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What is Cricket Darts?

If you’re looking for a fun and competitive darts game to play with your friends, you will absolutely love cricket darts! It’s one of the most popular darts games in the world, and it’s also called Mickey Mouse, Tactics, Horse and Carriage, Faldo and The Game.

It is typically played with two players, or you can form two competing teams with as many players as you want.

Equipment for the Cricket Darts

  • A dartboard
  • At least three darts (or more if you don’t wish to share)
  • Paper and pen or a - Paper and pen or a darts cricket scoreboard darts cricket scoreboard

How to play Cricket Darts

The main objective of cricket darts is to “close out” all the numbers from 20 down to 15 including the bullseye and to do it before your opponent. You should have at least have the same number of points as your opponents or more. You “close” a number by hitting the number three times.

Learning how to play cricket darts can be challenging at first, but you will have a blast learning!

Cricket darts rules

Here are the rules that you should know when playing cricket darts:

1. You play cricket darts on a traditional dartboard.

The dartboard should be hung at the height of 5’8”. You should measure it from the floor to the center of the inner bull.

2. To decide on the playing order, both players take turns to throw one dart aiming at the bull’s eye.

The player whose dart lands closest to the bull’s eye gets to throw first.

3. Players take turns throwing three darts at the board, trying to hit 15 through 20, as well as the bullseye.

You may hit the numbers in any order, although most people go for the highest numbers first. If you hit any number, nothing happens.

4. Cricket darts require each person to “close out” a number.

To “close out” a number, a player needs to hit a number three times. Hitting the double counts as two hits and hitting triple counts as three.

5. The first person to “close out” a number owns that number and can score points on it until the other player closes it as well.

Taking this into account, if on the very first round you were to hit a double 20 and two single 20s, you would close the 20 out as well as score 20 points.

6. Once both players have closed out a number, the number is dead and it is no longer in play.

This means that the players can no longer score points on it.

7. In order to win you have to be the first person to close all the numbers, 15-20, the bull’s-eye and to be either even or ahead in points. These are the different ways to win the game:

  • The player/team that closes all innings first and has the most points, shall be declared the winner.
  • If both sides are tied on points, or have no points, the first player/team to close all innings shall be the winner.
  • If a player/team closes all innings first, and is behind in points, he/they must continue to score on any innings not closed until either the point deficit is made up, or the opponent has closed all innings.

Cricket darts scoring

A cricket dart game becomes more interesting once you start tracking everyone’s points. There’s nothing like a competitive yet enjoyable darts game to keep everyone on their toes!

Here’s how to keep score in darts cricket:

  1. Set up the darts cricket scoreboard with a chart divided into three sections, two for each team and one in the middle for numbers 15 through 20 and the bullseye. Write the numbers 20 down to 15 and bullseye in descending order down the center of the scoreboard.
  2. For players to score points, they must throw darts at any of the numbers from 20 through 15 and the bullseye.
  3. The outer ring counts as two of that number (double) and the inner ring counts for three of that number (triple).
  4. The outer bull counts as a single (25 points) while the inner bull counts as a double (50 points).
  5. In the score sheet, scoring for one dart is indicated with a slash “/” beside the number scored. If a player scores two, an “X” is written next to the number, and if a player scores three, an “O” is written next to the number.
  6. These symbols are written to indicate that the number is closed. When three of a number is hit in any combination, the number is closed.

Remember that players are responsible for verifying their score before they remove their darts from the dartboard. No score alterations will be allowed once a dart has been taken off the board.

Bonus Tip: Make cricket darts scoring easier and download a printable cricket darts score sheet.

Darts cricket strategy

A great cricket darts strategy can make a whole lot of difference between winning and losing even if you know how to throw darts.

Here are some simple strategies to increase your chances of winning in cricket darts:

1. Act fast when your opponent opens a number

If your opponent opens a number, the opponent will be able to score on that number. In order to prevent your opponent from scoring points, aim for triples to close out the number.

If the number is closed, the opponent can no longer score points on that closed area. Also, you won’t always hit the triple ring, but aiming for the triple increases your odds of at least hitting a single.

2. Securely hit singles

Hitting doubles and triples will quickly close the number, but the basic strategy is to first securely hit three singles.

3. Attack in a horizontal line

One good strategy is to work in a horizontal line. For example, try aiming for numbers on the upper horizontal line first (12 and 18), then those on the lower horizontal line (16, 19, 17 and 15), or aim for a mix of upper and lower horizontal lines. (20, 18, 19 and 17)

4. Throw first and gain points

If you throw first, you can close out a number and start adding points before your opponent has even started. When they finally take their first turn, they will be starting the game by playing catch-up.

Try to get as many points as possible at the start of the game and aim for the bullseye.

5. Know your comfort zone

If you have some numbers that are easier for you, try to close these first and build a buffer with points.

If you’re more comfortable with numbers at the bottom of the board (i.e. 16 or 19), aim for those initially to create some room and give yourself more time on the numbers that are usually more difficult for you.

6. Don’t forget the bull

For many players, closing out the bull is the most challenging part of the game. Even if you’re ahead on numbers and points, leaving the bullseye open gives your opponent a chance to catch up. So take care of it sooner than later.

Cricket darts tips for beginners

Learning how to play cricket darts may be confusing at first. Here are some simple tips that beginners should keep in mind when they start playing cricket darts:

  1. Learn the rules.
  2. Figure out the dart grip that works best for you.
  3. Learn the common terms used during the game.
  4. Practice a lot.
  5. Aim to be the first player who throws a dart.
  6. Try to close the highest number first and earn as many points as possible so that your opponent will have to catch up.
  7. If you are behind on points, try to “close out” the number that your opponent is scoring or keep on trying to collect points for yourself.
  8. Always aim for the triple ring of your number since a triple will “close out” a number in a single shot.
  9. Avoid having an excessive lead which is called point mongering since this is considered unsportsmanlike.

Cricket darts variations

Similar to other darts games, there are many variations of cricket darts that you can try depending on your mood.

1. Gentleman’s Cricket

This is similar to regular cricket darts. The only difference is that each player calls out a number before throwing their dart. For example, if you call out 20 and hit 19, you will not earn any points.

2. Wild Mouse or Tactics

This version of cricket darts requires players to hit three doubles, three triples and three bullseyes in order to win. The other variations of this game is one where all numbers, even non-cricket numbers are available and one where only numbers 15 through 20 count.

3. English Cricket

English cricket is also called Bowlers and Batters. The player who has the bowler role needs to hit 10 bullseyes with the outer ring counting as one and the inner ring counting as two. At the same time, the player who acts as the batter tries to score as many “runs” as possible, using any number on the dartboard.

Only runs totalling over 40 in a round count. For example, if a player scores 46 points in a round, it counts for only 6 runs. Once the bowler hits 10 bullseyes, the inning is over and the players switch sides. The player with the most runs wins.

Want to play more darts?

Now that you have a better understanding of how a cricket dart game works, try playing a game with your friends!

Just keep in mind that learning how to play darts takes a lot of practice. If you want to learn how to throw darts well, you should play not just cricket darts but other darts games too!

Check out more darts games and info on darts here.

✍️  March 1, 2021

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