How to Play Hare and Hound Darts?

How to play hare and hound darts

Key Takeaways

  • Hare and hounds dart game is also known as fox hunt darts
  • Number of players: Two players, but can be also be played in teams
  • The aim of the game is different depending on whether you are the hare or the hound
  • Fast-paced game of chase around the dartboard
  • Players move in a clockwise direction around the board after each target is hit

What’s the Objective of the Hare and Hounds Darts Game?

There are two objectives when you play hare and hound darts: 

  1. The aim of the hare – get around the board before the hound catches the hare 
  2. The aim of the hound – trap the hare aka catch the player

During the game, one player is the hound while the other player is the hare.

What are the Hare and Hound Darts Rules

The first thing players must do is decide on the number of darts per turn. 

Usually it is three darts a round, but this can change depending on how your own preferences. 

The rules of hare and hounds are as follows:

  • The hare always begins the game by throwing first
  • The game moves around the board clockwise following the number on the board from 1 to 20
  • Players must hit each number they are on once and can only progress to the next number when they have done so 

Scoring Hare and Hound Darts?

As it’s a game of chase, there isn’t actually any scoring involved, which should delight some players. 

How to Play Hare and Hound Darts

Before the game starts, each player is give or takes the role of the chaser (hound) and the chased (hare). There are any number of ways you can decide who plays as the hare or hound. 

A favorite of mine is to have both players throw with their offhand, and whoever scores the highest gets to choose. 

It is easy to play hare and hound darts, and here’s how:

  • Players begin with 3 darts per turn 
  • The hare starts the game with their first throw at number one
  • If they miss with all three darts, they remain stuck on one until the next turn
  • At least one dart is needed to hit the number to progress
  • When the player hits number one, they move onto number 18 with the next dart/ next turn
  • The hound starts the game one spot behind the hare at number 5 and throws their first dart at number 20 
  • The play is continued for both players in the same way, progressing after only after the number is hit once

The game continues like this, until:

  1. The hare returns to the 20 and hits the segment or 
  2. The hound lands on the same number as the hare

If the hare makes it around the dartboard without being caught by the hound, the hare wins. 

If the hound manages to catch the hare beforehand, the hound wins the game.

What Are Some Variations of Hare and Hound?

Much of the variations to the game, are a way of overcoming skill gaps among players. 

In the traditional format, the hare starts one place ahead of the hound, however this isn’t set in stone. 

If players of a similar skill level are playing against each other, then the traditional format is fine. If not, the game can be adapted to make it more enjoyable for all players.

Change Starting Positions

If there is a noticeable gap, the starting position of the skilled player can be changed if they are the hound and pushed back further.

This can make the game more competitive and also last longer, than potentially one round of darts. 

Include Doubles and Triples 

Instead of the whole of the number segment counting as a hit, only a double or a treble can be used to move a player one spot forward. 

You could also adjust it further and only handicap the advanced player with this, if they are playing against a beginner. 

Playing in Teams 

Traditionally the game is played with two players, however it can be played in teams, with alternating throws.

  • You can also play a team of hares against the one hound.
  • As each hound is caught, they are eliminated from the game, which continues with the rest of the players.

You can set up an all-time style leaderboard of hound catches, with the most catches being the one to beat for other players.

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