BATAVIA, N.Y. - BUFFALO, N.Y.-- It is possible you have played a game before that involves hitting a nail into a tree stump. You might know it as "stump".
There is now an updated version of it, created and patented by WNY players called MöbileSchlägen.
It is a simple game, really. You need a nail, a hammer, a tree stump and friends. You each get one swing per round to hit the nail with the hammer. The goal is to be the first to hit the nail all the way in to the stump.
"I think once they see it, they're like 'Really? Is this what we're going to do? We're going to pound nails into a stump?'," co-inventor Marc Johnson laughed. "And that is what you're going to do."
The concept of the game is nothing new. But what is new is the mobility that these Batavia locals have brought to the German game of skill and strategy.
The idea came to them one day when they were trying to haul a stump to a family reunion.
"So I haul the game to Vermont," Johnson explained. "Long story. 300 pound stumps. In the back of a caravan. Get it to Vermont. Find out we're on the side of a mountain and I'm rolling these stumps up and down this mountain."
They realized there had to be a better way. So they crafted collapsible legs, a tray, added a branding touch to a slice of tree stump (not the whole stump) and got their patent for "MöbileSchlägen" this past year.
The next step is to move it to mass production and be able to start filing orders by the Fall.
They said they hope it becomes a mainstay for bars and sports pre-games.
"When you start talking about horseshoes or bocce or corn hole or can jam for that matter, this is one of those games that we want people to be able to have in their trunk, at the Bills game, when they're doing their tailgating," Johnson said. "Just pop the trunk and pull it out."
As far as the name goes, the creators said they wanted it to be German, since that is where the game has its roots. "Mobile" was picked because the game can now be more easily moved. "Schlagen" was picked because in German, it means to strike. The umlauts over the o and a are there just for looks.
"Anybody that speaks German, they giggle because it doesn't really mean anything," co-inventor Dan Manges said. "It's total nonsense."
Giggles and nonsense aside, the co-inventors said they took on some risk when they went into business. But, they add, Western New Yorkers are not averse to risk and they see a winning future in their product.
"We take a lot of pride in the fact that we're Western New Yorkers and that this product was born here in Western New York," Johnson said.
If you want to play MöbileSchlägen or want to know where to buy it when they start filling orders, you can visit their website here.
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