Hare and Hound darts – also known as Fox Hunt – is a fast-paced game because it is quite literally a race around the board for all players. There’s a runner (Hare) and a chaser (Hound) whose sole objective is to make it around the board first.
It sounds simple but the basic game is great for beginners and by adding in some variations to the rules or handicaps, this can be a game suitable for all skill levels.
In this article, I’ll cover the rules and general information needed to play Hare and Hound darts along with some additional tips and variations to keep the games fresh and entertaining for all players!
Number of Players
2 players (3+ players can also play)
Hare and Hound, is played with two players.
The game is most interesting when the players are of similar skill levels, but there are handicaps that can be applied to make a game between unequal players more fun.
Hare and Hound Darts Rules and Scoring
Play is clockwise for hare and hound darts as players through for each segment in a clockwise manner. An example would be hitting segment 1 followed by 18 which is directly next to 1 in a clockwise view.
The objective of Hare and Hound darts for the “Hare” is to advance all the way around the dartboard before the “Hound” catches you.
For the Hound the objective is to catch up to, or pass, the Hare.
Players determine the number of darts each will throw per turn, usually 3.
The Hare begins the game on the 20, while the Hound is ready for the chase on the 5 (essentially starting one number behind the Hare). The first throw belongs to Hare and players take alternating turns throughout the game.
You may only advance to the next spot on the board after landing a dart in the preceding section.
Scoring Hare and Hound is easy. Play is clockwise and does not follow sequential number order and players need only recall the last number section they played.
The winner is determined by the Hare completing a full lap of the board, ending on the 20, or when the Hound catches up to the Hare.
Hare and Hound Darts Objective
There are two objectives for Hare and Hound darts. The first objective is for the Hare to make it around the dartboard to the number 20 segment first without being caught. The second objective is for the Hound who needs to catch the Hare before the player makes it to the 20 segment.
How to Play Hare and Hound Darts
3 darts are thrown per turn and the player may advance each time they hit the desired section. If for example you start the game and hit 1, you’ll then move on to the 18 segment.
The Hare begins the game on the 20 section and aims for their first target, the 1 section. The Hare wins if they make it all the way around the board before being caught by the Hound.
If the Hound lands on the same section as the Hare before the Hare returns to the 20 section, the Hound wins the game.
Hare and Hounds Darts Example Game
Our two players have determined that their skill levels indicate a small handicap on the part of the Hound will make the game more fun.
They’ve agreed to 3 darts per turn, that the Hound will begin one section back from their usual starting point, and that the Hound must pass the Hare to win.
The Hare will begin on the 20 section, and the Hound will begin on the 12.
Turn 1: The Hare throws their 3 darts, one after another, hits the 1, misses, and hits the 18. The Hound throws and hits each target number, bringing their position up to the 1 section, one number behind the Hare.
Turn 2: Hare throws, again making 2 hits and missing 1, making their position 13. Hound throws and again hits all three targets. Now Hare and Hound are in the same section, this would normally be a win for Hound, but the players have agreed the Hound must pass Hare for the win.
Turn 3: Hare and Hound each make 2 hits, bringing them both up to section 10.
Turn 4: Hare throws and makes 1 hit, landing on 15. Hound throws and makes 3 hits, landing on 17 and decisively winning the round.
Hare and Hound Darts Variations
Below is a list of handicaps that you can use to make this game fairer – and enjoyable – for players of all skill levels:
- A more experienced player can be the Hound and start farther back than the 5 segment. Or the less skilled player can be given more throws per turn than the experienced player.
- To make the game more challenging make doubles or triples a requirement for advancement for the more skilled player whereas the beginner only needs to hit any part of the number segment (single, double, or treble) to advance.
- Establish a winner’s handicap. If, for example, the Hound catches the Hare make a note of the position the Hare was captured in. In the next round, the winning player will be the Hare, and they must reach a section further than the previous Hare’s position to win that round.
- For a longer game, when the Hound passes the Hare by one section, the roles or direction of play are reversed. With a role-reversal, the Hound then becomes the Hare, the pursued, and play continues clockwise. With direction reversal the Hare, having been passed by the Hound, turns and runs the other way and play continues counter-clockwise.
More Than Two Players
You can play Hare and Hound darts with more than two players. One player is the Hound and all the others are Hares. If a Hare is caught, that player is eliminated and the catching Hound now becomes the Hare. The first Hare to make it around to the number 20 and hit it is the winner.
If you have an even number of players, then teams can be made. The Hare can be made up of 2 players with the Hound also being 2 players. The 2 Hares will throw first with 3 darts each and advance. The 2 Hounds will then throw their 3 darts each and attempt to catch the Hare team.
A lot of dart games are quite serious and can get too competitive, especially for players that aren’t yet too advanced or accurate when it comes to darts.
Hare and Hound darts offer a different change of pace that beginners or less “competitive” players will appreciate.
The rules and objectives are very straightforward with this game. You don’t need to keep score, you don’t need to be the most accurate with every dart, and rather than feeling pressure shots, it’s more of an exciting run/chase scenario.
If you try this game and enjoy it, you might also want to check out some similar games that are easy to play yet fun: