We have all had that bad bounce. Maybe it was a “clack. Perhaps your drill was a lame duck and went left instead of right. Maybe the pitch had a twig or pine cone on it, and the kubb bounced a direction that seemed to defy physics. Maybe you threw a punishment kubb, and you didn’t topple it on your turn.

It may be time to call in the Kubb Rescue Squad:

There is no higher risk play in kubb than the rescue. But when it works it can completely swing the game in your favor.

The rules around the rescue

The U.S. National Championship Rules specifically state the following:

Sec. II.C.5 – If a thrown field kubb impacts a field kubb in play and the struck field kubb comes to rest after impact in such a say that it cannot be raised in bounds:  (a) it is returned to the attacking team to be thrown and is treated as if it had not yet been thrown in this round. This applies only to field kubbs having been left standing in a previous round.

What’s this mean? Essentially, you can use a field kubb to try to knock a field kubb from a previous round out of bounds; to rescue the kubb from an unfavorable position on the pitch. A successful rescue can end up paying dividends in a close game, or where there are many kubbs in play. Rescued kubbs (and the rescuee) can be re-thrown near the wood pile, increasing your chances of doubles, triples, or more.

But with high reward comes high risk. There are a few negative consequences if the kubb gods are favoring your opponent….if you just "tickle" the kubb, or only slightly tap the kubb, it may roll or topple in a worse position. You may end up having two kubbs in unfavorable positions, if your thrown kubb were to land in bounds as well.

How do I know when to Rescue?

First and foremost, I would recommend only attempting a rescue when a previously established kubb is very near a sideline, or on the back baseline.  I would also caution against rescuing a kubb just for the sake of rescuing; you need to be confident that a successful rescue will swing the game in your favor, or allow you to win the game in that round.  A game of kubb is so dynamic with so many factors; it’s hard to identify the best time to attempt a rescue.  And while you CAN rescue kubbs that you just threw (assuming they were only thrown once), these are normally laying down; rescuing a kubb that is not upright is not worth it in almost any situation.

How do I throw for a rescue?

Angle of attack is very important. You will want to take a heavy angle if you are rescuing a kubb from the sideline. You want to make sure your “line” of attack will force BOTH kubbs out of bounds. Hitting one kubb out of bounds, then having your thrown one land in bounds doesn’t provide an advantage.

Holding the kubb in the middle, and throwing so the long edge is facing your target is one recommended way. The additional surface area can aid in hitting your target, and a kubb thrown like this (bowling throw) has a better chance to roll out of bounds. You will want to aim so that you don’t hit grass prior to impact, as this can easily make the kubb go off target, or hop over the kubb you are aiming for.

Another method is to throw the kubb in a “helicopter” fashion. Hold one end of the kubb, and spin the kubb through its throw. Kubbs can be thrown any any underarm motion, so you cannot be called for an illegal propeller throw.  While the kubb doesn’t roll as much as the bowling style, it does provide a little more kinetic energy to give the kubbs an additional push out of bounds.

Since rescuing a kubb can be heavy-handed, it’s always customary to let your opponents know (and any spectators) what you are attempting. They can then be ready to protect their shins if a kubb were to go errant. Safety first!


Below is a walk-through of a successful kubb rescue:

Suppose the RED kubb is a punishment you threw last round, and the YELLOW kubb is a kubb you have to throw into the upfield. The opposing team placed the field kubb (Red) on their baseline. If you were attempting a rescue, you would use the Yellow kubb to attempt to knock both the Red punishment kubb AND your "in-hand" kubb out of bounds. You would then have two chances with Red to get it in the upfield, and one more chance with Yellow.

So you throw your "in-hand" kubb at the punishment kubb (A), and they connect with a very loud "clack"! (B). Whats even better; they are both out of bounds. Both kubbs are given back to you (C) and you have another chance to throw them in the upfield.

Using the finesse of a cat, and with the luck of a bard, you gently loft the kubbs together right on the other side of the centerline. (D). Now, with a well-placed baton, you can get a "2-fer"

So there you have it. I will say this: I have never seen this attempted in tournament play. I'm sure it's happened, both successfully and unsuccessfully, but I don't think it happens often. Again, if you attempt the kubb rescue, let your opponents know. A kubb hurts worse than a baton, when taken to the shin.