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MöbileSchlägen

February 26, 2017 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in MöbileSchlägen, batavia, Oakfield, news, business.

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The inventors of MöbileSchlägen hosted a party at Ken's Charcoal Pits & Bar-B-Q to kick off their Kickstarter campaign, aimed at raising $150,000 so they can begin production of their hammer, nail and log game based on a popular game with a German ancestry. 

Photos: Co-owner Marc Johnson demonstrates how to play the game.

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February 21, 2017 - 8:48am
posted by Howard B. Owens in MöbileSchlägen, Eichenfeld, LLC, Oakfield, business, news.

Press release:

Eichenfeld LLC, a company based in Oakfield, will be launching a MöbileSchlägen Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign on Feb. 27th at midnight. To celebrate, Eichenfeld owners Marc Johnson, James Betters and Dan Manges invite the public to a MöbileSchlägen Launch Party on Saturday, Feb 25, 7 p.m., at Ken’s Charcoal Pits & Bar-B-Q (formerly, City Slickers Bar & Grill) located at 59 Main St., Batavia.

The traditional nail-pounding game of skill, strategy and fun, can only be played by acquiring large stumps of wood that must remain stationary in your yard or gaming venue. MöbileSchlägen has reinvented this favorite German game, made it mobile and now you can be the first to purchase the world’s only portable nail hammering game. 

Of MöbileSchlägen’s much anticipated product launch, coinventor Marc Johnson said, “We’ve spent a great deal of time proving our concept, engineering our product, and securing a full utility patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We have a deep bench of MöbileSchlägen ambassadors that have patiently waited for this moment.

"We anticipate a very active Kickstarter project. Our team is poised to meet the demand of our customers and we are excited with the amount of support the crowdfunding community has promised to the MöbileSchlägen project. This is the beginning of a fun run.”

The event on Saturday evwening will feature food and drink, music, swag giveaways and a chance to try MöbileSchlägen. The fun starts at 7 o'clock. If you cannot attend the launch party, please check out MöbileSchlägen’s website at www.mobileschlagen.com, once the campaign is active, just follow the provided link. This site goes live at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 27.

Photos: File photos from an event announcing MöbileSchlägen at the Carryville Inn in June. Top photo: Marc Johnson.

Previously:

November 25, 2016 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in MöbileSchlägen, Oakfield, business, news.

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A start-up in Oakfield made the front page of the The Wall Street Journal today (account required) as part of a story on a game that seems to be growing in popularity in some part of the country, even though it has been around a long time.

We've told you before about MöbileSchlägen, the portable version of a game that involves, traditionally, a tree stump, a nail, a hammer, and beer. MöbileSchlägen was invented -- they actually got a patent on the key technology -- by Marc Johnson, James Betters and Dan Mangus. Their big innovation was the sturdy stand that holds a stump-like piece of wood into which game players pound nails.

A reporter for The Wall Street Journal visited Oakfield a couple of days ago to learn more about the game and wrap mention of it into a story she was working on about the rise in popularity of Hammerschlagen, or Stump.  

The game has become popular enough, as reporter Rebecca Davis O'Brien notes, that there has even been a little legal wrangling over who owns the rights to it. Jim Martin, of Lake Elmo, Minn., asserts he owns the trademark for Hammer-Schlagen. According to the WSJ article, Martin has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a competitor, The Stump Company, and has also sent messages to Johnson and his partners. (He also contacted The Batavian demanding that we correct our previous story and include mention of his company and what he says are the true origins of the game.)

Johnson said their version of the game is gaining interest and they should have a product ready for market soon.

Also, here's a couple of photos Johnson supplied from the Oakfield Historical Society, from a company picnic for U.S. Gypsum in the 1950s, showing a similar game being played locally.

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Here's the company's promotional video:

June 12, 2016 - 6:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in MöbileSchlägen, Oakfield, business, news.

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Three guys in Oakfield think they've hit the nail on the head when it comes to their new business.

They've put a new twist on an old German game. They introduced the concept at a tournament yesterday held at the Caryville Inn.

The game is MöbileSchlägen, a portable version of hammerschlägen.

In schlägen, you get a cross-peen hammer and a nail and you get one whack at the nail per turn, hitting it with the wedge (or peen) end. The starting position is with the hammer on the table outside the wood block, making it harder to aim. The nail is tapped in to a depth equal to a line on the hammer, so everybody starts at an equal distance.

The first person with the head of the nail flush with the wood wins.

"Being first is pretty cool, but the last thing you want to do is be last," said Marc Johnson, one of the co-inventors of the mobile version of the game.

Last means ridicule from your buddies, at the least, and if alcohol is involved, it might mean buying a round of drinks.

Teasing and harassing is part of the fun of the game, because if you can goad a competitor into talking while he or she holds the hammer, (the rule is, "no hammer talk") that person loses a turn.

Johnson said for years, every time he hosts a party at his house, he and the guests play hammerschlägen, but hauling around the giant tree stumps needed for the game made it impractical for tailgate parties or picnics.

A few years ago, he brought two logs to a family gathering in Vermont and that's when he started to think there had to be a better way.

"Everybody loved it, but it killed my back," Johnson said. "It was a bad idea. You’re on a mountain and you’re rolling those stumps around."

When he got home, he and his friend James Betters started imagining a mobile version of the game, but lacked the engineering background to make it a reality, so Dan Mangus joined the team.

They formed a company, drew up their plans and filed for a patent, which was issued in March.

The end-grain wood plate, which can be laser etched with any possible logo, fits snuggly in a hard plastic base, which rests on sturdy, but foldable, legs.

"Basically, it fits in a bag that looks like a big banjo and you can throw it over your shoulder and carry it a lot easier than a 300-pound stump," Mangus said.

It took a few prototypes to get the right design and then a long search to find the right end-grain wood with the right density to take in a pounded nail easily, but not too easily. 

And lest would-be competitors might think they can make their own log inserts (the inserts need to be replaced after they fill up with nails), the design requires a properly cut and fitted log into the reverse-cupped holder. This design not only improves safety and durability, but with the patent, it also prevents copycat manufacturers from making replacement parts.

Some 40 or 50 people showed up for the game's public debut at the Caryville Inn yesterday to compete in the first official MöbileSchlägen tournament.  

There seemed to be no shortage of fun nor frustration during the tournament.

The next big step for the entrepreneurs is a Kickstarter campaign to fund the manufacturing of games for consumers. If that does well, they hope to ship the first games to customers by Spring.

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