.  The physical aspect of throwing things and knocking them down is very enjoyable.
  • The player count scales well
  • Deeper and has room for more strategy than other similar games

Cons:

  • Can be a little hard to learn and explain to new players.  It is easy to teach though if you already know how to play.
  • Need a pretty big space to play.
  • Kubbs can be difficult to stand up or difficult to knock down depending on your play area.
  • Needs to be replaced every so often because the pieces will take a beating, that’s just the nature of the game though.

Yard Games Kubb Premium Size Outdoor Tossing Game with Carrying Case, Instructions, and Boundary Markers
Yard Games Kubb Premium Size Outdoor Tossing Game with Carrying Case, Instructions, and Boundary Markers
Yard Games Kubb Premium Size Outdoor Tossing Game with Carrying Case, Instructions, and Boundary Markers

We hope this Kubb two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Kubb Game Pronunciation

Even though you’ve made it this far in the review, some of you might still be wondering how to pronounce Kubb.  Most would say the correct pronunciation is KOOB but others might argue it’s pronounced KUHB, it really depends on where you are from.  Most, including ourselves, are still probably not entirely sure which is correct, so don’t get too hung up on how to say Kubb, and if you want to avoid the confusion you can just refer to the game as Vikings Chess or just that lawn game with wooden blocks.

Kubb History

The history of Kubb is not entirely known, but its rumored origin is pretty interesting and makes the game even more badass.  It was supposedly created by Vikings in the Middle Ages and the kubbs are supposed to represent the skulls of their conquered and the batons, the femurs.  

Now this is all just hearsay and has never been proven but still a pretty cool origin story for a game if you ask us.  What is known though and probably more accurate is that its first proof of existence was in Scandinavia in the early 20th century and is likely based on the game “Skittles” which does share some of the same characteristics as Kubb.

Kubb sets for commercial sale weren’t really produced until the 1980s and the game didn’t make its way to America until the early 2000s, with the first U.S. National Kubb Championship held in Wisconsin in 2007.  As you can see Kubb is still quite a new game and is just now rising in popularity.  

Kubb Yard Game DIY

As we said before this game will take a beating, so even if you do just buy a set you might still want or need to DIY replacement pieces or a full Kubb set.  You can use any type of wood for Kubb pieces, the best options would be Poplar, Oak, Cherry, and Ash but whatever you have available will work, it just might not be as durable.

The full list of Kubb pieces and their dimensions are below and should be all you need to calculate your material needs and get to work on your own DIY Kubb set or Kubb replacement pieces.

Kubb PiecesRegulation DimensionsCasual Dimensions
10 Kubbs2.75” x 2.75” x 6”2.25” x 2.25” x 6”
6 Batons12” x 1.75” 12” x 1.5” 
1 Kubb King12” x 3.5” x 3.5”12” x 3” x 3”

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