How to Play Killer Darts

How to Play Killer Darts

Killer darts is a game played on either a standard dartboard or a soft tip dartboard. It is usually played as a practice routine. However, it can also be played as fun between friends as opposed to being played as a professional game. The objective of the game remains the same, to be the player remaining in the game. What also remains constant is that players will start with a certain amount of lives. This amount varies and is down to personal preference. In order to take a life off a player you have to achieve something on the dartboard. This also varies depending on the version of killer you are playing.

Rules of Killer Darts:

– Each player starts with a certain number of lives (Generally three or five)

– To remove a life, you must hit something on the board (See “Versions of Killer”)

– The winner is the only person remaining with lives.

Versions of Killer:

Standard “Expert” Killer:

In this version of Killer, all players throw with their non-dominant hand on their first throw. Whatever number they hit becomes their number. In this version each player gets three lives.

The expert version requires that you hit your numbers double segment three times to become a killer. Once you become a killer you can throw at your opponent’s double to remove their lives. The goal is to be the last player standing.

Standard Killer:

In this version of the game, the rules are very similar to that of the expert version. They key difference is that instead of having to hit the double segment of your number you can simply hit any segment of your number to become a killer and remove lives from other players.

Friendly Killer:

This is a version of the game typically played between friends. In this version of killer darts each player starts on five-lives. Everyone throws at a target with their non-dominant hand to determine their number. The big difference in this game is that you don’t have to become a killer from your first go. You can start throwing to take lives off other players. A further variation to this game includes the ability to hit your own number to gain a life back. Additionally, you can get one chance to revive yourself after you lose all your lives. This is purely to ensure that every player gets at least one go.

Follow On Killer:

This is a special version of the game where one player will first set with their non-dominant hand. The next player will then have to hit the target. The last player needs to hit the target in order to keep their life. If the player manages to hit the target, then they have whatever remaining darts in hand to set a new target. In the event they hit it with their third dart the player gets a further three darts to set the new target. However, if they miss with all three darts at the target or fail to set a new target, they lose a life.

The aim is to be the last person with lives.

High/Low Score Killer:

This follows the same principle as follow-on killer. However, the goal is to either get a score higher or lower depending on the rules than the person who threw at the board before you. If you fail to do that your score remains for the next person to beat, but you lose a life. In versions of the game where the goal is to get the lowest score possible missing the board entirely counts as 50 points.

Killer Darts Scoring:

Scoring in killer darts changes depending on the group playing. In all versions outside of standard killer the rules are very relaxed on how many lives you have. If playing with a group of friends or in a pub I would recommend you play with five lives each.

In all versions outside of “Friendly Killer” there is no way to regain lives so once a life is lost it is gone forever.

You lose a life when you fail to achieve whatever the target of your version is whether that be hitting a target or scoring a certain amount.

If you are completely new to the game, you may play a version where the whole segment is in play for instance “17” or “20” instead of breaking down the individual segments. As the players get better it is recommended you begin splitting the segments in “Little” as in the smaller single scoring segment, “Treble” the treble scoring segment, “big” the bigger single scoring segment and “double”.

In this game the “Outer Bull” and “Inner Bull” are treated as separate segments known as “25” and “Bull”. Generally the bullseye does not count as double 25.


While the game is not played competitively in most places there is still some strategy that can be used while playing for fun.

If one player, you are playing with is evidently better than the other players in the game you may choose to form an alliance with the other poorer players to specifically target the better player in order to get them out quicker. However, this strategy does not work in the “Follow On” versions of killer darts. In those versions only the person throwing prior can set a target for them to hit.

In the “follow on” versions of the game when setting you might as well throw a dart directly at the bullseye. If you hit it, it is the smallest target on the board but at the same time if you miss it minimizes the chance of you missing the board entirely.

Another advanced strategy in the “Follow On” game is called “Sacrificing”. This happens when you have more than one life. However, you know the opponent following you only has one so when a difficult to hit target is set you purposefully miss it sacrificing your life in the knowledge it will eliminate the person following you.

Standard Killer is a generally strategy free game outside of alliances.

Final Thoughts

Killer darts is a very fun game with lots of variations. However, all of these versions of the game require at least a basic level of skill in aiming. Therefore, if you have only just started playing darts this may not be the game for you. Instead, games like Clock (known in some places as Around the Board or Around the Clock) will help you get better at aiming and prepare for playing games like Killer. Either way I hope you try it out sometime and see if you like it.