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Called "Hammerschlagen" the rules basically are:
The game is typically played with a Cross-peen hammer or blacksmith's hammer and a large (24-36") cross-section of a soft hardwood. Cottonwood is suitably soft for this game. The hammer must have a wedge-shaped (but not sharp) end on it and should be at least 2.5 pounds.
The log is set up waist high with the flat sides facing the floor and ceiling. A bright common nail (12/16d) is driven about a half inch into the wood in front of each player. Each player's turn consists of setting the wedge-end of the hammer on the log next to their nail and taking a single swing at it. The swing must be done in a smooth up and down motion. Male players must use one hand. Female players may use both hands.
Frequently, a player will bend their nail in such a way as to make driving it further nearly impossible. In this case, the player may use their turn to make a single-motion swing at the nail from the side in an attempt to straighten the nail. You are not required to stand in the same place for the entire game. Often it is necessary to switch sides of the log to get a better angle on your nail.
Play continues to the right and lasts until one player has driven the head of their nail to (or below) the surface of the wood.
The game can be played with each player putting in a set dollar amount, $2-5, and the first person to drive their nail in wins, or you could have the last person to drive their nail do a shot or buy a round for the group.