Over the weekend we discovered a game that may be the most Michigan thing you've ever heard of before. The game is called Hammerschlagin', which roughly translates from German to English as "Hammer-Blow." The game was actually introduced to a group of us by local musician Jake Simmons at a BBQ while watching wrestling. Apparently, while they were up north they met some backwoods boys from Michigan who told them how to play and then commenced to show them The rules are pretty simple.

How To Play

You can play with as many people as you can fit around a stump. The stump is your game board and each player in the game has a 3-inch nail. Each nail is hammered into the stump about a half of an inch. The object of the game is to be the person with the last nail not fully hammered into the stump. Once your nail is completely hammered in, you're out. This is where things get interesting though...

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Upping The Odds

The only way you're able to nail someone else's nail into the stump is by flipping the hammer and catching it. However, you MUST hit the nail with the hammer in the same position you caught it, no fixing your grip. One successful flip equals one swing. Whether you miss or hit, you pass the hammer.

If you flip it under your leg and catch it you get two swings and if you flip it behind your back and catch it you get three. If you flip it in any way and drop it, you skip your turn and pass the hammer.


I just so happened to go 3-0 in our group games, however the last game a strange incident occurred. As you know nails will bend, and mine bent so much that it eventually snapped off, with part of it still in the log. Since my opponents weren't able to actually hammer my nail all the way down properly, I gained the automatic victory. A nail MUST be hammered down properly into the stump to be eliminated. If it goes in sideways or gets crooked, players are allowed to straighten the nail out.

So there ya go, grab some friends, a stump, a hammer, and some nails and let it rip.

Holding a beer while you play this game isn't necessary, but it will impress your friends.

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