The game of darts has a long and illustrious history. Infact, the little ol’ pub favourite has been around for more than 700 years. There’s a fair chance there might be a few things you had no idea about the game! But never fear, that’s where we ‘step up to the Oche’ as they say. Don’t worry, well explain what that means too!
The competitive and challenging game of darts is a great way to bond with friends and meet new people. Playing darts is also an easy way for the more socially shy of us to get a conversation started.
Here are six interesting trivia bites that will have your friends nicknaming you, ‘Wiki-friken-pedia’ in no time.
1. It all began as a way to keep soldiers from going AWOL.
There are many different versions to the history of darts, but the one we like the most (and its oldest origin story) can be traced back to England during the fourteenth century. Proper medieval with knights and dungeons and dragons and, you get the picture.
To keep the soldiers from wondering off after a hard day of catapulting fireballs into some poor bastards castle, post-pillaging activities where very important.
These soldiers didn’t have the ‘little missiles’ or ‘darts’ as we know of today to throw at a dartboard. Instead they would stand around and throw arrowheads into the bottom of an empty wine barrel. It became an exercise to improve aim, demonstrate their throwing skills, and wager some bets.
As time went on, the barrel returned to being used for wine, and they began to use cross-sectioned tree trunks as targets. The tree’s radial cracks became the basis of the scoring system which is still the basis of today’s dartboard. Boom!! You just got dropped a superior nature fact, brought to you by a tree!
2. The game used to be illegal.
It was the year 1908, a pub owner from the town of Leeds was reportedly arrested for letting his customers play darts inside his pub. At the time, darts, dubbed as a game of chance, was considered illegal. The Crown v Pub Landlord was about to become hotter than the OJ Simpson trial. The pub landlord set about proving that darts was in fact a game of skill. His first power move was to bring in a star witness, William Annakin, (no relation to Skywalker). Annakin, a known darts player throughout Leeds was presented to the court. On cue, he stepped up to the oche and was able to stick three darts into the 20-segment of the dartboard. The next witness, the courtroom clerk, was asked to repeat Annakin’s actions. Stepping up and taking aim, he was only able to stick one dart to the board and the other two wedged into the mahogany wall! The charges were dismissed and darts was officially declared a game of skill. Case closed!
3. The first boards were made out of elm.
Back in the day, bar owners would use solid, circular blocks of elm tree as the dartboard. The segments would be painted on for consistency. However, elm dartboards developed holes much faster than today’s dartboards. Pub owners would need to lug the cross sections of tree off the wall and soak the wood overnight to close the holes. If you thought cleaning beer lines was a pain in the arse, imagine doing this every day for a local dart hall with 20 boards! No thanks!
4. You can use heavy or light weighted darts.
Ready to fully geek out? We’re going deep into grams and numbers! If that’s not your thing, we’ll see you back at Fun Fact #5.
Although darts are available in a wide range of weights (from 18 – 40 grams), the majority of players throw with darts weighing 18 – 23 grams when using brass, and 23 – 26 grams when using tungsten. The legal weight limit of the major overseeing organizations is 50 grams.
So, what’s the correct weight for you. Ultimately, it all depends on what feels good in your hand and comfortable as you take aim.
The different types of darts you can choose from may be made from, brass, nickel, silver, or tungsten. Each material offers the player a different weight, grip, shaft, and flights. Experimenting with the various dart styles will definitely improve your game, plus you get to carry them around in a cute little pouch, like Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua.
5. There are heaps of ways to play
Unlike other sports, there are many games that you can play on a dartboard. The most well known game is ‘501’ , but here a few of the other variants:
- Around the Clock
- Chase the Dragon
- Grand National
- High Striker
These games vary by rules, mechanics, objectives, the number of players required, and the point system used. Some of these games are perfect for beginners while others offer more challenge. The mechanics and tactics needed to win each game also vary from one to the other, which all translates to this: with 3 darts and 1 board, the whole damn family can stay entertained for days!
6. The numbers are not random
The number sequence is strategically placed to encourage accuracy and punish inaccuracy. Basically, if you go for glory and hit it, you will be rewarded. But if you only just miss, by a millimeter, the board will hand out some fearse punishment. The placement of low scoring numbers either side of large numbers, for example 1 and 5 either side of the 20, 3 and 2 either side of the 17, or 4 and 1 either side of the 18, will punish poor throwing.
Getting Ready For Your Next Game?
Itching for a little friendly competition? Gather your crew and spend an action-packed night at Brisbane’s newest and coolest venue. Oche, in Fortitude Valley is an ‘environmentally considerate venue’ – inside the heritage listed building, the minimal coverings of the beautiful brickwork, local produce and brews are given precedence, waste is carefully disposed of, sustainability across operations is a priority and of course the menu more than caters for vegans, vegetarians and people with dietary requirements like gluten free. We’re now accepting Christmas bookings so drop us a line at email@example.com.