(Pool Table Curling)
“Cue Curling” is a hybrid game of our own invention (one way us Wittman family likes to get whimsical; and it just sort of happened while we've been on holiday, the kids enjoying grandma's orange felt pool table [the one I learned on], in the remaining days of 2018), a cross between 8-ball and curling. The skill set required is a combination of pool/billiards dexterity and curling (or lawn bowling, if you must) strategy.
Object of Game
Be the first player to accumulate 8 points.
End — A round of play which completes after each player, in alternating turns of a single shot, has shot all 8 of their balls.
Game — A series of Ends played until one player is the first to reach 8 points.
Shot Ball — Current ball being shot (always from table's head spot).
Hammer — Last shot of an End.
First Shot — First ball shot in an End (the player without Hammer shoots first).
The House — A triangular (equilateral) boundary the approximate size of 15 racked balls with the centre on the table’s foot spot. The outer edge of the tape defines the boundary of The House.
The Button — The table’s foot spot, which is the centre of The House.
Hog Line (aka Centre Line) — The table’s imaginary centre line that divides foot from head.
In the House — A ball on or inside the The House boundary.
Blanking — When no points are scored on an End.
head spot — A location on a pool table 2 diamonds up from the head rail, at the centre.
foot spot — A pool tables's marker located 2 diamonds up from the foot rail, at the centre.
Elements of the Game
Played on a pool/billiard table with 16 balls (Player A: balls 1-8. Player B: 9-15 + cue ball). Each ball becomes Shot Ball in numerical order, struck directly with a cue stick from the same position (head spot), one per turn.
The House: This is the only custom-made physical component of the game. Apply three strips of masking/painter’s tape* to form the triangular boundary of The House. Use the 15-ball rack from a pool table set as a guide to lay down the 3 strips of tape. Center the rack over the foot spot with a triangle corner pointing toward the head spot. Lay a strip of tape along the outer edges of each side of the triangle and overlap at the corners. Remove the rack and your House is ready for play.
* The goal is to make a temporary new element on your pool table using a light adhesive tape that won’t permanently affect your table cloth. Proceed at your own risk.
Begin a game
Determine which player gets to choose who will start with Hammer (last shot); the player beginning a Game without Hammer gets choice of solids or stripes ball set.
Play an End
Player without hammer shoots first ball. Then opponent shoots their first ball, then players alternate until all 16 balls have been shot.
Each player always shoots their ball from the table’s head spot.
Shot Ball can legally bank off of any number of cushions or none at all, but must come to rest on or go past the Hog Line and stay on the foot side of the table to remain in play. Also, if Shot Ball at any point comes to rest on or goes back past the Hog Line while traveling in the foot-to-head direction it goes out of play.
A ball no longer in play is immediately removed from the table.
Any ball (whether Shot Ball or not) that pockets goes out of play.
While Shot Ball may touch/bounce from any number of cushions, if the player's shot causes any of the following to occur then Shot Ball is removed from play:
- Any ball other than Shot Ball bounces off or is touching a cushion (NOTE: non-Shot Balls still on the table foot-side remain in play).
- Any ball pockets (NOTE: any pocketed ball goes out of play)
- Any ball rolls onto or passes over the Hog Line traveling in the foot-to-head direction (NOTE: any ball, Shot Ball or non-Shot Ball, on or passing the Hog Line in the foot-to-head direction goes out of play).
After the last ball has been shot (as from curling: having last shot is generally an advantage and is called having "the Hammer"), the End is complete.
Scoring the End
All the balls “in The House” of the player nearer The Button than the nearest ball of the opponent scores one point per ball.
You probably had to read the previous sentence more than once (I did), that's okay—what we're saying is use the same scoring logic used in curling
“In the House” is defined as on or inside the triangular House boundary. For balls mostly outside but possibly crossing a boundary, look directly overhead to determine if the vertical plane on the surface of the ball (perpendicular to the table) meets or crosses the boundary.
Player who scores 1 or more points on the End shoots first in the next End and the opponent gets the Hammer (last shot).
When scoring, if no ball is In The House this is called a Blank; no points are awarded. The player who had Hammer retains it for the next End.
After scoring, the End is done. If both players have 7 or fewer points, reset and play the another End. Continue Ends until one player's cumulative score reaches or exceeds 8 points and therefore wins the Game.
Teams (2 teams of 2)
Turns alternate between teams, and teammates alternate shots. All other game play is the same.
Balls 1 to 15 are used (cue ball is not). Each player has 5 balls per End (Player A: 1-5, Player B: 6-10, Player C: 11-15). All three players alternate turns. Hammer works differently: instead of who took points in previous End determining who get Hammer (last shot) in next End, Hammer simply rotates: Player A - Player B - Player C - (back to Player A) - etc... no matter what scoring happens each End.
 Okay, let's break down the closest / next closest scoring logic in case you're not familiar with it. If your ball is closest to The Button (and must be In The House) you get 1 point. Congrats! If the second closest ball In The House is also yours you get 2 points!! (that's a big deal). Third closest and In the House yours too?—that's 3 points!!! and so on.
But, if instead the 2nd closest ball is your opponent's it doesn't matter how many balls you have In the House, you only earned 1 point because you had closest but your opponent broke your streak at 2nd closest. If your streak was broken at 3rd closest you'd get your 2 points for first and second closest.