As in most sports, a curling game is won by the team that accumulates the most points. Therefore, to play or enjoy watching a game, it is important to understand how a team acquires points
Each curling game consists often “ends” During each end, the teams alternate throwing a total of sixteen stones (eight stones each) toward the “house.” (The house is the set of rings at the other end of the ice,) Only one team can get points at the conclusion any end
After all sixteen stones are thrown during an end, the team with the stone located in the house and closest to the ‘button” or center of the rings gains one point. An additional point is gained if the same team also has the second closest stone, another if they also have the third closest, and so on. Once the next closest stone belongs to the opposing team or there are no more stones in the house, the accumulation of points stops.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine which team has the closest stone. When this occurs, a measuring device is used to establish which stone is closest to the button.
A stone that is barely touching the outer ring is called a “biter” and is considered to be in the house.
If the end finishes with no stones in the house, neither team acquires points.
The team that throws the last rock in the end is said to have “the hammer.”This gives that team an advantage and the greater potential to get points. If that team does get at least one point, the advantage of the hammer goes to the other team for the next end. For this reason, many teams prefer to leave the house empty if possible and keep the hammer rather than gaining only one point and losing the hammer. They will occasionally even give up a point to the other team in order to keep the hammer.
When the team without the hammer finishes an end and is determined to have the stone(s) closest to the button, they are said to have “stolen” the point(s). Any points gained are added to their total while the other team retains the hammer.
After all ten ends of a regulation game have been played, the team that has amassed the most points wins the game. If the score is tied, an extra end is played to determine the victor.
If, at any point during the game, one team is trailing by so many points that there seems to be no realistic possibility of catching up, that team may choose to shake hands and concede the game. When this happens, the team in the lead is declared the winner and the rest of the game is not played.
With this basic understanding of how the scoring works in a curling game, you are equipped to better enjoy the strategy, skill, and luck that come into play.