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Actually the answer is fairly simple. The numbers were originally arranged so that two players, one starting at the 20 and the other the 19, could form various number combinations to play point games. Today we just use the triple twenty or bull until an out is reached. Most likely this idea of using combinations for scoring originated from the card game of cribbage, a favorite card game of the time.

What made the games fun and challenging was that each player had to form those combinations using only the numbers on the side of the board they started on!

How it is possible that two player using different numbers and opposite sides of the board can play the same exact point games is what the numbering system is all about!

To achieve this, the HIGH NUMBERS are cleverly arranged so that two halves of the board MIRROR each other in POINT VALUE. This can easily be seen as demonstrated below.

20+18+13=51 ---- 20+12+14=46

19+17+15=51 ---- 19+16+11=46

Then low numbers were interwoven between the high numbers to create the same mirrored scoring patterns.

9+5+20+1+4=39 ---- 8+7+19+3+2=39

Though the 20 and 19 are the basis from which all combinations start the 10 and 6 do not enter into any combinations. In the game of cribbage 2 cards are always discarded.

Exactly how combinations were made or scoring went is not known, however the numbering arrangement clearly demonstrates that the combinations were formed by shooting specific numbers in order, one player starting at the 20 and the other the 19, and that each player had equal opportunity to match it.

It is of interest to note that both the 18 and 17 have the lowest penalty for missing - 5 points- not the 20 or 19 as one would think if low numbers were to penalize poor shots. More likely low numbers were outs or used to complete specific combinations.

To further demonstrate the influence of cribbage on our numbering system and probable manner of play one only has to look to the left side of the board. It is not coincidence that all combinations start with either the 20 or 19 and that when you shoot the leg 20-5-12-9-14-11-8-16-7-19 it totals 121 the winning score of cribbage!

Folklore states that at a carnival in 1896 a game of darts was played that advertised "players are to shoot numbers in order and drunks will have no chance".

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2009-11-05 00:03:06
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Q: Why are the dart board numbers arranged like that?
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