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How to play killer darts

How to Play Killer Darts | Fun Game for Larger Groups

A lot of dart games are used for serious practice to get better at darts. While some games can have a “fun” aspect, very few games succeed quite like the game of killer darts

Killer darts is a game this is suitable for top-class players and beginners alike and the rules can be modified easily so that everyone has a fair chance of winning (unless there is a player who is particularly bad!). It’s fast-paced, suitable for a large group of players, and can get quite competitive as well. 

How to play killer darts? To play killer darts, each player throws one dart with their off-hand (if a player is right-handed they will throw with their left hand) and the number they hit is their assigned number. Players then throw for their own double to become a killer. Once you are a killer, you can throw for the double of other players’ numbers to make them lose lives. A player is a winner when they are the only one with lives left.  

If you are looking for a simple game that can be played with large groups then killer darts is one of the best games around. 

What Is Killer Darts

Killer darts is a popular and easy to play dart game that is ideal for beginners and large groups of players. The aim of the game is quite simple, you want to become a killer in order to kill the other players and the main focus is on hitting doubles which makes this a great finishing practice game. 

OK, maybe it doesn’t sound so simple when I phrase it like that but trust me, this is a game that anyone can learn instantly and it can be modified depending on the skill level of the players involved. 

Killer darts is a game for 2 or more players and unlike other darts games, the more players you have the better. Players take turns trying to hit the double for their assigned number (we’ll cover this shortly) and once players hit this double, they become a killer. 

Once a player is a killer they can then start to throw for the double of the other players assigned numbers in order to take their lives. The winner is the last player to still have a life left on the scoreboard. 

To give a better understanding of how this game can be played (as well as some useful hints and tips) I’ll run through the rules and how to play killer darts with an example game. 

How to Play Killer Darts

To get started with killer darts, all players will need an assigned number that is unique to only them. Therefore, this game can be played with 2-20 players at a maximum. To get your assigned number, each player will take a turn to throw a single dart with their off-hand (a right hander will throw with their left hand and vice versa). 

They number they hit will be their assigned number and should be written on the scoreboard next to their name. If for example on your throw you hit the number 2, this will then be your assigned number. Once everyone has an assigned number you will take turns throwing 3 darts for the double of your assigned number. 

Hitting the double will give you a killer status which will then allow you to throw for the double of other players numbers and start to take their lives. Just note that if you hit your double after you are already a killer, you will then lose a life automatically so be careful throwing for numbers close to your own once you are a killer. 

How to Score Killer Darts

Player NameAssigned NumberKiller StatusLives
Player 12KIII
Player 219II
Player 37KII
Player 412KI

As you can see, player 1 has achieved killer status by hitting his own double and is now throwing at the doubles for the other players assigned numbers. Player 2 on the other hand is yet to hit his own double and has also lost a life. Players 3 & 4 also have the killer status but have also lost lives with player 4 looking likely to be eliminated if he loses 1 more life. 

The scoring is therefore relatively straightforward, just mark the assigned number on the board for each player, add killer status when a player achieves it and also mark each players lives at the start of the game. 

As players become a killer you add a K under their killer status and as lives are lost, you remove them until only one player is left with lives on the board. 

How to Win Killer Darts

Killer darts is very straightforward to win, the winner is simply the last player to have lives remaining on the scoreboard. Once everyone else has lost their three lives (or however many lives you decide to play with) then the remaining player with 1 more lives is the winner. 

If you are finding that the traditional way of playing killer darts is too easy and games are going by too quickly, there are some variations to the game that you can use. 

Killer Darts Variations

If you are looking to make this game more interesting or simply want to adjust the rules because of a gap in skill level between players then you could look to play with some of these killer darts variations:

Handicap – With this, the best player can only hit another players double to take a life but other players only need to hit the single number to take a life. As an example, If I’m player 1 with the handicap and my assigned number is 20, the other players will only need to hit single 20 and I’ll lose a life. 

If player 2 is assigned the number 15, I’ll still need to hit their double in order to take one of their lives. This variation will make the games much more competitive. 

Blind Killer – This is one of my personal favorites and is designed to make the game more fun. For blind killer, players do not know which number belongs to which person. Numbers are assigned to players at random and everyone starts out as a killer. 

The assigned numbers and lives are written on the scoreboard but the players name is covered next to each number. This makes it more difficult for players to team up and target other players as no one knows what their number is. It also means that you could accidentally take one of your own lives if you target a certain number and it’s your own. 

The players name is only revealed once that number has lost all of it’s lives. 

Killer Cancel – A unique variation you can use to make the game more competitive is with a killer cancel. If a player hits a bullseye during their turn then they can remove the killer status from another player. 

If one player is taking a big lead then aiming for the bullseye to remove their killer status could be a more effective and defensive strategy then trying to take their lives and facing retaliation. Once a killer cancel has been used, that player will then need to hit their own double to earn their killer status back again before they can continue aiming for other players doubles. 

Trebles – If you want to mix up the practice intent, you can switch from finishing to scoring practice by playing with trebles only. For this variation, you’ll need to hit the treble of your own number to become a killer and then must hit the trebles of other players numbers to take their lives.  

Killer Darts Tips

To win at killer darts you need to either be the best players or… have a strategy to stay in the game as long as possible. To do this you can utilize a few tips and tricks to avoid elimination and potentially even win as the underdog. 

Alliances – The sneaky way is to form an alliance with other players and go after weaker (or stronger) players to quickly eliminate them. An alliance can be verbal where you openly admit to teaming up or it can be more subtle. 

The subtle approach would be to make a mental note of which player other players are targeting, throw a loose dart at different players numbers to intentionally look like you are going for everyone but then make sure to throw more darts towards the targeted player. 

Other players wouldn’t know that you are teaming up and you’ll appear innocent as other players aggressively and obiously target each other. 

Target Number – when throwing with your off-hand, you should aim towards other players numbers and try to get a number close to theirs. If player 1 has the number 20 for example, then you should aim for the 1 or 5. 

The reason for this is that the other player could accidentally take their own lives if they are throwing for your double and it accidently hits their own. This could of course backfire when you aim for their double and accidentally hit your own but this is where a belief in your own skill level would help. 

As long as you are confident that you won’t hit your own double by accident, this could be a great strategy to stay in the game longer as other players are more cautious of hitting their own number and will therefore target other players first. 

Final Thoughts

When playing with an odd number of players or a large group, it can often be difficult to find a good darts game that won’t get confusing and take an eternity to finish. 

Killer darts is the exception and is a game that you can easily get the grasp of pretty quickly (even with no knowledge of the game of darts) and enjoy.

If you are looking for some other practice games then you should also check out:
How to play gotcha darts
How to play Shanghai darts
How to play around the clock darts