Darts is a fun social sport, the history of which can be traced back to the days of the longbow in medieval England. The enduring popularity of the sport can be attributed to its being a game that combines skill, talent, and a bit of luck. The upper classes of the times soon put their own stamp on the game. Henry VIII was well known for his immense love of the game, and was presented with a beautifully ornate set by Anne Boleyn.
The sport began as part of training in the martial art of archery. Historians infer, because it is not known for certain, that teachers of archery shortened some arrows and asked their students to throw them at the bottom of an empty wine barrel. The fact that the bottom of an empty wine barrel was used is a clue to how the game evolved into a pastime. It is believed that the soldiers took their shortened arrows on their visit to the local drinking establishment to exhibit their skill, while having fun there. Gradually, some inventive dart thrower introduced a cross section of a moderate-sized tree. The “board” had rings, and upon drying, further segmentation was provided by the cracks. Thus, from the cracked and dried cross section of a tree evolved the modern-day dart board.
The history of darts in the United States can be traced to the Pilgrims. These tough colonizers are believed to have played the game on board the Mayflower as it made its ocean crossing. Later, the game was played fervently in the United States as a favorite pastime.
It was around 1900 that the rules for darts became what they are today. The size of the board, distance for throwing, and even the size of the darts were standardized. Today, around the world, organized teams play for trophies and professional leagues. The prominent associations worldwide for dart games are World Darts Federation (WDF), British Darts Organization and Darts Federation of Australia.
A set of 18-gram brass darts costs around $10, whereas a set of tungsten darts is $140. Prices vary depending on the material the dart is made of, as well as any extras like moveable points or special paint jobs. Prices differ from catalog to catalog as well.