Your man cave seems complete. You have the requisite flat-screen television ready to beam in every NFL game on demand, a bar fully stocked for thirsty guests, and a ventilation system that circulates cigar smoke better than most retail shops. It's a perfect space to which to retreat and reflect. Well, almost perfect.
To augment your male sanctuary, we suggest a leisure activity (with the emphasis on leisure) for you and your pals to enjoy. Darts—currently enjoying a bit of an upswing in popularity, as last year's British Dart Organisation finale was watched by 2.2 million viewers—has long been the king of indoor sport. Its origins trace to medieval times, when English soldiers would gather in pubs and throw shortened, wooden arrows at the butt of a wine or beer barrel. (The word butt originates from butte, French for target.) The modern game has, thankfully, evolved: the board is now much more durable, as it's often constructed from hemp or sisal, and dart barrels (the shaft that you grip) are now made of metal (tungsten is the best) and tipped with steel.
Establishing a dart area in your man cave is relatively simple, and it starts with a quality board, such as Winmau's Blade 4 ($75, shown above). The wiring on the Blade 4 is thinner and flatter than others, thus reducing "bounce-outs," lingo for those darts that fall to the floor rather than stick into the board. The dartboard should be installed so that the center of the board (the bullseye) is 5 feet, 8 inches above the floor, while the throwing line (called the oche) is marked 7 feet, 9 1/4 inches away from the board's face. Professional-level darts, such as Winmau's Stratos Dual Core ($98, the yellow set pictured) and Jim Widmayer ($60, shown in black), ensure uniform air flight, which translates to less movement in the air and more consistent penetrating angles into the board.
Officially, the game of darts refers to players throwing three darts per visit to the board with the goal of reducing a fixed score, commonly 501 or 301, to zero with a double score, but a plethora of variations exist. (Check out the National Dart Association's website, www.ndadarts.com, for official rules and alternatives.) This flexibility means anyone, from the seasoned pub-crawler to your friend who only throws with a lit cigar in one hand, can get in on the fun.