Alongside pool, table football, quiz machines and putting a whole packet of peanuts in your mouth and firing them at your mates’ faces like a spit-powered machine gun, darts is up there with the best games that a pub has to offer.
HOWEVER, darts is hard if you’re not very good at the whole hand-eye coordination thing. It also has complicated rules if you’re a newbie – all the other games are pretty self-explanatory, unless someone challenges you to a game of bagatelle or something.
So, if you’re going to be playing darts, then might I suggest playing something a bit more simple on the same board, like Around The Clock, or Down This Pint If You Can’t Get A Bullseye – you know, easy-to-understand stuff. Simpler rules, yes, but annoyingly, you’ll still need good hand-eye coordination to win.
Or, maybe you won’t, if you use the special dartboard that’s been invented by ex-NASA engineer Mark Rober, because you’ll get a bullseye every time, guaranteed. Essentially, the board tracks where the dart is thrown and instantly moves to catch it right in the bullseye. Here’s a video of it in action:
Pretty amazing, right? If you watched that video with the sound off (well done on watching it at work, you rebel. Stick it to the man), here’s how it works:
Rober worked out that the average dart takes 400 milliseconds to get from your hand to the board, if you’re chucking it at regulation distance. To work out where the dart is, six cameras attached to the board use infra-red to track the dart by bouncing off miniscule reflectors attached to the dart. It creates a 3D picture of where the dart is in about 200 milliseconds, then the board uses some fancy physics to calculate the dart’s trajectory, before a bunch of motors have another 200 milliseconds to move the dartboard to where it needs to be.
This is extremely complicated, of course, which is why Rober worked for NASA and you didn’t (I’m not counting that time all the chimps refused to go up in the test rocket so they sent you up instead). He’s also a bit of a joker, and made a special dart which has the opposite effect on the board, meaning it’s impossible to hit the bullseye, or the board, for that matter.
Does this take all of the fun out of darts, or does it make it even more better? Depends how good you are, I guess – if you’re good, it’s shit; if you’re not, it’s not. Of course, if you’re really bad at darts, this magic one probably still won’t be able to help – it won’t fly out the window into the car park just to make you look good. You’re a lost cause, I’m afraid.