Darts is probably the most common game to be found and many pubs still have a darts team. The game probably dates back to the Middle Ages, as an indoor version of archery.
It's thought that originally the target would have been the end of a barrel. Nowadays darts is played with a purpose made target board hung on a wall and with metal darts with a “flight” on the end. Once real feathers would have been used.
Dominoes is considered to be a very English game but its origins are much more exotic and ancient. There's evidence of a similar game being played in China as early as the 12th century. Travellers are believed to have introduced the game to Italy and eventually to France and England. A single domino was found in the wreckage of the 16th Mary Rose ship although there are no records of people playing dominos in England until the 18th century. Some believe it was brought here by French prisoners or war.
Another popular pub game is cribbage, said to have been invented by the poet, Sir John Suckling in the early 17th century. He was also a well-known scoundrel (isn't that a wonderful word?!), and earned around £20,000 (the equivalent of about £4million now) playing cribbage with aristocrats around England. He may have falsely taken credit for the creation of cribbage as some historians say it's simply a development of a Tudor game called Noddy.
Quoits is an outdoor game, sometimes known as 'horseshoes', which involves throwing horseshoe-shaped rings at a pin usually staked in the ground. It's easy to imagine travellers idling outside pubs of yore, challenging each other to games of skill using horseshoes that would have been routinely cast off. It may however have even earlier origins as quoits are said to have been similar to a discus. The game could even have been played by the ancient Greeks. There's a suggestion that the Greeks passed on the game to the Romans and from there it came to England.
Whatever the origins of these games, you can find them in many Dales pubs. But you may need a beer or two to help contemplate their history...