Axe Throwing Overtime Rules

Axe Throwing Overtime Rules

Axe throwing involves throwing an axe (or hatchet) with one or two hands overhead (players can also throw underhand if only using one hand) at a target. Each axe throwing match consists of ten throws per player. If the players are tied in points by the end of those ten throws, the game goes into overtime. On every axe throwing target, two small dots at the top lie in the upper right and left corners within the target’s outermost ring. These dots are known as Killshots. In overtime, players take turns throwing for the Killshots, and the first to miss or the furthest away from their Killshot, if both players miss, loses the game.

Overtime Basics: Hatchet Sudden Death

Axe Throwing Killshots

Axe throwing games involve ten throws. Each player alternates throwing their axe. Once they each make five throws, they switch sides to finish their last five. If the players are tied after ten throws, the game must go into overtime or Sudden Death.

Players do not count points during overtime. During an axe throwing match, overtime is more like it is in soccer, where the number of successful penalty kicks decides the winner. Similarly, the overtime winner for axe throwing belongs to the athlete who makes the most Killshots.

A Killshot is when the player hits one of the two small dots placed at the upper left and right sides of the outermost ring. Players take turns throwing their axes at their respective targets (they do not have to change targets for sudden death) until one of them does not make a Killshot.

Note that every axe throwing target has two Killshots. Therefore, the first overtime throw can hit either of the two Killshot dots. However, if both players were to hit their Killshot, the next throw must hit the Killshot that was not hit previously.

If Both Players Miss Their Killshots

If both players miss their shots, a measuring tape facilitated by an official determines who comes out on top. The player whose axe is closest to their Killshot wins. Throws that stick anywhere on the target take precedence over ones that miss. Even if an axe sticks to the wall and is closer to the Killshot than an axe on the target, the axe sticking to the target wins. If the two distances measured with the measuring tape are too close to call, the players throw their axes again at the other Killshot.

The deciding measurement occurs from the closest valid axe head scoring area to the nearest edge of the Killshot. The scoring area on an axe is an axe’s tip or front, i.e. the edge that one uses to chop wood.

Big Axe Sudden Death

Sometimes, axe throwing venues may determine the winner of a match with Big Axe Sudden Death rather than Hatchet Sudden Death. Big Axe Sudden Death involves all the same rules as Hatchet Sudden Death, with only a few exceptions:

  • Throwers use big axes (axes you would use when chopping big logs) rather than hatchets when doing their throws.
  • Players start by keeping one or both feet behind the 17 ft line and can step forward when making their throws.
  • Players cannot cross the 15 ft line, or it results in a foot fault, and they receive a score of zero.
  • Players must wait behind the 15 ft line until the judge verbally announces the two scores, or they receive a score of zero.
  • A coin toss determines who throws first. The winner of the coin toss decides who goes first.
  • Players simply try to get the highest score on the first Big Axe Throw. If both players are tied after the first throw, all succeeding throws must be at a Killshot.
  • The 10-second timer does not start until the previous player and their axe are entirely out of the way and the judge gives the ok to start throwing.

Miscellaneous Overtime Rules

Any player who touches their axe before the call to do so forfeits the game. Should both players touch their axe before the call, it is up to the judge to determine who touched their axe first. If they do not know who touched their axe first, they make a decision solely on their own discretion.

On the rare occasion that two players make five consecutive Killshots, the athletes will switch from Killshots to micro-dots (targets much smaller than Killshots). These micro-dots cannot be positioned and made on the spot. They must be figured out and communicated to the players at least three months before the first WATL tournament of the season.

The first player to miss their micro-dot loses. Should both throwers miss their micro-dot, a similar measurement will take place with a measuring tape. The player whose axe lies closest to their micro-dot wins.


What is the difference between Hatchet Sudden Death and Big Axe Sudden Death?

Both forms of Sudden Death are similar, but they use different distances and targets. Big Axe Sudden Death involves throwing big axes from 15 ft away, whereas players participate in Hatchet Sudden Death with hatchets from 12 ft away. Additionally, the first throw for Big Axe Sudden Death does not have to be at the Killshots, which is different from Hatchet Sudden Death.