The Most Michigan Game Ever Made


Over the weekend, we discovered a game that might be the most Michigan thing you’ve ever heard of. 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 over a barbecue while watching wrestling. Apparently, while they were up north, they met some Michigan backcountry boys who told them how to play and then started showing them. The rules are quite simple.

How to play

You can play with as many people as possible 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 approximately half an inch. The object of the game is to be the person with the last nail that is not completely driven into the stump. Once your nail is fully depressed, you’re out. This is where things get interesting…

Increase the odds

The only way to drive someone else’s nail into the stump is to flip the hammer over and grab it. However, you MUST strike the nail with the hammer in the same position as you grabbed it, without fixing your grip. A successful flip is equivalent to a swing. Whether you miss or hit, you pass the hammer.

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


I happened to go 3-0 in our group games, but the last game a weird incident happened. As you know, nails bend, and mine bent so much that they ended up breaking, with part of it still in the log. Since my opponents failed to drive my point home properly, I won automatic victory. A nail MUST be driven correctly into the stump to be removed. If it goes sideways or twists, players are allowed to straighten the nail.

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

Holding a beer while playing this game is not necessary, but it will impress your friends.

West Michigan’s favorite games to play with family and friends

Some of those games you probably played growing up. Although there are other games that you will definitely want to check out.

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What’s summer without some garden games?


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