There’s more to darts than just throwing them and scoring points. Here are some simple darts games you can try challenge yourself and develop your skills!
If you’re more serious about learning, check out our guide for buying professional level dartboards.
301 and 501
This is one of the most popular darts games and you can find players paying it at any bar that has a dart board. Both 301 and 501 are played the same way. Each player attempts to hit various point values to count down from either 301 or 501. The first player to reach zero wins.
To start the game, both players throw one dart and the one that get’s closest to the bulls eye will go first. You can flip a coin to decide who throws this first dart at the bulls eye.
In order to start scoring, you need to hit a double. Any darts thrown before the first double is hit will not score any points. You also need to hit a double and reach zero exactly in order to win. If you go under zero or hit zero with any other score than a double, you go bust.
When you bust you lose all the points scored in that round and go back to the number of points you had when you started the round. For example, if you have 60 points left and you hit a 19, a 6, and then a triple 20…you lose all those points and you’ll start the next round again with 60.
Around the World
Around the World, also known as Around the Clock, is a game for two players, alternating with three darts each. It can be a good game for younger players because there’s no scorekeeping involved, and it’s an excellent way to practice your aim. The goal is simple: be the first player to land a dart in all 20 segments of the board. The catch is, you have to hit the numbers in order, starting with the 1 segment and then moving on to 2, 3, and so on. Hitting anywhere in the segment counts, whether in the singles, doubles, or triples rings, but darts that land in an out-of-sequence segment don’t count. Once you’ve made it up to 20, you have to throw a bullseye to finish and win the game.
Cricket can be played by two players or teams, using three darts per throw each. The only parts of the board that matter are the numbers 15-20 and the bullseye. To start, mark down the numbers 15 through 20 and the bullseye on a scoreboard or sheet. The goal is to “close” each number by hitting in that segment three times. Each time a player hits in one of the numbered segments, make a mark against that segment on the scoreboard under their name. A double counts as two hits, and a triple closes the number immediately.
Once a player has closes a segment, each hit they make in that segment earns them points equal to the segment value (25 for the outer bullseye, 50 for the inner bullseye). Scores are multiplied by the doubles and triples rings as usual. This continues until the other player manages to close the number as well, after which that number is no longer worth any points. The game ends when all segments have been closed, and the highest score wins.
A simpler variation of Cricket does away with scorekeeping. In this version, players race to be the first to close each of the 15-20 segments and the bullseye by scoring three hits, with doubles and triples counting as extra hits as above.
Legs is a quick and simple game that’s all about getting the highest score possible. Each player gets three “legs,” which can be indicated by markers or chalk lines on the scoreboard. Each player gets three darts in turn. The first player throws and adds up his or her score. The second player must then get a score equal to or better than the first player’s, and then the third player has to tie or beat the second player’s score, and so on. If you score fewer points than the player before, you lose one of your legs. Lose all three legs, and you’re out. The winner is the last player who still has legs to stand on!
Killer tests your ability to hit the doubles ring. Each player is assigned a number randomly, by drawing chits, rolling a 20-sided die if you have one, or throwing a dart at the board with your “off” hand. When the play begins, each player gets three darts per round. The first step is to qualify as a “killer” by hitting the doubles ring of your number. Once you have shown you’re a killer, you can start trying to knock the other players out of the game. Each player has three lives, and if a killer lands a dart in the doubles ring of that player’s number, he or she loses a life. Once your last life is gone, you’re out of the game. And yes, that does mean someone can kill you entirely in one round by throwing three doubles in your number! And be careful with stray darts, because if you hit the doubles ring in your own number, you still lose a life.
Shanghai is a game that rewards precise throwing. It is played in a number of rounds — 7 or 10 for a shorter game, up to 20 for a longer game. Each player gets three darts per round. However, only darts that land in the wedge whose number corresponds to the round are scored. For example, in the first round darts must land in the “1” wedge for 1 point each, in the second round it has to be the “2” wedge for 2 points each, and so on. A “Shanghai” occurs if you’re good or lucky enough to land your darts in the singles, doubles, and triples rings of the wedge that matches the number of the round. If you hit a Shanghai, the game immediately ends and you’re the winner, regardless of the score!
Like Shanghai, Halve-It is all about being able to hit specific targets on the board, and can be played in anywhere from 5 to 20 rounds depending on how long you want the game to last. Before the game starts, write down a goal for each round, with a mix of easy and hard goals depending on your skill. Good goals include:
- a specific number
- doubles — hitting any number in the doubles ring counts
- a specific sequence of numbers
- all darts must land in different colors, or hit a specific sequence of colors
- inner ring: Darts must land in the inner ring (not the doubles ring) to count
- outer ring
- a specific score amount
Once you have a goal for each round, each player takes a turn with three darts. Points are scored and added as normal, with one catch — if you do not hit the goal for that round at least once, your total score is cut in half! Highest score once all the rounds have been played wins.