When you first start to play darts, you’ll have almost zero accuracy when it comes to throwing at the board. When you see professional players hit treble 20s with ease, you assume that you can do the same but when it comes to actually throwing the dart, it’s difficult to get any sort of accuracy.
Therefore, as a beginner, it’s good to have some easy dart games to play, either solo or with a friend(s). While you are focusing on throwing with accuracy, you don’t want to be thinking too much about any specific or confusing rules.
All dart games have some kind of scoring system or rules in place but some are definitely more complicated than others. In this article, we’ll show you some of the easiest dart games you can play so that you can enjoy a game of darts no matter what your skill level.
The 9 easiest dart games for beginners are:
- 501 Darts
- Killer Darts
- High Low Darts
- High Score Darts
- Count Up Darts
- Tic Tac Toe Darts
- Shanghai Darts
- Around The Clock Darts
- Gotcha Darts
Table of Contents
Easy Dart Games
Below is a list showing you how to play some of the easiest dart games around. Not only are these games simple to understand and easy to pick up and play but they are also some of the most enjoyable and popular games you can play.
1. 501 Darts
Number of Players
1 – 2 players
How to Play 501 Darts
501 Darts is a simple game to play, though as a beginner it might not seem like it. The game is essentially a countback game, meaning you start on 501 and reduce that number with each scoring dart.
Each player takes alternate goes to throw 3 darts and the combined score of those 3 darts is then deducted from the running total, for example, Player A throws a single 17, a single 20, and a double 5 a combined score of 47, deducted from 501 gives him running total of 454.
The next player then plays his darts.
However, to win a game of 501 you have to reach 0 exactly by checking out, meaning you have to throw a double (which is the score on the very outer ring of the dartboard next to each number).
This can be really tricky for the occasional player as it is a small area to hit, unlike the professionals you see, who do it with amazing regularity.
So for example, if you require 20 to check out, you need to throw double 10 to get to 0, though if you score more points than needed you will bust, meaning you score nothing with that throw and have to try and check out again on your next throw.
The more you play the game and the more you practice, you will become more effective at achieving higher scores and checking out more effectively.
2. Killer Darts
Number of Players
3 or more people
How to Play Killer Darts
The 1st part of the game is to determine what number each killer is and this is done by each player throwing a dart at the board with their least dominant hand. So if you’re left-handed throw with your right and right-handed with their left.
The players throw one dart at the board and the number they hit is their killer number, if a player hits the same number they must throw again to hit another number as players cant have the same number. Once the players have their designated numbers they then try to become a killer.
This entails the player trying to hit the double of their assigned number, so double 10 if your number is 10, once this is achieved the player is then a killer and can try and eliminate their rival players.
To take a life from one of the other players, they must throw a double of the number of that particular person. So if a killer knows a player is number 7 they attempt to throw double 7. The game will end when only one person hasn’t lost all of their lives.
This may take some time depending on the skill levels of the players and can lead to some intense rivalries amongst players. There are different interpretations of the game that can be used on killer darts so check out the guide in the “killer darts” title above.
3. High Low Darts
Number of Players
How to play high low darts
Players will flip a coin to decide who goes first. Player 1 will then throw 2 darts at the board with their weaker hand. The total score will be the starting score. If the players throw 2 darts and hit a single 20 and a single 20, the starting score will be 40.
Player 2 will need to throw and beat the score of 40, if the player fails to beat the score they will lose a life. Player 2 throws and scores 60, this is now the score that the following player needs to beat.
Player 3 throws and scores 25. As they did not beat the previous score of 60 they will now lose a life. 25 is not the score that the following player will need to beat. All players get three lives and play will continue until only one player is left with lives.
4. High Score Darts
Number of Players
2 or more players.
How to Play High Score Darts.
Before starting, set a “high score” number. This number is that target that all players will need to reach in order to win a game.
A typical target that most beginners choose is 250, 500, 750, or 1000.
Once your target number is selected, all players will throw 1 dart at the bullseye to decide who will go first. All players’ names are added to a scoreboard.
Each player will throw three darts per turn, the score for each dart will be added together for a total round score. As an example, if a player hits a single 20, single 20, and single 1, then their score for the round will be 41 and this will be added to the scoreboard.
Each round, players will add their score to their running total so if the same player scores 60 points on their next throw, they will add this to the existing score of 41 to give a running score of 101. Play will continue until someone hits the target number and be declared the winner.
5. Count Up Darts
Number of Players
1 to 8 players.
How to Play Count Up Darts
The concept of this game couldn’t be simpler, just aim high to achieve the biggest score with 3 darts.
A solo player can just set a target number to see how they are progressing, usually, a game can be 24 darts or 8 sets of 3 throws to aim for, but if you are playing a group game, then this can be decided with a point total or by rounds.
A round limit is a traditional way to play. Each player throws 3 darts and the biggest combined score by one player wins the round. Depending on the number of players, 8 rounds is usually the average number and the player who wins the most rounds is the winner.
The points game is an alternative way of playing. A points total is chosen, for example, 1000 points and the players throw 3 darts a time to accumulate the scores until one player reaches that target.
Obviously, aiming for doubles and trebles enhances your chance to score high and win games. Its a straightforward game and will give you ample opportunity to enhance your skill levels
6. Tic Tac Toe Darts
Number of Players
How to Play Tic Tac Toe Darts
This game is based on the old tic tac toe or noughts and crosses as it might be better known.
The two players each have a grid drawn out and a third grid to share between the two players. The playing grid consists of numbers 12, 20, and 18 on the top line, 11, bullseye and 6 on the middle line, and 7, 3, and 2 on the bottom line giving you a 9 square grid, like on the image below:
To play the game, each player – after determining who goes first – will aim for particular numbers in the grid to try and close that square.
For example, if player 1 hits treble 20 on his first throw that will close the 20 square as you only need 3 hits on a particular number to close the square and so they can put an x there and this stops their opponent from using that square.
However, player 2 may be really crafty and stop their opponent by closing any of the squares on the grid next to them by aiming for example no 12 and hitting it 3 times thus putting an 0 there to stop the line.
The game is won by getting 3 Xs or 3 0s in a line either up down or diagonally and is obviously determined by a combination of strategy, skill, or luck.
7. Shanghai Darts
Number of Players
1 to unlimited
How to Play Shanghai Darts
Shanghai Darts is played by one or more players who throw 3 darts at numbers 1 to 20 on the dartboard to achieve the highest score at the end of the 20 rounds.
By hitting doubles and trebles of those numbers it will increase their total, especially when it gets to the larger numbers on the board, so hitting 2 treble 20s and a double 20 on that round will give you 160 points.
Each number is taken in turn starting with 1 and eventually through to the number 20, so there are lots of points available. To determine who goes first in a group game, players throw a dart nearest to the bull and the nearest goes first, the second closest second, and so on.
It’s important to keep scores to see how everyone is doing, the winner will be the one with the highest total at the end of the 20 rounds, however, if anybody achieves Shanghai on any number, which consists of a single, double, and treble of that number, then that person will win the game irrespective of the running totals of other players.
This game is easy to play and will improve skill and accuracy if that’s what you are hoping to achieve.
8. Around The Clock Darts
Number of Players
1 or 2 – 4 (though it can be more)
How to Play Around The Clock Darts
Around the clock darts or Around the board as it’s sometimes known, is an easy game to play and will give the novice darts player a chance to practice aiming skills and get used to the numbers on the dartboard.
To start, just play nearest the bull to designate who goes in which order.
The first player will then throw 3 darts to start, aiming for number 1 as this is the first number in the sequence and it follows that if successful he will go on to number 2 and eventually follow the sequence of numbers to 20.
If they fail to hit the number they aim for, then they simply stay on that number until his next turn and try again. For example, if they throw a single 1 on their first dart, they then move onto number 2, but if either of their remaining 2 darts fails to hit number 2, then they wait until their next throw to try again.
The winner is the first person to successfully get to number 20.
There are different variations of the game, using doubles and trebles to catapult you around the board and finishing with a bullseye, but that is usually for the more advanced players. This may involve only succeeding to move on by hitting the double or treble of the number and using the bullseye to finish.
These variations may be used in a game to handicap players who are more advanced than their counterparts. Whilst the game is easy for regular darts players who can possibly finish the game in 7 darts including the bull, it is a great way to play for those just starting out.
9. Gotcha Darts
Number of Players.
2 or more
How to play Gotcha Darts.
The game is relatively easy to follow and can be played in small or large groups. It involves setting a target number to aim for, in this case, say 301.
To win, a player must reach that number exactly by scoring with each allotted throw of darts. Now usually darts games are scored on countback meaning your score is deducted from 301, however here you simply start from 0 and add your scores.
So if you hit single 20, double 20, and single 5, your score is 65 and it’s a race between you and your opponents to reach the target score first.
What makes gotcha darts much more fun, is the availability to kill your opponent (obviously not literally) but by matching their accumulated score.
So if player 1 has an accumulated score of 95 from his previous 6 darts and you are on 40, then if you then match that score of 95 with your 3 darts then his score returns to zero, meaning their score is 0 and yours is 135(40 +95) and meaning you are much nearer the target.
You must reach your target exactly in order to win. If you go over it by even 1 point, you will bust and revert to your previous score. It very much depends on the skill of the players involved as to the initial target score, as obviously better players score higher and more often, whereas beginners will probably set a lower target to aim for.
The strategies will change within the game depending on how proficient the players are.