Monday, September 09, 2019

100 Darts at the 20's

This is a nice practice routine that I picked up from Dartsnutz.net.  The idea is quite simple and allows you to have a short intense 20's practice session.  The idea is that you throw 100 darts at the Triple 20 and track what you hit.  As you can see:


At the pub the other day I wrote 1 thru 33 (and added the +1 to represent the lat 1/3 round) so that I could track the game easily, and notated the hits each round. A '1' represents a single 20, a '3' represents a triple, etc.  So a notation of '113' means I hit 2 singles and a triple.

in the game above I use the Voks Bandits.  One pleasing note regarding that game is that I didn't have any dead rounds until that last third round.  I only had one dart and it missed wide into the 5, as I recall.

I've only played this a couple times, but score 78, which I am hoping is not bad but can still be improved upon.

Monday, August 19, 2019

48th Maximum ft. Accudart Fatties

Tonight I hit my 48th lifetime Ton-80, and it is my 4th for the year (I believe).  The darts in use are 25 gram Accudart 301's, which are a mixed material barrel.  The front half is tungsten, and the back half is brass. (Like the dart version of a mullet, I guess.)  The stem is a short 1/4" threaded aluminum, and the flights are standard dimplex.



By way of comparison, here they are next to a 20 gram tungsten UFO:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

An Abortive Outing (But a Good One)

On Monday night I had a couple hours to kill before I had to run an errand and so I dropped into the local knowing that there'd be a singles tournament starting at 7:30.  I entered the contest knowing I wouldn't be able to finish it, and the organizer was okay with that.  Since it was a double elimination event he figured that if I played poorly enough it wouldn't matter.

I didn't play poorly :)  I played two best of three matches before I had to leave and I won them both. The first 2-1, the second 2-0.

The first match was against a guy named Sean, and he won the first game, 163-160. We both threw a 1.9, which is a bit low for my taste, and I only had one good round which was a 5-mark on 20's and 18's, but I also had 2 dead rounds.  He out played me for the win but only barely.  The second game I clearly outshot him, 1.9 to 1.4, and the win was 114 to 16.  I also only had a single 5-mark round, this time on 20's and 19's, and I had 1 dead round in this game, near the end.  The last, tie-breaking leg was in my favor, 225 - 188, with averages of 2.4 (me) to 1.7.  But again, I had two dead rounds in that leg, and only one nice round, which was a 6-mark: T16 and T20 late in the game to close the open 20's and stop the hemorrhaging!

The next match I played I thought for sure I'd get smashed.  The guy was quite a good shot and hot, hot, HOT on the 17's.  Oddly though, I kept up and was able to win 2 - 0.  The first leg was a pitched battle.  He shot a 2.7, I shot a 2.9.  He had 2 5-mark rounds, I had a single 6-mark round.  I accumulated 341 points, he had 309 points.  My opponent, a San Franciscan transplant named Tom, hit a whopping 18 17's during the game.  I was only able to beat him because I had zero dead rounds, and was able to stay ahead in most numbers getting a little bit of points here and there to counter his incredible slew of 17's, and also because I hit 2 double bulls in the last two rounds to finally catch up in points and put a bow on it.  That was a great game.  And a fun one.

The next leg I also won, 96 - 87.  I hit no high-mark rounds but I also didn't have any dead rounds.  We both shot a 2.2, and in the end I was able to catch up in points and end the game by hitting four bulls in the last two rounds.  Bulls practice is helpful.

Then I had to leave which is too bad since I was still in the winner's bracket.  At least a couple of guys got a couple of free wins off me in my absence so good for them.

The darts I took with me were the 16 gram Harrows Magnums that I hit my last Ton-80 with at home:


As you can see, they are wearing white medium nylon stems, US Darts moving point conversions, and slim poly flights.  They are a nice little dart, although I wasn't wowing myself with them in competition like I was at home.

As you can see, everything fit into that little mints container, including an eye glasses micro-fiber cloth which is helpful for bespectacled fellows like me.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

47th Ton-80

Hit my 47th lifetime Ton-80 tonight while throwing quite casually in my garage.  I'd spent the better part of two hours weighing various UFO sets, and having an occasional solo DIDO 301 in between.  Happily, I hit this:


These are my 16 gram Harrows Magnums, wearing US Darts MP points, medium white nylon stems, and slim poly flights.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Smooth Darts

Mostly for my own reference, I wanted to assemble my collection of smooth barreled darts.



From top to bottom:

  1. Vintage brass dart of unknown make. The three really interesting aspects of this dart are that a) it has a hexagonal body which is uncommon to see, even in vintage darts; b)the barrel and the stem are all one piece of brass with the exception of the hairpin, of course; and c) it uses a hairpin style flight holder to hold paper flights.  The downside to this system is that it bends easy and it almost impossible to get straight again, and the hair pin is flat, preventing the loaded flight from be a perfect "X".
  2. 17 gram Voks Javelin.  These are not a tungsten dart, but rather steel, which makes it very light for its weight. To my knowledge, this is the only steel dart I have in my collection.
  3. 23 gram custom dart, designed by me, implemented by Jeff Pickup.  This is the set that you will see throughout my blog referred to as the "Dagnabits".
  4. 23 gram bottelsen GT.  This is an older set, and I know this because there is no 4ba threading in the back to take the modern screw-in GT stem.
  5. 25 gram Fansteel UFO.  I believe they are Fansteel because the came in a Fansteel pouch, but this is not proof positive.  What's interesting about these darts is that the barrel appears to be comprised of two different metals that are joined somehow.  Either that, or the middle portion had a coating on it of some sort.
  6. 26 gram CT's. This is another Jeff Pickup implementation of my own design (although in this case it was less design and more specification, as it is an exact replica of a GT but in copper tungsten, and with a fixed point).
  7. 26 gram McCoy.  This is another copper tungsten barrel.
  8. 28 gram Bottelsen "Black" GT.  This was my first big dart purchase.  They came with a black colored coating on them originally, but that has long since worn off, leaving a bit of a gray color.
  9. 23 gram Jenkins.  I have no idea who made this dart or when, but I absolutely love it. It throws real nice.  And I am only guessing that it is actually an official Terry Jenkins dart (as opposed to a custom dart).
  10. 23 gram UFO.  The person who traded this to me years ago claimed (I think) that it was a custom dart, but it is strikingly similar to the Sleek model from Red Dragon.
  11. 30 gram Schofield.  My guess is that this is the most modern of the Schofield dart line.  I have only ever seen one other tungsten Schofield before and it sported the push-in cane stems.  This one is threaded for 1/4" stems.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

21 g Mission Kronos M1 with Iso-Linear Grip

After much experimenting this is the configuration that I feel fits my throw (and the weight of the darts) best.


Very grippy, but not obnoxiously so!  The grip seems to encourage a "flick" throw.  As configured these darts are:

Barrels: 21 g, 95% Tungsten Mission Kronos
Stems: In-Between Aluminum
Flights: Smooth Poly Slim flights

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Mission on a Mission

Mission Darts, a new in-house brand from Darts Corner, is definitely on a mission to win the hearts and minds of darters everywhere.  The set you see pictured in this post was gifted to me by Darts Corner as a reward for participating in a contest, hosted at DartsNutz.net.

See my entry here :)


They graciously allowed me to choose my own prize, to include any set of darts I liked from the new Mission range.  Trust me when I tell you it was hard to choose and I agonized over it for more than a day.  All of their darts are attractive, and unique.

In the end I chose the Kronos M1, in 21 grams.  I felt that the gip pattern, tho complex, was unique and not overly aggressive.  I liked the metallic blue coloring to the barrels, and the skinny pencil style is quite a good style for my type of throw.  Also, I could envision how I would configure the darts: medium length, or in-between length stems and slim flights.

As you can see, they sent a really nice note and a bag of extra flights, both of which were quite a nice touch.


This is the dart in its assembled form using the parts that came in the packaging.  Very nice looking.  When I throw the darts as assembled they angle upward in the board a little too much for my taste.  Keep in mind tho that this is not a flaw in the intended configuration at all.  Rather it is an artifact of the way I grip and throw the dart.  Other darts are likely to find that the short stems and standard flights that come with the darts are perfect for their throws, and besides, the shipped config makes for a very nice looking dart indeed!


Here is the configuration that best fits my personal throw:



I did quite a bit of experimenting before settling on this config.  My first efforts were with the medium length Twin Grips that fawn over but when configured as such the darts were a bit long.  Sometimes hitting my cheek on the backswing, and sometimes landing in the board angled downward.  I could have tried a standard flight with the Twin Grips, but then the dart would have hit my cheek a lot more I think.  A slightly shorter stem corrected both items.  The dart doesn't hit my cheek anymore, and they land in the board square!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Unusual Robin Hood

Robin hooding previously thrown darts is a minor hazard in the game, and the modern dart has evolved over the decades to account for this minor occurrence.  Flights are replaceable, stems are replaceable, barrels are tapered to deflect incoming points, heck, even points are replaceable.

Nonetheless it happens, and when it does, it is almost always the incoming dart sticking into the stem or the center point of the flight.  Rarely do you see one of these:


In fact, I never have.  This dart embedded itself between the layers of the flight mid-wing.  The amazing thing is that the Dimplex flight was stiff enough to stop **and hold** the incoming dart.  I would have expected the dart to continue on through ruining the flight and eventually ending up on the floor or somewhere low on the board.

When I pulled the dart out, the flight was okay.  I squeezed the wing back together with my fingers and it is like it never happened.  Go figure.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Spring 2019 League Single Tournament Win!

On Wednesday night I participated in my first ever post-season singles tournament.  This is something new that my league has started since I went on hiatus five years ago.  Essentially, the top 8 available players are entitled to participate in a singles tournament to garner the bragging rights of "best in league".

The competition was fierce!  It worked like this:

The event is a double elimination event with two brackets: the winners bracket and the losers bracket. Because the survivor in the losers bracket has only been eliminated once (by definition) that person meets the sole survivor of the winners bracket in the final match. And again, because it is a double elimination event, the player in the losers bracket has to beat the player in the winners bracket twice, while the winners bracket player only has to beat the losers bracket player once. It seems unfair at first blush, but it is totally fair and totally makes sense if you think it through.

Everyone starts off in the winners bracket, of course, and you do not descend into the losers bracket until you have been eliminated exactly once. If you are eliminated once you are in the losers bracket then that means you have been "doubly eliminated" and are thus out of the competition.

In the winners bracket the players must win a best 2 of 3 match that goes like this:  the highest seeded player always (all night long regardless of circumstances) chooses who corks first. The winner of the first cork chooses the first game between American Cricket and SIDO 401.  The second game is recorked, again with the highest seeded player choosing who diddles first, but the second game is whichever game was not played first.  So if the first game was Cricket, then the second game is 401, etc.  If a third game is required then the winner of the third cork may choose either Cricket or 401.

In the losers bracket only one game is played.  The higher seeded player chooses to see or show and the winner of that cork may select either American Cricket or SIDO 401.



My first round in the winners bracket was again a swell guy named Bill who, to my utter delight, said that he has a plaque with my name on it from a previous season in his closet, and that he would give it to me once he saw me again.  This was a two leg match and I won them both, but I would not say that I won them handily.  After all, Bill is a quality darter and these was the first legs of the night for both of us.  I won the first cork and chose 401, which is unusual for me.  Normally if I get to choose the game I will choose Cricket if I know I am going first because I think it is more critical to go first in Cricket than in an 01 game.  Regardless, I chose 401.  After 18 darts I was down to 90, and I always go 60, 30 when in that spot, knowing that if I hit the 20 (instead of the 60) I still have a great leave.  However, in this case I did hit the 60, and missed outside the 30 with my next two darts.  Next round I hit the 30 with my second dart for the win.  Bill had 151 left at that point.  Neither one of us put up any big numbers, so I think it is safe to say I won simply because I was slightly less "not on" than he was.  The next game was Cricket and I also won the cork.  Again, no big rounds for either of us, but I managed to squeak out the win anyway.  So that was my first round of the night. Not a bad way to start!

My second round was against another great guy that I have known for a long time named Jim.  Again this was a two leg match and I won them both.  I won the first cork and chose Cricket.  We both played very B-Leagueingly, not putting up any significant rounds at all.  in fact Jim should have won this game but he couldn't hit his bulls, whereas I hit them no problem.  I hit four bulls in five rounds, opening them up and overcoming a small point deficit for the win.  Jim won the second cork and we played 401.  This time I played quite well.  I put up my first ton for the evening and threw a 20-dart game with an average turn of 60.2 points.  In fact my last two rounds were the first true sign my evening would be going well:  I hit a ton, leaving 70, and then next round I hit the 54, and the 16 in short order, still holding my last dart.  This concluded my second round of the evening, still having not lost a leg!  Here was the winning shot:



My third round in the winners bracket did not go well. In fact it was also a two round leg but I was on the losing end of both of those legs. Tre won the cork and chose 401.  Neither of us put up any numbers during this leg and it came down to who could hit their out and that was him!  I whittled my score down to 55, busted the 55 out, whittled it down more to 20 next time up but that was all she wrote for me. Tre took out a double 2 to win.  In the next leg, Cricket, Tre won the cork again and with both opened with a single 20.  But then a few rounds later I was in the hole 38 to 100 and I never caught up. In the last few rounds of the game I hit 6 bulls and almost caught up to him but it was not enough and he won, bumping me out of the winners bracket.  This was my first elimination of the  night, and as it turns out, my only elimination.  I did not know it yet, but within the next hour or so I would be handing Tre back to back eliminations in the finals!

My first round in the losers bracket was against a young man I may have played against before in league but honestly I do not remember. I met a lot of new people this year! I won the cork and chose 401.  Neither of us were on fire exactly, but I did hit my second ton of the night in this game and then took out a 53 by going 13, 40 in two darts, at my first opportunity. It is rare for me that I have a game where I hit the double for the out with the very first dart that I throw at it, but in this game that was the case.  This was the last losers bracket match before the finals and the fact that I won it meant that I had the privilege and the honor of playing against the survivor of the winners bracket in the finals match.

My 53 out:


Remember how I said that the losers bracket contestant in the finals had to win two matches, while the winners bracket contestant only had to win once?  Well, that loser bracket contestant was yours truly, and going into a finals against a guy who beat me in both games we played previously was a daunting task!  The finals went like this:

I won the first cork and chose Cricket. I opened with a triple 20 and nothing else and he answered with a four 19's. Within a couple of rounds I was in the hole and would never climb out of it.  He hit two 5 Mark rounds during the game while I hit none, and even though I almost closed the gap with 5 bulls near the end he hit his inner bull to win the game and the first leg of the finals.  The next game was 401 and I won the cork. I was throwing well.  In 15 darts I whittled my score down to 140 and in my next turn up almost took it out.  I hit 60, 60, and then my shot at the Double 10 was a wide miss inside for a score of 130, and 10 remaining.  Sadly, it took me 22 more darts to turn that into a win, including 5 rounds in a row that were either misses or busts at the Double 1.  I cannot believe I won that one but I did.  If he had been hitting his doubles that would have been my second elimination and the end of the tournament. Tre won the third cork and chose Cricket.  This was a B League effort on both our parts, neither of us putting up any good rounds, with one exception. To open the game I hit a Triple, 20, a Triple 19, and a Triple.... 4.  A few more millimeters and I would have had myself a White Horse :) Sadly, that nice opening round was not portentous, and the rest of the game was unlively.  We both had several dead rounds aiming at the bulls but I finally won, handing him his first elimination.  Now we need to face off again in another best 2 of 3 match to see who would win the tournament!

The second set went like this: I won the first cork and chose Cricket.  My only exceptional round was the 3-Bulls round I hit to win the game.  The second game was a forced 401, and I won the cork. This was the highest caliber game of the night. We both brought our A League games to the oche.  In my first four rounds I hit 85, 81, 100, and 82, leaving 53.  It took me 3 more turns to whittle that down to zero, but I eventually took out Double 12 for a 19 dart game, winning the tournament, and handing a great player back to back eliminations for an exciting come from behind victory.  He won the first 3 games we played against each other and I won the four we played after that across two matches.  I felt like the 2004 Boston Red Sox.  It was a wonderful feeling and I will remember that night for a long time (I hope).

This was the winning 24:


Me and Tre:

The darts I used during the tournament were two sets:


Friday, July 05, 2019

What I Love About the Game of Darts

This is my entry into the contest hosted at dartnutz.net to win a set of Mission Darts.

First I will say that I do not see "The Game of Darts" as a game at all.  I see it as a hobby and also as a sport.  A hobby, because (at least for me) is is a constant source of joy in my life whether I do well at it or not, because I enjoying thinking about it, writing about it, collecting the artifacts, and contributing to the online community, and above all, playing it!  I see it as a sport because it requires true skill that only comes with dedication and practice, and because men and women everywhere vie at the oche, locked in competition, with a burning desire to win.  So anyway, on to my entry:

What I Love About the Game of Darts:

There are three specific things that I can name that allow me to accurately describe "Darts" as the best game ever, in the history of everything:

  1. The People
  2. You cannot buy your way to victory
  3. Its tremendous vastness of variety
Allow me to expound each point:

The People:  The people I have met playing darts in league and in pubs all over are some of the finest people I have ever met.  They are like-minded, friendly, and always helpful to beginners in the sport.  I have been participating in my local league for the last 16 years and the people here in this league are like family to me.  I love them all, even when they are cantankerous and out of sorts due to their errant arrows.

You cannot buy your way to victory.  Period.  Let's face it: you can assemble some pretty expensive darts if you want to, enhanced with all the latest technological gimmicks.  You can invest in custom crafted darts, or just "high-end" darts like GT's or Black Widows, equip them with spring loaded grippy points, carbon or titanium stems with spinning flights, etc, and none of that will help you hit the Treble-20.  Only skill and confidence can help you do that.  In the early 2000's I saw a guy drop into a local Sunday Luck, end up "in the barrel", pick up a set of brass bar darts that weren't even a matching set, and win every single leg. When I told him that I thought what he did was amazing he just shrugged and said "It's the artist, not the brush."

Vast, Vast Variety: I think half the reason I am so attracted to darts as a hobby is because it perfectly fits several aspects of my personality: I am a writer, and there are no end of things to say about darts; I have a competitive spirit, and darts requires focus, confidence and skill to excel in it; and I have inherited the collector gene, and darts is a game that has no end of interesting artifacts.  The vastness of the variety of darts and dartboards that have been produced over the last century (and more) is literally mind boggling to me.  And even better, as a community, we have not even scratched the surface of what can be done with the dart-form aesthetically speaking.

So anyway, there you have it.  This is why I love the game of darts :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Rare Monday Night Outing

I happened upon a shoot last night!  I was in the mood for onion rings so I decided to grab a set of darts, more or less randomly, and head down to Cooper's since I knew they have four boards up and I'd be likely to find, if not some friendly competition, at least a free board to throw on.  As luck would have it I came upon Monday Singles League which was quite a fun time.  I placed third, which surprised me greatly since I felt like I was having an off night.  In fact, I do not believe I hit a single ton until my last set, and then I hit several (but no maximums, sadly).  But that their place scored me 15 bucks which was enough to cover my entry fee and the onion rings :)

The format was a Round Robin with 2 legs of SIDO 501 per round.  There were eight of us, and here is how my night went:

It started out quite fun because during warm ups I saw my buddy Jeff who was down for playing a non-standard game as way of warm up.  I taught him how to play traditional english Cricket (also known as Wickets & Bats) and I think he enjoyed it, although the game did not last very long.  He won the cork, chose bats, and on my first turn opened with four wickets!  As you can see form the score board below, I was able to surpass his score before he hit any of his 10 wickets, but I hope he enjoyed the game and will want to play it again!


My first two rounds were against Jeff C and Karim on the side of the house that did not have iPads for scoring, so I have to rely on memory for those matches,  I do not remember them exactly, but I know I did not hit any big numbers and I won one each against those two opponents.

My third round was against Michael Bird, who when I first saw him in the bar I absolutely recognized but then could not remember his first name.  I knew I had been seeing him around league for a long, long time but it did not dawn on me until a bit of conversation with him that he actually used to be on my Ballard Station House team!  My brain has been removed from darts for so long that I couldn't even remember my old teammates :\  Anyway, we also split the round.  In the first match my only good hit was a 95, and my 20 out, other than that I had nothing to show.  In the second game I threw rubbish and then had several shots at the out until he took out 10 for the win. 3-3 on the evening thus far.

Next I was up against a new gentleman also named Mike who played well but I took both games off him.  My outs were 25 and 48 respectively, and neither one of us put up any numbers.  Now I was up 5-3.

Next I was up against Ronny, and I also won both games.  In the first I hit a lonesome 95 and took out a 14, and then in the second I hit my first 100 for the evening (I was wrong before), and also a 98.  I took out 32 for the win.  This put me up 7-3 so far.

Next up I was up against Jeff L who is the areas surest shot and the hardest to beat.  He is cool, calm, and collected on the oche and a swell fella.  He is also president of the league and devotes himself selflessly to it.  He took both games, but I made him earn them, at least.  In the first game I had no tons but I hit a small scattering of 60's keeping my PPT at 49.9 for the game. In my last round I was sitting on 102 and ended up busting with exactly 102:


The way that worked was like this:  with 102 left I decided to go 60, 10, 32, but on my first dart hit a single 20 leaving 82.  So I then decided to go 50, 32 (like the pros haha) but hit the 25 instead.  Without bothering to do the math I threw at the single 19 to crack it, but flubbed into the triple 19 instead leaving me with an exact bust. I was an ass and should have done the math.  After the 25 I had 57 left and had I realized that would have aimed for a 17.  An unlucky triple in that bed would not have busted me :P

While that was aggravating, it was also my last opportunity to win the game as Jeff took won on his next time up.  In the second game my PPT was even higher at 53.9, and that ended up being higher than Jeff's but he still won.  I did have several shots at the out, so if I had been more "on" I would have had a satisfying split.  That round put me at 7-5 for the evening.

Last round was against another new guy named Jason.  He is a good shot and we split the round 1-1. In those two games I had two 100's and a 125. I took out 10 in the first game for the win and he took out his 9 in the second. I ended the evening 8-6 which was enough for 3rd place!


Thursday, June 20, 2019

18 gr Halex UFO's

These darts are another random surprise that came to me in the mail from my father.  They are a Halex coated brass dart with a funky barrel design.  I think they initially intended that the scallop be nearer to the point of the dart, and I suspect they are marketed as a soft tip dart, but tough t say without seeing the packaging new.  As you can see, my preferred configuration is the reverse. The scallop goes in back where my fingers go, and to heck with soft tips.  I am a steep tip player :)


Also, back in the day (like 15 years ago) I bought a set of what were then called "Fancy Conversion Points" and I have struggled to find a really good home for them on any set of darts.  They are thick at the base, have a funky, coppery color to them and are anything but streamlined.  It makes them hard to home.  However, I think they present really nicely on this set of darts.


As currently configured they throw rather well and I really enjoy them whenever I break them out.  They are a modern enough dart that they really should not be considered UFO's and once I find a good picture of their original packaging online I will be able to identify them more precisely.  Their current configuration:

Points: Fancy conversion points
Barrels: copper-coated brass
Stems: short aluminum
Flights: dimplex coal crackers

Monday, June 17, 2019

16 gr Coated Ringed UFO's

I am quite lucky.  My father will go to auctions and buy up any dart related stuff and send it to me when he sees it (which is not that often, actually).  So from time to time I get random darts stuff in the mail.  I love it all and I greatly appreciate the random gifts (thanks dad!).  The below is one such prize.  I am pretty sure they were wearing plastic points when I got them but I cannot remember for sure.  Sadly, their original packaging was included so I don't really know what they are.

All I know about these darts is that they are 16 grams, a coated brass, and that they were probably intended for soft tip play.  I know they are brass for two reasons:  first, the size to weight ratio rules out any denser metal.  Also, inside the 2ba stem hole you can see that the raw metal is brass colored.



Wearing hammerhead points the darts are quite a nice addition to my collection.  They fly well as configured and the grip is not overly aggressive.  I have posted these darts to dartnutz.net's UFO section hoping someone can identify them.

Friday, June 14, 2019

18 gr Bottelsen Gap Hammerheads

Funky little darts.  They are an 18 gram version of their "The Gap" Hammerhead darts and they were intended as a soft tip dart but as I do not play soft tip I convert everything :)  As the barrels are quite short, I can easily dress them in my favorite stems: Twin-Grips, which I only have medium length of anymore.


The darts as pictured have an old set of hammerhead points in them, the medium Twin-Grips, and smooth poly coal-crackers. 

When I get in a groove with these darts they can really fly.  To my knowledge I have never ton-80'd with them but I have hit many, many high tons.  As currently configured that fly straight and true, hitting the board parallel to the ground and they slim barrels have no problems crowding into a treble bed.  The problem I have with them is that the placement of the scallop in the barrel is too far forward for my grip and I end up placing my index and thumb behind the scallop, which just feels weird every time I do it.  I love the weight and the slimness of the barrel though, and especially the length of the barrel.  I wish I could get these exact same darts but with the scallop moved to the back of the barrel so that it coincides with my grip a little better.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

22 gr Harrows Power Point Eric Bristow

These are some special darts. Most importantly they throw quite well, but also they are nice looking and as far as I can tell, a little bit hard to find these days.  I knew I loved them from the very first time I laid hands on one.  Back in the day, in my early days of league play, the owner of the bar that sponsored my team(s) had a set.  He offered to sell them to me.  I asked if I could throw them and sure enough, the very first dart was a double bull.  Just like that.  A B Leaguer like me suddenly made it look easy, with these Eric Bristow Power Points!  Foolishly I did not buy them.  This set I picked up much later.

Last night my neighbor and I went for darts and beers as we are wont to do, and I brought these and another set of darts.  I offered him the choice of darts and he chose the others so happily I threw these all night.  I did well.  When I play with him, because he never plays darts and I always do, his 01 games are SISO, and mine are DIDO with the added complication that I have to "Bull In" each round before I can score for that round.  I hit a lot of bulls last night :)


The Power Point line has always had a nice looking nose, and the second pic below kinda shows it off.  Most other screw-in MP systems have a collar that has flats on two sides giving the nose a definitive imperfect mechanical look but not these.  The only other MP system that I thought looked better were basically anything produced by Jeff Pickup (who, incidentally, invented the Power Point system and sold it to Harrows).


These darts also have better barrels than others in the Power Point line in my opinion.  They are thinner, for one, but also, they seem to have a higher grade tungsten for them to be so skinny and yet to weigh in at 22 grams.  The others (previously) are an 80% line and while I never have owned any they did not appeal to me visually with one exception:  the Power Point Dimplex, which I found to be too aggressively knurled, and not a good throwing dart.  The modern Power Point line is 90% I believe and they do not visually appeal to me either.


I have been dressing these beauties in medium, standard Condor stem-flights and that seems to be a good configuration for these darts.  They angle up in the board slightly, but not too badly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Jeff Pickup Interviews

Blogging simply because I didn't wanna lose track of these videos.




I regret that I never actually got to meet Jeff Pickup, although he has made several sets of custom darts for me over the years.  I would dearly have loved to learn some tips and tricks from him on a lathe too!  I do not have a lathe, nor am I likely to in the near future, but someday I'll be carrying forward his fine tradition of darts innovation.

Someday :)

22 gr Dart World Pro Point 80's

These are some interesting darts.  They definitely have some con points and some pro points (haha, see what I did there?).  On the pro side of the equation I'd say that they are very grippy for lightly knurled darts, if you're into that sort of thing, and the esthetic is there too.  These are unquestionably nice looking darts.


As you can see in the second picture, the collars for the moving points are extraordinarily low profile, almost indistinguishable from the barrel of the dart.  The action is sluggish, however.  In fact, I very strongly suspect that the collars incorporate an embedded o-ring inside that the point itself slides across.  If I am not mistaken this is the exact same mechanism that was invented by Jeff Pickup and eventually sold to Harrows for their Power Point line.  I am tempted to get some needle nose pliers and try to unscrew one of the collars but I do not want to mar the darts.


The grip is great.  The knurling is fine but the grip that comes with them is very grippy.  I have been using smooth darts lately like old copper tungstens, but back in the day I was very interested in finding darts with knurling exactly like this one.


The case is a pretty typical darts case for the era that these were produced, but I am glad I have the case for them.  I don't know what they were trying to do with that 'T' in the logo for the line but it looks like a half effort.  Still, the darts themselves are quite nice, even if the action in the points is too sluggish.  When you pull moving point darts from a dartboard the typical behavior is that the points will automatically pull out to set position at the same time.  Not these.  You have to manually pull the points on each dart once you have them in hand again.

Friday, June 07, 2019

The Various Dart Games and How to Play Them

This is another old darts book that I got I don't know where.  It probably would have sat forever unread if I hadn't had a recent reinterest in darts. Written in the mid 1930's it is chuck full of things that are no longer true, but it is a fun, if short read nonetheless.

The book has its own dust cover, even tho it is a paperback and the pages, the scant 84 of them, are thick.  Also, the print is not small.  All of these factors contribute to this book being a fast read.



Here are a few tidbits that I found of interest:

The first thing that strikes me about this book is that the author refers to darts as something that used to be tawdry if not outright stigma carrying (due to the game's tight association with public houses), but then goes on to discuss how darts have become this country-wide phenomenon in which virtually everyone (like, everyone) plays. "Don't be surprised if you receive and invitation to darts and dancing," the author claims.

I also quite enjoyed the author's incredibly verbose description of what it means to bust.  It seems obvious to me, but perhaps at one point in time the concept of none (of the three darts in the round) counting if you exceed your remaining score was difficult to understand. "If the total does go further, a peculiar condition comes into force."  The author carries on for several paragraphs, and even touches on the idea that busting deliberately is not foul play as some believe but rather a smart tactic available to a savvy player.

In this book and others I have seen some interesting terms used for the bull: "dosser" and "woozle", for example.

The book offers up some interesting rules for club play as well (what we'd refer to as leagues in America, perhaps).  Among them:

  • Visitors always throw first (in modern leagues the visitors merely get to choose between a 'see' and a 'show').
  • The "hockey" is 9 foot.
  • No gambling allowed.  I find this interesting because (in America, anyway) the darts legends were notorious for money games.  It was part and parcel with early darts culture.
  • The scorer should tell the thrower what they have left but not what double to aim at unless the thrower asks.  I find this interesting.  In modern leagues the chalker is strictly forbidden to tell the thrower what they should aim at even if they are on the same team!
This book, in a marked departure from every other thing I have seen written on the subject, talks about the importance of aiming.  It even suggests that when aiming you aim a little bit above the spot you are hoping to hit, and that you angle your dart slightly upward in your hand when aiming.  This is an odd departure and I think most darters can tell you aiming is ineffective and awkward.  Better to focus on the target and let eye-hand coordination deliver the dart to the target.

Also, in agreement with at least one other source I have read states that it is bad form to continue throwing your darts after a bust.  Once you bust, you retrieve whatever darts are in the board and surrender the oche to your opponent.  

Interestingly, the book states that asking to borrow darts is considered ill manners and is something you just don't do.  I find this odd, and slightly contrary to what I understand of the British character: congenial, friendly, always willing to help and ready with a smile.  I have borrowed darts to darters on league nights on many occasions.  I have even borrowed them to opponents!  I see no problem with it, and while I don't see myself ever needing to borrow darts (because I have so many) I equally cannot see myself ever refusing to share darts with someone in a pub.  Also worth noting, there are American dart games (played mostly in churches these days) in which a communal set of darts is used throughout the game.

I love the section that talks about dart care and how to replace a feather flight. An excerpt: "New flights are not difficult to cut from feathers gleaned from the kitchen when a chicken is being prepared by the cook. All that is necessary it to look at the old flight and to select a piece of the feather, taken from the chicken, cutting it to correct shape."  Fascinating!

The vocab learned in these old books is always fascinating too.  Here are a couple worth noting:
  • 'Dosser' - the bull (inner and outer combined)
  • 'Suffering' - when a player seems to hit all around their target but never on the target, they is said to be suffering.
  • 'To Crack' - refers to the need to even up an odd score before going out.

Here are the games the book covers:

Round the Clock
This one is largely the same as of other descriptions of the game in other books with this exception: even though the doubles and triples in the 1 thru 20 beds count as singles for 1 through 19, to win the game the player must either hit the Double 20, or the Inner bull.

Shanghai
Same as in other books.

Cricket
Same as in other books, but this version suggests the number of wickets needed is negotiable.

Shove Ha'penny
This book offers up some interesting difference for this game.  First, if you go over the number of hits you need in any bed all of your opponents benefit from the extras, not just the next one on the chalkboard.  Also, all the other descriptions of this game that I have seen state emphatically that one must throw the winning dart and cannot receive it as a "shove" from your opponent.  In this version, however, that is not true.  You can end up winning the game on your opponent's turn, if they are unskilled in their throwing.

Fives
As in other descriptions I have seen, the score is added up from zero to something (usually 50).  Otherwise it is the same game.

Lastly the book covers a several games that are not darts games at all even though they seem to be at least in part pub games:

Shove Ha'Penny.  This seems to be a combination of miniature shuffleboard, and American (darts) cricket.  You play by trying to slide three pennies into each of 9 bands on a small wooden board. If I am ever in England, I will definitely want to seek out this game and have a go at it.

Bagatelle is a small version or species of billiards in the sense that you are shooting small balls with a cue on a small board.  Corinthian Bagatelle, on the other hand seems to be a miniature, wood-based pin ball.  More games I'd like to try.

I was curious enough to seek out some youtube videos on how to play them:

Anyway.  Nice read.  I hope I can find more old darts books like this one!

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Rotational Modified Doubles

I have tried many practice routines, even recently, and I seem to always come back to this one as my favorite.  I call it "Modified Doubles" because it is mostly a way to practice doubles, but it includes 60's practice as well.  It goes like this.

The first dart of every round is thrown at the 60 segment.  If you hit it, you stay on it, hoping for a ton-80 but being happy with any high ton.  So even if you hit a single one with the next dart, you still aim at the 60 because you could still hit a 121.  Basically, hitting the triple 20 with your first dart earns you the right to stay on them for the entire round.

If you miss the 60 with the first dart then you work on the doubles with the other two darts.  I mark the double with a map pin so that I can remember which double I am working on between sessions.  This is important because I treat this like a never-ending game coming back to it session after session picking up where I left off.  When working on the doubles I basically adhere to two different rules:  stay on the double until you hit it, and only then move on, and work through the doubles in the following order:

  1. Clockwise, starting with 1
  2. Counterclockwise starting with 20
  3. Ascending order starting with 1
  4. Descending order starting with 20
  5. Optimized order (more on that later)

Last night's session was a good one.  I hit several 140's and did well on the doubles, at one point hitting the Doubles Trick pictured below. (A Doubles Trick is hitting three different doubles which were specifically aimed at (no slop, in other words)).


An astute reader will note, however, that a Doubles Trick should not be possible in this practice routine.  Why?  Because as stated previously, the first dart is always aimed at the 60.  So how did I hit one this time?  Because I fucked up and forgot to throw at the triple 20!  That's okay.  Ain't no one perfect.  you can also see in the photo how I use a map pin to mark what double I am supposed to be aiming at.  In the shot pictured, I was working my way through the doubles counterclockwise, and was on the double three.  I hit it, then proceeded to hit the double 17 and the double two in succession, making the Doubles Trick.

As almost two-thirds of the darts are thrown at the double ring this is mostly a doubles practice routine.  It tosses in 60's as an element but guards against target fatigue by always moving on to doubles when you miss the 60, and staying on the 60's when you do not.  So this is the basic routine.  What are the variations?

Rotational Modified Doubles is when you do this same routine but you rotate through multiple sets of darts while you are doing it.  Since I have so many sets, and I quite like all of them, I tend to throw more Rotational Modified Doubles than anything.  What triggers a change of darts?  This is certainly up to the thrower, but for me it occurs when I hit a Triple-20, even if I have not hit any doubles with that particular set of darts.  This is because I value the 60 so highly, probably, and I have so little success with it (in the grand scheme of things).  I almost always rotate through tens of sets, if not my entire collection, and sometimes I randomize the sets I use using my slew of multi-faceted dice.  Sometimes I pull down just three sets and use those the entire session, especially if I think those are the ones I'll be using in league.

Bonus Rounds is another variation I almost always use and it means that if I hit a double with a set of darts, I am entitled to spend the entire next round aiming at the Triple-20, even if I do not hit it with my first dart.  This variation only applies to when I am rotating as it helps to keep the rotation moving. Otherwise there is the risk I'll stagnate on a single set of darts if I am hot on the doubles but cold on the 60's.  For every double I hit without hitting a 60 adds another bonus round, cumulatively, up to three bonus rounds (never more).  So if I have hit two doubles with a set of darts I have two (back to back) bonus rounds at the Triple-20.  If I have hit three doubles then I get three, back to back to back rounds at the Triple-20.  If I hit the 60 early then the bonus rounds are aborted and I rotate to a different set of darts.

Flipping is another variation I use but it only applies to Rotational Modified Doubles and Bonus Rounds.  Essentially, it means that if I have hit a fourth double without ever having hit the Triple-20, then I "flip" the ratio of 60's to doubles.  It works like this:  if I hit a fourth double with a set of darts and I do not hit a Triple-20 during my three bonus rounds, then from that point forward I throw my first two darts each round at the 60 and only the last dart at the double ring.  It is yet another variation specifically contrived to help the rotation of darts sets rotating.

Bulls is another variation I use and the idea is simply that instead of practicing 60's with the doubles, I practice Bulls with the doubles.  So the first dart of every round would be at the inner bull, staying on the bull if I hit the red eye, moving on to doubles if I do not.  The reason I require an inner bull to "stay on the bulls" is because the bull is a much bigger target than the Triple-20, and I am better at hitting it (more confident, in other words).  Thus if any bull counted then I would be spending too much time throwing bulls and too little time throwing doubles.  All other rules apply to this variation, including Bonus Rounds and Flipping, etc.

On Optimized Order:  previously I mentioned that I have a special "optimized order" that I sometimes do the doubles in.  The order is:

  • 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 20, 10, 5, 12, 6, 3, 18, 9, 14, 7, 19, 17, 15, 13, 11
This order prioritizes the most profitable doubles and then follows through on their halves. The best doubles are in this order: 16, 8, 20, 12, 4, 18, 14, 10, etc., but instead of doing them in strict order, I group them in the major division-by-two groups, so 16 and all its halvings, 20 and all of its halvings, etc.


On Map Pins:  Map pin are an extremely valuable and quite simple tool for the darts practicer.  I use them constantly, and in many different ways.  The way I use them with this practice routine is that I use a different color pin for each of the five different doubles orders, as such:

  1. Clockwise, starting with 1 . . . . . . . . . . .(GREEN map pin)
  2. Counterclockwise starting with 20 . . . . (RED map pin)
  3. Ascending order starting with 1 . . . . . . (BLUE map pin)
  4. Descending order starting with 20  . . . .(YELLOW map pin)
  5. Optimized order (more on that later) . . (WHITE map pin)
In so doing, I can com back to the routine after a several day hiatus and know where I left off.  Anyway.  That's my favorite practice routine.  I hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Meh

Last night was my last league night of the Spring season, but hopefully not my last night playing on Game of Throwns, which is quite a fun team, if not high ranking in the stats.  There is one more (make up) match next week but I am unavailable to play and then playoffs occur in the ensuing weeks, which Game of Throws will not be a part of.

My performance during this season, which is my return-to-darts season, has not been without some excellent outings.  A Ton-80, and several strong games in general, including one cricket that contained two 7-counts.  Last night's match was not one of them however.  I did not crash and burn, but still, it was merely a meh outing.

Here is how the meh-ness broke down: I played two singles, winning but one, and I played in five doubles matches winning but two.  All of my wins were cricket, and I did not win a single 01 game all night.


We started off with the team 801 game in which I hit no tons, only ever hit a single triple 20, and missed a 78 out, leaving 40 for my captain, who took it out next turn.

Next up I lost a singles 401 game against one of their better players, Dave, in which I hit my one solitary Ton for the night, then proceeded to spent six rounds missing my out shots until he took out his.  My outs have been quite weak this year.  Before fall season starts, I need to find my way back to my old can't-miss-the-doubles self of previous seasons.

Next up I won a cricket match against Graham, who is not a bad darter in his own right.  It went like this: I opened with four 20's, getting ahead in points early, and for the most part I stayed ahead in points this game.  Later I had a 5-count in the 17's and pretty much did not miss the bulls, hitting a double bull to win the game in my last round.  There were no goose egg rounds for me at all and I had a 2.7 MPT that game which was quite welcome.  This game may have served to restore some confidence for me.

Next up I lost two doubles 501 matches with John and then Dani.  During those games I hit no tons and missed my outs, although in the second game I opened with an 85 and hit one other Triple 20 in the game.  These games were quite lackluster for me.  I need to do better with my 60's and my doubles.  Perhaps over the summer my practice routine can be "Modified Around the Clock".

Next up I played three doubles cricket games, one each with all of my (three) teammates, and the only loss was the last one that I played with Ryan and it was a doozy.  The first with John went like this: I opened with 2 20's and didn't have any high mark rounds for the entire game.  I also didn't have any good egg rounds either, and in my last two rounds hit three bulls for the win.  It was a close game but we just barely out-darted them.  My cricket match with Dani was about the same.  A win, but not because I wowed anyone.  We eked out that win.  My last cricket with Ryan, a loss, was a fun game.  The final score ended up being 406 (them) to 318 (us) and while I was strong on bulls that game, it wasn't enough to overcome the opponent's strong play.  They were on fire, we were not.

These were the darts I brought with me:


The intention was that the Unicorn chrome plated brass torpedoes would be the set I broke out for the team game, but between playing the team game first, and doing lousy with the Colonials during warm up I decided to spend the Colonials on the team game and let the Torpedoes be my alternates for the night.  It was a good call.  I threw some decent rounds with them.  The Nobu's were my mainstay, as usual.

I may be invited to play in a "best of" singles tournament at the end of play offs but I am not completely certain about that.  If not, so long spring season!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Hand Eye Coordination is Sleep to Sleep

I am blogging this mostly because I do not want to lose track of this video.  I came across it because I was looking for some tips on how to get good at the speed bag, but encountered a gem inside it as a bonus.  The guy in it claims that hand eye coordination is something that builds up slowly and requires a period of rest between sessions to have any improvements.  Hand eye coordination, he asserts, is not something that is gained minute to minute or hour to hour, but rather day to day, or sleep to sleep.



I am assuming this applies to all hand eye coordination activities, not just speed bagging. I am hoping to applies to darts and I will soon find out.  I have reduced my practice routines to just a few minutes a day, focusing on the 60's, the bulls, and if time, 5 randomly determined doubles.  So my routine is typically to hit five of the Triple-20, five bulls (inner counts as one for the purposes of this exercise), and whatever my slew of 20-sided dice tell me to hit in the double ring.

I hope the dude is right!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Book: How to Play Darts

This book is quite the gem.  At first blush it would seem that the book is somewhat outdated as it opens with a discussion of equipment that is no longer in vogue or is simply impossible to find and then proceeds to describe the "hockey" as 8 foot removed from the board.

The book itself is quite small.  It is the height and width of a regular paperback book, more or less, and is only 64 pages.  It seems larger in the hand because the pages are a thick paper, and though paperback, has a sleeve for the cover.


The book quickly had the collector in me salivating.  It describes the dartboard scene as something that is highly regional, with dartboard makers all over the countryside, supplying handmade dartboards to pubs in exchange for drink, and what's more, each regions dartboard was potentially different to varying degrees.  Someday I would like to take a 2 month vacation to England during their garage sale season (if in fact the have such a thing) and just scour the countryside for old darts equipments!


Take a look at the above pic.  On the left there is a board I have only ever even seen described in this book.  Trebles that consist of small rings within the number bed?  Fascinating!  And on the right you see a typical "Fives" board, but this one is drawn with some extra weird little rounded space carved out of the 5 bed, which I have never seen before (and I have seen many Fives boards) and which the author does not describe.  Also of note.  Already in 1937 some boards were being made paper-wound and these drawing suggest that perhaps the boards that served as models for these pages were paper boards themselves.  How do I know?  Because I have never seen a bristle board with a triangle shaped wire hanger at top!

I am also delighted to read that as of the writing of this book (1937) there were already "an infinite number of patterns of brass darts".  The earliest catalog in the Unicorn Books of Darts page is from 1950, and in those catalogs you can see that Unicorn was quite imaginative and from its very earliest days, and I think that this book validates that.  Still, I'd love to see pictures of the following darts mentioned in the book:   "Treble Ring, Plain Ringed, Long Barrel, Octagon, Hexagon, Three Threes, Match, Sporting League, etc., etc."  It is possible that these are names of darts from another maker, obviously, as even in the 1950 unicorn catalog I do not see reference to any of these save the Hexagon, and the ringed ones, but rings were (and continue to be) a ubiquitous pattern on darts.

Also interesting to encounter old darts terminology as well.  "off the island" referred to a dart that missed the scoring area completely, and "leg and leg" referred to a tied best of three match.  There was also the use of the word "Up" in 01 games that I do not grok.  The author calls 501 "501 Up", and mentioned 301 Up, and maybe a few others.  What does that mean?

Lastly, the author covers the "required officials" for a darts match: Referee, Score Announcer, Score Checker, Score Marker, and each team supplied their own Recorder (for the club record book).  He doesn't go into any detail about what these officials did during a match but I would love to see it in action.  I wonder if the author was not being a bit tongue in cheek in this section.

The games covered in the latter portion of the book are:

Scram
Exactly the same as described in The Little Red Book

Brag
This is the same as Scram but you have to call your shots, and slop doesn't count.

Pantathlian
This is the most physical, bar-roomy, game of darts I have ever heard of. Any number can play and you throw three darts per round.  It is played in 5 rounds, highest score takes the kitty, if there is one.  Elsewise, the loser can provide refreshments all round.

Round 1: Three darts at the board.  On a per dart basis, add anything over 20 to your score.  So if you hit 3 single 15's you get nothing, but if you hit 2 single 15's and a triple 15, you get 25. One the dart hitting the triple scored.

Round 2: Three darts with the players opposite hand.  All hits, in their entirety, count towards your score.

Round 3: All three darts thrown together (in a "splash").  All hits added to score.

Round 4: While blindfolded, the players gets spun around three times by his opponents and then reoriented towards the board.  Then, he throws three darts, singly, at the board and any hits go towards the score.

Round 5: Each player faces away from the board with their heels on the oche and throws three darts through his legs at the board.  Any hits count towards score.  Highest score wins!

Soccer
In this book the game of Soccer is far more complicated than in the Little Red Book. I have read it twice now and I am not sure I completely understand it.  Basically, it goes like this:

  • The players spin a coin to determine who starts on ODD and who starts on EVEN (sides).  
  • The loser of the spin goes first.  
  • The object of the game is to be the first to score a number of goals (five goals, say).  
  • You score goals by hitting the bullseye (inner or outer, both count as a single goal).  
  • The trick is that in order to have a shot at the goal you have to have three successful passes.  To do that you must hit three of your side's numbers (odd, if that's what you got, even otherwise).  
  • If you hit three of the same number that is a foul, and the other team gets a turn.  
  • If you get three successful passes, then next turn you can spend three darts trying to get one or more goals.
  • After each goal, the teams switch sides. Odd becomes even, even becomes odd.
  • If your last dart ends up in a number of the other side, then the other teams gets to play.
  • Your team keeps playing until either a goal is scored, you end a turn on the opposite side, you miss the board entirely, or foul the ball.
  • If all three of your darts hit into the opposite teams numbers then that is a free shot at the goal for them and they get to spend three darts trying to hit a goal without having to get three successful passes.

Tip the Tanner
This is an odd one, and a game that can only be played on a board that has a wire spider since it involves slipping coins under the wires.  One player elects to be the banker, and the others are all buyers.  The banker places a sixpence under any wire he chooses and then the other players have to pay him a penny per three darts to have a shot at it.  If you knock the sixpence out of the board you get to keep it.  With American coinage, we don't have any coins that are six times the value of another coin, but we do have several that are 5 times the value of another coin.  So you could place a quarter under a wire and the buyers would pay a nickel per round, or a nickel under the wire and charge pennies, etc. Seems like a silly game to me, but might be fun to try.

Sevens
This game another in which you must earn the right to score by hitting something on the board.  In this case it is the single seven, or any two or three numbers that total to seven exactly.  If the player has one dart left to score with he must shoot for score, and then the next round start over again with trying to hit a seven.  If playing partners it works exactly the same as if it were a two person game.  In this game, doubles and triples count as singles.  What is unclear is how many darts do you get to score with? The book makes it clear that if you spend 2 of your three darts getting the seven, then you may score with your last dart but that next round you start all over again.  However, if you hit the seven with your first dart, do you then get the remaining two darts to score with?  The book also makes it clear that if you spend all three darts getting your seven then next round you can score right away... but with your entire round or just the first dart, or what?  The game sounds like it might be fun to try but the rules are unclear at best.

Doddlums (or Table Skittles)
They say you learn something new everyday and this is what I learned today.  Apparently there is a fascinating pub game I have never heard of before in England called "Table Skittles".  If I ever go to England I will seek out a game and play it.  This dart game is apparently modeled after that other non-dart game.  It goes like this:

  1. Players take turns throwing three darts
  2. Doubles and triples count as singles in this game
  3. Each turn you have three "swings at the skittles" and the object is to score in increments of 9.
  4. Any number hit over 9 is a miss.
  5. Any number hit that pushes the current total over 9 is a miss. So if you are sitting on 3, and then hit a 7, the seven is a miss but the 3 still counts.
  6. A perfect score in a turn is to hit three 9's, for a total of 27.
  7. Some examples:
    1. if you hit 9, then 9, then 7, your score is 25
    2. if you hit 8, then 3, then 9, your score is 8, but
    3. if you hit 8, then 3, then 1, your score is 9  (make sense?)
    4. if you hit 4, then 5, then 9, your score is 18
  8. You play to exactly 101.  In your last turn, if a dart pushes you over 101, that dart is ignored, but the entire round is not a bust.  So if you have 95 when you start your turn, and hit a 6, you win.  If you were to hit a 3, and then 2, and then 7, the seven is ignored, but the 3 and the 2 count and your score becomes 100.
  9. In this game you can tie, so after the first person hits 101 exactly, all other players that are within range have one opportunity to also reach 101.


Round the Clock
Another game where doubles and triples count as singles!  All numbers but be hit in numerical order, and the 25 and 50 are optional.  The interesting twist here is that each score registered earns an extra dart.  So if you hit the 1, the 2, and then miss the 3, your turn is not over.  You retrieve your darts and keep throwing because you have earned two extra darts.  And if those two darts also score?  Yup, you get to keep going.  This seems like it is very similar to 8-Ball in pool because you could run the board without your opponent ever throwing a single dart.  This also makes winning the cork (or the coin spin?) exceptionally important!  A variation mentioned in the book is to have to hit the doubles instead of the singles (which is how we normally play here).

Handicap Round the Clock
In this game, you only play the numbers 1 thru 10, and each number is shot at in numerical order, advancing numbers each round.  So in round one, all players aim at the 1 bed, scoring anything they hit in that bed alone. If you miss the 1's entirely you score nothing for that round, but move on to 2's next round anyway.  If you miss any of the higher numbers (8, 9, 10) in those rounds you tally your score and stop playing.  Once all ten rounds are over, the player with the highest score wins, even if it is a player who missed the 8's or the 9's and had to stop playing.

Shove Ha'Penny
In this game, any number of players can play and only the numbers 1 - 9 are used, with an optional "W" (stands for "Woozle" (which means bullseye)). Each player must get three hits in each number to win and the first to do so wins, but each player also has one opportunity to tie after the first player completes their numbers.  There is no score in this game.  The interesting twist with this game is that if you score more of a number than you need to, you shove the extra scores to the right on the scoreboard.  So if you accidentally score five 1's then the two you do not need are given to the player who comes after you.  If he only needs one, then the remaining extra goes to the next player who needs it.  The one catch is that you cannot receive the winning mark.  You must throw your own winning dart.  The game seems very socialist to me.

Golf
Two variations are given in this book. One variation is exactly like the game Captain Everson describes in his book.  The second variation is very similar to the first, with the exception that only one player can win a hole, and once that hole is one the play moves on to the next hole.  The player wins the most holes wins.  What's a little bit unclear, however, is how one wins a hole.  The book seems to imply that all that is needed is for a single dart to hit anywhere in the number.  Seems a bit too easy.  I like Captain Everson's version better.

Cricket
The author presents three variations of this game, and none of them are the cricket we know and love from American dart leagues.  Rather it is a darts game modeled loosely on the field game of Cricket (an ancestor of American Baseball).  Some people know this dart game as "Wickets and Bats".

In all variations, the players take turns being the bowler or the batsman.  Of the bowler he must get a number of wickets, and during that effort the batsman does his best to accumulate score.  The variations all have to do with what constitutes a wicket, how many wickets are needed, and how one accumulates score.  Once all the wickets have been scored the players trade roles.  High score wins the game.

Variation 1:  
3 wickets must be scored.  A wicket is any double or triple.  A batsman may score on anything other than a double or triple, including the bull, but if he hits a double or triple his round is over.

Variation 2:
10 wickets must be scored. A wicket is a bull.  A batsman can only keep whatever he score above 40 in each round, including bulls, doubles, and triples.

Variation 3:
10 wickets must be scored.  The wickets are the doubles 1 - 10 (in order). A batsman may score anywhere on the board except the currently needed double, which gets him out.  He keeps all the points he scores during the round.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

League Didn't Suck Last Night

In fact, I'd say it was more good than bad, personally, but now that I think on it, it could not have gotten too much worser for the team as a whole.  We were walloped 17-4.  But it was nice to be back in Coopers playing darts again.  For years and years that was my teams' home bar and I even took the time to seek out a plaque with my name on it up on their trophy wall.  Seems like many of them have gone missing.

The night started off exactly right.  I got there an hour before play started to warm up, have a drink, and relax.  Several of the opposing players were there and one of them, quite a good darter, was down for playing some old school warm up games.  First we played Golf, exactly as described in Captain Everson's book, and then we played a game of Halve It, as described in The Little Red Book of Darts, except as you can see from the score board, we played with 12 targets instead of 11.  Both games were fun to play, and I enjoyed meeting the opposing player in this way as well.


As mentioned, the team didn't do well over all but I did mostly okay.  I would like to have hit more tons, but I did hit a decent amount of 60's over the night, and the highlight of the night was a cricket win that contained two 7-mark rounds.  I played two singles games, a 401 and a cricket, and won them both.  I also played four doubles matches, two 501 and 2 cricket, but only won one of those: a cricket with Henri.

My only singles 401 was against Jeff and it was a good one.  I opened with a Ton, hit four triple-20's during the game, and eventually took out 12 by going: miss outside, single 6, double 3.  To my credit though, I hit the double 3 with my first shot at it.  I remarked to my opponent that I couldn't remember the last time I hit a double 3 on purpose, and outside of practice that is certainly true!

My only singles cricket was also a good game, a win against Dave.  We were both playing well, and in fact he had a 5-count in the 19's early in the game but I was able to out shoot him, barely, for the win.  I didn't have any spectacular rounds in the game, but it ended with a score of 180-168, and I had a 2.1 average for the game.

Doubles mostly sucked.  My first doubles 501 was with Dani, and other than opening the game with an 85 I threw rubbish, including several misses at the out.  They out-darted us plain and simple.  My second doubles 501 was with Julia and that was also a loss.  In that game I hit a late Ton but it wasn't enough to catch us up.  Out-darted again.

My first doubles cricket was with Henri and it was a fine game, and a win.  We started slow and got in the hole fast.  Henri and I both threw goose eggs in our first rounds but the other team did not.  However, at about mid-game I hit a 7-count in the 19's catching us up in score, and in my penultimate round I hit another 7-count: triple 16, triple-15, single bull, which caught us up in numbers and gave us a good shot at the win.  Next time I was up I hit a double bull for the win.  Here is the last 7 Mark:



The last doubles cricket was with Chris, and a loss.  Both teams seemed spent by that time.  As a testament to this, they beat our 1.1 MPR with a 1.2!

The darts I brought with me last night:


The Nobu's and the Coppers were my mainstays, swapping between them freely throughout the night.  They both threw decently well.  The Hammerheads didn't come out until the team game, and I did not throw any tons with them.  One interesting occurrence in the night was this:


Another dart came in behind it and drove the flight into the Twin Grip stem, partially splitting it.  The wonderful thing about this collision, and Twin Grips in general, is that all I needed to do was remove the flight, rotate it 90 degrees, and put it back on the stem.  Just.  Like.  New.  Of course one more such collision and the flight will be completely spent, but that's quite all right.

Over all a good night out playing darts :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Thank You Steve Coote (#46)

Years ago when I was more active in the online dart forums I received these darts, which are Steve Coote's 21 gram signature Datadart, as a gift from the man himself as a thank you for being active in his online community.  They have proven true for many years, and I have to be honest, I do not think this is the first maximum to come off these darts either.  The Ton-80 below came in practice. Lately I have been working mostly with my Nobu's but from time to time I pick up another set (usually chosen completely randomly by a throw of dice) and throw a quick 301 to break the practice up some.  Especially if the 60's are few and far in between.


Practice lately has been worrisome to me.  The 60's are indeed few and far in between and worse, my groupings are not very tight.  Sometimes my throws are so scattershot that I wonder if I have forgotten how to throw a dart entirely.  But last night I also hit a faux max (in addition to the genuine Ton-80 pictured above), and better: the three 60's were sequential.  Two were the last two darts in the previous round, and I plucked out my initial 1 or 5 or whatever it was and gave it another toss and hit the 60 again.  These are the small encouragings that keep me going, I guess.

The Coote's above are wearing medium standard condor flights.