The Best Darts Games You Can Play

Learn how to play some of the best darts games

If you were to walk into any pub, the one thing that you’re not likely to miss is a dartboard. Apart from being a professional sport, Darts is a classic game that’s common throughout the Northern hemisphere. It’s one of the very few things that the Americans, Germans, Scandinavians and the Irish have in common.

One aspect that makes Darts popular is its versatility. There are tons of games that you can play on a dartboard, whether it be with a group or even by yourself; ranging from Cricket to Half-It, Looper, plus many more.

In this post, we’ll list all of the most popular Darts games, as well as how to play each one.

So, lets get into it!

Cricket ?

Cricket is seen as one of the most popular dart games in America, mainly due to it’s sheer simplicity.

In other countries, Cricket is more commonly know by different several different names, depending where you go, such as: “Mickey Mouse”, “Tactics”, “Horse and Carriage”, “Flado” or “Coach and Horses”, among others.

Required number of players:
It can be played by 2 to 4 players
Numbers in play:
It uses the numbers 15 through to 20, plus the bullseye. Occasionally, you’ll find players using numbers 10 to 20 and the bullseye.

Cricket Darts Game - Scoreboard


The aim of the game is to ‘close out’ the set of numbers we discussed earlier, either 15 through 20 or 10 through 20 plus the bullseye, by hitting each one of these three times before your opponent can.

You ‘close out’ a number by hitting each the Treble, Double and Single scoring zones of the respected number.

However, after one player closes a number, any additional hits on this number are added to that players score tally. This player can add to their points tally up until their opponent manages to close this number.

The game involves taking turns throwing three darts. Once a player has thrown their three darts, their hits for that round are tallied on the scoreboard and marks are added to the respected numbers.

The darts are then collected from the board and the next player takes their turn.

If the game is played in teams, then each player gets a turn throwing a dart until all three darts are thrown for that group, then a player from the opposing group will throw.

This carries on until all the numbers and the bullseye are closed. Points are tallied and the team or player with the highest number of points wins.

How to play Cricket Darts

Around the Clock ?

This is sometimes referred to as “Around the World”. The game is not only fun but it’s also great for players looking to improve their hand, eye co-ordination.

Plus, it has a really simple game, meaning it can be an ideal game to play for beginners to the sport. But, what I like most about this dart game is that it’s not competitive natured. It’s meant to be played for fun.

Number of players:
Can be played by 1 or an unlimited number of players at once.
Numbers in play:
All numbers are in play for this game. Hence the name ‘Around the Clock’


The aim of the game is to hit all the numbers on the board in an ascending order before your opponents do (1-20). Every player gets a turn to throw a dart and hit the next number in the sequence.

You’re free to hit the doubles and triples as well. As we say, every number is in play.

However, you won’t get any extra points for these. So, even if you hit a double Eight, it will only count as an 8 and not a 16.

Thus, the game starts with the first player targeting numbers 1, 2 and 3. Once the player has thrown their three darts, it’s another player’s turn to aim for the numbers that follow, that is, 4, 5 & 6.

You cannot move to a different number until you hit the number you’re targeting.

Once all 20 numbers have been hit, the next thing is to try and hit the bullseye. Whoever manages to throw a dart at the bullseye first, wins!

Hare and Hounds ??

Another fun dart game, hare and hounds, is no different from the classic outdoor chasing game. The objective of this game depends on the role you’re assigned, that is, whether you’re the hare or the hound.

Number of players:
At least two players are required for this game.
Numbers in play:
All the numbers are in play.


If you’re playing as the Hare, your aim is to go around the board, Clockwise before the your opponent (the Hound) is able to catch up with you.

Alternatively, if you’re playing as the Hound, your goal is to catch up to and pass your opponent. However, it’s important to note that this is an asymmetrical game; meaning that players start off at different points of the board.

The Hare starts on number 20 while the hound starts one spot to the left (number 5).

Each player then takes turns to throw darts in an alternating manner. The only way a player can advance in the game is by throwing a dart on the preceding section during their turn.

The game is won by the Hare if this player manages to do a complete lap and land back on the number 20, or if the Hound manages to pass the Hare’s current position.

Overall, Hare and Hounds is best played by two players with equal skill sets. However, if there’s a skill gap between you and your opposing player, you can adjust the starting position of each player.

For instance, if the inexperienced player is the Hare, then you can have the Hound start off further back than the number 5. Alternatively, the novice player can be given more opportunities to throw darts on the board.


Also known as half-it, this game’s name is derived from the point penalty that a player suffers every time they’re not able to hit their target. This is one of the more challenging games; hence, it’s more suitable for advanced players. Novice or beginner players may find half-it a bit ruthless and lose interest early on in the game.  However, this is not to mean that they cannot play it. In fact, they can learn a great deal and enhance their mental acuity.

Number of players

Number of players:
Two players or two teams
Numbers in play:
All numbers are in play for this game. Yet different for each round.


This game can be played one vs one or in teams of single players. However, the players have to consent on the number of rounds that will be played as well as the assigned target for every round, beforehand.

For example, we’ve draw out a target for each round, below:

Half-It Darts Game Scoreboard

When the game begins, the first player is required to hit the first number, or cumulative score on the list. In the example above, this would be 20.

With one of their 3 darts, each player must hit the first number in the list, with any other number they hit getting added to their score for the round. For example if the player throws triple 20 and 20 he gets 80 points.

The standard dart game rules apply, which means that Doubles earn you 2x the points and Triples earn you 3x.


If on the next shot any player fails to throw a double 15 with their 3 darts, as highlighted in our given example; their score is halved.

After all players have thrown the six selected numbers, the player with the highest score wins the game.

Chase the Dragon ??

Chase the Dragon is fairly similar to ‘Around the Clock’ but has a twist which makes it that much more challenging.

Number of players:
At least two players are required
Numbers in play:
10 to 20 and the bullseye


The aim of the game is to land your darts on each of the treble segments, which are worth triple points. The first area of focus is the numbers 10 to 20, followed by the outer bull and ultimately, the bullseye.

Just as in the game of Around the Clock, the goal is to hit these numbers in a sequential order while focusing on the trebles. To put this into perspective, you have to hit a triple 12 before proceeding to hit a triple 13.

Each player gets three darts to throw per round. This means they have three chances to land their dart on the corresponding treble.

However, if you don’t manage to hit the target number with any of your three darts, you lose your opportunity and the next player gets their turn.

The player to hit all the trebles from numbers 10 through 20, the outer and inner bullseye, wins the game.

Knockout ?

If you’re looking for a Darts game that’s competitive, then Knockout is a perfect option for you. Essentially, with each round players go head-to-head in an attempt to get the highest score they can.

Number of players:
An unlimited number of players can play.
Numbers in play:
All numbers are in play.


At the beginning, every participant is given a chance to throw one dart. The purpose of this is to determine the order in which players will throw.

This depends on how close your dart lands to the bullseye.

If you hit closest to the bull, you get to go first. If you’re the first player, your goal is to hit the highest score possible. Once your dart lands on a number, the score is recorded. The next player has to land their dart on a number much higher than the one hit by the first player.

So for instance, the 3rd player must beat the 2nd, and the 4th should try and beat the 3rd. This continues until the first player gets a second turn. They must then try and beat the last participant on the scoreboard.

If the subsequent player fails to accomplish this, his/her name is circled. If you end up with three circles, you’re out of the game. The last player standing is the one who wins the game.

The best strategy to employ in this game is to familiarize yourself with your opponents’ skill levels. Once you know their mastery of the game, you can assess the risk of hitting higher targets, which makes it harder for the player who follows you.


This is a very interesting game that blends the simple game of tic tac toe with darts.

Tick Tac Toe Darts Game

Sound odd? Let us explain..

Number of players

Number of players:
2 players or teams are required
Numbers in play:
12, 20, 18, 11, 6, 7, 3, 2 and the bullseye


The game starts by drawing the standard tic-tac-toe grids on the board. A tiny grid is drawn in each of the two player’s/team’s columns. There’s also a bigger grid drawn at the middle, representing progress of the main game.

The numbers in play appear on the dartboard with identical placement to the Tic-Tac-Toe  box they represent. Whereas ‘B’ refers to bullseye.

For a player to mark an “X” or “O” in the big game board, they have to ‘close’ the number first in their small game board.

To achieve this, three throws of that number have to be scored, with the thin outer ring representing a double (2 points) and the inner ring representing a triple (3 points) and of course, the single scoring zone (1 point).

When it comes to scoring, a score of one is represented using a slash (/), a score of two is represented with an X, while a score of three is represented with a circle (O) to indicate that it’s closed.

Tic Tac Toe scoreboard

For instance, if a player lands their dart on a single 18, a double 18 and a single 7, in their small board, they’d place a circle in the upper left hand box  to indicate that 18 is closed.

They’d also place a slash in the lower left hand box to represent the score for the single 7.

Since that individual is the first to close 18, they can claim the upper left hand corner on the bigger game board by placing an X or O (shown to the right). This means that 18’s are no longer in player for the other opponents to play.

The winner of the game is the first to end up with their X’s or O’s in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal pattern on the main scoreboard.


Also known as loop, this is a game that can be played by two or more players. As with most dart games, every player gets three darts to work with when it’s their turn to play. Looper is the perfect game to play if you’re looking for a little friendly competition.

This game is not so much about good teamwork as it is about sabotaging your playmates and setting them up for failure.

Number of players:
An unlimited number of players
Numbers in play:
All numbers on the board are in play


This game is based on an incredibly simple premise: hit the target number that’s set for you.

At the beginning of the game, each player is given between 3 and 5 lives. With every dart you throw, you have to be accurate, or else you lose a life.

The game starts when the first player throws a dart to set the first target number. This participant has to aim using their non-dominant hand so as to provide a fair play environment. Afterwards, you can choose any other target numbers for your opponents.

If you end up using all three darts to hit the target number, then you’ll need to throw a fourth dart to set a new target for the next player.

In the event that a player uses their three darts and fails to hit the set target, they’ll lose a life. In addition to that, the target remains the same for the individual playing next.

If none of the participants manages to hit the target and the cycle reaches the player who set the target, they’re free to set a new target or pass on the opportunity to play.


A good number of dart games require an even number of participants or groups. However, the Killer dart game can be played by as many or as few people as you like.

Number of players:
There’s no limit; the higher the number of players the better.
Numbers in play:
All numbers on the board are in play.


This is one of the simplest dart games you can play, which makes it ideal for beginners. Personally, this is my favorite game.

Your goal is to hit your target number and move onto hitting your opponents’ target numbers, at which point, they’ll start losing lives.

The game starts with every participant throwing a dart on the board. The number on which your dart lands is the number unique to you throughout the game. Usually, every player has to aim using their left hand to keep things fair.

Let’s say you’ve hit number 12. Your aim is to hit this number six times. Of course, other players get their turns to aim at their target numbers as well.

Every time you land on your target number, you score a point and get to write a letter next to your name on the scoreboard. You’ll start with K then I, L, L, E, R. Essentially, you’re trying to be the first person to spell out the word ‘KILLER’.

If you manage to hit your sixth 12, you become a ‘killer’ and this earns you the right to start aiming at your opponents’ numbers. For each of your opponent’s number that you hit, they’ll lose a life.

Your goal is to force them to lose more lives than the number of letters they have on the board. This means that if an opponent only has the letter K against their name, and you hit their target number once, they’re out of the game.


If you’re a beginner, one of the games you can play to improve your skills is Shanghai. The best thing about this game is that covers the whole board. This means that if you play enough times, you’ll be able to hit any number and challenge yourself with more complex dart games.

Number of players

Number of players:
At least two players are needed for this game
Numbers in play:
All numbers across the board are in play


The goal of the game is to score higher points than your opponents. You accomplish this by aiming at one number every round. The game starts at 1 and ends at 20. If you manage to hit a single, double and triple of the same number with 3 darts, you win the game.

To establish the order in which the participants will throw their darts, each player will firstly throw two darts on the board at the same time. The order will be based on the scores of the players. This means the individual who scores the highest gets to go first.

Once the order is determined, the numbers 1 through 20 are written down on the left column. Although, this list can be reduced if you’re looking for a shorter game.

So, in the first round, you’ll need to hit the number 1 scoring zone, if you want to score. In the second round, only 2’s earn you a score and so forth.

Once all twenty rounds have been played, the player with the highest points, wins. But as we mentioned earlier, the aim of the game is to hit a Shanghai, that is, hitting a single, double and triple of one number

If you manage to do this; you win regardless of what the other players have scored in previous rounds.

how to play Shanghai darts


For those who are unfamiliar with this sport, they assume that this game is only about throwing darts on the board to try and get the highest score.

But, there are so many variations of this concept that can be played on a dartboard. Some can be played by single players while others can be played in groups. Similarly, some are competitive in nature while others aren’t.

Either way, we hope we’ve provided some good options to help improve your game, or just to simply play among friends.

Michael Andrew

Michael Andrew

Michael Andrew has been playing Darts for more than 20 years and is passionate about helping others improve their game through his own experiences.