How to Play Mickey Mouse Darts [Rules, Tips, Tricks]

One of the really cool games you can play on a dartboard is called Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse (or Mickey for short) is a simplified game of Cricket.

So if you already know how to play Cricket, or if you at least have some good idea how it plays out, then you are pretty much good to go.

How to Play Mickey Mouse Darts? To play mickey mouse darts, each player throws three darts and races to open, score, and close the numbers 20 through 15, plus the bull. The game of mickey mouse is played until all numbers are closed. The dart player with the most points or the one who scores a tie first wins the game.

Below I get into more detail about this fantastic game, so if you want to find out more, read on. I share some tips, tricks, and interesting ideas.


Mickey Mouse vs (American) Cricket

If you have been throwing darts, even for a short while, you have definitely been subjected to all the confusion and commotion that arises as a result of the different ways people play darts in the U.S. and the UK.

The American version of Cricket is a lot different than the UK version of cricket.

With that being said, the American version of Cricket is the same game dart players in the UK frequently call Mickey Mouse.

In other words:

Mickey Mouse = (American) Cricket

Mickey Mouse darts is also known by other names like Coach and Horses, Faldo, Beds, and Bulls and more.

Rules of Mickey Mouse Darts

The game has two players racing for control and scoring on the numbers between 20 through 15 and the bullseye.

There are also some variations of the Micky Mouse in darts where players try open and close the numbers between 20 through 12 plus the bullseye.

In Netherland, this game is also called Tactics and can be played from 20 down to 10, including the bullseye again.

For an added challenge, some people like to add even the triples and the doubles to the game.

For a number to be opened, it needs to be hit three times. This can be done by hitting 3 singles, a single and a double, or a triple.

You can open and score a number with the first two darts, for example throwing a single and a triple. This means that you’ve hit the number 4 times (1+3). The first three hits are subtracted for the opening the number, and you are left with one hit, which is used for scoring. For example, hitting the triple and the single 20 will grant you 20 points. Hitting the triple 20 two times will grant you 60 points.

Once the number has been opened, only the player that opened it can score on that number.

From this point onward, the other player can only close this number. They can close it by hitting it three times (in a similar fashion to opening it).

The other player, if they want to score points, need to open a different number. They can also close the number which the other player opened earlier. 

When the number is closed, the other player cannot use it for scoring anymore.

In other words, the first player that scores three hits on a number opens this particular number to himself. Any dart that falls in that number from this point onwards will earn this player score. When the other player hits that number three times they will close it and it cannot be used for scoring by anyone.

As you can see now, the game of Mickey Mouse is essentially a race for getting ahead in score and keeping it while at the same time trying to adapt and decide how, when and if you need to prevent your opponent from gaining points.

The game is not called tactics by mistake.

Frequently besides a steady hand, you will also need a good sense of strategy and ability to make judgment calls as to when is the right time to close a number, open a new one, score, go for the bull, etc.

All other things being equal, the first player should always win. The player that goes second aims to extend the game for as long as possible in order to gain an advantage over the first player.

The game continues until all the numbers and the bullseye are opened or closed.

The player with the highest score wins the game of Mickey Mouse.

Read Next: What is the best dart scoreboard

Who goes first in a game of Mickey Mouse?

Each one of the players throws one dart at the bullseye. The player whose dart is the closest to the bullseye gets to throw first.

If both players score bullseye, then they take turns and throw again until somebody misses it.

How long is a game of Mickey Mouse in Darts?

Typically a game of Mickey Mouse lasts between 5 to 30 minutes depending on the skill level, strategy, and throwing consistency of the two players.

What is the throwing distance when playing Mickey Mouse?

Mickey Mouse darts is played by throwing the darts from the standard throwing distance. The throwing line is set at 7 feet 9 1/4 inches for steel tip dartboards and 8 feet 0 inches for soft tip dartboards.

Read Next: What is the best laser Oche?

Can you win a game of Mickey Mouse with a zero score?

The game of Mickey Mouse in darts continues until one player opens or closes all the numbers plus the bull. In theory, this means that a game of Mickey Mouse can be won with zero points by ending in a tie.

What happens if the game of Mickey Mouse in darts ends up in a tie?

The game of Mickey Mouse is played until one player opens or closes all the numbers. When that happens, if the score is equal between the two players, the game ends in a tie. The first player to score the tie wins the game.

What do you need to play Mickey Mouse darts?

The good thing about Mickey Mouse darts game is that you do not need anything different than what you need for any other darts game. You need three darts, a dartboard, two players, and a means to keep score.

On what kind of dartboards can you play Mickey Mouse darts?

You can play Mickey Mouse on any dartboard that has the standard numbers (1 to 20) set up on it. This includes any:

Of course, this also includes any:

for detailed info of the best dartboards in each category, make sure to click on the links above.

So the type of dartboard will not necessarily limit your ability to play Mickey Mouse in any significant way beyond the fact that you may need a different type of darts.

Strategy principles for playing Mickey Mouse darts

How a game of Mickey Mouse will unfold will depend a lot on your ability to read your opponent, what they are good at, and what you are good at.

There is no definitive meta of how the game should unfold. However, below I share with you some tips, tricks, and strategies that you can use to avoid some common tactical mistakes.

RULE #1 Start first

A simple thing, but I feel like it needs to be mentioned.

Starting first gives a tremendous advantage over the second player, essentially you will be able to decide the pace at which the game will move.

If you are playing in a team, make sure the better player throws for the bull.

RULE #2 Do not panic

Many dart players may start panicking and try to close the numbers, which their opponent has opened. This immediately puts them behind in score while their opponent can move on to opening the 19 and doing the same thing all over again.

If a player opens 20 and starts playing for points, many players would prefer to open 19 in the meantime in order to keep up with the score.

This is why one of the first rules is never to panic. 

If you are struggling with the nerves while playing darts, make sure to check out my article about how to relax when playing darts, where I share some useful tips and tricks.

RULE #3 Rack up points

Many players will directly try to open the 20 and start racking up on points in order to get ahead.

If you are good, you should try hitting the triple 20 with all three darts. Nine-counting it in the first leg places your opponent in a very bad place right from the start. This can have a lot of new players immediately panicking and even mentally giving up.

Some good players may try to go for opening (and therefore claiming) as many numbers as possible. In theory, you can open 20, 19, and 18 all in the first leg.

This means that your opponent is left with two options. They have to either close all three numbers immediately (while your score is zero) or open the other remaining numbers. And fighting your 18, 19, and 20 with 15, 16, and 17 is going to be an uphill battle for your opponent.

This is a solid start that can lead to some desperation moves from your opponent. However, be careful, as even a single missed triple in this scenario gives your opponent everything they need to get back in the game.

RULE #4: Do NOT chase

The mid-game takes some practice to get the hang of. However, you need to pay attention and consider how the game can unfold.

Every missed dart places you at a disadvantage and potentially behind in score. Whether or not that will happen, however, is up to your opponent and their skills and throwing consistency.

Even when given the advantage, not every dart player will be able to make good use of it.

If you are behind in points, you should not try to close your opponent. Do it only when you have some decent points lead.

Usually, you do not want to play catch up all the time and “run” behind your opponent trying to close everything they have just opened because this has you reacting to your opponent.

You want to be acting not reacting.

You want to be the one who acts, and their opponent reacts.

RULE #5 Stay Ahead in points

When you get ahead in points make sure you also stay ahead in points.

Once you get that advantage, you do not want to lose it.

Of course, a game of Mickey can be won even with zero points. However, this can happen if a really good player plays against a new darts player. For darts players that are of equal skill level, it rarely happens, and it is recommended to always stay ahead on points.

For example, after the first leg, if you have opened the 20 and scored just 20 points, this already means that your opponent will need to hit five 19s. The reason they need to hit 19 five times is that they will need three hits to open it, then one hit to earn 19 points (which places them 1 point behind you) and another 19 to get ahead of you.

The more 20s you rack, the more 19s your opponent will need to hit in order to keep up with you. You are effectively leading the game, and your opponent will not have much of a choice except to follow your lead.

Always keep in mind how many darts will your opponent needs in order to keep up with you or to win the game. If they are falling behind in points, this can give you some leeway to use some of your darts next round to open a new number or close theirs.

RULE #6 Close the numbers only while keeping the score lead

When trying to close a number, try to be on average at least 2 darts ahead of your opponent.

For the same of the example, if you are throwing 19 and your opponent 20. Try to have at least 120 points advantage. The way this is calculated is 1 dart scoring a triple 20 is 60, so a 2 dart advantage is 2 x 60 = 120.

There are no hard and fast rules here, some players would be willing to go with a single dart advantage, while others may even wait for a triple dart advantage if possible.

Depending on your skill, you can try to close your opponent’s number by hitting the triple; however, keep in mind that there is a high risk associated with this.

Frequently some dart players will opt for singles hitting the fat part of the number – because it is easier (read safer) to hit.

If you opt for that tactic and you miss on your first or second dart, a good rule of thumb is to go back to scoring in order to keep your score lead somewhat intact. Your aim is to make sure you can get back for another round.

You have missed a dart, so this puts your opponent in a theoretical advantage, and you need to, in a way, reduce the damage and force your opponent to go for points instead of closing you.

The general rule of thumb is to avoid the double.

The double has a larger surface, but if you miss it, there is a high chance you will not hit anything. A triple, in this case, is a lower risk area. Even if you hit it, you are still looking at a good chance of hitting the single area.

RULE #7 Learn when to play the bull

The bull is a tricky part of the game. To be able to make a good judgment call when to go for the bull, you will need some practice and experience. 

The bull is a smaller target, so there is a higher chance of missed darts.

If you are well ahead on points, it may be a good time to start aiming for it. This can make your opponent really desperate and further solidify your advantage.

And even if you miss, you have a chance of hitting some of the numbers you still need.

Alternatively, if you are severely behind in score, you may need to risk it and try to hit a few bulls. This is a desperation move, but it can work when you have nothing to lose.

Some players even prefer to go for the bull right from the start, which also can be a viable strategy.

RULE #8 Keep count of the darts

While keeping an eye on the score, please do not get too overly fixated on it. Always think in terms of how many darts you or your opponent is in the lead or behind with.

Frequently the score may not tell the whole story and a seemingly bad situation is actually just 1 dart away from being completely changed.

Mickey Mouse points table

Below I have inserted a table that will help you see how points stack. On the vertical are the number of hits, and on the horizontal are the numbers and the bull.

This table can be used to visually see how far behind or ahead you will get compared to your opponent when scoring certain numbers.

For example, you open 20, and your opponent opens 19. If you keep scoring, your opponent stays within one dart of you up until the 20th 20. So even though it may seem like you are getting well ahead with your 20s in reality, that is not the case.


What dart players is Mickey Mouse best for?

Mickey Mouse is suitable for dart players from all levels. Both beginners and advanced dart players can benefit from playing this great and fun game.

Frequently the game of Mickey Mouse requires the players to be good at thinking on their feet.

This game is incredibly fun and, at first, may appear a little overwhelming to new players. However, it is pretty straightforward.

With time and experience, it gets easier, and it is the perfect game for people that would like to play some quick dart games where a little more strategy is required.

The game of Mickey Mouse requires having a good sense of where you want to go as far as gaining score. A lot of the tactics involved in this dart game are math-based, so it is an excellent game to brush up on your mental arithmetics.

It is not always about earning as many points as possible. A game of Mickey Mouse can be won even with 20 points if played right.

Mickey Mouse also requires a steady and consistent throws. Although it will not have you throw at every single number on the dartboard, it is a very good game for anyone that wants to improve their throws.

Mickey Mouse can also be a good warm-up or practice game for any dart players that want to squeeze in a game or two when they have the time.

Mike Stephenson

Mike Stephenson Hello, darts enthusiasts! My name is Mike, and I am the person behind I enjoy playing darts with my mates and generally having a good time. Here I share everything that I learn about darts.

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