Hammerschlagen Rules

Hammerschlagen Rules - the chuggernauts

Much like it’s American counterpart “Stump“, the German game of Hammerschlagen involves hammering some nails into a tree and drinking for whenever you mess up. This game supposedly dates back as far as 1940 or earlier. It’s safe to say this game makes a lot more sense if you’ve already had a few beers before you start it. You can play with as many players as you want as long as there’s enough nails.

What You’ll Need

A Tree, A bunch of nails, A hammer and a bunch of beers.

Official Hammerschlagen Rules

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.

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 the pound back a full drink.

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. If you do so choose to play this game please make sure to drink responsibly.