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Dart Games: Targeting Fun and Friendly Competition

Darts is a social game, requiring little setup and a mere dollop of hand-eye coordination to get started. Popular versions of the game consist of the same basic rules, with each player throwing three darts and taking turns. There's obviously a lot of skill involved if you want to take your game to tournament level, but like any sport, practice is key to mastery. With the right dart board setup and some practice, you'll be hitting the bullseye in no time.

What Are the Different Types of Dart Boards?

Bristle Dart Boards

The traditional board construction of choice is made of self-healing compacted sisal fibres. When you remove a metal dart, the hole on the board will close up. Bristle dart boards are used in competitions, so models for home use typically come in regulation size and are outfitted to withstand heavy use. Look for staple-free wiring and thin wires to prevent excessive bounce when the dart hits the board at an awkward angle.

Electronic Dart Boards

Electronic dart boards use soft-tip darts, which have dart points made of plastic rather than steel. The matching board is moulded in plastic with bevelled holes to ease the dart's entry. A computer in the board automatically records the score. More advanced models offer specific functions for your type of play, such as the ability to link games across similar boards, input a personal handicap to level the playing field, or view your average score to track performance.

Paper Dart Boards

If you're looking to try your hand at target games or seeking something for the kids, paper dart boards are for you. Coiled paper dart boards tend to be less expensive and still look like the traditional ones made of sisal. The metal dart embeds itself between the layers of paper on the board, and when removed, the paper should heal so unsightly holes don't mar the surface.

How Do I Play Darts?

The basic recipe for a game of darts involves a dart board, a set of three darts, and one or more players. Generally, players should stand 2.37 metres from the face of the board, aim their dart, and throw. Each player will throw three darts per round, but where you aim will depend on the game you're playing.

What Are the Different Types of Dart Games?

From tournament-style dart games to friendly competition in the pub, there are many types of games you can play with darts. Here are just a few popular dart games.

501

The standard game of darts involves players starting with a score of 501 and throwing darts to reach a score of zero. Each player throws three darts per turn, and subtracts the score obtained on each turn from their overall score, starting at 501. To win the game, a player must reach a precise score of zero by throwing a double -- that is, throwing a dart so it lands in the double ring. So, if a player has a score of 20, they'll need to throw a double 10 to reach zero and win the game. If the player's score goes below zero, the player goes bust and their score returns to the one they had before that round.

Cricket

A popular pub dart game, Cricket is great for two to four players or teams. Generally focusing on numbers 15 to 20 on the board, players must score each number three times. Scoring a number three times may entail throwing a single on that number three times, throwing a double and a single on that number, or throwing a triple on that number.

Around the Clock

Great for two players, Around the Clock promotes target practice with each number on the board. Players take turns throwing three darts per round with the objective of hitting numbers one through 20, in that order. Sound simple? Well, wait until you miss a number. You can't move onto the next number until you've hit the one you're stuck on.

How Do I Choose the Best Darts?

Darts aren't one size fits all. Available in different materials, weights, and price points, darts should be chosen based on your individual needs and preferences. The pros generally play with high-grade tungsten darts, but less expensive alternatives include nickel and brass darts. The weight of the dart will determine how fast you need to throw it. Lighter darts should be thrown harder and faster, while heavier darts may afford you greater control and less effort. Other things to consider include the design of the barrel, the length of the shaft, and the style of flights.

How Do I Set Up My Dart Board?

Whether your dart board will go in your basement rec room or back of your bedroom door, ensure there's enough clear distance between the throw line and the dart board. At least 2.37m of space is recommended, so you can play to regulation standards. For a clean look and easy storage, consider a dart board cabinet. Often made of wood with closing doors, a dart board cabinet can keep the board and your darts neatly tucked away and out of sight when you don't have your eye on the bullseye.

Want more info? Check out this resource:

Plug-in Blog: Game Room Essentials -- How To Play Darts