All you really need to get started playing darts is a dart board, somewhere to hang it, and a set of darts. But if you want to get more out of darts, there is a whole slew of products available to help keep you on top of your game. While not all these products are essential, over time, you will need to replace some parts of your darts due to wear and tear to keep them in top flight.
These are the replaceable plastic “wings” at the rear of a dart. These help to stabilize the dart in flight so the tip of the dart hits the dart board first. Flights are available in a massive selection of colorful designs and graphics to help customize the look of your darts. You will also find flights come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the dart, the larger your flight wing surface area should be to provide the necessary lift to your dart. When you put flights into your darts, be sure to fan them out first so each wing is 90 degrees from each other. This will allow your dart to fly truer than a flattened out X wing shape.
The shaft, or stem, is the part of the dart that screws into the back of the dart barrel. These are often made of plastic or aluminum, but you can also find other materials like titanium that make the shaft virtually indestructible. Many metal shafts feature replaceable O rings that keep them from loosening from the barrel. Some nylon shafts feature a spring clip that holds the flight securely. Replacements are sold separately. You can find shafts in all kinds of colors and lengths to suit your darts. Generally, shafts have a slot in the end to accept a flight, but you can also find shafts that allow you to slide the flight in through the side, giving the end of the flight extra protection. The shaft helps control the flight path of the dart. To find the the smoothest arc, it’s good to experiment with various shaft lengths to find the one right for your darts and your throwing style.
Nearly all steel-tip darts have replaceable tips also known as points. If you take care of your darts, it is highly unlikely you will need to replace them. If you use soft-tip darts, though, you will want to stock up on replacement tips. The plastic tips do tend to break off after a fair bit of use, so it’s always good to keep plenty of spares available. Soft tips are readily available in bulk packs so you should never be caught short. Also keep an eye out for tips of various lengths as you may find a shorter tip is generally a bit more durable thanthe longer ones.
These are made of plastic or a lightweight metal, and slip over the top of the darts flight to extend the life of your flights. They also help protect your shafts from breaking due to other darts hitting them.
To keep your darts in top condition, and well protected when carrying them around, you will need a case. When looking for a case for your darts, make sure there is enough room to carry at least one spare set of flights and a spare set of shafts. If you use steel-tip darts, make sure your case is also equipped with a point protector. This will ensure your points remain sharp and, if you are using a soft case, the darts won’t poke through the fabric. Many cases are roomy enough to store your darts with the flights still attached, but be wary of crushing the flight in a soft case. Having a slim case will require you to remove flights after use, and this can add to the wear to the flight. You will also find large cases that hold multiple sets of darts and accessories. These are great for keeping all your parts organized at home.
THROW LINES AND MATS
Where players stand to throw darts can become a contentious issue, so you need a clearly defined mark to stand behind. This is known as the throw line, the toe-line, or the oche (which is pronounced like Hockey without the “H”). This mark should be 7′ 9 ¼” away from the face of the dart board, although it is common for some places to mark at 8′. Many throw lines are available with an adhesive backing you simply stick to the floor. These are available in a wide range of bright colors and are generally made of heavy duty materials that will stand up to constantly being stood on. If you don’t like the prospect of sticking something to the floor, or you need a bit more protection for your floors, consider purchasing a dart mat. A good quality mat will be made from a heavy duty material like rubber, and should feature pre-marked throw lines so you don’t need to measure the distance.
When two tungsten titans go head to head, one will taste the bitterness of defeat while the other will stand victorious—unless of course it’s a tie. But how will you know the outcome unless you have a scoreboard to tally up the numbers? Most dart games require score be kept during play, and there are plenty of options when it comes to dart scoreboards. Chalkboards are the most common type of scoreboards you are likely to come across, but you will also find dry erase maker boards. If you play a lot of cricket, look for scoring boards with pre-marked numbers to make scoring easier. Most cricket scoreboards only score 20-15 and bulls, but if you look hard enough, you can find boards that include the triples and doubles variants, as well as boards with the “three in the bed” variant. Another option to consider is an electronic dart scoreboard. The electronic scoreboard will take the guesswork out of your math, and they come programmed with a variety of scoring options for different games. If you play a lot of 301, 501 or 701, but can never remember the best combination of darts for an out, then you may also consider mounting an Out Chart by your dart board. While not technically a scoreboard, it does provide a quick reference to help you finish a game.