7 Variations on Darts that Will Elevate Your Game
Darts has been a popular pastime for bar and restaurant goers for over a hundred years. While the most common way to play is to go backwards from 301, 501, or 701, there are many variants on darts that help sharpen your skills and stretch you as a player. We wanted to highlight some of these game variations that can liven up your games this summer and beyond.
Around the World/Round the Clock
Some of these variations are based on hitting a very specific score on the dartboard, which can be tricky. This variation has many names but is often referred to as Round the Clock or Around the World. As both of the names suggest, the objective in this game is to make a shot in each number from 1-20. If you don’t make the shot, you can’t continue forward until you do.
The first person to complete them all is the winner. Some games finish with an inner and outer bullseye. This can be a great warmup or way to practice for league games as you will improve your ability to hit very specific targets during games that are competitive.
Belgian Darts is a form of darts that is picking up in popularity through the United States, but requires its own unique and stripped down dartboard. The bull is 50 points, then 25, 20, 15, 10, and 5 points from inner to outer rings.
Players throw four darts each turn. Instead of counting down from a number, there are five turns and the highest score wins. While this can be hard to find because of the different dartboard required, if you do see events or opportunities, you now know how to play this interesting twist on the classic game.
Cricket may be one of the most popular variations of darts, one you’ve probably heard or played before. It’s another variation where to win you must hit certain targets. The only numbers in play are 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, outer bull, and inner bull. You must hit each number a total of three times to “close” it. Cricket games can give you room to practice on the inner and outer rings of the number: they count as hitting the desired number two or three times respectively. To make this game more difficult you can include the rule that after you close a number you can score in that number while your opponent will be unable to until they also close it out.
Dartball is what it sounds like: it combines throwing darts with the rules of baseball. There are two versions of this game – dartball requires a special dartboard, but the version just called ‘baseball’ can be played on a standard dartboard. Each round is called an inning and the inner ring counts as three runs and the outer ring counts as two runs. The number of innings determines which number to target: the first inning is 1’s, second inning is 2’s, and so on. You don’t get any points for hitting a number that’s not the target of the inning. Whoever had the most points after the end of the ninth inning wins.
This one is more tricky than other variations we’ve covered that are similar because you only get three chances to make that particular shot. This can be fun to bring out after going to a baseball game or by having some baseball themed snacks to go along with it.
The game ‘Halve It’ is a bit more complex on how it’s scored but it adds to the suspense and competitive nature, but this may be a better choice for more advanced dart players. The objective is to make specific targets in each subsequent round: 20, 16, Double 7, 14, Triple 10, 17, Double Bull. In some games these shots may be similar to those in Cricket, but they often include double and triple numbers. If you miss that particular shot with all three of your darts, your score is halved. The player with the most points at the end wins.
This dart game variation works best with a lot of people, at least five people and up to twenty players which makes it fun for parties and crowds. Each player throws a dart with their non-dominant hand until they hit a number (or you can choose randomly, but this is a more fun way to choose). Once you have your number, you’ve given either 3 or 5 lives.
The player must hit the double of their chosen number three times and they gain the status of ‘Killer.’ The player then gains the ability to hit the double of other people’s number which makes them lose lives. If you hit your own number, you also lose a life. This knocks people out of the game until one person is left standing, making them the winner. A fun variation is Blind Killer where no one knows who has which number until they’re out of the game. This sharpens your skills as you try to hit doubles, but beware – like playing Monopoly, your friendships may suffer if you knock them out of the game.
Shanghai is another game that benefits from a lot of players. The objective is to get the dart term ‘Shanghai,’ which is a single, double, and triple, of a single number. The rounds start with 1 and each player tries to hit 1 for a single, double, and triple. If no one makes all three shots, they move onto two, then to three. In this way it’s similar to dartball discussed earlier. A shanghai is a difficult shot and it often takes at least 7 or 9 rounds. This is another great warmup dart game to get you comfortable at making specific targets, including doubles and triples which are a lot more difficult to successfully make.
Darts is often a casual game played among friends in restaurants and bars, but there are plenty of opportunities in the Ames area to take your play to a competitive level. See our article on joining one of our Darts Leagues and let us know – which Darts game is your favorite and which ones are you going to try out? Follow and tag us at [social media links].