Your Ultimate Guide to Axe-Throwing Games

Are you a fan of axe-throwing games? Or unfamiliar with these fun challenges that foster camaraderie? Either way, you’re in the right place.

You may be used to honing your skills solo and testing them in one-on-one tournament setups, but games are a different beast.

They challenge your precision, coordination, and critical thinking. They’re an excellent way to train, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and break the monotony of repetitive drills.

Today, we share eleven axe-throwing game ideas suitable for every group size, skill level, and preference. Join us to learn why you should play and everything you need for a jolly day at the arena.

What are axe-throwing games?

Axe-throwing games are recreational activities that involve throwing axes at targets in controlled environments. They gained popularity as a way to challenge yourself and compete with others.

The gameplay is target-based, requiring only axes, targets, and opponents. Most games revolve around getting as many points as possible within a specific setup. Some variations impose point orders, counts, or limits.

Why should you opt for games instead of your usual drills? Let’s discuss the main benefits of incorporating play into your practice.

Why should you play axe-throwing games?

Is the appeal of axe-throwing games lost on you? We’re here to challenge your preconceptions.

Games make you a better thrower while letting you have fun and build a community around your hobby. Here’s what they do for enthusiasts:

  • Eliminate repetitiveness: Getting good at throwing axes requires consistent training, and games help you polish your stance, grip, and release without getting bored.
  • Refine your skills: Axe-throwing game rules hinge on expert-level hits. You improve by developing fine motor skills, coordination, focus, and a solid aim.
  • Offer friendly competition: Games are a platform for healthy rivalry among friends, colleagues, or club members. They give you that push to get better with every throw.
  • Enable easier socialisation: Games are social activities that bring people together. They help you build relationships with other hobbyists in a pressure-free setup.
  • Relieve stress: Throwing axes lets you release unnecessary tension and lose yourself in a focused activity.

Are you sold on the idea? Good, let’s talk about the specifics.

What equipment do you need?

Axe-throwing facilities, like Johnny Throws, you have everything you need to play the games from our list. Here’s the equipment required for an at-home setup:

  • Throwing axes: These axes have a balanced weight distribution and a short handle, enabling accurate throws.
  • Targets: Traditional axe-throwing targets are wooden boards with designated scoring areas. You can buy them in stores or DIY them by cutting and painting planks.
  • Safety equipment: Get closed-toe shoes and goggles to protect your eyes from flying wood chips. Surround the area with barriers to prevent accidents.
  • Scorekeeping materials: These can be as simple as pen and paper or more advanced scoring systems. We suggest you get a whiteboard and hang it near the throwing area.

In addition to regular-sized setups, there’s a range of mini axe-throwing games available. These scaled-down versions of the original axe-and-target offer a lower-budget, accessible way to participate in the thrill.

You can DIY the mini setup with a corkboard and purchase tiny axes or darts. There are also full-blown packs that let you get started straight out of the box.

A quick guide on rules and scoring

Here are the general axe-throwing game rules to get you familiar with the basics:

  • Determine the throwing line beforehand: The standard distance between players and targets is 3.7 metres, but it may vary with the game and facility. Paint a line on the floor to keep throws valid and remove any obstructions from the axe flight path.
  • Mark the scoring zones: Get familiar with the scores on each target area. The bull’s eye is typically worth the most points, followed by the inner and outer rings. The blue dots are high-risk, high-reward shots.
  • Know what to score: The axe must lodge itself within the wood for a shot to count. If it sits between two zones, players gain points for the one where over 50% of the blade is situated.

Scoring varies from game to game. Here are some concepts to keep in mind:

  • Scoring the point zone: The main scoring rule is that the player gains points for the area where most of their blade lies.
  • Technique-based scoring: Players may gain additional points by making clean throws, meaning the axe doesn’t bounce or lean. Incorporating this rule is excellent for veterans because it encourages precise technique.
  • Bonus targets: Most games feature extra scoring opportunities. For instance, some games have blue dots (kill shots) that carry additional points.
  • Penalty points: Rule violations and poor shots may lead to point deductions. For example, if you hit the floor or bounce the blade off the target.
  • Tiebreaker rules: In the event of a tie, you may have additional rounds or specific victory targets to determine the winner.

Mix and match these rules with the games we’ll discuss below for a personalised, enjoyable experience.

Safety precautions (read before you play!)

Before moving onto axe-throwing game ideas, let’s discuss safety. Follow these rules to keep your activities harmless for everyone involved:

  • Wear appropriate clothes: Beyond goggles, gloves, and closed-toe shoes, pick an outfit that covers your arms and legs. Opt for sturdy materials and skip loose accessories, which may catch on the handle.
  • Establish a controlled environment: Ensure sufficient space for the throwers and spectators. If you have multiple targets, there should be at least a metre of distance between them to avoid interfering throws.
  • Inspect the axes before throwing: Blunt blades won’t get lodged into the target but bounce and potentially hit spectators. Splintered handles could injure your hand as you grip and throw.
  • Minimise distractions: Heckling is fun, but distracting a person with a sharp object in hand is never a good idea. Save horseplay for after the throw.
  • Practise safe retrieval: The axe may bounce or dislodge in seconds following your throw. Count to ten in your head before approaching the target, just in case.
An exciting scene from an axe throwing game - A pair of gloves resting beside a sturdy axe on the floor, ready for players to engage in the thrilling challenge of axe throwing.

11 best axe-throwing games to try

Here are 11 axe-throwing game ideas for playful times at the arena. From no-frills precision tasks to intricate point-scorers for solos, pairs, or teams, there’s something for everybody below.

1. Landmines

Landmines is a straightforward axe-throwing game with a challenging twist. It can spice up your practice sessions or add an element of competition to group gatherings. Perfect for newbies and experts.

You can play one-on-one or in groups. The main objective is simple: the first person or team to pass 50 points wins. But there’s a trick.

The landmines occur every 10 points, and hitting them costs you 10 points. For instance, if you have 17 points and hit a three, you would usually reach 20. In this game, scoring a round number drops your result to 10. Hit one or five-point spaces, and you’re safe.

Play this game to seriously improve your aim and throw with more attention and mindfulness.

2. Yahtzee

Yahtzee is a different axe-throwing game than you may be used to seeing. It’s a blast but requires a decent-sized group and more rules than other options on our list.

This game designates four-person teams and has each team performing a set of six tasks. Every player gets three chances to complete their role for the task. One group finishes, and it’s the other one’s turn.

Keep track of the scores during each task: their total determines the winner.

All players within a team throw at the same time, and everybody must hit their goal within three attempts to score points. If any player misses, the entire team gets a zero for that task.

Here are the usual tasks (but you can mix them up once you get the hang of the basics):

  • Everybody scores a “1”
  • Everybody scores a “3”
  • Everybody scores a “5”
  • Everybody scores a “0”
  • The team gets a “straight”
  • Everybody scores a “7” (or hit the blue dots)

Scoring a straight refers to a situation where one player hits the one-point zone while the remaining players aim for the three, five, or seven-point zones. Before throwing, each team member must declare their intended target.

3. Blackjack

Blackjack is another versatile and challenging axe-throwing game for adults. It requires clean, precise throws and can feel impossible when you’re brand new. Hone your skills, and it’ll soon become just hard enough to keep things fresh.

In this game, the objective is to reach a total of 21 points. Each competitor has ten throws to achieve this goal, and the one closer to 21 points after ten attempts wins. If you score over 21, you immediately get eliminated.

The scoring is particular among expert Blackjackers. Generally, you get points for the area where most of your axe gets lodged in wood. In this game, you receive zero points if the blade isn’t 100% within the scoring zone.

Of course, you can disregard this rule if your throws still lack accuracy.

If you score 21 before the tenth throw, you must continue hitting the zero area to stay at 21. This game is a fun challenge for intermediates and does wonders for getting you past a skill plateau.

4. 21

21 is a different axe-throwing game than Blackjack, but it hinges on a similar principle. The first team to score 21 points wins, and there are rules to make it more interesting. It’s easier than our previous suggestion, making it better for rookies.

The first rule says you must hit precisely 21 points to win. If you go over, the last throw doesn’t count. If you have 20 points and hit the bull’s eye, your score remains unchanged.

Another rule involves three predetermined numbers to hit before you reach 21. The players can determine these numbers before the game starts.

Say you pick six, ten, and seventeen. Your team must score six points before moving on to ten and seventeen. If you have five points and hit the three-point zone, your score won’t change.

To make the rounds quicker, you can choose one or two checkpoints before 21. In any case, the game will test your precision.

5. Around the world

Around the world is one of our favourite games to play while axe-throwing for solo enthusiasts. It can also be played one-on-one or in teams, making it super-versatile. As a bonus, it doesn’t take sharp skills to pull off.

The goal of this game is to hit each board area in order, from the outside in and back out again. So, one thrower or team must score zero, one, three, five, one, and zero in that precise order. The first one to accomplish this feat wins.

You may be relieved to hear that you don’t have to start over if you miss. You stay where you are in sequence until you get the throw right. If playing in teams, your mate takes your spot.

6. Zombies vs. humans

Zombies vs. humans is another axe-throwing game that works well for teams. You need at least one opponent and have no specific targets to hit. It’s suitable for casual gatherings and newbies just developing their skills.

This game has one combined score, starting at zero. The zombies score negative points, and the humans always get positive points. If the score reaches 15, the humans have won. If it gets to -15, the zombies take the gold.

Play this one to see your friends’ or team members’ competitive side. Zombie-like sounds and The Last of Us references are very much welcome!

7. Cricket

Cricket is the perfect axe-throwing game idea for longer sessions. It’s played in teams and has variations to suit rookies and veterans. Getting good at it requires precision, aggression, and some strategic thinking.

Every team must hit each number on the board three times to make it available for scoring (we call it “closing out”). Then comes the race with time, as it becomes dead when the opposing team closes it out.

The team with the most points when all numbers are dead wins the game.

You can adapt cricket to be more or less challenging. For instance:

  • Beginner-friendly cricket: Hitting the bull’s eye counts as two hits to a zone of the thrower’s choosing. Another option is to have the winner be the first team to close out all numbers.
  • Advanced cricket: You must close out the entire board, and hitting the blue dots gives you ten points. Once the first team closes their final zone, they get three throws to score as many points as possible.

Don’t rush your throws and decisions with this one. Take your time to decide whether to favour gaining points or closing out based on your opponents’ current score.

8. Cornhole

Cornhole is another dog-eat-dog game to play while axe throwing. It’s unique due to its scoring method, putting players of similar skill levels toe-to-toe.

This game traditionally ends at 21 points, but you can play to any number. After one player from each team gains points, the lower score gets subtracted from the higher one. The difference gets awarded to the team with the higher-scoring hit.

For instance, if you get a six and your opponent gets one, your team earns five points.

Matchups matter in this game. Pit players of the same rank against each other to make the gameplay slower and more competitive.

An exhilarating axe throwing game in action, showcasing a precise throw as the axe lands perfectly in the center of the wooden target.

9. Horse

Horse is a competitive axe-throwing game for adults in any-sized team. In fact, the more people there are, the more chaotic and side-splitting it becomes.

Competing players make their throws head-to-head. You sum up their hits, and the lower-scoring team receives a letter. The first to have the word HORSE spelt out loses.

Expert tip: Solve ties by having the players repeat the throw. No letters get awarded if they’re still tied, and the next pair steps up.

If the base game is too easy, you’ll love the variations.

For instance, have one player throw and the other match their point value rather than beating it. If they fail, their team gets a letter. Then the throwers switch, and the second one aims first.

An alternative approach is for the first participant to announce the point value they’re aiming for before throwing. Their opponent follows suit, aiming for the same zone during their attempt.

Don’t forget to switch which team goes first after each throw and consider the matchups. The closer the players in skill, the longer game you’ll have.

10. First to X

First to X is a simple axe-throwing game based on point accumulation that offers countless variants. Best played in teams, it imposes minimal rules and adapts to all experience levels and preferences.

The objective is simple: teams throw axes, score points, and the first to reach an X number of points wins. You can determine “X” based on the available time, the number of players, and the collective skill level.

The beauty of this game lies in its variation. For example, you may play:

  • Busted: To win, your team must score precisely the number you determined as the X. If you surpass that number, you either lose or try again until you hit the precise figure.
  • Blue dots: If you hit the blue dots on the target, you can swap scores with the other team. In another fan favourite, this throw gives you no points, but it subtracts ten points from your opponents.
  • Shot caller: The thrower calls their shot (states how much they’ll score before throwing). If they hit that section of the target, they get double the points.

11. Tic-tac-toe

Tic-tac-toe is the axe-throwing version of the classic game we all played as kids. It requires ten axes and has you drawing lines on your target, but the fun is well worth the effort. It’s perfect for one-on-one play or precision practice.

Start by outlining a three-by-three grid onto your target. Then each player gets a throw attempt, and the first to get three axes in tic-tac-toe wins. Swap who goes first every round to keep things fair.

If your opponent hits a taken spot, their shot can count as a fail, or they may try again. Also, hitting the blue dots lets the other player replace one of your axes with one of theirs.

Expert tip: Tie different-coloured ribbons to your and your opponent’s axes for easier score tracking.

Bonus round: Throwdowns

Do you like our axe-throwing game ideas but prefer fewer rules and more competition? Throwdowns may be up your alley.

Throwdowns aren’t specific games but challenges that test your mastery against opponents. You can compete in any skill, but here are some suggestions:

  • Bull’s eye throwdown: See who can hit the bull’s eye more times in ten throws.
  • Survivor throwdown: Elimination-style gameplay. The player with the lowest score after a round gets eliminated until only the champion remains.
  • Long-distance throwdown: Test your skills by throwing axes from an increased distance, stepping farther away after each successful hit.
  • Trick shot throwdown: Get creative and challenge each other to perform impressive trick shots, incorporating various obstacles.

Throwing axes, creating memories

Axe-throwing games offer enjoyable skill tests, competition, and fellowship. From the banter of friends-turned-rivals to the satisfying thud of a kill shot, it’s a must-not-miss experience.

Even beyond the social aspect, these games build expertise. They make your throws more deliberate and mindful, which shows in tournament settings.

Why miss out? Gather your friends, sharpen your blades, and step into the arena at Johnny Throws. Let the axes fly and create unforgettable memories with fellow enthusiasts. Stay tuned to our blog for more guides on all things throwing.

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