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The goal of this game is to drive a nail into the stump of a tree.

Before the game starts each player hammers a nail into the stump, about half way until it’s standing up well on it’s own.

The stump or log should be about waist high, give-or-take.

The game is typically played with a Cross-peen hammer or blacksmith's hammer and a large cross-section of a soft hardwood. Cottonwood is suitably soft for this game. The hammer must have a wedge-shaped (but not sharp) end on it and should be at least 2.5 pounds.

On a players turn they lift their hammer and slam it down in one swift motion, hoping to strike their nail. The hammer should be lifted above head height and should be stricken with the wedge-end down instead of the hammer end.

Male players can only use one hand to swing and female players can use both hands.

If the nail is missed, the player who missed must drink. Some say the whole beer. The game doesn’t last long with those rules;)

If the nail gets bent, on subsequent turns the player can take their swing on an angle to try and straighten it.

Play continues to the right until one player has completely driven their nail into the wood by either sinking the head to the same level of the wood or lower.


This player wins.

These Hammerschlagen rules can differ slightly depending on the crowd or region. Some people opt to play this in bars where each player puts down an ante and the winner takes the pot. 

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