While the most commonly played game of darts is 501, there are actually plenty of darts games for you to play either at home or down the pub! Perfect for groups of players, these darts games are tons of fun and can even help improve your precision. The best part is, all you need to play them is some darts and a standard dartboard.
51 by 5’s
The aim of this game is to keep your score divisible by 5, aiming for 5, 10, 15, and 20. You determine the points value by dividing the count by 5 – the first player to get 51 ‘fives’ is the winner!
This is one of the most popular darts games aside from 501. American cricket players need to hit a variety of stated numbers on the dartboard. You can play either as two players or two teams. One cricket ‘inning’ is complete when a player or team scores three of the stated number. To win, you’ll need to close all the innings and score the most points. The only time you wouldn’t win despite closing the innings first is if you have less points than the opposing player or team.
This differs from American cricket in that it has a batter and a bowler involved in gameplay. The batter should take away 10 wickets on the dartboard, while the bowler should score as many points as possible using the remaining wickets. Whoever scores the most points during their turn as the batter wins!
Around The Clock
Just like the name suggests, players are meant to hit the numbers around the clock. Numbers 1 to 20 must be run in the order they appeal, with players changing turns after making each three rows. Players are given three darts each, and this is typically played as a game for two. Start by hitting number 1 and work your way around to 20, however, if you hit a double then you must skip the next number. So, if on your first turn you end up hitting 1 twice, then you have to skip hitting 2 and go straight to aiming for 3. Similarly, if you manage to hit 1 three times in a row, then you have to skip over both 2 and 3 and aim straight for 4! The winner is whoever manages to reach and hit 20 first.
180 Around The Clock
A tougher game of Around The Clock that can really boost your precision, 180 Around The Clock requires you to hit each number on the clock three times. Hit a triple each time and you’ll score 180, but be warned, even the most experienced players often only score between 120 to 140!
There is a darts version of baseball actually known as Dartball, but since that game requires a special board, most often casual players will play this version which only needs a standard dartboard. The aim of the game is to score the most runs each inning, with the highest scorer at the end of the game being named the winner.
Chase The Dragon
A favourite with casual darts players, Chase The Dragon requires you to hit the numbers from 10 to 20 while also hitting the outer and inner bull, all in sequence. If you manage to hit all 12 of the scoring areas before your opponents, you’re the winner!
Follow The Leader (aka. Follow On)
A simple game that can be enjoyed by groups of players, the object of Follow The Leader is to hit the target that the previous player landed on, and then set a new target for the next player to hit. If you manage to hit the target that the previous player has set, you get to set the next target. However, if you miss the target set by the previous player, you lose a life and the next player gets a chance to hit it instead. Whichever player has one or more lives at the end of the game is the winner.
Take three darts each and aim for the bullseye. Once you’ve hit a bullseye, throw for doubles; each double that you hit counts as a goal. Whichever player scores ten ‘goals’ first wins!
Based on the horse race the Grand National, the object of the Grand National darts game is to travel around the dartboard in an anticlockwise motion. Each player has 3 darts and should travel around the board treating each segment as a hurdle. You must hit at least one segment with each turn otherwise you ‘fall at the hurdle’ and are out of the game!
Select any six numbers that feature on the dartboard. Player one should aim for the first listed number; if they hit the number, they earn that amount of points. Players can throw three darts in one turn, so they have the chance to earn treble the points of the number value in one turn. However, if a player fails to hit their target, the score they’ve accumulated is halved. After all players have tried to hit all six numbers selected at the start of the game, the player with the highest remaining score is the winner.
Hare and Hounds
In a game of chase, one player is the hare and the opposing player is the hound. The hare starts at 20 while the hound starts at 5. Playing in a clockwise motion, both players must hit each point on the board. The hare’s aim is to come back around to 20 to win the game, while the hound’s aim is to simplycatch up to the hare to win the game.
A popular group game, Killer players have to blindly pick a number between 1–20. Each player must then aim to hit their number’s double three times. The first player to do this is now a killer. They then have to try and hit their opponent’s double, making the opponent lose a life. Once a player has lost all 3–5 lives, they’re out of the game, and the only remaining player in the game is the winner.
Similar to Killer, the twist of Blind Killer is that the players don’t know which number they’re aiming for! Each player can throw for any double on the board; any double hit is recorded – once a double has been hit three times, players should check what their assigned number is, and if it’s a number assigned to a player, they’re out of the game! The last player alive is the winner.
The first player should aim to hit as high a score as they can in the first throw. The next player then needs to try and hit a higher score, but if they can’t, they get a mark against their name. Three marks and you’re out of the game! The last player standing is the winner.
A game for two or more players, each player has three darts and is given 3–5 lives. The first player must hit any part of the board, but then hit the same spot in their subsequent throws. If they miss, they lose the game.
Very similar to American Cricket, Mickey Mouse has its own unique twist. The scoreboard should be drawn with numbers 20–12 including all doubles, trebles and bulls in descending order. Any number you hit on the board can count towards ‘closing’ the number – closing a number means to hit it three times whether that be on the double, treble or bull. Play continues until one person has closed a number.
Close six random numbers and hit the bullseye before your opponent can! A number is ‘closed’ if it’s hit three times, and once you’ve landed on one number you must focus on closing it before aiming for another number!
In this game, each player starts off with nine lives. The aim of the game is to hit each number on the board from 1–20 in the sequence they occur in a clockwise direction. If you miss a hit, you lose a life. The player that either completes the rotation with the most amount of lives intact, or is the only player left standing, wins.
The perfect game for groups of five, Prisoner is played by hitting a single dart in each spot from 1–20 in a clockwise direction. If a player misses their target, their dart is left in the board as a prisoner for one turn. Other players may attempt to capture the prisoner by hitting the same number, meaning they get to keep an additional dart. Play continues until one player manages to throw a dart in every number segment from 1–20.
A game for two, Scam is played with one player as the ‘stopper’ and the other as the ‘scorer’. The stopper has to try and stop the scorer from scoring by hitting their darts in the number segments first. The stopper throws first and tries to get the three highest possible numbers – hitting a segment takes it out of play for the scorer. The scorer then needs to try and aim for the highest available numbers left on the board. This continues until the stopper has hit all the numbers on the board from 1–20. The roles then reverse and the game is played again. The scores are compared at the end to determine the winner!
The aim of this game is to hit a single, treble and double in any order. The first player to achieve this wins!
Played either with two people or two teams, the first player must throw a number between 1–15 which is then counted as a Red Ball (worth 1 point). They can then aim for a ‘coloured ball’ between 16–bullseye. The points system is as follows:
1–15 Red Ball – 1 point
16 Yellow Ball – 2 points
17 Green Ball – 3 points
18 Brown Ball – 4 points
19 Blue Ball – 5 points
20 Pink Ball – 6 points
Bullseye Black Ball – 7 points
The rules can get a little complicated after this, so read our dedicated guide on how to play snooker on a dartboard!
A great multiplayer game, Sudden Death is both quick and simple. All you have to do is score as many points as you can! Throw your three darts to try and get the highest score, the lowest scoring player is knocked out of the game.
The ‘01 Darts Games
We mentioned the classic 501 game above, but this is just one of many ‘01 darts games you can play, including 301, 501, 701, 901 and even 1001. Players are assigned scores at the start of the match, and are able to win when they reduce their points to 0 (but not lower). Different parts of the board are assigned different scores – the inner bull typically counts as 50 points with the outer bull counting as 25. To finish the game, the player must hit a double. So, if a player has 32 points left against their name, they could try to win by hitting a double 16.
Before you start this game, draw up a noughts-and-crosses board with nine spaces. Draw the bull at the centre, then write other numbers from the dartboard in the remaining squares. Players that hit a number written on the noughts-and-crosses board get to cross it off, with the first person to get three in a row declared the winner!