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.  

Putting the BAM in Mahjong

Did you know that Mahjong has a back story?   While many historians and experts disagree about the exact date for the creation of Mahjong, research in both English history and Chinese history points to somewhere between a thousand years to nearly 300 years ago (a wide range indeed!). This disagreement is mainly based on the format of the game.  Based on research in Chinese language, the tile game of mahjong had a precursor in the form of a card game.  This card game, not named Mahjong, possibly originated from a granary setting in the 13th or 14thcentury. There is ample...

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Mah Jongg Madness Tournaments and Colorful Stories

Mah Jongg weekends with your friends really isn’t something new. Players and their friends have been doing it for decades. “We’re just getting the group together, getting away from the house (and the kids); bringing along popcorn and wine….and going to the lake”, (or the cottage, or the mountains, wherever)….and playing, playing, playing. And then it morphs to, ”Doesn’t a week-long cruise just sound like heaven?” Lots of unpacking required for a week-long mah jongg cruise Back in 1986, after hosting many types of themed weekend events and cruises, Dorothy and Larry Krams contacted Ruth Unger, the presiding President of the National...

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Flower Power!

Flower Power!

The Flower tiles in American Mahjong are essential tiles in many winning hands of the 2021 mahjong cards issued by the National Mah Jongg League. What is the power of the flowers in the cultural history of Mahjong? In the Chinese version of the popular game, Flower tiles are not only beautiful, but also culturally meaningful. It is common to see the Flower tiles in sets of four, as four plants or flowers, and as the seasons of the year. Depending on the Mahjong set, the flowers are commonly the Plum Blossom, Iris, Bamboo, and the Chrysanthemum. These four flowers/plants...

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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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