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Dart-Boards - do you know the score?

The game of darts, simple as it might look, is actually surprisingly complicated. The aim is to throw darts at a dartboard in order to score points, but to get the highest score your throws need to be incredibly precise, aimed at a thin area of the board.

Looking at a dartboard, you'd think the aim of the game was to throw the darts at the target in the middle (the "bull's eye") - but you'd be wrong. The way to score highest in darts is actually by hitting the innermost ring below the 20 three times, scoring a triple 20 each time for the highest possible score of "one hundred and eighty!" Even though it is larger, its odd location makes triple 20 arguably harder to hit consistently than the bull's eye, especially as 20 is so cruelly placed right next to 1, so that the highest and lowest scores on the board are less than an inch apart.

At the start of the game, each player has a score of 501, and points they score on their turn are subtracted from their score, the aim of the game being to reach zero first - but not go past it. This means that the first half of the game is a straight race to score as many points as possible, but at the end you must be extremely accurate: you must not only reach zero exactly but do it by hitting a double (the strips towards the outside of the board). Often many of these games will be played in sets, much like tennis, in order to decide the winner.

Together with pool, darts is a popular game in pubs and bars, as it is competitive and tense without being physically demanding or taking up very much space to play. If you do see a dartboard, though, make sure not to stand in the way of it - darts are very sharp, and the dartboard is usually hung at about head level, which isn't a good combination!

John Gibb is the owner of dartboard information, For more information on dartboards please check out

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