Kubb raising is by far the most complex phase of kubb, and I would put it up against any other sport in its elaboration and involvement. A mosaic of timing, reviewing, checking for state-based consequential variables, with fluctuating counter-checks and triggers.

It reminds me of a strategic board game, or a complex customizable card game….the kind you see at the local game shop, as you peruse their selection of yard games. Or better yet, it reminds me of computer code. If/then statements, variables to sift through, and copious amounts of yes/no validation.

Perhaps this is why I love this phase of kubb so much. The Kubb Raising Phase is my favorite.

In this article, I would like to share the Golden Rules of Kubb raising, some crazy scenarios to look out for, and best practices I have learned trying to sort out an opponent’s mess.

You will most likely never have to apply most of these scenarios to games you play, unless you live on Championship Hill and play against the best drillers Eau Claire has to offer day in and day out. And if that IS the case, maybe I can help (in a slight way) ease your pain of figuring the amassment of kubbs in confined quarters.

The Kubb Footprint:

We will be talking about the footprint of a kubb going forward, so it is important to understand what that means. The footprint of a kubb is defined as such: The 7x7 cm area that is (or will) contact the ground when a field kubb is raised. Kubbs that are already righted have 1 footprint, and all other kubbs (elevated, leaning kubbs, and kubbs laying parallel to the ground) have 2 potential footprints. For a kubb to be in-bounds, 50% or more of the footprint has to be in-bounds.

(Like most human beings, kubbs have 2 footprints, and need to be raised with care.)



The Golden Rules of Kubb Raising

The overall mantra, the rules that trump other rules, when it comes to kubb raising are as follows:

1. If a kubb has an in-bounds footprint then it MUST be raised in bounds.


2. You cannot raise a kubb in such a manner that prevents another kubb from being raised in-bounds, unless there is no other option.

And that is that. These two rules are identified in the U.S. National Rules, and define this phase to a T. They protect the attacking team; or more specifically, the drillers. A driller will never be disadvantaged by throwing a good group, and these rules verify that the driller will always be compensated fairly for distributing the kubbs strategically.

It also protects the timing of kubb raising. It erases a scenario in which you raise 5 kubbs and then on your 6th kubb you raise it in a manner that forces another one out. Now the attacker has to throw a kubb back over, but you have already setup 5 of them. Which way do we lower them? Oh no, the kubbs have now grown legs and the group is no longer representative of what the attackers threw.

So these two rules mean that sometimes kubbs have to be raised to “make room” for other kubbs, especially those that would be out of bounds. It also means that leaning kubbs that are on the line get to “walk” in-bounds because leaners have 2 potential footprints.

Here’s a simple example of both rules playing a role. Potential footprints of the leaning kubb are green, and blue represents the parallel kubbs potential footprints. The Golden Rules state that if a kubb has an in-bounds footprint, we must make room for it. The parallel kubb would be forced to the right (even though it has 2 in-bounds footprints, and the leaner would be lowered parallel, and raised on the dark green footprint)

The “Kubbadox”, “Drillers Bane” and the “The Block”

There are only a few instances that I have experienced where you are unable to make room for a kubb that is half in and half out. This scenario cannot be resolved following the Golden Rules, and as a driller, a little part of my heart dies. Here are the scenarios:

Two kubbs that are thrown on the in/out boundary line that share an in-bounds footprint. This is colloquially termed “The Kubbadox.” Others use this term to identify a kubb that is cornered on a pin, mostly in-bounds, but has two out-of-bounds footprints, but I don’t feel it’s the appropriate term. The kubbadox is a continual loop of circular logic, as it tries to resolve itself by following Golden Rule 2.

>>If Kubb A forces Kubb B out, then Kubb B must be resolved first.

>>Resolve Kubb B.

>>Since Kubb B forces Kubb A out, then Kubb A must be resolved first.

>>Resolve Kubb A.

Ad infinitum. You get the idea. An absurdity. A Catch-22. An illogical stalemate. Below is a representation of The Kubbadox.

(The Kubbadox. Both kubbs share the same (and only) in-bounds footprint)


In this case, sadly, the defenders get to choose which one to bring in-bounds. The other is rethrown, or potentially placed as a punishment if it was the second throw. The horror!

In my opinion, The Kubbadox is way worse in morale-draining scenarios than “Drillers Bane”.

Drillers Bane happens more frequently, and rightfully so. All the drillers seem to want the real estate right next to the intersection of the centerline and the sideline. And with that target in the scope, you are bound to see this scenario:

(Most of you is in-bounds, yet none of you is in-bounds. Stupid kubb, Y U NO IN!)


And then there is The Block. Assume you left a line (I know, you wouldn’t do that in a real game, but play along with me). So you leave a field kubb in play, and your opponents can’t seal the deal. You chuck a few kubbs over after their salvo of batons, and you find yourself in this situation:

(Blocked by your own field kubb. Kubbsanity!)

Your previously established field kubb is totally in the way; no way around it. You would try to set it up touching the previously established field kubb, but you find it’s still not half in. Once a kubb is up, there is no moving it. It’s permanent unless struck by another piece. A rethrow is sadly in order.


Order of choices:

When choosing to stand a kubb, the following choices are mandated:

You must try to:

Stand to an in bounds footprint over an out-of bounds footprint
Stand to an unobstructed footprint over sliding against an obstructed footprint
Stand and slide to an obstructed in-bounds footprint over an out-of-bounds footprint

But the timing of when to stand what is not defined in the rules. I have put together some timing best practices, which should reduce the chances that you will stand in-bounds kubbs, then find out that a latter kubb is raised out of bounds, and needs to be rethrown. If there are multiple choices within a specific resolution (for example, you have two leaning kubbs, the defender can choose


1)    If 2 kubbs share a footprint, and they are both half in and half out, resolve these kubbs first. It is entirely possible that once the first kubb is resolved, the second kubb cannot be raised in-bounds, and will need to be rethrown.

2)    Resolve all kubbs that are half in and half out to verify they will stay in bounds.

a)                a) Resolve kubbs forced into obstruction first

3)    Resolve all kubbs that are elevated off the ground next.

4)    Resolve all kubbs that are leaning

5)    Resolve all kubbs that have only one unobstructed footprint

6)    Resolve all other kubbs that have no unobstructed footprints, touching the obstruction


Finally, after #6 we can start actually making choices, if there are any left. Check back soon for some tips on making those choices!