# In a “bottle toss” carnival game – where you throw/shoot projectile with a somewhat erratic trajectory to try to hit a target among a group of targets – is it mathematically better to aim a shot at one target or aim at the gap between a group of targets?

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In a “bottle toss” carnival game – where you throw/shoot projectile with a somewhat erratic trajectory to try to hit a target among a group of targets – is it mathematically better to aim a shot at one target or aim at the gap between a group of targets?

In: Mathematics

It depends a lot on specific conditions of the game and what kind of projectile and stuff you are using.

When you say a target among a group of targets, I’m assuming you mean the sort of game where you toss a ball at a bunch of bottles that are stacked up somehow? Knowing nothing about the ball, or rings, or whatever themselves, I assume trajectory deviation is likely more due to user error than anything else. What happens after you throw it is another story entirely related to however they have designed/rigged the game.

However there is some truth to the idea that you might need to aim off center to hit anything. That really depends on the specific situation though.

Firearms for instance. You need to account for distance and bullet drop over long distances, or, if the sights are off, you need to adjust your aim if you aren’t changing the sights. Bullets however generally fly in a predictable manner.

Nerf darts are a good example of erratic trajectories because of how they are designed. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the guns, but rather the dart heads. They are soft rubber with a small pinhole designed to make them less stiff on impact, so kids don’t get hurt. However there is only ONE hole, giving the dart an asymmetric aerodynamic profile. In other words, it makes them fly wildly off course with very little predictability.

To make it even WORSE, they don’t really follow a consistent inconsistent trajectory. One dart could fly way off to the left, but then it’ll do a little barrel roll in the air and cross back over towards the left. Depending on the distance, you can *absolutely* miss whatever you are aiming at every single time. If you get further, it could be right on target, not because it went straight, but because it went coast to coast on some grand adventure, before deciding to end up back where you actually aimed it and hit your target.