Jarts Review
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Players: 2 players or teams
Playing Time: About 30 minutes

When I was a kid, every family in the neighborhood owned a set of lawn darts—those big, metal, pointy-tipped darts that you were supposed to try to throw across the yard. Apparently, it never occurred to anyone that it might not be a good idea to hand children a set of sharp, pointy, metal things. And, more often than not, the game ended in tears and Band-Aids.

After a while, however, parents caught on—and the lawn darts were locked away in the dark, scary corners of the attic, never to be seen again.

But, fortunately, now there’s an alternative to those bloodthirsty old lawn darts: Jarts. Unlike the old darts, Jarts are made of plastic—with rounded, weighted plastic tips. That means that, unlike the old metal darts, they don’t stick right in the lawn when you throw them. Instead, they sometimes bounce a bit (which, I’ll admit, can be infuriating at times). But they also won’t put a hole in your foot if you drop them. And that’s definitely a plus.

As for the game itself, it’s played the same way that you remember playing it as a kid (except, this time, you can actually finish a whole game without injuries). Before play begins, two plastic hoops are set up in the yard, about 30 feet apart (or closer for beginners). Players take turns tossing their Jarts across the yard, aiming for the hoop. Then, after all four Jarts are thrown, players add up the resulting points—three points for any Jart that lands inside the hoop, one point for the Jart that lands closest to the hoop. Since only one player (or team) is allowed to score points in each round, things do get a bit confusing at times. Sometimes, there’s a bit of math involved—and, at times, the instruction sheet leaves the rules somewhat up for debate. But once you work through the first game, it’s a snap.

Game play continues in rounds until one player (or team) reaches 21 points and is declared the winner.

Though it isn’t exactly like the old lawn darts game, Jarts is a great (injury-free) substitute. It’s a simple—but still challenging—game that makes for laid-back, outdoor fun for players of just about any age. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come with some kind of storage/carrying bag to keep all of the pieces together—because that would make it a whole lot easier to carry along on all of your summer camping trips, picnics in the park, and backyard barbecues. Instead, you might have to pack it away in a grocery bag.

Still, I highly recommend picking up your own set of Jarts and storing it in your trunk for the summer—so you’ll always be ready for a quick game.

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