If you’re anything like me, you know that the game of darts is more than just a hobby. It’s a chance to destroy your friends and win drinks at the bar.
It’s super fun to hone your skills, smash a bullseye, and discovering new games to crush your opponents at. The more you play, the more fun it gets as you progress with your skills and accuracy.
There’s a whole world of dart games out there, just waiting to be explored. From classic favorites to unique variations and regional specialties, these games offer endless hours of excitement and challenge for players of all skill levels – beginners to experts. Each with their own benefits and skillsets.
In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey around the world of darts (no pun intended), revealing the best dart games with their rules as well as the best strategies for each dart game.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the oche, get ready to sharpen your skills and discover new ways to enjoy this timeless sport.
Types of Dart Games
When it comes to dart games, there’s something for everyone.
From classic games like Cricket and 301 to unique variations and regional specialties like Grand National and Slider Darts, the options are virtually endless. No matter your skill level or preferred style of play, there’s a game out there that’s perfect for you.
Let’s dive in and explore some of the best dart games you can try today.
Classic Dart Games
Some of the most well-known and beloved dart games include: Cricket, 301, and 501.
These classic games are typically played on a standard dartboard and have been enjoyed by players for generations.
In Cricket, the goal is to hit a specific target score by throwing three darts per turn. The player who reaches the pre-set high score first wins the game.
301 and 501 are all about working your way down from a starting total to zero, with a double-out at the end to secure victory. These games require players to focus on hitting specific numbers, doubles, and triples to maximize their scores and outplay their opponents.
Another classic game you might find interesting is Grand National, a more challenging version of regular darts. In this game, players aim to travel around the board counterclockwise twice, hitting each large segment number alternatively, and then the small segments of each alternative number, followed by the Bull/25.
The winner is the first to make it around the board twice or the one who has gone the farthest. With 18 darts being the minimum to complete the feat, it’s a thrilling test of skill and accuracy.
Unique Dart Games
For those looking to spice things up, there are plenty of unique dart games that offer a fresh twist on the traditional experience.
One such game is Prisoner, which challenges players to hit specific targets while avoiding others. In this game, players take turns throwing three darts, attempting to hit a designated number while avoiding “prison” numbers. The player with the highest score at the end of the game emerges victorious.
Another exciting option is Slider Darts, a thrilling variation of Around the Clock that adds an extra layer of challenge. In Slider Darts, players throw three darts per turn, trying to hit each number from 10 to 20 in order. If they fail to hit their target number with all three darts, they “slide” back one number, making it crucial to stay focused and consistent. With a mix of strategy and skill, these unique games offer a refreshing change of pace from the classics.
Regional Dartboard Games
Dart players worldwide have come up with their own regional favorites, showcasing the game’s versatility and global interest.
Some popular regional dartboard games include Manchester Dartboard, Yorkshire Dartboard, Ipswich, and London Fives. Each of these games features specific rules and strategies that reflect their local origins, and adding their own spin on things.
When I was traveling in Vietnam, I found out that they even play Classic games like 301 with their own twists such as having to finish with a triple to win.
Whether you’re looking to expand your game collection or simply try something new, exploring regional dartboard games is a great way to enrich your darts experience and improve your skills in different areas.
Dartboard Setup and Equipment
Before diving into the world of dart games, it’s essential to ensure that your dartboard is properly set up, and you have the right equipment. This includes hanging the dartboard at the correct height and distance, as well as selecting the right type of darts to use.
Let’s take a closer look at the essential guidelines for dartboard setup and the different types of darts available.
Dartboard Hanging Guidelines
When hanging your dartboard, it’s crucial to adhere to the standard measurements to ensure a fair and enjoyable game. The regulation height for a dartboard is 5 feet 8 inches from the floor to the center of the bull’s eye. The distance from the front of the dartboard to the throwing line, also known as the oche, should be 7 feet 9 1/4 inches for steel tip darts and 8 feet for an electrionic dart board combined with soft tip darts.
A line indicator should be securely raised, like a piece of wood or metal. This will serve as the toe line or oche. This line should be at least 18 inches long, allowing players ample space to position themselves for their throws.
By following these guidelines, you’ll create a fair and consistent playing environment for everyone involved.
Types of Darts
The right type of darts can significantly impact your game, so it’s essential to choose the best darts for your needs. Darts are typically made from materials such as brass, nickel/silver, tungsten, and nickel-tungsten. Brass darts are generally the most affordable option, making them an excellent choice for beginners.
Soft tip darts can weigh up to 18 grams, while steel tip darts should not exceed 50 grams in weight. The length of a dart should not exceed 12 inches (30.5 cm).
By selecting the right set of darts, you’ll ensure a comfortable and enjoyable playing experience, allowing you to focus on perfecting your skills and strategies.
Basic Rules for Darts and Etiquette
Once you’ve set up your dartboard and chosen your darts, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the basic rules for darts and proper etiquette. This includes understanding the order of play, scoring principles, and throwing tips.
By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll ensure a fair and enjoyable game for all participants.
Darts Order of Play
Determining the order of play in dart games can be done in several ways, depending on your personal preference and what country you’re in.
One common method is for players to throw a single dart at the bullseye, with the closest player going first and selecting the type of game.
Other options for deciding player order include randomly choosing, going in alphabetical order, or using a method called splashing, where players throw darts at the board simultaneously, and the order is determined by the resulting positions of the darts.
There’s really no science to it but the most common way is closest to the bullseye.
In games like Cricket, 301, and 501, players take turns throwing three darts in succession. The order of play is maintained throughout the game, with each player aiming to fulfill the specific objectives of the chosen game.
Darts Scoring Principles
Scoring in darts involves hitting specific numbers, doubles, and triples to accumulate points and outplay your opponents.
The numbers on the board represent the points awarded for hitting the corresponding single, double, or triple segment. The outer narrow ring represents the double segment, while the inner narrow ring represents the triple segment. The bullseye is divided into two sections, with the outer bullseye worth 25 points and the inner bullseye worth 50 points.
In most dart games, players subtract their scores from a starting total, aiming to reach zero points. However, some games, like Cricket, involve scoring points based on hitting specific targets.
Understanding the scoring principles of the game you’re playing is crucial to developing effective strategies and ultimately achieving victory.
Dart Throwing Tips
Improving your dart throwing skills involves mastering several key techniques.
Start by ensuring your shoulders and hips are aligned, and use at least three fingers to hold the dart. It’s best to stand at an angle to the dartboard, with your non-throwing foot forward. Hold the dart barrel using a “pencil” grip, and aim directly at your target.
Another essential aspect of throwing darts is staying focused and consistent. Aim for high-scoring numbers like 19 and 20 and practice hitting the doubles and triples on the board. As you develop your skills, you’ll find it easier to hit your targets and outperform your opponents, leading to more enjoyable and competitive games.
Popular Dart Games: Rules and Strategies
Now that we’ve covered the basics of darts, let’s explore some popular dart games, their rules, and strategies.
From classic games like Cricket and 301/501 to the exciting Around the World, these games offer endless hours of excitement and challenge for players of all skill levels.
Mastering these popular games is a great way to sharpen your skills and impress your friends at the office (or sports bar).
Cricket is a popular dart game that involves hitting specific numbers on the board and accumulating points. The aim of Cricket is to “own” or “close” certain numbers on the board (20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, and both the inner and outer bull) and get the highest score possible. To close a number, a player must hit it three times, with doubles and triples counting as two or three hits, respectively.
Once a player owns a number, they can score points on that number by hitting it again until the opposing player or team has closed it. The winner is the player or team that has closed all the numbers and has the highest score.
Cricket is an excellent game for developing accuracy and strategy, as players must focus on hitting specific targets while preventing their opponents from scoring points.
2. 301 and 501
301 and 501 are hugely popular dart games for competitive players. They attract a lot of attention due to their challenging skill level. These games focus on reaching a total score of ‘0’. The strategy is to subtract the three-dart score from your existing points. In 301, players start with 301 points, while in 501, they start with 501 points. The inner bull’s eye is worth 50 points, and hitting any number on the board will begin the game.
The key to success in 301 and 501 is developing effective “out” strategies, which involve hitting certain combinations of numbers to subtract points from your total. Aiming for 20 and 19 is a good start, as these numbers offer the most points. With practice and a keen understanding of the game’s rules, players can develop their skills and enjoy a thrilling competition in 301 and 501.
More advanced players also move the score up to 701 or 901.
3. Around the World
Around the World is a fun and engaging dart game that requires players to hit every number on the board from 1-20 in order.
This game is perfect for players of all skill levels, as it allows for a mix of strategy and skill. To win Around the World, players must focus on hitting each number in sequence, avoiding the temptation to aim for high-scoring targets.
Nine Lives Darts is a another variation of Around the World. In this game, players must hit numbers 1 to 20 with three darts each turn. Every player has nine lives. If they miss their target number with all three darts, they lose one of those lives. The game is won by the first person to reach 20 points or by the last player standing. Whichever comes first decides the winner.
Around the World and its variations offer an exciting challenge and a fantastic way to practice accuracy and consistency.
Lesser-Known Dart Games: Rules and Strategies
In addition to the popular games we’ve already discussed, there’s a wealth of lesser-known dart games that offer unique challenges and opportunities for players to develop their skills. Games like Halve-It, Killer, and Shanghai each come with their own set of rules and strategies, providing players with a fresh and exciting experience at the oche.
Let’s get into these lesser-known games and see what they have to offer.
Halve-It is a dart game that challenges players to hit specific numbers in consecutive order. The game consists of several rounds, with each round focusing on a different target number. Players take turns throwing three darts at the board, aiming to hit the target number for that round. If a player fails to hit the target number, their score is halved.
The key to success in Halve-It lies in accuracy and consistency, as players must hit a series of specific targets to maintain or increase their scores. This game is an excellent way to practice hitting precise targets on the dartboard, and its unique scoring system adds an extra layer of strategy and excitement to each round.
Killer is a thrilling dart game that requires hitting doubles only and involves at least three players. Each player is assigned a number, and they must hit the double ring of that number three times to become a “killer.” Once a player becomes a killer, they can then attempt to “kill” other players by hitting their assigned doubles. However, if a killer hits their own double, they lose a life.
Each player starts with three lives, and the objective is to be the last player standing with at least one life remaining. Killer is an excellent game for practicing doubles and offers a unique twist on traditional dart games, as players must focus on both offense and defense to outwit their opponents.
Shanghai is a dart game named after the term “Shanghai,” which refers to hitting a single, double, and triple of the same number in a single turn. In this game, players take turns throwing three darts at the board, aiming to hit a single, triple, and double of their chosen number. The player who achieves this feat first is the winner.
This game is an excellent way to practice hitting specific targets on the dartboard, as well as mastering the art of hitting singles, doubles, and triples. With its unique scoring system and challenging objective, Shanghai offers an exciting and engaging experience for players looking for something different.
Team and Multiplayer Dart Games
For those who enjoy the camaraderie and competition of team and multiplayer games, there are plenty of options to explore in the world of darts. Games like Doubles and Triples, Large Group Games, and Mixed Skill Level Games offer a variety of challenges and excitement for players of all skill levels.
Let’s take a closer look at these team and multiplayer dart games and their rules and strategies.
7. Doubles and Triples
Doubles and Triples is a team-based dart game that involves two or three players per team. In this game, players take turns throwing three darts each, with the objective being to accumulate the highest score possible. The team with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
To succeed in Doubles and Triples, players must focus on hitting the high-scoring numbers on the board, such as 19 and 20, as well as the doubles and triples. This game is an excellent way to practice teamwork and communication, as players must work together to outscore their opponents and secure victory.
Large Group Dart Games
Large group dart games are perfect for gatherings or parties where multiple players want to participate in a dart game. Some popular large group games include Knockout, Big-Little, and Halve-It. In these games, players take turns throwing darts at the board, aiming to hit specific numbers or achieve certain objectives. The player or team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
These games offer plenty of excitement and challenge, as players must focus on hitting their targets while also keeping an eye on their opponents’ scores. Large Group Games are an excellent way to bring people together and create a fun, competitive atmosphere.
Mixed Skill Level Games
Mixed Skill Level Games are perfect for players of varying skill levels who want to compete against one another. Games like Killer, Baseball, and different versions of 01 and Cricket can be easily adapted to accommodate players with different skill levels, ensuring a fair and enjoyable competition for everyone involved.
In these games, players can choose to aim for easier or more difficult targets, depending on their skill level. This flexibility allows players of all abilities to participate and enjoy the thrill of competition while still honing their skills and improving their game.
Practice and Solo Dart Games
For those looking to practice their skills or enjoy a solo challenge, there are several excellent dart games to choose from. Games like 180 Around the clock, Loopy, and Castle Darts can be played alone or with others, offering a variety of challenges and opportunities to develop your skills.
Let’s take a closer look at these practice and solo dart games and their rules and strategies.
8. 180 Around the Clock
180 Around the Clock is a fantastic practice game that challenges players to score 180 points in as few darts as possible. This game can be played alone or with others and is perfect for honing accuracy and consistency. To win 180 Around the clock, players must focus on hitting the highest numbers on the board, such as 20 and 19, as well as the doubles and triples.
With its simple yet challenging objective, 180 Around the clock is an excellent way to improve your dart skills and track your progress over time. By setting point targets and adjusting your aim accordingly, you’ll find it easier to hit your goals and become a more skilled and accurate player.
Loopy is a unique and entertaining dart game that can be played with two or more players. In this game, players start with either three or five lives and use their non-dominant hand to throw a dart at a number on the board. The game is called Loopy because the 8 and 18 have two valid loops, and which one you hit matters. The winner is the last player left with at least one life remaining.
This game is an excellent way to practice throwing darts with your non-dominant hand and offers a fun and challenging experience for players of all skill levels. By focusing on accuracy and consistency, you’ll improve your skills and enjoy a thrilling competition with friends or alone.
10. Castle Darts
Castle Darts is a fun and engaging game where players build a castle made of 15 bricks by hitting their target number on the dartboard. The game can be played with any number of players or teams, and each player takes a turn throwing three darts and trying to hit the numbers called out by the next player. The first player to build all 15 blocks of their castle wins the game.
With its unique scoring system and engaging objective, Castle Darts offers a refreshing change of pace from traditional dart games and provides hours of entertainment and skill development. It is an excellent way to practice hitting specific numbers on the dartboard and can be played alone or with others.
There’s a myriad of options for you to choose from.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend starting off with some of the simpler games and every now and then, mixing it up.
What you’ll find is that each dart game requires different skillsets – when going for the highest point score, you’ll be training triple ring 20s. Another dart game may be more focused on accurately hitting a specific number. Some dart games are way more fun with more players.
My personal favorites are Around The World because you play it single or with friends, it’s great for learning new skills, and it doesn’t take too long to finish a game unless you’re awful.
We hope this comprehensive guide has inspired you to try out some new dart games and expand your repertoire. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the sport, remember that practice makes perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. So grab your darts, step up to the oche, and embark on your journey around the world of darts. Happy throwing!
Dart Games Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions we get about playing darts.
How to Play Darts?
Playing darts is as easy as throwing three darts, trying to get down to zero points and adding up the points scored in the process. Players take turns until one person reaches zero first, then they can add up their final points and subtract them from their current score.
So let’s get playing!
How to Score Darts?
Playing darts is easy to learn and lots of fun. To score points, aim for the numbers on the board – the higher number gives you more points. Double your points by hitting the outer ring area, or triple them with a hit in the thin inner ring.
You can also score 50 points by hitting the bullseye or 25 for the outer ring of the bullseye.
How to Play Darts Cricket?
Playing darts cricket is a fun and challenging game. Players take turns throwing three darts at the board, aiming to score on open numbers while their opponent tries to close them out. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
So aim for the 15-20 and bullseye as quickly as possible and try to be the first one to close out all the numbers!
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