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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 12:05 GMT
Board of brilliant versatility
Pros play alternative games to help practice skills like hitting doubles
The old darts saying of "trebles for show, doubles for dough" does not necessarily apply to everyone.

While the world's best hit the treble 20s and double 16s with scholarly precision, many wannabe darters struggle round the board like delinquent first formers.

Getting down from the traditional 501 starting point can feel like a marathon long before you've started the slog of peppering darts around a double.

Slowly but surely you end up in the madhouse of double one with the wall behind looking like the top of a pepper pot.

If 501 is not your flight of fancy do not let darts tradition stop you from stepping up to the oche.

The dartboard is highly adaptable. Are you?

BBC Sport suggests some alternative games that can be played with three darts and a board.

  • Round the clock

    Floor to bullseye - 173cms
    Oche to board - 237cms
    An old classic which does exactly as it says on the tin.

    Starting on one, work your way numerically around the board ending at 20.

    In order to level the playing field, handicapping can be adopted whereby better players are limited to certain beds within the number.

  • Shanghai

    Commentators come out with some rubbish, and shouts of 'Shanghai' in the salubrious surroundings of the Lakeside seem as apt as a Chinaman at a cricket match.

    But just like the jargon in cricket, it all makes sense to someone.

    Shanghai is the given name for hitting a single, double and treble of the same score and this game is a step up from round the clock.

    Starting with one, you go round the clock scoring points on each of the targets.

    When you land them all - Shanghai - you win, and if nobody has achieved the feat by the end of the game, the player with most points from the previous rounds wins.

    If you fail to throw a dart in the numbered bed on your go you are eliminated.

  • Killer

    A game for any number of people from two to 20 - the more the merrier - and one that helps players with double trouble.

    Having decided upon a starting order playing diddle the middle, closest to the bull, players throw left handed to determine their number to aim for. No two players can play the same number in one game.

    A player must hit his double to become a killer and can then start the business of taking lives from other players by scoring in their double.

    Players start with three lives and the winner is the last player left with a life.

  • Cricket

    The game goes under various names, most commonly with the prefix Australian.

    But whereas the Aussies normally win the game of leather and willow, the arrow and oche version has the added advantage of potential handicapping to level the playing field.

    The 'batsman' needs to throw big scores to accumulate the runs and the 'bowler' needs to hit targets to claim wickets.

    In terms of runs, players select a minimum score and anything in excess of that mark is added to the total. For example, if the run mark is 50, two 20s and an 18 (58) will score eight runs.

    The scoring mark can be either increased or reduced depending on ability, as can the size of the wicket target.

    Traditionally dismissals occur when the bowler lands a dart in the bull (two wickets) or outer bull (one wicket), although, again players can change, increase or reduce the target area and reward to suit ability.

  • Mickey Mouse

    Mickey Mouse
    Fancy dress is optional
    There are inumerable variations and names to one of the sport's most popular games.

    The problem is, it also happens to be the most complicated.

    First you need to set up a scoreboard with categories running from 20 down to 12 and doubles, trebles, bulls and beds.

    The object of the game is to close all the categories by landing in them three times in a throw and once that is achieved you can score points in them before your opponents also close the category.

    The winner is the first person to close all the categories and finish with the most points.

    Think it sounds simple? Try this tongue twister as an example.

    A treble 20, 20, 20 could be taken as three 20s and two 20s or a treble 20 and two 20s.

    That's right. A treble 20 can count as three 20s or a treble, a bed is made when getting three darts in the same number on the same throw and an inner bull counts as two bulls or a double.

    It's enough to turn you to drink and a different double. While you're at the bar maybe the barman could explain the rules.

    Links to more World Darts 2004 stories





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