What is it?


Hammerschlagen is a decades-old German brand of Nagelspielen, which is played with a Cross-peen hammer or blacksmith’s hammer with a wedge-shaped (but not sharp) end on it and is 3 pounds. A large cross-section of pre-cut wood is set up waist high with the flat sides facing the floor and ceiling. A nail is driven about a half inch into the wood in front of each player.

The object is to be the first one to pound in one’s own nail. To win, the head of the nail must be flush or under the surface of the wood.


  • Each player purchases a nail to start the game.
  • Men use one hand only; ladies have the option of using two hands.
  • Grip the hammer behind the red safety line.
  • Must use the wedge end of the hammer to strike the nail.
  • Wedge end of the hammer must be on the wood, and touching the nail to start.
  • Player has one continuous swing at nail per turn; if the nail is not driven flush into the log, then the hammer is passed to next player.
  • Arc of the hammer swing can be no higher than the player’s ear.
  • If the nail bends, the player can move to any position around the table to strike the nail for their next turn, or the nail may be straitened and counted as a turn.
  • To win, the nail must be flush or below the surface of the wood.
  • No bottles, glasses, body parts, or any other foreign objects on the table.
  • The game master has the right to refuse to play to any person before, during or after the game.
  • Local rules may also apply at the discretion of the game master.

Hammerschlagen™ and copywritten material are owned by WRB, Inc. of Minnesota and used with permission.