In this blog post we would like to take a closer look at the sport of soft darts and go into the regulations. We will also look at the differences to steel darts, but would primarily like to introduce the type of “soft dart”. As with steel darts, soft darts also have their own characteristics that need to be taken into account. Especially in view of the fact that some hobby players like to play both sports, it is good to know the differences and be aware of them in order not to make a mistake.
The basic regulations for soft darts
We would like to start this blog post with the basic rules that need to be observed when playing soft darts. As in the article on steel dart rules, we would like to start by talking about the distance and height of the dartboard. There is a reason for this, because there was an essential change here a few years ago. Until 2015, the launch distance for E darts was exactly 244 cm. This corresponds to exactly 7 centimeters more than is the case with steel darts. In order to bring the two sports closer together, these rules were adjusted accordingly in 2015 so that there is no longer any difference in the throwing distance between E darts and steel darts.
We say this explicitly because it is certainly possible that some bars that do not practice competitive sports have not yet become aware of this change in the rules. By adjusting the distance between the soft dart and the dartboard, players who like to practice both sports and have tips that can be swapped have an advantage. So you can assume that there is hardly any difference in the quality of your game.
The height of the dartboard, however, has always been the same. The height of the bulls eye on the soft dart is also exactly 173 centimeters. This means that the diagonal at 293 centimeters is now the same as that of steel darts - but only since 2015. Previously the distance was 298 centimeters because the throwing line was 7 centimeters further back.
Special features of soft darts – When do the points count?
A special feature that sets E Darts apart from the sport of steel darts is the valid points. When it comes to steel darts, the rule is that points only count if the dart gets stuck in the board. Now, with softdarts, it is extremely common for softdart darts with a plastic tip to ricochet because they do not hit the board in exactly the same way that they get stuck. Nevertheless, the electronic counter usually shows that the score has been achieved. And this is exactly where the difference lies.
With e-darts or soft darts, the points that are scored by arrows that don't get stuck in the board also count. From a purely technical point of view, there is no other way to implement this, because as soon as the tip touches the board, the points are automatically deducted from the counter anyway. This means that it would not be possible to add the points again during a game if the arrow did not get stuck.
Fun fact: When it comes to soft darts, you often come across players who use a very extravagant throwing style . The reason is that these players know exactly that the arrows don't have to get stuck in the board.
Speaking of darts – what regulations are there for darts in soft darts?
Of course, there are also a few things to consider about the darts themselves. Electronic dart machines are usually sensitive. This also means that over time, hitting too hard can cause certain segments on the board to stop working at some point. To avoid this problem, the maximum soft dart weight is significantly lower than the maximum weight for steel darts. The upper limit is just 21 grams - and this has only been the case since 2019. Previously, the upper limit was only 18 grams. Anyone who knows anything about these gram numbers will be surprised to find that with steel darts, the players' weights are often only 21 grams, upwards, start.
When it comes to steel darts, the rule is that points only count if the dart gets stuck in the board.
Because of this fact alone, it is hardly possible to compare the sports with each other. Because as soon as a steel dart player stands in front of an electronic dart machine, he will notice the extreme difference that arrows that are 4 or 5 grams lighter can make.
There is also a limit to the length. Here the maximum length is 16.8 centimeters. In principle, there is hardly a player who would exceed this length at all, but it is noticeable that there are stricter regulations than with steel darts, where the length can be more than 30 centimeters.
The development of darts
Especially when it comes to the development of darts, Softdarts is still at the forefront today. Especially in Asia and America, soft darts are much more popular than steel darts. This also still applies in Germany, because the number of soft darts players is still many times higher. This is also due to the fact that many restaurants and pubs are still equipped with a dart machine instead of a steel dart board. There are of course reasons for this, because with an E Dart machine the innkeeper earns money.
However, due to the boom in steel darts in recent years, soft darts are becoming increasingly less attractive. This is also because, especially in competitive sports, it is easier to earn money with steel darts than is the case with edart. The problem is still today that soft darts is considered more of a bar sport.
Behaviors while playing
In the previous section we talked about the fact that soft darts unfortunately still has the reputation of being seen as a fringe sport that is played in the pub. This can also be felt in the behavior of competitive games. While steel darts are often quiet so as not to disturb the players' concentration phase, the atmosphere with E darts is much more relaxed.
We don't mean to say that people talk, sing or shout too loudly, but rather that it's not so much about the competition itself as it is about having a nice evening with the opposing team. The choice of dart type depends to a large extent on the type of player. If you want to focus on competition and performance, you should choose steel darts, but if you would rather spend a relaxed evening with colleagues, E darts might be a bit more suitable.