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Some of the differences between mixed doubles curling and the traditional four-person game

With only two players, one man and one woman, there are less rocks thrown but way more rocks in play than in traditional curling
It’s not uncommon for the house to be filled up with most of or all of the rocks thrown in any given end. There are always two pre-positioned rocks in play at the beginning of each end — usually one on the centre line above the house and one at the back of the button — and the first four rocks can’t be removed.

It’s more athletic and physically demanding than traditional curling
The shooter, sometimes almost comically, has to chase after his or her own rock and sweep for weight and line. One of the male curlers at the Canadian Olympic trials said he had never swept so much in his life and was going to need about four days in a massage chair to recover.

It has a power play but there’s no penalty box
Once in every game, a team can choose to start an end with two rocks positioned off to the side of the sheet, with one rock buried behind a corner guard. It’s a key piece of strategy, as it often lends to the team with the hammer scoring a big end of three or more points.

The women usually take the last shot
One player shoots first and fifth rocks, the other throws the middle three. Either player can shoot first and last but almost all teams have the woman throw first and the man throw the three rocks in the middle. Often that means the woman has to make the big touch shots with last rock.

The games are much faster
It takes about an hour and a half to play a game, which are eight ends instead of 10 in traditional curling, opposed to 2 hours and 45 minutes for the traditional game. With so many rocks in play there is usually a lot of scoring and every end can be critical to the final outcome. Teams also have to manage the 22-minute time clock very carefully. If a team runs out of time — it happened on several occasions at the Olympic trials — they automatically lose the game under World Curling Federation rules.