Set Up

Dart Boards vary in price from the cheap to the very expensive. A nice professional board can be acquired for under $50.00 along with two decent sets of darts. Cheap boards can also be fun, but you will find that the darts accompanying them suffer somewhat in balance and accuracy.

Dart set up

The board itself should be set up with the bulls eye exactly 5 feet 8 inches from the floor. It is wise to place some type of board behind (and around) the dart board, just to save your drywall or panelling in case of complete misses.

The board itself is 18 inches in diameter and divided into 20 sections. The section marked 20 is always centered at the top.

The toe line (also known as the oche – named for a brewers case – Hockey – that was originally used to establish the distance between the board and the toe line) should be exactly 7 feet 9 1/4 inches from the face of the board. The line on the floor may also be a raised bar, 1 1/2 inches in height and two feet long. In most homes this will be an unwanted obstruction so a piece of masking tape is often used. A convenient way to mark the toe line, protect the floor, and preserve dart tips is to get a dart mat.

There should be at least two sets of 3 darts. Each player or team uses a set (a player may even own his own set). The darts themselves have a maximum length of 12 inches and a maximum weight of 50 grams.

Generally, a chalkboard, hung near the board is used for keeping score.

Basic Rules

Basically, dart games are played between two players or two teams. The teams can be made up of two or more people each. Variations that allow for more than two sides have been devised, but these have not achieved any popularity.
a dart board

Nine throws are generally allowed for each person as a warm-up before a game begins. Then, to determine which team or person is to take his turn first one dart is thrown by a person from each team. The team with the dart closest to the bull’s eye takes the first turn.

Each player throws three darts in his turn. Then the darts are retrieved. If a foot crosses over the line or a person happens to trip over the oche and releases his dart, the throw counts for no points and may not be re-thrown.

Darts must stay on the board for at least five seconds after a player’s final throw to count. A throw does not score if it sticks into another dart or if it falls off the board.

Darts making it on the board score in the following manner:
In the wedge: the amount posted on the outer ring. The double ring (the outer, narrow ring): twice the number hit. The triple ring (the inner, narrow ring): three times the number hit. Bulls eye (outer bull): twenty-five points. Double bulls eye (inner bull): fifty points.

This is the basic method for play and scoring. A wide variety of games and variations are based upon it and will be discussed in the next section.

Various Rules

The two most popular games played by dart players around the world are “301” and “Cricket”. “301” is the most obvious. Each side begins with 301 points and throws their darts in an effort to reduce their score to zero.

Each game is considered one leg. The match is won when two out of three games are won.Before points may count a player must first hit a double. The score is then quickly reduced toward zero. The real skill comes in at the end of the game when a player must throw a double or bull’s eye that reduces the final score exactly to zero. Any series of three throws (one turn) that would reduce the score beyond zero do not count.

Cricket is a more intricate game requiring more throwing skill and strategy. It is played using primarilly the numbers 15 through 20 and the bull’s eyes.

At the begining 15 through 20 and the bull’s eye are eligible to be opened. To open a number, a player or team must score three of that number (any combination of singles doubles and triples). Once a team opens a number every subsequent score on that number increases the score for the team. The opposing team may not score on that number. But may attempt to close it by getting three scores on that number.

For example side A scores once on 17. He gets no points but his score accumulates. Side B scores four times on 17 (a double and two singles). The first three scores open the number for B. The fourth score gives B 17 points. Now A strikes 17 three times. The number is now closed for everyone. A gets no points, but does have the satisfaction of not allowing B to get any more points on 17.

In attempting to open and close the bull’s eye, the inner is counted as a double and the outer is counted as a single bull.

The game ends when all of the numbers are closed off. However, it may be declared over sooner if the player in the lead closes all posibility of the other side scoring.