The name of this game is pronounced “x-oh-one,” and it is one of the easiest games to play and a good one for beginners. The rules are pretty simple and allow new players to develop their throwing skills without having to worry too much about complicated rules and scoring.

The Object

The object of the game is to score a zero. It sounds a little strange to play a game where your object is to lose points, but that's the name of the game here. The game starts with a score of 301, 401, 501, 601, or 1,001 points—it's up to you what point value you decide to start with. The goal is to subtract the total of your darts thrown from any of those values, until you eventually get down to zero.

You can start the game by throwing either a double-in or a single-in (see the lingo list for the details on these terms). You can also play using double-out or straight-out. It's up to you and the preferences of the other players. Usually, people don't play this game with a straight-out; playing a straight-out is rather uneventful. It's much more challenging to play a double-out. Games 301 and 601 are usually played as double-in/double-out while 401, 501, and 1,001 are played straight-in/double out.


The score that you agree to start with, let's say “301,” is written at the top center of the scoreboard before the game begins. A vertical line should be drawn down the center of the board and underneath the “301” the letters “DD” or “SD” should be indicated to show the agreed upon start and finish rules. DD: double-in/double-out and SD: single-in/double-out. After each round (throw of three darts per player) the total points from that round is written on the board along with the remaining score on that player's side of the board.

The score of 100 is called “Ton” and is written as a “T” on the scoreboard. Scores over 100, are a “Ton” plus the extra score. For example, a score of 120 is a “ton-twenty” and is written on the board as “2T0.”

The initials of each player are marked in vertical columns on the scoreboard with the winner of the initial throw written on the left.

So, as you can see, scoring does require one's un­divided attention, and it's best to have someone dedicated to that job alone. If you don't have someone, it's okay to use one of the team players, but make sure it's just one person and that that person speaks the scoreboard lingo; otherwise, you could wind up with a muddled board and you'll never know who won the game.

Winning Plays

Pubs in the United Kingdom often measure eight feet or eight feet six inches from the board when using steel-tipped darts. Sounds like they must really know their darts if they need that extra foot or so.

Getting Started

You start the game with the usual round of “diddle for middle.” Each player throws a dart in an effort to hit the bull's-eye and go first. You've already read the rules for this procedure, so your next step is to start playing the game!

If the game is called a straight-in game, the person who threw the winning opening dart goes first. The goal is to score as many possible points with your first three throws (the opening round). Each dart is scored by the number it hits on the board. If you hit in the outer ring, the score is the face value of the number. If your dart hits the middle ring, your score doubles the value of the number you hit, and if you hit within the inner circle, your score triples. The highest possible score in one round is 180 or three triple-20s.

If the game is called a double-in, then the first player to throw the darts must score a double in order to start the game. If you are the first player up and you hit any number in the double ring area, you will have officially started the game, and the scores add up from there. If you don't hit a double, then the play goes to the player number one on team two and that thrower tries to hit a double. This keeps going until someone hits a double and the game can commence.

If player number one hits a single, then a double, and then another single, the first single doesn't count toward the points. The second throw—the double—does count, as does the third dart thrown. The opening round is the only round that requires the players to hit a double. After the first double is hit, all other scores are valid.

Getting Out

Because you are scoring backward in x01, meaning subtracting points from the initial score, you will have to begin to think how to strategize your out. Expert players don't have much of a problem hitting exact numbers to get out. They probably start rounding out when they get to about 160, but if you're a novice, you may want to figure your out when you get down to about 40. You won't have to be as precise with the numbers you hit.

If you're playing straight-out, you'll be able to hit single numbers to get to zero, but if you're playing double-out, you'll have to be a little more precise with your throws. With a double-out in this game you will have to throw a double to get to exactly zero, in order to get out of, and win, the game.

Double-out example:

Let's say you are at 32, you will need to hit a double-16 in order to end the game. If you don't hit a double-16, but hit a single-8 instead, you now have 24 points. If you score 23 points with your remaining two darts, you have busted, because you will only have 1 point left and there's no way to throw half of one. If you “bust,” none of your darts counts for that round and you pass your turn to the next player. You also bust if you score less than zero, or exactly zero if you hit zero but your last dart was not a double.

The only way to bust in a straight-out game is if you wind up with less than zero as your total score.

There are many strategies for getting out of the x01 double-out games. There are actually scoring charts that show you what you need to throw to win the game. These scoring charts can be located online or through a sporting goods supply store. You may even be able to find these charts in local bookstores. Experts use these charts, so don't be too bothered if you can't understand the charts right away. The longer you play, the easier it will be to catch on to some of the scoring techniques. Even if you did understand the techniques, practice makes perfect, and if you're new to this, you'll need to do a lot of practicing before you learn the art of the double-out.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Family Games © 2002 by BookEnds, LLC. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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