- 3 Darts
- Paper and Pen or Chalkboard and Chalk
- A afe space for darts
Additional Setup Notes
- Make sure your game of 301 is set up properly! According to the Darts Regulation Authority, the standard rule for dartboard placement is 5’8” from the ground, with a throwing distance of 7 feet and 9.25 inches.
- On either a paper or chalkboard, designate half for both teams’ scores, with 301 on the top.
- Select who will “go first” by flipping a coin and playing a mini-game to decide. The winner of the coin toss will then choose which player to throw first toward the bullseye, between themselves or their opponent. Whichever player throws their dart closest to the bullseye shoots first in the game of 301.
- Outer Ring: Double the Score
- Inner Ring: Triple the Score
- Outer Bullseye: 25
- Inner Bullseye: 50
The objective of 301 is to reach that score during the game. Instead of adding scores, you’ll be subtracting from your score of 301. Players will all start with 301 points and work their way down through strategic dart throws. The first player who can subtract all 301 of their points without going over wins the game.
301 is played like many games of darts, with mindful attention shown toward the scoring process. Once the first player throwing has been determined, each player will take turns throwing 3 darts. This begins the process of “Doubling In,” meaning players must hit a number in the outer ring on the dartboard to begin earning points.
After you’ve successfully doubled in, every dart throw begins adding to your total points. Some 301 players will ditch the Doubling In stage in favor of going “straight in,” allowing all throws to instantly begin earning players points. It’s a solid bet for beginning players who struggle to throw a successful double shot.
Once the game begins, you’ll quickly get into a swing of throwing darts and subtracting from 301. For example, if you throw a 10, a 7, and then a 12, you would subtract 29 points from the 301 you originally began.
It might be tempting to aim for the bullseye or higher numbers on the board, but don’t neglect the value of the inner and outer rings for stacking up a high-value round. For example, If you had hit triples of the above values, you would be subtracting 87 whopping points from 301 instead of 29, a game-changing round. Especially for the early stages of the game of 301, the higher value scores are the name of the game. Late game 301 isn’t about going for the big scores, it’s about meticulous aiming and mindful math.
301 can get quite competitive once the score gets close to 0… But remember: you’re looking for your throws to add up to 301 exactly without going into the negatives. To successfully win 301, players must reach 0 by “Doubling Out,” the reverse of doubling in, but slightly more difficult. The final dart thrown by the winner must be a double shot. For example, if you need 50 points to reach 0, you’d need to hit a double 25 to win. If your first dart landed on a 10, your second throw would need to land on a double 20 to win, and so forth.
The first player to double out and subtract all 301 points is the champion.
301 Tips & Strategy
Any strategies employed in a standard dart game are likely helpful during a game of 301, with the main differentiation being the math involved toward the end. All numbers on the dartboard are fair game, but hitting doubles and triples is the best way to score high-value rounds and maximize each turn.
301 Variations and Alternate Rules
Since the game of 301 is fairly straightforward, it’s easy to tweak the game to shorten or lengthen the pace. 501 is an equally beloved darts game typically reserved for more seasoned dart players who enjoy a longer game. 301 is designed to be simple, but feel free to adjust the score to 401, 501, or even 901 if you have the time.
Can 301 be played with more than 2 players?
301 is typically played between two people, but can be expanded to add players as long as each team has an equal number of players. Just make sure when setting up the game to create a designated turn order to keep everything fair.
When choosing who goes first, what happens if both players hit the bullseye?
Some of the most experienced games of 301 may have both players hitting the bullseye when choosing who goes first. If both players manage this impressive feat, they must both retrieve their darts and throw again until a winner has been decided.