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Electronic dart boards
Is the Electronic dart board the saviour of darts?
There is nothing quite like a trip to the pub with your mates a pint and a game of darts. It is a tradition that seems to be dying out with the advent of theme pubs and pub restaurants etc. There is only a couple of places left with a dartboard. Pool tables seem to be ok in these restyled pubs, but no dartboard! I suppose it's the image thing. Darts are old hat now; yesterday's game, with pool being the new darts. I suppose it's because of the play station generation and the fact I have not seen any darts games on the computer games.
So, what to do to get a game of darts these days? Well there is hope of salvation from the States who have taken to the game of darts with gusto. (The rebel PDC even has their big competition, the Las Vegas classic over in the States now). They have come up with Electronic darts and the electronic dart board. Never seen one, check out the links below ? I went to a trade show last march and saw them there, and of course I had a go. The big news is NO CHALKING! The board does all the scoring for you, how cool is that. Not only that, but all sorts of dart games are programmed into the machine, some I've never heard of. There are some snags though.
The older electronic boards had to use much lighter darts than used in the traditional game, which caused some friction with the old school darters who preferred the heavier steel tip darts, and even today there are players who dismiss the electronic game as just a toy.
However there are lots and lots of soft tip tournaments around with Arachnids Bullshooter series using their famous Galaxy dart board and in Europe Cyberdine have organized loads of tournaments as well (see cyberdine tournament below). In fact recently the top soft tip darter in Europe beat the famous Phil Taylor in a specially arranged competition.
The old style bristle boards are still popular because of the sound and feel of the boards and lets face it they are still used in all the big money tournaments and hey so long as you don't mind scoring manually they are still good to use today.
Having said that the electronic dart boards are growing in popularity because of their convenience and the fact they look so cool, and now there is a compromise dart board out that uses a bristle like dartboard with the convenience of the built in electronics. Halex have brought out what they call a BristleTech technology dart board out which means you can now use your traditional heavier steel tip darts as well as soft tip darts to play on the board. So might we have a truce between the soft tip and steel tip darters very soon.
Now the big news for the pubs in the UK and bars in the States is the introduction of coin operated electronic dart machines, which are just like arcade machines and bring in the money for the pub or bar. Now the pubs could go back to having dartboards in their place and make as much money out of them as they make from the pool table. We might just see the comeback of the dartboard in pubs.Also the darts are much less dangerous, being plastic soft tips instead of steel.
The advantages of the electronic game are that you program in what game you are playing, 301, 501, cricket etc (and you can even program a doubles game, give everyone a number and the board tells you whose go it is, no more going out of turn when you get excited) and after that the dartboard keeps score for you and acts as the referee, so less arguments.
Also the darts are slightly different, they have what are called soft tip darts, which means they have plastic tips to the darts instead of steel tips. I supposed to stop you shorting out the electronics when you hit the board. But this has the added advantage of being safer than the steel tip darts.
The remarkable thing about the board is that it is covered in hundreds of small holes for the soft tip darts and at first site you think how can I get the dart in there? Of course the holes are at the bottom of small depressions which guide the dart to the hole, so you don't have to be super accurate.
However having said that the electronic dart board was great to play on and did I mention NO chalking? So there you have it, a possible comeback for darts all updated and 21st century, bring it on.