7 Best Dart Games for Beginners (Easy to Play Games) - Decent Darts (2023)

Darts is a fairly simple game. The two main games you see played globally are 501 darts (the main professional game) and cricket darts (mainly played in North America) and both of them don’t really have any complicated rules or scoring systems.

When getting into darts as a beginner though, you’ll want to have a variety of games that are both easy and fun to play and in this article, we’ll be covering the best options to get you started.

The 7 best dart games for beginners are:

  1. Around The Clock Darts
  2. Shanghai Darts
  3. 301 Darts
  4. Baseball Darts
  5. Count Up Darts
  6. Knockout Darts
  7. Killer Darts

Table of Contents

Best Dart Games for Beginners

Below is our list of the best dart games for beginners. We’ve made this list based on a few specific criteria ideal for beginners which include easy-to-follow rules, a simple scoring system, minimal punishment for missed darts, and most importantly – they need to be fun to play!

1. Around The Clock Darts

Number of Players


How to Play

This game is an easy introduction for darts beginners, it has virtually no rules, no difficult scoring system, and is easy to follow.

The game can be played solo or with a few friends or other competitors and is more of a race than an actual scoring game because it requires the players to go round the board in numerical sequence and ends up on the bull being hit to finish.

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So for example, player 1 starts by throwing at number 1 with their darts, if they achieve this, they move on to number 2 and then 3 and so forth, remembering that any part of the number aimed for including doubles or trebles will count if the dart hits.

If the player fails to hit the number with their 3 darts, they simply keep throwing on their next turn, to hit the required number before they can move on to the next number and once every number has been hit from 1-20 then they must hit the bull to finish.

the first to achieve this task with the least number of darts is the winner.

The game can be varied by the use of doubles and trebles to advance more quickly (for example, a treble 1 will advance a player to 4), but for the beginner, the standard game is a good way of getting used to throwing darts accurately at a fixed target and becoming accustomed to the darts board and its configuration.

2. Shanghai Darts

Number of Players

1 or more

How to Play

There are quite a few variations on this game so I will try and concentrate on the easier variations for the darts beginner.

The first one consists of seven rounds, each player throws 3 darts at numbers 1-7 in numerical order accumulating their score as they go along. With a group of players, it will be necessary to keep a written score by each player’s name.

The player will therefore throw 3 darts at number 1, 3 darts at number 2… At the end of the seven rounds, the biggest score wins.

So for example, in round 1 Player 1 throws 3 darts at number 1 and hits two singles and a treble 1, this scores them 5 points (1, 1, and 3), however, in each round the score is multiplied by the number of each round, so in round 2 those same 3 darts would score 10 (2, 2, and 6) and in round 3 this would score 15 (3, 3, and 9) and so on.

The higher the number on the round the higher score can be achieved.

There is another way to win the game without having the highest score and this is by hitting Shanghai on any number. A Shanghai consists of a single, double, and treble of that number being hit by a player with their 3 darts and so ending the game automatically.

Another variation of Shanghai consists of 20 rounds, where the players aim for 1-20 and accumulate scores accordingly.

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Depending on the number of players though, it can be quite time-consuming and tends to be played by players with more experience. Whichever variation you decide on, it helps with accuracy around the board, helps with the grouping of darts where a player aims for specific targets, especially around doubles and trebles which you will need in virtually every darts game at some point. .pardon the pun!

3. 301 Darts

Number of Players

1 or more

How to Play

If you are a darts fan then you will have watched your favorite players play 501 on tv and this game differs slightly but is essentially scored in the same way.

It’s played by reducing your score from 301 to 0 and by finishing on a double, where the game differs, is that in this case, you start on 301, not 501.

There’s a variation where you have to throw a double (or double in as it’s known) before you can begin to count down your score. Now for the beginner, this may prove more difficult, but if you are playing someone of a similar standard should still give you a chance if you fail to double in straight away.

As 301 isn’t a huge numerical target the game really allows beginners a chance to progress without having to play long games of 501 as they don’t have the skill to score highly yet. The focus can be on trying to hit big numbers during the game, especially treble 20, treble 19, etc to enhance your score without the pressure of needing to hit them in order to have a quicker game.

Also, remember that because you must finish on 0 by throwing a double, it’s important to do the maths and hit the right double. If you, for example, you need 20 to finish but you miss double 10 by hitting a single 10, you’ll be left with double 5. If you miss and then hit 12 with your next dart, you will have scored 22 and busted, meaning you have exceeded 0.

Therefore, keep in mind the importance of aiming for the doubles which you are most comfortable with to finish and if that’s too difficult, you can always agree to finish on a single number without the need to hit a double.

Some players will have their own strategy, but for the beginner, it’s about getting used to hitting specific numbers and being able to reproduce that with regularity with practice.

4. Baseball Darts

Number of Players

1 or more

How to Play

The game as it suggests is based on the U.S game of Baseball, but albeit in a thinly veiled way, in that like its American counterpart, the game consists of 9 rounds or innings and players try to score as many points per innings as they can.

To score the player must hit the number that corresponds to each round or innings, so for example player 1 will aim for no 1 in the first innings and scores 1 hit or run for a single, 2 for a double, and 3 for a treble, therefore the maximum score they can achieve is 9 (3 trebles scoring 3 points) in each innings or round.

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They play each round from 1-9, aiming for 1 in round 1, 2 in round 2, and so on until they complete the 9 rounds and add up their scores. Although you can play solo, it’s meant as a team game and it will be therefore necessary to draw a grid down on paper or another scoring device to keep an accurate score for each round.

One variation on the game is the ‘7th innings stretch’, creating an additional rule whereby any player who fails to contribute any points in that round will have their score halved, therefore putting pressure on your team to score higher.

Another variation is that if a player fails to hit any number in a designated round then that is considered an out and it can be decided beforehand how many outs constitute a forfeit of the game.

Whilst this game is played on a traditional dartboard, there is a dartboard with Baseball markings specifically for this game, which you can find here.

7 Best Dart Games for Beginners (Easy to Play Games) - Decent Darts (1)

The maximum score available in this game is 81, with 9 rounds scoring 9 points in each, and while it’s possible, I wish you good luck in hitting 27 trebles!! For now for the beginner, just to score with most of your darts would be a start.

5. Count Up Darts

Number of Players


How to Play

This game can be played either by a round limit or a predetermined points total regardless of how many rounds it takes.

To play with 4 people is probably the optimum way of ensuring the players don’t have to wait long between throws, but larger groups can also play but it can take longer and can sometimes lead to players losing concentration.

So to play Count Up darts is fairly straightforward and is a good way to challenge yourself and others to throw consistent scores. The game is played over 24 darts (8 rounds).

Each player throws their 3 darts per round and tries to achieve the highest score they can, if you’re playing by a round limit, then the player who scores the highest in each round will win that round, however, if you are playing by a predetermined total, then you just add your score up each round until you hit your total(you don’t have to hit the total exactly its enough to equal or surpass it).

For a beginner, whilst we would love to hit treble 20s and treble 19s, it’s more important to hit regular scores with your darts, so sometimes aim for clusters of numbers that will still give you a decent score, rather than those where you run the risk of missing high ones, like 20 where its surrounded by 5 and 1.

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6. Knockout Darts

Number of Players

2 or more

How to Play

This is as simple as it comes when describing how to play this game, simply throw a higher score with your 3 darts than the thrower who precedes you and you will avoid an X (strike) next to your name if you score lower than the player before you, you’ll receive an X.

Each player after you must in turn beat the previous throwers’ score to avoid an X until all throwers have completed the round and player 1 starts again.

If you get 3 crosses next to your name you are eliminated and the last player standing without 3 crosses is the winner.

Whilst the concept is fairly easy to understand, the game can be slightly unfair if played by players of differing standards, in other words, if player B is the best player and consistently hits high scores and player C is the worst, it follows he will always struggle to beat the previous score.

Therefore it might be an idea to mix up the players each round to make the outcome less obvious and also worth bearing in mind that even if you look like you can’t beat the previous score, it’s important that you aim for as high of a score as possible to make things trickier for the next thrower.

Like most of these games, it’s an ideal opportunity to get some target practice in and to aim for those high scores that will eventually take you to the next level of darts.

7. Killer Darts

How many players

3 or more

How to Play

If you want to know who your friends are, then this will surely be a game to test that. It’s a game suited to larger groups and is basically an elimination game where you try and beat the other players by gaining killer status and removing them from the game.

It’s fast-paced and easy to score but does require some sort of scoring chart to keep account of where each player is during the game.

To play, players start a game with 3 lives each and each player throws a dart with their off-hand. The number they score will then be their assigned number. Players then need to throw for the double of their assigned number in order to gain killer status once it’s been hit.

As the killer, you can then throw for other players numbers to take their lives. The hard part for beginners will be hitting the double to start but once you hit it, you can then start to eliminate other players from the game.

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What below as the professionals play a more advanced variation of killer darts:


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2. Throw Darts Like a Pro - Dart Tips
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3. “How To Play Cricket” - The Simple Guide On How To Play The Dart Game Cricket
(Hayden Evans)
4. Darts Tactics (1 of 4) Getting to an Out Shot
(Ten Minutes of Your Time)
5. The Rules of Darts (501) - EXPLAINED!
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