Hammerschlagen: The Game of Stump

Last night I learned the game of stump, also known as hammerschlagen.

It’s a pretty simple game, but a ton of fun.

All you need is a stump, a hammer, nails and a few friends.

Pre-game Prep

Circle round the stump and pound in your nail deep enough into the stump so that the nail doesn’t wiggle. That way, when your opponents (aka, your friends) try to smash it into the stump they won’t mistakenly launch your nail at you or someone else. Remember friends, safety first!

smash your opponents nails
The goal of the game is to be the last nail standing.

A few simple rules

In order to earn the right to attempt to hit someone else’s nail you first need to flip your hammer 360 degrees and catch it. That earns you one hit attempt.

You can’t spend any time readjusting where you caught the hammer following your toss. Plus, you can’t take any additional time to focus and aim.

If you miss the nail you were intending to whack, your turn is over. If you hit it, well done! Your turn is still over.

More rules (optional)

Like any good game there are lots of variations that can be played. We kept ours relatively simple.

Our only enhancements came with the method used for tossing and catching your hammer.

  • If you tossed your hammer under your leg and caught it you could have two whacks as opposed to one
  • If you tossed your hammer around your back and caught it you earned the right to hit three nails

Be the last nail standing

The goal of the game is to be the last nail standing.

This seems like a perfect game for a night around a campfire or a cookout with friends. I had the opportunity to play at a local axe-throwing venue.