Penalty Kubb Placement Strategy

When it comes to Kubb strategy there are many various opinions on what to do and when to do it. In this article I am going to break down penalty Kubb placement. Because I have seen so many strategies and there doesn’t appear to be a consensus on what is the best placement for every situation. So my hope is this will act as a guide for the different options. Obviously in Kubb some strategies may work if used correctly and, due to the nature of Kubb, may work if used incorrectly too. The point is, there is usually no right or wrong strategy in Kubb but I hope to give my insight into my thought process when placing a penalty Kubb.
Know Your Opponent
The first thing you have to consider before placing any Kubb is your opponent. Are you playing against Damage Inc.? Or with some friends in the backyard? You need to understand your opponents skill level, because all these strategies depend on their skill level. In competition I often watch other teams play and learn their skill level, even if I may not play that team. I look to see if they have a good blaster, are they throwing with proper rotation and how confident and proficient they look throwing a baton. All these will help me determine which strategy to use if I was to play that team.
Look at the Inkast

Whenever I place a penalty Kubb I always lift all the Kubbs up first and then I look at the inkast. In my head I estimate how many batons it will take the opponent to knock over that pile. I also think pretty conservatively; so If there is a questionable double I usually assume they will get the double. The more batons I think it will take them to knock down the pile, the closer to the mid-line I will place the penalty Kubb.
Other Factors
The last thing I always consider is other factors surrounding the match. This could be whether it is a championship match, if you are currently behind in the match, and the weather and ground conditions. All these and others can influence your decision, the point is to weigh all these things and come up with a decision that you think will work best. It’s always good to remember that in Kubb crazy things happen all the time. Just because your strategy doesn’t work the first time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it again.


Common Penalty Kubb Placements

Location: Behind the King

Why: This is one of the more common placements especially for beginning players and it’s pretty obvious why. People will put it there because the king is in the way and if they hit it you win, if not there is a good chance they may waste a baton or two because the King plays head games with people, even some of the best players.

When: I mainly use this with new and beginning players or whenever I am playing more recreationally with a group of friends. The only time I would use this in competition is if I was fairly certain it would take the other team 5-6 batons for the rest of the field Kubbs. Most players in a Kubb tournament are proficient enough to knock it down without a second thought, so it’s important to know your competition. I will also place a penalty Kubb here when I have 2 penalty Kubbs to place, one behind the king and one closer to the baseline.

*Bonus Insight*: When I place the Kubb behind the king, if the other team is all right-handed or I want the left-handed player to waste their baton (Maybe the lefty is the best or only good blaster), I don’t place it directly behind the king. I place the Kubb about 1 inch to the left of the center of the king from the baton throwers point of view. Most right-handed throwers will want to throw from the right corner due to the angle but if you place it about an inch to the left they won’t be able to hit it throwing from that corner. This forces them to throw from the left hand side where the angle isn’t as wide, although it does expose more of the Kubb.

Location: On the Baseline

Why: It’s the furthest away and thus the most difficult to hit at least in theory. At worst it’s like getting a baseline Kubb back on your baseline. One of the big drawbacks is if it is left up at the end of your opponents turn, you don’t get any advantage line. I feel like this is one of the safest places you can put a penalty Kubb, unless your opponent is good at rescuing Kubbs.

When: I don’t often put a Kubb on the baseline anymore, unless I’m playing recreationally and I’m not thinking that hard about what’s going on in the game. If I get behind in a game, it’s a good way to get a baseline Kubb back on my baseline.

Location: 1 Meter from the Baseline

Why: There are a few good reasons why you would put a penalty Kubb 1 meter or so from the baseline. First, it’s a far distance making it more difficult to hit. It’s also a distance people don’t often practice and in theory can be even more difficult to hit than if you simply put it 8 meters away on the baseline where people are more comfortable. This also makes it hard for someone to rescue without possibly leaving the rescue Kubb in the field as well. And of course if it is left up, you at least get to take one step forward as an advantage.

When: This is the option I use most often, I like to leave the Kubb at an odd distance and, in my experience, it is often more difficult to hit because people don’t practice that distance. I use this against good teams in most situations, especially if there are only a few other field Kubbs to knock over. The more field Kubbs and the larger the pile is spread out the further forward I will place the Kubb.

Location: 2-3 Meters from the Baseline

Why: People will place it here if they are  trying to get a big advantage line, especially if they feel like the other team will have a tough time clearing the field. The more Kubbs in the field and the more spread out they are, the closer to the mid-line they will go.

When: I will place a penalty Kubb 2-3 meters from the baseline if the inkast is spread out and I feel like getting the whole pile in 5-6  batons will be difficult. Also, if I have another penalty Kubb or a penalty Kubb from the last turn remaining I may place the second one closer to the mid-line. If you do have a second kubb from a previous round further back, be sure to not line them up so that they can be knocked over with one baton.

Location: On the Sideline

Why: People will place the Kubb on the sideline because there is almost a 0% chance that the other team can hit more than one Kubb with a baton. Unfortunately, it makes it easy for the other team to rescue the next turn. But remember, Kubb is very unpredictable. Watch below:


When: If you have a scattered pile and you need to keep it away from the pile I can see using the sideline but I have never placed on the sideline. I just don’t see many positives to it being on the sideline. Maybe someone can give me some more insight to this but for me this is almost not an option.

Location: On the Mid-Line

Why: Being on the mid-line, if it is left up, you get the best possible advantage possible.

When: If the pile is spread out and there is basically no chance of taking out all the field Kubbs with 6 batons. They will probably knock this one over quickly but if you place it away from the pile it guarantees at least one baton with no chance of a double.


I just want to reiterate that this is not an exact science and I am definitely not saying that these are the right answers. This is just my thought process when I am placing an penalty Kubb. I hope to stir some thoughts from all of you out there about what your thought process is and hopefully learn from you as well. My strategy in all aspects of the game has continued to evolve as I grow as a player, so a year from now I may have completely different theories on this topic. Feel free to comment below or on Facebook or Twitter if you want to discuss any of these placements.

2 thoughts on “Penalty Kubb Placement Strategy

  1. That’s right! Kubbsicles tried everything on us that match; behind the king, on the line, a meter from the base. Wait, as I write I realize we had 3 PK’s that match. Got to work on that.

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