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The Mah-Jongg FAQs
(
Frequently Asked Questions)

19. American Mah-Jongg
16. The NMJL Card

1. "Mah-Jongg 101"
2a. Which MJ Rules To Learn?
2b. Which MJ Rules Do I Play?
3. Books on Mah-Jongg
  3b. 1920s Books
4a Selected Links
4b Lots O' Links!
5. Computer MJ
6. "Rosetta Stone"
7.
  7a. Types of Sets
  7b. Is It Complete?
  7c. What's It Made Of?
   7c2. Is It Ivory?
   7c3. One Word: Plastics
  7d. Bits And Pieces
  7e. "Mystery Tiles"
  7f. Playing Tables
  7g. How Old Is It?
  7h. How Much Is It Worth?
  7i. Cards... and Kards
  7j. Tips For Buyers
  7k. Where To Buy (US/Eur.)
  7m. Where To Buy (Asia)
  7n. Tips For Sellers
  7o. Cleaning & Restoring
  7p. "Tell Me Anything"
  7q. "I Need Blank Tiles!"
  7r. "I Need Jokers!"
  7s. Tiles 4 Sight-Impaired
  7t. DIY Joker Stickers
8. Strategy
9. Etiquette & Errors
10. MJ For Dummies
11. History of MJ
   11a. Definitions, sources
   11b. Precursor games
   11c. Who created MJ
   11d. Earliest MJ writings
   11e. Earliest MJ sets
   11f. Proto-MJ & CC
   11h. History timeline
12.
13. Less Than 4 Players?
   13a. 3P/2P American MJ
   13b. 3P/2P Asian Forms
   13c. 3P/2P Japanese MJ
   13d. I Dunno, I'm Just Starting
   13e. Solitaire Tile-Matching
14. Table Rules
15. Finding Players & Teachers
16. The NMJL Card
17. HKOS
18. MJ Symbolism
19. American Mah-Jongg
20. Misunderstood Asian Rules
21. How To Run A Tournament
22. Chinese Official Scoring
23. Mah-Jongg Demographics
24. How To Get Technical Support
25. Can't Win Japanese Majan

Mah-Jonggy Fun
The 2002 WCMJ
The 2003 CMOC
The 2005 OEMC
The 2005 CMCF
The 2006 CMCF
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The 2007 WMJC
Pictures of Japan
Beautiful Nikko, Japan
A Hong Kong MJ Adventure
Pictures of Beijing
Mahjong in India
Shanghai & Ningbo
Mah Jongg Madness 2012
Shanghai Second Dynasty
Mah-Jongg Friends

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The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

Welcome to the Maj Exchange Q&A Bulletin Board. Here you can ask questions about Mahjong (you can also ask about Hanafuda or Go-Stop). You will get answers here on this board (usually the same day). But BEFORE YOU ASK YOUR QUESTION, PLEASE CHECK THE FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and PLEASE scroll down and see if your question has already been asked and answered on the board.

PLEASE READ FAQ 19 BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION ABOUT AMERICAN / NMJL RULES. Your question has probably already been answered there. (See links at left. Look for the "American" icon pointing to it, or just click this.) PLEASE READ THE FOREGOING!

  • If you have a question about the NMJL card, please read FAQ 16. (See links at left. Look for the "American" icon: pointing to it.)

  • PLEASE do NOT ask ANY computer-game support questions here. Read FAQ 24 to learn how to get tech support. (See links at left.)

  • If you are seeking a "Mah-Jong Solitaire" tile-matching game, please read FAQ 12.(See links at left.)

    Privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes permission for your email to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted.

    Email your question to WebmasterSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome. And don't ask me to click links, either. Give me all the information in your email.


    To ask a question, click the image or email the address above.

    After you submit your comment or question, return to this board sometime later to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions.

    No shouting, please. Typing in all capital letters is considered "shouting." Nobody is allowed to shout here but me! (^_^) If your question or comment is typed in all capital letters, it will be converted to all lower case before being posted here with my reply. For reader enjoyment, humor is sometimes used in the responses that I give. Please don't be offended by a response given in the spirit of reader enlightenment and entertainment.

    Please note that this site is NOT associated with the National Mah Jongg League. Although questions about their card and rules are welcome here, please read FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 to see if your question has already been answered. Also, you can click here to learn how to contact the NMJL directly.

    If you appreciate the free information on this site, your donation would be gratefully accepted, and would help keep this site running as a free service. Thank you!

    Keep scrolling - the Q&A is below.


  • Tournament table rotation, part 3

    >From: Edwin Phua
    >Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 1:49 AM
    >Subject: Re: Tournament table rotation
    >Dear Tom,
    >I write in response to Renee T's query on tournament table rotation on 16th March 2012.
    >I had earlier wrote about a table rotation solution for 24 players, which you had posted up in FAQ#21.
    >
    >Renee can use that solution but with some modifications. The solution for the 24-player field only allows a maximum of 7 rounds without any repetition, but each player will not get to play against two opponents. There is no solution that I can find (all solutions have been taken from the Internet). Therefore, I recommend 2 iterations of the 24-player solution in 6 rounds, which makes for a total of the desired 12 rounds. I would recommend some randomisation (drawing lots, for example) to mix up the players at the beginning of each iteration. As there is no perfect solution, players will therefore meet opponents an unequal number of times (it could be once, twice, or none), depending on their starting numbers in both iterations.
    >
    >The procedure:
    >1. Randomly assign starting numbers for the first round-robin iteration to the players involved.
    >2. Players will follow the first six rounds of the schedule, and therefore only play against a maximum of 18 different opponents, and not meeting 5 other opponents.
    >3. Randomly assign starting numbers for the second round-robin iteration.
    >4. Players will again follow the first six rounds of the schedule, but this time meeting a different mix and order of 18 different opponents.
    >
    >This solution allows avoidance of the exact same grouping (if Renee just directly repeats some of the rounds) unless it is coincidental that the same grouping of players meet again despite being randomly assigned starting numbers.
    >Best regards,
    >Edwin

    Nice, Edwin!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2012


    Is it true...? (part 2)

    >From: "Dial, Greg"
    >Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 6:56 AM
    >Subject: Is It True
    >In reference to the question about the new 2012 NMJL card, if this is true, who is in charge at the league? Seems like every year there is a mistake on the card somewhere. I donít understand the process as to who makes up the hands and once they are made, who proof reads the card. This should be handled by many and looked at several times before print. Just saying. If this is true, it is ridiculous.
    >Greg Dial |
    >Disclaimer: This electronic message may contain information that is Proprietary, Confidential, or legally privileged or protected. It is intended only for the use of the individual(s) and entity named in the message. If you are not an intended recipient of this message, please notify the sender immediately and delete the material from your computer. Do not deliver, distribute or copy this message and do not disclose its contents or take any action in reliance on the information it contains.

    Greg,
    I do not want my bulletin board to become a rumor mill full of idle speculation and wild theories. I know for a fact that the League tests the new card extensively. If there was a printing error on the 2012 card, it would be more likely an error generated by the printer, not by the card designers before sending it to the printer.
    To repeat: I do not want my bulletin board to become a rumor mill full of idle speculation and wild theories. There are other places where that kind of discussion can take place. I reserve the right to withhold further speculation from appearing on this board.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2012
    "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes permission for your email to be made public.†


    Is it true...?

    >From: B R <nlr719
    > Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 4:30 PM
    >Subject: m j ?
    >Is it true that the new M J card will be delayed because it was printed with one hand that had 16 tiles?
    >Inquiring minds want to know...

    That's the first I heard of that rumor, B. We are usually hearing from people who've already gotten the new card by now. So maybe there is a delay. As for its reason, I don't know.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2012


    Where is it from?

    >From: keith r
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 11:09 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Do you have any idea about this set I have? My grandfathers brother worked for the state department in Japan and China long ago. He brought this back from one of the 2 places, not sure which since he past on 7 years ago. Here are some photos
    >Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Droid Razr

    Hi Keith,
    The only question I got out of your email is "where is it from?"
    It's unlikely it's from Japan, for a couple reasons, chiefly the shoddy paper trays. It's an odd hodgepodge of parts -- large plastic tiles stuffed into a 1920s carrying case with missing drawers, a mix of sticks and chips in a cylindrical container that doesn't fit into the box, way more dice than necessary, and wooden racks with scoring labels. Japanese craftsmen would never cobble such a thing together. So my guess is "China." It's also possible that it was cobbled together in America.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2012


    Changing the round win in un-American mah-jongg, part 2

    >From: Howard R
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 7:58 AM
    >Subject: Re: Re Mah Jongg
    >Very many thanks for your concise reply (to my rather long question about East wind !), Tom
    >We are obviously playing in England using Rules & Guide to the Game of Mah-Jongg by 'Jackpot' copyright by H.P.G. & S. Ltd.
    >Cheers
    >Howard

    Hi, Howard.
    None of that was obvious to me! I don't have Jackpot's book in my collection but I assume he wrote about the rules popular in the 1920s - I call those rules "Chinese Classical." If that book doesn't go into enough detail, you should be able to supplement it with just about any mah-jongg book from the 1920s. That should hopefully fill the gaps. You're welcome to come back with more questions anytime. If you do, please remind me that you play Chinese Classical (CC) to get a quick answer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2012


    Changing the round win in un-American mah-jongg

    >From: Howard R
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 2:12 AM
    >Subject: Re Mah Jongg
    >Dear Webmaster
    >I am a relative new-comer to the game of Mah-Jongg, playing it socially with two other couples (on different evenings, of course!)
    >One question which has puzzled us all is:
    >Accepting that East wind is the wind-of-the-round to start with and that any transactions between the holder of the East wind and all other players doubles each time mah-jongg is achieved ... I do hope this assumption is correct anyway
    >when the wind of the round changes to South wind (because all players have held East wind at least once) do all transactions between the holder of the South wind and other players now become the ones which are doubled each time mah-jongg is achieved?
    >Hope the questioning is clear enough.
    >Best
    >Howard

    Hi, Howard.
    It's a refreshing change of pace to get a question about un-American mah-jongg.
    The answer to your question is "no." It is still the East seat (the dealer) who pays or receives double, no matter the round wind.
    You're welcome to come back with more questions anytime, but next time it would help us both if you would tell me which kind of mah-jongg you play, or at least which book (or website) your groups use to govern play. If you tell me a book, please give me the author's name (since the tiles are so similar). And if you don't know which kind of mah-jongg you play, you can figure it out by using my FAQ 2B. You can get to the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2012


    This week's column

    >From: Shirley D
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 1:40 PM
    >Subject: Second hand this week
    >One hand that could be considered in 13579 is the flowers,1-3-5 or flowers 5-7-9. I cannot wait for the new card! Enjoy your website. Thanks
    >Shirley
    >Sent from my iPad

    Great, thanks, Shirley!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 27, 2012


    FAQ 19-E (probably)

    >From: Lucille. G
    >Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 6:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In a consecutive run eg:1223 may the joker be used as the second 2. ?.??
    >Sent from my iPad. Email Luchip@[DELETED]

    Hi Lucille,
    I'm going out on a limb and guessing that you are asking Frequently Asked Question 19-E. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2012


    Why April 1st? (part 3)

    >From: howard f
    >Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 5:45 AM
    >Subject: mahjongg card
    >hi tom! you answered my questions before this should be an easy one for you this has been bothering me for quite some time. why does the new mahjongg card start in april and not at the beginning of the new year? were playing three months of the new year with 2011 hand is there a significant reason for this? thanks again
    >howard f

    Howard,
    Like I told Deirdre on Friday (see below), I don't know the League's reason for this. You would have to ask them. Their contact information is on the card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2012


    Looking for an alternate American card

    >From: Ellen Y
    >Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2012 1:49 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >My friend said that I could purchase a "different" maj card made by you..that can be played on american sets...I could not figure it out on your web site..
    >Thanks
    >ellie

    Hi Ellie,
    There are two alternate American cards. One is by the American Mah-Jongg Association, and the other is by Marvelous Mah Jongg. Their websites are listed in FAQ 4a and FAQ 4b. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    I am slightly involved with the AMJA's card, but I don't create it and I don't sell it.
    May the card be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 25, 2012


    This week's column is up

    Mah-Jongg column #512 is up; tiles that may or may not be passed during the Charleston. http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/column.htm


    When is it too late to change my mind about a discard? (FAQ 19B)

    >From: Leonard C
    >Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2012 6:52 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Suppose a player has 3 Green Dragons and a Joker exposed. I pick up a Green Dragon. At first I don't realize I can exchange the Green Dragon for the Joker. Since I can't use it, I start to discard it and say Green, but I don't touch the board with the tile. Then I realize I can take the Joker with the Green Dragon. Can I exchange the Green Dragon for the Joker even though I have started to discard it and called it? Basicly, what is the "window of opportunity" for exchanging a tile for a Joker?
    >This comes up quite often in our game. The same applies if I start to throw out a Green Dragon that I have in my hand, and then I realize I can exchange it for the Joker in the other person's hand.
    >Thanks so much for your reply.
    >Penny

    Hello, Penny. You wrote:

    I start to discard it and say Green
    You realize, of course, that most people don't say "green dragon" when discarding this tile -- that they say only "green." Therefore, you have spoken the tile's name, in full.

    Basicly, what is the "window of opportunity" for exchanging a tile for a Joker?
    You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Questions 19A & 19B. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 24, 2012


    Mystery tiles (FAQ 7E)

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2012 6:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: RE a mah jongg set I found: I canít identify these tiles: On left in top box, 1st vertical row (all same), 2nd, 3rd, 4th vertical row starting at 2nd tile down, all tiles in 4th row and 3 lower ones in 5th vertical and red one in upper right hand corner. There are 152 tiles in set and I have found all the bams, craks, dots and winds but not the flowers and jokers so I figure some of these tiles must be them. All the boxes are full but I donít know which are jokers and which are flowers. The 4 red ones with the line through the circle must go together as do the 4 green ones with the F one them (maybe flowers?) Can you identify any of them that I canít. I thought this might be a nice set for my grandkids to use instead of using mine. Thanks, Lynn P

    Hello, Lynn.
    You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 7-E. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 24, 2012


    Why April 1st? (part 2)

    >From: Deirdre S
    >Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 11:36 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you !!!!!!!! Deirdre


    Why April 1st?

    >From: Deirdre S
    >Cc: Susan S
    >Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 8:41 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: What is the significance of starting with the new card April 1st. Is there historical significance?? We were chatting about this at our weekly game yesterday. I see that the American MJ League starts in January. Are they printed by the same company??? Does it help the printer out? We would love to learn all about it !!!
    >Love your website!! Deirdre

    Hi Deirdre, you wrote:

    What is the significance of starting with the new card April 1st. Is there historical significance?? Does it help the printer out? We would love to learn all about it !!!
    I have no idea. You'd have to ask the League.

    I see that the American MJ League starts in January.
    As does the Marvelous card.

    Are they printed by the same company???
    I doubt it. The NMJL is in NYC, the AMJA is in Florida, and Marvelous MJ is in Texas.
    May the cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2012


    The rules are ambiguous

    >From: "Momkotofsky1
    >Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 2:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > we are missing jokers, and trying to make our own jokers, the set we have is very old, the dragons have a , F,P, and C, can u guess how old this set is and are they worth anything? Are the tiles ivory, they are very heavy and dark yellow. the outer case and inner tile cases are ruined, can we get new ones from you?
    >The flower tiles are made up of people and boats.
    > We have a book of rules - they do not recommend that we pass jokers, flowers or pairs. We notice some people have their own rules. Is it ever acceptable to pass a joker, esp if you have a more or less completed hand and you're in the passing phase. Most books say NEVER, yet the rule is ambiguous.
    > We know that in the above case, we could've stopped the charlestown after the first left before we got to the second charlestown. The other rules say, we can do it, but not too often because it is offensive to people who want to have more chances of passes.
    > thank you so much for your response to our questions,
    > I'm glad you're here for us novices!

    Hello Momkotofsky1, you wrote:

    can u guess how old this set is
    Yes, I can. IF you send me pictures and tell me the information requested in FAQ 7-G. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).

    and are they worth anything?
    I can make a stab at that IF you send me pictures and tell me the information requested in FAQ 7-H.

    We have a book of rules
    Really. I wonder which book that is. It's probably listed in FAQ 3.

    they do not recommend that we pass jokers, flowers or pairs.
    Somebody else just asked this earlier today. Please scroll down and read "Where is the official rule on this?" From: "MKlug800†

    Most books say NEVER, yet the rule is ambiguous.
    This is an inflammatory statement that has to be fact-checked! (^_^)
    1. Checking the OFFICIAL rulebook (Mah-Jongg Made Easy, published by the National Mah Jongg League), I see rule 9 on page 20: "A joker may never be passed during the Charleston." That sounds UNambiguous to me.
    2. Checking MY book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, rule 84 on page 58 says: "Jokers may never be passed during the Charleston..." If that's ambiguous, tell me how I can word it differently, please!

    We know that in the above case, we could've stopped the charlestown after the first left before we got to the second charlestown. The other rules say, we can do it, but not too often because it is offensive to people who want to have more chances of passes.
    Okay, so... I don't see a problem (and I don't see a question, either).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 22, 2012


    Rummy Game of Israel

    >From: 000 <asapplease2
    >Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:36 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >Hay Tom, you were kind enough to help me some years back identify a set from my mom so I was hoping you might be able to assist me now although it's not a Mah Jongg related? . I noticed you had a Rumikub set showing on the site so I am hoping maybe you have some knowledge on a vintage set. I found this one in the back of the closet a few months ago, as hard as I search I cannot find a set that contains the same Jokers even vintage one's so I'm baffled identify it's age and maker. I want to put it up for sale so my thinking is this is a rarer one which might command a higher price.
    >Ok, the joker is a picture of a Joker (please see image) in the circle is says "RUMMY GAME OF ISRAEL" the tiles look and feel like catalin not a newer plastic and slightly yellow. Rakes are wood with a built in hinged stand. hummmmm what else would you need to know? The numbers appear to have been repainted and some of them are discolored and for fear of damaging them I don't want to clean them. Can U help
    >Oh, I also found a 3rd Mah Jongg set, Bone and Bambo and the funny part is until I it what I thought was an jade jewelry box on here dresser is actually the case for it, lol.

    Hello 000, you wrote:

    I noticed you had a Rumikub set showing on the site so I am hoping maybe you have some knowledge on a vintage set.
    The reason I have a Rummikub set on the site is so that people who have one, but think it's a mah-jongg set, can see the difference. I don't know anything about the value of rummy tile sets, and I don't know what the word "vintage" means to you.

    the tiles look and feel like catalin not a newer plastic and slightly yellow.
    VERY slightly. I sincerely doubt that they're catalin. Read FAQ 7-C3.

    Can U help
    No. Sorry!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 22, 2012


    Our hot wall rules don't cover this

    >From: grabel6
    >Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 7:41 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: we play hot wallÖ. can a player ( in the hot wall ) call for mahjongg on a discard and THEN exchange a tile she had in her rack for a joker on someone else's rack ? She claims that gives her mahjongg.. our hot wall rules are you can only call for mah jongg or pick your own.

    Hi grabel6,
    Scroll up and look left for the Frequently Asked Questions, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Read FAQ 14 and FAQ 19-Y.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 22, 2012


    Where is the official rule on this?

    >From: "MKlug800
    >Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 7:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >it is not recommend to pass jokers, doubles or flowers but officially is it totally not allowed bec different rules say different things...i won on a 9887 9887 987 hand and had to pass a joker...people play no pass jokers...where is the official rules, can i find it?

    Hello mklug800,
    Scroll up and look left for the Frequently Asked Questions, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Read FAQ 19-BF and FAQ 19-BK. It is not against the rules to pass a pair in the Charleston. There is no rule against passing a flower.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 22, 2012


    Three RDWW Q's, part 2

    >From: Frances N
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 3:10 PM
    >Subject: Re: Three Questions
    >Very nice. Thank you for your prompt and succinct reply.
    >Frances N.

    Yay! I made someone happy! (^_^)
    Frances, I've updated the errata file to correct the mistakes/omissions you found. Click any RDWW link or banner on this page (like this one right here) to go to the RDWW page and download all the up-to-date errata.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 20, 2012


    Three RDWW Q's

    >From: Frances N
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 12:10 PM
    >Subject: Three Questions
    >Dear Mr. Sloper;
    >I have recently been introduced to the game of Mah Jongg, and have purchased your book The Red Dragon and the West Wind which I am reading with all the attention of a lawyer with a new portfolio. From reading this, I have found three things puzzling.
    >1) On page 86 of your book, under "Let the Game Begin" , Picking and Discarding you say " On a player's turn she takes a fourteenth tile into the hand (either by claiming a discard or by picking from the wall)....."
    >Does this mean that a player may chose in her turn to take a tile from the wall or take the discard of the last player?
    >2) In the pictures on p. 106, the discarded tiles on the table are all face-down. I've not been able to find any indication that the discarded tiles must be placed either face up or face down. Which is proper?
    >3) My new set has in addition to the set of 8 "Flowers" with the seasons printed on the tiles, another set of "flowers" with just a picture. I gather one doesn't use both sets of flowers. What is the purpose in including an extra set of tiles?
    >I am enjoying the book you have written. It is so meticulously detailed and repetitive that no one should be left in doubt about any aspect of the play. It rather reminds me of the way a grade one teacher talks to her class.
    >I hope you will find time to answer these questions.
    >Yours truly
    >Frances N
    >Nelson, B. C. Canada

    Hi Frances, so nice to hear from you:

    " On a player's turn she takes a fourteenth tile into the hand (either by claiming a discard or by picking from the wall)....."
    >Does this mean that a player may chose in her turn to take a tile from the wall or take the discard of the last player?
    Yes. But if she wants to take the discard, she must pay the price -- she must expose a set that's completed by the discard. If she picks a tile from the wall, she can rack it among her concealed tiles. Either way, she now has 14 tiles in all.

    In the pictures on p. 106, the discarded tiles on the table are all face-down.
    What a good eye you have. I don't remember exactly how that came about. I should have shown them face-up.

    I've not been able to find any indication that the discarded tiles must be placed either face up or face down.
    Really? That's an oversight I need to fix, then!

    Which is proper?
    Face up.

    I gather one doesn't use both sets of flowers [in American mah-jongg, when the set comes with two sets of flowers].
    Correct. See page 29, top paragraph. And see the Big Square, on page 30. The reason I recommend people make the Big Square with their tiles is so they can identify (and omit from play) any extra tiles.

    What is the purpose in including an extra set of tiles?
    Read page 14. The League at one point was always changing the number of tiles required. Chinese manufacturers want their sets to be useful no matter what changes might get made (and they don't really know how American mah-jongg is played today anyway).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 20, 2012


    She denied she was dead

    >From: Arlene K
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 10:34 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We were playing in a tournament when a player was declared dead. She denied being dead. The play continued. It ended in a wall game. She was indeed dead. Since we were playing for points with a prize to be awarded at the end, everyone at the table received the 10 points for a wall game. She was not given a penalty and received her 10 points. Was she entitled to these points? Should she have been given a penalty as she would have been if we were playing for 25 cents. Because of this she ended up tied for first place, which doesn't seem fair. Are there rules for this?

    Hi Arlene, you wrote:

    She was not given a penalty and received her 10 [wall game] points. Was she entitled to these points?
    No. She should get the score a dead player gets.

    Should she have been given a penalty as she would have been if we were playing for 25 cents.
    You weren't playing for coins. You were in a tournament. The tournament rules apply. And, as I noted in this week's article on Mah Jongg Madness 2012 (http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/madness.htm), tournament rules can vary.

    Are there rules for this?
    Yes. The rule is, "when you are in a tournament, see the tournament rules, or ask the tournament judge for a ruling."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 20, 2012


    What is military mah-jongg?

    >From: Gail S
    >Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 7:32 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >What is military mah-jongg?
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from the apple of my eye: Gail

    Hi, Gail.
    I assume you are referring to Wright-Patterson mah-jongg. Scroll up and look for the FAQs (the Frequently Asked Questions) at the left. I describe Wright-Patterson in FAQ 2-B, and give a link to their website in FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2012


    Looking for stories about how mah- jongg has made a difference in someone's life

    >From: Richard Shapiro
    >Email: rshapirotcfcr.com
    >Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 5:02 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We are looking for stories about how mah- jongg has impacted/ made a difference in a person's life. Do you have a way to let fellow mah-jongg players know we want to compile an anthology.
    >Thank you.
    >Susi
    >Sent from my iPad

    I think you've just let them know, Susi!
    May the stories be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 19, 2012


    Racking a taken discard

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:01 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I really enjoyed reading your 3/18 column #511 today and especially the full article and liked the pictures of Las Vegas Mah Jongg Madness. I think you looked great in your mah jongg outfit and congratulations on selling 20 copies of your book. I second Gladysí introduction of your being "the second most important person in American Mah Jongg..." but you are the most important one in my three mah jongg groups. Any problem we have is usually followed by the question, "What does Tom say?" Wow I was even mentioned for my question and answer entry, "It didnít click" on your Bulletin Board!!
    > I do have questions about one of Gladysí Gospels: 1. I know a player canít rack a taken tile for exposure but why can she for mah jongg? 2. If a player puts a taken tile on top rack and realizes she doesnít have mah jongg, she can put it back if she hasnít exposed the rest of her mah jongg tiles but wouldnít she be dead if she had racked it and had 14 tiles sitting on her slanted rack and no mah jongg? I donít see the advantage of racking the taken tile for mah jongg.
    > Have fun on your playbook tablet from Blackberry. Many thanks again, Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn,
    Thanks for your thoughts. As for your questions:

    I know a player canít rack a taken tile for exposure but why can she for mah jongg?
    I didn't ask, but I can guess. In the case of mah-jongg, all the player's tiles are exposed anyway, so there's no possibility of cheating. But with an exposure, it's possible that the player might have done some sleight of hand and slipped a taken joker (or other wanted tile) into the hand in the course of the taking and exposing.

    But also, Gladys indicated that the current differentiation is temporary -- that sometime soon both events would result in "death".

    If a player puts a taken tile on top rack and realizes she doesnít have mah jongg, she can put it back if she hasnít exposed the rest of her mah jongg tiles but wouldnít she be dead if she had racked it and had 14 tiles sitting on her slanted rack and no mah jongg?
    Yes.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 18, 2012


    Mah Jongg Madness!

    Dear readers, I've posted my story and photos from Mah Jongg Madness 2012!
    May the tiles be with us, everyone.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 18, 2012


    Marvelous column

    >From: Alice S
    >Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:44 AM
    >Subject: Column 505
    >Hi, Tom,
    >Another GR8 column!
    >Thanks for writing about the alternate cards in column 505. My friends and I have been playing mahj for a year now, and are ready for some variety. Can't wait for our new NMJL cards. Thanks to you, we've just ordered Marvelous Mah Jongg cards as well. Maybe we'll also try the AMJA cards one of these days.
    >Agree that "FFFF GO WWW NNN EE" is a mystery. Any chance it could mean "Flowers Grow Money"? If so, it would be easier to read -- but much more difficult to play -- if the pungs of West and North were replaced by pairs of Wests, Soaps and Norths.
    >Alice S.

    >From: Alice S
    >Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2012 4:05 PM
    >Subject: Re: Column 505
    >P.S. Or, could it mean, "Flowers grow many"? Still a mystery.

    Hi Alice,
    Thanks for writing. Coincidentally, I met Kimberly (creator of the Marvelous card) just this week, at Mah Jongg Madness. And I also met someone named Alice. I'm posting story and pictures today or tomorrow. (Guess I'd better get started, huh!)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Saint Patrick's Day, 2012


    Tournament table rotation, part 2

    >From: Renee T
    >Sent: Friday, March 16, 2012 1:15 PM
    >Subject: RE: table rotation
    >Gladysís rotation works because she has a large number of people. Too many repeats with only 24 players. Do you happen to have Edwinís email so I can ask him????
    > Thanks.
    > Renee

    Hi Renee, you wrote:

    Gladysís rotation works because she has a large number of people. Too many repeats with only 24 players.
    I imagine one problem is that you're doing 24 players and 12 rounds (12 rounds is at least a two-day tournament, just like Mah Jongg Madness'). Sounds inevitable to me that everyone will play with another person multiple times.

    Do you happen to have Edwinís email so I can ask him????
    I don't give out people's email addresses. Why don't you just play around with some arrangements on paper until you reach one you find reasonably satisfactory.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2012


    Tournament table rotation

    >From: Renee T
    >Sent: Friday, March 16, 2012 9:40 AM
    >Subject: table rotation
    >Hi Tom,
    >I saw you in Vegas last week. I hope you had a great time.
    >I am doing a tournament with 24 people and 12 rounds. I donít want to do the regular rotation since I am trying to set up the rotation more like a red robin sequence. I looked at your site and found where Edwin set up rotation for 7 rounds.
    >How did he do the sequencing. I am not sure if I just duplicate some of the rounds that would be the best idea. Plus I donít want player 1 stationary the entire day.
    >Any suggestions?
    >Thanks.
    >Renee T

    Hi Renee, it was a fantastic tournament! And it was great to meet you. You've asked:

    How did he do the sequencing.
    I don't really know. I imagine he used the mathematical formula he referred to in his email. Or he used the methods outlined in the links he provided.

    I am not sure if I just duplicate some of the rounds that would be the best idea.
    Well, he was writing about a 16-player tournament, so I imagine that plugging in a different number into his formula would turn out a different result. I'm not a math person myself.

    I donít want player 1 stationary the entire day.
    You don't have to if you don't want to. You saw how Gladys did her rotation, right? Every player moves up or down (numbered tables), either one or two tables. Why don't you just play around with some arrangements on paper until you reach one you find reasonably satisfactory.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2012


    It didn't click, part 3

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 6:31 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Referring to my 3/13 question titled "It didnít click" again and your explanation of "simultaneous occurrence," in your tournament: You had previously said tournament rules can be different from home game rules so is this rule that Gladys Grad mentioned at your tournament a NMJL rule, this particular tournament rule, or other? The picked tile was definitely leaning against the slanted front of Player Aís rack before Player D called for the discard. Her call was not a "simultaneous occurrence". With 2 tables of 4 ladies each playing mah jongg within a small space (less than 12 feet away from each other) I think many times most players wouldnít hear every tile click!! I agree with you that a player needs to use eyes and ears together when playing mah jongg. Well neither player A nor D won the game. Hope you will soon be home safely with big winnings. I look forward to your weekly columns. Many thanks, Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    is this rule that Gladys Grad mentioned at your tournament a NMJL rule, this particular tournament rule, or other?
    If she got it from the NMJL, it has not appeared in public print within the past 15 years. But I think it's a good and reasonable rule, and I'm adopting it until I see otherwise in writing from the League.

    The picked tile was definitely leaning against the slanted front of Player Aís rack before Player D called for the discard. Her call was not a "simultaneous occurrence".
    Well, okay, then. Gotta trust our own lying eyes! (^_^)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Las Vegas, NV
    March 14, 2012


    What if nobody has tiles to pass, part 2

    >From: "ajvmarques
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 8:47 AM
    >Subject: Re: American Mahjong Rules - Charleston
    >Hello, Tom.
    >I am Antůnio M from Portugal and I want to thank you for the quick, very well explained and that let me without doubts about the situation of the Charleston.
    >With the explanation you made I'm sure that your book will be very useful to understand the mahjong game either the American and the Chinese way, I' m going to order it by amazon.com.
    >Antůnio M

    OlŠ, Antůnio.
    You are very welcome, and I hope you enjoy my book! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    March 13, 2012


    It didn't click, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 4:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Referring to my email of 3/13 "It didnít click": Yes I did mean slanted front of rack (donít know why I wrote slanted wall Ė maybe too early in am!) and Player A had tile in place but just hadnít let go before Player D called for discard. Sorry for the confusion. Hope you did well today in the mah jongg tournament. Thanks for your answers. Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn,
    Then it sounds like a probable case of "simultaneous occurrence," in which case the caller should get the discard (and the racker has to put the picked tile back).
    If there is doubt as to whether the call occurred before the silent click, then the call takes precedence.
    If there had been an audible click, and if it had occurred simultaneously with the call, the call takes precedence -- the audible click just makes it easier for other players to determine which (if either) came first.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Las Vegas, NV
    March 13, 2012


    It didn't click

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 6:36 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American mah jongg yesterday: Player A picked a tile from the wall and put it quietly on her slanted wall with her 2 fingers still on the top of it . As she was about to remove her fingers, player D said she wanted the previous discard. Player A said the picked tile was already racked since it was against the slanted rack so it was too late to call a discard. Player D said she hadnít heard the tile click on the rack so it wasnít really racked. I told her that if the tile was on/against the slanted rack whether it clicked or not it was racked. Do the other players really have to hear a "click" for a tile to be racked? This was not a "pick and rack" and this player is known to be a slow discard caller. The players in this group all pause after a discard and then pick from the wall. Player A needed the tile she picked for a pair so she wasnít about to give it up. Did I make the correct call?
    >Quick question about new card: One of my weekly mah jongg games is played on Friday so if the new mah jongg card arrives before then, can it be used before April 1 which is on Sunday? In that group a couple of players said we canít play with new card until April 1. Do you think the mah jongg police will arrest us if we do!!??!!
    >Missed your column this week but hope you had a great time at your mah jongg marathon/convention. Thanks again for all your mah jongg wisdom. Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    Player A picked a tile from the wall and put it quietly on her slanted wall
    "Slanted wall"? Do you mean on the slanted front of her rack? So she had racked the tile, is that what these words mean? Oh wait, I see that later you called it a "slanted rack". The rack and the wall are entirely different things, and I confuse easily.

    Player D said she hadnít heard the tile click on the rack so it wasnít really racked.
    So player D is saying she doesn't believe her own lying eyes. How silly is that!

    Do the other players really have to hear a "click" for a tile to be racked?
    Of course not. If the eye can see that the tile is being held levitated above the table against the force of gravity by the surfaces of the rack, then the tile is obviously "racked."

    Did I make the correct call?
    If the claim for the tile was made subsequent to the racking of the tile, then yes. Gladys Grad, the organizer of the Mah Jongg Madness tournament, spelled out "the rule of simultaneous occurrence" for the attendees yesterday. If two events occur simultaneously, then the person who wants the live discard gets the tile. In this case, I don't know how simultaneous the call was with the silent click.

    can [the new card] be used before April 1
    Of course. As soon as all players have the new card, then everybody switches to the new card and kisses the old one goodbye.

    hope you had a great time at your mah jongg marathon/convention
    Day two starts after breakfast. Hoping for better scores today.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    March 13, 2012


    This set is ivory and over 150 years old and very unusual.

    >From: William S
    >Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 9:17 PM
    >Subject: ivory mahjong set
    >many years ago (approximately 50) when I was a kid, there was a garage sale down the block. a Chinese woman by the name of Lillian Goon Dip (who was of Chinese royalty....with bound feet) had passed away. she was a very old woman when she died, and all of the things in her home went on sale. I found a little, very ornate box, on the floor for $10. I bought this with my allowance.
    >This was a complete, mahjong set made of bamboo and ivory. all the tiles are flawless and I believe it is entirely complete. all the sticks are ivory as well. I have had this for many years and have no clue as to it's value. It is probably over 150 years old and very unusual. Can you help me?
    >Thanks.
    >Bill S

    Hi Bill, you wrote:

    made of bamboo and ivory.
    More likely, it's cow bone. This is something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me. Please read Frequently Asked Questions 7-C and 7-C-2. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).

    all the sticks are ivory as well.
    More likely, cow bone. But they could be ivory, possibly. You need to read those "Is It Ivory" FAQs.

    I have no clue as to it's value... Can you help me?
    Read FAQ 7-H. Send me photos and the information I need, and I probably can.

    It is probably over 150 years old
    So you're saying it was made before the American Civil War? That's extremely unlikely! I would need to see it. And you should read FAQs 11-C and 11-H.

    and very unusual.
    You haven't convinced me that it's unusual at all. What's unusual about it? Can you send pictures?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    March 12, 2012


    What if nobody has tiles to pass?

    >From: "ajvmarques
    >Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 6:10 PM
    >Subject: American Mahjong Rules - Charleston
    >Hello;
    >I'm from Portugal (Europe) and I'm trying to learn how to play Mahjong American Rules.
    >I don't real understand how to make the Charleston.
    >Please correct me where I'm wrong?
    >1 step - All players pass to the one's at their Wright 3 tiles;
    >2nd step - Players pass 3 tiles to their opposite player;
    >3rd step - All players pass to the one's at their left 3 tiles.
    >On the 3rd step a "Blind Pass" can be done.
    >My doubt is about the "Blind Pass" - And if nobody wants to pass 3 tiles what's happened?
    >For ex: 1st player only wants to pass 1 tile; 2nd player wants to pass 2 tiles; 3rd player wants to pass 1 tile and the 4th player don?t want to pass any tile (0 tile).
    >- What we do about it? Please explain me how to perform the blind pass.
    >If you can answer with an example will be better.
    >If it's possible to you answer my questions I will be very grateful to you.
    >Sorry for my bad English and thanks.
    >Antůnio M

    OlŠ, Antůnio.
    Others have asked me this before, but I don't think I have an FAQ on this (I might have it, but I didn't find it just now when I looked). I think I might have mentioned it in my book, but I don't recall for sure (I don't have a copy of it available to me as I write this).

    In the 15 years I've been playing, I have never encountered a situation such as you posited. But here's how I envision it working out just fine:

    If player A has only 1 tile to pass, she tells player D, "here's one tile. I owe you two more."
    Since player D has 0 tiles to pass, she doesn't look at it. She waits.
    Player B has only 2 tiles to pass, but player C has 1 tile to pass, so player C passes one to player B and says, "I owe you two."
    Player B now has 3 tiles so he passes them to player A.
    Player A now passes the two she owes to player D, who now has 3 to pass to player C.
    Player C passes the two owed tiles to player B.
    Now everybody has passed three tiles, one way or another.

    Or they could do what I suggest next...

    Let's take it one step farther. It would be extremely rare and unusual to get to the First Left and among four players, not a single soul has a single tile she can part with. But in my opinion, the "blind pass" gives you an out. Think of the blind pass as an IOU ("I owe you"). Player A says to player D, "I owe you three tiles. Hang on a second until I can blind pass them to you." Player D says the exact same words to player C, who says them also to player B, who says them to player A. Now all four players owe three tiles to another person, in an IOU circle. So since everybody owes another in a round robin owing circle, it's all good. They no longer owe each other anything (they all forgive the debt from the player at the right).
    Or, to put it another way, "let's just say we passed three tiles."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    March 12, 2012


    Do you have sets to sell?

    >From: Kathy R
    >Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 3:06 PM
    >Subject: mah jongg
    >HI Tom,
    > I am a new collector of bone and bamboo. I just love the sets! DO you have any to sell?? I really want to find very special ones and the ones I see on line are few and far between. I see lots of them that are run of the mill. Just ordinary. If you can help I would appreciate it.
    >Thanks
    >Kathy R

    Hi Kathy,
    Yes, I do have some sets I would be willing to sell, but I have not specifically earmarked any. It would be a lot of work to go through my sets, decide which ones I'm willing to part with, gather the information about them, post or send pictures, and decide what prices I would want.
    Maybe this summer, if I have a lot of free time, I might set up a museum/store. But it's easier to just post them for sale on eBay, if I do choose some to sell.
    If I was to offer them for private sale, I'm sure there would be a lot more work involved for me (a lot of back-and-forth questions/answers, guessing what the buyer would want) - and then there's no transaction guarantor in between (such as that which sellers and buyers do get on eBay). So I'm hesitant to do private sales, for those reasons. But if I had a much clearer idea of what's "just ordinary" or "run of the mill" about the sets you've looked at, and what you're seeking instead, maybe we could work something out. But if you're being very selective, I might not have anything you'd be interested in.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    March 12, 2012


    Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack? (FAQ 19M)

    >From: Stacy S
    >Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2012 1:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >During a game, my friend needed 3 6Ds to make part of her hand. She had one 6D in her rack when one was discarded. She called for the discard and exposed it and 2 jokers by mistake. She still had one 6D in her rack. Is there any reason why she couldn't just wait for her turn to come around again and exchange the 6D she had in her rack for one of the jokers? She thought that would be an illegal move, so she didn't do it. Someone else mahjed.
    >-Stacy

    Hi Stacy,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked questions that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers, I have compiled them into a series of articles or FAQs ( "Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask newcomers to explore before writing to me. Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-M-3. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
    March 12, 2012


    When did they change to that exploding cell joker?

    >From: mary s
    >Sent: Saturday, March 10, 2012 1:23 PM
    >Subject: jokers
    >Hello, When did the jokers change from buddhas to the current exploding cell? I'm not quite sure what the new joker even represents and I'm not a fan of the design. Why did it change? Thanks, Mary

    Hi Mary,
    There isn't a unified code of what joker tiles should look like. Every manufacturer designs their own joker graphics.
    Others before you have asked what that particular joker design represents. Scroll up and look at the left side for Frequently Asked Question 7-E (the FAQs are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Once your click takes you there, scroll down to find the sections entitled "What the heck is it" and "What the heck is it, part 2."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 10, 2012


    No column this week
    Dear readers,
    I'm sorry that I won't be able to write a column this week. Was at a conference last week (and had midterms), and tomorrow I'm going to start having much Mah Jongg Madness. Hopefully next week.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 10, 2012


    Does that mean no jokers?

    >From: Janet D
    >Sent: Thursday, March 8, 2012 2:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello Tom,
    >On the 2011 NMJL card there are 2 hands that state "Kong 8s Only," and one "Kong 1s Only." Does that mean jokers cannot be used? I tried calling he NMJL office, but they had already closed.
    >Thanks,
    >Janet D

    Hi Janet,
    Please scroll up and find the links to the Frequently Asked Questions (there's a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this , pointing to them). Find the link to FAQ #19 (there's a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this , pointing to FAQs 16 and 19) and click it.

    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19.

    In the case of the question you have asked, read FAQs 19AO & 19BN.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Oakland International Airport, CA
    March 8, 2012


    Atomic (FAQ 19AZ)

    >From: Laadylexus
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 2:53 PM
    >Subject: Fwd: Atomic Mah Jongg
    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: Laadylexus
    >Sent: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 5:49 pm
    >Subject: Fwd: Atomic Mah Jongg
    >Dear Tom:
    >I have only been play about 5 yrs. So I look to your site for all my answers.
    >When I couldn't find a definitive answer about Atomic I responded to another persons inquiry. The following is the response I got back.
    >Does this person know what they are talking about? I would like to play Atomic and she has been playing alot longer than me. Is she correct?
    >Thank you for helping me understand.
    >Linda
    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: livoniamimi
    >to: laadylexus
    >Sent: Wed, Mar 7, 2012 3:28 pm
    >Subject: Atomic Mah Jongg
    >In answer to the inquiry about Atomic Mah Jong:
    >I have been playing for 60 years, 4 times a week. We have been playing Atomic for many years.
    >The rules that most players follow are:
    >1. You must declare Atomic before the Charleston starts.
    >2. 7 pairs, numbers, winds or dragons 4 of anything does not make 2 pair, that makes 4 of a kind. NOT ALLOWED
    >3. NO- Jokers
    > NO- Flowers
    >Place a coin on top of your rack if you are declaring Atomic. If you draw a Joker or Flower remove your coin. You don't need to say anything. It is the responsibility of the other players to pay attention.
    >Once you have declared Atomic, your playmates can not pass you a flower, joker or any pairs. If they give you any of these tiles, you are to state out loud that they have and they must give you $.50, and you must return the tiles..
    >Atomic is meant to be the hardest hand to get, so it pays $.50. (we pay $1.00) Double to the person that gives you Mah Jongg or if you draw it yourself.
    >Hope this helps you. I know you will enjoy adding Atomic to your play. You need to know, the League does recognize this, and will not answer question about Atomic.
    >Happy Mah Jongg
    >Marion

    Hello Lady Linda,
    Please allow me to introduce you (and Marion) to the difference between "official rules" and "table rules."
    Please scroll up and find the links to the Frequently Asked Questions (there's a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this , pointing to them). Find the link to FAQ #14, click, and read.
    In addition to FAQ 14, please go to FAQ 19 (there's a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this , pointing to FAQs 16 and 19) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. You need to read the Atomic FAQ - it's FAQ 19AZ.
    You are welcome to ask questions anytime, but please always check the FAQs first. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    탐 슬로퍼
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Oakland International Airport, CA
    March 8, 2012


    Where in Hon. can I buy a set

    >From: Jeanette
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 8:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:where in Hon. Can i buy a set that has 8orspare tilesmy Samsung Epicô 4G

    Hi Jeanette, you wrote:

    where in Hon. Can i buy a set
    Apparently in Hon.* they have the internet, so you can buy it the same place I tell everybody else to buy it -- on the internet. Please read Frequently Asked Question 7K. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).

    that has 8orspare tiles
    They have all kinds of sets on the internet. Read FAQs 7A, 7B, and 2B and make sure you buy the right kind of set for your style of play.

    8orspare tilesmy Samsung Epicô 4G
    Isn't it grand living here in the future!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    San Francisco, California, USA
    March 6, 2012

    * Honduras? The Honda factory in Ohio? The Honda factory in Japan? Honeoye Falls, NY?? No matter which place "Hon." is, the internet is still the place to get mah-jongg sets.


    Strongly scented ivory

    >From: patrick301
    >Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2012 4:24 AM
    >Subject: Mah jong origins.
    >Dear Sir,
    >Perhaps you could throw some light on on the following. I inherited from my Grandmother who incinentally taught me to play in 1936 ,some years ago a Mah jong set .
    >In 4 drawer wooden, bone inlaid box, drop down slide, strongly scented inside. Tiles 156 solid ivory, I am told, have wavy lines, 8 flowers beautifully hand carved, not machined, .4 blanks. characters have numbers added,cw money bone sticks, wind container and box with dice. As there is none left alive to play with and ones offsprings find this very boring in our electronic world, I thought I might sell or donate same if of value. I believe it is genuine ivory as whilst playing some years ago in Rhodesia a tile dropped into the open fire and got damaged before it could be fished out but having seen elephont tusks burned it seems to be scorched the same way. However there are 4 spares
    >I believe a relative who was a tea planter in Siam, and came back to UK with a tiny slant eyed offspring to prove it and whom I knew personally so it is possible to came from there but may have come from Hong Kong before the war.
    >Which is all by the way however I would appreciate tapping in to your experties . If you would furnish any info and also if it is worth anything as it must be pretty old,-- I know the feeling !!
    >I could provide photos tiles box etc if of further interest. yours faithfully , P. B, AMIEE Ret

    Dear Sir, you wrote:

    Mah jong origins.
    I didn't see a question in your email about mah-jongg's origins, but if you want to know about the history of the game, I have written "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions") about it-- see Frequently Asked Question 11. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).

    Perhaps you could throw some light on on the following... If you would furnish any info
    If you have a particular question, I am happy to give it a shot. But I need narrow/focused questions. I don't enjoy firing shotgun blasts all over the place, hoping a pellet finds the target. Read FAQ 7-P.

    strongly scented
    If it smells like bacon, that would be highly unusual (maybe somebody spilled bacon grease in it). If it smells like perfume, then maybe somebody spilled perfume in it. If it smells like something else, I'll need more information from you! If what you're saying is that it smells musty and moldy, I have information about how to deal with that in FAQ 7-O.

    I believe it is genuine ivory
    I'm skeptical. Read FAQ 7-C and FAQ 7-C2.

    and also if it is worth anything
    Please read FAQ 7-H. I need more information than you have given me. If I get the info you can give, I can give you the info you seek.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March Forth, 2012


    Mahjong set needs identification, part 2

    >From: Dorcie W
    >Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2012 4:40 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mahjong set needs identification
    >Thanks for the posted response however the reason I sent you the inquiry was because I could not find the information/pictures in the posted FAQs. I have identified it as Chinese, however in all the internet research I have never seen wooden trays nor a case such as what I'm showing. Also would it be considered "modern Chinese" even though most would consider it vintage. I was hoping that the images of the bird and the seasons/flowers would help identify a manufacturer.
    >Here are pictures:
    >Acquired and used in Bangkok, Thailand between 1952 - 1959. Tiles and pieces in Good condition.
    >Pieces - 144 and 4 blanks
    >Composition - bone on bamboo - H 2.7cm W 2 cm D 1.2 cm
    >Trays - 4 wooden black stained trays
    >Three game books - authors on the front covers. Years of publication: 1952, 1956
    >Case - exterior is orange paper fiber stitched with leather snap straps; interior is patterned paper with 4 paper tile trays and 1 accessory/die tray

    Hello Dorcie, you wrote:

    in all the internet research I have never seen wooden trays
    Those black wooden things are "racks," not "trays." Your pictures show your tiles already in their trays. I have seen those black wooden racks on the internet (usually on eBay) and I have some in my collection.

    nor a case such as what I'm showing.
    I have. That type of case is particularly cheaply made.

    would it be considered "modern Chinese" even though most would consider it vintage.
    I really can't say what something "would be considered" by others. And I honestly do not know what most would consider "vintage." I can only say that the set probably was made in the 1950s, give or take.

    I was hoping that the images of the bird and the seasons/flowers would help identify a manufacturer.
    Sorry, I can't help you there. Carol Ann Harper ("CHarli") is the expert on manufacturers. Her site is listed in FAQ 4A.

    Tiles and pieces in Good condition.
    Since you didn't tell me the condition of the racks, the books, the case, I'm going to assume that everything is in just "Good" condition.

    Three game books - authors on the front covers.
    The pictures are very small, so you're not telling me much. As I said before, you could sell the books separately (and you might make more money if you did that than all of them packaged with the set). The top book in the picture might be the more valuable of the three (hard to tell from the tiny photo).

    Previously, you asked

    what it might be worth
    Since I have to assume it's all in just "Good" condition, I'm going to say $50 for the set and case, $40 for the three books, $20 for the four racks.

    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 3, 2012


    Mahjong set needs identification

    >From: Dorcie W
    >Sent: Saturday, March 3, 2012 11:41 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong set needs identification
    >Hello,
    >I have a Mahjong set the equivalent of which I have not seen in my internet research. Here is a link to pictures for details - http://s1144.photobucket.com/albums/o492/dewellman1/Mahjong%20Set/
    >Details:
    >Acquired and used in Bangkok, Thailand between 1952 - 1959 (my mother acquired and used it)
    >Pieces - 144 and 4 blanks
    >Composition - bone on bamboo - H 2.7cm W 2 cm D 1.2 cm
    >Case - exterior is orange paper fiber stitched with leather snap straps; interior is patterned paper with 4 paper tile trays and 1 accessory/die tray
    >Trays - 4 wooden black stained trays
    >3 different mahjong game books
    >I'm curious as to which mahjong classification this would fit into and also what it might be worth as I would like to sell it.
    >Thank you so much
    >Dorcie W

    Hi Dorcie, you wrote:

    Here is a link to pictures
    I'm sorry, but I don't follow links for you to go get pictures. If you want me to give you information about your set, I need you to send the pictures to me so that I can post them here along with the information. This policy is stated above, and you can see how other photos have included photos with their questions, below.

    3 different mahjong game books
    I would need to know their titles and authors. They can be sold separately for decent money (depending).

    I'm curious as to which mahjong classification this would fit into
    Read FAQ 7A; maybe you can figure that out for yourself. You can link to the FAQs above left; they're marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).

    and also what it might be worth
    I need you to read FAQ 7H, and give me the information I need. Especially: condition. Thanks!

    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 3, 2012


    Who pays whom when there's a bettor?

    >From: "lionstar8
    >Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2012 8:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When a winner gets paid and she is bet on.
    >How and who gets the payment? Does the winner collect all money and then pay the person who bet on her ... or do the players pay the winner and better separately?
    >Thank you for your answer in advance.
    >Carol H.
    >Lionstar8

    Hi Carol,
    The non-winners pay the winners directly and separately. Non-winner B pays the winner (player A), and she pays the bettor (player E). Non-winner C also pays the winner, and she pays the bettor. Non-winner D pays the winner, and she pays the bettor. (Not necessarily in that order.) And of course, if A won on discard, she gets double from the discarder (who pays the bettor double also). And of course, if A won on self-pick, she gets double from everyone (and so does the bettor).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 1, 2012


    400-year-old ivory set for sale

    >From: Chris Broome
    >cbroome@btinternet.com
    >Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2012 8:37 AM
    >Subject: Set For Sale
    >Set For Sale:
    >400 year old complete set in Ivory with beautiful carved wooden box in very good condition
    > Regards
    > Chris Broome

    Hi, Chris.
    I didn't put your announcement on the Sets Wanted site because you make one impossible claim and one highly improbable claim, and I didn't want to be part of a probable customer complaint.
    You say it's 400 years old. In other words, the set was made in the early 1600s (well over 200 years before the best scholars believe mah-jongg was created). What evidence do you have for saying your set is 400 years old? Carbon dating? Documentation? Read FAQ 11. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    You say your set is ivory. Now, it is possible that it might actually be ivory, because such sets do exist. But the vast majority of ivory claims are wrong. Have you taken the Is It Ivory test? Read FAQ 7C2.
    If you want to know how old your set is and what it's made of, read FAQs 7G and 7C, send me pictures, and I can help you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 1, 2012


    How old is this estate set?

    >From: "jeffers.rj
    >Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2012 12:04 AM
    >Subject: Emailing: P1020029.JPG, P1020030.JPG, P1020033.JPG, P1020035.JPG, P1020036.JPG, P1020037.JPG, P1020038.JPG
    >The message is ready to be sent with the following file or link attachments:
    >P1020029.JPG
    >P1020030.JPG
    >P1020033.JPG
    >P1020035.JPG
    >P1020036.JPG
    >P1020037.JPG
    >P1020038.JPG
    >Note: To protect against computer viruses, e-mail programs may prevent sending or receiving certain types of file attachments. Check your e-mail security settings to determine how attachments are handled.
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can you please tell me what the tiles are made of and approx. how old it is. The tiles are 32.5mm(L)x24mm(W)x16mm(D). The corners are rounded and the edges and tops and bottom are flat. There are very fine lines on the backs. A blue Max Robertson, 17th edition book published in New Zealand, which contains a supplement dated 1957 is with the set. This could have been added at any time. There are 144 tiles plus 4 blank ones. As I am enquiring on behalf of a deceased estate your comments will be very helpful.
    >Eunice

    Hello, Eunice. You wrote:

    What are the tiles made of
    Plastic. I can't be certain exactly which plastic. Read FAQ 7C and FAQ 7C3 (the FAQs are above left) to learn about the plastics mah-jongg tiles are made of. Looking at the way light reflects off the tiles, I can tell that your tiles are not bakelite, because bakelite tiles start life as a liquid that's poured into a mold so never shows striations or sharp edges.

    How old it is
    The book is not a certain clue, as you already noted. But as I wrote in the post "My set," from Rebecca A†on Saturday, February 25 (below), the set looks like it may have been made in the 50s, 60s, or 70s. Possibly earlier or later, but with the book I'd say it's unlikely that it's from after the 60s or before the 50s -- hard to tell since you didn't share any information but the tiles, dice, and book. Seeing the case would have helped.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 1, 2012


    Can I mix dragons in a pung?

    >From: carol b
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:14 PM
    >Subject: Can I mix dragons ...
    >In playing with the NMJL card, it states that white dragons may be used with any suit. But in a hand such as:
    >3333 (green) 666 (red) 9999 (green) DDD (red)
    >can a white dragon be used for one of the red dragons?
    >Thank you for your reply.
    >Carol

    Hi Carol,
    No. That is not what the card says. It does not say that white dragons may always be used with any suit, willy-nilly. It says, WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO "0". IT MAY BE USED WITH ANY SUIT."
    That means that zeroes (not white dragons) are suitless. Zeroes are when you see a "0" on the card. When you see "D" on the card, that might mean white ("soap") just as it might mean green or red -- but now we're talking suited dragons.
    You certainly may not mix dragons in a pung or kong of dragons (all tiles in a pung or kong must be in the same suit).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 28, 2012


    What is the most accepted source of rules for NMJL play?

    >From: Jane D
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 4:47 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: We play with the NMJL card and when coming up with rule questions, I have seen many references to rules. What is the most accepted source of rules for playing the game and where can we get a copy? How often do the rules change? Many of our members are confusing tournament rules with "friendly foursome" rules. It has caused some distress among us. Thanks!

    Hi Jane, you asked:

    What is the most accepted source of rules for playing the game
    The National Mah Jongg League is the source of rules for the National Mah Jongg League game.

    and where can we get a copy?
    From the League. Their address and website are on the back of the card. Also you can look in FAQ 3. You can link to the FAQs above left. (And by the way, my book isn't bad either.)

    How often do the rules change?
    The card changes every year, but the rules haven't changed substantially in 40 years. But you should buy your cards directly from the League - that way you'll automatically receive each January's bulletin (in which rule clarifications are always given).

    Many of our members are confusing tournament rules with "friendly foursome" rules. It has caused some distress among us.
    The official League rules mainly describe home game rules. Any differences between the official rules and tournament rules are always stated at the beginning of a tournament. Also you should read FAQ 14, and any time you have a rules question you should check FAQ 19. Anytime you have a question about the current card you should check FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 28, 2012


    I'll trade it or sell it

    >From: TradeorSell
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 11:05 AM
    >Subject: Hi There Mah Jong Question
    >Hello,
    >I recently decided to list an old Mah Jong game on eBay. I had not consulted your website until it failed to sell. I did however receive a cash offer for $100 after the auction had ended, but honestly I had expected much more after seeing what the tiles alone were going for.
    >According to your FAQ site, my set appears to have the right amount of tiles at 148. I will include pictures of the designs and materials in hopes that you can help me identify what they're made of - I would assume bone after reviewing your page that talks on material types. But hopefully you can help me clarify this.
    >118 betting sticks, a single small die w/ carved wooden older, a round container that holds chips (I am unable to open it - it appears full and to have never been opened before)
    >A reddish brown holding container in which is two removable drawers, the box is adorned with brass fixtures and handles.
    >I will attach as many photo's as I can. Basically what I would like to know is:
    >What are the tiles/sticks/accessories made out of?
    >Are the designs on them common or the rarities you spoke of?
    >Is the box redwood/rosewood - if not, any idea what it is?
    >Based on my count - is this set complete as far as tiles / betting sticks?
    >How much would you value a set like this?
    >Thanks a lot I hope you can help me. Please let me know if you will be emailing a response or posting it on your site.

    Hello there, Tradeor (if I may call you by your first name, or should I call you Mr. or Ms. Sell ^_~), you wrote:

    I had expected much more after seeing what the tiles alone were going for.
    Well, those old bone/bam tiles (singly and in small amounts) are worth something to collectors who are trying to make a 152-tile set for playing American mah-jongg, or as replacements for lost or damaged tiles. You probably didn't do enough research on your set, so your sales pitch was poorly written. Also, I'm guessing that your set doesn't have any of the original paper materials. But let's see what you had to say about the set today...

    my set appears to have the right amount of tiles at 148.
    That's the right amount for a 1920s set, yes. But it's not the right amount for someone who wants to use it to play American-style mah-jongg.

    hopes that you can help me identify what they're made of - I would assume bone after reviewing your page that talks on material types... What are the tiles/sticks/accessories made out of?
    Bone.

    a single small die
    That's bad - you're missing some (the coffin should be full of them). This is one reason for the poor auction results.

    a round container that holds chips (I am unable to open it - it appears full and to have never been opened before)
    It contains wind discs. You really should open it to see if all 4 are there. It's not glued shut, it's just tight-fitting.

    A reddish brown holding container in which is two removable drawers, the box is adorned with brass fixtures and handles.
    I'm unclear on this. You mean the box has one really big drawer for all the tiles, and one narrow drawer for the chips and accessories? Do the drawer rails (inside the box, along the sides, upon which the upper drawer rests and slides) indicate that the box was originally equipped with just two drawers? Normally these boxes came with five drawers (one of them with dividers).

    Are the designs on them common or the rarities you spoke of?
    "The rarities you spoke of" is too vague. Your flowers are unique (I've never seen a flag one before) - but the flowers were always where the craftsman could have some fun, get creative and different.

    Is the box redwood/rosewood - if not, any idea what it is?
    I don't know. I don't really care.

    Based on my count - is this set complete as far as tiles / betting sticks?
    The number of sticks should be divisible by four. You need to count up the denominations, see how many of each are in there. See FAQ 7D. The precise number of sticks, though, is not usually that important. And it's easy to get extras on eBay.

    How much would you value a set like this?
    You haven't given me enough information. I'd need clarity on the drawers question above, and you'd have to tell me the condition. See FAQ 7H.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 28, 2012


    My Cardinal set

    >From: Sue H
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:10 AM
    >Subject: Value of a Cardinal Mah Jongg set
    >What do you estimate as the value of this Cardinal Mah jongg set (4 photos attached as resized to 800x535)?
    >Following your information request:
    >1) There are 5 racks, an unknown number of chips, a rotatable wind disc, 2 trays, 2 numbered di, 168 tiles and 4 "1970-71 National Mah Jongg League, Inc. official standard hand and rules cards".
    >2) The dark green long case is in fair to good shape Ė a bit moldy/smelly and felt backing peeling up at the corners a bit. The Chip holders are slightly rusty. Otherwise all else appear to be in fine shape.
    >3) Given that the set is Cardinal, I believe the tiles are Bakelite they look very similar to the set displayed in your FAQ 7a. Modern American set except there are 168 not 152 tiles in this set.
    >4) Unknown history.
    >5) Size unknown Ė does the term regular size help? They fit in a long case.
    >6) See #1 above.
    >7) See #1 avove.
    >8) The container is a felt lined case with 2 latches, 1 sticky the other works fine.
    >9) Condition as noted in #2 above.
    >10) See #1 above.
    >11) The craks are modern.
    >12) One bams look like your Modern American set in the photo of FAQ 7a.
    >13) Dragons look like your Modern American set in the photo of FAQ 7a.
    >14) Flowers look like your Modern American set in the photo of FAQ 7a.
    >15) The set has 8 jokers, 6 "regular" and 2 red "big jokers".
    >Thank you in advance for your help with this.
    >Sue H.

    Hello Sue, you wrote:

    There are ... 168 tiles
    You didn't say how many flowers there are. So I have to guess that there are more than 8. From the photo, maybe 24.

    The set has 8 jokers, 6 "regular" and 2 red "big jokers".
    I can't tell for certain from your photos, but it looks to me like those two are stickered.

    The dark green long case is in fair to good shape Ė a bit moldy/smelly and felt backing peeling up at the corners a bit. The Chip holders are slightly rusty.
    That's bad.

    I believe the tiles are Bakelite
    I've never seen bakelite tiles look that white. They must not be bakelite. Take another look at FAQ 7C and also 7C3. Maybe alite, maybe casein.

    What do you estimate as the value
    Well, it's a fixer-upper, but it's serviceable. My assumption (based on how you presented your information) is that you're planning to sell it. I recommend that you throw away the paper photocopied NMJL card, and when you write your sales pitch, mention the flower count and that two of the jokers are stickered (and take a closeup picture of them). You might want to try removing the rust, or maybe it's best to sell it as is and let the buyer do that. You should try the odor-removing tips in FAQ 7O (seven oh). The NMJL cards have their own value - you should sell them separately from the set.
    You shouldn't sell the set for less than $90. You might get up to $150, hard to say.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 28, 2012


    FAQs about teaching, part 3

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 2:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: RE: your answer to my FAQ about teaching mah jongg Part 2. I found the emails I was asking about (9/29/2011, 10/3 & 10/6/2011 from Lynn M.). I didnít know about F control buttons!! The words "teach" even were highlighted in yellow every time they were found!! I also found some other interesting Q&Aís. I do have one questions: You told a letter writer to look under FAQ - 8e and 8b which I did. It concerned general strategies in mah jongg and began "Develop a poker face..." then "Learn 3 stages: develop, attack, defend...". They were very interesting but can they be used with American mah jongg too?
    >Thank you for all your teaching info, info about F control, "RD & WW", your answers to everybodyís mah jongg questions and the great Strategy column. You have made me one happy mah jongg player! Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    "Develop a poker face..." then "Learn 3 stages: develop, attack, defend...". They were very interesting but can they be used with American mah jongg too?
    Yes. I teach these to my American mahj students just as I do to my students of other types of mah-jongg.

    Thank you
    You're welcome.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 27, 2012


    My Mah Jongg Memoirs

    >From: "mystory@mahjonggmemoirs.com
    >Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 6:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Memoirs - a new e-zine
    >Hi there,
    >A fan of yours suggested I contact you. Recently, my family celebrated my
    >mother's 81st birthday with a tribute site I designed for her called "Mah
    >Jongg Memoirs." My mom has been playing mah jongg for 70 years.
    >The site is at:
    >http://mahjonggmemoirs.com
    >I am hoping to expand "Mah Jongg Memoirs" beyond my mom's friends and
    >family to invite submissions from all avid players who have a particular
    >memory they'd like to share about growing up in a mah jongg home, or the
    >friendships they've built around the game, and/or any other stories they'd
    >like to share about the game & what it's meant to them.
    >I am writing to see if you'd be willing to help me reach out to others for
    >submissions by perhaps posting pieces of this to your Q&A board. I confess
    >to not being a mah jongg player myself (I know how to play, but no longer
    >do so regularly), but know how much it would mean to my mom and others
    >like her to build such a collection of memoirs. My mom rarely gets out of
    >the house anymore except - you guessed it - to play mah jongg!
    >Please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions.
    >Thanks much,
    >Lisa Calderone
    >Daughter of "Mah Jongg Millie"

    Hi Lisa,
    Okay, it's posted. I don't think anything (^_^), so I don't have any suggestions.
    May the tiles be with you and your mom.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 27, 2012


    An interesting mahjong set, part 3

    >From: Michael Stanwick
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 4:06 PM
    >Subject: Re: An interesting mahjong set
    >Hello Tom.
    >As regards to Dan Glimne's interesting set [below].
    >The set itself is actually a very standard MJ set, with four extra tiles your correspondent has correctly identified and pointed out.
    >You are quite correct IMO regarding the sinograms for the green 'dragon' and the 'wan/crack' character and also the 'winds/directions'. They are just very stylized versions. Almost like a very extreme form of 'grass script'.
    >Of interest is the fact that the tiles are not dovetailed. I have seen perhaps four or five of this type of tile connection and indeed have two in my collection.
    >Good to hear from you.
    >Regards
    >Michael Stanwick

    Cheers, Michael!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    February 25, 2012


    My set

    >From: Rebecca A
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 8:45 AM
    >Subject: Mah-jongg set
    >Good Morning
    >I have a Mah-Jongg Set which belonged to my Grandparents and i would like to know the where it is from, the age, material and approximate value - not for sale just for information. My grandparents lived in the Philippines in the mid 50's so we assume it came from there. My parents remember playing the game in the late 60's early 70's but they do not remember when or where it was purchased.
    >The Set includes:
    >144 Tiles. Dimension: H- 3cm, W- 2.2cm, D- 1.5cm with rounded corners. The basic 136 set is complete with 8 flowers. No jokers, no blanks.
    >Tiles are yellow with a green back - assuming Bakelite but would like that confirmed. When held to the light the edges have a translucent quality about them. The thickness of the yellow top is 1 cm with a .5cm green back.
    >Bams, Dots, Craks, Winds are marked with Roman letters and Arabic Numbers
    >Flowers/Seasons - 4 are marked with Arabic numbers and 4 are marked with Chinese characters
    >Dragons - red and green are Chinese characters, white is a black frame
    >There are 3 dice - 1.1cm square with rounded edges. The one and four are red - the rest of the numbers are black.
    >Condition - Good. There are 10 tiles with crack lines on the face of the tiles but you cannot feel them with your finger tips. One of the 2 Bams is separated from it's back, but we do have both pieces. There are two tiles that have chipped corners.
    >Container - the only container with the set were 4 thin cardboard box bottoms that are in pieces. No labels and no other paper items are with the set.
    >Thank you for any information you can provide.
    >Rebecca

    Hi Rebecca, you asked:

    Where it's from
    Most likely China.

    Its age
    It might have been made in the 50s, 60s, or 70s.

    What it's made of
    Plastic. People often refer to that type as "applejuice" because it looks like applejuice. It might be in the Bakelite family.

    Its value
    You said one of the tiles is separated, two have chipped corners, there's no case. And some of the tiles are much lighter than the others (obviously standing out from the rest in the photo). So, $20 or less. But you never know. A collector who has that same type of tile might want it for replacement parts, or to sticker some tiles to make it playable in American mah-jongg -- such a collector might value it as high as $30 or $40.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2012


    FAQs about teaching, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 12:53 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Re: my early morning email about FAQ about teaching mah jongg. Thanks you for such a quick response. My first entry was just a comment with no question.
    >My second asked how I can get to earlier Q & A emails without having to scroll back through all the newer ones. I thought I had read questions and comments in a couple of emails to you from a lady mah jongg teacher and also your answers/tips for teaching new players the game of mah jongg.
    >Being a former elementary teacher my method would be hands-on learning with ditto sheets explaining tiles, etc. according to "RD&WW" information. Then learn the card, practice making hands, play, and buy "RD&WW" book. I also would recommend your strategy columns which helped me.
    >Would it really be necessary to set up the walls or could the players just take 13 tiles from the table, follow the guidelines for arranging their rack, and then the other teacher and I could work with them on what tiles to pass for the Charleston? According to many new players I have met selecting tiles to pass in the Charleston and thus selecting a hand to play is the hardest part of the game. They donít seem to understand that the hand you originally select may not be the one you actually end up playing. The majority of new players canít switch from one hand to another if their first hand is dead Ė a lot of times because they pick 2 very different hands to play. Above needs lots of practice before games can actually be played but playing mah jongg together and discussing what was played and why is also necessary. Players should be able to explain why they played the way they did.
    >So... 1. any tips for the teachers to make learning to play mah jongg a good experience for the new players. 2. any easy way to learn the new card? 3. and any way to find former emails on your Q&A site without constant scrolling? Hope the above makes sense and if not please help. Thanks, Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn, you...

    asked how I can get to earlier Q & A emails without having to scroll back through all the newer ones.
    Yes, I know you did. I was trying to avoid the question when I told you that I didn't think those conversations would have much to inform you. But maybe they will. The reason I was trying to avoid it is because teaching you how to use your internet browser is a lot harder than answering the other questions you ask. I don't know what browser you use (and I don't want to know). You can try this:
    - Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page and click to go back to the previous page of Q&A.
    - Use your browser's Find function (it is probably control-F) and see if the word "teach" is anywhere on the page.
    - If it isn't, repeat the process (scroll down, click back further, Find again).
    - Keep doing that until you find the conversation you're looking for.
    It's too much work for me to go find them for you.

    Would it really be necessary to set up the walls or could the players just take 13 tiles from the table,
    That's what I do at the beginning (after I teach them all tile identification by having them build the Big Square as shown in my book) - I just turn all the tiles face-down and mix a little, pick from a pile. Wall-building takes too much time and isn't fun, so I save that until after they've at least had a chance to play a little first.

    then the other teacher and I could work with them on what tiles to pass for the Charleston?
    I never teach people about the card during the first lesson. Much too steep a learning curve. I teach them the basics of play without it. I have them make hands of four pungs and a pair (of anything) to get started.

    According to many new players I have met selecting tiles to pass in the Charleston and thus selecting a hand to play is the hardest part of the game.
    Absolutely! I don't get to that until lesson 2. I want them to have fun before I hit'em with the hard stuff.

    any tips for the teachers to make learning to play mah jongg a good experience for the new players.
    Get them playing as quickly as possible. Don't explain all the complications of play up front -- layer the complexities on bit by bit, when necessitated by events that occur during play.

    any easy way to learn the new card?
    No. But try this: spread out all the tiles face-up on the table. Walk the students through the card, have them make a 2012 hand, a 2468 hand, a Quints hand, etc. Explain all the stuff they need to know (the color-coding means this must be a two-suit hand, with the lower two numbers in one suit and the latter two numbers in a second suit, the parenthetical says any number, dragons go with suits this way, etc.)

    any way to find former emails on your Q&A site without constant scrolling?
    Use control-F (assuming your browser supports control-F and you don't have a Mac) and Find the word "teach".

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2012


    FAQs about teaching

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 6:44 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: 1. Playing American mah jongg yesterday this happened: Player A called a flower and exposed it and 3 flowers. The next round she picked from the wall and called mah jongg. She displayed hand #5 under Winds-Dragons and said we all owed her $.60 (self-picked). Player B was ready to pay up, C was confused and I said she was dead since she had exposed on a concealed hand. She said that since nobody could tell what hand she was playing when she exposed the flowers and she got the rest of the tiles herself what she did was allowed. I read her the definition of concealed hand on page 232 of "Red Dragon & West Wind". The other two agreed with me and she stopped playing.
    >2. A mah jongg player and I have decided to teach a beginning mah jongg class to 4 new players. We plan to use your book, strategy columns, Q&A and other information I have. I remember reading your comments in a couple of emails to a lady who was teaching 14 ladies to play. Is there any way I can find those emails other than scrolling through all the other ones and also how do I find any strategy columns pertaining to teaching mah jongg that you may have written? Can you add any other suggestions to the information you provided to that other teacher?
    >"RD&WW" is getting a lot of use in my 3 mah jongg groups especially the newest one. Great book!!! Thanking you in advance for your help, Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn,
    I don't have any FAQs or columns about teaching. Since your class will consist of 4 students, you don't need my tip for how to handle 14 students. What is your plan -- how do you plan to teach the students?
    By the way, your #1 was handled correctly (Player A was rightly called dead), and I didn't see a question you needed answered.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2012


    When can you pick? (part 2)

    >From: Janet D
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 1:31 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you for pointing out my vague request about "picking/looking ahead."
    >If you don't mind my restating my request, and what I should have asked is, in a NMJL tournament what is your definition of "picking or looking ahead?"
    >I am not offended by your reader enjoyment humor, but I must admit I feel a bit sheepish.
    >Again, thank you for sharing your knowledge and helping others through making this website available.
    >Janet D

    Hi Janet,
    Okay, I get it now. You're wondering what exactly would get you called dead for picking ahead in a tournament. I see that FAQ 19R doesn't exactly state this, so I'll add this clarification to the FAQ.
    In a tournament, you'll be called dead for "picking ahead" if you take a tile from the wall during another player's turn (after she has taken a 14th tile into her hand, and before she has divested herself of the 14th tile).
    "Looking ahead" is not applicable, since it's only possible to "look ahead" if one is able to "pick ahead" -- so since picking ahead is not allowed, looking ahead isn't an issue.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 24, 2012


    Looking for a completely different kind (part 4 - thanks!)

    >From: Annette B
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 9:24 AM
    >Subject: Got to thank you!
    >All went well at my first training session as an hearing impaired person - with Linda and her group, so thanks for your feedback/website!
    >Annette

    I'm so glad you achieved a good result, Annette. May you enjoy mah-jongg for a long time. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 24, 2012


    An interesting mahjong set, part 2

    >From: Dan Glimne
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 2:37 AM
    >Subject: Re: An interesting mahjong set
    >Saw that you posted the pictures of my Laos set on your bulletin board -- much appreciated! But in that reduced format the graphically most interesting tiles do not show up clearly enough, so I've appended a closeup of the Winds, the Green Dragon and the 1 and 9 of Characters -- could you please also put this picture on your bulletin board, Tom? And could any of your readers please tell me what the "Green Dragon" pictogram means, and the main Character pictogram as well?
    >Best regards once more!
    >- Dan

    >From: Dan Glimne
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 2:41 AM
    >Subject: Re: The Laos set
    >P.S. I forgot to add that although the game was clearly made in Vietnam, the owner said that it was intended for the Laos market (and us curious collectors, of course...). Could that have something to do with the odd pictogram designs?
    >Best again,
    >- Dan

    Hi Dan,
    To reply to a couple of your points:

    could any of your readers please tell me what the "Green Dragon" pictogram means, and the main Character pictogram as well?
    They look to me like stylized renditions of the usual "fa" and "wan" characters of regular tile sets:

    although the game was clearly made in Vietnam, the owner said that it was intended for the Laos market (and us curious collectors, of course...). Could that have something to do with the odd pictogram designs?
    Sounds plausible to me, but I have never been to Vietnam or Laos myself. Perhaps a reader can share some insights.

    May the tiles information be with you. SkŚl,
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 24, 2012


    When can you pick?

    >From: Janet D
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 7:02 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: :
    >SUBJECT: "Picking Ahead" or "Looking Ahead".
    >I've searched and researched the American MJ section "[19]A" including "[19]AD" and FAQ 19 and also reread the NMJL rule book Mah Jongg Made Easy, but still not able to satisfactorily find the answer to my question.
    >In a tournament situation when is the next player allowed to pick their tile?
    >1. As soon as the discarder correctly names the tile even if it is still in the air? or
    >2. When the tile is actually placed on the table?
    >My person feeling is #2, but as said before I wasn't able to find any specific wording and some tournament players may interrupt it otherwise since once it is named correctly it is a downed tile.
    >Your help is appreciated,
    >Janet

    I always feel like a failure when somebody says that my explanations aren't clear enough. Janet, you wrote:

    when is the next player allowed to pick their tile?
    After the previous player's discard is fully "down," and then allowing enough time for another player to call the discard.

    As soon as the discarder correctly names the tile even if it is still in the air?
    That would be aggressive and unkind to the other players, don't you think? The other players deserve a moment to react and claim the discard.

    Or When the tile is actually placed on the table?
    Why not take a breath, allow one second to pass, before snatching that tile from the wall so then you can pickandrack without being aggressively unkind to the other players? You said you read FAQ 19AD, but that it still wasn't clear. So I feel like a failure at explaining basic things.

    some tournament players may interrupt it
    What, you mean call for the discard? That's what they're supposed to do. If someone needs that discard, does she not have a right to call it? Is that what the problem is here, that you think people shouldn't call a discard if it's your turn to pick from the wall? If everybody at your tournament table played that way, when would you ever be able to call a discard? People need to be able to call a discard!

    SUBJECT: "Picking Ahead" or "Looking Ahead".
    You didn't ask anything about picking or looking ahead. Did you have a question about picking or looking ahead that you forgot to ask?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2012


    An interesting mahjong set

    >From: Dan Glimne
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 9:17 AM
    >Subject: An interesting mahjong set
    >Dear Tom-san,
    >I trust life is good? ...I thought you might enjoy seeing a game I acquired now in January while on a trip to Laos (and Cambodia). There in Laos, in an "artisan shop" in the capital Vientiane one evening, I by happenstance ran across a graphically interesting mahjong game which the shop owner said was hand-made in Vietnam (there seem to be very little local manufacturing going on in Laos itself, according to him). It is a 152-tile set including four blank tiles and the Rat-Cat-Worm-Rooster ŗ la Singapore, with the tiles being 30 mms x 22 mms x 12,5 mms; they are made from a layer of engraved bone (about 2,5 mms thick) attached onto some kind of reddish hard wood -- the owner was unsure of exactly what sort of wood. As you can see the bone pieces rather vary in colour from fairly white to a darkish yellow, and the craftsmanship is in no way outstanding, though acceptable.
    >But what really made me want to include the game in my collection was the unusual designs on the tiles: in particular the Green Dragon, the Character tiles and the Winds, which do not look anything like in the previous 50+ sets in my collection. Have you seen anything like it before? Please feel free to pass around the pictures and post them wherever you like, any feedback on them is bound to be informative!
    >All the best from wintry Sweden,
    >- Dan

    Hi Dan,
    Nice to hear from you. Long time no see! Your set is indeed interesting. †I haven't seen anything like it before (I mean graphically, as you say). †Thanks for sharing! Cheers and†SkŚl, and may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2012


    Dan is 2nd from right, in blue shirt. Photo from The 2005 Open European Mah-Jongg Championship


    Is it fair?

    >From: Brian H
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 3:36 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Tim:
    > Excellent site; it has given me some clues about a maj-jongg set I found, but I do have questions. I'm attaching pictures.
    > I think the set is Chinese, from the 1920s; am I close?
    > I think the tiles are wood, maybe bamboo; what do you think?
    > I found this in a local "antique" store, and they're asking $175; is that a fair price? It'd probably be a gift for someone who already has a nice mah-jongg set, so the lack of jokers may not be a problem.
    > The questionnaire is below.
    > Please use the pictures as you please.
    >Thanks,
    >Brian
    >1. Detailed list: Box with carving (the "lid" is on the front and slides up and off) and five drawers (dovetailed corners), 144 tiles, 2x rulers, sticks and chips that I didn't count. Tiles have western indices.
    >2. Condition: Box fair, tiles and other pieces good.
    >3. Tile material: wood; bamboo, maybe?
    >4. History: No known history, but I may be able to get some information.
    >5. Tile dimensions: I didn't measure, but approximately 1" x 3/4" or 7/8" wide and 7/16" thick.
    >6. Number of tiles: 144. Complete, no jokers, 8 flowers.
    >7. Other pieces: 144 tiles, 2x rulers, sticks and chips that I didn't count.
    >8. Wooden box, carved on the lid. Lid is on the front and slides up and off. Five drawers. No brass. Dummy (me) only took a picture of the lid.
    >9. Fair condition; has taken a few licks.
    >10. No paper materials.
    >11. Older craks.
    >12. Pictures attached.
    >13. Pictures attached.
    >14. Pictures attached.
    >15. No jokers.

    Hi Brian, you wrote:

    I think the set is Chinese, from the 1920s; am I close?
    Probably the 1920s, yes. But most likely made in America.

    I think the tiles are wood, maybe bamboo; what do you think?
    I think they're celluloid AKA "French ivory" (a plastic). Read FAQ 7C.

    they're asking $175; is that a fair price?
    For a nice-looking celluloid set in great condition, that would be an excellent price (from the buyer's perspective).

    Condition: Box fair, tiles and other pieces good... Dummy (me) only took a picture of the [box's] lid [and not the box itself]... No paper materials.
    Then $175 seems a bit high. But if the giftee would adore it, and you can afford it... [shrug]

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2012


    Tiles For The Sight-Impaired

    >From: "RadkoW
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 3:01 PM
    >Subject: mah jong set for the inpaired
    >please tell me where i can find a complete set for my mom with oversized tiles....her sight is getting worse and she fears that soon she wont be able to see.. the tiles......i have heard there are sets available....where are they i have tried.......

    Hi Radko,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    In fact, when I replied to Richard F who asked about "Vintage sets with large indices" on Monday, February 6†(below), I'd completely forgotten that I'd already written an FAQ on the subject. Please scroll up and read Frequently Asked Question 7S. The FAQs are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the FAQ 7S link and click it. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2012


    Looking for a completely different kind (part 3)

    >From: Annette B
    >Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 6:27 PM
    >Subject: Re: PERSONAL ? Reason why....
    >I thought you'd use discretion with name I put down when you make mail public.
    >But I was satisfied with your answers, which was just what I expected.
    >I'll explain why I said to you, 'I didn't want to write to you' ......it was because I know players may not want to be burdened with deaf learners, never mind new players, and I thought you can find a solution, other than my looking randomly for some teacher out there.
    >Your idea was great to have a group of deaf players, but unfortunately I know only one deaf person who is not interested.
    >Thanks anyway
    >Annette

    Well, Annette, my suggestion was that you be kind of an "activist," and get people interested. It's the best way I can think of to solve the problem you presented.
    May you find mah-jongg happiness...
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 2, 2012


    That was supposed to be just between me and you!!

    >From: Annette B
    >Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 5:36 PM
    >Subject: PERSONAL ????
    >Did you put the person's name I mentioned on the site ? when I was writing just to you asking HOW I can get help as a deaf person learning Mah Jongg? You can't burden other players with that ?
    >Annette

    Annette,
    My privacy policy is clearly stated here on my website. You can see it above:

      Privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential.

    If you had wanted your email to be confidential, you should have said so. I would have told you "I don't do that."
    I regret that you are unhappy about this incident, but I stand by my policy. I hope you find what you're looking for.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 17, 2012


    Looking for a completely different kind of teaching accommodation

    >From: Annette B
    >Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 2:45 PM
    >Subject: a future MAH JONGG player ?
    >Dear Tom,
    >I didn't want to write to you but had to, just to find a teacher or a patient player....... because of the reason below..... I want someone to be prepared. I wrote to a Linda Fisher but she didn't answer yet. I live in Little Neck, near Great Neck/Nassau border.
    >I don't know anyone who would want to learn Mah Jongg, but know one retired friend like myself who lives in Bayside (already knows part of it) but there is a problem, I speak well, but never learned sign language and lip read well because I am hearing impaired. I'm retired myself after 40 yrs of working. I communicate just fine dealing with over 48 co workers (I was a secretary for the govt)
    > Can I have tutor to just have me WATCH a game going on so he/she can explain to me (quietly) how it works but the players would have to go slow, right?. I'm trying to think of a way I can catch on because I have to look at teacher's lips and then look at the tiles. Geez, the normally speaking deaf have it so hard (in fact I'm writing a book about the many painful situations) because people truly don't understand.
    >I know this email will be different for you.
    >Sincerely
    >Annette

    Hello Annette, you wrote:

    I didn't want to write to you
    What a mysterious thing to say!

    Can I have tutor to just have me WATCH a game going on so he/she can explain to me (quietly) how it works but the players would have to go slow, right?.
    I sincerely doubt that's going to be easy to arrange -- no group of experienced players is going to "go slow" just for a raw learner. Why don't you just try contacting every teacher and player in your area, explain your need, and see if something can be arranged. Use FAQ 4A and the Find Players/Teachers Bulletin Board. See links above left. But before you attend a lesson, you should read a good book on the type of mah-jongg you want to learn.

    Another challenge you'll face will be playing (once you have gained the necessary learning). It's expected that players speak certain moves, and hear other players' verbalizations. It wouldn't be unreasonable to set up a group in which the other players work with you to come up with ways to accomplish game communications somehow, but you probably wouldn't find a lot of mobility (you could find difficulty getting multiple groups willing to accommodate your special need). You can probably overcome that by setting up your own group, of other hard of hearing people who want to learn and play.

    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 17, 2012


    Looking for tile images or fonts

    >From: Jenny C
    >Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Looking for a set of images for the American mah jongg tile set. Specifically, images for use in word documents. Maybe even a mah jongg tile font equivalent to wing dings.

    Hi Jenny,
    All I have for you are the links in FAQ 5 under "other mah-jongg downloads." (Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this .) Also you can try http://lmgtfy.com/?q=mah+jong+fonts.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 17, 2012


    Considering a PSP game

    >From: Jeni I
    >Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 8:21 PM
    >Subject: Re: mj 4 hands
    >Thanks so much for keeping up the MJ site, it's been so useful to me over the years.
    >I have a question, has anyone reviewed the Japanese PSP mahjong game, " AI Mahjong "? I wanted to get it, but know almost no japanese (well except for how it might sound in a 4 hand game) .. link at http://www.amazon.com/PSP-AI-Mahjong-Japanese-Version-Sony/dp/B001HOOPOU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329450586&sr=8-1
    >thanks much, and keep up the good work.
    >From: Jeni I
    >To: Jeni I
    >Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 7:20 AM
    >Subject: mj 4 hands
    >http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq05.htm

    Hi Jeni,
    I see people reviewing Japanese mah-jongg games a lot at ReachMahjong. They have a forum for discussion of "Mahjong video games." http://www.reachmahjong.com/en/forum/viewforum.php?f=1 8&sid=b959b09ac14379dac99550bc27e012c2
    But you say you aren't comfortable with Japanese (the language)? These Japanese games can take a while to figure out. The thing to do is just keep plugging away -- try all the menu options until you find one that does something you like, and figure out a way to remember how to get to that one.
    I don't have a mah-jongg game on my PSP. I like Mahjong Fight Club on my DS, and I tried a handful of things on the iPhone until I hit upon Jankyou. Well, okay, so I've installed it but haven't spent much time with it yet...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 16, 2012


    Mush, you husky!

    >From: "EchoEcho46
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 7:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I have played mah jongg for many years, but have never heard the term 'mushing'. What is that exactly?!?!?
    >Thank you for your time.
    >Paula

    Hello, Paula.
    People have asked me about "mushing" three times in the past 5 years:

      Mushing, revisited
      >From: "RgPgs
      >Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 5:37:17 AM (bulletinbd-archive10.htm)

      Several Frequently Asked Questions
      >From: John and Sue H
      >Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2009 10:17:50 AM (bulletinbd-archive10.htm)

      What is this "mush," you husky?
      >From: JEAN B
      >Sent: Friday, December 2, 2011 3:58 PM
      >Subject: unknown term "mushing" (bulletinbd-archive20.htm)

    To me, "mushing" might mean the same thing as "shuffling" (the mixing of the tiles before building the walls). But most people who use the term probably use it the same way the term "mish" is used -- as defined in my book:

      MISH
      Some groups seem to enjoy dancing more than others. Two Charlestons and a courtesy aren't enough for these folks, so they permit an additional exchange of tiles. Under this table rule, players place any desired amount of unwanted tiles in the middle of the table and "mish" them around. Then everyone takes back the same number of tiles they'd put in.

    For the rules on table rules, read FAQ 14. You can click the FAQ 14 link above left.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 15, 2012


    A "change of heart" question (FAQ 19AM)

    >From: Dorothy
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 5:32 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player calls Mah-jongg after calling for a tile and placing that tile ON the rack and then realizes he called for the wrong tile, is his hand dead? No other tiles were exposed.
    >I read that a person can call and place a tile on the rack and then change their mind and replace the tile on the table without penalty but donít know if calling Mah-jongg while calling for the tile changes the result.

    Hello Dorothy,
    This is almost, but not quite, the same as the question titled "Mah-jongg! Oh, wait....," From: philellen, Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 11:16 PM (below).
    In your question, though, the caller didn't expose anything from the hand. That means you've asked Frequently Asked Question 19AM -- a "Change Of Heart" question. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    I ASSUME YOUR QUESTION IS ABOUT AMERICAN mah-jongg. You should read both FAQ 19AM and the reply to philellen's Feb. 7 question below.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 15, 2012


    Chicken hand

    >From: Bob K
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 8:28 AM
    >Subject: a mahjong question
    >Q. clarification of "chicken hand"
    >Is this interpretation correct?
    >A "chicken hand" is made up of 4 chows and a pair (not to include honor tiles).
    >One of the chows must be a terminal chow and the pair must be the corresponding terminal of that same suit.
    >If the above is not correct, please explain a "chicken hand."
    >thank you

    Hello Bob,
    The definition of "chicken hand" depends on several things:
    Which variant you play
    What your book says
    What your group says and agrees on

    I never heard of this thing you wrote:

    >One of the chows must be a terminal chow and the pair must be the corresponding terminal of that same suit.

    That may be the case, if somebody told you this. It's probably the way he was taught, or the way he played it back home in the old country. Read FAQ 14.

    My understanding of "chicken hand" (in general - not per a written ruleset, like MCR) is that it's whatever hand you can make that is worth either (a) no points or 0 fan, or (b) only 1 fan, when the group is playing for a 2-fan minimum.
    Since I don't remember which variant you play, I don't have a firm answer for you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    V.D., 2012


    Broken link

    From: Grant C
    Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012 1:44 PM
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Hi, Tom
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I was reading your faq 7c3 re: plastics, and found that the link to the Casein formaldehyde plastic article cited in Gina's email dated 04 Aug 2003 is outdated. The plastics museum link is now
    http://museo.cannon.com/museo/inglese/eplasti.htm
    rather than
    http://www.sandretto.it/museonew/UKmuseo/
    in case anyone wishes to follow up on the history of various types of plastic.
    You have an awesome site here. Thanks so much for maintaining it!
    Grant

    Grant!
    Thank you very much for finding the new location of that information. I've fixed FAQ 7C3, thanks to you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 13, 2012


    Frequently Asked Question 19E

    >From: Vanessa S
    >Sent: Sunday, February 12, 2012 2:50 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: can you use joker for the zero in 2011

    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19E. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 12, 2012


    Could it POSSIBLY be that we have to double... then double AGAIN????? (FAQ 19W)

    >From: "mastrojp
    >Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2012 1:54 PM
    >Subject: Maj-jongg
    >If Maj-jongg is called and hand exposed is jokerless, or natural, a double bonus is awarded. Do all the players pay, even if only one threw the tile for maj-jongg? If the player herself picks the tile and it is a natural, the value is doubled, but do we all pay double as well? Example ; a 25 cent hand is now 50 cents because there are no jokers. The player picks her own. Do we all pay $1 ?
    >Thanks, Pat

    Hello, Pat. You asked two questions:

    1. If Maj-jongg is called and hand exposed is jokerless, or natural, a double bonus is awarded. Do all the players pay, even if only one threw the tile for maj-jongg?

      1. Look on the back of the card. Look at the very top left corner.

        "When a player Mah Jonggs on a discarded tile, DISCARDER pays the winner double value. All other players pay single value."

      And, since it's jokerless (second paragraph on the card, in red text:

        "BONUS: WHEN A PLAYER DECLARES MAH JONGG AND NO JOKERS ARE PART OF THE HAND, A BONUS IS GIVEN: DOUBLE VALUE.")

      Now put those two rules together.

        The score is doubled for the discarder, because she's the discarder.
        The score is doubled for everyone, because the hand is jokerless.

      This means that the discarder pays 100 cents, but the others pay 50 cents.

    2. If the player herself picks the tile and it is a natural, the value is doubled, but do we all pay double as well?

      2. Put two rules together (see the back of the card).

        When a player picks OWN Mah Jongg tile, all players pay double value.
        BONUS: WHEN A PLAYER DECLARES MAH JONGG AND NO JOKERS ARE PART OF THE HAND, A BONUS IS GIVEN: DOUBLE VALUE."

      This means the score is doubled once, and then doubled a second time. Everybody pays 100 cents in this case.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 11, 2012


    FAQ 19M

    >From: Marie F
    >Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2012 11:58 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >It is my turn to pick Ė I first replace a tile for a joker on exposed hand Ė I put the joker in my hand Ė it is still my turn I call for the tile just discarded & then I put up my tiles. I did this by taking the joker Ė am I right in doing this or do I have to pick up or call first before I replace a tile for a joker?
    >Thank you

    Hello Marie, you wrote:
    It is my turn to pick Ė I first replace a tile for a joker
    Wrong! Read Frequently Asked Question 19M. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks! And I recommend you buy a book on mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 11, 2012


    To whom can I take my set for an appraisal in Austin or Scottsdale?

    >From: Lynne and C. Michael
    >Sent: Friday, February 10, 2012 4:32 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: We have a set from my husbands grandmother. The box is made from wood with brass fittings. It has 5 drawers with brass pulls, painted dark green, no velvet lining, so presuming
    >it is NOT ivory, but perhaps bone. The cover slides upward and has the number 154 individually stamped on the inside cover. The overall dimensions of the box are 9 1/2 " wide by 6 3/4" deep by 7 1/4" tall.
    >Brass fittings on box are quite ornate. Is there anyone in Austin Texas or Scottsdale AZ who I could take the set to for an appraisal?? Thank you, Lynne M

    Hello Lynne,
    I do not know of anyone there to whom you can take a set for an appraisal. I can take a stab at it, though, if you read FAQ 7H. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 11, 2012


    Mah-jongg! Oh, wait....

    >From: philellen
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 11:16 PM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >Yesterday a player called a discarded tile for Mah Jong. As she exposed the section of her hand for which she needed the discarded tile, she realized she still needed one more tile for another section. She declared this. The question is, since she did not expose her entire hand, only the section she needed, can she continue to play or her hand dead?
    >An example: she had three 7s and needed 4. She also had 3 flowers and needed a fourth. She called for a discarded flower, declared Mah Jong, then realized she still needed that fourth 7 or a joker. She only exposed the flowers. Thank you in advance. Ellen

    Hi Ellen,
    In un-American forms of mah-jongg, she would be dead for saying "mah-jongg" in error. But in American mah-jongg, since she did not expose more than one completed set (and that set was completed by the discard she called), she can change her call from "mah-jongg" to just "call" ... as long as nobody did anything rash like throw in the hand. Unless this happens at a tournament and a player calls a judge over and the judge rules she's dead.
    There were lots of "ifs" in there. The discard has to complete the one exposed set; no other tiles can be exposed; nobody can throw in her hand; she has to quickly correct her call verbally; if all those conditions are met, and if no tournament judge says she's dead, then she's not dead.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2012


    FAQ 19BK

    >From: Beverly S
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 4:59 PM
    >Subject: betting pay out re rolloing doubles for short wall
    >Hi
    >I was taught that rolling say double three's for the short wall ( or any pairs). would cause all the losing players to pay out double to the winner. Is this just a table rule, or is it part of the betting rules? I can't find any reference to it. and an experienced player in my other group said it was incorrect. Just want to play correctly.
    >Thankyou Bev S

    Hi Bev, you wrote:

    I was taught that rolling say double three's for the short wall ( or any pairs). would cause all the losing players to pay out double to the winner.
    It really irks me when an irresponsible teacher teaches her special little table rules, and doesn't inform the student that they are table rules.

    rolling ... for the short wall
    That's a very strange way of saying "rolling to determine where to break the wall." The purpose of the break is to prevent cheating -- not to create a "short wall."

    Is this just a table rule
    It sure is. If you're interested in knowing more about the rule on table rules, read FAQ 14. You can access the FAQs above left.

    or is it part of the betting rules?
    It has nothing to do with betting. Betting only applies when there is a fifth player. I think the word you mean to use was "scoring."

    I can't find any reference to it
    That's Frequently Asked Question 19BK.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2012


    Vintage sets with large indices

    >From: Richard F
    >Sent: Monday, February 6, 2012 6:09 PM
    >Subject: question
    >Which vintage mah jong set was made with the largest numbers on the tiles?

    Hi Richard,
    I'm sorry, but I don't understand what it is you're really trying to find out with this question. Is it that you want a set with large indices, and you also want it to be a really old set from 90 years ago? Or would you be satisfied with my usual answer to requests for information about sets with large easy-to-read indices?
    Because as far as really old mah-jongg sets go, I have never done an analysis of index size. As far as I know offhand, the indices were all pretty much the same size.
    And I'm not even sure what you mean by "vintage" exactly.
    But I do have this to say about easy-to-read indices:

      Q: My eyesight [or my mom's eyesight] is degenerating. Is there a Mah Jongg set for people with low vision?

      A: Two possible solutions people have asked about: Braille, and Big Numbers (big indices).

      BRAILLE:
      I have seen Braille tiles at the mah-jongg museum in Japan. I believe that the way these tiles were made was by the use of clear stick-on Braille characters (the original engraved characters are still visible through the stick-ons). There is no company manufacturing Braille mah-jongg tiles that I know of, and I don't know where to buy them. I think stickers (labels) are the way to go. I don't know where you can obtain Braille labels offhand, but I'm sure you can find them by asking around at your local Association for the Blind - or on the internet by using Google.

      BIG NUMBERS: (need for my Mom's deteriorating eyesight)
      There are four ways you could go:

      1. KMA Industries carries large-size sets suitable for the visually impaired. And maybe other vendors do too. See vendors list in FAQ 4a. See the item on the KMA site and check out the others too.

      2. Sets with fairly large indices manufactured by "KFC" are available through the Mah Jongg Maven (see FAQ 4a).

      3. You can probably make suitable tiles yourself! A variety of letter/number stickers are available at office supply stores and hardware stores.
      You only need the larger Western characters on the craks and winds, assuming your mom can see the dots and bams OK (she shouldn't try to read the little Western characters, just look at the dots and sticks on the tiles - and she can probably tell the dragons apart OK too).

      4. Another way to go would be to buy two Asian sets (without any Western indices) and have large numbers engraved by Arkay Engravers (they are listed in... you guessed it... FAQ 4a). You have to buy two sets, since those sets never contain more than 148 tiles and you need 152 for American mah-jongg. Or you could get the very large Hong Kong style tiles for even more enhanced ease of reading. Big racks may or may not be available for those big tiles - see the vendors in, you know, FAQ 4a.


      From left to right: Japanese, American, Hong Kong, and Vietnamese tiles. From FAQ 7a

    I don't know if I've answered the question you had in mind, Richard. I hope I have.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 6, 2012


    Who goes next after a player epic-fails?

    >From: Deborah C
    >Sent: Monday, February 6, 2012 7:33 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If someone calls a tile and then is called dead, where does the next play start? Does it continue from the dead hand or after the original thrower?

    Hi Deborah,
    The player who called a discard made a play. The fact that she was called dead afterwards does not change the fact that she made a play. The person to the right of the last player who made a play goes next.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 6, 2012


    FAQ 19M

    >From: Elaine B
    >Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2012 2:09 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: can I exchange a joker for a tile on my own rack.
    >Sent from my iPad

    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19M. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 5, 2012
    Sent from my desktop


    I want to sell it but not on eBay

    >From: Natalie F
    >Cc: Melody_41
    >Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2012 12:49 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have a maj jongg set with 2 books *Wright Patterson Rules* 1947 and 1948. 1 book Wright Patterson undated.
    >The set is in a dark green leather heavy box with brass fittings and a dark brown plastic handle. It is lined with heavy nylon material.
    >I think there are 142 tiles and I have 4 flowers. These tiles are some type of plastic dark gold in excellent condition. I do not understand all the
    >symbols. I donít know what a bam or a pung or a 4 wind is. I donít how identify the tiles. I did not see a chart with symbols. Think these are bakelite.
    >Do not smell like plastic.
    >Has 5 racks heavy maroon plastic there are 16 button type things on 2 hooks on the end of the racks. Also has 4 laminated *cheat sheet* looking
    >cards about 2x12 all rows of numbers.
    >I live in Houston, Texas. How can I find out what this worth and how do I sell it??? not on ebay.
    >Please advise, and thanks so much for your assistance.
    >Natalie

    Hello, Natalie. You wrote:

    I think there are 142 tiles and I have 4 flowers.
    You should count again and be sure. And don't give two numbers, forcing people to do math. Give one number, with a breakdown. (For example, "142 total tiles, including only 4 flower tiles instead of 8.")

    I do not understand all the
    >symbols. I donít know what a bam or ... a 4 wind is. I donít how identify the tiles. I did not see a chart with symbols.
    If you want to know how to do that, and you want to see pictures, look in FAQ 7B. You can access the FAQs above left.

    I donít know what a ... pung ... is.
    If you want to know that, read FAQs 6 and 10.

    Think these are bakelite.
    >Do not smell like plastic.
    There are lots of different plastics, and they don't all smell the same. Read FAQ 7C.

    I live in Houston, Texas.
    No problem!

    How can I find out what this worth
    Read FAQ 7H.

    and how do I sell it??? not on ebay.
    You could post an announcement on my Sets For Sale bulletin board (link above left) or you could hold a garage sale / yard sale or try to sell it to a consignment shop or auction house or something. eBay is the fastest most efficient way to get it sold that I know of.

    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 5, 2012


    The 2012 AMJA card

    >From: Art/Fran B
    >Sent: Saturday, February 4, 2012 2:02 PM
    >Subject: AMJA 2012 card
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for your website and column, it has proven to be invaluable to me. I just received my 2012 card from the AMJA and was delighted to see you were the editor. Do you have any strategy suggestions/tips on playing these hands. Itís my first using the associationís card.
    >Thanks,
    >Fran

    Hi Fran,
    Yes, my name is listed on the card as "editor." I received one preliminary version of the card's design, and sent back feedback on it. But I don't know how much of my feedback was incorporated, and I haven't seen the finished printed card yet. When I do receive it, I'll write a column on what to look for.
    But in general, the strategy one should use is fairly independent of the card. The strategies outlined in FAQ 8 still apply.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 5, 2012


    More kards in the house

    >From: Nicholas C
    >Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 7:27 PM
    >Subject: New makers of Mahjong kards
    >Hi Tom:
    >You may want to add a new maker of Mahjong kards to your FAQ 7i.
    >Winning Moves Games has come out recently (probably as early as October 2011) with Gold Standard Edition Mahjongg kards.
    >There are 156 kards in each deck, but 4 of those kards are advertisement kards, leaving the deck with 152 kards (that's 136 + 8 flowers/seasons + 8 jokers), enough to play the American style of Mahjong.
    >The rules are a bit odd since one set of rules allow 4 cards to a chow also (so, that 3-4-5-6 of bamboo is a legal sequence).
    >Also, there are a few peculiarities with these kards:
    >1. The 3 bamboo is not all green (there is a red stick) on the 3 bamboo kards.
    >2. The 1 bamboo is a peacock perched on a single bamboo stick, and is mostly green with some blue in there (but no red).
    >3. The East wind kards have the simplified Chinese character for East instead of the traditional Chinese character for East.
    >4. All the Character suit cards have the old Chinese/Japanese for "ten thousand" on them.
    >5. The White dragon kards have a "0" index on the corners, but not a B/P index.
    >6. The Flowers and Seasons kards all have a "F" index on the corners, with a "1, 2, 3, 4" below the "F." However, the season kards themselves will have what season on it on the kard itself - the non-season flower kards will not.
    >Also, if one wants to play Japanese style mahjong with akapai, one will have to mark with a permanent marker some of the (usually) fives to distinguish the "red" versions from the "non red" versions - or just simply play without the akapai.
    >Thank you again.
    >Nicholas

    Hi Nicholas,
    Great, thanks! I'll add that. Good to hear from you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    2-2, 2012


    Dibs on the dead player's jokers!

    >From: Sandy E
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 2:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: What happens to the jokers in a hand of a player who erroneously calls mah jonng and exposes all her tiles. Can the jokers be exchanged by the players who are still left in the game?

    Hello Sandy,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19P. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2012


    Gluing bamboo/bone tiles, part 2

    >From: Tony W
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 1:07 PM
    >Subject: Re: Gluing bamboo/bone tiles.
    >Tom, thanks for your quick response!
    >To clarify, Titebond do a hide glue, same as cow gum, that can be heat-softened at a later date (similar stuff that luthiers use to glue violins).
    >PVA is poly vinyl acetate, your normal white woodworking glue / school gum - I'm guessing that this is the same as Elmer's ???
    >Aliphatic Resin or yellow glue is similar to PVA, but has more initial grab.
    >I'm guessing that I'll try the Hide Glue, at least if I cock-up, then I'll be able to adjust it later! I'll report back with results...
    >Best regards, and thanks again.
    >Tony.

    Sounds good, Tony. I used to be a model maker 30 years ago, but that was all plastics. I've never been a carpenter, nor an antiques restorer. Sounds to me like you know more about the glues than I do!
    Cheers. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2012


    Gluing bamboo/bone tiles

    >From: Tony W
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 12:27 PM
    >Subject: Gluing bamboo/bone tiles.
    >Hi Tom, I just acquired an old (1920-ish) bone & bamboo Mah Jong set that's in a pretty bad way, although it's an interesting set, having the 'bamboo shoot' #1Bam.
    >Most of the tiles are separating and can be completely split apart.
    >I've read FAQ 7o, but it doesn't really answer my question, which is:-
    >???What glue should I use???
    >I'm drawn to cow glue, as that is what I imagine would have been the original, Titebond do something that looks OK, but I've not used it???
    >Hot glue seems to be an option ???
    >I've used epoxy on bakelite tiles with mixed results, so want to avoid that.
    >How about PVA???
    >Any suggestions/ advice will be most welcome!
    >--
    >Best Regards
    >Tony W
    >Newcastle-upon-Tyne
    >UK

    Hi Tony,
    I have not glued any bone/bamboo tiles myself, but if I did, I would use Elmer's glue. But that formulation, while very effective for the materials, is not "historically correct." (That said, it is still what I would use.)
    Do NOT use hot glue! That stuff is not permanent, and not sticky enough.
    I would not use epoxy, since there are other glues - white glues like Elmer's, carpenter glues with a slightly yellowish tinge - that are more suited to carpentry-like needs such as this one.
    I don't know what PVA is.
    I don't know exactly what Titebond is or cow glue (but I assume Elmer's is like cow's glue). I assume cow glue is okay.
    There are glue tips from past correspondents in FAQ 7O (that's seven oh, not seventy). You can access the FAQs above left.
    Cheers! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2012


    Beijing Style, part 3

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 9:03 AM
    >Subject:
    >Sorry for not following your protocol in responding: my mind just went off thinking of ways to make it more palpable for college students.
    >I never thought CC scoring was too hard. My friends are really smart though, so nothing is really to complicated for them.
    >in question form:
    >What are the special hands Mahe mentioned? What are the tiles in hand needed? I've never heard of "Inside straight on a five" for instance.
    >And thanks for info on wild tiles, I'm not sure how it would work either.

    Hi Joe, okay. Now I get it. Here are some pictures.

    Seven Pairs: (I'm sure the name is self-explanatory but I figured as long as I'm illustrating hands, I might as well be complete)

    Pure Straight:

    Inside Straight On A Five: (when the five is the wait, that is to say, the tile needed for mah-jongg)

    Hope that helps!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2012


    Can she do that??

    >From: krooznuts3
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 10:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:I discarded and called the name of the tile, we started talking and then back to the game. I discarded again thinking I hadn't discarded. Someone called for the second discard for Mah Jongg. I was dead. Can they call the second discard as it was in error? Thank You !
    >Kris S
    >krooznuts3

    Good morning, Kris.
    Somebody said mah-jongg. Mah-jongg trumps everything. The fact that you were in the wrong for discarding anything doesn't only mean that you're dead. It also means that you have to pay for everyone. (You pay four times the value of the hand to the winner, and nobody else pays the winner but you.) Same principle as FAQ 19AY. Click the FAQ 19 link above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2012


    Beijing Style, part 2

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:25 PM
    >Subject: Beijing Mahjong
    >I figured it could work like: quarter a point, and I figured something like: simple pung, quarter; simple kong or honor pung, fifty; honor kong, dollar; flower, quarter. That's not original to your notes but I think it spices it up a bit. And it's easy to teach.
    >If certain doubles happened, my friends would run out of money, and we're all in college and don't have that much to lose in a "card" game.
    >Also, I forgot about the special hands and wild tile. The special hands don't ring a bell to me. "First picked tile" for wild tile is a vague term, on who picks it and how its identity is known.

    Hi Joe,
    In our previous episode (Jan. 26, below), I had said, "If there's anything in particular you need to know to teach [Beijing mah-jongg], just say what it is." In reply to which you have now written:

    I figured it could work like: quarter a point, and I figured something like: simple pung, quarter; simple kong or honor pung, fifty; honor kong, dollar; flower, quarter. That's not original to your notes but I think it spices it up a bit. And it's easy to teach.
    I don't think it sounds that easy to learn. If I was your student, I would need that written down. It smacks of Chinese Classical, one of the most complicated scoring systems in mah-jongg, requiring a fair amount of math.

    If certain doubles happened, my friends would run out of money, and we're all in college and don't have that much to lose
    I don't know what point you're trying to make, or if there's a question there. I don't know what I'm supposed to say. Either I can say, "then don't play for money, just play for fun," or I can say, "then don't use doubles," or I can say, "don't play for quarters, play for nickels instead," or...?

    The special hands don't ring a bell to me.
    Again, I don't know if there's a question for me there.

    "First picked tile" for wild tile is a vague term,
    Not really. After the deal, the dealer discards. Then if nobody calls it, South picks the first tile off the wall. That's the first picked tile.

    on who picks it
    South plays after East, if nobody calls East's discard.

    and how its identity is known.
    Presumably he could show it to everybody. You can try various things and set your own rules. To me, the greater problem is whether there have to be any special rules governing the use of wild tiles.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 31, 2012


    But I didn't want to pass three tiles!

    >From: "sconni2
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 7:48 AM
    >Subject: didn't want to pass tiles from rack
    >In american mah jongg can a blind pass of 3 tiles occur with the first pass of the first (compulsory) charleston? In other words, I did not have a heavenly hand to call mah jongg; however, I had an extremely good hand and did not want to pass any of the tiles from my rack but the other players said that I must. Could I have taken the 3 tiles passed to me and then, without looking at these tiles, passed them on to the player on my right-1st pass of the compulsory first charleston?
    >In the description below, it appears that a blind pass cannot occur until the 3rd pass of the must do first charleston but I wanted to do a blind pass of 3 tiles right at the 1st pass of the first charleston. Would this have been a legal pass?
    >The Charleston
    >One of the main differences between the American Style Mahjong and the other Mahjong Styles is "the "Charleston" sequences before the
    >game play. The Charleston is basically series of tile exchanges among the players. This creates opportunities to get rid of tiles that the players do
    >not want by passing them to other players during the Charleston.
    >Note: that Jokers cannot be passed during the Charleston.
    >The Charleston is divided into three stages: First Charleston (required), Second Charleston (optional), Courtesy Pass (option). Let's look at
    >each stages in more details:
    >1. First Charleston
    >First Charleston is a required step, even if a player has drawn a complete set of hand from the wall. This step consists of three passes:
    >a. 1st pass - each player passes three tiles to the player on the right.
    >b. 2nd pass - each player passes three tiles to the player across.
    >c. 3rd pass - each player passes three tiles to the player on the left. For this step, a player may choose to perform "Blind Pass"
    >-- players may take one, two, or three tiles that being passed to them and pass them to the player on the left without looking
    >at the tiles.

    >Thanks for your help.
    >Sharon C

    Hello Sharon, you wrote:

    In the description below, it appears that a blind pass cannot occur until the 3rd pass of the must do first charleston
    That's what the word "required" would appear to mean, all right. You should also look at the back of your NMJL card. They use a different word there: "compulsory." In my book, I used the word "mandatory."

    but I wanted to do a blind pass of 3 tiles right at the 1st pass of the first charleston. Would this have been a legal pass?
    I don't have access at the moment to all my books, so I don't know what source you're quoting. You should read FAQ 19AG. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    Sharon, I highlighted a portion of your quoted material in red because it is wrong. See column 476 and FAQ 19BJ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 31, 2012


    Friendly comments

    >From: Barbara Lynn H
    >Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 7:39 PM
    >Subject: No Questions Just Friendly Comments from New Zealand
    >Dear Tom,
    > This email has no agenda whatsoever! Just an American living in New Zealand who went to a crazy shop with so much stuff it was overwhelming, but I found older Mah Jongg set. I donít want to know about the set, or ask you a million questions in fact I have the old Activision Game you designed and it is not very compatible with my Windows 7 operating system, but it is working and I am re learning the game. I went to your site and found learning the simple way of the Chinese game you recommended and to just enjoy it all was such good advice. I am much older than you I am sure and I have learned that harmony and enjoyment of anything comes with no ego and learning not only to be patient as you suggest, but only winning is not part of my life. Doing something well and with a sense of excellence is a nice goal, but not to the detriment of anyone else. I just want to thank you for your simple way of starting and learning that you recommend. I love computer games and for a lady of my age I am pretty savvy about what is going on in the computer world, but love sitting in my lounge building walls and handling the beautiful tiles.
    >
    > The book in the set was from an old stationery store of pre 1967 New Zealand before we went to the metric system. The tiles are bone and bamboo with a lovely simple wooden box made of probably oak, not rosewood. I loved your comments about what really is old, vintage or antique and frankly do not care if it is 1920 1950 or whatever, I just love the set and think the tiles are charming. I do not want to relive the American rules and think the Chinese simplicity of the old game just where I want to be.
    >
    > You have had a full life in the past of many things to do, but I wonder how your life is now? How does one do all of this gaming of the past, design and answering questions and then continue without something else to balance this involvement. I have a gorgeous garden and think plants every day, but the Mah Jongg now is my other lifeÖ.do you have one? My best, Barbara

    Hi Barbara,
    It's lovely to get emails like yours. To reply to some of the things you wrote:

    I wonder how your life is now?
    My regular job now is teaching. I teach about video games (producing, designing, and testing them) at the University of Southern California. http://itp.usc.edu/faculty-staff/Tom-Sloper
    I enjoy it. I do a little consulting on the side, and occasionally I get to teach mah-jongg to local groups.

    I have a gorgeous garden Ö.do you have one?
    No. Just a number of house plants, including a few on the balcony.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 30, 2012


    If a joker or a flower is discarded...

    >From: Tom K
    >Sent: Monday, January 30, 2012 8:51 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg questions
    >My mah-jongg question or comment:
    >If a Joker is discarded can I pick it up to complete a Mah Jongg? (For other than a pair or single.)
    >If a Flower is discarded can I pick it up to complete a pair of Flowers for Mah Jongg?
    >Thank you for providing this service
    >Tom K

    Hello Tom, you asked:

    If a Joker is discarded can I pick it up to complete a Mah Jongg?
    You can NEVER pick up a discarded joker. EVER. Read FAQ 19G. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    If a Flower is discarded can I pick it up to complete a pair of Flowers for Mah Jongg?
    Yes. You can ALWAYS claim ANY non-joker, when it's the one tile you need for mah-jongg.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 30, 2012


    Thank u

    >From: THOMASINA G
    >Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:24 AM
    >Subject: Thank u
    >I brought back a mj set from china years ago, and finally decided to learn. i bought the wrong beginners book-"not yours " and tried to learn the american version. i found it too frustrating to teach others. then i found your site. thank u, thank u. my husband and i are on our way to playing the chinese simplified, and will be teaching our friends who want to start a group. by the way i have your book on order. tommi g, TN
    >Don't follow where the path may lead....go
    > where there is no path and leave a trail.

    You're very gracious, Tommi.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 29, 2012


    Efficiency in case-emptying

    >From: Carolyn
    >Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2012 3:00 AM
    >Subject: Removing Tiles from MJ Case
    >Is there a more efficient way to empty the mj case of its tiles...I just dump the tiles out of the case onto a table.

    Hi Carolyn,
    Well, if "efficiency" is your goal, you seem to have found your answer.
    I assume "efficiency" means "expedient," "speedy." Opening the case and dumping it out is indeed the speediest, most expedient, and most efficient way I can think of to get the tiles out of the case.

    That technique wouldn't work for me, though, since I keep my tiles in trays inside the case -- dumping the case would put not only tiles but racks and trays and helping-hands and dice and a bettor and a baggie of extra tiles all in a messy jumble on the table, and I'd hate to scratch, scuff, or break anything (or have stuff spill off the table onto the floor). But I have seen people who just throw everything haphazardly into the case for efficient cleanup and dumping (I guess you're saying you're one of those).

    Efficiency isn't my priority -- mine is on taking care of my game equipment. I store my tiles in the trays, face-up. Then when setting up, I can take a tray, lay one long side of it on the table, and tilt -- this "dumps" the tiles of that tray onto the table, mostly face-down, from the minimum height, with minimal scuffing.

    Then I have to do that a second time (with the second tray). When I dump out the second tray, since there are other tiles on the table and not as much space remaining on the table as before, I might not get as many tiles face-down this time. So tile-flipping will be necessary.

    When I take my set to a tournament, sometimes I get a player who uses her NMJL card to scoop up a bunch of my tiles so she can roughly dump them onto my other tiles and maximize the mixing (using a 3D "washing machine" paradigm rather than a 2D shuffle). I ask such people to please not do that with MY tiles.

    After a game is over, my players help me line my tiles back into my trays, all face-up. Nobody seems to mind. I guess we're not very "efficient."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 29, 2012


    Three players - Charleston? Or not?

    >From: KNUDSONS
    >Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 2:41 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Quite often we have only 6 players and have no other choice but to play two tables of three. One of the players insists we should not do the Charleston and that it is a rule. I've played MJ for 20 years in South Dakota, Iowa and now in Palm Desert for 6 months ~ then back to Iowa and have done the Charleston with
    >three players where ever I've been ~ no Charleston is as boring as watching paint dry ~ what is your opinion??
    >Thanks...

    Hello Knudsons,
    My opinion is that you should read (and print for your group) FAQ 13A and FAQ 14. To save myself having to constantly retype the answers to frequently-asked questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions" - get it?), which I ask guests to check before writing to me. You can get to the FAQs above left - they're marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 27, 2012


    Two Q's - one FAQ and one strange one

    >From: "goldenrule
    >Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 9:55 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A from Penny
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In order to Mah-jongg using American rules,
    >I needed two pair.
    >I had remaining on my tray, two Jokers and one
    >needed tile.
    >I picked up the other needed tile and Mah-jongged.
    >Would this be a correct Mah-jongg?
    >Question # two
    >Flowers
    >Can they be used as 11 ? or 22 ? and what suit would they represent?

    >Penny G

    Hi Penny,
    Welcome to my website. You asked:

    I needed two pair.
    >I had remaining on my tray, two Jokers and one
    >needed tile.
    >I picked up the other needed tile and Mah-jongged.
    >Would this be a correct Mah-jongg?
    I think you're saying that you used two jokers to make a pair? If so, then you need to read the back of your NMJL card (left side of the back of the card, second paragraph from the bottom - note the words underlined in bold). And you should also read Frequently Asked Question 19E. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    Flowers
    >Can they be used as 11 ? or 22 ? and what suit would they represent?

    Only jokers are wild. Flowers can only be used where the card shows the letter F. I recommend you buy a good rule book. Rule books are listed in FAQ 3.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 27, 2012


    All-pung hands in riichi/dora majan

    >From: Mathieu B
    >Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 1:36 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >Hello, Tom
    >I'm not sure if this is the proper way/section to ask you this, or if you still check your mails about questions on mahjong, or even if you still keep your site up to date, or anything else... I just happen to know your website which helped me a lot about learning mahjong, and that you seem to know so much that, after our argument, tonight, with my players, and all of us wanting a clear answer, I thought of asking to you... I hope you don't mind ?
    >My question is regarding japanese mahjong, the riichi mahjong, because as a matter of fact, I don't enjoy any other kind of mahjong and I really am a big fan of Japan and of riichi. So that's why I taught this one to my friends. Anyway. The question ! What is the damn difference between Toitoi and SŻankŰ ?! I told them there has to be one, somewhere, since everyone mentions these two yaku separately... but what could it be ? If at least one of your Pon is revealed, then it is a ToiToi and it gives you 2 han. But if your four Pon are hidden, then either your ToiToi... still gives you 2 han (yay!) either it becomes a SŻankŰ, which gives you a Yakuman, which is then the limit! And if trying to get a SŻankŰ you happen to rob a tile to call a Pon, then it doesn't give you 0 han, it becomes a ToiToi !
    >This drives me mad, I hope you can tell me. Sorry for my "frenchized" english,
    >Cheers,
    >Hem

    Bonjour, Hem.
    There are several ways an all-pung hand can be scored, and they differ depending on how many pungs are concealed and how the winning tile is obtained (and which tile completes the hand).

    Four Concealed Pungs (Suu ankou) - Concealed - Yakuman
    To qualify for this hand, the player cannot take a discard to complete a pung (because taking the discard to complete the pung causes that pung to be considered Exposed). The player would have to self-pick the final pung tile, else go out waiting to complete the pair (which would be worth Double Yakuman -- Suu Ankou Tanki).

    Three Concealed Pungs (San ankou) - Exposed - 2 Fan
    To earn this yaku, the three pungs must be completely concealed in the hand at the time of going out. Must go out by making the pair or the fourth three-tile grouping (since we're talking about four-pung hands, this would be the fourth pung - it's also possible to make san ankou with one chow).

    All Pung (Toi-Toi, Toi-toi hou) - Exposed - 2 Fan
    You can combine Toi-toi with San ankou (for a total of 4 fan) if three of the pungs are concealed and not made by discard.

    So, as regards to that robbing a kong situation you mentioned, that would not just be toi-toi - it would also be san ankou.
    May les tuiles be avec vous. (Pardonnez moi pour my Anglicized FranÁais kudasai.)
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 26, 2012


    Beijing style

    >From: Joseph S
    >Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:54 AM
    >Subject: Beijing Mahjong
    >Tom, is there any other info about the way Mahe says mahjong is played in Beijing? It seems like a easy variant of a simplified Chinese Classical version. I'm thinking of teaching a simplified version of this version (at least what the website says is known about the variant) to my friends and see how it works out.
    >Joe

    Hi Joe,
    I don't recall exactly how or when Laurent gave me that information. It may have been a conversation we had when we were together at a tournament in China. It would be more effort than I have time for to dig through my pocket notebooks from past tournaments and see if he told me anything more than what I listed in FAQ 2B. Looking at FAQ 2B just now, what I see is that you would need to come up with a payment rate, and a value for the special win combos. And I assume that different groups in Beijing use different rates, meaning you could just make up any rate that seems appropriate (if you have to use money at all). Especially if you are planning on simplifying it even further. If there's anything in particular you need to know to teach this, just say what it is. Maybe I can offer a suggestion.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 26, 2012


    Is it rare?

    >From: Ken D
    >Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:39 AM
    >Subject: mah-jongg
    >i have a set of 144 tiles in a blue soft plastic case. the tiles are a butterscotch color-almost looks like amber. the odd thing is each tile has a bug-insect inside . is this a rare set ? the set has never been used. do you know what the value is? i thank you for any help you can give me. i will send a couple of pics thanks ken my e-mail is : [DELETED]

    Hi Ken, you wrote:

    each tile has a bug-insect inside .
    You are very observant. I wouldn't have noticed that from the photos (I would have thought they were internal cracks in the plastic). Most likely, those insects are crickets. Crickets are considered good luck.

    is this a rare set ?
    Hard to say. I've seen lots of sets that look like this (that plastic, that case). I have seen tiles that looked like they had internal cracks - I haven't observed whether or not they had crickets in them. What I'm saying is, maybe there are numerous sets like this around, I just hadn't heard about sets with crickets in them. Whether it's rare or not, it's definitely a marketable thing. That is to say, you should have no trouble selling it. But not to anybody who plays American-style mah-jongg (except as a collectible). Read FAQ 7A. You can access the FAQs above left.

    do you know what the value is?
    No. Read FAQ 7H.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 26, 2012


    Where can I download the 2011 card?

    >From: "N704FQ
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 1:50 PM
    >Subject: Please answe my q, thanks
    >I hate to say this, but I missed place my mah jong card. I did buy 2 of them at the beginning of the year. I have even photocopied the card and use a high lighter for the color codes... my problem is that I know most of the hands by heart but not well enough.If am playing with a group, I could just borrow a card and verify my hand... but I do like to play on-line and that is where I would like to get a copy of a card. I don't want to have to buy a third card, especially since the new cards will be out in 90 days. I will probable locate my lost card but I haven't found it in the last 2 days. Any place I can down load an old 2011 card... I would never reproduce it to cheat the NML. Thanks for your reply.

    I'm sorry, N704FQ, but the NMJL does not make their cards available for download. Physical media only. You might want to contact the League and see if they have a solution for your problem.
    May the tiles card be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 24, 2012


    Historical document links have changed

    >From: Tony Watson
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:12 AM
    >Subject: changed links
    >Hi Tom, firstly, many thanks for your brilliant Maj Jongg website - gave me loads of new knowledge and helped me date some of my sets!
    >I was looking at some of your links on FAQ 11 and got a few 404s, so did a bit of fiddling and found the new links.
    >In FAQ 11: Sources: 4: the link addresses
    >http://www.ahs.uwaterloo.ca/~museum/Archive/Culin/Majong1924/index.html
    >http://www.ahs.uwaterloo.ca/~museum/Archive/Culin/
    >are now
    >http://www.gamesmuseum.uwaterloo.ca/Archives/Culin/Majong1924/index.html
    >http://www.gamesmuseum.uwaterloo.ca/Archives/Culin/
    >Similarly in FAQ 11: Sources: 5: the link address
    >http://www.ahs.uwaterloo.ca/~museum/Archive/Wilkinson/
    >is now
    >http://www.gamesmuseum.uwaterloo.ca/Archives/Wilkinson/Wilkinson.html
    >I trust this helps!
    >If I see any more anomalies or come across interesting stuff that you might like to include, I'll get back to you.
    >Once again, thank you for giving us such an interesting & informative website
    >--
    >Best Regards
    >Tony Watson
    >Newcastle-upon-Tyne
    >UK

    Tony, thank you very much! I made the fixes to FAQ 11, FAQ 11D, and FAQ 11H. Those are extremely important historical documents, and I'm so glad the University of Waterloo continues to make them available online.
    Oh, and gung hei fa choi, by the way. Happy Year of the Dragon. 恭喜發財
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 24, 2012


    Looking to learn

    >From: Phyllis C
    >Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 10:54 AM
    >Subject: mah-jongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >I wish I was in your area. For some reason I have always wanted to learn Mah-Jongg. Never cards, but Mah-Jongg. It's deeply intuitive. Do you know anyone in the Ft Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach Area. I would very much appreciate.
    >I don't have a lot of time, but this is something I think I would enjoy. In the meantime, I'm going to order your book from Amazon.

    Hi Phyllis,
    To find teachers and players in your area, check the Find Players & Teachers Bulletin Board, and read FAQ 15. You can link to those above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    1/22/12


    Project Mah Jongg at the Maltz Museum

    >from: mah jongg seller
    >sent: saturday, january 21, 2012 8:45 am
    >subject: please post
    >where the winds blow
    >is proud to be associated with
    >project mah jongg at
    >the maltz museum
    >jan 24 - apr 22, 2012
    >... beachwood, ohio
    >where the winds blow has donated the customized sets that will be used in the open play area at this exhibit
    >the museum has extened a special discount for our invited players and their guests. please visit the maltz museum
    >(click link or go to www.maltzmuseum.org)
    >find the happenings area and then go to special exhibits. within that section you will find ladies playing mah jongg
    >in a swimming pool .
    >print out this picture and bring it to the maltz museum for buy one , get one free admission (50% off on a single admission) and 20% off on single item in their gift shop! if you have friends of family members in beachwood, ohio please forward this exclusive invitation to them!


    Frequently Asked Question 19M

    >From: Merle K
    >Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:15 PM
    >Subject: Maj Jong Questions
    >Hi
    >We are novice players and came across a situation this afternoon that we were not sure of. I was playing a hand that included two pairs. I had one complete pair and was two tiles away from Maj Jong for the hand. The player across from me exposed three 6 dots, one of which was a joker. I had a 6 dot in my hand and was waiting for my turn to exchange my six dot for her joker. the next player discarded the tile that I needed to complete my pair for a possible Maj Jong once I exchanged my 6 dot for a joker. Can I exchange the 6 dot for the joker and then pick up the tile a needed to complete the pair for Maj Jong or am I not able to pick up the tile to complete the pair because I had not yet exchanged the 6 dot for the joker
    >Thanks for your help
    >Merle

    Hi Merle,
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before (just yesterday, Phyllis asked the same question, in fact). So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19M. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 19, 2012


    Frequently Asked Question 19M

    >From: Phyllis B
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 7:32 PM
    >Subject: Question regarding an exchange
    >Mr. Sloper:
    >In a recent game, player#1 made an exposure which contained a joker. I had that tile in my rack. Player #2 discarded a tile which I called. I picked it up, exchanged the tile in my rack for the joker in the first player's exposure, and then used that joker to complete my exposure. Was this legal, since at the time I called for the discard, I did not have sufficient tiles for the exposure until I had made the exchange. No one at the table questioned it, but I was unsure if it was a legal move. Would appreciate your expert advice. Thanks.
    >Phyllis B

    Hello Phyllis, you wrote:

    Was this legal, since at the time I called for the discard, I did not have sufficient tiles for the exposure until I had made the exchange.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19M. To save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 18, 2012


    A weird maneuver, part 3

    >From: Lynn Peters To: webmaster@sloperama.com
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Re: Weird question Part 2: 1. So "Year of Dragon Hand" is worth $.75 and is concealed or exposed?
    >2. I also donít remember when I asked you question about player racking a discard but the teacher in me and the fact that I am the "fuzz" in 3 Mah Jongg groups make me ask you all those questions. I certainly do appreciate all your answers and comments and love your book "Red Dragon & West Wind" and recommend it to all mah jongg players I meet. Thank you again. Lynn P.

    Hi Lynn,
    1. I said this in the column. I'm going to present the hand to my group this evening. They might not want to score it 75, like you. We'll see.
    2. Part of being a judge is using judgment - not just going strictly by the book in every case. Sometimes the book doesn't cover every possible angle of a case. No book can.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 18, 2012


    A weird maneuver, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:04 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: 1. I enjoyed your strategy column #503 dated 1/15 about "Year of the Dragon" and the hand you made. At the end you said this hand scores maximum value. How much will that be? On the 2011 NMJL card the highest value for a hand is the last one in Singles and Pairs which is $.75 and is concealed or $.45 for last exposed hand in Quints. I emailed your column to my mah jongg groups and many are eager to try the 2012 Dragon Hand. I would think this hand would be exposed and worth $.45.
    >
    >2. Re: 1/17 question "Weird Maneuver" from Maggie B.: In your book, "Red Dragon & West Wind", page 100-101 under Rule Violation it says, "Players may be called dead for picking out of turn, for putting a called tile into the hand instead of atop the rack, or for certain other actions." I remember emailing you with this same question since a player in one of my groups did put her called discard into her hand and you told me she is dead for not putting discard atop her rack. It would be interesting to know which hand this player was attempting and if she made it. I canít believe anyone would expose 2 jokers when she had another of the tile she called in her hand on purpose. Why is your answer different from the one you gave me? Thanks for resuming your weekly strategy columns. I look forward to them for information and lists of hands where you chose tiles to discard and pass. Tiles and jokers have been with me the past few games!! Lynn P

    Hi Lynn, you wrote:

    At the end you said this hand scores maximum value. How much will that be? On the 2011 NMJL card the highest value for a hand is the last one in Singles and Pairs which is $.75 ... I would think this hand would be exposed and worth $.45.
    Seventy-five is more than forty-five. So seventy-five is "maximum." I don't know if anybody will want to use the hand all year; if they did, they could use any value they thought appropriate.

    I remember emailing you with this same question since a player in one of my groups did put her called discard into her hand and you told me she is dead for not putting discard atop her rack.
    Yes. Without any more of the story than that, someone who did that would be dead. If a tournament: dead.

    Why is your answer different from the one you gave me?
    As I wrote her, the discard was identical to one of the tiles exposed from the hand. If she exchanged them (putting the one from the hand atop the rack, and putting the exposed tile back into the hand) - which I said she ought to be permitted to do - then no foul. I don't have the date of your question (I've gotten a lot of them from you) so I can't check it to see if I've contradicted myself. Yes, the player shouldn't have taken the discard into the hand. But since she exposed an identical tile to the taken discard, I just don't see a point in making a court case about it.

    I canít believe anyone would expose 2 jokers when she had another of the tile she called in her hand on purpose.
    Her thinking was clearly not without flaws, no matter how you look at it. That happens to all of us sometimes.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 18, 2012


    Best way to sort the tiles?

    >From: JAHERMAN1
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 8:18 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I played Mah-Jongg years ago and have started playing again last summer, with a group every Tuesday.
    >I do manage to Mah jongg one or two games itís a little hard since I play with ladies that have been playing for quite a while.
    >I find it confusing on how to set up my handÖ.do I set the tiles up by each group or by like numbers? After set up do I then look for hand to play?
    >Thank you,
    >Joan

    Hi Joan,
    My recommendation is that you group your tiles by suit, and numerically within each suit. Flowers at the left, dragons and winds and jokers at the right.

    When you play rummy, that's how you first sort your cards, isn't it - by suit, numerically? This sort lets you see the combinations and patterns most effectively. Some people then rearrange based on perceived patterns. But unless one pattern (one hand) clearly jumps out, I prefer to keep the sort.

    I do not recommend pre-assigning the jokers to firm positions within the hand -- I prefer to keep the jokers separate, ready to be used when calling for exposure or mah-jongg.

    And don't space your groupings -- it telegraphs information about your hand to the other players. But I do believe in putting definite discardables to the right. When you know you're making a mainstream hand and won't need winds, the winds can go to the right. When you know you're making an all-odd-numbers hand, the even numbers can go to the right. I use my jokers as separators between my keeper tiles and my discarder tiles. When I don't have jokers, I might use flowers as separators (if I'm targeting a flowerless hand).

    Why don't you take a look at the column (click the purple banner above), take a look at some of the WWYP (What Would You Pass) columns. Tell you what, I'll write this week's column on the topic of sorting and setting up to choose a hand.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 18, 2012


    A weird maneuver

    >From: Maggie B
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:28 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A 4 dot tile was called for a pung. The player immediately put up two jokers and one 4 dot from her hand, then picked up
    >the called ti anled put it in her hand. Isn't the rule....you are dead (if called by someone) if you put a called tile
    >into your hand? The player had a chance to take one joker back and place the called tile in the exposure for which it was
    >called...but said no she wanted it the way she did it ?? My thought is someone in their next turn could take one of the jokers
    >or maybe both and replaced them with a 4 dot. She may have wanted to regain her own joker on her next turn or perhaps
    >even discard the 4 dot she had just called. My feeling is that 1) it was not correct play and player could be called dead...and 2) it
    >was just stupid play and she may have been embarassed and just could not take my suggestion to put the 4 dot she
    >picked into her exposure. I also tried to encourage her that she could change the exposure before she discarded and again
    >she did not want to!
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Marjorie

    Hi Marjorie, you wrote:

    The player immediately put up two jokers and one 4 dot from her hand, then picked up
    >the called [tile and] put it in her hand. Isn't the rule....you are dead (if called by someone) if you put a called tile
    >into your hand?
    Well, no; there is nothing that says that in the official NMJL rules. Read FAQ 19K - there may be a tournament rule against it. That said, the way she did it was highly irregular and of questionable legality. But, technically, it amounts to the same thing as picking up the discard and melding it with her 2 jokers. So I wouldn't have pressed the issue too far.

    The player had a chance to take one joker back and place the called tile in the exposure for which it was
    >called... I tried to encourage her that she could change the exposure
    Yes, she had a right to do that (you are correct).

    but [she] said no she wanted it the way she did it
    If you think about it a moment, you could see a possible reason for this exposure (read on).

    My thought is someone in their next turn could take one of the jokers
    >or maybe both and replaced them with a 4 dot.
    Nevertheless, she has a right to take that risk.

    She may have wanted to regain her own joker on her next turn or perhaps
    >even discard the 4 dot she had just called.
    These are possibilities, and would be legal.

    My feeling is that 1) it was not correct play and player could be called dead...and 2) it
    >was just stupid play and she may have been embarassed and just could not take my suggestion
    Very possible. But consider -- why might she want to have an exposure of a number pung, and still more of that number in the hand? Most likely reason: because she was making W-D #4, and wanted to be able to call the 4th four-dot should it be foolishly discarded by anyone who didn't notice that it could be redeemed.

    But as I said above, while the maneuver was not quite kosher, it did amount to the same thing as exposing 2 jokers with the called tile and leaving her remaining 4-dot in the hand, so let's pass over it.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 17, 2012


    Frequently Asked Question 19Y

    >From: Sharon C
    >Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 6:05 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >My group plays "hot wall."
    >We have to justify 3 tiles.
    >Here is a question that just came up today.
    >How many flowers need to be justified since we have more flowers than regular tiles?
    >I have printed most of your questions and use it as a "bible" when we play.
    >Thank you for taking your time to answer this one.
    >Very truly yours,
    >Sharon

    Sharon,
    Please put FAQ 19Y and FAQ 14 in your bible. I don't know how your custom rule works, and I can't tell you how it should work as regards to flowers. Your group made up your custom rule, so your group will have to figure it out. For what it's worth, my recommendation is "don't use a hot wall rule; play by the official rules instead."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 16, 2012


    Change of heart (FAQ 19AM)

    >From: Arlene B
    >Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2012 11:28 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Player picks discarded tile and exposes it with matching tile and two jokers. Then, she decides she didn't want it and replaces it on table, putting exposed tiles back on her rack. She proceeds drawing from wall and then discards a tile. Is this allowed? Didn't find this clearly explained in FAQ, and there are lives at stake-lol. Thanks, Arlene B. (Michigan)
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hi Arlene,
    This is clearly explained in Frequently Asked Question 19AM2. If it really isn't clear, please copy the wording that confuses or doesn't clarify and show me how it can be misread, so I can fix it for future readers. By the way, it doesn't matter that you're in Michigan. The rule used by the League in New York (and by us weirdos in California) still applies.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 15, 2012


    What does "Like" mean? (FAQ 19AU)

    >From: Linda F
    >Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 11:47 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the 2011 card under Winds - Dragons
    >NNNN SSSS 111 111 (Pung Any Like Odd No. in One Suit Only) What does "Any Like Odd No." mean? All the same odd number?
    >Thanks for your help.

    Yes.
    Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19 (see links above left). Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 14, 2012


    Tile restoration

    >From: "Butner,
    >Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 5:03 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I would like to clean and restore my motherís set. Iím guessing itís from the 50ís or 60ís but I donít have a clue as to what kind of tiles they are. How can I figure this out in order to clean them? Many of the tiles have lost their colors and nail polish on the makeshift jokers is sliding off!
    >I live on Long Island and would like to know if there is someone local to central Long Island who can restore my set. Will you answer me here or do I have to go to a site to get your answer?
    >Thank you,
    >Sue

    Hi Sue, you wrote:

    Iím guessing itís from the 50ís or 60ís but I donít have a clue as to what kind of tiles they are. How can I figure this out in order to clean them?
    You don't really have to know what they're made of, or when they were made, in order to clean them. But if you want to know what they're made of, read FAQ 7C. If you want to know when they were made, read FAQ 7G. And there are cleaning tips in FAQ 7O (that's seven oh, not seventy).

    nail polish on the makeshift jokers is sliding off!
    That's a good thing, isn't it? I think the nail polish was a bad idea (stickers are better). Most likely, since you mentioned nail polish, your tiles are some kind of plastic (it doesn't matter very much what kind of plastic).

    would like to know if there is someone local to central Long Island who can restore my set.
    I recommend you read FAQ 7O.

    Will you answer me here or do I have to go to a site to get your answer?
    All answers are given here on the bulletin board. But it's expected that all visitors look for answers in the FAQs before emailing their questions. Scroll up and look for the Frequently Asked Questions, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ), at the left side of the screen.

    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, January, 2012


    How to handle table rotation? (Part 2)

    >From: "Kiawahbarb8
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 7:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >i received an email stating that the answer to my question would be found in the Q&A area. I searched the entire site and no where did I see the answer to my question. It is a simple one. If I am running a tournament with 28 players, and there is an East person at every table (7 tables), how do I do the rotation with the other 3 players that are N, W, S? I noticed you have a rotation system, but every player moves. That is not how it's done in NMJL tournament's and I wondered if there is, a system.
    >BB

    Barb,
    What you said in this newest email is not true.
    1. The answer was here -- you just needed to refresh your browser, or use a non-AOL browser.
    2. As regards your rotation question: Please read FAQ 21, and read it thoroughly, without skimming. There are three paragraphs about rotation (don't just read the first one), and there are also several emails at the bottom of the article that you should also read.
    Note: I have never run a tournament myself -- I don't really want to! So I can't help beyond the information in FAQ 21.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    1/11/2012


    How to handle table rotation at a tournament? (FAQ 21)

    >From: "Kiawahbarb8
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 3:37 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If I want to have a tournament with 28 players and a rotation where one player stays (east) at her table through the entire 5 rounds, how do I do that?
    >Barbara

    Hi Barb,
    You've asked something that others have asked me many times before. So to save myself having to constantly retype the answers to such questions, I have compiled them into a series of "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 21. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    1/11/2012


    Pickandrack (FAQ 19AD)

    >From: Joanne R
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:54 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >During play, some rack their tile, after picking from the wall, so quickly it leave no time for other players to call the previously dropped tile. Is there an etiquette involved in how much time should be allowed between pick and rack to allow sufficient time for others to call a dropped tile?
    >Thank you,
    >Joanne

    Hi Joanne,
    I call that "pickandrack." I dislike the practice, and the NMJL apparently agreed with me (after my book was released, they quoted me on pickandrack in their next annual newsletter). You can read about pickandrack in FAQ 19AD. The FAQs are above left, marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). FAQ 19 is marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this .
    Please bookmark FAQ 19 so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    1/11/2012


    Conflicting claim (American mah-jongg) (FAQ 19H, not FAQ 20H)

    >From: ARLENE L
    >Sent: Saturday, January 7, 2012 5:42 PM
    >Subject: sorry I confused you
    >I guess I am confused myself. I WAS/AM talking about American MJ. I did not realize that one shouldn't refer to pung or chow in this regard. These terms are included on the MJ card, so even tho we don't commonly use them, I was "absorbing" what you said about them.
    >My "other player" reference meant the one who is NOT next to play after the one who discarded the desired tile.
    >So am I to understand that the precedence of pung over chow is NOT to be used in American?

    Arlene,
    I don't know where you heard of the term "chow" -- certainly not on the NMJL card. You must have been reading stuff about one of the unAmerican variants, since there's no such thing as a chow in American mah-jongg. Please read FAQ 19H. Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check FAQ 19 first, before asking me a question about American mah-jongg. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 7, 2012


    Conflicting claim (Un-American mah-jongg)

    >From: ARLENE L
    > Sent: Saturday, January 7, 2012 1:21 PM
    >Subject: call for discard
    >yes I know that the person next in line gets it. But what if that person calls for the discard AFTER another player does.
    > The other player said "call" but the next-in-line then says, Oh I want it too.
    >We decided that the other player got it. Were we correct?
    >I cannot tell you whether either was for a pung or a chow - until I read your rules again, I had forgotten that aspect. But for simplification sake, let's say they were both the same.
    >Thank you

    Hello Arlene,
    Up until you mentioned chows, I assumed you were asking about American mah-jongg. I need readers to understand up front that you were NOT asking about American mah-jongg, when you wrote:

    what if that person calls for the discard AFTER another player does.
    I always say, "it's not a race." But the legal concept of "reasonableness" has to come into play here. In other words, "it depends on how long after." If she waits until the first caller has taken and exposed, then the second caller is too late. OR, if the second call is more than 3 seconds after the first call, it's reasonable to say (then) (after 3 whole seconds) that her call was too late.

    We decided that the other player got it. Were we correct?
    I don't know. I got confused when you said "the other player." I don't know who "the other player" is.

    I cannot tell you whether either was for a pung or a chow
    But (since you were playing Unamerican mah-jongg) this is VITALLY IMPORTANT to determining what is right in this kind of conflict! See FAQ 20H.

    But for simplification sake, let's say they were both the same.
    Really! I don't think so!
    Let's say both players want it for a pung. Let's say we're talking about red dragons, for discussion's sake. Player A discards red. Player C says "pung." Then player B also says "pung." What's wrong with this picture?
    There are only four red dragons in the set! Player A discarded one. That means there are only three more on the table. Player B and Player C cannot possibly both have two red dragons with which to pung Player A's discard. So this is clearly impossible.*
    Let's say both players want it for a chow. Let's say we're talking about 5 bam, for discussion's sake. Player A discards 5B. Player C says "chow." Freeze the video right there. What's wrong with this picture?
    The only player who is permitted to chow from Player A is Player B. Player C apparently doesn't understand this basic rule of unAmerican mah-jongg!

    So since you were not playing American mah-jongg, it had to be* that one player wanted the tile for a pung, and one wanted it for a chow. And FAQ 20H clearly states which player should get the tile.

    * (Unless you use jokers and/or are playing American mah-jongg, in which case my "it's not a race" answer above still applies.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 7, 2012


    How old is it?

    >From: "armccormick
    >Sent: Friday, January 6, 2012 4:49 PM
    >Subject: Please age my MJ tiles
    >Hi Tom,
    >Are you still offering to age tiles? I have a lovely set that sadly is deteriorating since I owned it and I would really appreciate any information, especially to know if it is worth saving, spending money on a proper box for it, maybe cleaning the tiles, etc. Or are these old sets common and undesirable and not worth the bother? I thought if you could age the set, then I could use that information to help value it.
    >Personally I love the set and find the tiles attractive, smooth and easy to slide, shuffle, etc. I have attached a couple of photos and some detailed info below. You are welcome to use the photos if you desire, even if it is to show how not to care for a MJ set. :-)
    >Much appreciated, and kind regards
    >Alison (from New Zealand)
    >armccormick
    >
    >DETAILS ABOUT THE SET:
    >Q1. Set Contents: 144 tiles + 3 blank replacement tiles,4 wooden racks, a handful of bone sticks.
    >I have since added a set of small dice and two extra bags of bone chips which I purchased cheaply in Hong Kong.
    >Q2. There were no paper materials with the set. I purchased an instruction book from Max Robertson in the late 1980s.
    >Q3. I am fairly certain that they are bone and dove-tailed bamboo. The dove-tails are all in good condition, but the bone is heavily streaked. My father grew up thinking that they were ivory but I have come to the conclusion that he is wrong on that aspect.
    >Q4. The age of the set is unknown, however it belonged to my grandparents in New Zealand and my father remembers them from all of his life; my father was born in 1938, but given that he was wrong about the ivory, he could be wrong about the age of them. My first memory of them was about 1975 and they were old and treasured then. We had to be careful when we got them out to play with. Dad only had a vague idea of the rules.
    >Q5. Dimensions: h30 w20 d15 (mm). Note depth is at widest point, the bamboo is curved. They seem to be 1/3rd bone, 2/3rds bamboo.
    >Q6. Number of tiles: 144 tiles. including 1 each of flowers/seasons. Additional 3 blank replacement tiles.
    > (note: my grandmother re-carved and painted a sparrow from one of the 4 blank tiles, after that tile went missing - see photo)
    >Q7. It may have had a container originally, but I've never known it to have a proper one. They used to all rattle together inside a small leather suitcase until that fall apart.
    >Now I keep it all stacked tightly together in a shoe box and the old wooden racks are just stacked together. You can see the damage that keeping them in this way have caused. The ink on the tiles have visibly decayed since the last time I got this set out and the racks have lots of knocks on them. One of the tiles has some sort of blob of clear glue on the bamboo which I can't seem to get off. This is why I am investigating whether they are worth spending money on to maintain better.
    >Q8/9/10. See photos. The tiles are carved and painted, so that even as the paint fades, you can still read them.
    >Q11. photo of flowers included. I would especially like to know what the flowers are. The seasons are more obvious.
    >Q12. Jokers. There are no jokers included with this set (unless the blank tiles were meant to be jokers) and since I play with Max Robertson's 1974 instructions this doesn't worry me. Sometimes we assign the 2bamboo as a joker if we want a quick game.
    >--

    Hello Alison, you asked:

    Please age my MJ tiles
    They were made in the 1920s.

    if it is worth saving, spending money on a proper box for it, maybe cleaning the tiles, etc
    Hard to say. "Worth" is always subjective.

    Or are these old sets common and undesirable and not worth the bother?
    These old 1920s bone/bamboo sets are common. Some of them are desirable and very worth the bother. Your set is a little unusual. The carving of your 1B and flower tiles is different / noteworthy. But your indices are carved in a slapdash manner. The bone has definite haversian system evident, more on some tiles than on others (that isn't a good thing). Your photo shows an unsightly gap in one tile. Poor craftsmanship, not warpage. The racks show damage that can't be fixed.
    Sorry, too much information. Point being, this set has desirable aspects that are offset by undesirable aspects.

    then I could use that information to help value it.
    It probably has more value to you as a keepsake. I don't recommend spending much on refurbishing it. You're not likely to get more than US$40 or $50 for the lot.

    I thought I was done answering your questions, but then I noticed that you also asked:

    I would especially like to know what the flowers are.
    I don't know. They look like landscapes and the solar system.

    The seasons are more obvious.
    Oh, really. Huh! I scratch my head in wonder. What I'm trying to say is, you have one of those sets of 8 flower tiles that spell out a poem or story (there are no "flowers" or "seasons" per se) - this type of tile group is always a way for the carver to get creative. And I don't like trying to translate those, because I do not know Chinese, and I am not conversant with Chinese symbols, poems, and myths. Read FAQ 7E. Several other story flowers have gotten translated by kind readers. A couple of your tiles are marked with familiar characters - see the red #2, "shang." It means "upper" (I recognize it because it's part of "Shanghai"). I don't try to read or interpret story flower tiles, even my own. You can try the books on Chinese symbolism listed in FAQ 7E, and you can use mandarintools.com if you want to try your own hand at reading the characters.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 6, 2012


    Differences between Chinese variants

    >From: irene z
    >Sent: Friday, January 6, 2012 4:44 AM
    >Subject: Chinese vs hong kong mahjong
    >Tom,
    >Could you list for me the differences between playing Chinese Mahjong and Hong Kong style Mahjong.
    >Thank you,
    >Irene

    Hi Irene,
    Whenever someone mentions "Chinese Mahjong" to me, I always have to ask, "which one?" As I told shirtsnb last week (see below), I know of 14 current Chinese variants (that's not even counting 4 variants that are no longer played in China.)†If you take a look at Frequently Asked Question 2B you'll find information about how those variants differ from one another. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found there. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. After you've checked out FAQ 2B, you're welcome to ask me more about those Chinese variants.

    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 6, 2012


    Did I misstate my eBay listing, part 4

    >From: Michael Stanwick
    >Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:39 AM
    >Subject: Did I misstate my eBay listing, part 4
    >Hi Tom. I was puzzled when I happened to chance upon your questioners post.
    >The booklet and the felt lined trays and box speak of the 20's/30's. But the tile set appears to be much younger, perhaps the 1950's, or 60's as you said.
    >The rat and the cat may have appeared on tile sets in the late 30's. I have a book by a Chinese author who said these animals were being put on tiles when he was a child in the 30's.
    >But the cleanliness of the tiles and other telltale signs suggest the 50's or 60's.
    >My gut reaction was that these tiles have been put into an older box.
    >However, it is difficult to assess a set without seeing the entire tiles.
    >Regards
    >Michael Stanwick

    Happy new year, Michael. Good to hear from you.
    After I wrote that reply, I suspected I may have misspoken myself, as regards to when animal flowers first appeared. I originally qualified my assessment with a "MAYBE" because I thought I'd recalled some animal flowers from the thirties but wasn't sure. That box type is not from the twenties, in my opinion, but could possibly come from the thirties or later. But I'm with you that, based on the cleanliness and other signs as you say, this particular set is still most likely sixties, give or take a decade.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 5, 2012


    Did I misstate my eBay listing, part 3

    >From: Jason K
    >Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 9:32 AM
    >Subject: Re: Help with Ebay listing.
    >Thanks for your help, much appreciated.

    You're welcome, Jason.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 4, 2012


    Frequently Asked Question 7R

    >From: Arlene K
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 4:35 PM
    >Subject: mah jongg set
    >I have been looking for the exact tiles you describe: white is the tile with the mah jongg characters, clear layer, then green layer. I inherited such a set, but there are no jokers. I am desperate to complete the set with the proper jokers, but can't find them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    >Thank you.

    Hi Arlene, you wrote:

    I have been looking for the exact tiles you describe
    Huh? Me? I've described many many tiles!

    white is the tile with the mah jongg characters, clear layer, then green layer.
    I don't recall having described any three-layer tiles, but it's possible that I did, I suppose.

    I am desperate to complete the set with the proper jokers, but can't find them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 7R. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 3, 2012


    Handheld electronic mahjong, by Nintendo

    >From: "goldeneye
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 3:21 PM
    >Subject: Handheld Electronic Mahjong games...
    >Hi Tom:
    >I saw your handheld electronic mahjong game in your Weekly Mahjong Column #380, dated Sep 14 2008.
    >Just this afternoon - I saw the same exact thing on eBay, except that it was made by Nintendo (called Computer Mah-jong Yakuman) back in 1983 - just before the Super Mario craze which put Nintendo on the map in the USA; and before the original Game Boy Yakuman game in 1989. It is likely the predecessor of the Game Boy's Yakuman game.
    >I am not sure if you've heard or seen a handheld mahjong game by Nintendo, but it still in very usable condition - not common for an item that's approaching 30 years old. I am not sure if the seller is overstating the rarity of that item though.
    >It is item number 300642912380 on eBay, by the way.
    >Thank you again.
    >Nicholas

    Hi Nicholas,
    Wow, that's quite a find!
    And wow, what a price the seller wants. Of course whoever buys that little doozy will have to figure out how it works, and would need to know how to play Japanese mah-jongg. Seller doesn't say the manual is with it (so I assume it isn't).
    Thanks for letting me know about it. Too bad I'm not rich! Of course, if I was rich, I'd use the money to create jobs and not to buy toys... :rolleyes:
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 3, 2012


    Did I misstate my eBay listing, part 2

    >From: Jason K
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Re: Help with Ebay listing.
    >Sorry for posting a link and not attaching photos.
    >Here are 3 of the photos.
    >I read 7e but do not see any info on what decade the cat, mouse, man and pot of gold were introduced.
    >Is it only modern times or could it be vintage?
    >Thanks again.

    Hi Jason,
    The problem you're having is that the terms "modern" and "vintage" are subjective. I looked at your eBay auction and I saw that you also used the terms "antique" and "very old."

    I don't know how ANY of those terms should be interpreted when you use them.

    What does "vintage" mean to you, exactly? I assume it means "dating to before year X"?
    What does "antique" mean to you, exactly? I assume it means "dating to before year X"? Is it synonymous with "vintage" or does it refer to year Y instead?
    What does "very old" mean to you, exactly? Does that too mean "dating to before year X"?
    And what does "modern" mean to you, exactly? Does it mean "dating after year X" or does it mean "dating after year Z" or what?
    And what is the value of X, the value of Y and Z? I don't know! I've looked up "vintage" and "antique" and "old" and "modern" and I do not get unambiguous quantitative definitions.

    As for animal flowers, I've seen them in sets dating back to the 1960s and MAYBE even back farther, but my guess (note the word "guess") is that your set is from the sixties or seventies. I don't know if that means it's a very old vintage antique set, or a modern set, in your vocabulary. The person who emailed you about your wording may use different definitions of the terms above than you use. It may be simply a semantic disagreement.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 3, 2012


    Did I misstate my eBay listing?

    >From: Jason K
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 7:09 AM
    >Subject: Help with Ebay listing.
    >Hi,
    >I came across your excellent website and need some help, if possible.
    >I have listed the mah jong set on Ebay link below.
    >http://www.ebay.com/itm/150729301607?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984
    .m1555.l2649#ht_500wt_1055
    >I bought this at an estate auction a few years ago with other vintage gambling items.
    >I thought this was old, but I just got a message on Ebay from someone that saw my auction saying that the tiles are modern.
    >He said that when you have the cat and mouse tiles etc. that it means it is a modern set.
    >If you can tell by the photos in my listing if the set is indeed modern please could you let me know, so I can remove the listing or alter the price and description.
    >The book is very old as is the case and dice and I think the longer sticks.
    >The tiles I have no idea.
    >Thanks for any help.
    >Jason.

    Hello Jason,
    As it says above, I do not follow links for you. If you want me to give you information about your mah-jongg set, I need you to email the photos and description to me so I can post everything (your question, and my answer) here on this board. So I have not seen your eBay item.
    I have a description of the "animal flower tiles" in Frequently Asked Question 7E. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    Happy new year!
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 3, 2012


    Looking for statistics on American mah-jongg hands

    >From: Sue S
    >Sent: Sunday, January 1, 2012 4:29 PM
    >Subject: American Mah Jongg: analysis or card?
    > Tom,
    >I'm curious, is there some statistical analysis on the American Game each year? I've seen the articles by Alan Kwan but they are on other forms of the game. I've been thinking of determining the least useful tiles and most useful tiles by writing out all the hand combinations. I'm thinking this could be done using spreadsheet software. I'm surprised I can't find the work of a really geeky software developer on the internet?
    >Buffy

    Hi Buffy,
    I'm surprised you're surprised. Let's think a second about what kind of person (an Alan Kwan type of person) would be the sort of person who would do a statistical analysis of American hands and put it out there for you to find on the internet.
    1. He would have to be a math geek;
    2. He would have to be passionate about American mah-jongg;
    3. He would have to either have a website or know how to get in touch with site owners who cater to players of American mah-jongg.
    4. Since 99% of the players of American mah-jongg are female, most likely he would have to be female.
    5. She would have to repeat the analysis every year when a new card comes out.
    Your statement that she would have to be a software developer doesn't hold water. That's not a prerequisite. You don't need a geeky software developer -- what you need is a female math geek who's passionate about American mah-jongg. And I don't know anybody like that. Unless maybe you fit those qualifications...? As for myself, I don't know enough about math to do the kind of computations Alan Kwan did for his favored mah-jongg variants, and I wouldn't know how to analyze the card. And if I did know how to, I probably wouldn't have the desire to do it every year.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    New Year's Day, 2012


    I want to set up a situation, part 3

    >From: shirtsnb
    >Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2011 11:40 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Well, one hand of 13 orphans would be OK, but I really want to show some monster special hands.† All four would be kind of anticlimactic.

    It's late and I need to go to bed, Shirts. I recommend you get Amy Lo's book - it has a full chapter on Shanghai style.
    Happy new year.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    January 1, 2012


      Color key


        Blue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked frequently.
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        Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
        Red = a technical support question about a computer game.
        Orange = a weird or off-topic email.
        Black = none of the above. Regular question or comment.


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