Mahjong Tales

If you’re reading this, we are fairly certain you are either a devoted player of the game or are Mahjong-curious. We invite guest writers to drop some knowledge on game strategy, mahjong history, tips and tricks with some funny anecdotes along the way.  Join us and dive in.  

Can you play Mahjong with three players?

Absolutely! When playing with three people, the set-up and the deal are the same as 4-person American Mahjong although the dealer will only deal to three players. Per the NMJL rules, when playing with three players, there is no Charleston.  However, many players have a table rule to include the Charleston. To Charleston with three players, the dealer creates the Charleston tile passes for the missing player, sometimes referred to as “Bob".  The dealer creates six rows of three tiles on Bob’s wall using the next tiles from the curtsied wall.  These are the tiles Bob passes in the Charleston....

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Can you play Mahjong with two players?

Absolutely! When playing Mahjong with two players, players use two racks with the goal of declaring Mahjong twice. Each players builds two walls, one against each pusher.  Another option is to not build walls and pick from the shuffled tiles in the middle of the mat. The deal follows the same process as 4-person Mahjong, however, the dealer receives 28 tiles and the other player receives 27. Players sort their hands, moving tiles between racks, to determine the category for each hand. There is no Charleston with two person Mahjong, so players go right into game play. If keeping score,...

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2021 Mahjong Card Tips: by Philippe at I Love Mahj

Most players have now received their National Mah Jongg League 2021 card but if you haven’t picked one up click the image below to order yours. The new mahjong card is definitely an interesting and fun card, but there are a few gotchas to watch out for. So, here are some observations and tips to help you get up-to-speed with the new card, optimize your mahjong hand selections and avoid mistakes. Card Clarifications At I Love Mahj HQ, we can often be found fielding questions from players who are confused about the card. Here’s a selection of the most commonly asked...

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The Marvelous Mrs. Mah Jongg Maven with some Tips and Tricks

TIP #1: PRACTICE MAH JONGG HANDS If you are a beginner at mah jongg, I can’t stress enough how important it is to practice putting mah jongg hands together.  Organize your tiles by suits, dragons, winds, jokers and flowers.  Then pick a section of the card and duplicate each hand with the tiles.  The Consecutive Run section is the most important on the card as it gives you many, many variations on hands.  Remember to read the fine print in the parenthesis as it gives you more information. TIP #2: RACK YOUR MAH JONGG TILE UPON PICKING IT The Window of Opportunity...

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The Game of Clattering Sparrows and How Far it Has Flown

The introduction of the exciting new designs of The Mahjong Line continues an almost 170-year tradition of evolution in mahjong, the most popular pastime in the world. Mahjong has long been played with different rules and tile iconography, from culture to culture, country to country, region to region, even table to table. Mahjong has always been a highly visual game with tile designs an important part of its appeal. Images on pieces differ from set to set, and this has been the case since the true beginnings of the game in the mid 1800s. From the time the game was first exported from China, foreign manufacturers working...

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Tony Watson: On the Diversity of Design Style in Mahjong Tiles

To better understand why the designs of mahjong tiles vary so much, it is necessary to go back to how and where mahjong developed. China has a long history of games, and with particular interest to a student of mahjong, card games. Chinese playing cards were originally woodblock prints on sheets of Chinese paper which were then cut up, producing cards roughly half the width of a Western playing card. Most of the designs were based on money, with 3 or 4 suits of single coins, strings of cash, myriads of cash and also, literally Characters (Craks).   Below we first see a Ma...

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