How to Play Gotcha Darts

  • By: Sue
  • Date: June 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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If subtracting is not your forte, then you’ll love gotcha darts. Instead of subtracting from the target score, you accumulate points to reach the target score.

It’s a fun game to play in a group and you can add variations to make it possible for beginners to play alongside more experienced players. An understanding of the traditional rules of darts can be beneficial.


To be the first player to reach the predetermined score target eg if you decide on 301, the first player to get 301 points exactly is the winner.

Get our free printable PDF scoresheet for Gotcha.

Number of Players

2 – or you can play in teams and work together.

How to Play Gotcha

Gotcha is essentially just like 301 in reverse. Instead of counting down to 301, you count up.

  • Decide who goes first
  • Decide on what the target score is – for a short game you can choose a lower number
  • Take turns to throw the darts and score as high as possible
  • Finsh out on the exact numer to win – you do not require a double but it must be exact
  • If you bust, your turn is not counted and you keep the same score
  • To ‘gotcha’ a player can throw the exact score of their opponents and zero their score

Killing in Gotcha

This is the fun part of the game. At any time when a player goes to take their turn, they can instead choose to try and match the score of their opponents. By doing so their opponent’s score is returned to zero!

This is what makes this game fun. At any time a player can kill you dead and you have to start all over again! However, be warned as killing is tricky to do. You must score exactly the same number as their score with just 3 darts.

If a player has a low score, it’s probably not the best idea to try and kill too early. If you miss, you are likely to be left with a low score yourself.

Check out how to play cricket darts game.

How to Score Gotcha Darts

The game of Gotcha is scored the same as 301 or 501 but in reverse. Instead of starting with a high number and working your way down to zero, everyone starts from zero and works their way up to the target score.

In the example above, neither player managed a ‘gotcha’ so both players threw to reach 301 and their scores are tallied and kept as a running total as they play.

killer gotcha darts

In the game example above, on Bill’s 3rd throw, he scores 115 and ‘gotchas’ Ted as he had 115 points. The 115 is added to Bill’s running total bringing him that much closer to 301. Poor Ted goes back to zero.

Remember although in this example Bill and Ted are using 301 as the target number if you’d like longer games you could try 501.

Best Strategy for Playing Gotcha

  • Try to get your score past 180 sa soon as possible to get out of killer range
  • Let better players go first so you can try and pick them off
  • When trying to gotcha, aim to do so with just 2 darts – when you miss you have a third to clear up
  • Only avoid trying to kill if your opponent has a low score – even if you manage gotcha, your score will also be low
  • As with 301, when you have a target number to finish, break it down and try to hit the smaller number first. Eg 31 left, go for 11 then 20. If you miss the 11 you have more wiggle room to retarget

Variations of Gotcha

There are a few simple changes you can make to this game to suit the players participating.

  1. Personalize the target score to suit ability (better players will have a higher target score)
  2. Better players could have to finish out on a double
  3. Gotcha by throw total instead of running total – eg if Bill throws a 120 and Ted copies, he achieves gotcha.
  4. Instead of busting you can subtract the excess from the finish, putting more pressure on the person finishing

Final Words

If you’re looking to play a game with friends, this is a great way of getting people talking and interacting while having a lot of fun playing. When playing in teams, make sure to mix up abilities and you’ll have the most fun. Always choose your order by the better player going after the weaker players. They are more likely to be successful at killing.

We hope you enjoy this game as much as we do – let us know how you get on.

You might also like our article on how to play Killer.

Get Our Free Darts Scoresheets PackThe easy way to keep track of scores whilst playing

The easy way to keep track of your score is with our printable darts scoresheets. Easy to download and keep on your phone or computer or print straight off from our website. Pop your email address into the box and we'll send them straight to you.


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