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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
The 2007 OEMC
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.


  • 2 Qs sent from my iPad

    >From: Jan L
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 4:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >What if all 4 players want to do a blind pass at the same time?
    >mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from my iPad

    >From: Jan L
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 4:40 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >When East rolls a double can they double their score if they MJ?
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hello Jan, you asked:

    What if all 4 players want to do a blind pass at the same time?
    Use the IOU paradigm. One player begins by passing whatever she has, and says "I owe you one more," or whatever. That gets the ball rolling, and when tiles come around to her again, she can fulfill the IOU.

    Or maybe that easy answer raises yet more questions in your mind? Then consider these crazy examples:

    Most likely, there's only one player (or at most two players) who absolutely cannot pass any tiles. SOMEONE has at least one tile she can pass ... the dealer, for instance. If the dealer cannot declare mah-jongg, she is going to have to start the game by discarding a tile. That means she has one tile (at least) that she can pass.
    Since there is at least one player who can pass at least one tile, it's possible to satisfy the rule requiring that a First Left or Last Right pass take place.

    The player who has a tile to pass passes one tile right and says, "I owe you two more." That player can pass it right and say, "I owe you two more," and so on, until each player has passed the tile right. Then the first player need only repeat the process twice (saying, instead of "I owe you two more," rather "Now I owe you one more" and "Here's your third tile" on the 2nd and 3rd time, respectively). Now each player has (in effect) passed three tiles to each other player, using the Blind Pass workaround, although in actuality nobody has actually changed her hand.

    Or you could just all SAY you did the above. It amounts to the same thing anyway.

    Or let's say one player has one tile to pass, two have none, and one has two.
    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 what if you have four players, and not a single player has even one tile to pass?
    Again, 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."

    When East rolls a double can they double their score if they MJ?
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 14. Scroll up and look left 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
    June 28, 2012


    Fédération Française de Mah-jong

    >From: Augier N
    >Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 6:04 AM
    >Subject: Links for mahjong
    >Hello Tom !
    >First, thanks a lot for your column. It is very nicely done, and allowed me to understand what I like to think is a really good chunk of the MCR rules (being myself an avid player of Riichi). I lack opportunities to train but reading your strategies and insight is a pleasure (espescially these days, as I'm feeling a veeeery strong feeling of procrastination.... :P)
    >FYI, on columns 342 and aroudn it, the link you have for the Fédération Française de Mah-jong is pointing to a ".com" site and not the ".fr" site of the federation. And it sends you to a... strange eastern-europe looking website... weird.. :p
    >Do you come in France to play sometimes ? Mahjong is not well known as far as I know, but we'll continue spreading the good word !
    >Again, thanks for your time/energy, and may hidden Kans fall in your lap daily ! :)
    >Nicolas

    Hi, Nicolas!
    Thanks for coming to my site. I'm glad those columns were helpful.
    As for those links, they were probably the correct URL at the time. I've fixed it now, thanks to you.
    I have no travel plans at this time. Wish I could come play in France!
    May les tuiles 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
    June 28, 2012


    What happens when there's a "wall game"

    >From: Brenda J
    >Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 2:15 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Sent from my iPad
    >We are having a disagreement as to what happens when all the tiles are are gone and mah Jong has not been claimed.
    >One side claims the tiles are rebuilt into a wall and the hand continues until mah Jong is claimed.
    >The other sides claims it is a wall game (no one wins) and all the tiles are turned over and a new hand begin
    >Can you help?
    >Thank you,
    >Brenda

    Hello Brenda, you wrote:

    One side claims the tiles are rebuilt into a wall and the hand continues until mah Jong is claimed.
    The people who make that assertion need to read the rulebook. When nobody wins a hand, that hand is over. You do not continue the torture with those tiles. That would be masochistic. Whoever taught those players needs to have her teaching license revoked.*

    The other sides claims it is a wall game (no one wins) and all the tiles are turned over and a new hand begin
    Yes, that is the rule. You know, a rulebook doesn't cost that much -- but you could all pool your resources and buy a rulebook. Or if one of you is less impoverished than the others, that person could buy a rulebook. Your group is very much in need of one, to settle these misunderstandings.

    * Just kidding -- there is no such thing as a mah-jongg teaching license.
    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
    June 28, 2012


    Is this the correct email address?

    >From: Teri
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 6:39 AM
    >Subject: MahJongg tiles
    >Tom Checking to see if this is the correct e-mail address for me to send pictures of a very old MahJongg set that
    >has been in our family for years Was hoping to get an idea of what it may be worth? Please let me know
    >or were are you located and maybe i could actually bring it for you to see Thanks Teri B

    This is the correct email address. A public online appraisal is free, but I need the information in FAQ 7H. I charge $100 for private appraisals.
    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
    June 26, 2012


    She's always calling herself dead

    >From: irene z
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 8:52 AM
    >Subject: calling someone dead
    >Hi Tom,
    >I play Mah Jong with a lady who often times will announce while she is playing that she is dead. She has not exposed any tiles on the rack. What do you do in this situation? I can understand if she didn't announce that she was dead and played defensively so that no one else could call Mah Jong .
    >Thanks,
    >Irene
    >Marlborough, MA 01752

    Hi Irene,
    The rule is that she has to keep playing unless somebody else calls her dead. There is no penalty for kvetching "I am so dead!" Essentially, she's giving away information about her hand. I have never understood why so many players do that.
    As for what you could do... I would say something like, "That's too bad, dear. Keep playing." Or, "The rules say you cannot call yourself dead, so you have to keep on playing." Or, "You don't need to tell us that, dear. Now keep on playing." I assume you've read FAQ 19AC already.
    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
    June 26, 2012


    Website hiccup

    >From: Sarah C
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 6:56 AM
    >Subject: Your Website...
    >Hi!
    >I really enjoyed reading your website, especially the game industry advice sections. Unfortunately, many of the links don't seem to work. I am not sure why. It is rather erratic, sometimes they do work when I google directly for the page.
    >Thanks for sharing your wisdom. ^__^
    >Best Regards.

    Hi, Sarah.
    Thanks for the heads-up. I noticed the problem this morning, too. But it seems to be working okay now. I assume there was some kind of problem at Yahoo, maybe server maintenance or a server migration or something. Maybe they were attacked, I don't know. Maybe they'll let their customers know what was going on. If you see problems again, please let me know the precise location of the problem (for example, the URL of the page that doesn't show up properly). Thanks again.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 26, 2012


    What would Tom do?

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 7:16 PM
    >Subject: Another WWTD
    >Hi Tom,
    >As my go to guru, when playing I often think What Would Tom Do? The following scenario sometimes comes
    >up and happened twice in the last week, once on line and another in a live game.
    >I was going for like numbers and exposed 4 9Cracks. In my hand I have 4 Flowers, 2 9 Bams, 1 9 Dot and one Joker.
    >A 9 Bam is thrown. Do I call it and set myself for Mah Jongg needing a single 9Dot as well as telegraphing my hand, and likely
    >needing to pick the single tile myself as well as not being able to use a joker should I pick it? I hate getting into this situation,
    >however both times I called the 9 Bam and the 9Dot was thrown giving me Mah Jongg. (The live game player was set and took a chance)
    >WWYD?
    >Thanks for your help and continuous columns of late!
    >Donna

    It depends, Donna. If I'm feeling lucky, or if I'm playing online against unpredictable strangers, I might go for it. But I really want to have my pair. If I'm playing against my usual sharks, I play cautious -- I don't expose. It's a problem, every time it happens -- I don't have one firm do-it-this-way-every-time principle.
    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
    June 25, 2012


    Ganjifa, part 4

    >From: Facebook
    >Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2012 10:13 AM
    >Subject: Sushila Singh posted on your Wall
    >facebook
    >Sushila Singh posted on your Wall
    >"n 1895, General Albert Houtum-Schindler described Ganjifa with the following comments:
    >"The word ganjifeh is in Persian now only employed for European playing-cards (four suits, ace to ten; three picture cards each suit), which, however, are also called rarak i âs - rarak i âsanâs - or simply âs, from the game âs or âsanâs. From travellers to Persia in the seventeenth century we know that a set of ganjifeh consisted of ninety or ninety-six cards in eight suits or colors. At present a set consists of twenty cards in five colors or values. These values are:
    >Shîr va Khurshíd or âs: Lion and Sun, or Ace.
    >Shâh or Pishâ: King.
    >Bîbî: Lady (or Queen).
    >Sarbâs: Soldier (or Knave).
    >Lakat (meaning something of little value): generally a dancing-girl.
    >The backs of the cards are always black or of a dark color, but their faces have grounds of different colors, viz: The Lion and Sun, a black ground; the King, a white ground; the Lady, red; the soldier, gold; the Lakat, green. The pictures on the cards show much variety and are often obscene, particularly those on the card of the lowest value. The ordinary types as now made are: Ace, a Lion and Sun, as in the Persian arms; a King sitting on a throne; a European lady in a quaint costume; a Persian soldier shouldering his rifle; a Persian dancing-girl."
    >[edit]Rules
    >
    >Houtum-Schindler described the rules as follows:
    >"The word ganjifeh I have explained. Âs is no doubt our word "ace", probably introduced into India through the Portuguese. Neither of the words is found in Persian dictionaries. The game of As is exactly like Poker, but without any flushes or sequences. There are four players, and each player gets five cards, dealt to the right. The dealer puts down a stake. The first player then looks at his cards. If he "goes", he says dîdam (I have seen), and covers the stake or raises it. If he does not wish to play, he says nadîdam, (I have not seen) and throws his cards. He may also "go" without looking at his cards - that is, in poker parlance, "straddle" - and says nadîd dîdam (not seeing, I have seen). The second player, if he wishes to play, must cover the stakes, and can also raise. The third player and the dealer then act in the same way just as in poker, and when the stakes of all players are equal and no one raises any more the cards are turned up and the player holding the best hand wins the stakes.
    >The hands in the order of their value are as follows:
    >She va just, i.e., three and a pair; a "full"., i e., three and a pair; a "full."
    >Sehta, i.e. threes, aces, kings, etc.
    >Do just, i.e., two pairs; aces highest.
    >Just, i.e., one pair; aces highest.
    >When two players have the same pair or pairs, the other cards decide; for instance, a pair of kings, ace, soldier, and lakat.
    >"Bluffing" is a feature of the game and is called tûp zadan, literally "fire off a gun". A bluff is tûp."
    >[edit]Variants
    >Moghul Ganjifa is played in some parts of Orissa with 96 cards in 8 suits of 12 cards each; each suit is distinctively coloured and comprises ten pip cards from 1 to 10 and two court cards, a vizier and a king.
    >Dashavatara Ganjifa is played by three persons with 120 cards, mainly in Sawantwadi in Maharashta, although it is played by five persons in Bishnupur, West Bengal. There are 10 suits of 12 cards each; the suits correspond to the ten avatars of Vishnu. The order of the suits (from lowest to highest) is: fish, tortoise, boar, lion (or half-man, half-lion), dwarf (looks like an umbrella in PySol), Rama with the axe, Rama (looks like a bow and arrow in PySol), Krishna (looks like a jellyfish in PySol), Buddha (looks like a flower in PySol), Kalki (looks like a Pegasus in PySol)."
    >Reply to this email to comment on this Wall post.
    >Facebook, Inc. Attention: Department 415 P.O Box 10005 Palo Alto CA 94303

    Thanks, Sushila. Good to 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
    June 25, 2012


    Others say she is not permitted to stop the Charleston

    >From: Margaret S
    >Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 7:35 AM
    >Subject: question
    >After the first Charleston a player stops it but she still wants to pass three tiles for her Courtesy pass. I say she can stop the Charleston if she wants to and doesn't have to give a reason. Others say she had three to pass so must continue the Charleston. What is the correct answer?
    >Thank-you,
    >Margaret S.

    Margaret,
    Hand your ladies a copy of the official NMJL rules, or my book, and challenge them to find where any such rule as they mention is given in writing. They won't be able to find it, because no such rule exists. The rule you stated has no direct bearing on what they're saying (while it's true she doesn't have to give a reason, that does not imply any rule on the number of tiles she may offer in the courtesy pass after stopping the Charleston).
    Rule: a player may stop the Charleston for any reason whatsoever.
    Rule: in the courtesy pass, a player may offer up to three tiles to her opposite.
    Neither of the above rules has any bearing on the other; there is no rule that says that if a player has three tiles to offer in the courtesy that she may not stop the Charleston. Your ladies are wrong. Maybe they're confusing rules with strategy.
    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
    June 22, 2012


    I have to side-scroll to read everything

    >From: "dswb
    >Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 5:53 AM
    >Subject: Q&A text needs scrollilng
    >Hi Tom,
    >The text on the Q&A Bulletin Board suddenly appears in a wide format that requires scrolling across to read. Hope you can fix it. Thanks, I really enjoy your site.

    Hi dswb,
    Thanks for letting me know. I use Firefox as my browser, and didn't see that. Just now I tried it in several other browsers and was able to see the problem. It always happens -- somebody sends me a very long URL, and its width forces the browser window to match, necessitating side-scrolling. I found the long URL in the post "It must be the name of the manufacturer, part 3,"  >From: inkinmama  >Sent: Monday, June 4. It's fixed now, thanks to 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
    June 22, 2012


    Is it permissible to say "same" when discarding same?

    >From: Judy S
    >Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Is it permissible to say "same" when discarding the same tile as the previous person's discard?
    >Jude

    Of course, Jude. Any fluent English speaker would understand your meaning. I know a player who says "ditto" instead -- same thing, right?
    Besides which, there is a strategic reason to do so. An opponent who is foolishly only listening, and not looking, might think you had discarded a joker, and will scan the table looking for it, then might even ask what just happened. So by saying "same," you have played a little game with her head, maybe thrown her off her game a little. That's good strategy against that kind of player.
    But sometimes when someone asks me a simple question like this, I wonder why. I wonder what made you ask this. Let me guess: some uptight biddy chided you for saying "same," am I right? Well, she needs to lighten up.
    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
    June 21, 2012


    It's hard to describe actual events, so I hope you follow this

    >From: Coyla M
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 8:40 PM
    >Subject: MahJongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom,
    >I appreciate and look forward to your weekly column so much and enjoy doing all the exercises. Today while playing for money a problem came up. A flower was discarded, the player next to the discarder and I both called for the tile at the same time. The player picked up and placed the time in her rack since she was the one closest to the discarder. Since I said "Call" instead of "MahJong" and she had already put it in her rack (hers was not for MahJongg and I am a little slow). We had a little discussion and it was decided that I would over-ride the lady that racked the tile. It was decided that since I quote T. S. (that's you) all the time that I should email you and find out what is the correct answer: The FAST lady who called and racked (even though I "called" at the same time but did not call "MahJongg") or the SLOWER to speak "MahJong"? I sure hope this is clear to you, it sure is hard to describe actual events. Thanks for your help. Coyla

    Hi Coyla,
    What do you mean, it's hard to describe actual events? Which of these is what happened...

    1. Two of you called for the discard, and neither of you said it was for mah-jongg? If that's correct, then clearly, the player first in line after the discarder gets the tile.

    2. Or after player A discarded and named the tile, player B said "call" and player C said (after player B spoke) "mah-jongg"? If that's the deal, then clearly (since it's not a race) player C gets the tile. Mah-jongg trumps everything, as you have heard me say before.

    3. Or are you saying player B said "call" and exposed tiles from her hand before player C managed to say "mah-jongg"? Because if that's the case, then player C should have acted faster, and once the exposure was made, should not have said anything. Once player B exposed tiles from her hand, then clearly the discard is dead to player C.

    4. Or are you saying player B said "call" and put the taken discard atop her rack before player C managed to say "mah-jongg"? Because if that's the case, then player C wins the hand. Player B has not yet exposed tiles from her hand, so the tile is not dead to player C.

    I assume it was one of the above. It's not that hard to describe actual events. Just describe events in chronological order (and when events happen simultaneously, just say so). 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
    June 19, 2012


    WWYD

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2012 9:41 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >One opponent is sitting with four 6 dots and four 8 dots. The two and four Bams are out (some I watched her throw) so it was pretty evident that she was needing a 2 or 4 Crack none of which were out. I'm set and pick in a 2 Crack. I have one more pick and need a Green of which there is one unaccounted for (or a Joker). I decide to break up my hand and throw out a Joker figuring my odds are not great at getting either tile. Well then my last pick was a joker.
    >Wondering WWYD?
    >Thanks,
    >Donna

    IWD the same thing you did, Donna. And I'd curse the mah-jongg gods when I pick that last joker. Consider this, though: when you dog your hand, you are still taking a risk. The dangerous opponent still might pick her tile and win, in which case you'd still pay just as much as if you'd thrown her tile. But since you were just two picks from the end of the wall, you did WIWD.
    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
    Father's Day, 2012


    FAQ 19P

    >From: "jhanthorne
    >Sent: Friday, June 15, 2012 11:14 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >I read through your frequently asked questions and couldn't find this exact situation.
    > A fellow player picked a discard and declared MahJongg. She laid up 11 22 333 444 with 2 jokers in the 3's and 4's. She then discovered that she did not have a MJ, declared herself dead, and left the 1 though 4 exposed on top of her rack with her remaining tiles unexposed on her rack. The next player redeemed both of the exposed jokers on the rack of the incorrect MJ. Are those jokers redeemable or was the entire hand dead as they were laid up with a miscalled MJ? Thanks!

    Hello jhanthorne, you asked:

    Are those jokers redeemable or was the entire hand dead as they were laid up with a miscalled MJ?
    This is answered in FAQ 19P. Read "The General Rule on Joker Validity", second bullet. Read the first sentence and the last sentence.

    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
    The Ides of June, 2012


    Was my wife taught the right way?

    >From: "vaughnmarilyn
    >Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:22 PM
    >Subject: taking the discard vs. from the wall
    >My wife was teaching me how to play last night and she was taught that player has the choice of taking a tile from the wall OR from the discarded tile of the previous player. If it is from the discard, it is not required to complete Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet. As such, the player is not required to expose the set of tiles that it was taken for (to complete the Pung, etc.) When I look at the NMJL rulebook, this does not seem to be the case. Can you clarify for me. Is this possible 'table rules' of the place where she learned.
    > Question #2: When two identical tiles are discarded in a row, the next player is required to take the 2nd one back as his/her turn. Is that correct?
    > Question #3: When a Joker is discarded (Question G, answer A3) and the player claims 'same', does that mean that now there are two identical tiles discarded in a row and the next player must take the 2nd one back as his/her turn (related to Question #2 above).
    >Vaughn

    Hello Vaughn, you wrote:

    If it is from the discard, it is not required to complete Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet. As such, the player is not required to expose... When I look at the NMJL rulebook, this does not seem to be the case... Is this possible 'table rules' of the place where she learned.
    I've never heard of anyone using such a table rule. If your wife's group plays that way and they all think it's the right way, then they were all taught wrong.

    When two identical tiles are discarded in a row, the next player is required to take the 2nd one back as his/her turn. Is that correct?
    No. I think this is a misunderstood actual rule - the actual rule is, that if someone wants to claim the second ("same") tile, she has to take the actual second one (not the first one), unless the second ("same") tile is actually a joker (in which case neither tile can be claimed).

    When a Joker is discarded (Question G, answer A3) and the player claims 'same', does that mean that now there are two identical tiles discarded in a row and the next player must take the 2nd one back as his/her turn (related to Question #2 above).
    I see you've already read FAQ 19G. Good. Well. Since the answer to #2 above is no, then the answer to #3 is "not applicable."

    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
    June 14, 2012


    Column 508, part 2

    >From: C.G S
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:30 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >I have - the columns are great! Thanks so much for doing them. Quite helpful and I've passed links to your column on to others for improvement.
    >I've used your site to learn lots about sets, cleaning, etc. I've been collecting sets, and its fun trying to id their age, maker, etc.
    >Thx again.
    >C.G

    Cool! (^_^)


    FAQ 19Z

    >From: Randy G
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:33 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Must exposures be placed on your rack in order? Thanks, Randy

    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 19Z. 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
    June 13, 2012


    Column 508

    >From: C.G S
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:08 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Feb 19, column 508, #2, Isn't this Evens #1 rather than what you stated in your column? It can't be Consec #5 because it requires three suits and the exposure is 2 bams and 4 bams. Please let me know if I am reading this correctly since I am a new player of American.
    >Thanks
    >CG S

    >From: C.G S
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Sorry, I went back and found another problem, that's when I realized you were using the 2011 card. Sorry.

    No problem, C.G. (^_^) I'm glad you're using the column, and I hope you get some useful tips thereby.
    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
    June 12, 2012


    Rabid, part 2

    >From: "rABiD>^.,.^<kittEn"
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:39 AM
    >Subject: Re: Please help me to determine the value of this set
    >Tom,
    >Again, thank you very much for taking the time to read my email, have a look at the pics, and answer my questions! You're very helpful. And I'm relieved that I didn't get scolded and shamed for not following the checklist or something.
    >Cheers!
    >rABiD>^.,.^<kittEn

    You're welcome, rabid.
    Tom Sloper

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 12, 2012


    Rabidly seeking value

    >From: "rABiD>^.,.^<kittEn"
    >Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 10:30 PM
    >Subject: Please help me to determine the value of this set
    >Hi Tom,
    >My family lived in many countries when I was younger, and we have collected 'interesting' items for years. Now, we are trying to purge my mom's storage of some of these items, and I am trying to determine the value of these things.
    >I was going to just list my parents' old Mah-Jongg set on eBay and hope for the best, but I have been perusing your website extensively, and appreciate that you offer to help answer some questions...provided that they are posed correctly, with homework to back them up! So, I am going to do my best. I am going to provide you with what I know, what I have learned (predominantly from your site), and am hoping that you can give me a decent estimated value of this set. Perhaps in the process, you will also confirm that my determinations regarding what the tiles are made of and the age of the set are correct. I have been unable to find one quite like it to compare precisely.
    >1. Contents: 4 small dice with red-dotted 1s. 5 colored wooden racks with the white one unopened (though the plastic wrapper is not entirely intact). 2 tile trays. The basic 136-tile set is complete. 110 Coins: 25 green, 25 blue, 25 white, 35 red. Rotatable wind disk (or bettor?).
    >2. Condition: I have not detected any blemishes on the tiles, and would call them 'Excellent'. The racks vary are in 'Excellent' condition, except for the red one which has a few chips and I would call in 'Very Good' condition.
    >3. What are the tiles made of? This is where I have spent most of my time trying to make a determination. I am going with "Vinyl Plastic" from your site...?
    >4. Describe the history: This set was purchased in the mid '70s. My parents were visiting friends in Japan (I'm mentioning this for a reason), and bought it then. My mom believes they bought it in Osaka, at the Hankyu department store. There is a tag on on a placard that reads "Hankyu". They have been the only owners, and hardly played after that stint.
    >5. Tile dimensions: 1 3/16" h x 7/8" w x 1/2" d
    >6. How many tiles are there in the set? There is a total of 168 tiles. This is what I have found most difficult to find in comparing our set. Beyond the 136 basic tiles, there are 10 jokers, 2 blanks, and 20 flowers (including 4 seasons depicted by occupations). All are original and 'matching', without stickers.
    >7. What other pieces are included with the set? See #1.
    >8. What kind of container does the set come in? A grey-blue, flat, briefcase-style box that is probably imitation leather and does not appear to be anything of note. Silver-toned hardware.
    >9. What condition is the container in? The case has a couple of rubbed areas on it, so I would call it 'Good'.
    >10. Does the set have any paper materials? Describe the condition: There are 4 "Official Standard Hands and Rules 1975-76" booklets--Fine condition. "Directions of Playing Mah-Jongg, 'Chinese Game of Four Winds'" 22-pg booklet--Fine condition. "Let's Play Mah Jongg" 1975 1976 NMJL 27-pg Instruction Book, --Good condition. A placard with a "Hankyu" sticker on it, with tile images, and entirely written in...? (Not English). A 4-pg handwritten guide to 1973-74 Official Standard Hands, that my parents' friends in Japan meticulously wrote out on tissue paper for them. I don't know if it is of interest to buyers.
    >11. What kind of craks are in this set? The later, more elaborate characters.
    >12. 13. 14. I am attaching pictures of the One Bams, flowers, and dragons.
    >15. How many jokers does the set have? 10.
    >I've enjoyed reading all of the pages on your site. I have learned quite a bit! Thank you very much for taking your time to answer my questions. Please let me know if you need anything else from me.
    >I look forward to reading your response on the site,
    >~Kala

    Hello Rabid, you wrote:

    What are the tiles made of? This is where I have spent most of my time trying to make a determination. I am going with "Vinyl Plastic" from your site...?
    You can't go wrong if you just say "plastic."

    A placard with a "Hankyu" sticker on it, with tile images, and entirely written in...?
    Japanese. This item does not belong with the set, unless a collector buys it as an American set sold in Japan (which doesn't add to the value of the set). I don't know what this "placard" is, but I'm sure it's not of interest to the majority of people who would buy your set. It might be of value if sold separately.

    A 4-pg handwritten guide to 1973-74 Official Standard Hands, that my parents' friends in Japan meticulously wrote out on tissue paper for them. I don't know if it is of interest to buyers.
    No. You can recycle it.

    Please help me to determine the value of this set
    It's an ordinary American set in a not-so-good case. Maybe $70 for the set itself. You should sell the four NMJL cards separately, and the Hankyu card also separately. The "Let's Play Mah Jongg" booklet is also of some value. Sell that separately too (or leave it in the set to increase the set's value a little).

    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
    June 12, 2012


    Column 523

    >From: "Sssm
    >Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 1:18 PM
    >Subject: Column #523
    >June 10 column #523 number 14, Could that also be consecutive #3 ?

    Quite right, sssm. A tip o' the hat to sharp-eyed 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
    June 11, 2012


    Errata in your book

    >From: Mary Lou S
    >Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2012 4:07 PM
    >Subject: possible correction needed in your book
    >Hello Mr Sloper,
    > I purchased your book The Red Dragon & the West Wind to help me learn and to help my mahjong group at a senior center learn the Official Chinese Mahjong. While reading it and trying to apply the directions, I think I may have happened on an error that you may wish to correct in a future edition. On page 172 and on page 142 you describe the rotating of seats after one hand in order to begin a new one. You describe the original West as moving "clockwise around the table," and the original North moving "counterclockwise around the table." I think this might be incorrect and West moves counterclockwise and North moves clockwise. Is this right? Or am I wrong and missing something? Also on page 131, in #17, is the dealer really taking the first tile "counterclockwise from the break in the wall" or clockwise to the left of the break?
    > I want to thank you for the book! I have played National Mah-Jongg League style for a number of years, but wanted to try the Official Chinese version. So far, I really like it and find it more challenging than the American style.
    > I do have one other question, if you have the time to reply. I probably missed it in the text, but I was wondering what a "two-way call" was in reference to the Chicken Hand? I apologize if this is something you explain somewhere and I missed it.
    >Thanks again,
    >Mary Lou S

    Hi Mary Lou,
    Thanks for buying my book, and thanks for writing me with your findings. You wrote:

    On page 172 and on page 142 you describe the rotating of seats after one hand in order to begin a new one. You describe the original West as moving "clockwise around the table," and the original North moving "counterclockwise around the table." I think this might be incorrect and West moves counterclockwise and North moves clockwise. Is this right?
    On p. 142 and 172 I describe the rotation of seats after four hands (one round), not after each hand. But, upon checking , it appears you are right, I erred. I seem to have fallen prey to the beginner's most commonly misunderstood rule. I should have looked at the diagram on p. 173 when I wrote rule 75.d.iii and .iv, and the table on page 172. I'm making that correction right now in the errata file, which you can download when you read this. Read on.

    Also on page 131, in #17, is the dealer really taking the first tile "counterclockwise from the break in the wall" or clockwise to the left of the break?
    That one had been identified previously, and is corrected in the errata file, which you can download from the RDWW page, here (click this). I don't know when the book will be reprinted, so until that happens, my recommendation is that you download and print the errata, and keep it with your copy of the book.

    I probably missed it in the text, but I was wondering what a "two-way call" was in reference to the Chicken Hand?
    Well, I explained various types of one-way waits (or one-chance calls, whatever you might want to call them), on pages 156-157 and 191 (edge wait, single wait, closed wait). A two-way wait in context of a Chicken Hand would be, for example, holding two consecutive tiles in one suit, and waiting for the tile that would complete the chow at either end. Like, for example:

    or

    In the first case, the wait is for 3C or 6C. In the second case, the wait is for 1B or 4B. Both are two-way waits (two-way calls).

    May the tiles be with you, Mary Lou.
    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
    June 10, 2012


    Frequently Asked Question 19P, part 2
    >From: Diane C. M
    >Sent: Friday, June 8, 2012 10:52 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you. I do apologize - I did look thru the FAQ and missed this question.
    >DM
    >Sent from my iPad


    Frequently Asked Question 19P - can I redeem a joker from a dead player's rack?

    >From: Diane C. M
    >Cc: Diane C. M
    >Sent: Friday, June 8, 2012 8:28 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >> Mah Jongg was called and the player exposed her hand. It was then discovered that the hand played was a closed hand and the player had made two exposures during play. Therefore the hand was declared dead. What happens next? What happens to the tiles and jokers. Is this correct:
    >> Play continues with the remaining 3 players. The tiles on the dead hand ALL remain exposed on the rack. All jokers are viable and can be exchanged during subsequent play, whether they were in the previous exposures or the whole hand exposure. (or are the Jokers in the wrongly exposed exposures, dead??)
    >> However, any Joker that was used in error is considered non-viable and is dead. For instance, if the Mah Jongg was called in error because of the illegal use of the Joker, then THAT Joker(s) is dead.
    >I can't seem to get a clear answer from anyone on this situation. I hope you can help!
    >Diane M
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hi Diane,
    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 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
    June 8, 2012


    Vietnamese mah-jongg rules

    >From: Homer
    >Sent: Thursday, June 7, 2012 11:19 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong Vietnamese rules
    >Hi,
    >I'm looking for rules of vietnamese classic style mahjong. (160 tiles, with 16 jokers/flowers)
    >Do you know where I could find these rules ?
    >Thanks,
    >Regards.
    >A.G.

    Yes, I do, A.G. I have Vietnamese rules right here.
    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
    June 8, 2012


    American rules in Chinese

    >From: irene z
    >Sent: Friday, June 8, 2012 3:45 AM
    >Subject: rules
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have a unique and challenging question for you. Is there an American Mahjong rules book written in Chinese? I am tutoring an 88 year old Chinese man in English. He plays Chinese Mahjong and has taught me to play. (I read a lot of the rules on my own.) He is extremely bright and I know if he could read the American rules in his native language we could play some games. Do you know of any books?
    >Thank you,
    >Irene Z

    Hello, Irene. There are only four books that describe American rules at all: the NMJL's official rulebook, my own book ("The Red Dragon & The West Wind"), and the two books by Elaine Sandberg. I hope that someone would have informed me if my book had been translated into any language. I doubt very intensely that the NMJL rulebook has been translated into Chinese. I do not know what languages Sandberg's books have been translated into. You could ask her, I suppose. Her contact information can be found in FAQ 4a (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
    June 8, 2012


    I called her dead. She called me cutthroat, part 2

    >From: "ellenn...
    >Sent: Thursday, June 7, 2012 1:10 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > RE calling me cut throat for calling her dead. Yes, there are 2 hands and both need 2 flowers. I accounted for 4 on the table and 4 in an exposure. So she was definitely dead. She was playing the consecutive run. She also said "in this game nobody ever called anyone dead before because it was a friendly game." To boot I was exposed with 4 flowers, 4 8cracks, 4 8 bams and I need 1 8 dot, which I picked myself and I was bet on and made mah jong without a joker. She called me cut throat when I declared her dead and then I picked my 8 dot.

    Well, ellen,
    I don't know if your group was actually using a "never call anybody dead" table rule, or if she's just a poutyface. See FAQ 14: you need to talk to your group and figure out what table rules your group has never told you about.
    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
    June 7, 2012


    The columns are not mobile-friendly, part 2

    >From: BGmail
    >Sent: Thursday, June 7, 2012 4:09 AM
    >Subject: Re: Great site/ navigation suggestion
    >Thanks for the 'mobile friendly' link! Much better than scrolling all the way to the bottom of the posting list to get to the actual column! (On the iPad the column appears after the lengthy list of postings, so the new link is much faster.)
    >Cheers,
    >BG

    Oh, okay. Now I see how it works on iPad; the header frame, showing index of past columns, is not handled the way I intended it to work (as a scrollable frame, the frame occupying only a part of the display screen). It works fine on Blackberry Playbook and desktops (including Macs), and in all browsers I've tried, including Safari. The problem seems to be on just iPhone and iPad. Haven't tried it on Android.
    Anyway, I'm glad I was able to come up with a working solution going forward. Thanks for letting me know about 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
    June 7, 2012


    I called her dead. She called me cutthroat.

    >From: "ellenn...
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 7:45 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I was exposed with 4 flowers. There were 4 flowers on the table. One of the players was exposed with 4 one bams and 4 two cracks. I called her dead. She at some point later started to break up her hand. I called her dead because I was able to account for 8 flowers. She accused me of being very cut throat. Was I wrong to call her dead?

    Ellen,
    If this is the first time you've ever encountered someone getting upset at being called dead, you've been very lucky! Of course someone can get upset if you call her dead. I'm surprised you're surprised. Notice that she did not tell you that you were wrong (she did not deny being dead - she just called you cutthroat). You do realize, don't you, that if she denies she's dead, and you can later demonstrate (by telling her which hand she had to be making) that she was dead, she owes you a quarter? See FAQ 19AB.
    By the way, you did not tell me which hand you thought she was making. I see two on the card that she could have been trying for. When you call someone dead, you ought to be ready to back it up with logic. Some overly sensitive players will deny being dead, but you can convince the other players, and they can tell her to pay up.
    In this case, she was overly sensitive and got pouty when you pointed out that she was dead -- and her comeback hurt you, too (a case of two overly sensitive people, seems to me). It's "cutthroat" to tell somebody she's cutthroat. It's not cutthroat to call somebody dead when she's dead. It's not cutthroat to ask her to pay the 25¢ she owes you according to the rules.
    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
    June 6, 2012


    The columns are not mobile-friendly

    >From: Beemail
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 5:52 PM
    >Subject: Great site/ navigation suggestion
    >Hi Tom,
    >I recently learned to play Mah-Jongg and came across your site, which has been VERY helpful. And I just purchased your book, which I look forward to reading to further enhance my knowledge.
    >But one observation: the scrolling length of your columns is rather unwieldy, given how long you have been doing this (!). I understand that it probably made sense when you started, but now...? Especially on an iPad, getting down to the actual column is rather tedious.
    >Have you considered having the column, once selected, open in a separate window? Or perhaps have tabbed archives for older years, or by topic (e.g., Chinese, NMJL, etc.)?
    >Just an observation from a new fan. I respect all the work and effort you put into the columns, and simply thought I might (respectfully) suggest a change that might enhance the reading of the columns.
    >Cheers,
    >BG
    >--
    >Beth G

    Hello Beth,
    I would never want to read my column on a mobile device, so I hadn't considered making it mobile-friendly. After I read your email (on my iPhone), for the heck of it, I visited my column, using my iPhone, for the first time. I observed that my column's frame format does not make an optimal viewing experience on the small screen.
    So, as an experiment, I added mobile-friendly links to the column list. On the iPhone, now, you can make the individual column fill the screen (for the 2012 NMJL columns). The site nav frame and the index frame are gone (must use the back button to access them again). Having tried it out, it is easy enough to keep implementing every week with new columns. So the column will be more mobile-friendly going forward.
    So that's the story as for smartphones. Now as to tablets...
    I don't have an iPad, but I have a Playbook. So just now I tried visiting my column using the tablet (again, for the first time), and I don't see the problem you described: "getting down to the actual column is rather tedious." Since the latest column is always at the top, I don't know what you mean. And I don't know why anyone would want to go back to see ancient columns on a regular basis, using a small screen. Especially for American mah-jongg, given that one would need to have an old card to make sense of any strategy column.
    As for categorizing the columns, that's possible to do, but more work than I care to put in. Using a full-size computer monitor and a keyboard desktop computer, it's easy enough to simply search for keywords, to find desired columns that way. The full history of the column is accessible, but it's designed for full-size computers.
    I'm glad you enjoy the columns, and I hope you enjoy my book. You're welcome to write again anytime.
    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
    June 6, 2012


    How old is it? (FAQ 7G), part 2

    >From: Julie M
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2012 5:58 PM
    >Subject: Emailing: 2012-06-06_1003, 2012-06-06_1004, 2012-06-06_1005, 2012-06-06_1006, 2012-06-06_1007, 2012-06-06_1008, 2012-06-06_1009
    >Hi,
    >Of course, you would need pictures of this set to describe it approximate age and make. It was an afterthought last night but I decided to wait for your response.
    >I am under the impression that this set was my grandmother's and then passed on to my mother who passed away in 2009.
    >Again, thanks for your assistance and let me know if you need better pictures.
    >Sincerely,
    >Julie M

    Hi Julie,
    I had a similar set (or should I say, a set in a similar case and with similar designs, but with different colored backs). My guess is 1930s or 1940s. A couple things:
    - You said there were no "dragoons" in the set, but I see your red dragons and white dragons in your photograph.
    - I see twelve flowers (and the four Frankensteined flowers), but without a tile breakdown, I can't tell if that's all of them.
    - You did not follow my FAQ 7G checklist as I asked you to, so I don't know what the total tile count is.
    - You did not show me your dots or bams.
    - The four extra flower tiles (with different color backs) do not belong with the set. Clearly, someone added them in to make the game compatible with an old NMJL card. If your set has 16 flowers (including those four) then that means that the set was modified in 1946, to work with the 1946 card (see column 509).
    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
    June 6, 2012


    How old is it? (FAQ 7G)

    >From: Julie M
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 9:06 PM
    >Subject: age of mahjong set
    >Hello,
    >I have inherited a mahjong set that I cannot identify. It is in a simulated alligator case that measures 19"L x 3 ½" D x 8 ¾" W. The upper inside of the case has lining of burgundy velvet or velvet like material. The tiles are made of two tone colors, light cream on the front and a true forest green on the back. No jokers or dragoons came with the set of tiles. It has five dark red or burgundy colored Bakelite racks with four coin holders on the ends in colors of white, olive green, black and dark red. There is a separate and larger coin holder for five coins but it only has coins of white, light green, and mustard-color. All the coins are round with square centers. In addition, there are four tiles of an off-color and emerald green backs with red smudges of color on the off-white side. The tiles in the case are situated in two separate trays, 3" wide and 16 ½" long, that seem to be velvet lined like the inside of the top of the case.
    >I would appreciate any knowledge of the type and age of this set and I anticipate paying a fee for this service.
    >Sincerely,
    >Julie M

    Julie,
    What, no pictures? If you want me to tell you how old your set is, I need pictures and I need the information requested in Frequently Asked Question 7G. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    I only charge for a set appraisal when the client requests a private appraisal. And I need the same information, regardless of whether the appraisal is free or paid. I very rarely do paid appraisals.
    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
    June 5, 2012


    It must be the name of the manufacturer, part 3

    >From: inkinmama
    >Sent: Monday, June 4, 2012 11:02 AM
    >Subject: Re: MJ set manufacturers
    >Don't you love a good mystery? I do! I know you don't do links, but here's the set I was talking about, just to satisfy your curiosity: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?
    ViewItem&_trksid=p4340.l2557&hash=item519f3c4057&item=
    350563876951&nma=true&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0
    &rt=nc&si=rUSFgZDl6Enz9DMBDpT0goUcDUQ%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc
    >And I totally appreciate your knowledge and sense of humor by the way!

    Sorry, inkinmama, but any curiosity I might have doesn't rise high enough that I'd want to look into this mystery of yours. Good luck.
    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
    June 4, 2012


    It must be the name of the manufacturer, part 2

    >From: inkinmama
    >Sent: Monday, June 4, 2012 9:44 AM
    >Subject: Re: MJ set manufacturers
    >Thanks Tom. In other words, I need to do more research! :) Honestly, I was scratching my head over the whole thing because the pictures were terrible, and some of the tiles looked a little rough. I guess I'm missing something in the comparisons!

    I don't know, Rebecca. I don't have enough clues to solve that mystery 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
    June 4, 2012


    It must be the name of the manufacturer

    >From: inkinmama
    >Sent: Monday, June 4, 2012 6:09 AM
    >Subject: MJ set manufacturers
    >Hi Tom,
    > Does the manufacturer of a MJ set affect the value? There is a Crisloid set on ebay that recently sold for over $600, and I was trying to figure out why that set went so high compared to similar bakelite sets that have sold. I have a Crisloid Gold medal set from the 60's I think (based on your guidelines), which I am interested in selling, but I didn't want to lowball it! I've attached some pics.
    > Thanks!
    > Rebecca

    >From: inkinmama
    >Sent: Monday, June 4, 2012 6:18 AM
    >Subject: Forgot a pic from the Crisloid set!

    Hi Rebecca, you wrote:

    Does the manufacturer of a MJ set affect the value? There is a Crisloid set on ebay that recently sold for over $600, and I was trying to figure out why that set went so high
    Your theory is that it must be the manufacturer's name that caused the difference in final selling price. Are you sure you've eliminated all the other possible reasons why that set sold so high? The sales pitch said the same things, the condition was the same, the graphic quality was comparable, the tile count was the same...?

    compared to similar bakelite sets that have sold.
    So you have seen other sets of similar condition, quality, tile count, and accessories sell for much less, and you really can't see any difference besides the manufacturer's name? Did you look at the buyer, see if s/he bought any other sets?

    I have a Crisloid Gold medal set from the 60's I think (based on your guidelines), which I am interested in selling, but I didn't want to lowball it!
    Then don't. Good luck!

    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
    June 4, 2012


    What does "like pungs" mean?

    >From: Tom K
    >Sent: Sunday, June 3, 2012 2:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question
    >On the 2012 card under 369 games, the 5th one down says (Like Pungs 3, 6, or 9). Since pungs are 3 like tiles why is the 6 included in this statement?
    >Thank you for your service.
    >Tom K

    Hi Tom,
    I don't follow your reasoning, but 369 #5 is explained in FAQ 16. Scroll up and click the FAQ 16 link at the left side of the screen.
    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
    June 3, 2012


    Is it really true that 25 cents, doubled twice, really equals a whole dollar? Really?

    >From: "LIONSTAR8
    >Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:25 AM
    >Subject: Re: value of the hand
    >My question is:
    >The value of the hand is .25
    >I picked the mah jongg myself and was bet on
    >How much do the other players pay me (and the better)?
    >Thank you for your response.
    >Carol H

    Hi Carol,
    Read the back of your card, and read FAQ 19W (click the FAQ 19 link above left).
    The math is not complicated. I'm guessing that somebody is balking at cents becoming dollars?
    Also: If you want to re-read the answer I gave you on March 1, you can scroll down to the bottom and click the link to go back to see older Qs and As, then scroll down to March 1.
    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
    May 31, 2012


    Misnamed, miscalled - tomayto, tomahto

    >From: Sharon
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >If a player "miss calls" a discard and a player doesn't "see" the tile but calls it, only to find out after the call it isn't the tile they called - is the person who discarded considered "dead."
    >Sent from my iPhone

    Hi Sharon,
    I'm confused. You used the word "call" to mean both "name" and "claim." Let me try to rephrase (hope I get this right):

    If one player misnames her discard, and another player claims the tile without looking at it first, only to find out after the vocalized claim that it isn't the tile she thought she was getting - is the discarder considered dead?

    Please scroll down and read Judy R's question about misnaming a discard (perhaps you know her?). Then scroll up and find the link to FAQ 19, click it, and read FAQ 19AY. And please bookmark FAQ 19 for future reference. 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
    May 30, 2012


    Miscalled, Misnamed -- Potayto, Potahto

    >From: Judy R
    >Sent: Sunday, May 27, 2012 1:49 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Player A discards a tile, but miscalls it, Next player (B) quickly picks a tile and racks it, at the same moment, player A re-calls her discarded tile correctly. Player C wants to claim the discard (because she says it was previously miscalled) even though a new tile has been picked and racked. Can she do it? Which rule takes precedence--that a miscalled tile cannot be picked up, or that a discarded tile cannot be claimed after the next player has picked up and racked a tile?
    >Thanks,
    >Judy

    Hello, Judy. Well, that's quite a cluster of missteps. As I wrote in FAQ 9, Philosophy 3: "When ruling on conflicts arising out of someone's error, first determine who made the error."
    First, player A erred by misnaming her discard.
    Then player B erred by picking and discarding "quickly," without noticing player A's error (she erred by not looking before leaping).
    Then player C erred by not noticing player A's error until after player A noticed it herself. Player C's error was in only listening, and not also looking (an error she shared with player B).

    I was not there -- I only have your description of events. The speed or slowness of player B's move might possibly be a factor. The way I picture it (based on your description) is that player B moved too aggressively, not giving anyone else much time to react to player A's discard. I might be picturing it wrongly, but still -- Should she be permitted to keep the tile she picked and racked? No -- she acted without looking at player A's discard and seeing that there was an error. So she has to put the tile back, let player A properly name the discard, then let the game proceed the way it should have. See FAQ 19.AY.2 (the FAQs are above left). (Note -- even if I have misread your words, and player B is not an aggressive "pickandrack" player, my ruling here is the same.)

    - Player A's error is common enough, and easily remedied under normal circumstances (meaning, when nobody wants to call either the named tile or the actual tile discarded).
    - Player B may have picked and racked too quickly -- highly aggressive behavior that I do not admire. Beyond that, she erred by not looking (only listening). She needs to slow down -- pause a beat before picking, so that other players can have a chance to call the live discard. And during that brief pause, she needs to look before she leaps.
    - Player C erred by not looking, only listening. She didn't notice until after player A corrected her error that she wanted the actual tile discarded. She needs to pay closer attention.
    - You didn't mention player D, but she, too, erred by only listening, not also looking. Everybody needs to be looking, not only listening.

    Lastly, see column 353 -- I prefer the term "misname," since the term "call" can be used in multiple ways.
    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
    May 28, 2012


    Missing a tile from old set

    >From: Sean C
    >Sent: Friday, May 25, 2012 12:18 PM
    >Subject: missing mj tile
    >hello, i have just bought a lovely old mah jong set that has,
    >unfortunately, one tile missing, dimensions 26 x 19 x 12mm. do you
    >happen to know any one who could replace it for me or where i could
    >buy a spare? thanks for taking the time to read this.
    >regards

    Welcome to my website, Sean.
    The tile you showed me is not that old, and is fairly common. But the size is smaller than the usual. Still, the people who offer loose tiles for sale on my Tiles For Sale bulletin board will probably have what you need. There are links to all the boards and FAQs above left.
    May the tile 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
    May 25, 2012


    Somebody played out of turn

    >From: P Spencer <offersontheweb
    >Sent: Friday, May 25, 2012 12:11 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >NMJL game - Today a player picked and discarded out of turn. How is that handled?
    >Thank you for your help.

    Well, P, that depends on which kind of mah-jongg you are playing. Going out on a limb and trying to read your mental vibe from wherever on the web you may be, I'm guessing you're talking about American mah-jongg (National Mah Jongg League rules). If my psycho guess is correct, then the answer is "call her dead." Read FAQ 19AA. 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
    May 25, 2012


    Can't access your weekly information

    >From: taunya d
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 11:26 AM
    >Subject: Website
    >Hi Tom,
    >I've been trying to down load your weekly information and have not been successful. I click the
    >Date and nothing happens, please advise. Thank you kindly.
    >Sincerely,
    >Taunya

    Hi Taunya,
    I assume you are referring to my mah-jongg column, that you are at http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/column.htm when you "click the date." If that's not what you're talking about, then I need more clues. If my assumption is correct, here are some ideas:
    Instead of clicking the date, click the bold underlined column number (like this: Column #520 - but note that this one right here is not a clickable link. You have to go to http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/column.htm and click the clickable links there). Clicking any clickable link like that ought to take you right to that column.
    If clicking a link on my site is not working for you, maybe you could try right-clicking instead of left-clicking it. Right-clicking brings up a small menu from which you can choose an action.
    If neither of the above is helping, maybe there's a security setting or some other browsing option that you need to change. I can't help you with that.
    Or try using a different browser.
    That's all the ideas I have, Taunya. I really don't know why you can't access the columns. Good luck.
    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
    May 23, 2012


    Mahjong table find, part 3

    >From: Kris K.
    >Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 4:12 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mahjong table find.
    >I have included some photos for your viewing pleasure since im working on it at the moment. 3 Things to note in my machine are the Broken teeth on the belt, Missing rubber O-Ring on the main pully which drives the magnet ring, and deteriorating motor belt which drives the TT plate.
    >Im not sure who makes Sparrow's, my kanji is not that advanced. Im sure our machines are related by maker probably.
    >its sure hella dusty and grimey
    >I dont have an instruction manual to go with the machine so im working on it blind, but PSA to all those who wish to fix their machines: Take photos of every angle, have lots of working space, shelves, little ziploc bags for screws, a marker, tape, a helper, tissues/towels, and a ready source of parts and information.
    >Thanks,
    >Chris.
    >22 Attached files| 20.7MB
    > IMG_0496.JPG
    > IMG_0497.JPG
    > IMG_0498.JPG
    > IMG_0499.JPG
    > IMG_0500.JPG
    > IMG_0501.JPG
    > IMG_0502.JPG
    > IMG_0503.JPG
    > IMG_0504.JPG
    > IMG_0505.JPG
    > IMG_0506.JPG
    >View Slideshow Download All

    Good luck, Chris!
    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
    May 21, 2012


    This week's column

    >From: Sanna F
    >Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 12:12 PM
    >Subject: weekly mahjongg
    >Dear Tom,
    >I have been enjoying your weekly column for some time. For some reason when I click yesterday's date which should be a WWYP column, it does not come up. Only the May 13 column comes up. Can you tell me how to access May 20th column? Thank you for your help. Sanna F

    Oops, my bad. It's fixed now, Sanna. Try again - you might have to refresh the browser before you click the link to this week's column.
    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
    May 21, 2012


    Mahjong table find, part 2

    >From: Kris K.
    >Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 12:48 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mahjong Table Find
    >Cool~, Mine is the Sparrow Dream A MK3 to be exact . The owner was helpful enough to send me the links to adjust2000 for the spare parts. But when you first got your Jansui, you were not kidding when these things weighed a heck ton. Mine was listed at 67kg/148lb. Those parts that i need are sure pricy, the belt cost as much as a tile set. The tile sets for a sparrow unit cost around 300$ a set, quite pricy. Im not sure if its 1 or 2 sets that are included with the price from adjust2k
    >which do you prefer the raised console layout or the trapezoidal ramps for your machine?
    >Thanks,
    >Chris.

    Hi Chris,
    Is your Sparrow Dream a Kakinuma machine? So our two machines are from the same maker? Jangou is type A, Janmu is type C, I guess.
    I'm sure that price includes two sets of tiles (no reason for selling just one set, when all machines require two). I have no preference for the style of mixer hole openings. Used both kinds -- don't see a reason to prefer one over the other.
    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
    May 21, 2012


    Mahjong table find

    >From: Kris K.
    >Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 1:39 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong Table Find~
    >Hi Tom,
    >Ide just like you to know that your restoration article on your 52$ jansui has inspired me to find my own great find. I have found and successfully obtained a working Jangou Sparrow Mk3 for $100 CAD.
    >But machines like this always have a catch, you should know that better than anyone else =p. My machine has a broken main tile conveyor belt and dying pressure pumps for the wall stacker. But for the price and condition i bought the machine in, i dont think i can complain about spending some more money and time on giving it a new makeover.
    >I hope you are as happy with yours as I am with mine.
    >Cheers,
    >Chris.

    Hi Chris,
    Cool. You remind me that I need to sell my Kakinuma. It looks almost exactly like your machine. Looking inside it just now, I see that the model name starts with "Jan" so now I'm curious what its full name is (and will take the time today to look into that).

    It's just the table, without any tiles, without a base, without a plug. My friend Ricky dumped it on me several years ago, and I've never had the money to try to get it working.
    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
    May 21, 2012

    P.S. Having looked into the kanji further, I find:

    全自動麻雀卓
    雀夢C型
    Zenjidou Majan Taku
    Janmu C kata (or gata or kei)
    (Fully automatic sparrow Zhuo
    The Sparrow Dream type C)


    This week's column is up!

    Mah-Jongg column #520 went up on 5/20! What Would You Pass? Click the purple banner above. Like it on Facebook!


    Are they correct, part 2

    >From: Chuck & Marsha S
    >Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Thank you for your response on my previous question about calling someone dead. My only additional question is: If I call someone dead and she agrees that she is dead…no money is given to the player who called the other player dead?? I would think that the player who recognized someone is dead should get something for recognizing it. I understand the rules about what happens when you admit you are dead…just think some $ should exchange.
    >Thanks again. Marsha

    Hi, Marsha. You wrote:

    If I call someone dead and she agrees that she is dead…no money is given to the player who called the other player dead??
    Right.

    I would think that the player who recognized someone is dead should get something for recognizing it.
    She does. She gets 33% more picks from the wall for the remainder of that hand. (And so do the other two remaining players.)

    just think some $ should exchange.
    It doesn't say that on the card, does 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
    May 19, 2012


    Are they correct or are you correct?

    >From: Chuck & Marsha S
    >Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2012 2:16 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On your website, under FAQ #19 AB concerning calling someone dead…when you say "erring player must pay value of the cheapest hand on the card (25) to the other player" I cannot find that rule on the 2012 NMJL card. (You mention for further reading: RDWW which I do not have and NMJL – 2001, 2005 ..I do not have those cards.) The girls I play with say that the paying of 25 rule is not on the card so is not applicable to our game. Are they correct or are you correct?
    >However…If FAQ #19 AB is correct ….I assume that it means that if someone else mah jonggs, then dead player pays that person… in addition to the person that called her dead.
    >Thank you for your help….Marsha

    Hi Marsha,
    According to the girls you play with, the rules in the official NMJL rulebook are not applicable to your game, when those rules are not stated on the card. And according to the girls you play with, the new rulings the NMJL issues in the yearly January bulletin are also not applicable, when not stated on the card.
    I think the girls you play with don't realize that the card is too small to list all the rules.
    To reply to what you wrote:

    You mention for further reading: RDWW which I do not have and NMJL – 2001, 2005 ..I do not have those cards.
    Those aren't cards. Those are the yearly January bulletin that everybody gets. See what I wrote at the top (beneath the index):

      NMJL = National Mah Jongg League. Where I refer to a page number, that's a page number in the official NMJL rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy. Where I refer to a year, that's a yearly bulletin. Each January, the NMJL sends a bulletin to the members whose addresses are on record with the League (which is why I always recommend you buy your card directly from the League). And some rules are stated on the "back of the card"...

    Are they correct or are you correct?
    I am. But surely you didn't expect me to say otherwise.

    I assume that it means that if someone else mah jonggs, then dead player pays that person… in addition to the person that called her dead.
    The dead player pays the winner the amount the winner is due, the same as always. Since she had denied being dead, she continued playing, so might have discarded the winner's final tile, and if so, pays double in that case.
    The dead player (who erroneously denied being dead) must also (besides paying the winner) pay the death challenger the value of the cheapest hand on the card, as per the official NMJL ruling given in the January bulletins of 2001 and 2005 (and possibly other bulletins as well).

    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
    May 19, 2012


    My new tiles are too slippery

    >From: Bert D
    >Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2012 7:14 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >The new mahjongg set is very slippery. How can this be eliminated or minimized? Thank you.

    Hi, Bert.
    I don't know if the slipperiness is caused by an oil or a powder. If the latter, you can simply wipe the tiles with a slightly damp cloth. If the former, you could use very diluted dish detergent on the slightly damp cloth.
    There are more tile cleaning tips in FAQ 7-O. 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
    May 19, 2012


    If your hand is dead

    >From: Roy A
    >Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 9:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >IMy mah-jongg question or comment is:if your hand is dead, should you announce it and stop playing or just go on until the end? If someone thinks your hand is dead, should they say it and then you either agree or defend it? And if you are wrong and their hand isn't t dead, is there a penalty for you?
    >Sent from my iPad
    >Roy A

    Hello, Roy.
    Welcome to my website. You've asked something that others have asked me many times before.

    :if your hand is dead, should you announce it and stop playing or just go on until the end?
    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 19AC. 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.

    If someone thinks your hand is dead, should they say it and then you either agree or defend it?
    See Frequently Asked Question 19AA.

    And if you are wrong and their hand isn't t dead, is there a penalty for you?
    See Frequently Asked Question 19AB. 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
    May 17, 2012


    Couldn't find this in the column

    >From: "cocovanhouten
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 8:53 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Hello, Tom! I checked your column for the answer to this question but didn't see it addressed, although I'm sure it must come up.
    > I've enjoyed the game for 5 years and recently have been playing with a newbie who is quite competitive. During several games, I've called for a discarded tile before she racked her tile. She claims her tile was already racked when I know it was not. My feeling is that since this is a friendly game with no betting, it should remain that way and if the question arises, the player calling for the discarded tile should be honored. What do you say?
    > Thanks so much for your help.
    > CoCo Belle

    Hi CoCo Belle,
    The column was the wrong place to look. You should have looked in FAQ 19 instead. You can find the answer to this question in FAQ 19-C and FAQ 19-AD-2.
    Also, you called the game "friendly," but it sounds like your competitive player isn't particularly inclined to go along with friendly play. My recommendation is that you get your entire group engaged in a discussion of what exactly constitutes "racking," and reach agreement on it. If she is denying that the window of opportunity is still open for you, she's probably doing it to other players too. If three of you can agree that holding a tile and looking at it is not the same as racking it, then she's outvoted, and has to play fair.
    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
    May 16, 2012


    Couldn't find this in FAQ # 19

    >From: JoAnn S
    >Sent: Monday, May 14, 2012 3:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong question
    >I could not find a clear answer to my question in FAQ # 19.
    >My question is, Player A picked up a discarded 8 crack and exposed it on her rack with 2 more 8 cracks
    >and a joker for her kong. Player B took her turn and Player C picked up when Player A made a comment
    >to an observer that she had the forth 8 crack in her hand and did not need to use the joker to make the kong.
    >Player C and Player D finished their turn, when it was Player A turn again, she took the 8 crack from her
    >hand and put it in the exposed kong and took her joker back and placed it back in her hand. I feel she made
    >an error and should not be able to get her joker back, the 8 crack was in her hand from the beginning, she
    >did not pick it from the pile. What is your ruling.
    >J

    Hi JoAnn,
    Player A is certainly permitted to redeem her own joker (see FAQ 19M3). It doesn't matter that the tile was in her hand all along (there's no FAQ on that). So she was fine replacing her joker. Your "feeling" is wrong about that.

    The thing I object to what she did is that she engaged in "table talk." She told "an observer," you say, that she had done this thing. It's unwise to talk to anybody about what's going on in your hand, in my opinion. And in this case, if she had never said anything, she could have picked from the wall, put it in her hand, shuffled some tiles, then redeemed her joker -- and you would never have suspected that she'd had the tile in her hand all along.

    So she was fine replacing her joker, but she should not have talked about 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
    May 14, 2012


    Interested in learning the game

    >From: "mls88888
    >Sent: Monday, May 14, 2012 11:53 AM
    >Subject: Mah-jongg
    >Hello,
    >I am interested in learning the game, and may have a friend who is as well.
    >Any suggestions?
    >Thank you,
    >Margery

    Hello, Margery.
    I do indeed have suggestions. You can link to my FAQs and other bulletin boards via the links above left.
    Read FAQ 2A, and determine which kind of mah-jongg you want to learn.
    Check FAQ 3, and buy one book for your chosen mah-jongg variant. (This is important -- don't buy more than one book -- that might cause confusion.) You can also visit some websites listed in FAQ 4B, but no website is a substitute for a good book.
    Read about mah-jongg sets in FAQ 7, and mah-jongg history in FAQ 11.
    Having done some learning on your own, you might want to get a teacher before contacting players in your area. Use my Find Players/Teachers Bulletin Board. First, read the board, find out what's going on in your own area -- then after that, you can post an announcement of your own.
    Good luck, and have fun!

    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
    May 14, 2012


    Who gets the tile? (With a complication)

    >From: sandra h
    >Sent: Monday, May 14, 2012 7:48 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Player 1 discarded a tile. Both Player 2 and Player 3 called the tile. Player 3 said it was for Mahj and asked Player 2 if she could Mahj with the discarded tile. Player 2 responded that she could not mahj with just the discard. She felt that she should be able to pick up the discarded tile and place an exposure on her rack and then redeem a joker from an exposed kong to make her mahj. Player 1's position was that the only tile in play at that moment was the discarded tile and since she could make Mahj with the discard she should be able to claim the discard for Mahj. Player 1 also believed that Player 2 should get the discard and since it was still her turn she should be able to Mahj with the redeemed joker. What is the ruling in a case such as this?
    >Thank you

    Hi, Sandra. You wrote:

    Both Player 2 and Player 3 called the tile. Player 3 said it was for Mahj and asked Player 2 if she could Mahj with the discarded tile. Player 2 responded that she could not mahj with just the discard.
    End of discussion, then. Player 3 gets the tile.

    [Player 2 wanted to] pick up the discarded tile and place an exposure on her rack and then redeem a joker from an exposed kong to make her mahj.
    Since she had not already redeemed the joker, she's out of luck. She loses the conflicting claim. Player 3 gets the tile.

    Player 1 also believed that Player 2 should get the discard and since it was still her turn she should be able to Mahj with the redeemed joker.
    No. Player 3 needed the discard for immediate mah-jongg. Player 2 should have redeemed the joker prior to this event -- if she had, then her claim (which would then also have been for immediate mah-jongg) would have taken precedence due to seat order.

    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
    May 14, 2012


    Who gets the tile? (FAQ 19H / 19I)

    >From: "Goofynuffy
    >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 11:02 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > When a tile is thrown and 2 people call Claim, who gets the tile, and if the first player in turn get the tile,
    > But the other player wants the tile to Mahjong, would she get the tile
    > Thank you
    >FREE Animations for your email

    Hello goofynuffy,
    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 19H and 19I. 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
    May 12, 2012


    Do I have to have a natural tile? (FAQ 19L)

    >From: Faigie G
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 5:55 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If I have jokers in my hand, but need a number tile that is thrown can I call it for my set?
    >FG

    Hi Faigie,
    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 19L. 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
    May 9, 2012


    I was outvoted on this

    >From: JFJ <bandaid5
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 2:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >An unseal situation arose at my last Mah Jongg game. Searched your website but could not find this particular situation addressed. My game follows strict National Mah Jongg League rules. The player on my left discarded her tile. I then picked my tile and saw that it was a tile I could exchange for a joker, thus giving me Mah Jongg. I immediately went to exchange the tile but another player then called the discard and said since I had not racked my picked tile, she was entitled to the discard. This prevented me from achieving Mah Jongg. We do follow the "window of opportunity" rule. I made the point that if we pick a tile and know we can exchange it for a joker, we do not rack it first and then exchange. We are not a "pick and immediately rack" game. I was outvoted on this. Their argument was that I should have announced I was exchanging for Mah Jongg immediately. I did not have the chance to do so since the other player called for the discard as I started to exchange my tile. I would value your opinion on the matter. I enjoy reading your website and have learned a lot by doing so. Thank you for your response.
    >Sincerely,
    > Jackie
    >1 Attached file| 6KB
    > Ivy.gif
    >View SlideshowDownload

    Jackie, since you've thoroughly read my rules, I suspect the problem is that you're too close to the trees to see the forest here. Too personally invested. Let me walk you through your description:

    I then picked my tile and saw that it was a tile I could exchange for a joker, thus giving me Mah Jongg. I immediately went to exchange the tile
    Without saying anything...

    but another player then called the discard
    DOH! Shoulda said "mah-jongg," even if it was concurrent with her call. Scroll down and read the reply I wrote to "Who should have won this encounter?"
    >From: Jan L
    >Sent: Friday, May 4, 2012 11:55 AM (read point #2, since point #1 doesn't apply to your situation). And see FAQ 9, Philosophy 5.f. (Philosophy 5.f. doesn't save your mah-jongg, though, since you never said anything.)

    I was outvoted on this. Their argument was that I should have announced I was exchanging for Mah Jongg immediately.
    They are correct.

    I did not have the chance to do so since the other player called for the discard as I started to exchange my tile.
    What was blocking your lips? When you saw the tile, what stopped you from saying "mah-jongg"? From what you tell me, apparently nothing stopped you from moving your 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
    May 9, 2012


    Frequently Asked Question 19P

    >From: Joy E
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 4:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If you incorrectly declare Mah Jongg and you are dead, can the three other players replace your exposed jokers?

    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 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
    May 8, 2012


    Was she dead?

    >From: BCornwall
    >Sent: Monday, May 7, 2012 10:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A West tile was discarded, and a player called it and exposed it on her rack with another West and a Joker, but not for mahjong. She had not yet discarded a tile. I told her she could not do that because she was exposing a closed hand, but I did not say her hand was dead. She then put the West tile back among the discarded tiles, put her West tile and joker back on her rack, picked a tile from the wall, and discarded a tile from her rack. We kept on playing.
    >After the game was over, she and another player got into an argument over whether or not her hand was dead. She said that it was not because I did not say her hand was dead, only that she could not expose those three tiles because it was a closed hand.
    >Was her hand dead?
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Beth
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hello Beth, you wrote:

    I told her she could not do that because she was exposing a closed hand
    I wouldn't have done that. I would have waited until she discarded. Then I would have called her dead.

    but I did not say her hand was dead.
    Right. It wasn't. She hadn't discarded yet.

    She then put the West tile back among the discarded tiles, put her West tile and joker back on her rack
    She's not allowed to do that. Read the "Change of Heart" FAQ. FAQ 19AM. 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.

    Was her hand dead?
    No. You permitted her to undo her blunder. You gave her a do-over. You stopped her from going 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
    May 8, 2012


    FAQ 19AS (FAQ 13A)

    >From: "dlittle22
    >Sent: Monday, May 7, 2012 8:11 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg question
    >Hi Webmaster - Mah Jongg King:
    >My question is and I am sorry I could not find it in you FAQ (big list)!:
    >When playing 3 players, do you follow thru with the Charleston?
    >Thanks for your time!
    >Connie

    Hi Connie,
    Read FAQ 19AS (FAQ 13A). Sorry it's so hard to find.
    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
    May 7, 2012


    This week's column is fixed. Again.

    Mah-Jongg column #518 has been reworked since, as Linda M. pointed out (below) it was showing only 13 tiles for every WWYD problem. Check it out now, Linda. Hopefully it doesn't have too many flubs in it now.


    Are these unusual vintage jokers?

    >From: Judy I
    >Sent: Monday, May 7, 2012 8:27 AM
    >Subject: Joker Question
    >Tom, I recently bought a vintage mah jongg set on eBay. I've attached a picture of the jokers. The joker tiles simply say Big Joker. No picture on tile. Are these unusual jokers? I have never seen this variety before.
    > Thanks,
    >Judy I
    > Attachment: Vintage MJ Set

    Hello Judy, you wrote:

    I recently bought a vintage mah jongg set on eBay.
    I don't know what "vintage" means, Judy. Read column #502.

    Are these unusual jokers?
    No.

    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
    May 7, 2012


    This week's column, part 2

    >From: linda m
    >Sent: Monday, May 7, 2012 4:23 AM
    >Subject: column 518
    >Good morning Tom,
    >I just noticed that there are only 13 tiles in each hand. I would be dead if I had to discard from any of these hands, right?
    >Linda

    Poopies. I really goofed on that one. I'll need to put my thinking cap back on -- don't know if I can spend enough time on it today. I'll have to take that column offline for now.
    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
    May 7, 2012


    This week's column

    >From: linda m
    >Sent: Sunday, May 6, 2012 4:41 PM
    >Subject: Column 518
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'm doing my homework again (thanks for the practice) and I don't understand Column 518 #1. How would I be 3 tiles away from 2012 #2 after discarding a 3D? I need 3 suits, so wouldn't I need another 2C, another 1B, and four 2D?
    >As always, thanks.
    >Linda M.

    Hi Linda,
    Ding ding ding ding! You passed another test! (Note to self: make this one also a retroactive test.) (Note to self: don't keep putting this off: make sure notes to self are invisible on the bulletin board.) 
    To fix this one, I had to change the picture. So anybody reading your comment without having seen it before I changed it may not know what it was before. But that's their problem, not yours. You did good.
    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
    May 6, 2012


    Mystery tiles, part 2

    >From: Gregg S
    >Sent: Sunday, May 6, 2012 2:01 PM
    >Subject: Re: What are these images?
    >Thank you so much


    Mystery tiles

    >From: Mahjong treasures
    >Sent: Sunday, May 6, 2012 11:51 AM
    >Subject: What are these images?
    >I just bought this set because I had not seen images like 2,3, and 4 green before
    >Anyone know what they are?
    >Thanks
    >Gregg
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hello Gregg,
    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 7-E ("What are my mystery tiles?"). 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. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks! That said, it was easy to look up those characters:
    Forest
    Stone
    Spring (fountain)
    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
    May 6, 2012


    This week's column is up

    Mah-Jongg column #518 is up; What Would You Discard? Purple banner above. Like it on Facebook!


    Is there such a thing as Jewish mahjong?

    >From: Joan Schiller
    >Email: joaniem5770yahoo.com
    >Sent: Sunday, May 6, 2012 6:15 AM
    >Subject: Find Players/Teachers
    >Location (city and zip code): 20852
    >My kind of mah jongg is: Is there such a thing as Jewish mahjong? Looking for once a week game. Nothing competitive, just fun.
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hi Joan,
    Your Find Players post has gone online on the Find Players bulletin board. But questions are answered here on this board. To answer your question:

    Is there such a thing as Jewish mahjong?
    Some people refer to the National Mah Jongg League rules as "Jewish." But I call it "American-style," because only a portion of the playership is Jewish. Please read FAQ 2-B and FAQ 19-T. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    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
    May 6, 2012


    Who should have won this encounter? (part 2)

    >From: Jan L
    >Sent: Friday, May 4, 2012 3:37 PM
    >Subject: Re: dispute question
    >Thank you so very much! :D big grin
    >Jan, Mommy to:
    >Rhett-Butler,
    >Briezz-Ashley,
    >Bijoux-Scarlett
    >& Tara-Bryleigh.
    >Our Havana Silk Kidz!


    Who should have won this encounter?

    >From: Jan L
    >Sent: Friday, May 4, 2012 11:55 AM
    >Subject: dispute question
    >Hello,
    >We had a dispute in the family during our last gathering to play Mah Jong.
    >My husband, Ken, threw a tile and within a second (it seemed) he said, No I want that one back.
    >Within what seemed like the same second, my sister-in-law, Ginger, said: "Mah Jong".
    >That's when the war began.
    >In the end, my husband won out.
    >However, after resuming the game and after 2 more rounds my sister-in-law eventually won the hand.
    >She was obviously upset the duration of the evening.
    >I would like to know, please, who should have won the encounter.
    >Thank you,
    >Jan Lebow

    Hi Jan,
    Your sister-in-law should have won it. Let's take it step by step.

    our last gathering to play Mah Jong.
    I don't know which mah-jongg variant you play. In the following, I might refer you to FAQ 19, which applies specifically to American-style mah-jongg. You spelled the game's name with one G, which might indicate that you play an Asian or British/Western variant instead. But my answers still apply to your encounter regardless. These are basic principles that apply universally.

    Ken, threw a tile and within a second (it seemed) he said, No I want that one back.
    No. He cannot do that. See FAQ 19A, and see FAQ 9, Philosophies 3 and 4. Once he threw it, it's down, and he cannot take it back. Period.

    Within what seemed like the same second, my sister-in-law, Ginger, said: "Mah Jong".
    The game ends instantly, then. "Mah-jongg trumps everything." See FAQ 9, Philosophy 5.f. Ginger wins. I don't care which sibling broke the other sibling's favorite toy at age 6. Sibling rivalries do not trump my mah-jongg philosophies.

    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
    May 4, 2012


    The most recent column

    >From: linda m
    >Sent: Friday, May 4, 2012 4:45 AM
    >Subject: Col. 517
    >Good morning Tom,
    >In column 517, #3, did you mean Odds 4? You wrote Odds 5. If I am incorrect I apologize.
    >Thanks.
    >Linda M.

    Hi Linda,
    No need to apologize. You are correct! You passed the test. (Note to self: make it a test, retroactively.) (Note to self: make sure notes to self are invisible on the bulletin board.)
    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
    May 4, 2012


    Can't figure out "Odds and Evens", part 4

    >From: "madhuvidya61
    >Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2012 4:58 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A from Rosemary Philips
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Wow thanks Tom, that seems so easy when it's illustrated. You must have so much knowledge about Mahjong. So now I'll try to play that hand and surprise everyone! I love playing Mahjong, we do so every Thursday afternoon and usually get around 24 players. I live in a small village in the Blue Mountains of NSW.
    >Cheers
    >Rosie

    G'day, Rosie.
    Looking again at my example from yesterday, I worry that it might hint that there have to be two even pungs. I think it should also be possible to make it other ways. For example:

    and the pair could be of any numbered suit tile.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 29, 2012


    Can't figure out Odds & Evens, part 3

    >From: "madhuvidya61
    >Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 7:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A from Rosemary P
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Odds and Evens hand!! I don't really know how to write down any interpretation....So if you can give me the easiest hand that would be so good.
    >I'll try to put my interpretation in words....ODD numbers in two suits....a CHOW? (total 6 tiles) 1,3 & 5, or 3,1,&3, or 5,7,&9 in TWO suits or one suit? OR 3,3,3 in on suit then 5,5, in the other suit......I'm confused??? So maybe I've confused you too.
    >Rosie

    G'day, Rosie.
    I think I understand now. I think you were under the impression that there can be such a thing as an "odd chow" or an "even chow." There can not be any such thing. Clearly the Odds & Evens hand must be made with four pungs/kongs and a pair. T&M say that there must be odds in 2 suits and evens in the 3rd suit.

    For example:

    and the pair could, I suppose, be any odd or even number in any suit.

    Tom Sloper
    Creator of
    the game advice FAQs -- donations appreciated.

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 28, 2012

    P.S. This hand came up again in 2015. My 2012 interpretation may not be correct. To see it: the URL might be http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd.htm#oddsevens or http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive33.htm#oddsevens or http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive34.htm#oddsevens (at the time of this postscript, the board has not yet been archived). - Tom


    Smelly plastic tiles

    >From: Janet W H
    >Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:22 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I recently bought a set new set of tiles in Chinatown in Los Angeles. I cannot get rid of the smell... it is a very strong plasticeeeey smell. I have washed them ...etc. Do you think the smell can hurt us? Any ideas?
    >Thanks,
    >Janet in San Diego, CA.

    Hi Janet,
    I bought one of those smelly plastic sets too. You can find tips for ameliorating the smell in FAQ 7-O (the FAQs are above left). I have no idea if the smell/fumes are harmful. The unpleasantness of the odor is sufficient cause for doing something about it, in my opinion.
    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
    April 28, 2012


    Can't figure out the "Odds and Evens" game hand

    >From: "madhuvidya61
    >Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:03 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A from Rosemary P (in Australia)
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Replying to your almost instant email!! The book we use as reference, as most of us are learners in a "class" run by the U3A (University of the Third Age), for the over-50s, and mainly women over 65, is "The Mah Jong Player's Companion" by Patricia A Thompson and Betty Maloney.
    >My question is about the game Odds and Evens. It is listed under the section, on page 60, "Full Synopsis of Special Hands". To me, there are several ways the written instructions could be interpreted. As I said in my last email we play for fun and we seem to play easy games..like Big Robert and Robyn and Ordinary Mahjong..and there is no scoring which makes for a very enjoyable afternoon. The most exciting thing we do is yell Pung or Mahjong. I have a very old set which I inherited from my Grandfather, made of ivory and Bamboo and not in a box. We never got to play when we were kids, unfortunately. I'll send a photo and make a donation when I have a bit more money (I live on a pension now that I'm an old biddy!! Cheers Rosie P

    G'day, Rosie. You wrote:

    The book we use ... is "The Mah Jong Player's Companion" by Patricia A Thompson and Betty Maloney. ... on page 60
    Okay, got it. Looking at the book, I see we are talking about a HAND, not a GAME.

    there are several ways the written instructions could be interpreted.
    Go on, please. What are those interpretations? Where is the confusion?

    we seem to play easy games [hands] ..like Big Robert and Robyn and Ordinary Mahjong..and there is no scoring
    Okay, so which interpretation of Odds and Evens do you prefer? (Which answer do you hope I'll give you?)

    make a donation when I have a bit more money
    That's very kind of you. Don't worry about it.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

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


    Can't figure out Thompson & Maloney's "Odds and Evens" game

    >From: "madhuvidya61
    >Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 7:39 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I play mahjong just for fun, no scoring, and we use the books by Thompson and Bailey. In their second book there is a games listed but it is NOT illustrated called "Odds and Evens". Our teacher who has been playing since she was 10, now 84, is unable to work out the written explanation. I just decided I wanted to play moor types of hands and said I would look it up on the net..but to no avail. Can you help me?
    >Thank you
    >Rosemary Philips

    Hello Rosemary,
    I might be able to help you, but I'd probably be guessing -- but I'm an educated guesser.
    But in order to help you, I'd need to know the title of the book, and the page number. And I'd need a specific question (for example: "Is this game played without flower tiles? Do the players pay one another with 20 cent coins with a platypus on them, or with 10 cent coins with a lyrebird on them, or with 5 cent coins with an echidna on them (which coin are we supposed to score with)? When I discard an odd tile, can an opponent expose two or four of them since those would add up to an even number?") -- you've just told me you're "unable to work out the explanation," and I don't know what to do with that question. What problems are you having with the description of the Odds and Evens game?
    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
    April 27, 2012


    How old, how much?

    >From: dianne
    >Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 10:07 PM
    >Subject: help identify my set?
    >Hi,
    >Your website has been a great resource in informing me about my old mah jong set.
    >Can you help me narrow down its age and a reasonable value? I don't want to ask too much, but I also do not want to give it away.
    >I do not play (but my mom does). I kept this set a long time just because it is beautiful, but it's time to let it go.
    >OK, I DID read your site and your questions......
    >Here we go:
    >1. Contents: Red case, 140 tiles, 5 racks. No chips, dice, paper, bettors or anything else.
    >2. The condition of the tiles are very good, besides the missing tiles they are in great condition, the paint is all there.
    >The racks are good, the plastic on the racks is great but the brass plated metal part is tarnished and rusty in spots.
    >No odor.
    >3. Based on your information I think the tiles are Catalin. They have soft edges and respond only very faintly to the 'scrubbing bubbles test'.
    >4. I do not know the history of this set, I bought it at an estate sale about 10 years ago.
    >Based on information on your site I am thinking 1960-62 because of the number of flowers and one joker.
    >5. Each tile measures: 1 1/4" tall X 7/8" wide X 1/2" thick.
    >6. 140 tiles total:
    >Suit tiles:
    > dots - 35
    > craks - 32
    > bams - 34
    >Wind Tiles:
    > 13 total - 3 North, 3 South, 3 East, 4 West
    >Dragon Tiles:
    > 10 total - 3 white, 4 green, 3 red
    >Flower Tiles:
    > 15 total
    > 6 or 7 have sticker residue on them, Mother said they were Jokers. That made sense to me after I found your site.
    >And 1 "Big Joker"
    >7. No other pieces.
    >8. The container is a case with a red alligator type finish, brass hardware, white plastic handle.
    >9. The condition of the case is fair. It is good inside and sturdy but there is a worn spot on the outside in one corner, one latch is broken, and the brass hardware is tarnished.
    >10. There is a "ROYAL" label with a crown inside the case.
    >No paper materials.
    >11. The craks look like the newer, more elaborate character.
    >12/13/14. See photo attachments
    >15. Just on Joker, the "Big Joker".
    >Thank you in advance if you can respond. If not, just putting together this information will help me write a good detailed description for ebay.
    >Be well,
    >Dianne

    Hi Dianne, you asked:

    help me narrow down its age
    I think you've got it close enough. Late fifties, early sixties. I'm not the expert - maybe you can find info on CHarli's site or on the Mah Jong Museum site.

    and a reasonable value?
    With all the missing tiles, the poor condition of the case and rack ends, not much. It would likely have value mostly for a seller, who could break it up and use it to Frankenstein / rescue her better sets. I think you'd be lucky to get more than $75 for it.

    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
    April 26, 2012


    Can you tell me anything about my set?

    >From: david s
    >Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:55 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong Set
    >Hi there,
    >I was given your contact by a guy in the forums of Board Game Geek.
    >I recently bought a Mahjong set at auction, it is wooden backed with copper faces which seem to have been acid etched, I have attached some pictures for you to see. The set is in a fairly basic (and not pretty) wooden box and has 144 tiles. The overall depth of the tiles is about 5mm and the copper face is around 0.5mm.
    >I was wondering if you could tell me anything about it and dare I say it the value please.
    >Thank you very much
    >All the very best
    >David

    Hello David,
    I don't suppose the guy on BGG told you about my evaluation procedure or my Q&A policy, and I don't suppose you looked at my site before emailing me (or read my policies above). When you email me a mah-jongg question, this is where I answer it. You wrote:

    I was wondering if you could tell me anything about it
    I might be able to, if you have a specific question. I wrote FAQ 7P as my generic answer to all "tell me anything" requests. The FAQs are above left.

    and dare I say it the value please.
    The main problem is that you haven't told me enough. You haven't sent photos of the box, you haven't told me anything except the thickness of the tiles and how many there are. You haven't said if there are any other pieces or materials in the set. You haven't even told me about condition (one of the most important factors in determining value). Read FAQ 7H.

    The above notwithstanding...

    I've never seen one of these sets before. You say the thickness of the copper is about 1/50 of an inch. So there's not a lot of intrinsic copper value there. And you say the tiles are about 1/5 of an inch thick. Pretty small and thin, then. I don't suppose this set was very expensive to buy when it was new. But the fact that this set is uncommon could make it of value to collectors. It has little or no play value, though, since it's not suitable for American-style mah-jongg, and small thin tiles are unsatisfying in a tactile sense.

    The tile designs are typical of tiles made in America between the 1940s and 1960s. The absence of jokers indicates a pre-1960s origin.

    That's about all I can tell you without more information or photos, David. 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
    April 26, 2012


    Am I required to put a tile in my rack? (FAQ 19BL)

    >From: FC S
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 6:36 PM
    >Subject: racking and discarding
    >When you draw a tile and do not rack it, discard it, and call what the tile is, is the play incomplete because the tile wasn't racked? If so is the tile that was discarded before this play still in play? Carol S

    Hi, Carol, you wrote:

    is the play incomplete because the tile wasn't racked?
    I wrote about this in FAQ 19BL, and I also wrote about it in my recounting of Mah Jongg Madness 2012. You can find links to both FAQ 19 and the Mah Jongg Madness 2012 story above left.

    If so is the tile that was discarded before this play still in play?
    Read FAQ 19A, 19B, and 19C.

    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
    April 25, 2012


    The column, part 2

    >From: Debbie
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:44 AM
    >Subject: Re: column #515
    >Tom,
    >Thanks for your (lengthy) response on the bulletin board.
    >Note to self: don't look at sloperama.com when you are in the midst of a migraine.
    >Yes, somehow I was looking at three 1D tiles and somehow, in my fog, "reading" it as three 3D tiles.
    >But, hey, at least as a result of my confusion you were able to clear up your (written) confusion about the column number and date - so even if it was completely inadvertent, I'm glad I could help!
    >-Debbie

    Hi Debbie,
    Thanks for writing back. Sorry about your migraine, hope you're feeling better now.
    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
    April 24, 2012


    The column

    >From: Debbie
    >Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 4:28 PM
    >Subject: column #515
    >On hand #4, you show three 3D and four 5B and you state that the player is working on Odds #2.
    >I believe the player could also be working on your favorite Consecutive Run #3 and therefore 2D, 4D, 4B, and 6B would also be hot. (She could be playing 2D, 3D, 4B, 5B or 3D, 4D, 5B, 6B).
    >-Debbie

    Hi Debbie,
    I looked at column 515 and didn't find the hand you were talking about, so I took a look at column 516. I noticed that through an oversight, column 516 said "column 515" in it, and had the wrong date, too. And I used the name "Odds" rather than "13579" in column 516 (not in column 515). So I assume you were talking about column 516 (not column 515). (I have now fixed the date/number error in column 516, by the way.)

    But hand #4 in column 516 doesn't have any 3D or 5B in it. It's 1C and 5C. So, continuing my search to figure out which hand you're referring to, I searched column 516 for the term "Odds #2." Hands 2, 3, and 5 all mention Odds #2. Not hand #4. And no hand on the page has threes and fives in it (because they all are "by the numbers," so they all involve pungs or kongs of ones -- in later weeks I'll move up to twos, and then threes).

    You say the player with those two exposures could be working on Consec. #3, but the only hand with four 5Bs is #5, and it would only be possible if the 1D was 3D (like you said), but it wasn't. It was 1D.

    Having gone through all those gyrations trying to figure out which hand you're talking about, I got tired and gave up. Could you please write me again, tell me which hand in which column you're talking about?

    By the way, when I wrote that column, I was using a Mac, instead of my usual computer -- and the tiles looked very small and different from how I usually show them. So I remade the picture. Here is the original picture you were looking at:

    Maybe you just misread the example and thought hand #5 (not #4) had 3Ds and 5Bs?

    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
    April 23, 2012


    Ganjifa, part 3

    >From: Facebook
    >Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 1:02 AM
    >Subject: Sushila Singh shared a link on your Wall.
    >facebook
    >Sushila shared a link on your Wall.
    >Dear Tom,
    >Here is a link for ajvmarques (Antonio) and you.Ganjfa
    >Take care,
    >Sushila
    >http://ignca.nic.in/img_0002_ganjifa001.htm
    >http://ignca.nic.in/img_0002_ganjifa001.htm
    >Digital Images - GANJIFA CARDS - PERSONAL COLLECTION OF Sh. KISHOR N GORDHANDAS
    >Ath-Rangi sara -Rama Pattabhisheka (Enthroning of Sri Ramachandra) Eight various incidents in Rama's life
    >To see your Wall or to write on Sushila's Wall, follow the link below:
    >http://www.facebook.com/n/?permalink.php&story_fbid=393086924046674&id=...
    >Thanks,
    >The Facebook Team

    Thanks, Sushila. Antonio said it was hard to find information about the game(s) played with the cards. Hope this 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
    April 23, 2012


    I was surprised by the answer given in FAQ 16

    >From: Renie & Dale L
    >Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 11:28 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question is:
    >I visited your site for the first time today and was surprised by the answer given in FAQ 16 about the second hand in the Quints section. I agree that the details listed on the card indicate that any pair in the run could be used for the quints in the other two suits, however when I called the NMJL I was told the pair had to be the number in the middle. I am confused. Would 2234(Bams) 22222(Craks) and 22222(Dots) satisfy the requirements for this hand?
    >Thank you,
    >Irene
    >Sent from our iPad

    Hi Irene, you wrote:

    when I called the NMJL I was told the pair had to be the number in the middle.
    I sincerely doubt they really told you that. I think there was a miscommunication during your call. I think you should not have telephoned the League, but rather sent them your question in writing, so as to obtain their answer in writing. Read FAQ 19BN.

    I am confused.
    And well you should be! What you say they told you on the phone would seem to be at odds with what they say on their website. See http://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html .

    Would 2234(Bams) 22222(Craks) and 22222(Dots) satisfy the requirements for this hand?
    I already answered this in FAQ 16, but you already said you disbelieve what I say in FAQ 16. So I don't see how any answer I give you can be trusted now...?

    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
    April 22, 2012


    Tiles for sight-impaired players? (FAQ 7S)

    >From: Barbara B
    >Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 9:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: My mother has been playing for over 40 years, but her eyesight is now severely limited by macular degeneration. Is there a source for a set with oversize components?
    >thank you.

    Hi, Barbara.
    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 7S. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    Hope you find a good solution there.
    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
    April 22, 2012


    Went shopping in Hong Kong

    >From: Diede G
    >Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 7:18 AM
    >Subject: MahJongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >Last week I was in Hongkong for holiday. A friend of mine asked me if I could bring her a MahJongg game. Thanks to your website about your adventures in Hongkong I found the address of a small MahJongg store on Lockhart Road. I bought a nice MahJongg game and showed the man (Wing Shing Cheung) the picture you took from the both of you (I saw it on your website http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/wheret.htm). He was amazed and surprised to see this photo. Even his father was still working in the store. Thank you for helping me find a beautiful game.
    >Kind regards,
    >Diede (from Holland)

    Diede,
    That's great! I'm so glad my site was helpful so you could have a nice Hong Kong adventure too!
    May the tiles be with you. Greetz.
    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
    April 22, 2012


    Do you collect double for jokerless?

    >From: Denise M
    >Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2012 3:29 PM
    >Subject: mj question - American
    >If you get mj with no jokers (not mj's on the lower right bottom of the card) do you collect double from the other players? To collect double do you have to announce that it is a jokerless hand?
    >thanks in advance,
    >Denise

    Hi Denise, you wrote:

    If you get mj with no jokers (not mj's on the lower right bottom of the card) do you collect double from the other players?
    Read the back of the card. Look at the upper left corner. The answer to your question is written in all capital letters, in red print. Also read FAQ 19W - the FAQs are above left, 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!

    To collect double do you have to announce that it is a jokerless hand?
    To collect anything, you have to tell each player how much she owes you, and why she owes you that amount.

    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
    April 21, 2012


    Column 515

    >From: Debbie K
    >Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:46 AM
    >Subject: column #515
    >In this column for situation #8 you said to throw a soap or the 2C, but I think that is in correct. Hand # 4 on the card says you must save cracs & bams only, so the 1 & 2 dot won't work.
    >This is the 1st time I have seen your column, it is very interesting.
    >Thanks
    >Debbie

    Hi Debbie,
    You are correct. Last night, elisegk found a flaw in what I'd written initially (below), and I "corrected" the flaw but I was tired and I totally goofed the correction. It's fixed now, thanks to both of 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
    April 21, 2012


    Column 515 commentary

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 7:00 PM
    >Subject: wwyd 4/15
    >HI there,
    >I would have done these w hands differently - what do you think?!!!
    >1) hand 7 - would keep the 9b - have 7 tiles (not incl jokers) toward the ffff like numbers hand -- so disgard the 3b
    >2) hand 8 - this looks like 2012 closed hand (#4) and I would throw the one dot (not seeing how it would be 2012 hand #3)
    >3) would keep the bams since cs #2 is an option - (have 8 tiles toward that hand excl jokers) - would discard the 5 crack or 9 crack
    >love your column!
    >thank you
    >Elise

    Hi Elise,
    Good thinking outside the 369 box.
    Yes, I made a typo. I meant #4, not #3. Will make correction in the column.
    If "cs" means "Consecutive Runs" aka "Consec.", then discarding 5C or 9C definitely throws Consec. #1 out. But you are right, Consec. #2 is a very good option here.
    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
    April 20, 2012


    The 2012 card--commentary

    >From: Molly A
    >Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 11:20 AM
    >Subject: 2012 card review
    >Hi Tom....for what it may be worth to you, here are my comments on the 2012 card. Feel free to edit, comment, and use it as you wish ....or you can just delete. Molly
    >Review of the 2012 Card
    >2012
    >Fewer flowers and lots of twos so if your hand has a pair of twos look for support for this section (like a soap or winds or flowers). Also of note is the concealed hand has mandatory cracks and bams with matching dragons
    >I am excited to try the third hand. I will go for it if I draw a hand with a 12 of the same suit and a joker - a flower tile or soap would also help of course.
    >Note: 1) the values are higher so hands are more difficult 2) #1 has 4 singles and 1 pair #2 has 2 singles #3 requires at least one joker
    >2468
    >Big changes in even number with fewer flowers. The #3 hand is the only one kept from 2011. Note that there are four hands with matching sixes and eights. I love that there is an "or" hand for the #6, the twos and eights hand. More flowers fewer dragons needed. Good switch possibility #2 and #5
    >LIKE NUMBERS
    >Easy "go to" hands with only one pair
    >ELEVEN HANDS
    >This year we have eleven hands which means using higher numbers with a pair of ones.Note: don't be fooled when someone exposes a kong of fives and a kong of sixes in the same suit. It could be an 11 hand or it could consecutive #3 or #4 using fives and sixes. So fewer exposed "hints" for this hand.
    >QUINTS
    >These hands are pretty straightforward. #2 is the same as last year when it caused confusion due to the choices available in this hand.
    >Use the quints as a switch from other hands when you draw jokers or miss out on pairs. For example switch from odds hand #3 or #4 to quints #1 . Or switch from consecutive #4 if you lose out on the pair but have jokers
    >CONSECUTIVE RUN
    >The classic #1 hand is back but the pattern has changed. Instead of a pair of ones and a pair of fives, it's now a pair of ones and a pair of twos, likewise in the higher numbers.
    >#2 hand no longer has dragons. The pattern is a pair, a pong; a pair, a pong and a kong.
    >The concealed hand is a good one if you start out with a pair and some dragons or maybe a switch to Quints #4.
    >13579
    >Odd numbers are very different this year but easier to read and easier to remember. I love the flowers 1 9 dragon hand.#1 hand switches to singles and pairs fi you pick lowers and dragons and no jokers
    >Note: there are three concealed hands in the odds section
    >WINDS & DRAGONS
    >The concealed hand is the same and hand #6 but lots of other changes. #2  is a bookends type hand with pairs of three different suits in the middle. #4 is a NEWS hand with dragons. Remember NEWS is four singles NOT a kong so no jokers and can't be exposed. What I like about this year's hands the most is that there are good switching opportunities so we will probably play these hands more often.
    >369
    >This section has changed nicely and offers an "or" hand.
    >SINGLES AND PAIRS
    >This section offers a nice selection of pairs consecutive runs, evens and odds so a little something for all categories. Once again, a little easier to see the switch possibilities.
    >Chat re: 2012 card
    >1. Only concealed hands on this hand have pungs of dragons or of winds so if you see those exposed wait for her discard and then call her dead.
    >2. Why call someone dead? It is not rude. It is just a defensive move which gives everyone a better chance to mahj cuz more tiles left for each player.
    >3. Watch for the number of pairs a hand requires.
    >4. Overall, I think this card is easier to read and easier to remember so watch for those showoffs who like to play without a card.

    Very nice, Molly!
    I'm sorry that I don't have time to add anything right now.
    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
    April 20, 2012


    What if everybody's declared dead except one player? (ver. 3.0)

    >From: carol s
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 9:06 PM
    >Subject: Re: Dead
    >thanks...........


    What if everybody's declared dead except one player? (again)

    >From: Carol S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 8:26 PM
    >Subject: Dead
    >3 people are playing in a tournament, 2 of them go dead, what does he remainng player do?
    >Sent from my iPad

    Hello Carol,
    Gail D asked this same question, and I answered it, yesterday. Please scroll down and read the answer I gave her.
    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
    April 19, 2012


    Who pays double? (FAQ 19AN)

    >From: Marylyn C
    >Cc: barbara G
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2012 9:26 AM
    >Subject: mahjongg question
    >Yesterday at our Wednesday game a question came up. I looked in your book for an answser and did not find one.
    >A player (X) discarded a tile and another player(Y) called for the tile-after (Y) racked the tile she exchanged a tile from her rack for a joker. She then called Mah Jongg and said she drew it herself and everyone had to pay double. Some disagreeded-how does this work-does X pay double since she discarded the racked tile? Does everyone pay double since she exchanged a tile from her hand for the joker-Does anyone pay extra? Thanks so mmuch for your advise.

    Hi Marilyn, you wrote:

    player(Y) called for the tile-after (Y) racked the tile
    I use the term "racking" to refer to placing a picked (from the wall) tile onto the sloping front of the rack. But I assume you mean player Y melded the taken (from the discard floor) tile onto the horizontal top surface of the rack, together with other tiles from her hand.

    does X pay double since she discarded the racked tile? Does everyone pay double since she exchanged a tile from her hand for the joker-Does anyone pay extra?
    See rule 88 on page 58-59. Also see FAQ 19AN (the FAQs are 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
    April 19, 2012


    What if everybody's declared dead except one player?

    From: Gail D
    Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 11:47 AM
    Subject: Rule question
    Hello Tom,
    If two players have been declared dead at a table of three players and one player remains would that lone player receive any points in a tournament scenario? What about in a table game how much would a player receive from the other dead players?
    Thanks,
    Gail Donovan
    Sent from my iPad

    Long time no see, Gail! You wrote:

    would that lone player receive any points in a tournament scenario?
    See FAQ 19BR. Tournament rules aren't codified by the League.

    What about in a table game how much would a player receive from the other dead players?
    I could not find that rule in the official rulebook. It doesn't matter that it's a three-player game. The thing that you're asking is, "who pays how much if everybody else except one player is declared dead?"
    Rule 4.b. on page 16 governs one player erroneously declaring mahj, and two others erroneously throwing in their hands.
    Rule 10.c. on page 18 governs three players holding the wrong number of tiles in the hand.
    So. There is no League rule (not in the rulebook, anyway) governing the precise situation you asked about. But in my opinion, the dead players should pay the survivor the value of the survivor's hand. You might want to send a letter to the League for a definitive ruling. See FAQ 19BN.

    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
    April 18, 2012


    Wonderful site!

    >From: Vicki P
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 2:22 PM
    >Subject: Congrats!
    >Hi,
    >My son, David, told me about your site. I am a new player and can't believe how wonderful your blog is. I have already forwarded your site information to some of my friends.
    >The only difficulty is figuring out the tiles---which look slightly different than our sets.
    >Love, love , love this.
    >Thank you.
    >Vicki P

    Vicki, I'm so glad you like my site. As for your tiles you have to figure out, may I suggest you take a look at FAQ 7E (the "mystery tiles" FAQ), 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
    April 17, 2012


    An interesting controversy

    >From: Arthur S
    >Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 8:44 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > If player 3 picks a tile after player 2 has picked and discarded, and declares mahjong with the new pick but hasn't exposed tiles yet, can player 1 still call the tile that player 2 discarded and cause player 3 to put back her tile and thus her mahjong? The players in this game said that it was OK because player 3 hadn't racked her mahjong tile. She just picked and looked at new tile and declared mahjong and then was about to expose her hand.
    > Hope you can answer this one,
    >Thanks,
    >Debbie

    Hi Debbie,
    The wording in the official rulebook (rule 15 on page 19) seems to back up your players' ruling. But I disagree with making the mahj declarer put the picked tile back. Once she's said "mah-jongg," and had to put the tile back, all the next player has to do is rack that tile and keep it in her hand, which is (I believe) an unfairness -- putting your player 3 at a bad disadvantage.

    In my opinion, Mah-jongg trumps everything. Once a player says mah-jongg, in my opinion, everything should stop while she exposes her tiles and proves whether or not she really won.

    Consider this: if, instead of saying "mah-jongg," your player 3 had said "East" (because she had picked East and didn't want it), player 1 would have been out of luck. Once a discarder merely says the tile's name, that tile is "down," and the window of opportunity has closed (and the claimant, player 1, is out of luck). In my opinion, then, the window of opportunity can be closed by someone merely saying something. And if that's the case, then your player 3 saying "mah-jongg" should close the window of opportunity for player 1 to call the tile for mere exposure.

    But since I am not a League official, and you are in the minority with your group, the best thing to do would be for you to write your question down, snail-mail it to the League, and show your group the answer the League sends back. And if you do that, please email me again with what the League says. (Note, however, that if you telephone the League, I won't accept the answer (especially if it disagrees with my opinion), because of the reasons I give in FAQ 19BN. Too many ways the ruling could get messed up, using the telephone.)

    A last thought (at risk of going on too long and thereby muddying things): The solution (the best way to minimize the chances of this sort of thing) is for a player to pause a good beat before picking from the wall. Give the other players sufficient time to speak a claim for the live discard, especially if you're ready for mah-jongg, before you reach and pick from the wall. With a long enough pause, a late spoken claim for a discard can be reasonably denied.

    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
    April 16, 2012


    This week's column is up

    Mah-Jongg column #515 is up; WWYD (What Would You Discard). http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/column.htm


    Mah-jongg terminology in Chinese?

    >From: Pawel D
    >Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 7:04 PM
    >Subject: Chinese terminology
    >Hi.
    >I've been learning Chinese for about a year now, and through my interest in Chinese culture I've learned about a great game of mahjong. I would like to ask you if you know about any site where I could find mahjong terminology in Chinese - name of tiles, special hand, something like that. Thanks in advance :)
    >Paul

    Hi Paul,
    Well, you can start with FAQ 6, the "Mah-jongg Rosetta Stone."
    You could also go to any Chinese-language mah-jongg website and look for the rules page. See FAQ 5 (Internet-Online section).
    I have some Chinese terms in my book, too.
    The FAQ links are 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
    April 14, 2012


    What's special about 3B, 6B - part 4

    Just got Elaine Sandberg's new book (thanks, Elaine). Now I finally understand Bette's question.
    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
    April 14, 2012


    What's special about 3B, 6B - parts 2, 3

    >From: Bette M
    >Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 10:15 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding my previous question: In Elaine Sandberg's newest book she has a test at the end of the book and asks the question, What tiles do you not discard? and her answer is "Later in the game do not discard 3 bams, 6 bams or flowers. Early in the game discard 3Bams, 6Bams or Flowers. Page 72
    >She states information about Flowers in book but nothing about 3 and 6 bams.
    >After going through book for hours I could find no discussion about this issue. So, do you have any idea what this means?

    >From: Bette M
    >Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 10:24 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >So sorry to have bothered you...after spending hours on this issue I have finally discovered that this test question was directly related to the question before it and I understand the answer now. Her book definitely needs some editing, it has some issues for sure. Thank you so much for your speedy response I love your site.

    Good, I'm glad you figured out the answer to your question, Bette. I couldn't figure it out (didn't find your quoted section on page 72, didn't find it in the Answers at the back).
    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
    Friday the 13th, April, 2012


    What's special about 3B, 6B? Why are they dangerous?

    >From: Bette M
    >Sent: Friday, April 13, 2012 9:10 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Why is it good strategy not to throw 3 bams or 6bams later in the game? I understand there are lots of 3,6,9 hands but why bams?

    Bette,
    I have no idea who told you "never throw 3 bam or 6 bam later in the game." I assume, though, that she didn't mean to make a blanket statement. I assume she had some context-specific reason for telling you those tiles were hot in a specific instance at the time she said whatever she said. Maybe another player had two exposures and was working on a hand that seemed to require 3B or 6B. You'd have to ask her (the person who told you those tiles were dangerous) what she was talking about.
    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
    Friday the 13th, April 2012


    Leniency for her death sentence?

    >From: Elisabeth B
    >Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:11 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom
    >Four of us played American Mah-Jongg and my discard was an E which I announced clearly East. The opposite player from me ( a little hard of hearing) put all her tiles up on the rack and reached for
    >my discard E and said Mah-Jongg, then she realized she misunderstood, because she needed a Flower.
    >I then pronounced her dead!
    >One other player said she is not dead she just misunderstood, let her take her tiles back and continue.
    >I know we all announce our discarded tile, however I believe a player must look and verify themselves what is discarded, am I wright??
    >If she is dead, does she has to bring back her tiles on the rack(not exposed) or do they stay exposed? while the other 3 continue to play.
    >I thank you for a reply
    >Liz B in Florida

    Hi Liz, you wrote:

    I believe a player must look and verify themselves what is discarded, am I right??
    Of course. She who exposes without first looking is acting unwisely. Especially if she knows her hearing isn't what it used to be. Your friend who recommended leniency for the erring player is not doing your group a favor. Leniency is a slippery slope that leads to a probable blowup at some point. Better to just go by the rules, and have the rules apply equally to everyone, all the time.

    If she is dead, does she has to bring back her tiles on the rack(not exposed) or do they stay exposed?
    Please read FAQ 19P. 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"), which I ask guests to check before writing to me. 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
    April 12, 2012


    Non-plussed by the NMJL card

    >From: Katie W
    >Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:09 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello Tom,
    >Love your website, your blogs, and enthusiasm for the game. I have been teaching MJ in the greater NYC area for 20 years, using the NMJL rules of MJ, through adult education programs and private venues. Over the years, I have seen the hands on the NMJL card become redundant and other groups such as "Marvelous Mah Jong" and the American MJ League produce other cards with more choices, often more creative. Do you see a trend moving away from the monopoly held by the NMJL? Many of my students and avid players are non-plussed by the new 2012 card produced by the NMJL and are looking for alternatives. Should the Asian style of play be considered? Thanks very much for your time and opinion.
    >Regards,
    >Katie W

    Hi Katie,
    So much controversy before I've had my morning coffee! You wrote:

    Over the years, I have seen the hands on the NMJL card become redundant
    In my field (video games) there's a rule of thumb for making a sequel (or a yearly iteration in a franchise series of games): 1/3 remains the same, 1/3 is improved/changed based on user feedback, and the last 1/3 is all new stuff.
    Since I am not an insider in the League's card creation process, I don't know what thought process they put into each new card. I haven't done an analysis but just offhand, I would say that there probably aren't more than 33% repeat hands (from the 2011 card) on the 2012 card.
    The card's user base must be considered when designing a new card. The users expect to see some hands remain, and even though they get sick and tired of the old card halfway through the year, they can be very critical of any changes not to their liking. So it's a tightrope balancing act the League has to go through every year.

    and other groups such as "Marvelous Mah Jong" and the American MJ League produce other cards with more choices, often more creative.
    I haven't done a thorough critical analysis of the Marvelous card (although I did review it in column 505). On the surface, the creativity in that card and in the AMJA card is primarily evident in the use of tile symbols as letters spelling words. Having been involved in the preparation of the AMJA's card until recently, I can attest that there isn't a lot of time or effort spent on play-balancing or play-testing that card; so although I haven't found a group interested in playing with either the Marvelous or AMJA cards, I'm fairly confident that at least the NMJL card is suitably tested and balanced for an optimal play experience.

    Do you see a trend moving away from the monopoly held by the NMJL?
    No. Do you?

    Many of my students and avid players are non-plussed by the new 2012 card produced by the NMJL
    I had to look up that word. It means "at a loss, puzzled." So I am non-plussed as to what your students and players are puzzled by, as regards to the 2012 NMJL card. I don't see any problem with it (but as I say, I haven't done a "critical analysis" of it yet). Or, to put it another way: "what's the problem?"

    and are looking for alternatives. Should the Asian style of play be considered?
    Absolutely. But then the problem becomes, which Asian variant? I doubt your students/players would want to deal with the complexities inherent in my personal favorite, Japanese riichi/dora majan. Perhaps MCR (Majiang Competition Rules, used in international tournaments) would be the way to go (women and men alike play with these rules, and even travel for Olympic-style competitions) -- or perhaps your students and players would be more interested in a variant more normally played by women, like Wright-Patterson, or British/Western/Australian rules. This decision ("which variant is right for me") is a Frequently Asked Question. See FAQ 2A.

    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
    April 12, 2012


    Stopping the Charleston (FAQ 19AG)

    >From: Patty & Don
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:29 AM
    >Subject: Stopping the Charleston
    >We had a difference of opinion as to how the Charleston is stopped at our Mahjong game.
    >The two opinions were as follows:
    >1. After you have played all 3 parts of the first Charleston (right, over, left), anyone may call a halt to the second part of the Charleston (left, over, right). The Charleston ends between the two lefts and you move directly to the optional over without doing the left, over, right of the second part.
    >2. After you have played all 3 parts of the first Charleston, anyone may call a halt to the second part of the Charleston before any of the passes - before the left; before the over, or before the right). You do not have to sacrifice playing the whole second part of the Charleston. Play can be stopped at any of three points. You then end with the optional over. We all agree on the optional over.
    >I hope you can understand what our debate is - the whole second Charleston is eliminated or play can be stopped before any of the passes in the second part of the Charleston.
    >It is very important that we all agree on the rule as this situation does arise periodically.
    >Thank you so much for answering our question. We are a group of 10 women who play on every Tuesday night with multiple subs who love to sit in on our games. We love Mahjong!!
    >Patty

    Patty, Number 1 is correct. Read FAQ 19AG. 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
    April 11, 2012


    Ganjifa, part 2

    >From: "ajvmarques
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 4:36 PM
    >Subject: Re: Ganjifa Playing Cards
    >Hello Tom;
    >Tank you for your answer about ganjifa cards.
    >Sincerely
    >António

    Seja bem-vindo, António. (^_^) Hope you find the information.
    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
    April 10, 2012


    Calling oneself dead (FAQ 19AC)

    >From: Mary N
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 3:17 PM
    >Subject: concealed hand question
    >Scenario: A player incorrectly starts displaying tiles for a concealed hand and the hand is not salvageable as a different hand. Only the player who displays realizes this error. Does that player declare themselves dead and re-rack all tiles or can that player just play defensively until another player declares them dead?
    >Thank you for your response. I could not find the answer in your faqs and apologize if already answered.

    Hi Mary,
    Please read FAQ 19AC, "Can I call myself 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
    April 10, 2012


    Ganjifa

    >From: "ajvmarques
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 7:39 AM
    >Subject: Ganjifa Playing Cards
    >Hello Tom.
    >I know that ganjifa is not your speciality, but I want to find more
    >about it, and in the Internet I couldn't find nothing about how to
    >play it.
    >Do you know anything about how to play this ancien Indian cards, or
    >where I can find how it's play?
    >Thanks
    >António


    Sources, l to r: Columbia.edu, kishor.com, creativefluff.com

    Hi António,
    Sorry, I don't know anything about ganjifa. The only two resources I can think of are www.pagat.com and the IPCS (the International Playing Card Society). If there's no information about the game at those two sources, I don't know what to tell 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
    April 10, 2012


    It didn't click, part 4

    >From: Susan W
    >Sent: Monday, April 9, 2012 4:45 PM
    >Subject: Tie on window of opportunity
    >You have a very helpful website. I have a question about the window of opportunity when you can claim a discard. What if the newly drawn tile hits the rack at the exact same time that the discard is called? In this case it was the winning tile being called.

    Hi Susan,
    You're talking about "the rule of simultaneous occurrence," which I wrote about in my story of "Mah Jongg Madness 2012" (see link above left), and which I discussed with Lynn P several times (see "It didn't click," March 13-14, below). You also wrote:

    In this case it was the winning tile being called.
    Then the game has ended. I always say, "mah-jongg trumps everything." The instant somebody calls a discard for mah-jongg, the game is over. Period.

    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
    April 9, 2012


    The 2012 card, part 4

    >From: Rich A
    >Sent: Monday, April 9, 2012 5:51 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the 2012 card, third hand down, does the 12 have to match the 2222 in suit? Thank you.
    >Paula A

    Hello Paula,
    Same answer I gave to Ellenn on April 4 and to catlover17/Bailey/Sandy the day before that (scroll down).
    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
    April 9, 2012


    The 2012 card--commentary?

    >From: Molly A
    >Sent: Monday, April 9, 2012 9:42 AM
    >Subject: FW: 2012 card
    >Hi Tom, now that the 2012 has arrived, I would love your comments on the new or changed hands and how they might impact new strategies to win. Molly

    Hi Molly,
    I almost did that in yesterday's column, but went with WWYP (Charleston) instead. I will do that in the column, soon (maybe this coming Sunday).
    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
    April 9, 2012


    A 4th condition that closes the window of opportunity

    >From: Peter
    >Sent: Saturday, April 7, 2012 10:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A - Window of Opportunity
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I received a ruling from NMJL a few weeks ago. There is a 4th condition that closes the window of opportunity for the last discard to be called. This condition is the physical exchange of the next picked tile for a joker.
    >The rule suggests that merely offering a tile in exchange for a joker does not close the window, but when you have the joker in hand the window is closed even if you have not racked it.
    >Please comment. Does your Window rule need to be amended?
    >Peter

    Hi Peter,
    Although I only have it on your word that the NMJL told you this, it makes perfect sense. I agree that a player picking from the wall and then completing the joker exchange would close the window. I hadn't considered that possibility before, but it's a good rule.
    I don't know why you closed your email with a question. The NMJL is the final arbiter of all League rules.
    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
    April 8, 2012

    FAQ 19 has been edited, and there is a new version of the RDWW Errata available for download at Sloperama.com/mjfaq/rdww.htm.


    Frequently Asked Question 19-Y

    >From: t.netArlene
    >Sent: Sunday, April 8, 2012 5:01 AM
    >Subject: MJ
    >Hello:
    >Can you tell me if the following is a National Mah Jonng rule or a made up table rule:
    >Nearing the end of a game one player has 3 exposures, another player foolishly discards a tile which the player with 3 exposures calls and now has MJ. Does the player that tossed the tile pay all the players?
    >Thank you
    >Arlene

    Hi Arlene,
    Please read FAQ 19Y. 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, and read the back of your NMJL card, 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
    April 8, 2012


    Value of an excellent ivory set

    >From: Laurie T
    >Sent: Saturday, April 7, 2012 6:59 AM
    >Subject: Ivory Mah jongg set
    >Hello, my parents have a mah jongg set that my grandmother purchased while living in China in the 1930's. Could you please advise what an ivory set in excellent condition would be?
    >Regards, Laurie T

    Hi Laurie,
    You told me a story about one set, asked a question about a second set, and sent photos of a third set. The set in the photos could be Chinese, but might be Japanese or Korean. The tiles don't look like ivory to me -- they look like plastic. And it looks more modern than the 1930's. I see that there is some sort of paper in the lid of the set in your photos. I would need to see a scan or good photo of that paper.
    I can't give an evaluation of any set without the details requested in FAQ 7H.
    And if you think you have an ivory set, you should read FAQ 7C, and take the Is It Ivory test (FAQ 7C2).
    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
    April 7, 2012


    I heard a rumor...

    >From: Naomi A
    >Sent: Friday, April 6, 2012 10:16 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I heard there was an error on the new may jongg card. Is this correct? What is the error? How will this be corrected?
    >Naomi A
    >neilandnaomi1965

    Hi Naomi,
    I don't see any error on the card. Why don't you go back to the person who told you there's an error, and ask her what the deal is? You could also scroll down and read what people have been saying about the card since March 28. I've studied the card thoroughly, and it looks okay to me. If there was an error, it's apparently already been corrected.
    May the jongg 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
    April 7, 2012


    We play with 14 tiles... (FAQ 19BQ)

    >From: Vera <granymandy
    > Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2012 1:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Does anyone play using 14 tiles? Do you throw and then pick or what rules apply? Any information would be helpful.

    Hello Vera,
    The phrase "play using 14 tiles" is misleading. There are only two types of players who say "play using 14 tiles":
    Players who "pick ahead" or "play with a future tile;"
    Players who have seen Taiwanese and Filipino mah-jongg (in which they play with 17 tiles).
    The rules are clearly stated on the back of the NMJL card (see rule #1 - it's in all capital letters), and they are also described in the official rulebook, and in my book, and on Linda Fisher's site. Read Frequently Asked Question 19BQ. 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
    April 5, 2012


    My computer game keeps faulting me

    >From: Errol C
    >Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2012 1:01 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >My question is regarding an instance in a game ... but it's not a technical one.
    >So I hope you can help me.
    >I have nobody to play mahjong with, we don't have any clubs here and only a couple of friends who are new to the game.
    >So can only play seriously with a computer game.
    >It is 4winds2 - as close as I've found to the real thing.
    >I haven't played for many years, and would like to become competent at the game again - and hopefully will start a group here.
    >My question is this.
    >In a mixed hand, if I take a discard to go out the game classes it as a fault and doesn't allow it. And fines me.
    >In a goulash, if I get a joker (Australian rules - I hadn't encountered a joker before) and change it to one of a pair to get a three to go out, it classes it as a fault.
    >Are there any particular rules for going out with a mixed hand?
    >These rules would be to do with taking from a discard from another player.
    >Or can I go out only with a tile from the wall.
    >I would really appreciate your advice - I prefer not to play with mixed hands but it's good practice.
    >Thank you in anticipation!
    >Kerri R
    >Grafton
    >NSW Australia

    G'day, Kerri. You asked:

    Are there any particular rules for going out with a mixed hand?
    You have to check the rules of your computer game. Look in the Help menu. Check your settings -- maybe there's an option you can change. And you can contact the game's maker.

    These rules would be to do with taking from a discard from another player.
    >Or can I go out only with a tile from the wall.
    You have to check the rules of your computer game. Look in the Help menu. Check your settings -- maybe there's an option you can change. And you can contact the game's maker.

    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
    April 5, 2012


    The 2012 card (FAQ 19J), part 3

    >From: "ELLENN
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 9:48 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the new 2012 card: third hand down on left side of card says any 2 and 1 same suit Does that mean all the numbers must be the same suit and of course, then you would need a joker for the four twos - or does it mean the 12 can be any suit as long as the 1 & 2 are the same. Example 4 2cracks, 4 soaps 1crack, 2 crack or 4 2cracks, 4 soap, 1bam, 2bam
    > Looking forward to your reply because I'm playing the new card tonight.

    Hello Ellenn,
    Same answer I gave to catlover17/Bailey/Sandy yesterday (scroll down). It is true that a parenthetical can trump a hand's printed color-coding, but I believe that the color-coding in this case is not trumped by the parenthetical -- I believe that the fact that it's a one-color hand on the card means that the League's intent is that it be a one-suit 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
    April 4, 2012


    If I'm dead for erroneous maj, must I expose all?

    >From: linda m
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 2:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg in error
    >Hi Tom,
    >Today I declared Mah Jongg, and exposed 2 kongs. Before exposing the rest of my hand (the other 6 tiles), I and the other 3 players, realized that one of the kongs was incorrect, so I was dead because no other hand could be made from the exposed tiles. Everyone agreed I was dead. So far no problem. I was fine with being dead and having the 8 tiles exposed. One of the other players said that because I had declared Mah Jongg I needed to expose all my tiles. She felt that because of my Mah Jongg declaration all my tiles should be the top of my rack the rest of the game.
    >Is there a rule about this? Thanks so much.
    >Linda M

    Hi Linda,
    She is very very wrong. In fact, your second exposure (the one that was in error) is supposed to be returned to the sloping front of your rack. See rule B on page 16 of the official rulebook.
    Your group really needs to have a rulebook, Linda.
    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
    April 3, 2012


    The 2012 card (FAQ 19J), part 2

    >From: "catlover17
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 1:05 PM
    >Subject: Re: Re: 2012 card question
    >Tom, thanks for your reply re hand #3 under 2012 on new NMJL card. However, I thought the printed text defined the hand as in the third hand under Quints. You admonished me when I asked if the dragons and numbers had to be different (on an older card). You said "They could be the same. Read the text....ANY dragon and ANY number." So I assumed the text prevailed on hand #3 under 2012. Since the text reads "Any 2 and 1, same suit" and not "2s and 1 same suit," I thought I was correct in assuming what I did. I'll abide by your reply. If you change your mind for any reason about this hand, please email me. Thanks much for your wisdom and wit. Bailey in Venice, FL

    Hi Bailey,
    I understand -- you're saying that since there is no "s" in this parenthetical, the color-coding is trumped. Well, it isn't. The one-color listing still indicates a one-suit hand. The parenthetical in this case does not indicate that this hand can be made in multiple suits (while the Quint hand's parenthetical does indicate that that 2-color hand could be made in one suit, through its use of the word "any"). You are free to write a little "s" after the 2 in the parenthetical on 2012 #3 if you feel it more clearly expresses the League's intent.
    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
    April 3, 2012


    What's the diff? (Red Dragon vs. West Wind)

    >From: Rosemary M
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 7:55 AM
    >Subject: Re: Learning Mahjong
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am trying to learn the Chinese version of Mahjong, or near to it. Do you
    >teach? What is the difference between American and Chinese mahjong?
    >Cheers,
    >Rose M

    Hello, Rose. You asked:

    What is the difference between American and Chinese mahjong?
    You can find this out by looking in the FAQs. Specifically, see FAQs 2B, 19, and 20. I titled my book "The Red Dragon & The West Wind" because those tiles represent China and the USA, and my book describes American and Chinese mah-jongg.

    Do you teach?
    Yes, I teach groups of 3 to 16, in the Los Angeles area.

    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
    April 3, 2012


    When do the new 2012 cards go into effect?

    >From: Diane B
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 6:52 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >When do the new 2012 cards go into effect? I just received them in the mail and don't know what date they start.
    >Thank you

    Start using it as soon as all the players at the table have the new card, Diane.
    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
    April 3, 2012


    The 2012 card (FAQ 19J)

    >From: Sandy A
    >Sent: Monday, April 2, 2012 6:38 PM
    >Subject: 2012 card question
    >Under 2012, 3rd hand, does last 12 have to be same suit as kong 2's? I think not, but need confirmation from authoritative source for Thursday night game with "the ladies." Thanks for any help.
    >From Bailey in Venice Florida
    >Sent from my iPhone, to which I'm happily addicted.

    Hi Sandy,
    I got this email when I was at the office, and did not yet have the 2012 card in my physical possession. All the way home, I kept wondering if it would be here yet, or if I would have to give you the answer, "I can't tell you until I get the card." But then when I got home, there it was. So let's have a look at this hard-to-decipher hand you asked about:

    FFFF 2222 0000 12 (Any 2 and 1, Same Suit)

    Sandy, one color means one suit. Read the back of the card underneath the big bold letters, "STANDARD BASED ON EIGHT FLOWERS AND EIGHT JOKERS". You should probably also read FAQ 19-J.
    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
    Not sent from my iPhone, although I'm happily addicted to it, because it's a darn sight easier to do this kind of thing on my desktop
    April 2, 2012


    Tile type - need jokers - need a case

    >From: Suzanne L
    >Cc: Suzanne L
    >Sent: Monday, April 2, 2012 2:42 PM
    >Subject: identify type of tiles
    >I have searched many sites and cannot see any tiles like these. Can you tell me anything about them?? From the side, there are three layers, and the flowers are beautiful pictures.
    >I am interested in finding more BIG JOKERs and a new case.
    >Inline image 1
    >Sincerely,
    >Suzanne L

    Hi Suzanne, you wrote:

    I have searched many sites and cannot see any tiles like these. Can you tell me anything about them??
    I might be able to -- what do you want to know? (See FAQ 7P.)

    I am interested in finding more BIG JOKERs
    Hmm. Tricky. Please read 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 ).

    and a new case.
    You can look in the Accessories For Sale board, see if you find any useful sources there. You can look in FAQ 4a at the vendors links, click them, and browse their catalogs.
    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

    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
    April 2, 2012


    Is it true...? (part 3)

    >From: Marie F
    >Sent: Monday, April 2, 2012 12:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I was told by Mahjongg Mayen that there was a printing error on the 2012 cards -& I will be receiving my cards on the 16 of the month - if this true?
    >Thank you - this way I will know not to order from them again or all is okay

    Hi Marie, you wrote:

    I was told by Mahjongg Mayen that there was a printing error on the 2012 cards -& I will be receiving my cards on the 16 of the month - if this true?
    I cannot confirm what the Maven did or did not say to you, since I was not part of that conversation. Apparently there is a delay for everyone in receiving their NMJL cards (normally I would already have one by now, but I do not - and you can see the previous discussion below).

    this way I will know not to order from them again or all is okay
    There's an old saying: "Don't shoot the messenger." Personally, I always recommend buying the card direct from the League, so that you can receive the yearly bulletin (a very important and useful document).
    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
    April 2, 2012


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