Cricket is arguably the most popular version of darts. When playing with friends at a bar or a social gathering, people often play cricket. It’s the most interesting, in my opinion, because you have to be a better strategist than you do a dart thrower, although being both is ideal. First step is to set up the game.
Setting up the Game:
- There is generally a chalk board or dry erase board next to every dart board at a bar. Use it to write the numbers from 20-15 and bullseye down the left side (some dart-chalk boards already have the numbers written out on the left side for you).
- Put the participants’ names (individual or team – up to 4 total) across the top of the dart board, and then make it look like a grid, so that each individual or team name corresponds with each scoring number.
- Determine an order for throwing. Each individual or team will throw 3 darts per turn. In team play, it’s common for players to alternate turns for their team.
- Standard throwing rules apply. The throw line should be 7 feet and 9 and ¼ inches from the face of the dart board if you’re using steel-tipped darts. It should be an even 8 feet if you’re using soft-tipped darts (this should be marked for you in any bar).
The gameplay is simple to learn, but can take a while to master. That’s why cricket is so popular with both novices and players of advanced skill.
- The only spaces on the dart board that count in cricket are the numbers 20-15 and the bullseye, and you have to hit each of those spaces 3 times in order to close it out.
- When you hit one of the numbers or the bullseye during your turn, mark the board in the corresponding team and number square with a backslash. When you hit the number a second time, use a forward slash to make that number’s square have an X in it. When you hit that same number a third time, put a circle around the X, and that number is closed out.
- The double and triple options for each number apply in cricket as well. The outer ring of a number on a standard dartboard is worth double the number. If you hit the outside ring of one of the numbers in play, it counts as if you’ve hit it twice. Example, if you have already hit the 18 once, and then you hit a double 18, you can mark the forward slash and the circle, and 18s will be closed out. The inner ring on each number is worth triple. Same situation with the double, only you get to count it as if you’ve hit that particular number 3 times. The bullseye has an inner ring as well, and that’s worth 2 bullseyes, however, there is no spot on the dart board that will give you 3 bullseyes with one throw. The triple bullseyes is the unicorn of darts: It sounds amazing, but doesn’t exist.
Winning the Game:
Determining a winner depends on how you want to play the game. If you just want to see who can close out 20-15 and bull’s eyes first, then the winner will obviously be the one who does that first. There are versions of cricket where points become a factor.
Scoring rules with points are as follows:
- The only spaces on the board that matter for scoring are still 20-15 and bullseye.
- The only way to score on any of these numbers is to already have them closed out AND for your opponent(s) to not already have them closed out. Example: If Bill has closed out 20s, and his opponent, Ted, has only hit one 20, then every time Bill hits a 20 until Ted closes them out, Bill will get 20 points added to his score. The double and triple rings apply in scoring as well. In this example, Bill thinks this rule is excellent, while Ted can get quite frustrated.
- Winner is determined by who has the most points AND has completely closed out 20-15 and bullseye.
This is where strategy comes into play. Do you try to close everything out early and risk going behind in points, or do you try to build a point lead and risk not having numbers closed out quickly enough? That’s up to you.
Any way you decide to play, the outcome will take a back seat to the fun you have getting there. Always a popular game, always a good time.