Basically, dart games are played between two players or two teams. The teams can be made up of two or more people each.
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.
'01, (pronounced " Oh-One")
The game of '01 is the classic game of Darts, played world-wide. The "01" refers to the fact that the game is played from a certain number of points, always ending in "01". For example, the common tournament game of 501 (pronounced "Five-Oh-One"), is played from 501 points. Other variations are 301, 601, 801, 1001. The higher point games are usually played by teams.
The object of the game is simple... each player starts with the same score (501, for example) and the first to reduce his score to zero wins.
Players take turns throwing three darts each and subtract all points scored from their own beginning score (501). Each player removes his darts and marks his score before the opponent throws. Darts that bounce off or miss the board do not score and cannot be re-thrown that turn.
The difficult part of the game lies in the finish, known as "going-out". To win, you must reach zero before your opponent, but you must also reach exactly zero, and the dart that brings the score down to zero must be a double. Doubles consist of the numbers in the outside narrow scoring band and the center (small) bullseye which counts as 50 points and is an actual double of the outer 25-point bull.
For instance, if you have 2 points left, you must hit a double-1 to bring the score down to zero. From 18 points, a double-9 would work. If you have an odd number left (a number that cannot be divided by 2), then darts must be thrown to reduce the score to an even number, before throwing at a double. For instance, there is no possible double out from 19, so a way to finish would be to throw a single-3 first, reducing the score to 16. The 16 can then be "taken-out" by throwing a double-8.
The games of 501, 601, 801, 1001, etc. are all played the same way, except for starting with more points. The game of 301 is different, however. Because of the potential for a very short game, 301 has an added difficulty...the game must start with a double. That is, each player must hit a double (any double) to start scoring. Each players scoring begins with the score of the first dart that hits a double.
Dart Playing Rules-Cricket
A more intricate game requiring more throwing skill and strategy. It is played using primarily the numbers 15 through 20 and the bull's eyes.
At the beginning 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 possibility of the other side scoring.
Dart Playing Rules-English Cricket
One player becomes the batter, and the other is the bowler; the batter goes first. Ten stripes are entered on the dartboard as wickets. The bowler's task is to erase these wickets by hitting bull's-eyes: With each single bull's-eye, one wicket is erased, and with each double bull's-eye, two wickets are erased. The batter's task is to score as many points or runs while any wickets remain, but only scores over 40 count. For example, a score of 38 would score no runs, a score of 42 would score 1 run and a score of 60 would score 20 and so on. Scoring stops when all 10 wickets are (or crossed out) by the bowler. The batter notes his or her final score on the scoreboard, and the roles are reversed. The game is played in two separate rounds, with each player throwing an entire round as batter and bowler. The winner is the player with the most points, or runs, from his or her round as batter.
Dart Playing Rules-Fifty-one by Fives
The total points for each turn must be divisible by five to receive any score. The score for each turn is determined by the number of fives hit. For example, if a player gets 20 points on a turn, the score is 4 because 20 divided by 5 is 4. If a score for an entire turn is not divisible by 5, it is not counted. All numbers on the board are used, including triples, doubles and bulls. The winner is the first player to score fifty-one fives and all three darts must score on the last turn.
Dart Playing Rules-Round the world
Also called "Round the Board" or "Once Round the Island. The object of this popular game is to be the first player to hit every number on the dartboard from 1-20. Any part of the number - single, double or triple - counts. The numbers must be hit in order, and players alternate after three throws. If a player cannot pass a certain number, he must hit it in order to advance to the next number on the board.
Dart Playing Rules-Dartball/Baseball
a game in which darts are thrown at a large wooden or board that resembles a baseball field with colored areas which denote bases. This game is similar to the actual game of baseball and uses baseball-like rules and scoring.. Players try to score as many points as possible per inning in order to win.
Dart Playing Rules-Killer
Each player throws one dart with the "opposite" hand. (e.g., right-handers throw left-handed) to determine randomly his or her own number. If a player misses the board or hits a number already taken, he or she throws again. Each player first tries to hit the double of his or her own number. When this is achieved, the player is known as a "killer" and a K is placed after his name on the scoreboard.
Dart Playing Rules-Shanghai
Players take turns throwing at the numbers 1, 2, and so on, in sequence, until 7. They try to score as many points as possible per turn (using all three darts). Only darts hitting the number in play count for score. So, when the number 1 is in play, the highest score that can be achieved is three - if the player hits a 1 with each. However, when the number 7 is the number in play, the highest score could be a 21 - if the player hits 7 all three times. Obviously, as the game progresses, the score gets higher. There are two ways to win: either have the highest score at the end of the game or score a Shanghai and win automatically. A shanghai is hitting the single, double and triple of the number in play.
Dart Playing Rules-Legs
After determining the order of the play, the first player attempts to get the highest score possible and notes it on the scoreboard. The next player must exceed that score or "lose a leg". Each player starts with three legs and players lose a leg every time they fail to beat the score of the player immediately preceding them. The winner is the last player left with any legs.
Dart Playing Rules-Clock
Clock also called round the clock, and is a variation that involves hitting the numbers in sequence.