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HandWiki. Archery Games. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 24 June 2024).
HandWiki. Archery Games. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 24, 2024.
HandWiki. "Archery Games" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 24, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 04). Archery Games. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Archery Games." Encyclopedia. Web. 04 November, 2022.
Archery Games

These novelty forms of archery are generally regarded as amusements, and, as such, are not governed by organizationally-sanctioned rules.

archery novelty amusements

1. Broadhead Round

A variant of the animal round, a broadhead round features archers shooting broadhead-tipped arrows through various single-sheet, 2-D cardboard cutouts of animals that are hung between two wooden poles, strung in the air by bendable wire, with a large dirt mound behind it as a backstop. Like the other events in field archery, the archers in the broadhead round go from station to station to shoot from various distances and in unique circumstances; some stations may even employ a moving target. These stations do not list their yardages in order to create a ‘real field’ feel to the simulation provided by the competition.

The highest scoring is achieved by (1) scoring inside the highest scoring ring and (2) is done in one shot. Typically an archer is allowed one scoring shot unless he or she misses, which they are allowed another shot, but must reduce their score by half; if they miss, their score is zero and scoring for them is completed.

This is an old practice form of archery competition in the United States that is still enjoyed today.

2. Blarows

A fun, two player game where player 1 sets out 3 helium balloons and marks an X behind one of them. Player 2 must then guess which balloon is marked from the back, and shoot it from any starting point. If player 2 hits the correct balloon, player 2 automatically switches turns with player 1 after telling how far player 1 must move back. If player 2 misses or hits the wrong balloon, player 2 is then blarow forced which means player 2 has to do/give whatever player 1 desires(age appropriate). Player 2 then has an opportunity to use any of three cards each player has from the beginning to; escape blarow force/ to substitute blarow force/ or a fun activity.

3. Card Games

3.1. Darts

Instead of shooting at a FITA target face, archers shoot at an enlarged dartboard target face, which can be purchased from most archery dealers. Normal dart rules apply, with archers being divided into teams and taking it in turns to shoot at the target. After three arrows have been shot, they are collected and the score recorded.

3.2. Four In A Row

Archers shoot at a 4-by-4 board drawn on a large piece of paper and pinned to the target face. They compete head-to-head, shooting in turn, and must try to get arrows in four consecutive squares (vertically/horizontally/diagonally) before their opponent. This can also be done as a team game or a competition between more than 2 archers.

3.3. Fun Shoot

Target faces can be anything with multi pictures, cartoons, advertising (supermarket sales etc.) Film posters. The individual targets,4-5 on the face are recorded on the score sheet. All arrows have a value, misses included. Bouncers class as a miss. Line-cutters; make your own decision before the shoot. Scoring: This is where the fun comes into it, make a list of values 5,10,15,20 & -5,-10,-15,-20. These values are then pulled out of the hat at the end of the shoot.

There is no set distance, anything from say 10yds-20yds (remember, young archers love this & may not achieve the greater distance) use as many bosses as required

If all archers bring a wrapped prize, everybody wins...the last prize could well be the most valuable.

3.4. Lucky Dip

This is best done outdoors, at a longer distance. Each archer shoots six arrows and then, before scoring, a piece of paper with scoring instructions is pulled out of the bag containing several different slips of paper. This means that an archer has no idea what their score will be when they are shooting. Scoring instructions might be:

  • Normal scoring applies
  • Reverse scoring
  • Ignore all golds
  • Whites score 20
  • Two or more arrows in the same color score nothing for those arrows
  • Missing the target scores 10
  • Negative scoring (you lose the number of points that you have scored)

3.5. Monopoly

An archery variation on Monopoly involves pinning chance and community cards to the target face. Archers shoot to try to hit these cards, which have positive or negative scores on. They might say things such as "You have scored a personal best! Award yourself 20 points" or "You miss the target, damaging one of your arrows. Lose 20 points".

3.6. Pairs

Playing cards are stuck to the target face, face down. Archers shoot 2 arrows, to hit two different playing cards, with the winner being the first archer to hit two cards which make a pair.

3.7. Picture Shoots

Pictures are drawn on a large piece of paper and stuck to each target face. The picture should be simple, using 5 different colors, with each color being assigned a score (9, 7, 5, 3, 1), depending on how frequently it appears in the picture. Archers shoot as normally, except when scoring.

3.8. Poker

An entire deck is taped to the target face, face down. Archers shoot 5 arrows, to hit five different playing cards, with the winner being the one with the best hand.

3.9. Pontoon

Playing cards are stuck to the target face, face down. Archers shoot 2 arrows, to hit two different playing cards, with the winner being the one with the best hand.

3.10. Raffle

Balloon raffle

Balloons with raffle tickets inside are pinned to the target faces. Each raffle ticket corresponds to a particular prize. Archers shoot at the targets, until they burst a balloon. Then, all archers stop shooting while the archer who has burst the balloon collects the raffle ticket from beneath the target face. This continues until all archers have won a prize.

Sticker raffle

Stickers with numbers on are stuck to the target face, with each number corresponding to a particular prize. Archers shoot at the target until all the prizes have been won or, alternatively, all archers can shoot a predetermined number of arrows at each target. If two archers hit the same sticker, it is either the first to do so or the one closest to the center of the sticker that wins the prize. A variation on this involves covering the target and stickers with newspaper, so no one will know if they have won a prize until the newspaper has been removed. In this situation, each archer would shoot 3 arrows at each target.

3.11. Snakes and Ladders

A Snakes and Ladders board is drawn on a large piece of paper and pinned to the target, with each square being numbered in ascending order. Each archer shoots a set number of arrows at the target; if they hit a snake, they take the score of the square at the bottom of the snake and if they hit a ladder, they take the score of the square at the top of the ladder. If they hit the target anywhere else, they just take the score of that square.

3.12. Treasure Hunt

A treasure map is drawn on a large piece of paper and pinned to the target. The map is divided into numbered squares and a non-archer chooses a square and writes this number secretly onto a piece of paper that is sealed in an envelope; this is where the treasure is. Archers shoot one arrow, each at the treasure map, with the archer that is closest to the 'treasure square' winning a prize.

4. Curling

Developed by two friends in San Diego, California , the scoring is identical to the rules of traditional curling. Archers fire an equal number of arrows (usually 3 or 5) at the same target. Each arrow an archer places closer to the center of the target than his opponent's best shot scores 1 point.

5. Darts

Like a big darts game, at a greater distance ( The shooting line is at 15yds.) and using a proportional sectorized target. In Black & White The rules are much like the original game. The rules can vary from club to club, i.e. start with a Double/end with a Double. Or, Straight in, straight out with exact score. Often, two archers will shoot at the target together, but with grouping, damage could be caused to the arrows. A good indoor game for a change of target

6. Archery Golf

Historically, archery golf has adopted some of the rules of golf to play a game that uses traditional or modern archery tools. Gameplay typically consists of competing players shooting arrows or similar projectiles into a series of holes, goals or targets on a course, with the objective being to do so using the fewest shots.

Archery golf is mentioned in the United States media as early as 1923 and has been played in tournaments ever since.[1]

Archery golf shares some qualities with clout archery and flight archery, and is especially similar to the oldest form of competitive archery, roving marks, but it is unique in that a player may shoot at or toward a single target as many times as necessary to complete that "hole".

7. Night Shooting

More of a family/children's event than a pure competition, night shooting consists of archers going out on a short, one round course using flashlights to light their way through the course and use the lights to shine the targets which often have reflective tape or paint on them. The course, laid out and roped off in advance before dark, is designed to keep all participants safe. The distances to the targets are very short, often not more than twenty yards (18.28 metres) and the targets are typically quite large in size. In some cases there can be two shooting distance markers: a far one for adults, and a short one for children; the rules do allow for children to move closer if necessary in order to shoot. The short shooting distances are necessary since, at night, complete misses would mean the loss of an arrow(s). Though there is no inherent practical purposes for night shooting, it is just a different form of competition that is enjoyably fun. There are two variants: the Monster Shoot and the Raccoon Shoot.

7.1. Monster Shoot

Monsters Shoots says it all: instead of animals or FITA ring targets the archers are shooting at monsters such as Frankenstein's Monster, Skeletor, the Wolfman, Dracula, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and various other creatures of the night such as large bats. Children compete in this more than adults given the theme and competitors involved.

7.2. Raccoon Shoot

This is a little more serious than a Monster Shoot as it is a little more competitive and adults are more involved. Animal round targets are used with the added touches of reflective tape or paint. The same scoring rules apply here as they do in the Animal Round whereas misses count against the score. Given how some of the animal targets can be small the challenge becomes a bit more significant and how the light is held to shine on the target is very important. Some of the distances can be ridiculously short, but more often than not it can prove how easy it is for anyone to miss the target completely.

8. Padded Arrow Sport

A growing subculture sport activity has recently spawned, over the past 50 or so years, evolving into an organized, if somewhat dubious system of live action combat. A variation of the roleplay-based LARP, Live Action Wargaming consists of individuals or often groups, numbering from fifty to over three hundred people, dressed in authentic armor and wielding padded sports weapons.

Some systems allow for the use of real bow and arrows in this sport, by limiting the bow draw weight from twenty to forty-five pounds and using blunted, coin-tipped arrows with heads wrapped in open-cell foam padding, thus producing a 'safety arrow'. It should be remembered that these are actual bows and arrows used, so precautions must always be taken and equipment checked frequently.

Unlike other modern-day uses of archery, 'foam archers' must face the difficult use of a far more clumsy projectile with a maximum effective range of perhaps only fifty or sixty feet. Rather than standing still, fantasy sport archers must face the challenge of hundreds of armored players, charging and competing on an actual sport battlefield, while effectively releasing shot upon shot during 'battle', without themselves being attacked or removed from the game, through an 'injury' point system or actual real life injury. Often, such archers are found on the field, releasing arrows as they run.

A more recent sport known as Archery Tag combines archery with dodgeball, having participants shoot one another using arrows with large foam tips.[2]

9. Running Buck

Here the goal is simply to hit a moving 3D animal target. The target may be motorized, or it may use gravity to slide down a ramp or rope and be manually reset after each run.

9.1. Bionic Buck

Where only the most skilled and willing shooter with great quantities of arrows apply, a bionic buck competition features archers attempting to shoot through a small hole in the kill area of a cast iron steel deer target. The hole size varies from two to four inches (102 mm) in diameter. Typically the archer is placed twenty yards (18.2 m) from the bionic buck and given however many chances they have to succeed; success means having the arrow go through the hole, or otherwise if the arrow hits any the steel it will immediately drive the tip of the arrow back and shatter the arrow be it made of wood, aluminum, or carbon. Such a challenge usually can boost the ego of any archer, especially those who do not use sights or other mechanical means to 'sight' the target hole, but many more suffer the humiliation of hitting the dreaded Bionic Buck; their misses very audible. A version of this type of target can be found at an American Archery club in the UK. Liberty Archers, at R.A.F. Lakenheath, have a very good and quite famous (in N.F.A.S. circles) target called RoboDeer. Robodeer is a half sized deer made from steel cheqerplate with a 3-inch (76 mm) hole cut out for the kill area.

10. Turkey Tester

Though not as devastating to an arrow as the bionic buck but no less to an ego, the turkey tester target is a durafoam 3-D target with a detachable head on its body; the posture of the turkey is in alert mode, body stiff and head sticking straight up. It's more of a contest than a competition to see who can take the head off the target; all other shots to the body do not count. In typical contests archers go one at a time, shooting only one shot from twenty yards (18.3 m). Given the pencil-like nature of the turkey head and neck, and the pressure of only being allowed to shoot once, the archer has to make the lone shot count. To achieve success, the arrow shot must take the head of the bird clean off, and the arrow must hit the head or neck; knock offs caused by hitting the body do not count.


  1. "Bow‑and‑Arrow Golf is latest diversion". Popular Mechanics: 404. March 1923. 
  2. "Archery Tag capitalizes on sport's popularity". Chicago Tribune. July 31, 2015. 
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