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Dart Wars is a game of world conquest played with darts. The goal is to conquer your opponents' home countries by eliminating all the troops there. The difference here is you attack and defend while launching darts at a map of the world!
The game darts are especially designed to prevent injury, since they are not pointed but magnetized (the game board, which is hung on the wall, is also magnetized).
My father installed a dartboard in our basement when I was a child and was always dragging me down there to learn different dart games. And I quickly discovered that while I liked throwing pointy objects at the wall, I was tremendously horrible at it. Still, my enjoyment of the sport remained high, and I’ve incorporated stupid dart games into youth group and my classes. When I heard about Dart Wars (Squale Games, 2006 – Pascal Reymond), a game that mixed darts and a light wargame, I was immediately fascinated and sought out a copy quickly. As soon as the game arrived, I eagerly opened it up, still chuckling over the hilarious idea for the game.
Well, Dart Wars is simply a darts variant, but it’s a fun one; and it’s much more satisfying for me to attempt takeovers of the world using darts rather than dice. The whole setup is high quality (although a bit pricey); and while it’s in the end just a silly dart game, it’s fun enough to act as a constant diversion in my game room.
A map is hung on the wall that shows the world, broken up into about forty land regions and several connecting water areas. There is also a bull’s eye printed on the bottom of the board near Antarctica. Each player takes a group of fifteen troop magnets of their color, and then takes turns throwing a dart at the board. Players place three of their troops in their homeland (the first land area they hit). One player is chosen to go first, and the game begins.
On a player’s turn, they throw three darts at the map. Each dart thrown may allow the player to move and/or attack. If the dart falls on an adjacent country, water space, or country that is close (many areas are connected by light blue stretches of water and are considered adjacent), the player may move one of their tokens to that area. If they are the first player to visit a land territory in that game, they may place an additional magnet on the new land. Players do not have to move, and may move more than once; but if they attack or gain a new troop, they may no longer move that army.
If a player’s darts hit an adjacent land that has an enemy troop in it, they MUST attack, unless their moving army is the only one they have left. When two players are involved in an attack, they both throw one dart at the target bull’s eye on the map. The player who is closer to the center is the winner and turns the enemy’s troop into their own color. Combat occurs with one troop fighting one at a time.
If a player’s homeland is captured, they then become the “slave” of their conqueror and may continue to play in that player’s service. As soon as one player captures all the other players, they win the game!
Some comments on the game…
All right, let’s face it – Dart Wars is a novelty game idea. It wasn’t as if I was glad to FINALLY fill this hole in my collection – I like the game, but it’s not one that I stay awake thinking about strategies. It’s simple, however, and the combat system is fast and enjoyable. I like throwing darts, and I hate most conquer the world games. But this one combines them in an enjoyable way. Throw out the dartboard, throw out Risk – this one combines both in an experience that you’ll not likely have elsewhere. Is it for you? If the name makes you smile, perhaps so.
“Real men play board games”