How to Play Shanghai Darts

If you want a challenge for a group of friends, get them together for a game of Shanghai Darts. It’s a version of dart is easy to play but is a game hard to master, and any amount of players can play it at once.

It’s fun, requires concentration and accuracy, and you can play with as many people as you wish to. It is an excellent game for both beginners and experts to sharpen their dart throwing skills. 

Let’s find out more about Shanghai Darts and how you can win a match against your friends.

What is Shanghai Darts?

Shanghai Darts is a straightforward version of darts, where you are trying to score as many point as possible. Whoever has the highest score after 20 rounds of the game is the winner. It is nail-biting as the target changes every round and the total score also depends on these target scores.

You start by aiming at the 1 section, and then each round move up a number all the way to 20. You have three darts per round to get as many points in the specified area as you can.

Beginning Set Up – What You Need

To begin playing Shanghai darts, you will need three basic and important things:

The Dartboard – There is no particular size for the dartboard. You can choose one that suits your preference, whether it’s a bristle dartboard or an electronic one.

The Darts – The darts come in different shapes and sizes with different weights. Try out some of the different sets of darts and then choose which one is best for you. If you don’t have any, or don’t know what to choose, ask a friend if you can use theirs for the match. 

The Scoreboard – This is a need for every game, especially one played by more than four people. The scoreboard can be titled “Shanghai,” and it helps keep track of all the scores and tally the numbers in the end. 

Other than these requirements, there are a few adjustments you have to make to start the game.

Placement of Dartboard – The dartboard’s placement on the wall should be such that the bullseye is 5 feet 8 inches from the floor. 

Throwing Distance – The standard distance between the throwing line and the dartboard should be 7 feet and 9 inches from the base of the wall that the dartboard is set up on.

Throwing Line – Mark a line at the correct throwing distance, which is called an “oche”, and always keep your frontmost foot behind the oche at all times while throwing. 

How Many Players Can Play at Once?

In the game of Shanghai Darts, there is no fixed number of players allowed to play the game at one time. You can play by yourself if you so choose, or an entire pub can play altogether. Only one player can take their turn at one time, however, because there can’t ever be more than one player throwing darts at the same dartboard.

Objective of Shanghai

The only aim of Shanghai Darts is to score the highest point in the 20 innings game, or to “Shanghai” your opponents. To play this game, you must understand the different ways of playing, as well as how to score points and what constitutes a win.

There are a few ways that you can choose how to start the game:

Method 1 – In the first method, each person can throw a single dart to try to hit the bullseye. The one that throws closest to the bullseye goes first, the next closest goes next, and so on. 

Method 2 – In the second method, each individual can throw a two-dart splash. This means that each individual gets to throw two darts from the same hand at the same time. The highest two-dart combination of points gets to go first and so on. 

Method 3 – In this method, one gets to throw a three-darts splash. Like the second method, here, too, each player gets to throw three darts. The one that scores the highest goes first again.

The scoring of the game happens consecutively. Once the player has thrown all three darts, the score is tallied with the score on the board. You must keep adding the scores after each round, and not try to save it all till the end. At the end of the game, the one who has scored the most points wins the game.

However, there is another way a player can win. If a player, at any moment during the game, throws a single, double, and treble of the present active number, they win the game. This is what is known as a “Shanghai”. For example, if on the first round a player score a single 1, double 1, and treble 1, then they automatically win.


Shanghai Dart doesn’t have very strict rules, so you can change the game at your convenience. Some variations can make it harder or easier to play, depending on the skill level of the players. You can also always add any extra rules that you want.

The first variation or modification that you can do is to reduce the number of rounds. If you have many people playing together, 20 rounds will take forever to finish, so you can always lower the number you play to. Often people play to 7, or 10, or maybe 15.

Another variation is to have to hit specific areas for specific numbers. For instance, there is something known as the “mandatory treble 10.” In this variation, if a player cannot score a treble 10 during his turn, he or she loses the entire score they have accumulated up to that point. 

Another variation includes that each round you have to hit at least a double or triple to get your score for that round counted. You can also have a “double out”, in which the last dart you throw in the final round has to land upon a double. 

For another variation, you can add a 21st round in which you can only aim for the bullseye.

These variations only make the game fun and exciting. It also makes it more challenging for players with a higher skill level, so you can have one player playing the regular way and another using a harder variation in the same game. This is a quick way even out differing skill levels. 


Shanghai Dart is a very common game these days amongst all age groups, and it is a really fun game to play with friends, colleagues, or even by yourself. As there is no player limit, this game is often considered an ice-breaker in different group interactions.

Besides, it is also a very competitive game to play. This game tests your focus, your technique, and your accuracy. This game makes you aim for and hit areas all over the dartboard, including every number and all three of the single, double, and treble areas.