If you are looking to change things up and keep your game sessions from growing stale, you have plenty of darts games from which to choose. Among these many variants, we find a popular one called Shanghai.

Shanghai darts is tons of fun and is uniquely suited to play with large groups of people. I’ve personally played Shanghai with 11 other people, and we all had a blast. It is also a fantastic training tool that can be used by beginners and pros alike to improve their accuracy.

Although Shanghai is pretty straightforward, because the target number changes each round, and the total possible score for the round is dependent on that number, Shanghai is prone to nail-biting comebacks.

The ever-present possibility of the “Shanghai” makes it so that the underdog is NEVER out of the running and a surprise victory can be attained at any given moment. No other darts variant offers the opportunity for first-round upsets and last-minute turnarounds as much as Shanghai.

If any of these things sound appealing to you, then you are in luck, because today I am going to tell you all about Shanghai.

Quick Look At Shanghai Darts
Number of players 1-Unlimited
Numbers in play 1-20
Goal Obatin the highest score by the end of 20 rounds or score a shanghai in any round

Shanghai Darts Rules

The game of Shanghai is an around the board based variant. The target number for each round is the same as the round number that you are in. Ex: Round 1 you shoot for 1s, round 2 you should for 2s, all that way up to round 20.

Each dart you throw awards its actual point value. So the importance of hitting the target number increases as the rounds go on. For example, in round 1 if you hit three triples, you would be awarded 9 points. In round 10, three triples are worth 90 points. Any dart that lands outside of the current number in play is zero points.

The fun of this game is a player can win at any time regardless of their score by hitting a “Shanghai.” A Shanghai is landing a dart in the single, double and triple sections of the active number in play. If a player hits a Shanghai, the game is over, and they win.

Scoring Shanghai Darts

The length of each round will depend on the number of active players. Because the standard game to 20 rounds it is essential to keep accurate scores after each player’s turn.

On the top of the scoreboard mark each player’s name or initials. Write the round numbers, 1 through 20, on a column down the left. If you are messy, you can create a grid to keep the scoring organized.

The player order can be determined by a flip of a coin, closest to the bull or in any way as long as it is agreed upon by the entire group.

After a player throws their three darts their score is tallied then added to whatever is already on the board. It is necessary to keep a running total rather than adding things up at the end. This way players can see the current scores.

At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins, but remember if a player throws a single, double, and triple of the active number at any point throughout the game they win instantly.

Shanghai Darts Variations

The most common Shanghai variations include altering the total number of rounds. If you are playing with an unusually large group of players, 20 rounds might take a considerable amount of time. Thankfully, Shanghai can be played just as well to 7 rounds or even less.

Another common 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 is not able to hit a triple 10 on his turn, he loses his entire score up to that point. Be warned; this variation is not for the faint of heart!

Even hard still is to apply this rule to all rounds, just not the triple. So regardless of what number you are at, you need to hit at least one instance of that number. If you fail, your score is halved.

Tips For Shanghai Darts

  • Aim for the triples first as it is hardest to hit. If it lands, you can move on to the double, or if it hit the single, you can try for the double again.
  • If you are skilled, you should be trying for the Shanghai from the beginning. But as the rounds go on, you may want the change strategy. If you are confident, the chance of an opponent is low. You may want to start going for triples on the later rounds to ensure a points victory.