When it comes to dart games, the split will typically be practice games, competitive games, or fun games. Scram darts is a game the falls into the “fun dart games” category and is ideal for both beginner or experienced players alike.
Scram darts follows a similar principle to cricket, one player tries to score as many points as possible in a round while the other player tries to stop the round as soon as possible to minimize the opponent’s score. This is of course a very simplified version of scram darts.
In this article, we’ll cover all the rules, tips, strategies, scoring, also the general basics to show you how to play scram darts. It’s a fun game, easy to get started, and is also great competition for more experienced players.
Number of players
2 – 4
Scram darts traditionally consist of two players; the scorer and the stopper. This is how the game is best played. However, you can also play with two teams of two if there are more players.
Scram darts is generally a short, fast game. Therefore having more teams than this would make the process longer, although, when playing casually, it can be done.
A variation example for having three players in each team is that each player will throw one dart per group turn.
How to Play Scram Darts
To start, split a scoreboard in half and label one side as “stopper” and the other side as “scorer”. On the stopper’s side, list numbers 1-20 and bullseye in order. Keep the scorer’s side blank for now. Your scoreboard should look like the below:
Scram darts is played with a stopper and a scorer. The Stoppers job is to close all numbers on the board as soon as possible while the scorer needs to score as many points as possible before all numbers on the board are closed.
To decide who will start as the stopper, throw 1 dart each at the bullseye, closest to the bullseye chooses whether they want to be the stopper or scorer first.
The stopper is always the first player to start. The stopper will throw 3 darts, then each number the darts hit on the board are ‘stopped’, otherwise known as closed. This makes them unavailable to the scorer and they will not gain points by hitting one of the same numbers.
Next, the scorer will play – again throwing 3 darts. The scorer will only gain points if they hit a number that the stopper has not already hit. If they hit the same number as the stopper, the points will not be counted.
Then, the stopper plays again.
All of the numbers (including the bullseye) that the stopper has hit, are closed until the end of the round. The round continues until the stopper has closed all of the numbers and the bullseye, then the scorer’s total number of points are added up.
In the next round, the roles are reserved and the stopper becomes the scorer. The same process repeats again, and at the end of the second round, the new scorer’s points are added up. Whichever player scored more in total is the winner.
Scram Darts Objective
The aim for the stopper is to close off the higher numbers (especially the bullseye), in the first round. This will make it more difficult for the scorer to gain a high total score.
Likewise, the aim for the scorer is to hit the highest available numbers that they can, as soon as they can. In each round, there will be more and more numbers closed off, so earning large points in the first round is crucial.
The length of the game will depend on the players and their skill level. Players with good precision will close off the board faster. However, in general, one game usually lasts between 5 – 15 minutes.
If the game is being played in groups, then it can be split between one stopper and one scorer in each group, or two stoppers versus two scorers.
Scram Darts Rules and Scoring
The rules for scram darts can be altered in casual games to make it harder or easier. The standard rules are listed below, with also some options for altering the rules.
If after the two rounds the game ends in a tie, then the players can either agree to share the victory, or they can play another two rounds and total their scores from both games together.
Missing the Board
If either player (the scorer or the stopper) misses the board, or if the dart falls off, then no points will be added to the score and the player is not allowed to throw again.
Type of Dartboard
Scram darts can be played on any standard dartboard that has the numbers 1 through 20, plus the bullseye. This means it can be played on either soft tip dartboards and steel tip dartboards or other types of dartboards.
Players score points by hitting numbers that are open in play. This follows the standard scoring system so the single area of a number is worth that number of points, hitting the double area is worth twice that number, and hitting the triple area is worth three times as much.
For example, a single 20 is worth 20, double 20 scores 40, and treble 20 scores 60.
The standard points apply for hitting the bullseye – 50 points for hitting the inner part, and 25 points for hitting the outer part.
If a dart lands in a number that is already closed or if you miss the board, you’ll score zero points for that dart. The aim of scram darts is to score as many points as possible before your opponent closes all numbers on the board.
Altercations of Rules
If you want to make scram darts more challenging or alter the rules slightly, the below are some things you could try for a scram darts variation:
- Scoring is limited to double or triple only
- Additional rules that require players to hit the numbers in ascending or descending orders
- Handicap one of the players to allow them to only throw one of two darts on each turn (generally this is done if one player is more skilled than the other)
- Other implications can be made of how the closing of numbers works
Scram Darts Example Game
To start off the players will need to decide who is first acting as the stopper, and who is the scorer.
To do this, either take it in turns to throw closest to the bullseye or just flip a coin.
The stopper throws 3 darts hitting numbers 20, 18, and 5. These numbers are crossed out on the stoppers scoreboard and are now closed.
The scorer now throws 3 darts hitting numbers 19, 19, and 5. The score for this throw is 38 (19 + 19), the 5 does not count as it has already been closed by the stopper. A score of 38 is now added to the scorer’s score.
Next, the stopper hits 20, 19, and 3. 19 and 3 are now crossed out on the stoppers scoreboard but 20 was already a close number so does not count for anything.
The scorer throws their next 3 darts and hits 20, 10, and 10. The score for this throw is 20 (10 + 10) and the 20 doesn’t count again as it’s already closed. The score of 20 is now added to the scorer’s scoreboard.
The round continues until the stopper closes all numbers on the board. After all of the numbers are closed by the stopper, the round ends and the scorer’s points are tallied up. The players change places and the scorer now becomes the stopper and vice versa.
Repeat the round as above. Once all numbers are closed, tally up the scorers total points for this round. Whichever player scored the most points over the two rounds is declared the winner.
Scram Darts Tips and Strategies
As scram darts is such a simple game, there aren’t too many tips or strategies that players can utilize to gain an edge, especially if you play the basic version of the game without a variation of some sort. With that said, there are of course some strategies you can adopt.
As the stopper, your aim should be to take out the biggest numbers as soon as possible. start at 20 and close numbers in a descending order to prevent the player from easily scoring highly, I say easily because they might be good at trebles and can still rack up a score early on.
Next, I’d recommend avoiding closing the bullseye early on.
If you temp a player into throwing for the bullseye, this is much harder to hit and they can easily miss the bullseye and hit either a closed number or low scoring number.
If you leave the bullseye as an open number, you can tempt them into throwing for it with the promise of a high number but have a good chance of seeing them miss and score poorly.
In the meantime, you can continue to close numbers!
Also, if you know your opponent well, play to their weaknesses. If they struggle to hit 15 for example, don’t close it just because it’s a moderately high number.
Leave it to temp them into throwing for it (much like the bullseye scenario) and just close the numbers around it. That way a player will be tempted to throw for the higher score yet miss, hit the close numbers around it and score very poorly.
As the scorer, your most important task is scoring as highly as possible, as quickly as possible. Therefore, hit your best trebles early on. If your opponent has not closed 19, but you’re accurate on 16, go for treble 16 and try to score as highly as you can.
If you go for the 19 just because it’s a higher number, you could miss it and score poorly and then watch your opponent close the 19 and possibly the 16 on their next throw. Therefore, play to your strengths and not necessarily the numbers left on the board.
Other than playing to your own strengths, your aim should be to score as highly as possible with every throw so, throw at segments of the board where you can maximize your score.
10 next to 15 is useful even if you miss, similar to 16 and 8. when throwing for a group, the occasional treble will significantly boost your score. If however you throw for treble 20 but hit treble 1, the reverse is true.
Hopefully, you can see how simple yet competitive scram darts can be.
Trying to score as many points as possible, as early as possible, really leads to a competitive yet fast-paced and exciting game. Use the rules, examples and tips above to play and test scram darts for yourself and see how you enjoy it.
Admittedly, I don’t play scram darts very frequently myself, however, on the occasion when I do play it I’ll either find it fun because my opponent can’t close the big numbers (while I continue to rack up a score) or it can be frustrating when your the person who can’t close the numbers quickly enough.
The standard rules might be too easy for some players though so I’d definitely recommend playing this as the doubles or trebles variation mentioned earlier!