Archery Games

Practising target archery is all well and good, but sometimes we at OUCofA want to have some fun. Collected here are some of the archery variations on other sports that we have either played or plan to try in the future.

Archery Golf

One of the better known of the archery games, Archery Golf is played on a normal golf course. Each "shot" consists of firing an arrow down the fairway towards the hole, with the first one being fired from the tee and subsequent shots being taken from where the previous arrow landed. Just like golf. To finish a hole, the arrow should be fired into a four-foot circle on the green level with the golf hole.

Par for each hole is the par stated for golfers, and the game can be played against golfing friends.

Archery Pitch And Putt

Some golf clubs are reluctant to let archers loose on their courses carrying lethal weapons. However, if you shoot on an outdoor range of reasonable size (like our rugby pitch), it's possible to make up a small Pitch and Putt course. The rules are the same as for Archery Golf.

Archery Javelin

Okay, technically this is known as Flight Shooting, but it's equivalent to javelin throwing. You simply have to shoot an arrow as far as possible. You will need a long range.

Archery Darts

Based on the popular pub game, the rules are exactly the same as normal darts. Simply draw (or buy) a face that looks like a dartboard, and shoot at it. For a challenge at a similar level to real darts, my archery book suggests a face that's 2'6" in diameter and a shooting line 15 yards from the target. Under these conditions, a game against ordinary darts players should be possible.

Archery Noughts & Crosses

Another one that can be played easily with only an old face with stuff drawn on the back. Draw a fair-sized noughts & crosses board. Take turns to fire arrows at it. An arrow doesn't count if it lands in a square where there's already another arrow, but the player doesn't get another shot. The winner is the first person to get arrows in three boxes in a row.

There is also an American version called Archery Tic-Tac-Toe.

Archery Pin The Tail On The Donkey

An ideal game for archery parties. Simply draw a picture of a donkey on the back of an old face, blindfold the contestant, spin her round a few times about 20 yards from the target, and point her in vaguely the right direction. Each contestant gets to shoot three arrows, and the person with the arrow nearest the donkey's arse is the winner. Best played with netting in place behind the target.

Archery Blind Man's Buff*

Another amusing party game, particularly once everyone's had a few drinks. The "blind man" is blindfolded and spun round several times. He then fires off arrows wherever he thinks he hears a noise, while the other players try to get out of the way. The first person to be hit becomes the next blind man. To avoid damage to arrows, this game is best played outdoors, although a playing area should be marked out so that players don't stray unfairly far away from the blind man. Be prepared to spend some time looking for arrows.

Archery Water Polo*

Played according to the normal water polo rules, but with an arrow instead of a ball. For safety reasons, all passes and shots must be made underwater, to take the speed out of the arrow. The water polo rule of "no feet touching the bottom" should also be enforced, making the act of shooting an arrow underwater an interesting challenge. Remember that it is a non-contact sport.

Archery Relays*

Four archers should be spaced out around a square of similar size to a running track (roughly 100m on each side). Each archer has six arrows to fire at a target set up beside the next archer in the team. A soon as an arrow hits the target, the next archer may start firing at her target. The relay is finished when the last archer hits her target.

Relays can either be timed events or set up with teams "running" simultaneously. Teams should experiment to find what distance and size of target provides a suitable challenge.


The Oxford University Company of Archers accepts no responsibility for any injury or damage that might occur while playing any of these games. You attempt them at your own risk. The last three in particular are piss-takes, and we do not condone any activities as dangerous as those. Bows are not toys.