Darts Begins with the Board

How to Throw Darts Begins with the Board

No-one is really sure where and when the game of Darts began – but it most likely did not begin indoors in a pub.  It was most likely a game developed outdoors by hunters or crusaders in western Europe, perhaps France.  It was later brought to America on ships like the Mayflower and while the native Americans used arrows for hunting, it’s not likely that this was part of the games origin.

You heard me right when I said the game originated in France – – – the English Pub game was most likely imported from France in the mid-nineteenth century.  It was possibly descended from a game called “puff and dart” dating back to the sixteenth century.  In this game a type of small blow-dart/pipe was aimed at a wooden target, probably a section of an ash or oak tree trunk or perhaps the bottom of the barrel or keg, after the beer has been consumed, of course.

The early ancestor of modern-day darts was probably carved from wood with a sharpened metal point and adorned with turkey feathers.  These were fairly light in weight so accuracy was somewhat lacking.  Perhaps you now realize where modern fairs and carnivals got their idea of what darts should look like.

My friend and I once went to the Long Beach Pier and approached the vendor of the dart game, who offered us wooden darts, and said we could choose the ones we wanted to toss.  We promptly whipped out the case in our back pockets and proceeded to fit-up our own tungston darts to toss at the balloon targets.  Of course the vendor cried “Foul” and invited us to leave.

Ah, well – – – if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!

Back to the boards.  Early boards consisted of scoring rings etched or painted on the surface of a tree section, much like the growth rings that came naturally.  And to help with the accuracy of the wooden darts, lead bands were added for weights.  The transition to paper “feathers” began in late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century.  Soon the brass barrels were introduced and the modern-day dart was born.

In the early part of the twentieth century, modeling clay targets (I cannot call them “boards”) became popular.  These devices had to be rolled from time to time and gave off a strange, unpleasant smell.  This was remedied when odorless modeling clay was introduced with limited success but these boards were called “nodor” (for “no odor”) and that name is still attached to boards today.

Nodor, in 1935, produced a dartboard made from short pieces of rope fiber bound together vertically and the modern bristle board was born.  One final change arrived with the arrival of soft-tipped darts and plastic “feathers” or “flights” which led to the advent of the electronic-scoring dartboard!

Here endeth the lesson – – – next time we’ll talk about how to set the board up, lighting, the Oche, and maybe even get into modern-day darts, their shapes, weights, construction, etc.  Meanwhile, go to your local pub, toss a few darts, toss down a few brewskis and relax.

Game On!

Eric “BullShooter” Rychener


Tuesday Night ShootOut for DMVDA

Since there doesn’t seem to be a Spring League forming this year, I would like to propose a ‘Tuesday Night ShootOut.’  It will be an open board, Luck of the Draw for partners.  We’ll play 501 strait-in, double-out, 25/50 Bulls.  This seems like the easiest way to get rolling – maybe later we can get into Cricket or Bermuda but for now it’s a “01” shoot-out.

The entry fee will be $3 per person to feed the machines, with the balance going toward winner takes all (that reminds me that I need to figure how hungry the machines will be).  Let’s host this at  American Legion Post 64 across from the National Guard Armory,  at 7 PM starting on March 31st.  We’ll start promptly so come early to take your warm-ups, pay your dues and sign in.  If you want to discuss the options, contact me.

Watch this website for any changes to this as I’ll post them as soon as I get them.

Game On!

Eric “BullShooter” Rychener




Let’s Toss a Few (Darts and Beers)

If you are getting as bad a case of mid-winter doldrums, or cabin fever, as I am then you will probably enjoy this post.  It’s time to get out of the house, for something other than shoveling the white stuff, and toss down a few.

So here are some prime places to toss down a few beers and toss a few darts as well.  I’ll stick to the greater Salisbury area for now but if you have other pubs you are frequenting that have dart boards, feel free to add your comments to this post.  I’m adding online references when I can so you can add that as well . . . makes finding them a bit easier.

First let’s review the sponsors from last season’s league.

The BullShooter’s home was Shay’s Pub on Columbia Drive in Salisbury.  Cozy hangout with dart boards, pool tables, musical entertainment, adult beverages and good food.  If the league doesn’t resume soon, we’ll be having open shoot-offs or luck-of-the-draws on Tuesday nights so c’mon out and join the fun.

Next up is Gordy’s Pub, a sports bar in Delmar Commons Shopping Center.  Again, many of the favorite things I like about a place: darts, beer, pool tables, beer, music, beer, snacks and food nearby, beer, need I go on?

That brings us to Roadie Joe’s Bar and Grill – a homie pub with a bit more elbow room, if you know what I mean. They’ve got dart boards, of course, pool tables, poker tables for their Texas hold’em games, couple of bars, and food.  What more can you ask for?

And finally, The Edge Lounge, just off the lobby at the LaQuinta Inn and Suites in Salisbury.  Normally, I don’t hang around hotels and such, but this place has daily happy hour specials, great food, karaoke, live bands, and Darts, not all at the same time, of course.

So much for the sponsors, now for a few of the other pubs in town that are rumored to have boards.  First, alphabetically, my other home field, American Legion Post 64, then Hoops Sports Bar, Mela Bar and Grill, and The Snooty Fox.  These places are unverified, but are listed here by reputation.  I know some of them had boards in the past but I’ve not been there in a while so I don’t know – – –

I know there are other places in town that at one time had boards so if you know of them please leave a comment below for the good of the league.

Game On!

Eric “BullShooter” Rychener