Sunday, April 26, 2009

Party Like It's 982

The Vikings knew how to throw down. This weekend, we partied like it was 982.

Americans don't know a whole lot about the Vikings. We've heard of Eric the Red. We've heard of his son, Leif Ericson, and millions of school children needlessly butcher his name (it's Layff not Leaf). We've heard of Valhalla and Mead. Of Valkyries and dragon ships. But have you heard of Kubb?

Kubb is a game also known, among other names, as Viking Chess. You set out blocks of wood in a set formation. One team on one side, one on the other. Pour your drinks and start throwing sticks at each other. Can it get more simple than that?

The object is to knock down your opponents blocks without knocking down the King in the middle. And without getting hammered by one of the flying wooden batons that come whizzing by. And no cheating with any helicopter-type throwing, by the way.

Buying a Kubb set in Sweden is like buying horseshoes or croquet. Every gas station carries the set during the summer. Take a walk in a local park and you very often see people, young and old, jumping and screaming over a game.

We actually shipped our set from Sweden with us when we moved. While it might sound a bit extreme to include a sack of canvas stuffed with wooden sticks amongst worldly goods, the fact that the dimensions are so different from any wood you can purchase in the States justifies the expense.

So this weekend was spent in the backyard. Beer in one hand, wooden batons in the other. The prerequisite naked Swedish children running about. If we'd only had some herring.


tysdaddy said...

I've never heard of this game before. It sounds like fun. Are there tournaments or anything like that? On ESPN7? That would be fun to watch . . . how about some video next time?

Gypsy said...

I knew about the pillaging but had never heard of Kubb. Thanks for the lesson.

buddha_girl said...

What in the HELL? I thought they would be little bitty sticks. I'm digging these big honkers. I could knock someone on their ass playing this game - and I don't drink. I might be the most dangerous player! Wooo hooo!

Got a link for where I can buy a set of these? I see myself playing this A LOT. I doubt I could allow Buddha to play with his friends. I'd be forking over co-pays galore to their mommies. Buddha would injure many a child.

A Free Man said...

I've never heard of it either. The only game I've seen Swedes playing was hockey. Maybe I'm always there at the wrong time of year.

Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

Hahah.... That's great. When I was reading the description (before looking at the second pic), I thought you sat across from each other at a kitchen table throwing shit around. Durrrrrrr....

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Oh, I must learn this game.

And then? I must get a set from Sweden and freak out the neighbors!

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@tysdaddy: There are actually tournaments in several places in the US, the biggest one in Eau Claire, Wisconsin I believe. I'll try for some video the next time. It's gotta stop raining here first.

@Gypsy: I felt quite pillaged when Hubbie kept winning. Bastard.

@Buddha_Girl: Dude, they rip you off to buy them in the States. These sets are like ten bucks a pop at Swedish gas stations, and people here try and charge upward of $75 for a set. Here's a link to make your own. I know you and HG are pretty handy.

@AFreeMan: If you are always there in the winter, check out the Bandy.

@Joe: If you threw these across the table there had better be an ambulance on standby outside the driveway.

@CMGD: As opposed to freaking them out by scaling the side of our house? :)