The Wikipedia of Darts

How to Play Shanghai Darts: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Play Shanghai Darts

Shanghai darts is a fun and exciting variant of the classic game that is perfect for large groups of people. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, this game can help you improve your accuracy and provide endless entertainment. In this article, we will explore how to play Shanghai darts, the rules of the game, some popular variations, and tips to improve your gameplay.

How to Play Shanghai Darts

Shanghai darts is an “around the board” game where the target number changes with each round. For example, in round one, players aim for the number one, and in round two, they aim for the number two, and so on until round 20. Each dart thrown awards its actual point value. Any dart that lands outside the current number in play is worth zero points.

The objective of the game is to score the highest number of points after 20 rounds or to win instantly by hitting a “Shanghai.” A Shanghai is when a player lands a dart in the single, double, and triple sections of the active number in play.

Rules of Shanghai Darts

To play Shanghai darts, you will need a scoreboard to keep track of each player’s scores. At the top of the scoreboard, write each player’s name or initials. Write the round numbers, 1 through 20, on the left column. After each player throws their three darts, their score is tallied, and the total is added to whatever is already on the board. It’s essential to keep a running total rather than adding things up at the end so that players can see the current scores.

The length of each round will depend on the number of players, so it’s important to keep accurate scores after each turn. The player order can be determined by flipping a coin, getting closest to the bull, or in any other way agreed upon by the group. At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins, or if a player hits a Shanghai, the game is over, and they win instantly.

Variations of Shanghai Darts

One of the most common variations of Shanghai darts is altering the total number of rounds. If you’re playing with a large group of players, 20 rounds can take a considerable amount of time. Thankfully, Shanghai can be played with as few as seven rounds or even less.

Another popular variation is to make specific numbers a mandatory hit. For example, you can play with a “mandatory triple 10” rule, which means that if a player fails to hit a triple 10 on their turn, they lose their entire score up to that point. This variation is not for the faint of heart!

Tips for Playing Shanghai Darts

Aiming for the triples first can improve your chances of winning as they are the hardest to hit. If you land a triple, you can move on to the double, and if you hit the single, you can try for the double again. If you’re confident in your skills, you can aim for the Shanghai from the beginning, but as the rounds go on, you may want to change your strategy. You may want to start going for triples on the later rounds to ensure a points victory.


Shanghai darts is a fun and exciting game that provides endless entertainment for players of all skill levels. With its unique gameplay, Shanghai darts is the perfect game to mix things up and keep your game sessions from growing stale. By following the rules and tips outlined in this article, you’ll be sure to have a blast playing Shanghai darts with your friends and family.


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