Also called jarts and yard darts, lawn darts is a fun outdoor game to play with your friends and family. To play this game all you need are a few hoops as targets and darts that you try to toss into the hoops. The game is very similar to horseshoes, but each dart has a weighted tip that helps it come sailing down into the hoop. What actually started out as a dangerous game featuring spear-shaped darts with pointy ends has actually developed into a very safe, family-friendly game that can be enjoyed by all. So put the drinks on ice, fire up the grill, and get ready for some backyard fun with lawn darts!
Lawn Dart History
The original design of lawn darts featured a pointy metal tip on one end that would slice into the ground when they landed. They weren’t sharp like a dagger, but they were weighted for velocity and speed. In 1987, a father purchased a backyard volleyball set that happened to come with a set of lawn darts as well. In a freak accident, his daughter was killed by one of the lawn darts and they were subsequently banned from the US until a safer version could be designed.
A new lawn dart design was eventually introduced that featured a soft tip that still worked like a metal one, only this version was much safer. The soft tip is still weighted so that it lands properly, and it resembles a punching bag that wobbles back and forth when it lands on the ground.
Lawn darts are a very fun game now that the dangers have been all but eliminated. The new version makes it easy for the whole family to play safely for hours! Plenty of laughs and lots of fun will be had in this game of dart throwing!
How to Play
Usually a lawn dart set will come with two targets (rings) and four darts. Generally two of the darts are red and two are blue. If playing with two people, then one person gets the red darts and the other person gets the blue darts. If playing with teams, then one team gets the red darts and one team gets the blue darts. To set up the playing area, simply place the targets 35 feet apart. Both players or teams will throw from the same target toward the other one. No one should be standing near the target that is being thrown at. When a player is preparing to throw a dart toward the target, he/she will stand next to or just behind the target and throw toward the other target. The goal is to land your dart inside the target. Players alternate turns, throwing one dart at a time. Here is how you keep score:
0 Points: No points are given for darts that match the opponents. For example, if they both get a dart inside the circle, no points will be given for those darts since they cancel each other out. For this example however, you would still use the following method to score the darts that are outside of the circle.
1 Point: 1 point for the dart that is the closest to the circle but not inside it
2 Points: If both your darts are closer to the circle than both the darts of your opponent
If you landed one dart in the circle and one out, and both of your opponent’s darts are outside the circle but one is closer than your other one, then you get 3 points for darts that land in the circle but you subtract the one point the other team got for the dart that was closest outside the target.
3 Points: If you land both darts in the circle, and the opponent only lands one inside, you would get 6 points total for the two in the circle but then subtract the 3 the opponent got for the one they landed inside as well.
4 Points: If you land one dart in the circle and the other outside, and both the opponent’s land outside and farther away from your outside dart
6 points: If you land both your darts inside the circle and both of the opponent’s land outside
The game is typically played until one player reaches 21 points, but you can decide on whatever number you want to play to!
Where to Get Lawn Darts
Lawn darts can be found at any sporting goods store or big box store. Lawn dart sets are also widely available online, such as these Lawn Darts by POOF. After you've mastered lawn darts, check out this post on the fun backyard game of Cornhole. Get both games going simultaneously the next time you have an outdoor gathering with friends and neighbors.
Do you have any fun lawn dart stories or strategies that you'd like to share? Let us know in the Comments below.