The steel-tip dartboard is 18 inches in diameter and about 2 inches thick, made of bristle material that allows the dart to penetrate about an inch and then ‘heals’ itself shortly after the dart is removed.
Some old English boards were actually made of Elm wood.
It is divided into sectors numbered from 1 to 20 with the ‘20’ always at the top of the board.
The board has two pairs of rings; the outer pair represent a double score for each sector and an inner pair that define the triple score for each sector.
The center of the board, “the bull,” has an inner ring scored as 50 points and an outer ring scored as 25 points.
“Bristle Boards,” as we refer to them, are available at local stores from about $70 and could be over $100 each.
You might get one on sale for around $35, but look at the quality of the board. A good board should have a number ring that can be easily taken off and rotated every month or so to keep the amount of wear to a minimum. When you remove a dart from the board, it will reduce the amount of wear on the board if you rotate it slightly before pulling it out.
It is mounted on the wall exactly 5 feet, 8 inches from the floor to the center of the bull.
The distance from the center of the bull to the throw line is 9 feet, 7-3/4 inches. This translates to 7 feet, 9-1/4 inches from a line dropped straight down from the center of the bull to the floor, to the throw line.
If more than one board is being set up, allow about 60 inches between the center of the bulls. This will allow for a scoreboard to be mounted between them with a scorekeeper “chalker” at the scoreboard. We use dry-erase boards, but chalkboards work well and are found in many pubs.
To begin a game, both players throw one dart for the bull, and the player whose dart is closest to the bull starts the game.
There are many different games played, but the majority of matches are played as ‘01,’ with singles matches starting at 301 and counting down to ‘0.’
In order to begin scoring, one of the darts must land in the outer sector of the board, the double ring, and from there on the score of the three darts is totaled and subtracted from 301 for the beginning total for your next round.
To win the game, the last dart must be in the double ring and it must take the score to ‘0.’
Doubles matches (two players per team) typically begin at 501 and play rotates among the players.
Another game is called Cricket. In this game the only numbers that count are 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and the bull.
A player “closes” a number by getting three of that number, and then it cannot be scored on by his opponent. That player can also score on that number until his opponent closes it on his side of the scoreboard.
When all of the numbers are closed, the game is won by the player with the highest score.
Soft-tip boards are electronic and you use lighter darts for play. All of the standard games are available on the machine and all the scoring is done by the machine.
Robby Robbins is Statistician for the Milton-Freewater Darts Association 2012-13 Executive Board. He’ll write an occasional column on the game of darts and his experiences with darts for the Union-Bulletin.
For more information on the Milton-Freewater Darts Association, see website http://home.valint.net/robby/MFDarts/.
Each player uses a set of three darts and they vary in size, weight, and configuration, selected to the player’s preference. They are typically weighted from 16 grams to over 40 grams, with barrels made of material such as brass, aluminum, tungsten, nickel/silver, or a combination of materials.
The barrel may have a variety of shapes from smooth to heavily knurled.
The flights may be feathers similar to conventional, arrows or plastic in various forms.
Soft-tip darts are more likely to be in the 14-18 gram range to prevent damage to the electronic board.
There is no right or wrong way to throw your darts. What is important, is that you select a dart that will fly straight when you release if from your fingers. This is the reason for the variety of barrel configurations, weight, and flight length.
Many dart shops will have hundreds of styles of darts and many have a few boards set up in the shop so you can try out your selection before you buy them. A limited selection is available from local stores and there are several catalog and on-line sources as well.
Typically most players try to keep the body quiet during the throw, stand up straight, and all of the action is from the shoulder to the wrist.