Monday, January 16, 2006

A recent conversation with a friend reminded me that not everyone is familiar with this game. Safety Darts is a common Australian game, also known as Drunken Tossers in some states.

This game was invented over four hundred years ago when a bloke in a pub threw the lid off his bottle of beer towards a bin and missed. The bottle cap bounced on the floor and then landed in the bin. His mates promptly bet him he couldn't do it again and a lively competition ensued. The name of this clumsy pisshead is lost in the mists of time and alcohol. However the game remains and is laregly unchanged from these early days.

The rules of the game are quite simple. Players each have three bottle caps and, standing behind a line, take it in turn to launch them at the target. There are many techniques used to launch the caps, some of the most popular are the Second Joint Flip, the Middle Finger Twist and popular with amateurs the Finger Snap.

Many beginners prefer to hold their cap 'bowlwards' for easier delivery, experts however rarely use this grip as it reduces the edge speed and produces less rotations making it much harder to acheive multiple bounce shots.

The cap must bounce at least once before it lands in the target, a 'full toss' is not allowed. This rule is of course different in Carpet Safety Darts where the target is a completely different size and shape.

Points are scored for each bounce the cap makes before reaching the target, if the cap falls short of the target no points are scored. If the rebound rule is in play the score is doubled for a shot that bounces off the wall behind the target. It is also possible to double your score by nominating which way up the cap will land. Although an incorrect nomination will result in no points for the shot.

In games involving gambling (Safety Darts is the only game other than two-up in which it is legal to place wagers in Australian pubs) it is quite common to place a small recepticle inside the target. Each player adds a stake to this container each round and the player who lands his shot inside the recepticle claims the pool. Sometimes this small inner target is also used to award extra points when gambling is not involved.

In general play each player delivers their three caps and scores for each delivery. Their caps are then cleared away and the next player has their turn. In some tournament play however all players take one shot and only the closest to the centre of the target scores for their shot.

A handicapping system is popular in club matches. By altering the distances from which a player delivers their shot it is possible for experienced tournament players to compete fairly with amatuers.

Most major cities in Australia have several clubs that offer training and competitions. The game is also becoming popular in the United States and parts of Europe. Next time you are having a few drinks with friends why not challenge them to a game, you'll soon find out that it is quite addictive.



  • I'm somewhat relieved that I found this game in a blog named "reTardis"...

    Having said that, I think we should play a round this weekend mate!

    By Anonymous finch, at 16 January 2006 at 10:27 pm  

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