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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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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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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