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How to play Mahjojng

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Mahjong game(Mahjong game: 144 tiles, four white tiles (spare), 3 dice, 4 tokens for the 4 winds, chips to keep score, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Majiang2.JPG)

Mahjong is a Chinese game of society that is played with four players, with pieces called tiles. Combining tactics, strategy, calculation and psychology, as well as a greater or lesser chance according to rule, Mahjong is a very popular gambling in East Asia and in most Chinese and Japanese communities worldwide.

The theme of the game is similar to rummy in certain aspects and poker variations in others, however Mahjong is much richer in possibilities it offers in relation to these two sets of families: each player in turn takes a tile, incorporates it in his hand and then selects a tile from his hand away. Identical in almost all performed rules, the aim of the game is to collect the same or consecutive tiles in threes and a pair.

The composition and flow of the game vary slightly, but the rules, primarily transmitted orally, are very variable from city to city, region and country, in Asia. In the West, his practice has seen several modes, but remained private until the early twenty-first century. Alongside the money game, a practice competition has developed, first in Japan, and more recently in China and Europe, with standard rules.

Institutionalization and competition

With the publication of standard rules, the practice of mahjong is gradually emerging from the private sphere and game rooms. In 2002, the Japan Mahjong Organization organized the first World Mahjong Championship with the official Chinese rule. In Europe, the official Chinese rule has already conquered more or less associated with gamblers and has become the European standard from 2005. The creation of the World Mahjong Organization (WMO) and the edition of the Green Book in October 2006 , completed standardize the practice of mahjong competition in Europe and the world, and China hosted the first world championship approvedin 2007.


Mahjong is played by four players with a variable number of tiles, usually 136 or 144. This section describes the hardware, the purpose and course of the game, in a very general form.


A mahjong set consists of 144 tiles, dice, and sometimes chips to keep score or indicate phases of play.


A game of mahjong generally comprises 144 tiles, plus any replacement tiles or for certain variations. 136 tiles are found in all the games since the early twentieth century with 4 copies of 34 types of tiles. The original tiles were made of bamboo with a face most often in beef bones or, in luxurious sets, ivory. Most tiles are now made from plastic.

Numbered tiles

Mahjong numbered tiles

The numbered tiles, said numbers tiles, are numbered 1 to 9 in three families:

  • Circles: the number of figures indicates the number of tile
  • Bamboos: the number of figures indicates the number of tile; Ace (tile #1) Bamboo is represented by a “rice bird” (variety of crane) or sparrow in conventional Chinese games, and by a peacock in Japanese games
  • Characters: such as banknotes, the above character means Chinese numbers from 1 to 9, often results in games sold in the West, while the bottom character is the multiplier by 10000

Each tile is 4 copies. There are 36 tiles per family, and 108 numbered tiles in total. These tiles can be combined if they are the same or consecutive. The tiles 1 and 9 are called Terminales or Extremities; tile 2 to 8 are referred to as common.


Honors or letter-tiles are seven types can be grouped into two families:

  • Winds or simple Honors, representing the four Chinese cardinal points: East, South, West and North.
  • Dragons or higher Honors, called Red Dragon, Green Dragon and White Dragon because of the color of their sign or no sign (white color often signified by a white square decorated with blue).

Each tile is 4 copies. There are 28 honors in total. Honors can be combined only if they are identical.

Additional tiles

A mahjong game usually contains additional tiles. The most common, found in almost every game, are the supreme honors, numbering 8: 4 Flowers and 4 Seasons numbered 1 to 4.

Mahjong flowers and seasons(Name and numbering of flowers and seasons)

In most games, blank spare tiles, typically 4, are supplied in the box. Some games contain 4 or more jokers. The Japanese games contain only four Flowers and four duplicate tiles of 5 Circles (2), Bamboo (1), and Characters (1), which have the distinction of being painted bright red.

For convenience the term Flower is commonly used to refer to the supreme honors it actually it’s a Flower or a Season. In the following article Flower will be used as a generic name for the supreme honors.

Additional material

A mahjong game must include dice, with numbers of 2 to 6 according to the rules for which this game is intended. Most of the boxes also contain a marker of prevailing Wind, called tion. These two accessories are required to play in all the rules.

Many games come with tokens to score points, either in the form of gambling chips (without face value) or in the form of rods on which the arrangement of red and black dots indicates the corresponding point value.

In the West were manufactured many fine games tiles, while Asian tiles are thick. Using strips is spread to hold the thin tiles, tiles align them and to improve comfort.

Mahjong can be played on any table that is large enough to contain all of the playing space, each diagonal must be at least 24 tiles width and area at least 600 times the surface from a lying tile. The presence of edges allows a mixture of faster tiles. To fight against cheating, the Japanese and the Chinese have generalized the use of automated tables in official parties and gambling houses, which mix the tiles, build the walls and roll the dice automatically.

Playing the game

A game includes several rounds. Preferably, there will be a multiple of 4 rounds.

The 144 tiles are turned face down and mixed. Each player carries a line of 18 tiles and 2 tiles high. These “walls” are then grouped in a square to form the wall.

Each player draws 13 tiles in the wall that will form his starting hand. The goal is to be the first player to form a combination of 14 tiles called Mahjong. In turn, players draw a 14th tile in the wall, and if the hand is not formed a Mahjong, throw a tile of their choice. Under certain conditions it is possible to recover the tile which has just been thrown by other to form a combination instead of drawing a tile in the wall. In this case, the tiles formed combination of exposed front of the player.

It is easier to achieve a combination exposed since it is not by chance, in consideration this combination cannot be changed and it reveals a part of his game to his opponents. In addition, the exposed combinations generally decrease the value of the game. Mahjong is therefore a judicious mix of chance and tactics.

Mahjong wall(The wall, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mahjong_setup_wall.jpg)

Mahjong game(Playing mahjong gamer current Chinese rule, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MahjongSetup.JPG)


To get “Mahjong”, one must possess four combinations of three tiles and a pair (14 tiles in total). These combinations can be of 3 types: Chow, Pong or Kong.


Chow is a group of three tiles of the same family (Circles, Characters or Bambous), whose values ​​follow each other. There is no Chow of Winds or Dragons.


Pong is a group of three identical tiles carefully, the equivalent of a three of a kind in poker.


A Kong is a group of four strictly identical tiles, the equivalent of four of a kind in poker. Knowing that except the supreme honors, all the tiles are in 4 copies, it is not possible to have more than 4 identical tiles. The Kong account for 3 tiles. This means that when a player has a Kong, it must take an additional tile to compensate for the 4th Kong that does not count as such in the counting of tiles (A Mahjong with Kong will therefore have 15 tiles instead of 14 ).


Mahjong Example

Game over

Once a player has made Mahjong, it outlines to the other players and evaluates his hand. The value of the hand depends on the used rule. If Mahjong is considered valid, the round is over and it is counted the score of each player. The new tiles are shuffled and a new wall is formed. The winner is the one who has the highest score after all rounds of the current game.


A solitary game using the tiles from the mahjong was popularized under the name of Shanghai (as the Chinese city) by video games. It involves constructing a pyramid of tiles that is disassembled in forming pairs (Example: 5 with 5 bamboo bamboo). The victory is considered once getting completely dismantled the pyramid.

Mahjong also derived in a card game named Mhing who gets the same principle.

Mahjong and computing

Like most games, mahjong is also the subject of computer adaptations. One of the best known is the Hong Kong Mahjong of American company Nine Dragon Software. This program for Windows simulates Chinese or Western players of varying levels. Many parameters can customize the tiles and some aspects of the regulation (eg penalties).

Solitary Version (Shanghai), meanwhile, is the subject of many adaptations available as free software or flash on some online gaming sites.

Mahjong and Internet

Like many online games, there are specialized sites for playing Mahjong online against human players of any level and in any country. The most popular of these is Mahjong Time. Several rules in force there and tournaments are regularly organized.

On the Internet, most of mahjong games can be found, particularly to play alone, the so-called “solitary” Mahjong. This is the type of Mahjong game that is found in those installed with the Windows operating system. It is in this case to eliminate the maximum possible tiles on the board, usually in a limited time. The interest in these games, which are mostly flash, is that they require no installation (if it is having on their browser a module that is installed and which is able to play this format ).

(Translated from Wikipedia

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