OBJECTIVE OF AXE THROWING: Throw an axe at a wooden target with the intent of wedging the axe’s blade as close to the bullseye as possible.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2+ players
MATERIALS: Axe/hatchet, wooden target
TYPE OF GAME: Sport
AUDIENCE: Age is dependent on the venue; most require 16-18+, while others start as young as 8 years old
OVERVIEW OF AXE THROWING
Axe throwing is an exhilarating sport that places a unique spin on the classic game of darts. Originally a game played among loggers. It sees competitors chuck spinning axes at a wooden target in an attempt to be as accurate as possible.
Axe throwing requires extremely minimal setup, other than an axe, a target to throw at, and adequate space. However, due to featuring a dangerous weapon flung through the air, the locations of these events must have special safety accommodations.
To ensure the safety of all competitors and spectators, targets are often situated at the end of an enclosed “alley”. At most venues and competitive axe-throwing events, competitors must stand behind a line placed 12-20 feet from the target while throwing; this is called the fault line. A distance of 12 feet is often standard, as this is nearly the perfect distance to ensure the axe will rotate at least once, which is necessary for a throw to be valid. There should be an additional 3 feet or more for space to throw before the fault line.
As with any sport that utilizes a target, throws that land closest to the middle are worth the most points. This is no different with axe throwing, although an exception does apply:
- 6 points are awarded for a bullseye
- 5 points are awarded for hitting the ring closest to the bullseye
- 4 points for the ring second closest to the bullseye
- 3 points for the ring third closest to the bullseye
- 2 points for the ring fourth closest to the bullseye
- 1 point for the outermost ring
Additionally, two extra bullseyes are located at the top of the target within the 1-point ring. These two dots are known as “Killshots” and are worth 8 points. However, to receive the 8 points, a competitor must inform the judge they intend to go for the Killshot before throwing the axe.
For all scoring attempts, the thrown axe must remain lodged in the target for it to count. An axe that falls onto the ground is worth 0 points, regardless of where it initially was on the target.
Additionally, if a thrown axe occupies two scoring rings, the player is awarded the number of points of the higher scoring ring.
Competitors are often allowed 10 throws per match. Each competitor (depending on the event) has their own target to throw at. After five throwing attempts, players will swap targets and perform their final five throws.
The swapping of targets is done to ensure a fair playing field is provided for all, as the density of the wood can slightly differ from target to target.
To play a proper match of axe-throwing, competitors must abide by the following rules:
- Remain entirely behind the throwing line until the thrown axe comes to a stop.
- Throw the axe with one or two hands so that the blade faces the target before release.
- One foot must remain on the floor during throws.
END OF GAME
After each player completes their 10 throws, the competitor with the highest total score is deemed the winner.
In the event of a tie, both players will alternate Killshot throws. If both players miss the Killshot, the distance from each axe to the intended target will be measured, with the winning throw being the one closest to the Killshot. If both players hit the Killshot, the players must attempt another sudden death throw for the Killshot.