Something a little different today! I thought I’d share with you a practice game I’ve developed over lockdown – a twist on the popular 121 game, loved by darts fans for years.

So, we’re all familiar with the practice game of 121. You start on 121, and try to finish in the allocated amount of darts – usually 6, or 9. If you do, you move up to 122. If not, you move down to 120, with variations of the game having you move up by 5, rather than 1.

My version adds a ‘competitive’ element to the game. Firstly, you decide a format, for instance best of 11 ‘legs’, same as a ProTour. You start by throwing at bullseye. If you hit centre-bull, you throw first. If you hit the outer-bull, you re-throw. If you miss the bullseye altogether, you throw second. 

Should you win the bull-up, you throw first, which means you get 9 darts from 121. The first visit you do not have to go for a finish, instead you can elect to set it up (imagine your opponent is on a non-finishing number, for instance 181). From the second visit, you’ll need to imagine your opponent is on a doable finish. So if after your first visit you leave 81, on your second visit, you’ll aim to finish in any way possible, utilising the bullseye if necessary.

If you lose the bull-up, you will only have 6 darts, with the freedom of the set-up visit taken away, as you are ‘against throw’. 

If you take out 121 in the allocated amount of visits, you are 1-0 up, and if not, you are 1-0 down.

You then, irrelevant of whether you took out 121 or not, move to 122. You then reverse roles, so if you had 9 darts last ‘leg’, you now have 6, and vice-versa.

Keep track of your score, and play up to when either you or your ‘opponent’ reaches the target score (in the case of BO11, the first side to 6 points wins). 

Throughout the game, you also have a ‘Joker’, to be used at any time you see fit. The Joker allows you an extra visit in the ‘leg’, allowing you an extra chance to gain an extra point. The only rule is that the Joker cannot be used if you are one leg away from the match. If you are 5-3 up in a BO11, you can no longer use your Joker, should you still have it.

Should you find this game easy, you can change it up, starting from 201 rather than 121. With this, you can add an extra visit – on throw, you have 9 darts, and against throw, you have 12 darts.

Give it a go, and let me know how you get on! I’ve found this game has, through lockdown, improved my finishing – I found that pre-lockdown from 201 down, I tended to struggle in matches. The competitive element allowed me to gain match practice at the same time, while still developing my finishing and allowing me to develop new ways of scoring and setting up finishes.

Tweet me at @JoeReid180 and let me know how this practice game works for you! 


Image used credited to the PDC


Author – Joe Reid