Archery is loads of fun, but target shooting can get expensive, the equipment is rather cumbersome, and it’s not terribly safe to play indoors – not to mention the fact that it would take an awful lot of space to arrange a game in any home! That’s why darts was invented. Some genius from a bygone era took an already-great sport and turned it into something smaller we could all enjoy in the den. What makes a dart board a dart board? Well, it started out in the fields and then went inside with barrels, hog’s hair, and eventually cork, wood, and plastic. It’s a game that’s always changing, so what a dart board can be is entirely up to you, your own taste, skill level, and budget. Just remember, it has to be fun!
High-quality boards are made out of a fiber called "sisal,” a durable African grass that handles the impact of a steel tip beautifully. It's the same stuff most rope is made of so you know it’s tough. Sisal is referred to as "self-healing," meaning that darts merely wedge themselves between the fibers instead of creating a hole. So, the board lasts much longer. The bristle board is a classic design with hardy construction so it’s no surprise that this is the type of board preferred by competitive dart throwers! Here are a few details to look for when shopping for a quality bristle board.
|Bristle Dart Board Characteristics|
|The Spider||The thin, metal wires that divide a dart board into scoring segments. Many bristle boards feature a spider on top of the playing surface – higher-end bristle boards have an embedded spider. This type of spider is ideal because it's razor thin, cutting down dramatically on bounce-outs.|
|A Moveable Number Ring||The numbers around the circumference of the target area are mounted on a wire that can be turned. Over time, players tend to wear out certain segments of the bristle board that are commonly used in games like Cricket. Rotating keeps the 20 and all other targets fresh so your board lasts longer.|
|Size||Almost all bristle boards are a regulation 18 inches in diameter with a 13.5 inch target area.|
Few advances in the game of darts have been quite as revolutionary as the electronic dart board. The computer does all the work for you in a high-tech board, meaning more time for you to play. No longer will you need to keep the score manually and with more advanced boards
you can even input a personal handicap, remember a high score, and present players with an impressive list of games they would otherwise never have tried. However, with all that extra technology behind the scenes, you’ll be paying a little extra and you’ll likely be trading in your steel tips for softer plastic. Here are a few details to look for when browsing the catalog for your electronic dart board:
|Electronics Dart Board Characteristics|
|Target Area Size||This ranges from 13.25 inches to 15.5 inches (regulation size).|
|Type of Display||LEDs are colorful and vibrant; LCDs are muted and more difficult to read from a distance.|
|Number of Displays||Some electronic boards offer simple number displays that change for each player; some offer multiple player displays that allow you to easily compare your score against others.|
|Playing Surface||Does it accept soft tip darts only, or both soft and steel tip?|
|Special Features||Some boards offer special sound effects, voice recording options, or a heckler feature that actually makes fun of bad throws. You’ll also want to see how many pre-set games it has so you have lots of options for even more fun.|
|Presentation||Is the board aesthetically pleasing? Does it hang alone or come in a cabinet or arcade style setting?|
A board isn’t enough to get your game going! Now it’s time to look for missiles to throw at your target, protection for your wall, a line your opponents better not step over, and maybe a few other extras to keep your setup fun and looking like new, longer.
- Soft tips are used with electronic boards and have a flexible plastic tip
- Steel tips are used with bristle boards and have a very sharp, inflexible tip
- Weight ranges from 14 to 20 grams for soft tip and from 18 to 26 grams for steel tip
- Like the barrel but not the flight? Separate flights are also on sale in a variety of styles to give your game personality
Cabinets and Backboards
- How do you feel about holes in your wall? A backboard covers the wall around your board safely taking all your bad shots. Cabinets serve the same function, but add doors that hide your board between games and will look more fitting in areas of the home like the living room.
- Laser Toe Line – This attaches to your board or the wall under your board and projects a line onto the floor showing the distance you need to stand for throwing your darts
- Scoreboards – Several styles and sizes available, most often used with bristle boards as electronic boards have a scoring system built in
- Dart Cases – A nice tidy place to keep your favorite darts, extra flights, extra shafts, etc. Dart cases are available in many styles, colors, and price points