Can kubb catch on? Try it and see


By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com



Jake Wachholz tosses a wooden baton at the king in the center of a kubb field at Maude Neiding Park, going for the win. He’s hoping the game, often called “Viking chess,” catches on and is inviting players on Monday nights.


Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

I am the greatest kubb player in the world.

Sorry, that’s a bald-faced lie. I’m merely an excellent player — OK, fine, we’ll downgrade to mediocre.

Truth be told, I’m flat out a liability with little hand-eye coordination and terrible aim, as my teammate Max Orseno discovered recently. Sure, we won our match against the husband-wife pairing of Jake and Morgan Wachholz but not by my merit.

What’s kubb, you say?

Imagine a combination of horseshoes and checkers played with wooden blocks and batons. The goal is to toss the baton and knock over your opponent’s blocks, taking advantage of rules that let you advance across a short field.

Legend has it that “Viking chess,” as it’s sometimes called, was originally played with human skulls and femurs, but there’s no hard evidence that the game dates back to the Vikings.

Mention of “kegelkrig” can be found in early 1900s Nordic texts, suggesting kubb could be a Scandinavian spin on old European lawn bowling games.

Jake Wachholz read about the game online and has been playing for nearly a year. Since commercial kubb sets became available in just the 1980s and haven’t caught on like cornhole, he crafted his own set from a four-by-four piece of lumber.

“I don’t care for cornhole,” Wachholz laughed, showing me the ropes of the game at Maude Neiding Park. “But I want to be outside and have fun. So I thought I’d give this a try.”

He wants to grow the sport and has proposed an Amherst kubb club. Wachholz has invited newbie and expert players alike to join him from 7-8 p.m. on Mondays at Maude Neiding through the summer months, provided the weather cooperates.

Take my word when I say it’s a lot of fun, even if you’ve got zero skill for the game.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Jake Wachholz tosses a wooden baton at the king in the center of a kubb field at Maude Neiding Park, going for the win. He’s hoping the game, often called “Viking chess,” catches on and is inviting players on Monday nights.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2017/06/web1_DSC_8541-1.jpgJake Wachholz tosses a wooden baton at the king in the center of a kubb field at Maude Neiding Park, going for the win. He’s hoping the game, often called “Viking chess,” catches on and is inviting players on Monday nights.

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@civitasmedia.com