- At least three darts (or more if you don’t wish to share)
- A dartboard
- Paper and pen (or a chalkboard and chalk) to keep score
Additional Setup Notes
- Make sure your game of Cricket 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 three areas for scoring: two sections for each team, a thin center section with the numbers 20,19,18,17,16,15, and the bullseye running vertically downward.
- Select who will go first by flipping a coin to decide.
Cricket is an intensely fun game, perfect for experienced darts players looking to up the competition’s ante. The objective of Cricket is to have more points than the other team once numbers 15 through 20 and the bullseye have been “closed out.”
- Keep these numbers in mind: 20,19,18,17,16,15, and the bullseye. All other numbers on the board earn zero points.
- When a team scores a single on one of these numbers for the first time, mark it with a “/” symbol on their section to indicate it’s been opened. When a team scores a double on that number (within the number’s outer ring), it’s marked with an “X” to indicate a double hit. Once the number has hit the inner ring or hits a triple on that number, it’s marked with an X with a circle around it. (Think the X-Men symbol).
- /=single, X=double, X with O= triple. Singles are one point, doubles are two points, and triples are three points.
- After a number has been closed out, players can begin accumulating points on that value, closing it out for the other player.
At the beginning of the game, numbers 15-20 and the bullseye are both “open” to each player. Players “close out” these sections by scoring three marks on the number. Players can hit a triple by hitting the outer ring of a number (scoring a double) to open the space, then hitting a single (adding up to three), or it can be as simple as hitting the inner ring of a number once for a triple (instant open and own). As for the bullseye, the inner ring counts as a double, and the outer counts as a single.
After deciding who goes first, players take turns throwing their three darts at the board, aiming for numbers 15 through 20, as well as the bullseye. All other numbers on the board have no value. The primary goal of the game is to close out numbers 15-20, as well as the bullseye, with each player hitting each of those numbers three times.
Once a player hits a number, it becomes opened and “owned” by that player for point-earning. They can then start earning points on that number, while their opponent attempts to close it out on their side, earning no points during that process. Once both players have hit a number three times, it is “closed out.”
Players can hit a triple by hitting the outer ring of a number (scoring a double) to open the space, then hitting a single (adding up to three), or it can be as simple as hitting the inner ring of a number once for a triple (instant open and own). As for the bullseye, the inner ring counts as a double, and the outer counts as a single.
For example, if you hit the inner ring of 20, that would immediately open it up for your team. Once a player closes out a number before their opponent, they can begin throwing their darts to rack up points on that number. For this example, the team who opened the 20 can throw to hit that section, scoring 20, double 20, however much they can during that time. Once the opposing team also hits a triple on the 20, it’s “closed out” and no longer in play. From then on, neither team can score points on that unit.
As the game progresses, more and more of the numbers between the bullseye and 15-20 will become closed. Late-game Cricket is all about balancing the importance of racking up points while also closing out the board to prevent the other player from doing the same.
Part of the fun of Cricket is that the end of the game can really sneak up on you, as some players will prioritize scoring points while others might strategize a speedy game to prevent high scores. Cricket ends when numbers 15-20 and the bullseye have been closed out by both teams. Whichever player or team has the most points, wins!
Strategy & Tips
- Aim for High Numbers: When playing Cricket, it’s always beneficial for players to close out the highest targets possible before their opponent gets the chance. The high point values are game-changing and can lead to earning more hits on a throw. For example, if you hit a double on a 15 and then hit a triple on a 15, not only does it close out that section, but it also increases your score by 30 points.
- Save the Bull: Save the bullseye for last to keep the focus on closing out other sections. Because it is the most difficult target to hit, experienced players typically save it for the final closeout since scoring points on it once it’s closed out is much less likely than for the other values.
Like many dart games, dozens of variations to the game of Cricket can add a fun twist to the formula. Feel free to come up with whatever customization to the game of Cricket you wish, or catch some of the popular variations, below.
- Cut Throat Cricket: The player with the lowest score wins. Once a player owns a number, the points they score go to their opponent instead. All other rules remain the same.
- No Score Cricket: No points at all! This variation features a race to close out all the numbers, perfect for beginners to the game of Cricket.
- Low Pitch Cricket: Instead of the higher numbers, players are racing to close out 1-6 and the bullseye.
- Single/Double/Treble Only Cricket: This twist on Cricket adjusts how much each throw is worth and how they can be added to other sets of numbers. In single-only Cricket, each dart counts as a single, regardless if it hits an inner or outer ring.
- Killer Cricket: Once a player closes a number, additional hits remove their opponent’s hits instead of accumulating points. Players win by being the first to close all the numbers.