21 Darts Games: Rules and How to Play

Updated on January 8, 2020
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Ben has been a geek all of his life, and as such his expertise tends to fall into gaming and technology.

Darts is a game that is rapidly gaining popularity throughout Europe and the United States. Often thought of as just another "bar" game, the image and idea of darts are changing. It is transforming into a sport rather than just something you play while throwing back a few beers.

This shift in the image has rightly served to increase the number of individuals playing the game. It is a fun game to play both professionally and socially with others. Therefore, the dartboard is currently becoming more and more familiar to homes all throughout the U.S. With this resurgence, you might be thinking that you need to improve your game and become the best darts players that you can.

To assist you, we thought we should give you a genuine guide to the historical significance of the game. Then, we will take a look at techniques and some fun games you can play while leveling up your skills. So, without further ado, let's get straight into it so you can get your dart game on.

History of Darts

The origin of darts reaches all the way back to a game originally played in England. It began during the famous King Henry VIII’s reign. That certainly puts a regal spin on the game that could help give you even more pride as you hone your skills. The game got its start as a way for the archers of the day to practice their aim and precision.

They could practice throughout the entire year, even in the winter months, when England gets a little wetter than usual. These men of the bow (and most others) often enjoyed a good drink while practicing. Hence, many taverns and pubs began housing boards in their establishments.

Thus, the sport of throwing darts was born. Many historians even say that the king himself liked to throw a few darts every now and then.

There were even varieties of the game. One was called 'Puff and Dart', in which players utilized a blowgun to propel the darts. This method is not altogether unlike the objective we have today when it comes to hitting the board. It was 1896 when the modern-day dartboard numbering framework was settled upon, and the game of darts as we know it would actually be born.

Now we have an idea of where this amazingly difficult and fun game came into being. Next, let's look at the tools of the trade… the board and dart.

About the Dart Board & Darts

Understanding the tools you will be using is the key to not only enjoying the game more but also improving your skill. This is especially crucial when it comes to the board itself. Now, let’s look at the board and get to know it a little better.

The Board

The dartboard is set up with three fundamental zones: The single zone, the double ring, and the triple ring. The ring on the peripheral edge of the board is the double ring zone. On the off chance that you hit a number in that ring, you will be awarded double the amount points as the corresponding number the dart landed on. The smaller, inside ring is the triple. If you hit a number inside that ring, you get triple the corresponding number.

The area of the bullseye is the dead center of the board. It has two sections, green and red. A dart that lands in the green will deliver you 25 points, whereas the red bullseye zone will give you 50 points. That means that from outside to inside, the layout of the dartboard goes like this…double, single, triple, single, green and then red bullseye.

Simple, right? Well, whereas that piece of dart equipment is relatively easy to understand, the dart itself comes with a lot more variations. This will mean that once you get serious, you will want to take your time finding the dart that works best for you. In order to help you out a bit more, we have broken down the parts of the dart. This should help you get a better idea of what you are looking at.

Dart Types

There is a wide range of darts: wooden darts, silver/nickel darts, metal darts, and tungsten darts. The most well-known dart for professional dart players is the tungsten dart. The thickness of tungsten withstands wear and enables barrels (we will talk about this part later) to be slimmer.

Slimmer barrels allow for tighter patterning. Tungsten also allows for the weight of the dart to remain heavy and decreases the rate of bounce outs (this is when the dart doesn’t stick to the board). When purchasing tungsten darts, try to focus on the level of tungsten in the dart barrels.

It is essential to the nature of the dart. The higher the tungsten rate, the better the dart, and the more it will cost, as well. Metal and blended darts are crafted of gentler, more affordable metals. Contrasted with tungsten models, the etching on these darts can wear out rapidly from your skin oils and contact with different darts. Regardless of these disadvantages, metal and nickel darts are a decent financial alternative.

Weights

Evaluating the entirety of the various choices that you have available is crucial to your success. Darts can be purchased in weights from 12 grams to 50 grams. It is uncommon to see somebody tossing darts heavier than 30 grams, yet most dart associations permit darts to weigh as much as 50 grams.

Once you have found a store nearby that sells darts, head over and toss a dart style in each weight class. The speed with which you toss the dart will help you figure out which weight to pick. The lighter the dart, the harder/quicker you need to throw it.

The area of the weight on the dart barrel is likewise significant. A few darts are heavier towards the front of the dart (front-stacked), and others are back-weighted. Try them all so that you can find the dart weight that best suits your needs.

Barrel Grips

There are also diverse barrel grip styles that are accessible in whatever weight you have picked. Some dart barrels have substantial knurling (this is the etching on the barrel of the dart), and others are smooth. Commonly, the heavier the knurling, the simpler it is to grasp the dart.

Very extensive knurling, be that as it may, can make darts adhere to your fingers and affect your precision. For the commonplace dart player, there is more than one dart barrel that will work. Simply make a point to pick the one that feels the best.

Flights

There is a wide range of flight styles, as well. The different dimensions and designs of these flights often affect your game. Dimpled surfaces, for instance, will help decrease the speed and balance out your darts. Evaluate all dart flight sizes and styles until you feel great about your throw and the results it produces. The two most prominent sizes are slim and standard.

Shafts

Dart shafts are made using many different materials. Here is a quick look at each…

Plastic or Nylon

These darts are budget-friendly and accessible in numerous hues. However, they break quite quickly and on a regular basis. These models will function admirably for most players until you start tossing tight gatherings consistently and breaking a lot of shafts. They are typically made of polycarbonate or nylon.

Aluminum

Aluminum is more unbending and sturdier than the previous two shaft materials that we have looked at. These shafts are accessible in numerous vivid hues, as well. Some have ornamental engraved stripes, fluted patterns, or spirals. They will tend to loosely vibrate, particularly on darts that are heavier. Luckily, this can be counteracted by putting elastic O-rings between the shaft and barrel of the darts. These shafts will typically twist as opposed to breaking when hit.

Carbon-Fiber

Carbon-fiber shafts are commonly lightweight and sturdy while being somewhat more costly than plastic or nylon shafts. Great carbon dart shafts have the solidity of an aluminum shaft without the potential for relaxing in the barrel or twisting. This helps them retain their precision even after some time.

Spinning

An assortment of shaft styles is accessible that enables the flight of the dart to veer off the dart's flight path when hit by another dart. Turning shafts don't improve the flight of the dart through the air. However, they permit tighter masses by giving the flights a chance to line up with one another. These types of shafts will decrease the risk of tearing flights or hitting another dart square in the back of the shaft (otherwise known as robin-hooded). It will also decrease potential deflections.

Composite

Composite shafts have plastic bases that screw into the dart. The bases are joined with an aluminum or metal blend that holds the flight tight. These are superb shafts, very solid, and won't vibrate from the barrel as aluminum shafts do. For these easily found options, you also have access to replaceable tops, which make them more budget-friendly and highly advantageous.

Tips

There are two main styles of tips. The steel tip and the soft tip. Steel tips are constructed with metal tips and are great when using a harder board, like a bristle model. The soft tip has tips that are more flexible. These are usually crafted from plastic and are perfect for the plastic of an electronic board.

You are now more comfortable with the tools. However, before we can play some games, you may want to work on your hold and aim. Here is a quick look at the fundamentals.

How to Hold and Aim a Dart

Tossing darts effectively requires a decent position and grasp on the dart, followed by a smooth, reliable toss. You should work on tossing darts routinely and play a few friendly games with different players to improve your strategy.

Here are some tips on developing a good stance and throw that should help you up your game…

Stance

First, you will want to stand at the oche or the throwing line. Your feet should be spread and sitting firmly under your hips. Your feet can not cross that line at any time while throwing. You will want to position yourself with your body facing the side of the room with your dominant foot forward. It should, as we started, be right against the oche line and facing the board itself.

In fact, using your foot as a guideline to the board is perfect. Make sure it is directly in line with the center of the board. Your shoulders should also be in line with your hips. Make sure to stand up straight. There are some that lean a bit forward when throwing. This is perfectly acceptable, as long as your foot does not cross that line.

Grip

In order to have a good grip, you will want to hold the barrel of the dart with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger. Make sure that you grip the middle of the barrel. Try not to curl your other fingers as you do this. It is vital that you try to keep a loose but firm grip.

Then, raise your arm and have the dart at eye level. This should mean that your elbow is bent at a 90-degree angle. Try not to move your shoulder, just your arm from the elbow up. You will want to move the dart just off-center from your eye so you can use it to aim correctly.

Lastly, before you throw your dart, tilt the tip toward the ceiling slightly. Then, aim the dart to where you are intending to hit using your dominant eye (this is usually correspondent with the hand you use to write).

Throwing

Shift your weight to your front foot and pull your hand back a little at the elbow. Then, you will want to release, using your wrist, hand, and elbow to help propel the dart. Upon release, make sure to snap your wrist forward. Follow through with your elbow and arm, trying to keep your shoulder in place. Your fingers should end up directly aimed at the board about eye level or just a little below.

Now, you are armed with all the information you need, and all that is left is some good, solid practice. In order to do that, you may want to try some of the wide range of games that have been created for this sport.

Dart Games & Their Rules

When you are first starting out, you may think that there can’t possibly be anything more than a couple of ways you can use those darts and board. However, you would be seriously mistaken, as there are numerous games you can play with darts. Below, we will look at several. This list of games can help you improve your game and add a little extra fun to your next get together.

Here are some of the most popular games with darts out there…

1. #01 Dart Games

Standard, well-known darts games are called the #01 games. In these games, the dart throwers are allotted scores (301,501,701) before the game begins. You are victorious when you decrease those points to zero. Various board sections will pull in various scores.

The inner bullseye is worth 50, while the external bullseye grants you 25. The goal is to hit your points with as few throws as possible. This means that you could try to hit any zone of the board that gives you a double or triple point allocation.

2. Around the Clock

Players are required to hit each of the numbers in sequential order around the board, as if treating the board like a clock. The players are required to change turns every three tosses. Every player in this game is distributed three darts, and the game is played with two individuals.

You start by hitting the number 1 and working your way up to 20. In the event that a double is struck, you will then avoid the following number. On the off chance that a triple 1 is hit, the following number required is 4. The first to reach and hit 20 is the winner.

3. 180 Around the Clock

180 Around the Clock is an incredible game for expanding your accuracy in a match. The greatest score you can get in this game is 180, which is why it bears the name it does. The guidelines are basic. You are required to hit each number multiple times. On the off chance that you run a single each time, your complete score would be 60, and if you hit a triple each time, you will get 180. Most seasoned players land somewhere in the range of 120 and 140.

4. Chase the Dragon

Of all of these darts games we are looking at, Chase the Dragon is maybe one of the most fun and popular. This game's goal is to hit the numbers from 10 to 20, as well as the external and internal bull’s eye. The numbers that were chosen must be hit in sequential order.

A comparative triple rule that is used in the standard #01 games is used here. In the event that you run the entirety of the 12 zones before your adversaries do, you win the game.

5. American Cricket

The American type of cricket is one of the most well-known darts games and just expects players to strike some selected numbers on the board. You will need to have at least two players, or you can go with multiple players divided into two groups. A round is done when a player scores three of the selected numbers.

The victor is the individual or group that first complete each round and has the majority of points. If a player ends the round first and is tied with their rival, that player is deemed the winner of that round. However, in the event that he has fewer points than the other player, the round goes to the other player.

6. English Cricket

This game is very different from the American cricket game we just talked about. It includes a player and a bowler. The player should get rid of the ten wickets (or stripes) on the dartboard with 11 wickets. The thrower in each turn must try to get as many points as they possibly can. The victor is determined by how many points each player accumulates during their turn.

7. Hare and Hounds

Similarly, as its name suggests, this game includes the hare, or the player that starts the game, and the hound, the other player. The players need to play in a clockwise direction, striking each number on their turn. The hare begins at twenty and the hound begins at five.

The player who is the hare is to make their way back to 20. If they do this before the hound reaches their goal, then they are the winner. The hound's goal is to make up for lost time with the hare and reach 20 before the hare. Once he does this, he is the victor.

8. Halve It

This game can be played by a minimum of two players. The players initially select numbers to hit and afterward create a table to record those for every player. This chart also includes a slot to record the score of every player against the numbers picked. The goal of the game is for the players to hit the number, starting with the primary number in the order in which they were selected.

In the event that a player achieves this goal, the score is recorded under their name. If they miss any of the next numbers, the points previously allocated to them are halved. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

9. Grand National

This game comes in both beginner and experienced player versions. In the first version, the players need to move counterclockwise starting from 20 to 5 to 12 et cetera. Experienced dart throwers' version additionally requires the player to start in a counterclockwise pattern. They start with the biggest 5 and continue hitting the other larger number zones that show up in the rotation in order until 20.

10. Killer

This is another very well-known and popular game. It can be played with up to 5 players. The players are given numbers randomly that are in the range of 1 to 20 that they pick without looking. Every player's number is recorded, and their goal is to hit this number double a total of three times.

When this occurs, then get deemed a killer. After this, the player's next goal is to hit their adversaries' double, to take their opponent's life. Every player is given three-plus lives (up to 5). When a player loses all their lives they are out of the game; the player with any lives left once all have been eliminated is the winner.

11. Blind Killer

This dart game is like the previous game with a little twist. The players are required to pick numbers from 1 to 20. However, this time, they keep these numbers secret. The players at that point hit any number’s double that they choose. When a number’s double is struck, it is recorded against the number, and the player that picked the number is removed from the game. You win by being the last player standing.

12. Knockout

To start with, the players toss a single dart at the board. The order of throwing is then determined by the closeness of the dart to the center. The main player must hit the largest number possible, and this is then recorded next to their name.

The following player’s goal is then to hit a higher score than the first player. If not, their name is circled on the score sheet. In the event that you have three circles against your name, you are then out of the game. This continues until one player is left and they are deemed the winner.

13. Loop

At least two players can play this game, and every player is given three darts. First, they each throw a single dart to determine the order of throwing. The one who is closest to the bullseye is the first to go. The order goes down the line from there.

Then, the players are allocated 3-5 lives with their names recorded on a score sheet. The players throw their darts to hit any piece of the board. Once they have done this, they must hit the same spot on every consecutive turn, or they will be out of the game.

14. Mickey Mouse

This dart game is almost identical to American cricket, but with a few minor changes. Obviously, your goal is still to eliminate the numbers, but this time you have to strike them three times before this happens. The numbers being referred to are 20 through 12 and any doubles, triples, and bullseyes. You will use x’s to note when a number has been hit.

15. Nine Lives

Any number of players can play this game. The goal is to be the player that hits each number from 1 to 20 nonstop in succession. The players start with three lives and three darts, and if a player misses with each of the three darts, they lose one of their lives. A player that has lost all of their lives is eliminated from the game until one player is left standing.

16. Tic-Tac-Toe

This darts match-up includes two players or groups. A tic-tac-toe board is drawn, comprising nine spaces. The bull’s eye is drawn in the middle, and different numbers are jotted down in the rest of the openings. The score for each player will be recorded for every square they hit.

Much the same as with the game's inspiration, the player's goal is to prevent each other from hitting three of a kind. The player that wins, just like in the traditional game, is the one that can hit three squares in a row.

17. Prisoner

The favored number of players for this game is five, but it may be played by two individuals or groups. The point here is to hit a solitary dart in each spot from 1 to 20 clockwise. The order of throwing is dictated by the closeness of the bullseye of the initial toss. The winner is the player with the most points.

18. Shanghai

Two or more players can play Shanghai. The order of tossing in this dart game is first decided per the usual rules. Then, the players target hitting a single, a double, and a triple. Any player that accomplishes this goal first wins. This objective can be done in any amount of time, but the players must begin from number 1 and just go in order from there.

19. 51 by 5's

The numbers used as goals in this game must be divisible by 5, to be specific 5, 10, 15, and 20. Players' scores must also be able to be divided by five, or no points will be given. The player that hits 51 fives will be crowned the winner of the game.

20. Tennis

This darts game, as you would guess, is a lot like playing tennis. The point is to win the best of six games. A tiebreaker game is played if a 3-3 score is accomplished. The server is the first to throw. You win an ace on the off chance that a player hits the bullseye with their first throw.

21. Mulligan

The objective of this game is to cover six numbers that are random and then hit the bullseye before anyone else can. The order of turns is first decided, and then players' numbers are noted across the tops of the board in order of turn. A number is covered once it is hit multiple times. The players pay attention to a given number until it is no longer in play before going for another number.

Final Thoughts

Darts is perfect if you are looking for a new game to add to your get-together. If you are seriously looking to make this a pastime, knowing and understanding the game of darts is the first step. We have laid out a comprehensive guide that we hope sets your dart on a straight path right to greatness. Good luck!

© 2019 Ben Martin

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