Dilettantes might hold romantic notions of English pubs and bristle boards, but many diehard American darters are opting for soft-tip pay machines. "Soft tip scores for us," says Michael Wiestling, general manager of the Lake St. Louis-based American Darters Association. "It's not as intimidating." Wiestling lives and breathes darts, but when he's looking for a relaxing game of Cricket, he often heads to the Rec Room in south county. With a battallion of soft-tip boards, an arsenal of Bud products and a DJ who spins everything from AC/DC to the Barenaked Ladies, what competitive soft-tipper could turn down a round here? The roadside bar hosts leagues four nights a week, but every other night its boards are occupied by countless darters looking to test their skill in the dimly lit confines. Steel-tippers need not despair, however: The mad dart scientists at the Wentzville-based GJR Limited have developed a coin-operated bristle board called the Vortex, which had its coming-out party at the ADA's thirteenth annual national championships July 22-25 in Las Vegas.