how-to-play-darts.jpgDid the game of darts start from sheer boredom? One of the most popular beliefs surrounding the game darts is that it was created by a warrior who, bored and trying to kill time between battles, decided he’d throw short spears at a slice of tree. The natural rings in the tree served as the markings on the first ever dartboard.

From warriors to noblemen, darts became a game everyone would play, and as the popularity grew different variations of the game grew with it. Now it’s played all over the world, and it’s played in so many different ways that the game you get will differ depending on where you’re playing.

The best game of darts I ever played was in a tiny, hole in the wall pub in Georgia. They played with house rules, so I had to learn an entirely new way to play that definitely had a southern flair. It involved a highest score wins method of playing, but the loser of each round had to down a shot of whiskey and eat a bowl of beans. Needless to say, I’m glad I don’t have to play by those rules here.

But you don’t have to go out to a pub to play darts (with beans or without) because you can bring home a dartboard to play with friends and family.

Choose a space to set up10318940.jpg

The first step to playing at home is choosing a space for your dartboard. Some people set up in a basement recreation room or a garage, while others will keep their dartboards right in their living room. Wherever you choose, just make sure you have a lot of space because you’ll need the elbowroom. A quick tip to save your walls is to hang your dartboard on top of a larger bulletin board or wooden frame. The Franklin Bristle Dartboard comes in it’s own case, so stray darts won’t mark everything.


How to hang your dartboard

You can’t hang a dartboard just any old way – to play according to the general or tournament rules, it has to be hung like in the image below. On a dartboard there is a single ring, a double ring, and a triple ring. They are all used to keep score. There’s also a bullseye, which is dead center, an outer bullseye, an inner bullseye, and a catcher.


As I mentioned before, there are a lot of different ways to play the game of darts. General rules state that to decide on who shoots first, each player throws a dart. The dart closest to the bullseye starts the game. Each player throws three darts at a time, but if they bounce off or don’t stick to the board they don’t count for points.

To keep track of score, keep this in mind – singles score the number of the segment, double rings score double the segment number, and triple rings score triple the segment number. You can keep track of your points as you play and designate a number for the winner, or you can play one of many dart games.


play-darts.jpgGame 301, 501 to 1001

This darts game involves each player starting at a beginning score of 301, 501, and so on. The point of the game is to get to zero, and when someone gets to zero the game will end.

There are a number of specific rules when playing this game. To start, a round is bust when a player throws a dart that ends up being a higher score than the residual score, so if he or she can’t reach zero, the round stops and the player goes back to their last score. There are also ins and outs in the game. Take a double in for example – that happens when a player needs to hit a number in a double ring to start the game. There’s also a double out or triple out, and that means a player must hit a number in the double or triple ring to get the score to zero.

Clock 1 – Around the Clock

Want to make your dart’s game more challenging? Try Around The Clock. Starting from 1 and going through 20, each player has to hit each number one time. Once you hit it, you move on to next number. The first player to reach the bull’s-eye wins the game. You can vary the play by stating that all doubles and triples will count as singles, or that each player should hit a double number once.


Soccer on a dartboard? The object of the game is to get your hands on the ‘ball’ by hitting a bulls-eye and then getting a goal by hitting a double. If you score goals, you score points, and you should score as many goals as possible to get the high score. Just keep in mind that you have to keep hitting double segments to keep the ball until your opponent scores a bull’s-eye and takes the ball from you.

Free play

Maybe you don’t want to worry about rules and just want to throw a few darts with friends? Free is the game for you. Each player throws 10, 20, or 30 darts per round to get the high score. The player with the highest score wins.

Tournament Rules

If you went to England and visited a few pubs, you’d see darts being played everywhere. It’s a popular game over there, maybe even more so than here in Canada, and there are dart clubs who host tournaments where they play by tournament rules.

When playing by tournament rules, each player begins with 301 points if playing with two individuals or 501 if playing in a group. The score is kept by subtracting points from the remaining total. That means the first player or team to reach zero wins, and play is fast paced because each dart thrown scores a single, double, or triple the number of segments it lands in. Each game played is called a ‘leg,’ and three legs will make up a match. The winner is whomever wins the first two legs.

Playing darts is a lot of fun, and with winter here and the holidays on the way, there’s never been a better time to set up the dartboard and invite your friends and family over. Check out all of the dartboards on – from electronic dartboards to paper dartboard sets, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget to take a look at all of the games you can choose for your game room to bring home the fun this winter.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag


  1. >You can’t hang a dartboard just any old way – to play according to the general or tournament rules, it has to be hung like in the image below.

    So… right side up? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone hang a dart board any other way… 😛

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