11 Dart Games For Beginners: Including Strategy Tips & Tricks - Darts Reference (2023)

11 Dart Games For Beginners: Including Strategy Tips & Tricks - Darts Reference (1)

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An introduction to darts

So you want to learn some dart games for beginners? you went to a friend’s house and you saw a dartboard, or you saw a game on television, or maybe you’ve had the chance to shoot a few darts somewhere and you liked it so you decided to get yourself a dartboard for your home. If not you can get one here.

Awesome but now you’re asking yourself where do I start?You’re not really familiar with the game of darts, you heard maybe there’smultiple ways to play, and you’re trying to find out the best way to go aboutit.

If you can relate to any of those scenarios then this article is for you. Apart from showing you some dart games for beginners I’m going to give you other tips to help make your whole darts playing process easier.

I remember when I was just starting out playing darts, Ihadn’t the slightest clue how to play the game, or that there were actuallymultiple games of darts, now look at me, I’m able to explain the rules of ofseveral dart games of the top of my head.

Though not all are easy to play or beginner friendly, some are made deliberately difficult for more advanced players to test their mettle.

Dart Games forbeginners

That’s why in this article I’ll display some easier to playdart games, dart games for beginners so to speak, that way you can get a betterstart to your whole darts playing endeavor.

Otherwise It could be very frustrating for you if you startedout playing the wrong game or playing with the wrong rules, by wrong I meanmore difficult rules, for example, requiring a “double” to start a x01 match.

For those unfamiliar a double is the outermost shooting ringarea on the dartboard, and is actually a requirement when starting a 301 gameof darts in an official tournament.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, we’ll get into all the exciting details momentarily, and for those familiar with a few games and just looking for more dart games for beginners to expand their arsenal, I will have a few gems for you too.

To be noted, even though they are a bit difficult, I decidedto add cricket and some x01 dart games to this list because they are somethingof a standard.

Cricket is very popular in the United States and is somethingof a standard there.

X01 dart games are a standard worldwide, if you decide toenter any tournament worldwide that is what you will be playing, as such Ifound it essential for beginners to be aware of both even though they aren’tthe easiest to play.

1. X01(301,501,701,etc)

Prelude: The 01, “O 1” or “zero one”, are the most popular form of dart games played all over the world and a good dart game for beginners to learn.

They’re not only a standard in America but in England wherethe modern game was invented and every other country the world darts federationhas spread to.

This is most likely the game you will be playing if youdecide you want to enter a darts tournament.

The 01 games come in many variations, with 101 being thelowest 01 game you can play to upwards of 1501, though the ones more commonlyplayed are 301, and 501.

What usually dictates the type of 01 game played is thenumber of players, as you’ll see, depending on the multiple of x100 you choosethe game can become drastically more difficult.

To be noted the game is called x01 because it is played with any multiple of 100 PLUS 1, x100+1 so to speak, or x01.

Number of players: two players, or two teams

Objective: The purpose of an x01 game is to bethe first player to reach zero, pretty simple right, not really.

Most beginner x01 games require a double start before yourshots start to count, this means you must hit a double section on the dartboardbefore you can start to earn points.

The x01 games that require a double start are lower x01 gameslike 101, and 301, higher level x01 games like 501 and above do not require adouble start unless specified.

Those higher count games are usually played with teams ofmore people where else the lower x01 games are played between individuals.

To note recently 501 has overtaken 301 in Americantournaments as the de facto game of play.

How to play: The rules for x01 games are prettysimple. Regardless of the type of x01being played, 301, 501, 601, your objective is to be the first player to reachzero with a double finish from your number.

You accomplish this by using your darts to earn points byhitting targets on the dartboard.

The first thrower is decided by throwing a dart each at thebullseye with the player closest to the bullseye going first.

After that the match begins. Depending on where you hit onthe dartboard you’ll get a certain amount of points.

The dartboard is numbered from 1 to 20, not in order.

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The outermost ring of the board is worth double that number,the space below it is worth exactly that number, the inner ring is worth triplethat number, the space below it is just the number, the bullseye, the middle ofthe board, is worth 50 points and the outer ring of the bullseye is worth 25points.

Essentially you must finish the game by hitting a double areato reach zero, if you hit a number that exceeds what you need to finish withexactly zero, your score remains the same and you must try again on your nextturn.

Each player gets to throw three darts each turn, the sum ofthe points earned from the three darts is added and deducted from the totalpoints at the end of each turn.

The first player or team to reach zero wins.

Tips: If you really want to get into thegame, there are tables called “out charts” that show you the right numbers tohit to get a double out when you get to a score of 160 or less.

Another strategy is to try to get down to a number you’remore confident you can hit, say you’re really good at hitting the double 18, agood strategy would be to get your score to a 32, where you’re morecomfortable, then you can have an easier finish.

Scoring made easy:

Player names are written at the top of the scoreboard inorder, the type of x01 match is designated at the top as well.

The section below each name will be separated into twocolumns, the player score at the end of each turn will be written in the leftcolumn.

The player overall score after being subtracted by the justended turn’s score will be displayed in the right column.

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Learn more here. Darts Official Rules

2. Cricket

Prelude: Cricket is a mostly American standard, it’s even listed in the rulebook of the American darts association alongside the x01 games, and as such it is very important for people living in America to learn which makes it one of the excellent dart games for beginners.

If you ever decide to venture out into the world and play ata tournament it’s what you will be playing.

Cricket may be a bit difficult for beginners, you have to hitthe bullseye, but with more practice the objective becomes easier.

Number of players: two players of two teams

Objective: To win a game of cricket you must bethe first player to “close”, score three points on the numbers 20 to 15 and thebullseyes, and also have more points than your opponent.

You will not be declared the winner or be allowed to closeall scoring sections until you have more points than your opponent.

How to Play: Cricket is played using the numbers20 down to 15 on the dartboard and the bullseye.

The game is started the usual way of either flipping a coinor throwing a dart each at the dartboard with the one closest to the bullseyebeing chosen to go first.

The objective of the game as discussed earlier is to closeall the numbers 20 to 15 and the bullseye before your opponent and have morepoints than them.

To close a number you must score three points on that number.

The double area is worth 2 points, the triple area is worth 3points, the spaces in between is worth 1 point.

After you score three points closing a number, the double isworth twice the count of that number, for example the double of 20 is 40, thetriple is worth 3 times that number, for example the triple of 20 is 60.

The bullseye is worth 2 points or 50 points after you closeit, and the outerr bull is worth 1 point, or 20 points after you close thebull, they both count as the bull or bullseye.

Once you close all the numbers and have a higher point countthan your opponent you are the winner.

If you close all numbers and your opponent is still ahead inpoints you must continue to score more points before you can be allowed toclose your final number.

Tips: The obvious tip for playing cricketis to close the highest number first, that way you can earn more points thanyour opponent and make it harder for them to catch up.

For example if you close the bull 20 first, you will be ableto score 60 points with a triple, leaving your opponent unable to catch up evenby hitting the triple 19.

Scoring made easy: Cricket scoring is pretty easy, writeplayers or team names at the top.

Number 20 to 15 and the B(bullseye) down the middle below andbetween the names.

Afterwards designate each score on a number with mark, 1point could be a slash, 2 point an x, three points, draw a circle around the x.

After a number is closed, write the ensuing score next to thepoint marks.

It may be good to have a designated scorer, or make sure tocalculate the overall score at the end of each round, a proper erasable boardis recommended for easier scoring, or an electronic board, for automaticscoring.

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Can’t get enough of cricket? check out this in depth article on how to play darts cricket.

3. Around the clock

Prelude: Around the clock is one of the best dart games for beginners, the rules are easy to understand and it’s great practice because it incorporates the whole board.

It’s a great game for new players to figure out theirstrength, see which numbers they are more comfortable hitting and which onesneed work.

Number of Players: Any amount of people can play

Objective: The objective in around the clock isextremely simple, just to be the first to hit all the numbers on the dartboardin a clockwise fashion starting with 1 and ending with 20.

To note from 1, you move to 18, then to 4 and so on.

How to Play: Start of the usual way, everyonetakes a shot at the bullseye and the closest person gets to go first.

Gameplay for around the clock flows a bit differently thanother dart games.

For starters there is no point system, to close a number andmove on to the next you don’t have to hit a double or triple you just have tohit anywhere on the number,

to note more advanceplayers may choose to make scoring only possible on certain sections of thenumber, like the double or triple.

With that being said gameplay is pretty simple, you close onenumber, you move on to the next in sequence.

The first player to close all numbers win, if both playersmanage to close their numbers, it’s a draw, you play another round to decidethe winner.

Tips: Not really any tips for this onemate, just some good aiming.

Scoring made easy: Good news, scoring isn’t evennecessary, just remember the last number you hit.

Matter of fact write it down, let’s say it’s a game with alot of players and it becomes difficult to keep track, writing down your lastmark may be a good idea.

4. Shanghai

Prelude: Shanghai is another one of the good dart games for beginners because it uses the whole board, even better than around the clock for beginners because it encourages you to improve your skill by hitting doubles and triples.

To win the game you must score the most points in totalcompared to the other players but it’s also possible to win the game by hittinga “shanghai” which is simply to hit a single, and double, and a triple in thesame round, it can be in any order.

This is a great way for beginners to improve their double andtriple aim because it incentivizes it.

Number of Players: Can be played by any number ofplayers or teams.

Objective: Score the most points from a total of twentyrounds or hit a shanghai in any given round.

As stated earlier ashanghai is simply to hit a single, and double, and a triple in the same round.Do this and the game is instantly over regardless of if you have the highestscore or not.

How to play: To begin each player shoots at thebullseye, the closest player to the bullseye gets to go first.

The game is played in sequence from one to twenty, there aretwenty rounds.

That means in round one you only score points if you hit theone, round two you only score points if you hit the two, and so on.

Hitting the single section of a number is worth one point, adouble two points, and a triple three points, that means hitting a double on a20 and hitting a double on a 2 is the same thing, you get two points.

If no one hits a shanghai you play in sequence until alltwenty rounds are up, at this point the overall score is tallied and the playerwith the highest amount of points win.

If someone does manage to hit a shanghai then the game isover when they do it.

That means its possible for the game to be over at any time,even the first round, makes it very intense, believe me its quite excitingespecially when you’re playing with good players, there’s always tension in theair, especially when an ace takes the leg.

Tips: The tip for shanghai is for knowingwhen to shoot for the shanghai, which is common sense, it should come to younaturally if it hasn’t already.

The tip here is depending on your first throw, lets say youhit a double, or triple, you should then go for the shanghai,

because you’re betterconditioned as oppose to hitting a single on your first throw and trying to gofor shanghai then, it’s more risky, but if you start of on a good foot, takethe chance and go all the way.

Scoring made easy: Write the name of everyone playingin throwing order at the top of the scoreboard.

Number from one to twenty in ascending order on the side ofthe names. Enter the sore after each round under the player’s name, it shouldlook like this.

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5. Baseball Darts

Prelude: Baseball darts is something of an old standard, it’s a lot like shanghai, without the shanghai and like half the board, which makes it easier to play and one of the best dart games for beginners.

Beginners can start with this before moving on to games likeshanghai or around the clock that take up the whole board.

Number of Players: Any number of players or teams.

Objective: Get the highest score of ninerounds out of all the other players.

The nine rounds are modeled after the nine innings ofbaseball and the points are called runs, so you have to the get the most runsper inning to be the winner.

How to Play: Standard start, everyone shoots atthe bullseye, the player that comes the closest shoots first, the secondclosest second, and so on.

There are only nine rounds or innings in the game of baseballdarts.

During each round players must hit a number from one to nine,in sequence, that means for round one everyone shoots at the one, in round twoeveryone shoots at the two, round three the three and so on, if you hit anothernumber during a round it doesn’t count.

The single area of the number is worth one point, the doublearea two points, the triple three points.

At the end of the nine rounds the player with the highesttotal score from all the rounds is the winner.

Tips: Not must strategy here, it’s more amatter of skill, being able to get as many points as possible.

Scoring made easy. Player names are written at the topin playing order, the number’s one through nine are written on the left handside of the paper.

Two columns may be allocated to each player to accommodatetheir current and total score, like so.

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6. Scram.

Prelude: Scram is a played quite differentlythan most dart games but the rules are pretty easy to understand.

It’s also good for newbies because it incorporates the wholeboard which can help build skill.

Number of Players: Only two people can play scram.

Objective: Scram in played in two parts withsome pretty unique rules but the objective is all same in the end, to be theplayer with the most points at the end of both rounds.

How to Play: Both players shoot at the bullseye,the one closest gets to shoot first, but in scram the one who shoots first isthe “stopper”, and the one after that is the “scorer”.

As the stopper you get the usual three throws per round butyour objective is not to score points but to close a number so the “scorer”can’t score on that number.

A number can be closed by hitting any section of that number,any single, double, or triple area. Once a number is closed the scorer cannotscore using that number.

Once the stopper closes all the numbers and the bullseye theroles are reversed and the stopper becomes the scorer with the objective toscore as many points as possible before the stopper closes all the numbers andthe bullseye.

The game is over after two rounds when both players have hadthe chance to be a stopper and a scorer, at this point the player with thehighest score wins.

Tips: Obvious tip is to close the highestnumbers first to limit the amount of points your opponent will be able totally.

Bonus tip is if you know your opponent well and you knowtheir strengths aim to close those numbers as well, making it harder for themto score and putting you in a better position if you don’t score.

Scoring made easy: Write both players name at the top,with the stopper’s name first and the scorer after.

Under the name of the stopper, write the numbers 1 to 20 inascending order.

During the game when the stopper closes a number that numberwill be crossed out, the scorer side will be used to keep a tally of their totalpoints from each round.

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7. Shove Ha’Penny

Prelude: Shove Ha’Penny is a lot likebaseball darts, with the nine innings and all, it can be played at any skilllevel including beginners even though it might take longer.

For more advanced players it’s possible to finish the gamewith 9 darts! How will become clear once I explain the rules.

Number of players: Any number of players.

Objective: Be the first player to close allthe numbers from one through 9.

How to play: The usual bullseye shootout, theclosest to the bullseye goes first.

The objective has been stated, be the first to close everynumber from 1 to 9.

How you do this is by scoring three points on that number.

The single area is worth one point, the double area two, andthe triple area three. The numbers can be closed in any order, for example youcan hit a triple 9, 4, and 2 in the same round.

A unique rule in shove ha’penny is that if you go over theamount of points you need to close a number the extra points will be awarded toyour opponent, unless it will cause them to win the game.

If you are playing with multiple opponents, there are threeways the points can be distributed, which must be agreed on before the gamebegins.

First is the player after you gets the points, second, youcould choose who gets the points, or lastly to whoever needs it the most.

The game is over when a player closes all nine numbers.

Tips: Learn how to use the awarding ofextra points to your advantage, you obviously don’t want to give it to the guywho will use it to beat you!

Scoring made easy: Write player names in playing orderat the top of the board, number one through nine on the left hand side belowthe names.

During the match when a player scores on a number mark itwith a “/” for the first hit, “x” for the second, and circle the x for thethird. See below.

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8. Slider

Prelude: Slider is very simple game, easy toplay and easy to understand, though for new players it may be a bit difficultbut that’s good, we want dart games for beginners so they can improve theirskill.

For more advance players, games can be ended in a matter ofminutes, often limitations are added to make the game more difficult andenjoyable.

Number of Players: Any number of players.

Objective. Be the first to close the numbers10 through 20 in order.

How to play: Standard start, everyone shoots forbullseye, closest goes first, second closest second and so on.

The object of the game is to close the numbers 10 through 20in order, this is accomplished by hitting a number anywhere once, be it asingle, double or triple.

Once you hit a number you may move on to the next in sequenceuntil your turn is over.

The unique rule in slider is if a player fails to hit theirnumber for a whole turn, you miss all three darts, you must revert back to yourprevious number, for example if you were to hit 15 but you missed all threethrows you have to start from 14 on your next turn.

The game is over when the first player closes every numberfrom 10 to 20.

Tips: Not much strategy here, just thestandard good positioning and aim.

Scoring made easy: No need for scoring either, justremember the number you’re on.

9. Warfare

Prelude: I personally like warfare, it’svery fun, there’s a sort of intimacy in personally attacking your opponent.

Most of darts is a personal journey so to speak, in a wayyou’re playing against yourself.

You and your opponent just have the same goal and if hereaches his goal first he wins or if you reach your goal first you win,

it’s not really personal, it’s like running different laps ona track, you don’t get to really hinder the other player’s movement, eventhough you are competing, you’re also separate,

It’s a bit lonely so to speak, but games like scram and warfarereally put you at odds with your opponent and since they use the full dartboardthey are excellent dart games for beginners to learn and improve!

Number of Players: Just two for this one.

Objective: Be the first to eliminate all ofyour opponent’s “soldiers”.

How to Play: Standard start, you and youropponent shoot at the bullseye, closest to the target gets to shoot first.

They also get to choose their “army”, in warfare thedartboard is divided into two halves, the “north army”, which includes the 10numbers at the top half of the board,11, 14, 9 ,12, 5, 20, 1, 18, 4. 13,

and the “south army”,you guessed it, which includes the bottom 10 numbers on the board, 6, 10, 15,2, 17, 3, 19, 7, 16, and 8.

Once armies are selected your objective will be to “kill” allthe soldiers in your opponent’s army, also be careful, if you hit your soldiersthey will be eliminated as well.

You only need to hit a soldier once with a dart to kill them,it can be anywhere on the number, single, double, or triple, all worth onekill.

More advance players can make the game more difficult bymaking only a certain section of the number a kill zone. The game is over whenyou kill all your opponent’s soldiers or they kill all of yours.

Tips: not must strategy here, more in needof skill but If you know your opponents well you can choose the side of theboard that will be harder for them to hit.

Scoring made easy: Write the name of both players atthe top of the scoreboard separated by a line in the middle.

List the coordinating armies under each player, the northarmy includes the numbers 11, 14, 9 ,12, 5, 20, 1, 18, 4 and 13, the southarmies include 6, 10, 15, 2, 17, 3, 19, 7, 16, and 8.

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10. Steeplechase

Prelude: Steeplechase may be a bit more difficult to consider one of the dart games for beginners but it’s good for practice. It utilizes the whole board it incorporates some obstacles that through completion can enhance the skill of beginners.

Number of Players: Any amount.

Objective. Steeplechase is like a “race”, you must be thefirst of your opponents to hit the numbers 20 through 5 clockwise, the rules ofthe game incorporates some surprises I’ll explain momentarily.

How to play: Players shoot at the bullseye todetermine the shooting order. The closest to the bullseye goes first and so on.

For steeplechase there is a second throw. This time the firstthree players will throw with their weaker hand, usually the left since mostpeople are right handed or your right if you’re left handed to determine the“traps”.

The objective of the game is to hit every number from 20 to 5clockwise but with the incorporation of traps things take what can be a verydrastic turn,

for beginners even fatal, you see the only way to get pastone of the “trap” numbers is by hitting the triple area, and if that’s not hardenough you have to do it within three legs, or nine dart throws or you’reeliminated from the game completely,

for beginners this can be a very devastating rule, as suchyou can change the trap section to the “small single wall” or “large singlewall” until you’ve worked your skill level up to better it the triple or doublearea.

You needn’t only hit a number once to advance. Once you arethe first to make it to 5 from 20 you are the winner and whatsoever prize thatcomes with winning is yours.

Tips: Not much strategy here, everythingis pretty straight forward, hit your mark.

Scoring made easy: Scoring may not even be necessarybut if there are a lot of players list the three traps at the top of thescoreboard, underline them, beneath them list the players on the left handside, on the right hand side leave room to write their score during the match.

11. High Score

Prelude: I may have saved the best dart games for beginners for last! high score is a very fun game, usually played on my favorite type of board, the electronic dartboard.

Rules are extremely easy to understand which makes it one ofthe best dart games for beginners.

I personally like the free for all style of the rules. Mostdart games want you to hit a certain number at a certain time in a certain way,

but for high score youhave one simple objective, be the first to reach the number agreed upon beforethe start of the game, this number is usually 1000.

Number of players: Any Number.

Objective: Be the first to reach the scoreagreed upon by all players before the start of the match, usually 1000.

How to play: There are really no special ruleshere, the usual start, closest to bullseye gets to shoot first.

The sections on the dartboard remain the same, triple istriple the number, double is double the number and any single space is justthat, the exact number.

You’re free to hit any number you want given your threethrows per turn. The first player to reach the agree upon score is the winner,note you don’t have to reach the exact number like in the x01 games, you can goover.

Tips: Aim for the high triples, 20s,19s,18s, etc

Scoring made easy: Write players names at the top inplaying order, divide names by column, add a player’s respective scoreunderneath their name during the course of the game.

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There you have it folks….

11 dart games for beginners for your playing and practice pleasure, hopefully you are able to utilize these games to their full potential and really help yourself grow.

Of course nothing beats the original darts game 301, you can learn more about 301 here

If you’re interested in learning more about darts you can check out the official website of the World Darts Federation and British Darts Organization.


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