Let’s be honest; there aren’t many sports out there that can be enjoyed equally by everyone from a beginner to an expert. Darts are an evergreen game that can be played alone, in a bar with friends, or even while chilling in your man cave, sipping on a drink. How versatile! In fact, if you have a dartboard in your guy cave, the chances are that you’re looking at improving your technique and throwing style.
Many people think that darts are pretty one-dimensional and there isn’t much variety when it comes to the games you can play with a dartboard. This couldn’t be further away from the truth. In reality, there is much to be done with the good-old dartboard and everyone – whether an expert or a novice – is sure to find at least one dart game that appeals to their sensibilities and expertise.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of plastic boards or the more traditional steel-tip darts, there are a vast variety of games that’ll keep your dart throwing sessions enjoyable and exciting. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most most fun, yet easy dart games for your next darts session.
7 Popular & Dart Games you Must Try
Among one of the most popular bar dart games in America, Cricket is quite an enjoyable and unique game. The best part about this game is that you have to think of your next move consciously. While skill surely is important in any dart game, Cricket is slightly different because even a novice might beat the most skilled player with the right strategy and planning. The best point about this game is that the rules are fairly simple, so even the freshest of rookies can get onboard.
This dart game is usually enjoyed by groups of two, three or four players. That doesn’t mean that larger groups can’t enjoy a game of darts Cricket. The rules don’t discount larger teams.
How to Play Cricket
With Cricket, the aim is to be the first player who opens or closes all cricket numbers. You have to have a point total that’s higher or at least even. In this game, the numbers from fifteen to twenty and the bulls-eye are utilized as a part of the point structure. Cricket aims to get you to “close” all your numbers out.
To start with, you’ll have to create a scoreboard. In this scoreboard, you must write numbers between twenty to fifteen in the descending order. Additionally, you must include a spot for the bullseye. Once this is done, each player gets a turn, and the goal is to aim at these numbers specifically.
As always, you need to have made more points than your opponent. However, unlike other games, the scoring system is unique in this game. To stay ahead, you need to close out a given number faster than your rivals can. To ‘close’ the numbers, you have to make sure to hit it a total of three times. In this game of darts, the outer ring accounts for double score and the inner ring brings in a triple score. If you hit a number once, the most sensible thing to do is to draw a line next to it on the scoreboard. The second time its hit, make an ‘X’ symbol. Finally, when its hit for the third time, draw a circle around the ‘X.’ to officially close that number.
As we said before, to win at darts Cricket, you’ll have to have a higher score than your opponent. For example, if you hit 15 three times, the number you get after closing would be 45. (15×3=45). So, you have 45 points. If your opponents hit 15 three times after you closed it off, they’ll only get the credit for closing the number. Additionally, once you close the number, each time its hit you’ll score points, even if your opponent is still trying to close it.
Order of Play
Each team gets a chance to throw three darts. After each player throws thrice, the score of any hits is tallied up for that round on the scoreboard. Then the darts are collected from the dartboard. If you scored points on a number or a bulls-eye, it is essential to keep an eye on the running point score.
Additionally, if you are playing in teams of more than one, you will have to take turns every time it’s your turn to throw. This will continue until all the numbers between 15 to 20 as well as the bull eye are closed out. Once both teams have closed out the board, the winner will be the team that has the most points.
Alternatively, if you’re not too jazzed about keeping score, you can play without points. In such a scenario, the team that manages to close out all the numbers and the bullseye will be christened the winner. Playing without keeping score also makes it simpler to strategize and play quicker.
The Cricket is best playable on an Electronic Dart Board, here are our picks.
2. The ’01 Games
The ’01 games are another set of popular games among fans of dart games. These are commonly played across bars in the country, and with more than one version of this game, there is something for everyone. The three key variants of this game are301, 501 and 701, depending on how long the players wish to continue with the game. These ’01 numbers are the score that players begin with, and later the aim is to reach zero points eventually.
These dart games are usually enjoyed by groups of two players or two teams. This doesn’t mean that larger groups can’t enjoy a game of ’01 darts. However, the most fun games are when two groups or individuals are playing as the rules mostly account for this.
How to Play the ’01 Games
Among the most common of these games are 301 and 501. You must have already seen 501 being played at the local bar. At the start of the game, the players are given a particular score – 301, 501, 0r even 701. The longer you want to play, the bigger the score will be. In any case, the final goal is to reach 0 points. As each player throws, the accumulated points are subtracted from the start score.
Although the game seems easy at the beginning, things tend to get heated towards the end. In order to win this game, you must reach 0 by hitting on a double score — additionally, your score cant dip below 0. So, if you must get 12 points, only a double six ensure your win. Anything else, and you’re losing. As is the case with most other dart games, the outer ring accounts for double the points, whereas the inner ring accounts for triple points.
At the beginning of the game, the focus should rest on reducing your score. Sure, you may want to aim for a higher score with a triple number. However, in the off chance that you miss, the dart may land on a single. So, as a rule of thumb, try to focus on throwing and hitting the bullseye.
Towards the end of the game, a little bit of mathematics will be required. You will have to be aware of how you reduce the final score to zero. Simply focus on leaving eas to combine numbers like 24, 32, 36, 40, 50, and 60!
The Rules of 301 Darts
Number of Players: Any number of players can play this version of the ’01 games, but usually two individuals or teams play.
Rules in Play: All numbers on the board are in play in this scenario. However, some have a higher value than others. For instance, 19 and 20, are used to score points extensively since they’re the biggest number on the dartboard. However, all numbers can be used to throw the needed doubles in this game.
As we’ve said before, this game generally is played between two players or teams and each player will start with 301 points. The goal here is to hit a score of zero exactly. This is achieved by subtracting the amount scored from the starting point score (301). After each turn, the amount scored is subtracted from what was left from the previous round. While this may sound simple enough, it isn’t so. The player can’t start the process of subtracting points they have a double in (successfully hit on one of the 21 doubles or the double bull). Only once they hit a double will the score count.
Similarly, in the end, the payer has to double out. This means that if they have 32 remaining, only a double 16 will help them win. If you hit more points than you have left, it’s a bust. The player’s turn will be over, and they’ll have to start again with the same score as before. In case they hit a double that tallies up and leaves them with zero points, then they will have won.
The Rules of 501 Darts
Number of Players: Any number of players can play this version of the ’01 games, but usually two individuals or teams play.
Rules in Play: All numbers on the board are in play in this scenario. However, some have a higher value than others. For instance, 19 and 20, are used to score points extensively since they’re the biggest number on the dartboard. However, all numbers can be used to throw the needed doubles in this game. The 501 dart game is played as a team event in most cases, although it can be played as a single event.
Unlike the other version we spoke about earlier, there is no need to double-in when it comes to 501 darts. You can start on any of the numbers on the board. Similarly, you’ll see that you’ll also need to subtract the score from the amount you have remaining. Only, to win you’ll have to double-in to reach a zero.
Halve-It or Half-It is widely popular in the United Kingdom and parts of North America. It is a game that’s best for players with at least a little bit of experience. Now, we’re not saying that rookies and newbies can’t give it a try, but they must have excellent aiming skills if they want to win. One of the coolest things about this game is that multiple people can play. However, remember that this game is quite challenging and can be punishing if you don’t know what you’re doing. With that being said, this game is a blessing for newer players interested in building their throwing skills and mental acuity.
These dart games are usually enjoyed by groups of two players or two teams. This doesn’t mean that larger groups can’t enjoy a game of Halve-It. In fact, unlike many dart games that are best enjoyed by twos, Halve-it is fun when multiple people play.
How To Play Halve-It
The first and foremost thing to do when it comes to Halve-It is to prepare a score sheet. To do this, start by making a large grid that has the player initials on the first row. Then, in the first column, you need to write these numbers in the descending order.
20, 16, D7, 14, T10, DB
The “D” and “T” over here are not mistakes; they refer to “double” and “triple” respectively. “DB”, additionally, refers to “double bullseye.” In a game of Halve-It, you need to hit only these numbers.
Moreover, you get three dart throws per round. The goal is to land on the corresponding part of a board in a given round. In the first round, you have to hit 20, and each time you and on this part, 20 points are added to your score.
As logic dictates, the most number of points you can get in the first round is sixty. This continues with the players in the game as they move on to the next round. In case, your target score is missed with all three throws; the score will be halved. This is where the name comes from. As is the case with most games, the player with most points wins.
Tips to Play Halve-It
By now it must be clear that this game requires accuracy when it comes to throwing. So, the first tip to ace this game would be to become an accurate thrower. Also, unlike many other games, mistakes will be costly in this game. Every time that a player misses or messes up, you lose half of the total score accumulated. That’s a huge loss and can cost you the title of winner.
Additionally, this also means that you must have a cool head. The ability to remain calm is crucial especially if you have missed the target on the first two throws. If you must mess up, try to do so within the earlier rounds so that you can recover. However, don’t get agitated if you fall behind. The chances are high that some other player may lose half their score to a mistake, allowing you to catch up.
Any number of players can play a game of Shanghai darts, although typically four player are involved. In fact, the more, the merrier is the case with this game. A higher number of players in Shanghai helps maximize the fun.
How to Play Shanghai
Just like Halve-It, Shanghai to requires a grid scoreboard. However, here seven pre-determined rounds are played in all. In each of these seven rounds, each player’s turn will include three throws. They will have to target a specific number on the board. In the case of Shanghai, the numbers in use are one to seven. The goal of each round is to it the corresponding number. This means that in the first round you aim at hitting one, in the second round you aim at hitting two, and so on.
If you hit the right number, you will get that number of points added into your score. As is the case with most other dart games, the inner ring accounts for twice the number of points while the outer ring accounts for triple points. The winner at the end is the person who has the most number of points at the end of all seven rounds. However, that’s not the only way to win this game.
Apart from the traditional route, you can also win this game by scoring what is called ‘Shanghai’. In this dart game, Shanghai refers to the phenomenon where a player hits a single, a double, and a triple in the same round. Obviously, this is not the easiest of things to do. However, with some dedication and practice, it is possible to win with Shanghai. Hitting a ‘Shanghai’ combination is the only way someone who is lagging can come ahead and win.
The Rules of Shanghai
The main objective of Shanghai is to score more points than the opponents by shooting at one particular number in each round, over the course of twenty rounds. The rounds start at one and end at twenty. As we mentioned before, there is one loophole to gain instant victory at Shanghai if you or your opponent hits a single, a double, as well as a triple in one throw.
When you get started, everyone starts by throwing a two-dart splash. This two-dart splash refers to throwing two darts at the board at the same time. The throwing order goes from the highest score to the lowest score. In case two people end up throwing the same score, they will have to throw once more.
Additionally, there are some variations of Shanghai that will make it tougher for your opponents to win. One such variation is where you up to the skill-level by only considering it ‘Shanghai’ if the last darts end up being double or triple. You could also make one number on the board a ‘must-hit’ for other game variations. This means that if you were playing ‘Must-hit 7’, each player would have to hit a seven on each turn. Failure to do so will automatically lead to the said player losing half of the total point total.
While it may sound challenging to incorporate these variations, remember that they are very useful to curb the heads-up that highly skilled players have at Shanghai. Additionally, for those who wish to polish their throwing skills, games of Shanghai will help you improve your darts skills.
Do check our guide on picking the best dart board for Shanghai.
5. Around the Clock
‘Around the Clock’ dart game is also known by people as ‘Around the World’ and even ‘Once Around The Island’. While this game is an excellent option for those who want to play against each other purely for fun, it is also useful for those who wish to practice and improve their throw seriously. This game is one of the simplest dart games, and since you don’t need to keep score, it works perfectly even for a friendly setting with novices.
Two players or two teams usually enjoy this dart game. However, this doesn’t mean that larger groups can’t enjoy a game of Around the Clock. In fact, unlike many dart games that are best enjoyed by twos, this game is even more fun when multiple people play.
How To Play Around The Clock
In the case of this dart game, the entire dartboard is used. This basically means that you have to hit all the numbers present on the board. Additionally, you also have to hit the bullseye before anyone else can.
The person who is throwing the first time will usually start by aiming for the lowest number on the board. So, they will start with one, two, and so on. For example, if one the first three tries a player hit one, two and three, on the next turn, they will have to hit four, five and six. Simply put, you can’t progress on to another number till you have hit the numbers that come next in that order. In Around the Clock, numbers have to be hit in numerical order.
Each player gets three shots, and they can maximize this by utilizing the double and triple rings on the board. If a player hits a double, you are allowed to skip the next number. If you hit a triple, you can skip the following two numbers. For example, if you land on triple ones in the first round, in the next turn, you will have to hit four. Any throws that land on a number that’s outside the one you are on don’t account for anything.
Rules of Around The Clock
A game of Around the Clock will continue till a player has hit all twenty numbers on the board. After this is done, the final target that needs to be hit for victory is bulls-eye. So, the last three throws must hit the numbers nineteen and twenty, followed by the bullseye in order for it to be considered as a victory.
In the case of beginners, they are advised to win with a more straightforward strategy. For beginners, it makes sense to use the whole bulls-eye are – the central red areas as well as the green area surrounding it, called the ‘outer bull’. This ensures that you’ll have an easier time. If you stick to just the red central area, it will be slightly harder and require a higher skill level.
6. Hare and the Hound
Hare and the Hound is one of the most interesting dartboard games out there. The interesting thing about this game is that if you’re playing with an opponent whose skills are at a different level, things will be very competitive.
Two players or two teams usually enjoy this dart game. For best results, the players should be of the same skill level.
How To Play Hare and the Hound
In the case of Hare and the Hound, the key objective of the game will change based on which role you’ve been given. If you are playing Hares, the objective is to encircle the entire dartboard before the Hounds catch up with you. If you are playing Hounds, the objective is to trap the Hare by catching up and then passing them on the dartboard.
Unlike many other games, Hare and the Hound is an asymmetrical dart game. This means that the players don’t start with equal points. In order to create some tension and make sure that the game has forward-facing momentum, Hare will begin with twenty, and the Hound will begin his or her chase at five, which is one spot to the left.
The players in this game take turns to throw a pre-determined number of darts. Additionally, they can only advance to a different spot on the board if the dart lands on the preceding section when it’s your turn. In any case, both players or teams will move in a clockwise direction along with the dartboard. If the Hare finished a complete lap around the board and lands on twenty again, they win. If the Hound manages to catch the Hare, the Hound will win.
Rules To Play Hare and the Hound
Hare and the Hound is a fairly simple dart game as the winning conditions are purely binary. This means that one of two outcomes must occur for a victory, and there is no conventional scoring system. Unlike more complicated games like Shanghai or Halve-It, this game is far simpler to understand and play even for novices.
In the case of this game, it is necessary that players remember the last number they played. Moreover, as the chase happens in a clockwise direction, rather than following a sequence, the order of numbers flow as they appear on the dartboard.
We’ve already said that the best variation of this game is when the skill levels of the players match. However, for games with players of different skill levels, some variations can help. Some useful variations include giving less experienced players three throws and giving the experienced player just one chance. Additionally, if the newbie plays as the Hare, the highly-experienced Hound may start even further away from five.
If more than two players are playing one game of Hare and the Hound, a great modification would include having multiple Hares and just one Hound. This way, if one Hare is eliminated, the others can continue playing.
The game can also be played with more than two players. You can set it up, so one player is the hound, and all others are the hare. If a hare is caught, they are eliminated, but the game continues for the other players.
Killer is one of the most unique and fun-filled dart games out there. This game requires a certain amount of skill and unlike regular games, it can be quite time-consuming as well.
This dart game is best played with three players. Although more players help in making the game more challenging and competitive, three players are best for this game. Additionally, this is one of the few dart games that work well with an odd number of players.
How to Play Killer
The purpose of Killer is to be the last player with remaining lives. To begin this game, you must write down all participant names on the left side of the scoreboard in random order. Then each participant will get a chance to throw at the board. The one who lands closest to the bullseye will start. You will then have to place three marks next to each player’s name to denote how many lives they have.
The game starts with the players throwing a dart with their weaker hand to determine their unique killer number for the rest of the game. This number is written down next to their name and tally marks to avoid confusion. If a player hits the bullseye during this part, he will have to throw again until they successfully hit a number. Moreover, remember that two players may not have the same base number.
Once this is over, you have to start throwing darts to gain the title of the killer. To do so, you have to hit your base number twice. After hitting the pre-chosen number twice, the letter ‘K’ will be written next to the player’s name to denote that they’ve qualified as a killer. If you hit a number that’s the natural double (6, if your base number is 3), you are instantly labelled a killer. Obviously, if someone else has already gotten that number, this isn’t valid.
Rules of Killer
If a player in the game loses a life, one of their three tally marks will be crossed off. Once a player gets denoted as a killer, their objective is to try and kill the remaining players by hitting doubles on their base numbers. If you accidentally land on your own number, you lose a life.
Additionally, it is permitted to change up what others are aiming at if there are gaps in the player class. Moreover, the end goal of this game is to remain the last one standing with lives, whist having killed the others.