Sunday 27 February 2022


No doubt many readers here will have noticed the social media phenomenon that is Wordle (at least until the NYT decided to paywall it and kill it), and may also be aware of derivatives that have popped up such as Dordle, Quordle and Octordle, where you're using the game guess words to try to solve 2, 4 or 8 hidden words at the same time.

Could such a concept work in darts? Obviously not in straight 501. But there's more than one game you can play. All of us have played round the clock in the pub at some point. Many of us, especially readers in soft tip loving countries, will have played quite a bit of cricket.

So why not play more than one game at the same time using the same darts? Hence I've made up Quarts. Four games being played at the same time:

- Standard 501. We all know this one.
- Cricket/tactics. Just score on 20-15 and bull, keep it simple.
- Round the board. Need to decide on what variant - fairly common if you hit, say, double 4, you're now on 9, but I've played where that would count as two numbers and you're now on 6 instead.
- Halve it/Hong Kong Phooey. Again, many different variants of what to score on, normally we wrong hand to decide four rounds of individual numbers, then rounds 5-7 are doubles/trebles/bull, round 8 then needing to score exactly the sum of rounds 1-4 (i.e. if your numbers are 11, 17, 3 and 6, your visit must equal 37).

Each game is played three times, if you finish a game mid visit, you continue throwing and your remaining darts count towards the next round, so if you check out on the 501 game with your second dart and hit big 20 with your third dart, you'd come back on 481. Bull up before the game, winner chooses two games to start with, and their first visit will only count towards those games, second player's first visit counts towards everything so they "start" in two variants as well. If when only one game is left running the score is 6-5, the final game counts double to ensure there is a winner.

Obviously you'd want an app to handle everything (although I don't think that you would be unable to chalk it, might need a bit of room though), but it's the sort of thing I think would be able to be coded into Dart Connect. The point of the game is that there's all sorts of different levels of strategy going on here. Obviously there's correlation in what you're aiming for between 501 and cricket, but how much do you put into the other variants? If you're down heavily in one format, do you just ignore it and concentrate on the others? If you can see 16's coming up in halve it, do you make an effort to close it off in advance in cricket so you can score in two places at once (and your opponent can't score on it at the same time)? Can you manipulate a 501 checkout on, say, double 8 at the same time as you need 8 on round the board? If you're needing 4 to finish on 501 at the same time as you want trebles on halve it, what now? Hope to god you check out first dart, or bust your score and make sure you hit a treble? There'll be a LOT of decision making to be done.

Clearly if you want to make it simpler to score, you could just pick two games and use the same principles - probably would want to not pick 501 and cricket at the same time, but I guess it could work. Could work in other games as well, I've just picked out what I'd consider to be the obvious ones. Experiment with it. If you're bored with your usual pub games/practice routines, give it a shot.

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