You Can’t Play Darts in Public, But These Online Games Might Keep You Busy
Despite the fact that the professional darts circuit is maintaining activity, things are a little bit different these days for fans. First and foremost, the World Cup will be without fans due to ongoing coronavirus lockdowns in Austria. This is by no means a unique situation in world sport at the moment; many football events have been played without supporters throughout Europe, and men’s tennis is preparing for an ATP Finals without fans (a plan reinforced by the latest round of lockdowns in the UK). But darts, too, looks to be facing major events entirely without spectators for the foreseeable future.
Beyond not being able to attend events like the World Cup though, we know that fans can’t play darts either — at least not at proper venues or in neighbourhood bars. Many if not most of the places you may once have counted on to play are not welcoming visitors at the moment. Certainly you can play at home if you have the equipment, but it’s not quite the same (and surely not as competitive).
Because this is something untold numbers of darts enthusiasts are dealing with in Europe and around the world, we did some thinking and came up with a just-for-fun list of online activities that might scratch a similar itch.
Naturally, darts might be your first stop. And while we can’t confidently say there’s a video game that completely captures the fun of in-person darts (hopefully virtual reality will get us there at some point), there are some that at the very least provide a piece of the social component. At the top of this list is Darts of Fury, a mobile online game that includes numerous darts varieties (Cricket, Shanghai, and more), and allows you to play on your phone against live opponents over the internet. All of this, plus engaging graphics and simple swipe-based controls, actually make for a pretty fun darts experience — even if it’s not quite the local pub or attending the World Series.
Archery has some similarities with darts in real life, even if most wouldn’t necessarily equate the two. But online, the differences are far less stark. Game modes differ, but the bottom line is you’re aiming at a target in a digital environment, and in most of these games it makes little difference whether you’re throwing darts or shooting an arrow. We mention this largely because there happen to be more archery games than darts games in the online realm, and finding a few you like can definitely help you scratch that live darts itch. Archery World Tour may be the best option for a more realistic game, though Bow Island is also fun if you don’t mind something a bit more cartoonish.
Bingo is less like darts fundamentally, but appeals to many of the same people who enjoy darts for two reasons. One is that as in darts, there are different game varieties you can cycle through to keep things from becoming dull. 90-ball bingo is the go-to option in the UK and by extension much of Europe, and because of this it’s one of the more prevalent options online. The 75-ball variety is catching on as well. And is also the favoured variation in the United States, according to CheekyBingo’s ‘How to Play 75 Ball’. You can also find slightly more niche varieties (like Blackout or even slot machine-infused bingo games). These options keep the game fresh in much the same way you might cycle through various forms of darts in one night out. Additionally, online bingo may appeal to some darts players because it can be bet on — a common component to darts some are no doubt missing!
Aside from the specifics about 90-ball and 75-ball varieties, we could just about copy and paste the entire section on bingo into this recommendation for online billiards. Here too you can find different game varieties and opportunities to bet on the game against other live players, if these are aspects of your normal darts habit you’re missing during coronavirus lockdowns. Here, too, you’ll enjoy more direct, skill-based competition (whereas bingo can be competitive, but is still based largely on chance).
Our last recommendation for bowls (or lawn bowls) may be our most unexpected. Then again, it’s a precision-based game that many darts enthusiasts are inclined to enjoy. And if that weren’t enough, keep in mind that world number one Michael van Gerwen himself has been known to enjoy lawn bowls from time to time! The problem here is that there aren’t a ton of online bowls games. But there are a few, and even if they’re a bit simpler than the bingo, billiards, darts and archery games you might fine, they can be great for a little bit of just-for-fun play.
In the end none of it quite substitutes for playing darts in person, or attending a professional darts event. But given that those aren’t options, we imagine plenty of fans might enjoy games like these in the meantime.