Rules & Regulations

The offical rules for playing Stump

These are the rules for playing Stump. These are Common Play rules. Common Play is most frequently seen at casual gatherings of friends or large house parties.

For Olympic Play rules, please visit the U.S.A. Olympic Committee website. 

With either type of game play, you’ll need to buy a Stump Kit, too.

how to play stump - rule 1

The object of the game is to be the last player standing.

how to play stump - rule 2

You’re eliminated when the head of your nail is flush with the stump.

how to play stump - rule 3

Each player begins by tapping their own nail into the stump at their discretion until it stands up straight. Nails must be at least a nail’s length away from the edge of the stump and should be evenly spaced.

how to play stump - rule 4

Each player takes his/her turn by throwing the hammer in the air — it must do one full rotation mid-air. The player catches the hammer on the way down, and strikes an opponent’s nail. It can be any opponent.

how to play stump - rule 5

If your nail is hit but you’re not eliminated, next player’s turn. Likely your nail is now farther into the stump – closer to death.

how to play stump - rule 6

If a player drops the hammer during his/her turn, the last player to put his/her foot on the side of the stump loses their next turn.

how to play stump - rule 7

If a player’s strike causes sparks, go again! Do your fire dance to celebrate your accomplishment; only the mighty make spark.

how to play stump - rule 8

A player may exchange their hammer throw for two ‘savior’ strikes to try and correct their own nail.

how to play stump - rule 9

If a player’s nail falls out of the stump, that player is eliminated.

Other Considerations

Players are allowed one ‘let’ per turn: where the player catches the hammer after throwing, but fails to strike the stump or a nail.


Also we should note: The Stump game is a dangerous activity. When you play Stump you acknowledge, and really you embrace, the inherent risks associated, including throwing a hammer in the air above your head and the head of your friends and frienemies.

But Mr. Stump Master, I learned differently...

These are the basic rules for playing Stump – Common Style. There are other games out there that are not Stump. What makes Stump unique is that you play against a group of people simultaneously, you have to spin the Stump Hammer in the air, and you don’t need any specific type of Stump to play.

Videos are on their way to provide some basic tutorials on how to play.