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Mahjong (Pinyin: má jiàng; 麻將) is a game that originated in China. It was introduced to Japan, America, and other countries in the past centuries. It is one of the most popular games in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and America. Although Mahjong is a simple and excited game for 4 players, it is a game of skill, strategy and calculation and involves a certain degree of chance. Whether you are new to Mahjong, non-oriental player, or an old hand, you will find the game enjoyable. This tradional four player table version is completely different from the popular western single player computer game (Mahjong solitaire - tile matching), which is a recent invention.


What makes a Mahjong set?

The Mahjong set are divided into three groups, the Suits, Honors and Flowers.


1. Suit Tiles

There are three type of suits. They are Circles, Bamboos, and Characters, called simple tiles. Each suits consist of thirty-six tiles: four 1's, four 2's, four 3's, ..., up to four 9's. There are four matching tiles for each value (e.g. there are four Circle tiles with the number 5).

Circles:

tilesdot

Bamboos:

tilesban

Characters:

tileschar


2. Honor Tiles

There are two type of honors -- Winds and Dragons. The Winds are East, South, West and North, and the Dragons are Red, Green and White. They have no numerical sequence and there are four tiles of each honor (e.g. four Green Dragon tiles).

Winds:

tileswind

Dragons:

tilesdir


3. Flower Tiles

There are eight flower/bonus tiles: four flowers and four seasonal flowers. The flowers are plum, orchid, chrysanthemum and bamboo, and the seasonal ones are spring, summer, autumn and winter. They are divided into two sets of tiles and numbered from 1 to 4. It is optional to play with flower tiles.

tilesbonus



How to play?


1. Determine the first dealer

There are four players in the game. The First Dealer, who sits in the east to start the game with the Prevailing Wind, is determined at the beginning of the game by various means, either by throwing dice (the highest total number) or placing one of each wind face down and having each player randomly select one of these tiles. Each player sits down at his/her respective position at the table, which is of the reversed map: East is dealer, the right of the dealer is South, across is West and the left is North. The order is counterclockwise.

The Prevailing Wind is always set to East when starting. It is passed on to south -- becomes the dealer when east loses, and so on so forth around the table.


2. Prepare the tiles

All tiles are placed face down on the table and are shuffled by all players using both hands moving the pieces. Then each player stacks a row of 18 tiles with another row on top of it in front.

The dealer throws three dice and sums up the total. Counting counterclockwise so that the dealer is 1 (or 5, 9, 13, 17), so that south is 2 (or 6, 10, 14, 18), etc., a player's quarter of the wall is chosen. Using the same total on the dice, the player then counts the stacks of tiles from right to left. Starting from the left of the stacks counted, the dealer takes four tiles to himself, and players in counterclockwise order take blocks of four tiles until all players have 12 tiles, so that the stacks decrease clockwise. The dealer then takes the final 2 tiles to make a 14-tiles hand and everyone else takes one last tile to make a 13-tile hand.

Note: Each player now sets aside any flowers or seasons they may have drawn and takes replacement piece(s) from the wall.

table

3. Start to play

For each hand, the dealer draws 14 tiles and all other players draw 13 tiles from the wall of the tiles initially, if this does not complete a legal hand (wins), the dealer starts the hand by discarding a tile. If the normal sequence is not interrupted by the two players who are not in line using 'Pung' or 'Kong', the player at seat South either 'Chow' this tile to make a sequence or draws a tile from the wall of tiles and then discards a tile, then it is West's turn --game proceeds to your right. In this manner, the game goes on and around.

During play, the number of tiles maintained by each player should always be thirteen tiles. Tiles excluded in the count of thirteen tiles are flowers and seasons set to the side and the fourth added piece of a 'Kong'. If a player is seen to have more or less than thirteen tiles in their hand, she/he will be penalized.

Note: when a flower tile is drawn, the player has to declare it and drawn a tile from the end of the wall. The player can then continue the game as usual.


4. Complete the game

To win the game is to complete the hand with four sets of tiles, plus a pair of tiles. A set can have either three tiles or four tiles.

The hand stops when one of the player wins, or when the pool of tiles is exhausted. The player retains the deal if he/she won or it is a drawn hand. Otherwise the deal passes to the player on his right. At the end of the hand, loser pays winner at his score. The hand then starts with the new dealer.

Example of winning pattern:

finalwin1


Rules

These are common rules although they can be overridden or additional rules are added by players.


1. Declaration 

If the player wishes to use the discarded tile on the pool to complete a set, one can declare Chow ( Making a Sequence) , declare Pung (Making a Triplet) , or declare Kong (Making a Four) to capture the tile.

If the player wishes to use the discarded tile on the pool to complete/win the hand, one can declare Out and win the play.

Precedence in this order: Out Declaration, Kong Declaration, Pung Declaration and lastly Chow Declaration


a. Out Declaration (Winning)

When other player discards a tile that completes your hand, or when you draw a tile that complete your hand, you may declare out.

If two or three players declare out for the same discarded tile, the player who would play first has the precedence over the others. For example, if South discards a tile and both East and North wants it, North will take it.

b. Kong Declaration

Kong is a group of four identical tiles. After declare Kong, you have to draw a supplement tile from the end of the wall of the tiles. When you have a triplet of tiles on hand and a player discards the forth, you may declare Kong and claim the discarded tile.

When you have four identical tiles on hand, you may declare Kong when it is your turn to discard. This is called a Concealed Kong.

When you have a triplet of tiles on table after melded a Pung previously, and you have the forth on hand, you may declare Kong when it is your turn to discard.

In any of the above cases, you have to draw a tile from the end of the wall after meld the Kong sequence on the table. Game proceeds to your right after you discard a tile.

kong

c. Pung Declaration

Pung is a group of three identical tiles. When you have a pair of tiles and a player discards the third, you may declare Pung and claim the discarded tile. You have to discard a tile after meld the Pung sequence on the table. Game proceeds to your right.

pung


d. Chow Declaration

Chow is a sequence of three consecutive suit tiles. When you have two of the three tiles necessary to make a sequence, and the player on your left discards the missing one, you may declareChow and claim the discarded tile instead of drawing from the wall. You have to discard a tile after meld the Chow sequence on the table. Game proceeds to your right.

chow


2. Interruption of play

Out Declaration, Kong Declaration and Pung Declaration can interrupt the normal order of the play.


3. Scoring Doubles

The discarder pays double the base payment to the winner (if the hand is won on a discard tile).

If the dealor loses, she/he pays double the base payment too.

A player receives a base point for winning. Additional doubles are received when some conditions are matched. For example, if the base point is 1 and the hand is 4 doubles, the score of the hand will be 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16 points.


Conditions
Doubles

Self-Drawn Hand

(win with a tile drawing from the wall)

1

Out at Kong

(win with the supplement tile after a Kong)

2

Kong on Kong

(win with the supplement tile after two continuous Kong)

maximium doubles set by players

All Kongs

(four Kongs)

maximium doubles set by players

All Pungs

(all pungs)

3

Concealed Pungs

(win with all the tiles drawn from the wall)

maximium doubles set by players

One Suit

(tiles of one suit)

5

Seven pairs

5

One Suit with Honors

(tiles of one suit and honors_

3

Heavenly Hand

(the dealer wins before discarding any tile)

maximium doubles set by players


Examples of payment: 

Hand 1 (West wins with 4 points from the wall (base payment of 1)

PlayerBase Payment
East (dealer) 1 (base payment) x2 (doubling for winning from wall) x2 (doubling for being east) = -4
South 1 (base payment) x2 (doubling for winning from wall) = -2
West 4 (from east) + 2 (from south) 2 (from north) = +8
North 1 (base payment) x2 (doubling for winning from wall) = -2

4. Optional

Flowers: When all the four tiles of the same set are collected, the player has the set of flowers. Set of flowers gives extra doubles to the winner of the game.



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