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1. "Mah-Jongg 101"
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The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

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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!

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  • Can I do this, part 2

    > From: Sandy T
    > Sent: Friday, May 31, 2013 1:55 PM
    > Subject: Corrected message with full tile hand
    > I omitted one tile in my original post, sorry.
    >The tiles I have on my rack are:
    > >3 jokers          2 white dragons and a Joker        2 crack, white dragon, 1 crack, 3 crack    3 red dragons          4 crack
    > >My opponent throws a Flower and I pick it up for Mahjong and discard my 4 crack.
    > >Can I add the Flower to my 3 jokers and call Mahjong?
    > >thank you.
    > >Sandy T

    Hi, Sandy. Your story has changed. Now the tiles you had were these:

    That's 14 tiles. Then, you say:

    My opponent throws a Flower
    How can that be? You're holding 14 tiles, so either it's your turn (and she's discarding out of turn), or you have too many tiles in your hand. One of you is dead.

    I pick it up for Mahjong and discard my 4 crack.
    As I said before, you cannot discard after saying mah-jongg. You start with 13 tiles, then obtain a 14th tile, then you're mah-jongg, and you're done (you don't start with 14, then obtain a 15th tile, then say mah-jongg and discard).

    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, 2013


    Can I do this?

    >From: Sandy T
    >Sent: Friday, May 31, 2013 10:28 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >The tiles I have on my rack are:
    >3 jokers          2 white dragons        2 crack, white dragon, 1 crack, 3 crack    3 red dragons          4 crack
    >My opponent throws a Flower and I pick it up for Mahjong and discard my 4 crack.
    >Can I add the Flower to my 3 jokers and call Mahjong?
    >thank you.
    >Sandy T

    Hi, Sandy.  You wrote:

    My opponent throws a Flower and I pick it up for Mahjong and discard my 4 crack.
    What? You can't say mah-jongg and then discard a tile.  Mah-jongg requires 14 tiles.  If you say mah-jongg and then discard a tile, you only have 13 tiles.   Look at what you said you had:

    But let's say for the sake of discussion that you have picked a flower (you talked about acquiring the flower by another means, but we'll get to that in part 2 of your question - let's say you pick a flower from the wall).  You discard 4C.  Now you have:

    You discarded a tile, so you have only 13 tiles. Now you need either a flower or a soap or a joker.  You do not have mah-jongg!

    Can I add the Flower to my 3 jokers and call Mahjong?
    If you had 13 tiles in your hand and somebody threw a tile that would complete your (14-tile) hand, then yes.  Even though it's a Concealed hand.  But since you were not ready for mah-jongg, and you were playing a Concealed hand, when your opponent threw the flower, you could not call 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 31, 2013


    I wanted a do-over

    > From: Louise D
    > Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 6:22 PM
    > Subject: MJ Question
    > I wanted to redeem a joker from another player's rack. She had 2 4 dots and one joker. I put my 4 dot on her rack then decided I didn't really want the joker and took my 4 dot back. Is that illegal or allowed?
    > Louise C

    Hello Louise, you wrote:

    I wanted to redeem a joker from another player's rack.
    Did you? Did you really? Hold that thought, we'll come back to it.

    I put my 4 dot on her rack then decided I didn't really want the joker
    So you didn't really want it, but you thought you wanted it enough to actually reach across the table and place your tile on the other player's rack. I wrote about the "Change of heart" rules in Frequently Asked Question 19AM, and I wrote a column entitled "Oops, wait, I changed my mind" -- it's column #499. I think you should read them both.

    and took my 4 dot back. Is that illegal or allowed?
    I have not seen any written rule from the League governing this. But when you read the FAQ and the column, you'll see that there is a common thread in all the change of heart rules that the League has ruled on: actions trump words, which means you can say something without committing to what you said. But when you take an action, you've committed to it. That's a general principle behind the pick-take-back prohibition and the discard-take-back prohibition. But the League has never specifically said that once you put your own tile atop someone's rack you can't take it back.

    Please do read that column and that FAQ. And please -- I wish that everyone would make it a personal principle that when you perform an action, you don't ask for a do-over. Best time to rethink is before your arm moves. Howard Wolowitz of Big Bang Theory famously said, "There are always do-overs when my people play," but that's a comedy show. Mah-jongg is serious business! Not really, but I hope I'm getting my point across.
    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, 2013


    When can she stop the Charleston?

    > From: Alice
    > Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 9:51 AM
    > Subject: question
    > if after the first left a person has 2 hands, six tiles for each, can she stop the passing or does she have to break up one of the hands. is this a table rule or a mahjong rule. alice f

    Welcome to my website, Alice. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    Besides the cited FAQ, your question is discussed on page 48 and pages 82-84 in my book, and on page 12 of the official NMJL rulebook. Also I wrote "On Stopping The Charleston" in column 494 (click the purple banner above to get to the columns).
    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, 2013


    What does "any" mean when there are two colors? (FAQ 19J)

    > From: Tom R
    > Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 7:33 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I beg pardon if you have already answered this and I was unable to find it. 2013 card – quints – hand – NNNNN DDDD 11111. I played five South, 4 red dragons and 5 three cracks. I read the card to mean that it didn’t matter if the dragons and the suits matched. Am I correct?

    Hi, Tom.
    The parenthetical in that hand says "Any No. in Any Suit; Kong Any Dragon." I gather that you're not really sure if "any" really truly honestly means "any"?
    I am not aware of any alternate meanings of the word "any," myself. If you are still in doubt (if the fact that the dragon and the quint are shown in two colors is "coloring" your thinking about the meaning of the English-language word), you could read Frequently Asked Question 19J. 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 27, 2013


    How does the bettor rule work with our table rule?

    > From: josephine s
    > Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2013 7:07 AM
    > Subject: mah jongg question
    > Please help me with this question- If a player throws into an obvious hand and has to pay for the table, does the bettor, also have to pay the same amount of money to the winner, if she/he bet on the thrower. Thank you,

    Hi Josephine,
    The bettor rule is clear and unambiguous (see Frequently Asked Question 19W4). I don't see why the rule wouldn't be compatible with your special "pay for the party" table rule (see FAQ 19Y). But since you use a table rule, you and your group get to figure out all the details of your special rules. See FAQ 14. 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 26, 2013


    I just bought a subscription

    > From: J Rink
    > Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2013 4:31 PM
    > Subject: Just bought on-line Mah Jongg game from Sigma Software?
    > I just purchased a year’s worth of on-line Mah Jongg game from Sigma Software for $40. Are you familiar with this program? I have a question, so I went to the “help” section, and it states (verbatim):
    >
    > Never include ASAP in email as you will be disappointed.
    > If you do not receive a response in a week or 2, it might be that your return address is incorrect or BLOCKED. In this case, it is impossible to respond.
    > Questions covered on Instructions page and Questions page are best not covered via email.
    > Support for the online game via email is majhelp@sigmagames.com Sent to Sigma Software, Inc.
    >
    > Not exactly quick turnaround I’d say!! I played in the practice round and couldn’t see my opponents’ hands. It says you can replace jokers as in the real Mah Jongg game. Hmmm.
    > By the way, I read all of your FAQs (or a lot of them) on your site for Mah Jongg and found them very helpful, and you have a good sense of humor! I’d like to donate but cannot find the link anymore to give you a donation from Paypal.
    > The reason I did the research is that I played with a new (unfriendly) group the other day and was told that in order to pass on the second half of the Charleston I had to be 2 tiles away from a Mah Jongg (which I knew had to be wrong). I rarely stop the Charleston but had all 2s, 4s, 6s, and 8s, and didn’t know which direction I was going in at that point.
    > They also do the “tornado” shuffling of tiles, putting their cards under the tiles and throwing them up in the air! I’m glad they weren’t playing with my set :)
    > Thanks,
    > Jenny

    Hi, Jenny. You wrote:

    Are you familiar with this program?
    A little. I tried it once, a little more than 10 years ago.

    I have a question, so I went to the “help” section,
    Yes, right. I can't help you with any questions about any computer game (as I wrote in FAQ 24).

    If you do not receive a response in a week or 2... Not exactly quick turnaround I’d say!!
    They're not saying it will take 1-2 weeks to reply. That's not what they're saying.

    I’d like to donate but cannot find the link anymore to give you a donation from Paypal.
    Try this. It's worked for other people in the past. Thanks, I appreciate any and all donations.

    The reason I did the research is that I played with a new (unfriendly) group the other day and was told that in order to pass on the second half of the Charleston I had to be 2 tiles away from a Mah Jongg (which I knew had to be wrong).
    Okay. But how would they know whether or not you were "2 tiles away from a Mah Jongg"? Surely you wouldn't volunteer that information. Have you read FAQ 14? 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 25, 2013


    Do you teach mah-jongg, part 2

    > From: Judy
    > Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2013 2:31 PM
    > Subject: Re: Mah Jongg
    > I don't have two other people to take lessons. I took four lessons but am having difficulty recognizing the possible hands from my original hand. Could you teach me how to do this individually?

    Judy,
    I write a weekly mah-jongg strategy column. It's at http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/column.htm
    You should try reading it and doing the exercises in the column.
    When I say my minimum class size is 3 students, that's for a good reason. I don't teach individuals because I would have to ask $100 per session to make it worth my while. You're too late for the summer course at American Jewish University (we have finished five sessions, and there are only 3 more sessions left).
    I recommend you try my column, and maybe take the AJU course when it is offered next fall. or maybe try one of the other teachers listed at http://sloperama.com/majexchange/links.htm
    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, 2013


    Do you teach mah-jongg?

    > From: Judy
    > Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2013 12:48 PM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg
    > Do you teach Mah Jonng?

    Yes. See http://sloperama.com/majexchange/links.htm
    My minimum class size is 3 students.

    Tom Sloper - Game Development Consultant
    - Sloperama Productions. Services for game developers and publishers; "Making Games Fun, And Getting Them Done." http://www.sloperama.com/business.html
    - Faculty, Video Games, Information Technology Program, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California. http://itp.usc.edu
    - Helpful information and bulletin boards for game industry hopefuls. http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html
    - The Mah-Jongg FAQs. Information and bulletin boards about the game of mah-jongg. http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq.html
    - Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.


    Called her dead but she wasn't.

    > From: Patsy H
    > Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 6:55 AM
    > Subject: Question about MJ
    > Dear Mr. Sloper,
    > I am writing for a friend of mine.
    > During the play she called someone dead and they were not dead. Another player told her since she called a player dead and they weren't then she was dead. Is this true?
    > Thank you for your dedication to MJ.
    > Patsy

    Hello, Patsy.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AB. 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 23, 2013


    Did she have a right to call me dead?

    > From: Barbara K
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 7:02 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > In my recent game, it was towards the end I had two exposures; but I knew I was dead so I started throwing out my hand and my friend called me dead. I knew I was dead; but because I was throwing out my own tiles, did she have a right to call me dead?

    Any player has a "right" to call another player dead. When you are called dead, you must respond. Either "yep, I'm dead," or "nope, not dead." Read FAQ 19AA and 19AB.
    You seem to be making some unfathomable point, though. You seem to think that just because you were throwing out your tiles, somebody shouldn't call you dead. And I don't see how that computes.
    You say you had two exposures. Maybe those two exposures were a clear indicator of what hand you were working on. And maybe that hand is supposed to contain one or more pairs. And maybe when you threw out some of your tiles, you threw out a key tile, and although previously she had not noticed that you were dead, now she could see that you were dead.
    If she knew you were dead before, and didn't call you dead until you started throwing out your hand, maybe she called you dead to stop you throwing out a tile that would give mah-jongg to someone else. Or to stop you picking tiles from the wall, throwing out tiles nobody needs, and keeping tiles she needs.
    So yes, she has a "right" to call you dead. Your throwing out your tiles is not a Get Out Of Jail card.
    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 22, 2013


    If I switch from a dead hand to a concealed hand, is my hand dead?

    > From: John
    > Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 9:20 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > If I expose a hand and decide later that switch my hand because my tiles are dead and i chose a concealed hand does my hand become dead
    > John and Barb W

    Hi, John.
    Nobody can possibly know what hand you are switching to. Switching is a mental choice you make -- you do not "declare" it. If your hand is dead because the tiles you need for a pair or single are dead, and your exposure is such that you can not switch to another exposable hand, then your hand is dead. If nobody except you can tell that your hand is dead, then you have no choice but to play defensively. And you should do it with a good poker face (that is to say, you shouldn't telegraph your disappointment in your death to your opponents).
    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, 2013


    Two players went dead

    > From: Lois W
    > Cc: Joanne B; Diane P; Ann F; Betty N
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 2:56 AM
    > Subject: Re: Mahjongg question
    > We started off playing a game with four players. During play two players went dead because of having to many tiles or to little tiles. Our question is: Does play go on with the remaining two players or does the game end at that point.
    > Looking forward to an answer,
    > Thank you

    Lois (and Joanne, Diane, Ann, and Betty),
    Every group should have a rulebook handy for common questions like this. Your question is answered in rule 10(b) on page 18 of the official rulebook, and rule 92(d) on page 60 of my book. Yes, the two players continue the game.
    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 15, 2013


    Is this a rule? I can't find it in writing anywhere!

    > From: Donna G
    > Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 8:42 PM
    > Subject: Question
    > At a game today, one of the players mentioned that when mixing the tiles before forming the walls, only two out of the four players can do it at one time. Is there such a rule?

    It always amazes me how people can make up any old lie and say it's a "rule." Please read Frequently Asked Question 19BK. 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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, 2013

    P.S. I mean, why can't somebody just say, "I prefer to keep my hands out if two other people are mixing the tiles," or "I think it's best if only four hands mix the tiles." Why does she have to declare, "It's a rule. If two people are mixing the tiles, nobody else is supposed to put her hands in there!" Sheesh. Personally, I think the person who does not put both hands in there is shirking her duty.


    Somebody please, part 2

    > From: Ray
    > Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 5:19 AM
    > Subject: Jack E on Single Wait
    > Hi Tom,
    > I thought the question and answer between yourself and Jack from May 11th regarding an almost fully melded hand (MCR variant) raises an interesting observation. Your answer showed that in the particular case illustrated both a Single Wait and a Self Pick are awarded. I think you are correct, but if the last tile is taken from an opponent's discard (so the hand becomes a fully Melded Hand for 6 points) the Single Wait is not awarded as it is then implied. So whether or not the Single Wait is awarded depends on self draw, which doesn't strike me as what was meant within the rules.
    > Regards
    > Ray H

    Hi, Ray.
    So maybe Jack's wife was confused by the fact that Single Wait is implied by Melded Hand (so may not be combined). Self-picking is not implied, though. So if one self-picks, Single Wait may be claimed.
    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, 2013


    Is there a Chinese philosophy...

    > From: Lynne C
    > Sent: Monday, May 13, 2013 3:32 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > is there a Chinese philosophy about having hands (specifically in Winds and Dragons section) with North and South with odd numbers and also East, West with even numbers?
    > Thanks
    > Lynne

    Hi, Lynne.
    I'm not aware of any Chinese philosophy that involves mah-jongg. Confucianism is much too old (what I mean is, mah-jongg didn't exist yet when Confucius was alive), and I don't know about any other Chinese philosophers. FAQ 3 lists some books about Chinese symbolism and mythology, though. You can link to the FAQs above left. I do know about the Chinese superstition against discarding four wests in a row (because in Chinese, it would sound like four people sequentially saying "death death death death").
    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 13, 2013


    What happens when...?

    > From: "EdieR...
    > Sent: Monday, May 13, 2013 8:14 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > What happens when a player picks up her three passed tiles during the Charleston, looks at them, then discovers she has 16 tiles, she never passed her three!
    > Edie

    Hi, Edie.
    I have no way of knowing what would happen in that hypothetical universe. I can only tell you what should happen, based on common sense (since there is no written rule governing what ought to happen in that instance).
    She should say "oops" and put those three tiles back down on the table, try to forget what they are, pass three of her tiles, then pick up the three that were passed to her.
    I suppose if other players feel strongly enough that something bigger should happen, then they could all throw in their tiles and start over. If they feel that strongly 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 13, 2013


    Column 563

    > From: "lindaz...
    > Sent: Monday, May 13, 2013 7:18 AM
    > Subject: column 563
    > Hi Tom,
    > I have a question regarding Column # 563, problem # 8. I would discard a Flower, looking at 2 options:
    > Odds #8, having 9 tiles for that hand, or
    > Odds # 6, having 10 tiles.
    > Would you please explain your strategy for choosing Odds #5? Thanks for your informative website!
    > Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    Looking at it again, all I can say is I don't know what I was thinking then. It appears that I was looking at Odds #6, but I must have typed a 5 instead of a 6, and I honestly don't know how I counted 8 tiles. You are right that that hand has 10 tiles towards Odds #6, and 9 tiles towards Odds #8.

    Accordingly, I have edited that entry in the 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 13, 2013


    Somebody please restore our marital harmony

    > From: Jack E
    > Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2013 7:18 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Help! RE Chinese Official Mahjong. Someone please settle an argument. My wife says that any self-drawn all-melded-but-one hand should be awarded only one extra point (one for self-drawn); I say it gets two points (one for self-drawn and one for single wait). It seems like the "Prohibition against implied inclusions" rule doesn't settle the argument.
    > Jack E

    Hi, Jack.
    So, you're sitting with four exposures and one lone tile. In this case (one lone tile remaining concealed in the hand), there are two ways it can be won: by self-pick or by someone else discarding the needed tile. They're both viable ways of winning. Neither is inevitable, meaning neither is implied. Then you self-picked and completed the pair.

    Obviously you do not earn Melded Hand for 6 points. But clearly you self-picked, and clearly you won on Single Wait. This is not about implied inclusions. It's about the plain fact that fan may be combined (added). The rulebook does not say that Single Wait and Self Pick may not be combined. So therefore they may be combined.
    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 11, 2013


    Is he dead, Pardner?

    > From: "texk
    > Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:22 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: The player to my left took the discard from the player to his left and put it in his hand. He then discarded a tile. (he forgets to expose & rack the chosen tile in any way). I went my turn and the person to my right began his turn when I stated that the person to my left forgot to rack his exposure. Does that person who forgot to expose go dead or does he just get to expose on his next turn?
    > Thanks,
    > Tex K

    Howdy, Tex.
    That player went dead the instant he took a discard and put it into his hand (in among his concealed tiles). No mah-jongg player is ever supposed to take a discard and put it among his concealed tiles. A player is required to pay (by exposing the completed set) to take a discard, and this must be done without placing a taken discard into the hand. Then he doubly sealed his fate when he discarded a tile. Discarding ends the turn -- there's no turning back and fixing an error once you've discarded. You didn't mention what kind of mah-jongg you play, but you can learn more by reading FAQ 19K and FAQ 19AM. Even if you're not playing American rules, the principles may make sense for your variant.
    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 11, 2013


    Do I have to be certified?

    > From: Dolly
    > Sent: Friday, May 10, 2013 9:24 AM
    > Subject: Mahjonng
    > Hello my name is Dolly ████, I have been playing mahjonng for many years,
    > and dearly love the game.
    > My first learning experience was in china, then back in the state I learned, American mahjonng.
    > Today I enjoy teaching A.M. As a volunteer, and I would like to pass the word, and make possible for many to learn the game. My question is if I have to be certified to do so?
    > and how can I be certified?, I do not charge, is all for the love of the game,
    > I'm in Sebastian Fl, right at the Senior Center, and welcome all new players,
    > I follow and practice the American Mahjonng League, rules and the Red Dragon
    > Thank you,
    > Dolly

    Hey hey hello, Dolly.
    There is no certifying authority. As a favor to me, though, please do not teach table rules as though they are official rules, and do not teach etiquette or strategy as though they are official rules. Please read my FAQs -- FAQ 9, FAQ 14, FAQ 19, FAQ 26. You can click the FAQ links above left. You really ought to have my book, and Elaine Sandberg's book, and the official NMJL rulebook (see FAQ 3).
    If you want a teacher listing here on my site, email me a notice that contains the information you see in the teacher listings in FAQ 4A, and I'll post 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 10, 2013


    Do exposures have to be in card order?

    > From: Doris F
    > Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2013 5:57 PM
    > Subject: exposed tiles
    > notice I am not shouting!
    > when a tile is called for and the tiles are exposed, do the exposed groups need to be in order? i'm not asking about the whole hand but just two or three groups.
    > thanks.
    > doris f

    Welcome to my website, doris. 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 ). 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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, 2013


    April 21st. A date which shall live in ignominy

    > From: Barbara I
    > Sent: Thursday, May 9, 2013 7:20 AM
    > Subject: April 21, 2013
    > My thought processes may be a little slow today...just tried to do April 21,2013, and I am having a hard time understanding the relationship of #12 & #14 to #10...I only see they are both dead. SOS...Barbara

    My thought processes, too, Barbara. When I saw an email in my inbox with the mysterious subject line of "April 21, 2013," I had no idea what it was about. Instead of deleting it as probable spam, I figured I should open it. I didn't understand until I had read the whole thing that you were writing me about one of my columns! My thought processes were a little slow on April 21st too (not only May 9th). When Shelly M helped me correct my... "intentional"... mistake in #10, I should have changed #12 and #14 too. #12 should read "She's dead (concealed hand)." And #14 should read "read #12 above." I have now made those changes.
    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, 2013


    Is the game over, part 5

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:11 PM
    > Subject: Re: Should the game continue? Part 3
    > I should thank you. I have learned so much from your site. I ran a tournament last year with proceeds going to our local food pantry after prizes were awarded. It was fun and I would not have felt comfortable doing it without reading your site to be ready for any issues that might have come up. I also like you strategy column!

    Aw, shucks. (^_^)


    Wrong tile count; picking ahead

    > From: Patsy H
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 2:04 PM
    > Subject: Questions from a MJ Player
    > Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I have purchased your book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, and A Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg by Elaine Sandberg Foreward by Tom Sloper. I have enjoyed reading them and using them for reference.
    >I have the following questions:
    >1. Before the First Charleston began a player flipped their card with their picked tiles on it. Some of the tiles landed on the top of the rack and the wall in front of their rack. The player picked up the tiles and placed them on the slope part of their rack. Then the First Charleston began. During the first cross the player opposite this player noticed a tile missing from the player's wall. The player counted their tiles and realized they had too many. Is this player dead? If so, how does the Charleston continue? How is the wall repaired?
    >2. I heard of a group playing MJ by discarding their tile first then picking a tile from the wall. This group feels this is a faster way of playing MJ. Is this a correct way of playing MJ?
    >Thanks for all your efforts in answering MJ questions from so many people.
    >Patsy H

    Hi, Patsy. It's always a joy to hear from someone who's got one of my books!
    See rule 92.b on page 60 of my book.
    See rule 93 on page 60-61, and read rule number 1 on the back of the NMJL card. Also this is FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) 19R. You can read the FAQs by clicking the FAQ links 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 8, 2013


    Is the game over, part 4

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 1:02 PM
    > Subject: Re: Should the game continue? Part 3
    > Tom,
    > I thought you might be interested in more information on this situation. My original question on April 3rd was basically as follows:

      > Player A calls MJ and exposes all her tiles on the top of the rack.
      > Player C throws in her hand
      > Player D says "I only needed a flower to make MJ", does not move any tiles.
      > Player B calls the MJ dead as Player A had exposed tiles a few rounds prior to calling MJ and the hand was a concealed hand.
      > What happens next?

    > Well the player D did not like your answer and claimed that it was merely your opinion, not the rule. I sited page 16 Rule 4A. But she maintains that her hand was not intact as she revealed what she needed for mahjong by stating that she only needed a flower. When I said that the rule means that she hadn't moved any tiles, again she claimed that is my interpretation but not the rule.
    > In the meantime, I had written to Linda Fisher, a Mah Jongg teacher listed on your site, and to the NMJL for clarification too. The NMJL simply said that the game would continue with Players B & D. Linda gave the following response which I think clearly explained the situation which also agrees with you and the NMJL.
    > "Unfortunately, player C disregarded a cardinal rule in mahjongg, which is: Do not throw in your hand until the mahjongg is verified. When Player B called player A dead, both player A and player C were dead, as she threw in. The game should continue with player B and player D since neither of them were dead. Too bad that player D said she needed a flower, but that doesn't make her dead even though she revealed that information. So the correct way to proceed would be for player B and player D to continue the game until the end. (Of course player B wouldn't throw a flower, but the game could end in a wall or in player D winning). So remember, always wait until the mahjongg is verified!"
    > But guess what, Player D refused to read either of those responses. If she had been interested in fairness I would think that she would have at least read and agreed that the NJML response is accurate. Oh well!
    > Bee

    She's all too typical of a type of "I'm always right" player that I've run into all too often, unfortunately.
    May the tiles be with you, Bee.
    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, 2013


    I just wanted a different fish!

    > From: carol
    > Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 3:56 PM
    > Subject: mahjong
    > If I have said that I am fishing, can I change my plan so that I can fish for a different tile and discard the tile that I have been trying to match. I did this in a game of Chinese mahjong, but another player said that it was illegal. I did not say what I was doing, but she guessed. Thank you.
    > Carol S

    Hi, Carol.
    The way she "guessed" that you changed your plan was probably that after you picked a tile from the wall, you put it in your hand and discarded another tile (not the one you picked). You didn't say which of the dozen-plus Chinese variants you play, so I can't point you to a printed rule. But in the Japanese game, once you have said you were "fishing" (the Japanese say "riichi" which means "reach"), you are not allowed to change the wait like you did.
    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, 2013


    Can a joker be redeemed from a dead player's rack?

    > From: Patricia R
    > Sent: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 1:48 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: did not realize I was playing a concealed hand. Declared mah jongg with a correct exposure containing two jokers. I was pronounced dead by fellow player because the hand was concealed. Can my jokers be redeemed by rest of players?.. I have read the rule but I am still unclear. Thank you. Pat

    Pat, let me start by thanking you for the donation. So, to respond to what you wrote:

    did not realize I was playing a concealed hand. Declared mah jongg with a correct exposure
    I'm confused. If you made an exposure but you were working on a concealed hand, then the exposure could not be "correct."

    I was pronounced dead by fellow player because the hand was concealed.
    I assume that the exposure you made was a giveaway (that it was an exposure that could not be part of any exposable hand, like a dragon pung for instance).

    Can my jokers be redeemed by rest of players?.. I have read the rule but I am still unclear.
    I don't know what rule you read, but you must not have read FAQ 19P (especially the second bullet, the last sentence, where it says "All portions of the hand exposed erroneously are to be returned to the sloping front of the rack, including and especially the now-dead jokers."). 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.
    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, 2013


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    > From: "irculshaw
    > Sent: Monday, May 6, 2013 7:25 AM
    > Subject: MJ question
    > If you are working on a concealed hand and a player puts up tiles with a joker, can you exchange the joker from the exposed hand with a tile in your hand and put it on the rack where you are working on the concealed hand? Thank you.

    Hello, irculshaw,
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19BD. 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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, 2013


    When is column 563 going up?

    > From: Mitzi M
    > Sent: Monday, May 6, 2013 12:59 PM
    > Subject: New column
    > Hi Tom,
    > Really enjoy your weekly columns and was wondering when to expect your next one #563
    > Mitzi

    Yesterday. It went up yesterday.
    Sent from my iPhone, which hopefully explains weird typos and stuff...


    Help to know its age

    > From: Pablo
    > Sent: Sunday, May 5, 2013 1:28 PM
    > Subject: Help to know age of my new mah-jongg set
    > Hi Tom,
    > My wife just bought this mah-jongg set this morning, in a second-hand Street market.
    > She knows I like mah-jongg and got it for 15 € (about $20.)
    > I’m not sure if it’s an old set, or it’s a modern replica, and i would appreciate if you can help me to know a little more about it.
    > - The box contains 144 tiles, 2 small dices, and a booklet
    > - The booklet is titled: DIRECTIONS OF PLAYING MAH-JONGG “CHINESE GAME OF FOUR WINDS”. It does not have any reference of autor or Publisher.
    > - Tiles seems to be made of bamboo and cowbone (that seems to have many organic dirty)
    > - Tile size is 26mm (H) x 18mm (W) x 12mm (D)
    > - There are 36 tiles of dots, 36 tiles of craks, 36 tiles of bams, 16 winds, 12 dragons, and 8 flowers, no nokers nor blanks
    > - It has been bought today in a second-hand Street market in Málaga, Spain. I don’t know anything about previous owner, although tiles are obviously used (one of them has even an pencil-made annotation). I can’t say the same about the booklet, that looks very unused and have very bright staples.
    > - Container is a Wood box that (like the booklet) looks better preserved than the tiles, although it had a lot of dust and “smells”.
    > o One detail makes me think the box is newer than the tiles are the screws of the lock (see image). They look very modern.
    > o The set uses elaborate-style crak carácter.
    > I’m sending you pictures of all the set and its details.
    > Of course, you are free to publish them and all the info about the set in your web (that I have discovered today and I find it very interesting and helpful!)
    > Thanks for your help, and kind regards
    > -Pablo

    ¡hola! Pablo,
    Your set is of modern origin, made to look like it's old. It might have been made in the 1990s or the 2000s. The box is a common faux antique box, and the directions booklet is worthless - not a collectible, and very difficult to understand since it's written in Chinglish (badly mangled English). It's interesting that the bone is not of uniform thickness -- maybe the person who cobbled the set together didn't care about, or understand, the need for uniformity.
    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
    Cinco De Mayo, 2013


    Mother's Day Giveaway

    > From: mah jongg seller
    > Sent: Sunday, May 5, 2013 11:14 AM
    > Subject: Posting please??
    > Tom: If this is ok, would you post under accessories wanted?
    > Mother's Day Giveaway! Sponsored by Where The Winds Blow
    > Five Winners! Each will get a mah jongg picture frame valued at 35.00
    > Check out this entry form:
    > http://bit.ly/11LL9bx
    > www.WhereTheWindsBlow.com
    > Sign Up For Our Newsletter!
    > Follow us on Twitter!
    > like us on Facebook!
    > www.WhereTheWindsBlow.com
    > Mah Jongg Gifts & Accessories

    Hi, Faye.
    Well, you're not seeking accessories, and you're not selling accessories, so this isn't really appropriate to a For Sale board or a Wanted board. It also doesn't really belong on the Find Players/Teachers/Events board, so this is the only place that's 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
    Cinco De Mayo, 2013


    Shouldn't I name, part 2

    >From: Marsha and Peter
    >Sent: Friday, May 3, 2013 10:23 PM
    >Subject: Re: My Mah-Jongg question:
    >Many thanks! (The week before the same complainer complained when I didn't tell her what I was doing when cliaming a joker - and this week said "the rule" is so and so, so I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing a real rule. Etiquette I understand!
    >MKB


    Shouldn't I name the tile I'm redeeming with?

    > From: Marsha and Peter
    > Sent: Friday, May 3, 2013 7:18 PM
    > Subject: My Mah-Jongg question:
    > My Mah-Jongg question:
    > Is there a rule (somewhere) the when you claim an exposed joker from another player's rack that you are not supposed to/not allowed to name out loud the natural tile that you are using for the exchange?
    > (Example: I want the joker across from me that includes 3 eight cracks and one joker...am I not supposed to say "8 crack" out loud as I am taking that joker? The woman who criticized me today told me that there is a rule against saying the natural tile out loud because it will confuse players who are listening (not looking) and they will think I discarded the 8 crack instead.)
    > I can't find that rule. Is there one?
    > Conversely, I noticed you said the following in one of your posts and it seems to me that players who listen but never look are, in essence, not paying attention:
    > "The act of flipping the now-dead joker gives information to players who are not paying attention. Players are supposed to pay attention! Just like players who listen but never look, if you aren't paying attention, you're doing a disservice to yourself. And sometimes (often) to the other players as well."
    > Thank you.
    > Marsha

    Hello, Marsha.
    There are written rules and there are unwritten rules. Among unwritten rules there are unwritten courtesy (etiquette) rules, and there are unwritten common sense rules. I think this one falls into the "common sense" category. But what you're doing (naming the tile you're redeeming with) is a bad idea (it flies against common sense). There's no rule against it. But it should be common sense that when you name a tile, people will think you're discarding the named tile. The customary thing to say (not that this is a written rule, mind you -- it's an etiquette rule), when redeeming a tile is: "may I have that joker, please?" Or "I'm exchanging this for your joker," or "look what I've got" (while handing the tile to the person with the joker atop her rack). See how that makes better sense? You're not causing a ruckus that way -- what you're saying does not fly in the face of other people's expectations when you say that sort of thing.
    So, in short: no. I've never heard anyone say the name of the tile she's exchanging for a joker. Your question is the first time I ever heard of anyone doing such a thing. Sorry! In this case, you're wrong.
    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 3, 2013


    How can I cut those modern off-white (dense polystyrene?) tiles?

    > From: Michelle C
    > Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2013 11:12 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Hi- I'm interested in working an incomplete set of mahjongg tiles into a mosaic project that I am in the middle of. It's one of the modern off-white (approximately $100., bought about 2005 in a game store) sets.
    > I need to cut several of the tiles into either two or three pieces. Do you have any suggestions on what I could use to cut these super hard tiles into pieces. I've tried nippers, hammer and hardie, a cold chisel and rubber mallet, all to no avail. I do own a dremel electric drill set but haven't tried that yet because I worry about burning the plastic (or whatever the super material is that makes up these unbreakable tiles!)
    > Any suggestions?
    > Thanks so much,
    > mdcut4
    > p.s. I even brought them to a hardware store, that didn't want to get involved with using their large equipment with such tiny items.

    Hello, Michelle.
    I have not tried to do what you want to do. About thirty years ago, I worked with plastics and machine tools. But at that time, I had no mah-jongg tiles to use as material. I would say that this would be a very tricky and dangerous operation, and only an experienced user of cutting machines should attempt it. If it was me, I would probably try a band saw first, then see how that goes. If it doesn't go well, I would probably try something else. If I was you, and I had no such experience, I would give up on cutting the tiles, and just work with whole tiles instead. Good luck! Oh. And sorry that I didn't see your email until today. I found it in the spam folder (don't know why it was in there).
    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 3, 2013


    Can I say mah-jongg if I'm waiting for a single?

    > From: Mimi C
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 7:00 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Hello,
    > Couldn't find the answer to this anywhere....
    > Can you call to a single for Mahjongg??
    > Thanks so much,
    > Mimi

    Hi, Mimi.
    My apologies that I didn't see your email for 2 days. I don't know why Yahoo decided to put it in my spam folder, but that's where I found it when I cleaned out the spam today. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19E3. 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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 3, 2013


    She made a set with no naturals. That ain't right... is it?

    > From: Lorraine W
    > Sent: Thursday, May 2, 2013 6:07 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > While playing Mah Jongg, someone made a kong of jokers only, they needed four 7 bamboos and used ONLY four jokers, is this allowed?
    > Also, during same game a player called a kong having 3 jokers in her hand and calling the discarded 5 bamboo to make a kong, is this allowed? I believed that the player must have at least one of the tiles on their rack to make a kong using 3 jokers, please clarify.
    > Thanks
    > Lorraine W

    Hello, Lorraine.
    Welcome to my website. 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 ). 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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 2, 2013


    Keen to learn, part 2

    > From: Marisa V
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:57 PM
    > Subject: RE: Email 3 of 3 - final photos from Marisa
    > Thanks so much for your prompt advice, I made a donation to say thank you , Marisa

    You're welcome. Thank you for the donation, Marisa!
    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 30, 2013


    Keen to learn in Australia

    > From: Marisa V
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:50 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A - Email 1 o2 2 - Commentary - photos follow in email 2 and 3)
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > So pleased I found your site. I am emailing you from Australia so can’t pop around with my set for you to view!
    > I know nothing about mah-jongg ( apologies in advance – except that I have 3 friends who play every week without fail!) – my mother passed away last year and I have been going her things. I know the maj-jongg set was given to her about 25 years ago by a 90 year old neighbour who had had it for “a long time” according to this man’s wife although I cannot be exactly sure how long. I have tried to review the site to get as much info as I can which I think you want. But forgive me in advance for my ignorance.
    > I would be keen to learn about how old the set might be and a ballpark range for its value. There are some flaws by reading your checklist. But I have done my best to answer all your questions in advance.
    > 1. No chips – have sticks – number 120 in all printed front and back (35 black with 20 dots 10 each end) (8 with red cross each end) (41 black 2 dots each end) (36 red 1 dot each end) – photo attached
    > 2. 3 wind discs and container. I assume there should have been 4 – there is an odd bigger disc – photographed – not sure if this is used in place of the missing 4th wind disc
    > 3. Brown wooden container with 4 small dice – each dice does have a blank face – I read on your blog this was quite common in the 1920s – the box is in good condition, and the top slides out beautifully to reveal the 4 tiny dice.
    > 4. I could see no rotatable wind disc
    > 5. No racks
    > 6. No paper
    > 7. I am not completely sure what the tiles are made of (I have read your ivory tests). I think I did not answer 3 YES so I am assuming maybe bone ? Definitely not plastic. Box is plain (not lined) – you will call it ugly – I know you will – just giving you the thumbs up! But there is no notable separation between the bamboo and the bone for any of the pieces.
    > 8. 144 tiles – photographed
    > 4 x 1 dots, 4 x 2 dots, 4 x 3 dots, 4 x 4 dots, 4 x 5 dots, 4 x 6 dots, 4 x 7 dots, 4 x 8 dots (I am pretty sure one of the original 8 dots is missing – I remember the neighbour explaining one piece was missing – guessing it may be this one –I have photographed!, 4 x 9 dots.
    > I believe the 136-tile set ( noting the exception of the 1 x 8 dot which is a ring in) is complete otherwise. There are 8 flowers (photographed). No jokers. I do note the blank 4 tiles in the dragons – not sure if this is normal. Tiles are in very good condition.
    > Craks look of the earlier variety (less ornate) I have photographed one of each group if you want these let me know although they are visible on the photo which I have provided which segments each of the quarters.
    > Tiles are 12 mm thick (of which 5-6 mm is the bone area), 30mm long and 21 mm wide.
    > There is a definite change of texture from the sides (streaked lines) to the right angle face – was not sure if this was what you were referring to as The wavy pearlescent grain and cross-hatching are called "Schreger lines – but as I was not sure if the set was ivory, I could not justify this – have sent you photos so you can judge.
    > 9. The box is not ornate at all. A very very simple wooden box with only one internal divider. No lining. I believe the original hook is on it. From your web site you said that the absence of a lined box probably signifies non ivory
    > I would be grateful if you would give me an opinion about the state, the value and correct me on all the things I got wrong! Thanks Mr Tiles, Marisa
    > Note: To protect against computer viruses, e-mail programs may prevent
    > sending or receiving certain types of file attachments. Check your e-mail
    > security settings to determine how attachments are handled.

    Hi, Marisa. You asked:

    keen to learn about how old the set might be
    It's from the 1920s.

    I do note the blank 4 tiles in the dragons – not sure if this is normal.
    These 1920s sets usually came with 8 blanks - see FAQs 7A and 7E.

    I was not sure if the set was ivory, I could not justify this – have sent you photos so you can judge. (I have read your ivory tests). I think I did not answer 3 YES so I am assuming maybe bone ?
    Wishful thinking won't increase the set's value. It's bone.

    and a ballpark range for its value.
    It's missing the South disc. The big disc is the lid for the disc container. One 8D tile is a replacement. These 1920s sets usually came with an instruction booklet. Not having one reduces the value of the set. You said the tiles are in "very good" condition. These common bone/bamboo sets in that condition, and considering the flaws mentioned above, typically go for somewhere between US$80-90 here in North America. I have heard that such sets can go for more in the UK; I imagine Australian prices wouldn't be much different from US prices.

    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 30, 2013


    Is there a site that shows the designs of traditional mah-jongg tiles?

    > From: Shane and Cheryl B
    > Sent: Saturday, April 27, 2013 6:26 PM
    > Subject: making a Mahjong game
    > Hello Tom,
    > My daughter is in high school and is a member of a small group completing an assignment for an Honors English class. The group is reading Joy Luck Club, and as part of their assignment, they are asked to design four projects from four different genres that represent something of significance in the novel. They have decided to design and create a Mahjong game. We ran across your website and appreciate the information offered there. Is there a site you can recommend that would show them the designs that appear on a traditional, standard Mahjong game tiles? It is our understanding that the tiles can be decorated with virtually any symbol, but they would like to make one as similar as possible to a traditional Chinese Mahjong game. Any other suggestions would be welcomed as well.
    > Thank you in advance for any suggestions or help you can offer.
    > Cheryl B

    Lots of sites, including pages here on my own:
    http://sloperama.com/majexchange/tutorial.htm
    http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11e.htm
    http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/column492.htm

    And on other sites:
    http://themahjongtileset.co.uk/mahjongg/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahjong_tiles
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=mah+jongg+tiles

    May the tiles be with your high school daughter.
    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, 2013


    Can I claim a tile to expose a 2013?

    > From: "minaoct
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 8:19 PM
    > Subject: 2013 Mah Jongg Card
    > Can you call for a title to complete(2013) for the following two hands or do you have to draw the tiles yourself for Mah jongg
    > Hands: N EE WWW SSSS 2013
    > FFFF DDD 2013 DDD
    > Thank you.

    Hello, minaoct.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 16. 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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, 2013


    Heavenly!

    > From: Manley"
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:24 PM
    > Subject: Rare mahjong event
    > Hi there,
    > This is not really a question but I wanted to tell you about an extremely rare and very exciting event that took place at our mahjong game last week Wednesday afternoon.
    > Five of us were playing and it was my turn to sit out, so I was able to observe it all happening. Diane J was "East" so had 14 tiles. During the Charleston, it became clear that her hand was directing her towards the first of the 3-6-9 hands. She progressively accumulated more and more tiles to complete her hand.
    > After the last compulsory "across", Diane had all but one tile for the hand. So on the last right, she passed this tile and "stole" (blind passed) two tiles from the tiles passed her, and to my and Diane's amazement, the one tile she was left with was the tile she was missing from the hand! Of course she did not do any optional pass, and when she had to start the play (as east) she declared "mahj" immediately. See the photos below where you can see not a single other tile played.
    > That's it! I have often wondered about this happening to an "east" but, short of it happening to myself, watching it happen in front of me was very exciting. I just had to share it with you.
    > Manley P.
    > P.S. As it happened, a few hands later, I mahjed with the 75-point 2013 hand for the first time in many years but that is not all that unusual in comparison to the excitement we all felt with what happened to Diane.

    Wow, Manley. That's awesome. I wrote about the "Heavenly Hand" in column 476, but I've never seen one happen myself. Thanks for sharing! One thing; in the closeup, I see 4 quarters there. She should have been paid double by everyone, so: 6 quarters (chump change compared to how other forms of mah-jongg award Heavenly Hand, but that's the rule).
    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, 2013


    My other celluloid set, part 2

    > From: Dave G
    > Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2013 11:12 AM
    > Subject: Thanks!
    >Thanks again. Yeah, I should have couched my second question better, but you answered the gist of it: why put a high-end set in a cardboard box?
    >On the link to the article on celluloid -the words around the link were mine alone, except for the quote about the making of French Ivory; most of it was just me trying to give a sense of what people could find in the article.
    >I just had a thought about the 8 additional tiles... making faux French ivory with polymer clay would be a piece of cake, using the same method as the original (layers of alternating opaque cream-colored polymer with translucent. Think of it: faux faux ivory...
    >If you want the details, I could whip up a faux faux ivory tile w/instructions & pix. If you have misgivings, the technique would be too much fussy work for counterfeiters looking for an easy way to fool buyers who want celluloid. That, and the end result would be the wrong weight, surface treatment, touch, and smell... it would only look good.
    >Dave

    I don't see a good reason for making faux French ivory tiles as you suggest.
    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, 2013


    Which tile rang the bell? (FAQ 19BO)

    > From: Sheryl P
    > Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2013 2:59 PM
    > Subject: question
    > Dear Tom, I hope that you can help end this debate...
    > Someone calls a tile and completes the set, then replaces a tile already exposed on top of their own rack, then uses it to complete MJ.
    > Does that count as it being thrown to them or picking it themselves? She called for the 1st tile and the replacement was already in her rack for a few turns.
    > Thank you very much, Sheryl P

    Hello, Sheryl.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19BO. 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.

    She called for the 1st tile and the replacement was already in her rack for a few turns.
    So what? Consider: Which tile was the final one that filled the last hole, and made her hand mah-jongg? Read that FAQ, and FAQ 19AN.

    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, 2013


    Column 562

    >From: Shelly M
    >Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2013 4:04 PM
    >Subject: Your column
    ># 10 from this week's column can also be consecutive 1
    >Shelly

    >From: Chuck & Marsha S
    >Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2013 6:01 PM
    >Subject: Column 562
    >On #16 on your Column #562 – you have 3 dots and 3 bams showing and you say to call her dead because it could only be consecutive run #6 which is concealed. Could it not be odds number 4?
    >Marsha

    Nice job, ladies! I made fixes to the column, 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
    April 21, 2013


    My other celluloid set

    > From: Dave G
    > Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2013 8:50 AM
    > Subject: What's it worth - and - what's with the strange details?
    > A couple of questions/assignments for this second set, which we finally found late last night after misplacing it for years.
    > Q: What’s the value of this set?
    > Q: What’s with the oddities – 8 circle with red AND blue circles; suede-covered book; hand-engraved tiles; BUT in a cardboard box?
    > Exteriorly unmarked cardboard box, exterior covered in patterned (shagreen?) black paper, interior lined with red patterned paper. Condition very good with fragile (separated) silk-ribbon lid-holder, ¾” scratch on top, ½” section of missing black covering at bottom center. Dimensions: 4-3/16 in. H x 8-7/8 in. W x 5-7/8 D.
    > Top inside serves as label: engraved monkey hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil figurines / engraving of the set’s wind indicator / and company/address: “Chinese Games Co. / Manufacturers of Mah-Johng Games / Tables & Accessories / Dominion Express Bldg. – Montreal / Made in Canada.”
    > Interior holds 5 trays, all in very good condition + celluloid “Auxiliary Card” that serves to turn out tiles from each tray, qty 4 paper score sheets, and silk-cord-bound, suede-covered instruction booklet.
    > 4 racks in separate box. Rack box measures 3-5/8 in. H x 16-3/4 W X 4-1/8 D. Condition: poor with tears, splits, heavy water stains (which somehow didn’t penetrate to inside of box.) Label on box top: “Superior Quality / International Mah-Johng / Racks / Manufactured in Canada / by / International Games Limited / Montreal, Canada / British Sales Agents / Buchan Telfer & Co., Limited / Astor House Aldwych / London W.C.2”
    > Racks measure 1-1/2 in. H X 16 W X 3-3/4 D. Condition very good to excellent with 1/4 in. loss of black paint typically at both ends of the highest points. Racks have been rabbeted to provide visible hand, upright for concealed tiles, groove for counters.
    > 144 solid celluloid with faux ivory grain (French ivory) tiles – 36 each of bams, craks and circles; 4 flowers; 4 seasons, all w/Western indices. Excellent condition—appear to have been shuffled maybe a dozen times with resulting easily-counted miniscule scratches. Craks are the older, simplified style. White dragon has no pattern, only “P” stamped in red on the left.
    > Tiles are very light caramel color with subtle faux ivory grain. The majority appear to be hand-engraved, with flowers, trades and 1-circles possibly machine stamped. Measurements: 11/32 in. H X 7/8 W X 1-1/16 H.
    > One bamboo is a flower (bamboo?); one circle is a detailed mon-like flower pattern. Flowers are: 1 – chrysanthemum?; 2 – orchid?; 3 – plum?; 4 – total mystery. Trades are: 1 - fisher; 2 – woodcutter; 3 – farmer; 4 – scholar.
    > Celluloid “Auxiliary Card,” 4-15/16 in. W X 7-13-16 H. Condition good (warped, darkened). Hot stamped front and back with (f.) point tables, (b.) international score card.
    > Booklet has a green suede cover that measures 8-7/16 in. H X 5-1/2 W. Pages are 8-1/8 x 5. Booklet copyright 1924. Condition: excellent. The price has been altered from “75 cents” to “1.75 cents” with hand-inked “1.” Doubtless they meant $1.75, not one penny + 3 farthings.
    > 160 square-cut celluloid counting sticks without dots – 40 each of red, yellow-gold, green and black, excellent condition. Wind indicator is a circle, not sure of material, good condition (warping, possibly missing pointer or hand).
    > Age: 1920s, based on instruction booklet and simplified craks. We purchased this around Christmas time, 1999, for about $65 inc. shipping.
    > Thanks for any insights, Dave

    Hi, Dave. Thank you for the donation. You asked:

    Q: What’s the value of this set?
    This set appears to be complete (and also you're showing a set of racks and a scorecard, all sold separately). I'm guessing it to be worth about $300 to $400 all in. Would be worth more if it also contained 8 more tiles so the set could be used to play modern American mah-jongg.

    Q: What’s with the oddities – 8 circle with red AND blue circles; suede-covered book; hand-engraved tiles; BUT in a cardboard box?
    What's with this question? (In other words, what are you asking?) It appears to me to have been a high-end set. The cardboard of the box is high quality. The racks and scorecard were not part of the set, but should remain with the set nonetheless.

    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, 2013


    Celluloid, part 3

    > From: Dave G
    > Sent: Sunday, April 21, 2013 5:44 AM
    > Subject: Link to scholarly discussion of the care of celluloid / French ivory (quote indicates how French ivory was made)
    >In 1991, Julie A. Reilly, conservator and current director of the Josyln Castle Trust (Omaha) authored an informative compendium of information about celluloid (French ivory, pyralin), "Celluloid Objects: Their Chemistry and Preservation, Journal of the American Institute of Conservation, 30: 2, pp. 145-162.. Full text is available here: http://cool.conservation-us.org/jaic/articles/jaic30-02-003.html Gives a very brief history of the resin and its uses in the 19th and 20th C. Describes the cellulose nitrate chemical continuum from types of celluloid to guncotton; delineates the raw materials and manufacture; touches on identification; discusses deterioration sources; and briefly outlines storage and preservation.
    > The "Fabrication" subhead gives the ways of means of making French ivory: "Elaborate procedures were implemented to create detailed and highly accurate imitations that are deceptively difficult to differentiate from the natural materials. For example, the intricate pattern of lines characteristic of ivory and called the lines of Retzius were imitated fairly accurately. Thin sheets of celluloid were prepared in two colors, one opaque and the other more transparent. The opaque ivory-colored sheets were layered between more transparent sheets of the same color. A block was created out of these alternating layers with heat and pressure. This block was then sliced and the thin slices pressed into another block. The second block, when fabricated, created an accurate imitation of ivory.... Even at a magnification of 12x structures of celluloid ivory may be indistinguishable from those of real ivory."

    Thanks for the link, Dave. I wasn't sure how much of the text of your email was copied and pasted from that site, so I played it safe and deleted it all. [Undeleted per later information above.]
    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 2, 2013


    My celluloid set, part 2

    >From: Dave G
    >Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2013 6:53 PM
    >Subject: RE: Request for valuation
    >Thanks, Tom. My wife has found an earlier buy, another celluloid set, this one from Chinese Games Company, Montreal in a cardboard box. Many of the tiles are hand-engraved. The 8 circle is sort of a hybrid, 4 circles red, 4 blue. I’ll get the set photographed and email you the details tomorrow – along with a donation this time.
    >Dave


    Combining fan in MCR

    > From: Sharon S
    > Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2013 2:27 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: In Chinese Official Mahjong may a winner of an "All Terminals and Honors" hand (32 points) also add additional points for two dragon pungs contained within the hand?
    > Thank you,
    > Sharon S

    Yes.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 20, 2013


    My celluloid set's value?

    > From: Dave G
    > Sent: Saturday, April 20, 2013 6:16 AM
    > Subject: Request for valuation
    > Assignment: What’s the value of my set… did I overpay at $150 including shipping?
    > Very plain, elm wood, finger-jointed (box-jointed) box 5 in. h x 9-1/16 in. w x 6- 9/16 d, 5-drawer, slide front. Fair condition. No label. Dark-stained w/varnish that shows some alligatoring. Box has minor distressing. One brass-plated carrying handle in center top, oblong/oval escutcheon nailed in place.
    > Box has replaced back, and a repaired crack on right side, running from the top to about halfway down, the exterior position of the crack corresponding to the slide dado on the right slide
    > No corner brasses, no stamped or painted characters. Feet on bottom resemble small metal thumbtacks (2 at the front have a sort of wood washer between tack and box bottom.) Box interior with light shellac(?)along front horizontal surfaces of dividers, but unfinished sides and bottoms. Each finger-jointed drawer has light shellac(?) on perpendicular surfaces, unfinished sides and bottom, with very thin bottom.
    > No racks.
    > Top 4 drawers are 0.69 in. (22/32+) high; bottom drawer is deeper, 0.96 in. (15/16+) with 3 dividers; bottom of this drawer is cracked and repaired. Top 4, good to very good condition. Bottom drawer: fair. Patterned brass pull on bottom drawer has been re-set and the center stabilized with flexible PVA filler.
    > 144 tiles – 36 each of bams, craks and circles; 4 flowers; 4 seasons, all w/Western indices. Good to excellent condition with few scratches on back, shuffle-worn to a matte finish on front. Craks are the older, simplified style. White dragon has no pattern, only “P” stamped in red in upper left.
    > Tiles are solid celluloid (pyralin) with faux ivory grain; almost uniform tanning to a caramel color; Machine-stamped (i.e., not hand engraved); red pigment has bloomed into the plastic. Measurements: 0.32 (5/16+) in. h x 0.87 (scant 7/8) w x 1.24 (scant 1-1/4) d.
    > 120 square-cut counting sticks – 15 w/1 red dot; 44 w/2 black (actually dark blue) dots; 12 w/5 red dots; 39 w/10 black/blue dots. One pair small celluloid dice. One very thin 0.965 in. (scant 31/32) dia. celluloid cylindrical ming (instruction book calls this the “Chwang tsz”), lid with stamped Chinese character containing 4 wind discs with Chinese characters and Roman indices.
    > Instruction book, musty + camphor smell, light foxing along left side of the cover, medium browning, center staple-stitched. Fair condition. Hugo Manovill, Standard Rules / for / “The Ancient Game of the Mandarins” / Trade Mark Registered / The Original Game of Old China / by / Hugo Manovill / Piroxloid Products Corp. / 200 Fifth Avenue, New York / Copyright 1923 by Piroxloid Products Corp.
    > Age: 1920s, based on instruction booklet and simplified craks.
    > Dave G

    Hi, Dave.
    What you have is a much-desired type of tile, in a crappy box. Your tiles are celluloid (what some people call "French ivory"), solid, all the way through. That type of tile is usually highly prized. The manual goes with the tiles (they are Piroxloid tiles), so you can date your tiles based on the manual's date. Even your scoring sticks are celluloid. But oh my gosh, that box, that box. It's weird that the drawers are a different type of wood than the box itself. But for all I know, that's the way it was originally (although it might be a Frankenstein). You wrote:

    What’s the value of my set…
    That's hard to say. I have seen solid celluloid sets go for up to $500. But we have to factor in that ugly box.

    did I overpay at $150 including shipping?
    No. The tiles alone are probably worth that.

    All in all, I'm guessing it's worth somewhere between $200 and $400. It's missing some scoring sticks (the counts are not divisible by 4). Maybe a reader will have more input.
    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 20, 2013


    Throwing the winning tile when it's obviously hot

    From: Betsy K
    Cc: Ann P; Leslie F; Pam K
    Sent: Friday, April 19, 2013 7:14 AM
    Subject: mah jongg question
    Thank you for this forum. My 5 player, twice a month mah jongg group plays for money that all goes into a kitty at the end of the night. We have a question we've been arguing about for months. Is it against the rules, or just poor strategy, to throw the winning mah jongg tile when it's obvious from the opponent's rack exposures what the needed tile is. We know that tournament rules deduct points against the player who throws a mah jongg tile, on a sliding scale based on the opponent's number of exposures. We don't play for points. Thanks. Betsy K

    Hello, Betsy.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19Y. 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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, 2013


    Michael Stanwick's new website!

    From: Michael Stanwick
    Sent: Friday, April 19, 2013 6:15 AM
    Subject: New Web Site
    Hello Tom. This is to inform your readers that my new website is now up and running. It is devoted to the Mah Jong tile set, its history and development, the patterns on the tiles and their meanings, the historical literature, 1920 books and current literature, tile sets of various types, collectors sets, Chinese playing cards, names of the game and the games link to Chinese playing cards.
    The address is;
    www.themahjongtileset.co.uk
    Regards
    Michael Stanwick

    Excellent, Michael. Your site is sure to be a valuable resource for anyone wanting to know the truth about mah-jongg's origins.
    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, 2013


    Please remove posting

    From: Linda S
    Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:31 PM
    Subject: remove from bulletin board
    Please remove the following from the bulletin board. event is over.
    From: martha kreisel
    Sent: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 9:04 PM
    Subject: Please consider for insertion - find players
    We are in Bellmore, NY, 11710, but event is being held in Baldwin, NY 11510. NMJL rules are followed.
    Monday Mah Jongg Meetup
    Hosted by One Bam Two Crak
    Every Monday, Beginning May 14, Noon-4pm at
    Ayhan’s Shish Kebab Restaurant
    550 Sunrise Highway, Baldwin, NY
    4 course lunch and lots of Mah Jongg
    Introductory price of $25/person (includes 3 raffle tickets for Mah Jongg merchandise)
    Come alone or with a group... Returning to the game? Not a problem.
    reservations are required
    Martha @ 516-448-3476 or Linda @ 516-581-7812
    onebamtwocrak?gmail.com

    Hi, Linda.
    I see what's happened. Your original post did not include the year as part of the date, and now that it's nearing May 2013, your May 2012 announcement is getting inquiries again. I saw that the Find Players/Teachers board was getting rather long (and had more than a year's worth of posts), so I archived the older posts (with a link to the archive), and added language requiring that event date announcements include the year. I'm always learning how to improve my free service, and I thank you for helping me make another improvement.
    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, 2013


    Why does the dealer take 1 and 3, part 2

    > From: Janet
    > Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2013 7:02 PM
    > Subject: Re: American Mah Jongg Question
    > So simple..........sometimes ya' just can't see the forest for the trees!
    > Thx.

    YW, Janet.
    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, 2013


    Why does the dealer take 1st and 3rd?

    > From: Janet F
    > Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2013 1:43 PM
    > Subject: American Mah Jongg Question
    > Is there some historical or other reason why East takes the 1st and 3rd tiles to make up the 14 tiles in her hand (as opposed to just taking the next 2 available tiles)?
    > Janet
    > Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
    > ……Ghandi

    Hi, Ghandi, I mean Janet,
    There's no "historical" reason. Think about it another way. After all 4 players have picked 12 tiles each, the dealer takes 1, then everybody else takes 1, then the dealer takes 1 more. If that's the way it happened (instead of the dealer taking "1 and 3"), guess which tiles she would take?

    She would take the top tile from the 1st stack, and the top tile from the 3rd stack. Those are the tiles she would take, if all players took just 1 tile and then the dealer took 1 more. So this practice of taking "one and three" all at once is nothing more than a way to save a second of time in the deal.

    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, 2013


    Column 561, continued

    > From: "lindaz...
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 1:55 PM
    > Subject: Re: #561
    > 3D could go with 3-6-9. I don't see what 8B goes with. Wait--is this a trick question or am I missing something? Thanks!

    > From: "linda...
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 3:34 PM
    > Subject: #561
    > Hi Tom,
    > I was thinking there were more options with 3-6-9. (Hand # 2, 4, 5, and 6 offer viable options). I only see one option in the Consec. Run--hand # 5.
    > Thanks, Linda

    Cool, thanks, Linda. Now I see what was behind your question. So you had some particular hands in mind already. I was just thinking families. Let's do the counts on those particular hands (which is very hard to do when you're playing)...
    369 #2 - 5 tiles plus joker (3D not needed)
    369 #4 - 5 tiles plus joker (3D is one option, 3C is another)
    369 #5 - 5 tiles plus joker (3D not needed)
    369 #6 - 6 tiles plus joker (3D not needed)
    Consec #5 - 6 tiles plus joker (8B is essential)
    So all in all, the 3D is more expendable than the 8B is.
    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, 2013


    Column 561

    > From: "linda
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 2:01 PM
    > Subject: #561
    > Hi Tom,
    > Please help me understand your pass on hand # 5 in #561 (2013 NMJL card). Why did you pass 3D instead of 8B?
    > Thank you for your helpful columns!
    > Linda

    Before i answer ...
    Why do you think 8b is a better choice?
    Sent from my iPhone, which hopefully explains weird typos and stuff...

    P.S. Perhaps I should explain: I was standing on a train platform as I replied to the above. I wasn't at my computer where I could easily go to the column, copy that hand from the column, crop the image, and post it here. But more importantly: most people, when they ask me to explain my thinking, they give me their own thinking and ask for commentary from that basis. Anyway, here's the hand under discussion:

      5. These are the same 4 players as #s 1-4 above. Player 1 has added the tiles passed by player 4, and so on. This player's tiles still don't point clearly to one hand (or even one family). What does not go with the pung of nines? Soap, 1D, and... it's painful, but... 3D.

    In all cases, when holding a pung of a number tile with nearby neighbors, you want to hang onto neighboring numbers in case it can be used for a Consecutive Runs hand of some sort -- unless you have a clear hand going on, and it's obvious that the neighboring number is expendable. At this point in the Charleston (the First Across), I do not have a specific hand in mind. I'm only thinking families. I don't like getting rid of the 3D at this point, but even more I don't like getting rid of an eight when I have a pung of nines. But I'm curious to hear Linda's thinking. So let's see what she comes back with...

    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, 2013


    The rules according to the booklets that came with our sets

    > From: mary w
    > Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2013 11:55 AM
    > Subject: Mah Jong Question
    > A newcomer to our group mentioned Mah Jong never ends in a wall game. Low and behold, we checked two of our Mah jong books that came with our sets, and it does say exactly that! With the remaining tiles, they are again mixed, lined up along a player's wall and play continues until there is a winner.
    > Is this correct?
    > Mary

    Hello, Mary.
    I don't know offhand of any variant that reshuffles the remaining tiles as you described. Do you know which mah-jongg variant you play? The term "wall game" is usually used by players of American mah-jongg (players who use the annual card from the National Mah Jongg League), so: do you play American mah-jongg? If so, you should throw away the booklets that came with your mah-jongg sets.
    If you play strictly according to those booklets (and you do not mix in rules from other mah-jongg variants), then: "yes, that's the correct rule." But generally speaking, the rulebooks that come in modern mah-jongg sets are often worthless. (There are exceptions.)
    If you don't play American mah-jongg and you don't know what variant you play, read Frequently Asked Question 2B. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    If you play American mah-jongg, your group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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, 2013


    The 2013 card and that mystery joker

    > From: Grace B
    > Sent: Friday, April 12, 2013 5:21 PM
    > Subject: 2013 Card
    > I have checked your website and do not see any questions for the 2013 card, so here goes.
    > 1. Our weekly Mah Jongg group has a question concerning the new card. Under the 2013 section, line #3: FFFF 2222 0000 13. Since there are no instructions following in (), that this requires the 2’s and 13 to be the same suite, but not necessarily dots? (Since the dots are representing 0’s they would not be considered white dragons in this case)
    > 2. Another issue that has been discussed concerns the picture which appears on the joker tiles on our sets. This is a circle, with what looks like debris inside it, and something trying to enter or escape from inside the circle. I believe that it looks like a cell allowing molecules to enter into it. Is there any correct explanation of this picture and if so, what is it supposed to represent?
    > Thank you for you attention to this matter.
    > Gracie B
    > Beacon Woods Thursday Night Mah Jongg.

    Hi, Grace. You asked:

    I have checked your website and do not see any questions for the 2013 card
    If you scroll down past Pat Jojana's question below, you'll see questions about the 2013 card. And you'll also see that Frequently Asked Question 16 (the FAQ that always discusses the current card) has been updated to cover the 2013 card. In case you've forgotten how to get to the FAQs: scroll up and look left. The FAQs are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). FAQ 16, like FAQ 19, is marked by a red-white-and-blue arrow, like this .

    FFFF 2222 0000 13. Since there are no instructions following in (), that this requires the 2’s and 13 to be the same suite, but not necessarily dots? (Since the dots are representing 0’s they would not be considered white dragons in this case)
    This is answered in FAQ 16.

    the picture which appears on the joker tiles on our sets. This is a circle, with what looks like debris inside it, and something trying to enter or escape from inside the circle. I believe that it looks like a cell allowing molecules to enter into it. Is there any correct explanation of this picture and if so, what is it supposed to represent?
    This is discussed in FAQ 7E (the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ). Please always check the FAQs 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 14, 2013


    Doesn't the word "any" override the word "like"?

    > From: "Jojana96
    > Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2013 2:49 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A winds and dragons
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Hi I am a new mah jongg player.
    > Last night on my 2012 card I thought I would try Winds and Dragons, no 2 down.
    > (NNNN 11 11 11 SSSS)
    > I had NNNN 33 55 77 SSSS in parenthesis it said (Pair any like odd no).
    > Was this a correct Mah Jongg. I was told the numbers all had to be One's like the example. Therefore the group said it was not Mah Jongg. I thought "any" meant any odd no.
    > Can you clarify.
    > Thanks,
    > Pat
    > Jojana96

    Hi, Pat.
    Your pairs can be "any" number and yet still be "alike." The terms don't cancel each other out; you have to make them compatible. The word "any" means you can use "any odd number." The word "like" means you must use "like odd numbers." You have to do both. You could make 11 11 11 or 33 33 33 or 55 55 55 ... "Any like odd number." Get the idea 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 11, 2013


    2013 dragons hand, part 3

    FAQ 16 has been updated for the 2013 card. All frequently-asked questions about the 2013 card are now answered. Click the FAQ 16 link, above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 11, 2013


    2013 dragons hand, redux

    > From: Tom & Dorothy O
    > Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2013 7:47 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > FFFF DDD 2013 DDD
    > Under 2013, please clarify the explanation in parentheticals
    > I am assuming the 2013 could be bams or craks and does not have to be dots, is that correct?

    Hello, Tom & Dorothy.
    Please see the answer I gave to Carole K on March 27 (below), and please also read Frequently Asked Question 19AE. 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
    April 11, 2013


    Need help ordering parts from Japan

    > From: Kris K.
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:56 AM
    > Subject: Parts from Japan
    > Hi Tom,
    > I talked to you before when I first bought my table in an attempt to restore it. Now that I finally have enough time and money to fix it, another problem arises. Ive been trying to contact Adjust2000 about their shipping options to north america because the site claims they do overseas shipping but have yet to reply to me after many attempts. I tried buying using a proxy service address, to which an automated reply would say "we do not send to proxy service addresses". I have friends in japan whom ive asked, but are reluctant to help me for some strange reason. I am writing this email in hopes that you can help me in some way, possibly introduce me to an acquaintance who is willing to let me use their address on my behalf. Of course, I will re compensate him/her for outbound shipping costs including gratuity if need be.
    > Thanks,
    > Chris.

    I'm sorry, Chris. I cannot help you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 10, 2013


    Are a dead player's jokers redeemable? (FAQ 19P)

    > From: deborah l
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 4:49 PM
    > Subject: Mah jongg question.
    > While playing Mah Jongg today one of the players declared Mah jongg but didn't have all the tiles needed. No one else threw in their tiles and the game continued. Question: Are the jokers used for the incorrect Mah jongg still in play? I will mention that the person was playing a concealed hand and nothing had been exposed until she incorrectly declared Mah jongg. Thanks in advance for your answer. Deborah L

    Welcome to my website, Deborah. 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 ). 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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, 2013


    They don't verbalize the call. Please comment.

    > From: Paula A
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 4:10 PM
    > Subject: Calling for a tile
    > One woman I play with says you don't have to say "Call" (or anything else) before picking up a discarded tile if it is your turn to draw. In another group several of the women never indicate they are calling at all. They simply pick up the discarded tile, expose the tiles and expect everyone to catch on. Please comment. Paula

    Hi, Paula. You wrote:

    One woman I play with says you don't have to say "Call" (or anything else) before picking up a discarded tile if it is your turn to draw.
    Upon a careful reading of the official rulebook, I do not see a written rule requiring that a claim for a discarded tile must be spoken aloud. That is the standard and customary practice, as I am sure you are already aware. If you want to get that rule in writing from the League, send the League a self-addressed stamped envelope (as they request on the card).

    In another group several of the women never indicate they are calling at all. They simply pick up the discarded tile, expose the tiles and expect everyone to catch on. Please comment.
    You should 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 ).

    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, 2013


    Some verbiage commentary, part 2

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Sunday, April 7, 2013 8:00 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Hello, again, Mr. Sloper,
    > I literally just fell into the FAQ called Chinese Mah-Jongg Simplified (I didn't know how to play it) so I can now see where the sentence came from that I commented on. But in American Mah Jongg we use the pushers to get our walls out into the middle and they come out in a clockwise fashion so I guess that's where I was coming from. I ‘get' the sentence in the book as it reads (now) but I'm thinkin' a beginner might not understand it very well......
    > Sorry,
    > Mary E

    Okay, Mary. BTW, I saw this follow-up email at the same time that I was posting my reply to your first email, below. Again, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and your sharing your ideas.
    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 7, 2013


    Some verbiage commentary, I mean some words about your wording

    > From: Mary E
    > Sent: Sunday, April 7, 2013 6:39 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Hello, Mr. Sloper. I have a couple of comments.........in finding your errata file for RD&WW I noticed this opening to the paragraph (below the link) and it doesn't sound like you:
    > If clicking don't work so good for you.............
    > I would like to offer a suggestion to your errata, if I may be so bold. On page 70, the first paragraph, it seems to me that it would be clearer to the reader if it read, after "counterclockwise", "the tiles of the wall are pushed out in a clockwise direction".
    > With admiration for your website and for your comprehensive book,
    > Mary E

    I noticed this opening to the paragraph (below the link) and it doesn't sound like you:
    > If clicking don't work so good for you.............
    Sometimes I like to sound "folksy," doncha know. Ain't it quaint when I does that?

    I would like to offer a suggestion to your errata, if I may be so bold. On page 70, the first paragraph, it seems to me that it would be clearer to the reader if it read, after "counterclockwise", "the tiles of the wall are pushed out in a clockwise direction".
    You're recommending that I change the words "removed from the wall" to "pushed out."

    What it says now: "Note that although players are taking turns counterclockwise, the tiles are removed from the wall in a clockwise direction."

    Your suggested wording: "Note that although players are taking turns counterclockwise, the tiles are pushed out in a clockwise direction."

    For one thing, I don't think that rises to the level of an "erratum." The errata file is to fix mistakes, not to make slight improvements. I have an Addenda file I keep for when the publisher might want to issue a 2nd edition. Secondly, in this paragraph I'm mainly talking about dealing -- not only the serving of walls, and not only the deal but rather the taking of tiles from the wall throughout the entire game. Thirdly, if you look down on the table from above it, does "pushing out clockwise" really clarify for every reader that this is what's being described?

    I think most people would think of that as "pushing IN" rather than "pushing out," and the pushing isn't exactly clockwise - it's pivoted at the left side (easier to describe when the description is accompanied by an image). Anyway, thanks for trying to help. I appreciate 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
    April 7, 2013


    Who gets the discard? (FAQ 19H)

    > From: philellen
    > Sent: Sunday, April 7, 2013 7:54 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > During a game last week I called for a discarded tile to complete a pung and exposed the pung. After that a player (who was next in line to play) spoke up saying she needed that discarded tile. She pretty much insisted she should get the discarded tile. We discussed the issue and it was agreed that she should have just kept quiet. I felt I had a right to keep the discarded tile primarily because I'd already exposed part of my hand and that would put me at a disadvantage for ever calling mah jongg for that game. Your thoughts please! Thank you!! Ellen

    Hello, Ellen. You wrote:

    I felt I had a right to keep the discarded tile primarily because I'd already exposed part of my hand
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19H. 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.

    and that would put me at a disadvantage for ever calling mah jongg for that game
    Not an issue. She's also at a disadvantage, so your potential disadvantage is negated by hers (and vice versa).

    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 7, 2013


    Exposure etiquette, part 2

    >From: "linda
    >Sent: Saturday, April 6, 2013 2:01 PM
    >Subject: Re: Q&A forum
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for the prompt reply! I wasn't sure if it was a question of etiquette, strategy, or table rules. Looks like it is all 3!
    >Linda


    Exposure etiquette

    > From: "linda
    > Sent: Saturday, April 6, 2013 8:39 AM
    > Subject: Q&A forum
    > Hi Tom,
    > I've learned a lot from your site (Thank you!) but have not seen my question addressed.
    > During play, my MJ group displays tiles for exposure with spaces between the pungs, kongs, etc, just as shown on the NMJL card. I play with a group in another state that places tiles next to each other without spaces between. I assume that is to prevent other players from readily identifying the hand. Now that I'm teaching beginners, I'm instructing players that etiquette requires the spacing--but there is no need to place the tile groupings in the proper order. I'd appreciate your opinion.
    > Also, is it proper for me to request another player to separate her tiles during play?
    > Thank you, Linda

    Hi, Linda. You wrote:

    I'm instructing players that etiquette requires the spacing
    As I wrote in Frequently Asked Question 19AX. (Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow, emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this .)

    but there is no need to place the tile groupings in the proper order.
    Right. FAQ 19Z.

    I play with a group in another state that places tiles next to each other without spaces between. I assume that is to prevent other players from readily identifying the hand.
    You could ask them if that's the reason. But really, if they like it that way, you have to go along when you play their game. See FAQ 9. I mean, FAQ 14.

    is it proper for me to request another player to separate her tiles during play?
    That's a tricky one. Is it proper to ask a stranger to close his mouth while chewing his food? Is it proper to ask a new coworker to cough into her elbow? I would have to say that it's usually going to be awkward or counterproductive to inform someone that she's engaging in poor etiquette.

    But it depends on the situation. If I'm playing with a group and I see that a practice (like not spacing exposures) is being used by all the players, I might ask (politely) if there was a strategic reason for the practice. But if I'm in a new group (new to me, anyway) and I see that a practice is being used by only one player, well, I'm the new person and it's not my place to say anything. If I'm in a tournament and I see someone not spacing her exposures, I might think "hmm, she's doing that to throw us off." But I can read her rack just fine without the space, and I now know that that player is very competitive and needs to use tricks to gain an advantage.

    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 6, 2013


    Do sets of the same color have to be the same suit, part 2

    > From: "kristine
    > Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 12:44 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > thanks!

    You're welcome.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 4, 2013


    Do sets of the same color have to be the same suit?

    > From: "kristine
    > Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2013 11:34 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: Consecutive Run - 4th hand. Do the first and last Kongs have to be in the same suit? Thank you.

    1111 22 22 22 3333

    Yes, Kristine. They're the same color, so they have to be the same suit. That is how the NMJL's color-coding works.
    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, 2013


    Is the game over, part 3

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2013 3:08 AM
    > Subject: Re: Should the game continue?
    > More information.
    > We have the book "Mah Jongg Made Easy" from the NMJL. That is the book she was reading from and said that "expose" and "reveal" is the same thing.
    > Your answer that only the miscalled MJ player pays - Wouldn't everyone pay double as Player B drew the next tile and called a proper MJ, then the discussion ensued as to whether Player D was dead and the game should or should not continue?
    > Bee

    Hello, Bee. You wrote:

    We have the book "Mah Jongg Made Easy" from the NMJL.
    That's the official rulebook.

    That is the book she was reading from and said that "expose" and "reveal" is the same thing.
    First off, I still don't know which page and which sentence she might be using to defend this assertion, and I can't effectively argue this "expose/reveal" point without the exact citation. Secondly, she's clearly playing with semantics. If in the middle of a game she said, "come on, somebody throw a flower so I can win," it was her decision to reveal that information. She cannot then turn around and claim, "since everybody knows that I need a flower now, I'm dead because I 'revealed' my hand. Where is that plate of yummy cupcakes?" A player is not allowed to call herself dead. Besides, if she revealed what tile she needed for mah-jongg, no other player could call her dead for that. "You 'revealed' your hand, so you're dead." Again I say, "preposterous." As you said, people will claim anything that is advantageous to themselves, regardless of the rules.

    Your answer that only the miscalled MJ player pays
    But that was in answer to your follow-up email (part 2 of this discussion), in which you asked the hypothetical question: "Without a MJ, and if everyone agreed Players D was dead (even though she was not) they would all pay 25 cents to the remaining player. Is that right?" In other words, three players clusterflubbed, leaving just one sole survivor. You asked how much the survivor would get in that situation, and I gave you the answer to that question. You can't hold me to the answer I gave to a hypothetical question as if it was my answer to your real situation. The answer to your real situation is on page 16 of the official rulebook: rule 4a. The answer to your follow-up hypothetical situation is rule 4b. Different situations, different outcomes.

    Wouldn't everyone pay double as Player B drew the next tile and called a proper MJ
    Of course. Dead players still pay.

    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, 2013


    What if I pick a joker replacement that gives me mah-jongg?

    > From: Deena F
    > Cc: "Matty, R; Susan F
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 7:28 PM
    > Subject: Question
    > Hello Tom!
    > This came up twice recently and we were wondering what your take on it is.
    > We know that picking your own tile for MJ gets you double the money from each player. Our question is this: If I pick a tile that is NOT my winning tile but is a replacement for a joker on someone else's rack and that joker immediately gives me Mah Jongg, did I actually PICK the winning MJ tile (thus getting double money)??
    > Thanks in advance!
    > Deena Feldherr

    >From: Deena F
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 7:36 PM
    >Subject: OOOOOPS!
    >Sorry to bother you!
    >I got mixed up in your site..... I found the answer:
    >Q: Who pays double when I win? Does somebody always pay double?
    >A: Yes, somebody always pays double. There are only two ways you can win: by discard or by self-pick. If you take a discard to win, the discarder always pays double. If you pick it yourself, everybody always pays double. If you win by redeeming a joker, you picked it yourself (everybody pays you double) - nobody "gave" you the joker (nobody discarded it - you TOOK it, with a tile you picked yourself).
    > /For further reading:/
    > RDWW - p. 55 (rules 72,
    > 73), p. 58 (rule 88), pp. 93-94
    > NMJL -
    > back of card, and January bulletins of 2006, 2007, 2009.
    > *Unsure*which tile is "the" tile that gave her mah-jongg? ReadFAQ
    > 19BO , below.
    >THANKS!!!!!!
    >Deena

    Cool, Deena. I'm glad you found your own answer.
    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, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question: do you have to have a natural?

    > From: winifred
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 5:15 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > is it right for a player to use all jokers for a group of tiles ie 3 flowers, 3 nines etc.?? Thank you. Couldn't seem to find an answer.

    Hi, Winifred.
    Welcome to my website. 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 ). 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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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, 2013


    Is the game over, part 2

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 2:01 PM
    > Subject: Re: Should the game continue?
    >Tom, thank you for your response on your site. You may have guessed that I was player B. Your suggestion that we buy a rule book is a good one; however, Player D and I both have a rulebook and she read from it and still claims that her hand was dead because she announced what she needed and that is the same as exposing her hand and therefore felt the game should not continue with no payment to anyone. I believe the rules clearly state that with my MJ-self drawn, everyone should have paid double. Without a MJ, and if everyone agreed Players D was dead (even though she was not) they would all pay 25 cents to the remaining player. Is that right?
    > So sometimes we play with people who will do anything that is advantageous to themselves regardless of the rules!!!! Frustrating, but I love this game and live in a rural area so players are few. What is also frustrating is that during the discussion, she told me that in a friendly game, we would just throw in the hand and start over.
    > Thanks again for your assistance.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee. You wrote:

    You may have guessed that I was player B.
    I didn't think about which one you were.

    Player D and I both have a rulebook and she read from it
    What's the book's title? What page, what paragraph, what sentence is she citing? (I don't really need any of that information - I'm just saying it's impossible to argue with her reading if she doesn't cite it to me.)

    and still claims that her hand was dead because she announced what she needed and that is the same as exposing her hand
    A player isn't dead unless another player calls her dead. The League says a player is not permitted to call herself dead.

    Without a MJ, and if everyone agreed Players D was dead (even though she was not) they would all pay 25 cents to the remaining player. Is that right?
    No. The clusterflub rule says that the player who initiated the cascading error has to pay the winner double the value of her own hand. See my book, page 62, rule 98d. I don't have the official rulebook here to refer to, and I don't know what book you have.

    sometimes we play with people who will do anything that is advantageous to themselves regardless of the rules!!!! ... she told me that in a friendly game, we would just throw in the hand and start over.
    The friendliest game is one in which the rules are clearly understood, and all exceptions to the rules are agreed to by all before an "event" occurs.

    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, 2013


    Is the game over after these three flubs?

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 9:43 PM
    > Subject: Should the game continue?
    >Player A calls MJ and exposes all her tiles on the top of the rack.
    > Player C throws in her hand
    > Player D says "I only needed a flower to make MJ" but does not expose or discards any tiles.
    > Player B calls the MJ dead as Player A had exposed tiles a few rounds prior to calling MJ and the hand was a concealed hand.
    >After the miscalled MJ does the game continue with the two players who did not throw in their tiles, that is Player B and Player D?
    >Player B believes that the game continues and draws a tile and calls MJ. Player C believes the game ended because she threw in her tiles. Player D believes her hand was exposed because she had announced what she needs for MJ and therefore the game would not continue.
    >What I understand from the NMJL rules, Player A is dead for calling and racking her tiles incorrectly, when Player C threw in her tiles, her hand became dead.
    > But since player D did not expose or throw in any tiles, her hand is still active and since there are two players that are still active, the game continues after the miscalled MJ. As Player B picked her own tile for MJ, everyone pays her double.
    >Player C believes the game ended because she threw in her tiles. Player D claims that announcing the tile she needed in effect exposed her hand therefore her hand is dead, and says the game is over. She further claims that "expose" and "reveal" mean the same thing in the dictionary and that since she revealed what she needed for MJ by announcing it, her hand is dead. Player B contends that Player D announcing what she needs for MJ does not expose her hand and does not make her hand dead, therefore play should continue after the miscalled MJ.
    >What do you think?
    >Bee

    Hello, Bee. You wrote:

    Player A calls MJ and exposes all her tiles on the top of the rack.
    > Player C throws in her hand
    > Player D says "I only needed a flower to make MJ" but does not expose or discards any tiles.
    > Player B calls the MJ dead as Player A had exposed tiles a few rounds prior to calling MJ and the hand was a concealed hand.
    >After the miscalled MJ does the game continue with the two players who did not throw in their tiles, that is Player B and Player D?
    Yes. This is clearly spelled out in the official NMJL rulebook. I don't have the rulebook with me, so I can't cite the page at the moment. It's also spelled out in my book: rules 98b and 98c on page 62.

    Player C believes the game ended because she threw in her tiles.
    Poor baby! She can't make up rules to suit her whim. The moment of someone winning is a highly emotionally charged moment, and people can say or do unexpected things. But there are rules, and the rules are in writing.

    Player D claims that announcing the tile she needed in effect exposed her hand therefore her hand is dead, and says the game is over.
    She goofed by saying what she needed. She should not have done that. Her goofing does not impose a "game over" for everybody. Every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or my book, of course). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.

    She further claims that "expose" and "reveal" mean the same thing in the dictionary and that since she revealed what she needed for MJ by announcing it, her hand is dead.
    Preposterous. The game continues with the two live players. Buy a rulebook. The aggravation saved is easily worth the small amount of money.

    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, 2013


    Does she have to pay for everyone? (FAQ 19Y)

    From: Nanasandy
    Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 2:29 PM
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    One of the ladies had three sets of tiles exposed and it was obvious what tile she needed to Maj. Someone throw her a flower to win does she have to pay for the whole table. It was in the second set of tiles not in the hot wall. Thank you very much
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Hello, Nanasandy.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19Y.
    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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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 2, 2013


    When 2 players are dead in a 3-player game

    From: Shirley D
    Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 10:50 AM
    Subject: 3 players- 2 dead
    Thank you for this forum. I have your book "Red Dragon and the West Wind". I did not find this answer. Yesterday we were playing mah jongg and there were three at the table. Two players eventually were declared dead. What happens to the third player in that game? The new card threw some for a loop. They decided to just let her pick the rest of the tiles. She gets cranky and it seemed the best route. She still did not mah jongg. Maybe it's karma.
    Thanks,
    Shirley

    Hi, Shirley.
    That's so cool that you have my book. The rules assume you have 4 players, and although there are 3-player rules, the 3-player rules are not so detailed. So you have to figure out how to interpret the 4-player rules, when something like this happens. The question here is should you use the "2 players are dead" rule, or the "3 players are dead" rule, right? Well, think of it from the other way -- instead of how many are dead, how many are still alive. Therefore, the rule that applies here is the "only 1 player is left alive" rule. But it also matters how the players went dead. See the section in my book entitled "Errors & Penalties," starting on page 59. You probably want rule 98d on page 62, but I'm not sure, since you didn't say how the players went dead.
    The "the crankiest player should always get her way" rule is not an official rule, and should not be treated as a rule. It's just silly for one surviving player to continue picking and discarding all by herself. That never happens, no matter how cranky a player may be.
    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 2, 2013


    2013 #3 - does a blue "2013" have to be all-dots?

    > From: "marlene501
    > Sent: Monday, April 1, 2013 5:17 PM
    > Subject: 2013 card question
    > Hi Tom,
    > I didnt see this question asked on your website so here goes.
    > My group was playing yesterday and got into a disagreement about the hand in the 2013 section, 3rd one down. Half of us took it to mean 4 soaps and the 2's and 1,3 tile can be any suit but must match. The other half thought it had to be 4 soaps and 2's and 1,3 must be all dots. There is no parenthesis to help us out. What do you think?
    > Marlee A

    Hi, Marlee. You wrote about the hand:

    FFFF 2222 0000 13

    Half of us took it to mean 4 soaps and the 2's and 1,3 tile can be any suit but must match.
    Those two players understand the meaning of the text at the upper right hand of the card:

    WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO '0'. IT MAY BE USED WITH ANY SUIT. (CRAKS, BAMS OR DOTS)

    The other half thought it had to be 4 soaps and 2's and 1,3 must be all dots.
    So by that logic, then, the 2013 in the first hand must be an all-dots hand, too.

    N EE WWW SSSS 2013

    And that's just wrong. Those two players should read Frequently Asked Question 19AE.
    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. Print out this reply and that FAQ for those two players.

    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 1st, 2013

    P.S. An all-blue hand just means a one-suit hand. See the back of the card ("1 color=any 1 suit").


    Are they practicing bad strategy?

    > From: Jennie C
    > Sent: Saturday, March 30, 2013 4:24 PM
    > Subject: Question about Charleston Stragegy
    > I'm a fairly new player and we have a player in our group who will stop the first Charleston, then want to pass 3 tiles on the ensuing Courtesy. This makes no sense to me. If you have 3 tiles to pass why not continue with the Charleston? You get additional information on what the other players are discarding; you have the possibility of drawing another tile or a better tile (for example picking up a tile you need for a pair). In the latest case, the player was working on one hand and had only the 3 unwanted tiles.The player says if she receives a tile she needs then she'll have to throw out something on the Across move. So what? If your hand is so good, then just keep your original tiles and pass the tiles you receive. You may see one of those good tiles you passed when you do the courtesy - it may come back to you. Am I missing something here or is this person practicing bad strategy?
    > Another player can't decide between two hands so does the same thing - stops the Charleston then asks for 3 tiles in the Courtesy, saying she doesn't want to give up anything if she gets a tile. Is this the correct way to play?
    > By the way, I purchased your book not too long ago, and find it very helpful. Thanks!
    > Jennie C

    Hi, Jennie. You wrote:

    we have a player in our group who will stop the first Charleston, then want to pass 3 tiles on the ensuing Courtesy. This makes no sense to me. If you have 3 tiles to pass why not continue with the Charleston?
    I can think of several reasons why someone might stop the Charleston:
    She has only three tiles she can pass, and she doesn't want to find herself in an impossible situation on the second across;
    She wants to mess with your heads;
    Stopping the Charleston puts the rest of you at a disadvantage;
    She knows all too well that in the second Charleston, she's going to kvetch yet again, "same old garbage going around."

    In the latest case, the player was working on one hand and had only the 3 unwanted tiles.The player says if she receives a tile she needs then she'll have to throw out something on the Across move.
    There, you see?

    you have the possibility of drawing another tile or a better tile
    A very slim chance. I have had that happen, but the rarity of that happening on the second Charleston is extreme.

    Another player can't decide between two hands so does the same thing - stops the Charleston then asks for 3 tiles in the Courtesy, saying she doesn't want to give up anything if she gets a tile. Is this the correct way to play?
    The rules permit her to do that. Strategy is not something you can call someone out on. Go with whatever strategy you prefer; if you dislike the strategy your opponents use, you can always leave that group and join another. But criticizing someone's strategy is bad karma and bad etiquette.

    I'm glad you bought my book. Hope you find it helpful! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 30, 2013


    Set age, part 2

    > From: B&D N
    > Sent: Saturday, March 30, 2013 4:07 PM
    > Subject: Re: MJ set age?
    > Thanks for your help.
    > This was just passed over to me from my brother who has lived in Maryland since the 1960s. no one in his family has any idea where it came from and they do not play MJ.
    > I live in Vermont and learned what is called a modified Chinese style from a Chinese lady - I only need 4 flowers - I plan to sticker 4 of the blank tiles for the 4 jokers I need.
    > I played American MJ for a while and really hate it compared to what I play now.
    > Thanks again for all your work on this site.
    > Dot

    You're welcome, Dot.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 30, 2013


    Set age

    > From: B&D N
    > Sent: Saturday, March 30, 2013 8:14 AM
    > Subject: MJ set age?
    > Set has: 148 tiles
    > 76 black sticks
    > 44 red sticks
    > 4 dice in tiny box - instead of a 1 it is a blank dimple and the 4s have red dots
    > 1 wind disk - E on one side and S on the other
    > 4 racks
    > Tiles: - bone/bamboo - 3.1 cm long, 2.1 cm wide, 1.4 cm deep - bone is dovetailed and .8 cm deep
    > Box is plain with 5 drawers - lowest drawer a bit deeper than others
    > It is damaged, but clearly made for a front up/down sliding panel.
    > The top is dovetailed to the sides.
    > Racks have scoring system applied to bottom - 1 red rack and 3 black racks
    > Set has 8/F and 0/J
    > See photos attached.
    > Thanks for your help on this - I was going to say this was a 1920's era - but the character design seems to say later.

    Hi, B&D,
    Thanks for the donation!
    I can see why you might be unsure of its being from the 1920s -- some bits of the set seem out of step. But I don't think they are. I wonder, though, if perhaps the set has been cobbled together. The tiles are high-quality, with extra-detailed carving and extra-thick bone (possibly even ivory, hard to tell). But the box is low-quality, having no brass corners and an unornamental handle. The sticks appear to be machine-made rather than just bone slivers, so I wonder if the sticks and the wind indicator might be from the 1930s. This low-quality box might not be 1920s. Overall, though, the set appears to be a 1920s set (perhaps late twenties, early thirties).
    By the way, you should not store half of your flower tiles in the bottom drawer. They belong in the 4th tray along with the other half of your flower tiles (the tiles you put in the bottom drawer should be the four extra blanks).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 30, 2013


    One frequently asked question... and one question I didn't understand

    > From: Amy P
    > Cc: Hansi B; Gay R; Susan F; Susan S; Barbara M
    > Sent: Friday, March 29, 2013 8:42 AM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg questions
    > Hello Tom,
    > Our group played with the new card yesterday and a couple of issues came up. I hope you can settle this "disagreement".
    > 1) A player had one exposure, it was the beginning of the game and the tile was called and placed on the exposed rack. Another player said, "I'm going you
    > to challenge you, there is no hand like that, you are dead". She was incorrect. (new card).
    > What happens next?
    > 2) During the Charleston, another player exposed her tiles to a second player. She racked too quickly and it was the wrong way. The same player picked up another three tiles and asked the player who gave them to her, "are these the three", this happened twice. So two players saw the tiles - 6 in all. The other two players felt the game should be thrown in. Two players did not want to throw it in. What should have happened?
    > We would appreciate your input greatly. Please replay to all, as I included all the players in our game.
    > Thank you!!
    > Amy P
    > Please reply to ALL as I copied all the players.
    > Thank you!!
    > Amy

    Hi, Amy.
    The "she called me dead but I'm not" question is Frequently Asked Question #19AB. 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!
    I don't understand your #2. Please try again to explain what happened -- people saw tiles that didn't belong to them, or something. (Specifically, I didn't understand "player exposed her tiles to a second player. She racked too quickly and it was the wrong way").
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2013


    Why doesn't the new card come in January?

    > From: "behrmanwax
    > Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 9:55 AM
    > Subject: new cards
    > since the current year's numbers are on several hands, why do the new cards come around beginning of april instead of in january? Jeanne

    I have no idea, Jeanne. You would have to ask the League. Their contact information is printed right on the card.
    (Guess I should add this to FAQ 19.)
    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.
    San Francisco, California, USA
    March 28, 2013


    Valuation

    >From: Rick S
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 4:09 PM
    >Subject: Valuation
    >Dear Sir, I am wondering if you can help. I am looking for a place to sell my Mah-jong set and also for a valuation and wonder if you offer a valuation and also direction of where I might be best placed to sell it? I have attached the valuation checklist as you stated on your website. How much does this service cost? Any help you can offer would be most sincerely appreciated as I am not sure about these as they seem to vary massively. Kindest regards
    >Rick S
    > Valuation
    >View photos Download all
    >You are invited to view Rick's album. This album has 11 files.

    >checklist.docx
    >Mah-Jongg Valuation Checklist
    >1. Factual detailed list 144 tiles cow bone & bamboo, 1x wooden box (rectangular with sliding front, with brass doodads all complete albeit some slightly bent), 4x sets of sticks for N, S, E & W (not original – plastic black. See photos). No wind disks. No rotatable wind disk. No cube in holder. No dice. 1x instruction manual – again I don't believe it to be original but purchased with the sticks.
    >Tiles are:
    >a. Full set of dots
    >b. Full set of cracks
    >c. Full set of winds
    >d. Set of 8x Dragons
    >e. Full set of flowers
    >f. 4x blank others
    >2. Condition of the case is very good (a couple of bent metal corners that need straightening). It has 4 drawers (unsure if the 5th space is for another missing drawer) The tiles are mint with no damage / are as new.
    >3. The tiles are made from cow bone and bamboo. They measure 11mm x 21mm x 30mm. Bone portion is 5.5mm deep.
    >4. I inherited the set from a friend of my grandfathers who has sadly passed on. I believe this to be an earlier set (1920's) but with the 5th drawer missing (which I assume contains the original sticks, dice etc).
    >5. Tiles consist of:
    >a. 4x 1-9 Dots
    >b. 4x 1-9 Craks
    >c. 4x 1-9 bams
    >d. 4x N, S, E and W Winds
    >e. 8x Dragons
    >f. 4x blanks (other)
    >g. 8x Flowers

    Dear Sir, you asked:

    wonder if you offer a valuation and also ... How much does this service cost?
    There is no charge for a public valuation like this. If you'd wanted a private valuation, it would have been difficult with you being overseas.

    I am looking for a place to sell my Mah-jong set and ... direction of where I might be best placed to sell it?
    eBay is the best place, in my opinion. You should read FAQ 7N for selling tips.

    I am looking for ... a valuation
    The set is missing a lot of parts. The tile set is complete enough (your white dragons are present, but those sets usually came with four extra blanks, so without those this set has no room for losing a tile). You say the tiles' condition is "mint," but I don't know about that from your photos. I see heavy Haversian system streaks, which some might find charming, but makes the tiles look less like ivory than would tiles with minimal or no Haversian streaking. The Chad Valley manual came with the set. I have no idea what you are referring to when you say "4x sets of sticks for N, S, E & W" - and didn't see anything like that in the photos.

    To sum it up. Missing a lot of parts, ugly (to me) Haversian streaks... Be advised, these 1920s sets tend to go for more in the UK than they do here in the US... but I'm going to give you the US valuation. I can't tell you how much more you might get for it over there. But here in the US, you probably wouldn't get more than about $60 for it, with all those parts missing. The set needs serious rescue work (a lot of parts need to be purchased and added to it, not the least of which is the bottom drawer).

    Any help you can offer would be most sincerely appreciated
    I'm not very good with "any help" questions (see FAQ 7P). I basically answered only those specific questions that you asked.

    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.
    San Francisco, California, USA
    March 27, 2013


    2013 dragons hand

    >From: Carole K
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 8:55 AM
    >Subject: Mah Question
    >Hi Tom
    > Could you please clarify on the 2013 card the first concealed hand of: FFFF DDD2013DDD(Any 2 Dragons, 2 or 3 suits)
    >We understand the 3 suits but 2 seems to be questionable.
    > Thank you,
    > Florida Girls

    Hi Carole,
    I have not yet seen the 2013 card. But I can easily imagine this hand in 2 suits, and I don't know why you're having trouble. Here are a couple ways:

    Clear now? 2 suits isn't hard.
    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.
    San Francisco, California, USA
    March 27, 2013


    What's the official start date for using the new NMJL card?

    >From: Charlotte B
    >Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 5:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Is there an official start date for using the 2013 card?

    Yes: "when every player at the table has the new card." You can't start using it before that (right?). And why would anybody want to wait after that date? After all the kvetching about the old card, once everyone has the new card, nobody needs to sit around waiting until a starting bell rings, or a fat lady sings, or a bugle sounds "charge"!
    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.
    San Francisco, California, USA
    March 25, 2013


    She had a change of heart - can she change her mind like that?

    >From: irene z
    >Sent: Monday, March 25, 2013 1:04 PM
    >Subject: quick question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Player 1 calls a 3 Bam and she places 2 - 3 Bams on her rack & then decides she doesn't want the one she called (she hasn't picked it up yet). Is she dead or can she change her mind?
    >Thanks,
    > Irene

    Quick answer. FAQ 19AM. Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question. Please please please. Pretty please.
    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.
    San Francisco, California, USA
    March 25, 2013


    Please remove our Find Players posting

    > From: Elisa B
    > Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2013 6:38 AM
    > Subject: Please remove this ad. we found players. thank you
    > Tom - please remove this ad as we found players. thank you.
    >
    >> From: Elisa Block
    >> Sent: Saturday, February 9, 2013 4:34 PM
    >> Subject: Find Players/Teachers...
    > Tom, I am so sorry but my friends asked that I revise our ad. Thank you, Liz
    >Revised Posting... [snip]

    It was a bit unusual to request the post's revision, and it's also unusual to request its removal. I guess you were getting bombarded by responses! I'm glad you formed a group; may you play together happily for many years. And...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 24, 2013


    Japanese majan parlors, part 4

    > From: B Lin
    > Sent: Saturday, March 23, 2013 1:25 PM
    > Subject: Regarding Tokyo Kaikan
    > Hey Tom, is it possible for you to provide the telephone number of Tokyo Kaikan? the one i got from yellow pages say its no longer in service.

    b lin, like I said an hour ago, I sincerely doubt that the four-year-old number that I have is any better than the number you found in the latest up-to-date phone book. But I'm getting tired of this, so here: (310) 212-6119. If that number doesn't work, don't complain to me! I can't help you any further. I have never heard from Komai-san or Oku-san in the past four years, and for all I know, the parlor has been closed.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2013

    P.S. Four years ago, the owners were contemplating a name change. It might be necessary to go to the address and see what's going on. 1648-G Carson St., Torrance, CA 90501


    Japanese majan parlors, part 3

    >From: br4lin
    >Sent: Saturday, March 23, 2013 12:53 PM
    >Subject: Re: Regarding Tokyo Kaikan
    >do you have their numbers?

    br4lin, like I said to Ryan last week (please scroll down and read it), "Go to Mitsuwa or any Japanese grocery/supermarket, and look for the Telephone Guide (or just go to http://www.telephoneguide.com/). They were listed in the yellow pages under Mahjong last time I looked. Tokyo Kaikan was by reservation only, last time I spoke to the owners." If you saw my article at http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/tkaikan2.htm, you know that the last time I was there was 2009. Since my friend Ricky moved away, I have been out of touch with the local Japanese parlor scene. Surely the numbers in the latest phone book are more up-to-date than mine. If you get up-to-date phone books or look on the telephoneguide website and the numbers are disconnected, I can't help you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2013


    Any Japanese majan parlors, part 2

    > From: B Lin
    > Sent: Saturday, March 23, 2013 10:35 AM
    > Subject: Regarding Tokyo Kaikan
    > Hello Tom:
    > I saw your posts about tokyo kaikan and ryozanpaku, I live in California and I would like to play there. However, whenever I call the number from the yellow pages the operator always tells me that they are no longer in service? Do you know if they recently closed down or can you please kindly provide me their new numbers? (Do you also know other Jansou in southern California?)
    > thanks alot!
    > Best Regard
    > Lin

    Lin,
    As I told Ryan last week (below), those are the only two I'm aware of.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question 19AJ: What if there's no parenthetical?

    > From: Kathleen K
    > Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 8:14 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the 2012 NMJL card, under "consecutive run".....on the top line it shows 2 consecutive run examples.
    > My question: Do I have to use the same numbers listed on the card, or can I any consecutive numbers?
    > Thank you,
    > kel91540

    Hello, Kathleen.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AJ.
    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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 22, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question 19E (3)

    From: Lisa H
    Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 2:51 PM
    Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    On the WInds-Dragons I was going for the FF DDDD NEWS DDDD. I called for a South tile to make NEWS and Mah Jongg, but was told I could not call for any of the NEWS tiles. I thought for Mah Jongg I could call for a wind. Please clarify.
    Thank you.
    L H

    Hi Lisa,
    The ruling that went against you might have occurred because of the way you called the tile. In your email to me, you said:

    I called for a South tile to make NEWS and Mah Jongg
    If you said "call" and tried to expose the NEWS first, that could cause folks to question the play. But if you said "mahj" and exposed the entire hand, then bingo (to use an expression), you win. Read Frequently Asked Question 19E (3).
    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!
    You're welcome to print FAQ 19E to show your group. And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 18, 2013


    You can remove my Set Wanted post

    >From: Gatinho
    >Sent: Sunday, March 17, 2013 4:55 PM
    >Subject: Set Wanted
    >I got the set I wanted on ebay!
    >You can delete the request.
    >Thank you for posting it.
    >here's my request as posted currently:
    >From: Gatinho
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 7:58 PM
    >Subject: Set Wanted
    >Set Wanted: actual "Hello Kitty Funbox" (has cats and bears instead of usual mahjong suits and words)

    That's great, Gatinho. Glad you found the set you were seeking.
    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
    St. Patrick's Day, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question 19P

    > From: lift ticket address change
    > Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2013 1:28 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Can you take a joker from a hand that has been declared dead?

    It depends, Mr. or Ms. Address Change. Was that joker exposed properly, before the player's hand went dead? Please read 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
    March 16, 2013


    How to darken or lighten, part 2

    >From: Steven C
    >Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:00 PM
    >Subject: Re: Question RE Mahjong Tile Cleaning
    >Hi Tom,
    >I thought about this for a bit and came up with some possibilities that might help my current situation.
    >Would you recommend placing the tiles, facing up, on an adjustable heated surface of some sort (something like a pan, on low temperature)? I figured adding heat to the backings might help the paint dissolve and readjust itself, but it's obviously not something that guarantees the integrity of the tiles. Another idea I have is to completely recoat the backings entirely with (spray?) paint and possibly some polish afterwards to make it look like the original.
    >Do you think any of these ideas will work?
    >Thanks!

    Steven,
    I assume you looked in FAQ seven oh and didn't find any tips there. Personally, I would be extremely hesitant to do anything to try to alter a tile. Also, I doubt that there actually is paint on the backs of your tiles. I don't think I've ever seen tiles with paint on the back.
    I have no idea if any of your ideas will work. I certainly wouldn't bake or fry them.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2013


    How to darken or lighten tiles?

    > From: Steven C
    > Sent: Friday, March 15, 2013 7:05 PM
    > Subject: Question RE Mahjong Tile Cleaning
    > Hi Sloperama,
    > I found your website a few days ago in search of a remedy to a problem that I am currently having with my new Mahjong set, but I couldn't find the answer that specifically helps my case, so I figured I'd give it a shot by e-mailing my problem to you.
    > Recently, I purchased a new modern Japanese style Mahjong set online, and just a few days ago my order came in. Everything was wrapped up in plastic and packaged together, so I know for sure this was an unused and untouched set. (The tiles look exactly like these ones: http://www.tripleclicks.com/image_output.php?id=59139&s=2) However upon closer inspection, there was one apparent, although not very obvious, issue with the visual appearance of the tiles.
    > About a half of the tiles have uneven colour variations on the back. What I mean by this is that, some tiles have "darker" orange spots/dashes on the back, while the other ones don't. My question is... is there a way to "clean" or "remove" these spots without damaging the tiles or the colouring? Or is there possibility that the colour will wear out after some time of use?
    > From what I can tell, the tiles are either made out of bone or plastic, if that helps.
    > Either way, if you have any idea or any tips on how I can resolve this, I would really appreciate it.
    > Thanks in advance!
    > Regards,
    > Steve

    Hi Stevarama,
    The tile backs are either plastic or bamboo. If the backs are roundish, with porosity visible on the cut ends, then they're bamboo, not plastic. If the backs are flattish, then they're plastic.
    I doubt your tiles are "dirty" - most likely those color variations you see are within the plastic. So you are asking how to either lighten or darken them. I don't have a handy answer for you. If I have an answer for this, it would be in FAQ seven oh. Click the FAQ seven oh link above left. If you try something, it would be great if you would come back and tell everybody what you tried and how it worked out. 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
    The Ides of March, 2013


    Thanks - found a player

    > From: Kathy B
    > Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 8:41 PM
    > Subject: Thanks
    > Have just successfully made contact with a new player for our group through your blog. She is delightful and a good fit for our little friendly game. Thanks for giving us the venue to find each other.

    I'm delighted to hear it, Kathy!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 13, 2013


    Which one gets the discard?

    > From: "lbert
    > Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 11:19 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question is:
    >Player 1 claims a discard and partially exposes (2 tiles) when player 2 (who was next in turn) claims the same tile.
    >Player 1 claimed a few seconds before player 2Énot simultaneously
    >We know the next in turn has priority, but wondered if that rule holds since player 1 already exposed tiles.
    >Thank you,
    >Laurie

    This might be one of those awkward cases in which majority reasonableness has to rule, Laurie. Technically, the player who exposes has claimed the discard. But if someone speaks and then exposes unreasonably quickly, with a clear intent to shut out the next-in-line, then the next in line should get the discard. In this case, you say there was an interval of "a few seconds" between the two claims. Although as I often say, "it's not a race," there is such a thing as "too slow." Based on how you described it, it sounds to me like player 2 was too slow -- but I wasn't there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 13, 2013


    Find Players post / any Japanese majan parlors still open?

    > From: Ryan G
    > Sent: Monday, March 11, 2013 11:21 AM
    > Subject: Japanese Mahjong Beginning Player looking for group in SoCal
    > Hi Mr. Sloper,
    >
    >[Find Players post - is now on Find Players bulletin board]
    >
    > BTW, do you know of any Japanese Mahjong Parlors in the LA/OC area still open? I'd love to go and start playing. I plan to learn Japanese mahjong enough to do a panel/presentation at Anime conventions in Southern California.
    > I also collect Japanese arcade cabinets and PCBs, particularly devoted to the genre known as shmups/shooting games/STGs like Cave, Raizing, Toaplan.
    > Cheers,
    > Ryan

    Hi, Ryan. You wrote:

    do you know of any Japanese Mahjong Parlors in the LA/OC area still open?
    The only two I'm aware of, and I'm not sure if they're still open, are Ryozanpaku and Tokyo Kaikan, both in Torrance. Go to Mitsuwa or any Japanese grocery/supermarket, and look for the Telephone Guide (or just go to http://www.telephoneguide.com/). They were listed in the yellow pages under Mahjong last time I looked. Tokyo Kaikan was by reservation only, last time I spoke to the owners. See http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/tkaikan2.htm

    I plan to learn Japanese mahjong enough to do a panel/presentation at Anime conventions in Southern California.
    Interesting. If you do a panel, I'd be receptive to an invitation to participate.

    I also collect Japanese arcade cabinets and PCBs... Toaplan.
    All your base are belong to us.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 11, 2013


    Where can I get one of those? (part 2)

    > From: Ray
    > Sent: Saturday, March 9, 2013 5:04 PM
    > Subject: Mahjong table.
    > Hi Tom,
    > The question from Margaret sparked a search to see if anywhere in the UK sells Mahjong tables.
    > I hadn't intended this to be a response to the question, but I found a Mahjong table can be ordered from the company shown below and shipped to the US direct from China, so Margaret may be interested, after all!
    > Looks pretty good, if a bit pricey! I can't vouch for the company, never done any business with 'em!
    > http://www.rosewoodfurniture.co.uk/chinese-furniture.asp/Product/ff7465-redwood-folding-legs-mahjong-table
    > Regards
    > Ray H


    Where can I get one of those?

    > From: Margaret M
    > Sent: Saturday, March 9, 2013 11:19 AM
    > Subject: Q&A
    > Dear Tom,
    > Do you know of a store in the USA that sells the mah jongg table you pictured in your Q&A - that is the folidng one with green top, and edges on all four sides, with pull out drawers (NOT automatic).
    > I have been scouring the internet (including your website) and LA area shops to no avail. I live in Los Angeles, but am willing to order it from any source in the USA.
    > Thanks, Tom.
    > Margaret K
    > Margaret K
    > ███-███-████

    Hi, Margaret.
    Sorry. I do not. All I know is where I bought mine, more than ten years ago, in Chinatown:

    At Ord, east of Broadway, on the south side of the street (X marks the spot). I would be very surprised if they still had that item. But I might be convinced to part with mine... (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 9, 2013


    Does a dead player discard?

    >From: "Madeleine H
    >Date: March 7, 2013, 5:42:39 PM PST
    >Subject: misscalled mah jongg - does the "dead" player discard?
    >Tom:
    >I have scoured you FAQ's etc. but could not come up with an answer.
    >Question: A player in my group miscalled Mah Jongg and was then called dead. Does she discard (reduce her hand to 13) or does the next player continue by drawing from the active wall?
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Cheers,
    >Madeleine

    Hi, Madeleine.
    Death is immediate. The player does not discard. Maybe I should add this to the FAQs.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 8, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question 19Y

    > From: Andi W
    > Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2013 10:01 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > If a person throws to three exposures should she be penalized and pay for everyone at the table. Andi
    > Sent from Andi W

    Hello, Andi.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19Y.
    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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 8, 2013


    Here is a strange situation

    > From: "Perkel, M
    > Sent: Thursday, March 7, 2013 8:31 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Here is a strange situation which is only partly covered in the FAQ's. Never seen it before and hope I never see it again.
    > A, B, C, and D (in the counterclockwise order of play) are playing Mah Jongg. C has enough exposures so everyone can see she needs a 6-dot to call maj. D has one exposure - irrelevant. A and B have no exposures but B needs a 7-crack to maj. The play goes to the very end until there is just one tile left face down- tiles are face up all over the table - and it is A's turn. To our surprise, A does not take the last tile from the table but takes a tile from her rack, turns it over in the air and says to C, "I have your 6-dot", as if to say, I know you need the 6-dot but I am not going to give it to you." A doesn't place the 6-dot on the table, nor does she just call "6-dot" as of she was discarding it, but holds it there in the air for all to see and just says "I have your 6-dot".
    > Since A doesn't normally behave this way while a game is in progress, it is clear to B and C (D is a little out of it) that A thinks the game is over, or has not noticed that there is still a face-down tile to pick up. D is starting to break up her game as if it is the end. So B and C both hastily say to A there is a tile left. In fact B is under the assumption that since A has exposed a tile before picking up the last tile, she is dead and B should get the last remaining tile. Nonetheless, it is a friendly game and out of concern the game is falling apart before the end, B repeats there is a tile left. A seems confused by this, so B picks up the tile and passes it face-down to A and repeats that there is a still a tile left. A seems somewhat taken aback, takes the tile, looks at it and discards it, calling 7-crack, whereupon B calls "maj".
    > A is now upset as she feels that by B passing her the tile, she felt rushed to discard it and that she could have thrown other tiles away had she not felt rushed. B held his ground and insisted that he won. They all paid whereupon B offered to return the money in the interests of their friendship. They declined but it was clear there was some bitterness. Admittedly B should not have touched the tile which was not his but there was confusion and A didn't seem to realize that the last tile existed, and the game was breaking up by A and D.
    > Now here is the real kicker, which I purposely omitted until now. As B passed A the last tile he peaked at it and saw it was his maj tile as he gave it to A face down.
    > Since B regarded A as dead, he could have taken the last tile for himself and called maj anyway so he felt justified in having peeked. Anyway, he had given A a chance to discard any other tile and he wouldn't have won.
    > Any comments about this unfortunate situation? Was A dead? Was B justified in calling Maj? Given that often people pick a tile, and before they can rack or discard it, someone calls for the previous tile and therefore they see a tile which is not theirs, does it really matter that B saw the tile as he passed it on to A?
    > Thanks for you time in reading this long saga. And thanks for your great website.
    > Manley P

    Hi, Manley.
    Whenever anybody tells me "here's a strange situation," my skepticism radar starts pinging.
    Let me comment on what you wrote:

    D is starting to break up her game
    D is dead. But someone ought to say as much.

    B and C both hastily say to A there is a tile left. In fact B is under the assumption that since A has exposed a tile before picking up the last tile, she is dead and B should get the last remaining tile.
    No. Never assume anything. A death challenge must be spoken out loud, and the challengee must respond (either affirming or denying the challenge).

    B repeats there is a tile left. A seems confused by this, so B picks up the tile and passes it face-down to A and repeats that there is a still a tile left. A seems somewhat taken aback, takes the tile, looks at it and discards it, calling 7-crack, whereupon B calls "maj".
    Hilarious. B is the winner. It's crystal clear.

    A is now upset
    Of course. The moment of winning or losing is highly emotional. She feels foolish for not realizing there was a tile left. When she looked at the tile, she simply said its name (her brain was not functioning). I've done that myself. But she does not get a do-over. She can kick herself later, but it's pointless. For now she needs to be a good sport and move on.

    As B passed A the last tile he peaked at it and saw it was his maj tile as he gave it to A face down.
    Sure. Save the surprise. Okay, well, he shouldn't have looked at it. It has often happened that I have accidentally seen a tile before anyone else, when it wasn't my turn. Not a deal breaker.

    Since B regarded A as dead, he could have taken the last tile for himself and called maj anyway
    It's a good thing he did not do that. This "regarding" A as dead was unjustified, without a verbal death challenge.

    so he felt justified in having peeked.
    Wrong. Peeking is not kosher.

    Anyway, he had given A a chance to discard any other tile and he wouldn't have won.
    Not important.

    Given that often people pick a tile, and before they can rack or discard it, someone calls for the previous tile and therefore they see a tile which is not theirs, does it really matter that B saw the tile as he passed it on to A?
    Not important. B won. And this situation really isn't all that strange.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 7, 2013


    Column ideas from readers

    > From: Ray
    > Sent: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 5:01 AM
    > Subject: Strategy Column Submission
    > Hi Tom,
    > I wonder if you have considered allowing readers to send in entries for your strategy column? It must be a tremendous amount of work for you to keep coming up with new ideas for each column...any way we can help...I'm sure I could come up with a few MCR based column ideas and I'd bet other readers would be willing to share other ideas on different rules!
    > Ray

    Hi, Ray.
    Sure, I would welcome column ideas from readers. I've seen a daily comic strip that sometimes credits a reader for the idea. Of course, I cannot guarantee that a reader's idea will be used, or will be used within a specific time.
    Cheers! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 6, 2013


    Value of my set? (part 2)

    >From: "patriciap
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 5:53 AM
    >Subject: Re: Value of Mah Jong set
    >Thank you. Patricia P


    Multiple exposure separation

    > From: Janice O
    > Sent: Monday, March 4, 2013 9:54 PM
    > Subject: Mj question
    > If there are two or more exposures on the rack does that person have to separate them like they show on the card?
    > Sent from my ████
    > Janice O

    Hi, Janice.
    Welcome to my website. The player displaying multiple exposures should separate the exposures. That's only common courtesy. As for how the exposures should be arrayed or ordered, that is 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
    March Forth, 2013


    Value of my set?

    > From: "patriciap
    > Sent: Monday, March 4, 2013 5:16 PM
    > Subject: Value of Mah Jong set
    > Hi: Could you please estimate the value of this set? Thanks.
    > This is an older bakelite set, in a wooden case covered with alligator-looking leather. The case is in Fair condition. The handle is intact and both latches on the front work, but there is no key. The leather cover is worn through and torn on all four corners and there is a tear on the lower right side of the box. It is 19-1/2" x 9", and 3-1/2" deep. It doesn't have a manual or any paperwork.
    > There are 148 bakelite, yellow-orange (butterscotch) tiles. The condition of the tiles is Fine (I see no defects and they are clean). There are 36 dots, 36 bams, 36 craks, 16 winds, 12 dragons (4 each white, green and red), 8 flowers ( two flowers look slightly different and could be from another set, also, with the flowers, there are 3 number 1s, 3 number 2s, one number 3 and one number 4), 2 blanks and 2 others (these have a red Chinese character on top and a green design on the bottom). No jokers. The tiles are 1-1/8" high, 7/8" wide, and 1/2" thick. The craks are the modern type.
    > There are five bakelite (red) racks with brass or bronze holders on the ends. The tops of the metal chip holders bend down to hold the round chips that have holes in the middle. The racks are in Good condition. The racks are in great shape, but the holders look slightly tarnished. The holders work and none are broken.
    > There are 97 chips: 19 blue with designs, 3 flat blue, 23 red with design, 5 flat red, 24 green with design, 4 flat green, 18 white with designs, and 1 gold.
    > The chips are held in two trays. These are in Good condition, covered with the same alligator-looking leather, felt bottoms, no tears.
    > I don't know the history of the set, but I believe it is from pre-1950, based on what I know about the previous owner (who died about 12 years ago and she was in her 80s).
    > Photos are attached of the tile set, racks, case, chips and a close-up of a Bam, Dragon and Flower
    > Thanks, again. Patricia P

    Hi, Patricia.
    Thank you for the detailed report, and the pictures. Unfortunately, the set's value is not high. The case is in Fair condition as you say, the racks are just Good, and the tiles and chips are hodgepodged from multiple sets. The photo of all the tiles shows that several of the flower tiles do not match the rest of your tiles.
    The tiles in your closeup are probably yellow casein (what many American collectors erroneously call "Chinese Bakelite"). It's a material that, as far as I know, was used after the 1920s (not during). Your set has ten flowers in all, using tiles from different sets. The practice of mixing flowers came about in the 1940s and 1950s when the National Mah Jongg League required more than eight "wildflowers" in its game. Since 1971, though, players of NMJL need 8 flowers and 8 jokers. Players who want to use old sets must either obtain matching tiles and put joker stickers on them, or (much harder) obtain matching blank tiles and have them engraved.
    Because your set doesn't have 152 matching tiles, then, if anyone wanted to purchase it to use to play NMJL rules, the set would need considerable effort to obtain the necessary extra tiles.
    A collector who has several sets might be interested in buying your set in order to cannibalize it or rescue it with extra spare parts. But it has very little value to anyone else. I doubt you could get more than $50 for it. Your mileage may vary.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March Forth, 2013

    P.S. Your green dragons are upside down.


    What kind of paint was used on 1930s Rottgames tiles?

    > From: Billie E
    > Sent: Sunday, March 3, 2013 7:43 AM
    > Subject: "paint" for tiles
    > In re: FAQ 7o. Cleaning and Restoring
    > Mah Jongg Sets
    > I am the proud owner of my granny's 1930s Rottgames (bakelite-catalin?) set. It's in great condition (and I fortunately found an honest dealer on this site, Matthew Shim, who sold me matching tiles so I have the 8 Jokers I need). Sadly, some of the "paint" has worn off or faded, making it a tiny challenge to play with. Does anyone know the original material used to color the tiles? Is it a pigment of some sort? Although some folks here talk about restoring with paint pens or modeling paints, I'd prefer to use the same material that was originally used. As always, thanks!
    > Billie E.

    I don't know, Billie. Maybe a reader might have ideas for you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 3, 2013


    Goulash, part 5

    > From: Ray
    > Sent: Saturday, March 2, 2013 1:55 PM
    > Subject: Goulash again
    > Hi Tom,
    > Apologies, but can you correct my previous email to show Ely Culbertson, not Cuthbertson! The book referred to is the Contract Bridge Blue Book, the link in my last email shows a scanned copy from the University of Michigan; the book appears to have been donated to the Jessie Horton Koessler library.
    > Regards
    > Ray


    Goulash, part 4

    > From: Ray
    > Sent: Saturday, March 2, 2013 11:50 AM
    > Subject: More goulash
    > Hi Tom,
    > I know you don't like links, but this book on Bridge by Ely Cuthbertson mentions Goulash. The book dates around 1930.
    > http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015025023352;skin=mobile#page/ii/mode/2up
    > If you jump to around page 308 or so, you can see references to Passing Goulash where several cards are passed 3 times.
    > http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015025023352;skin=mobile#page/308/mode/2up
    > Regards,
    > Ray H

    I'll take your word for it, Ray.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 2, 2013


    Why "goulash," part 3

    > From: Ray
    > Sent: Friday, March 1, 2013 11:12 PM
    > Subject: Goulash
    > Hi Tom,
    > Is it possible that the term Goulash used in Mahjong actually derived from using the same term in the card game Bridge, rather than directly from the culinary use of the word? A Goulash (also called Ghoulie) in Bridge is where a lightly shuffled hand is dealt after a round has been played, the intention is to keep already sorted cards together rather than evenly distributing them again, cards are then dealt in blocks of 4 or 5 to ensure each player receives a challenging hand! I think this style of play in Bridge originated in the 1920s.
    > Regards
    > Ray H

    Hi, Ray.
    Good point! Goulash, it turns out, is indeed a term used in bridge. And also it's the name of a 64-card pinochle game. I have books on card games from the 1920s and 1930s, and I could not find the term "goulash" in any of those old books. The earliest I can find the term "goulash" in my card game library is "Goren's Hoyle Encyclopedia of Games," copyrighted 1961, 1950.
    Goren points out that in bridge, the goulash may also be called the "mayonnaise" or "Hollandaise." In his description of Goulash Pinochle, he says that the name is derived from the practice of shuffling together two Klaberjass decks "in a goulash." (A Klaberjass deck is 32 cards; a regular 52-card deck, minus all cards from deuce through six inclusive).
    So it's hard to say whether the term was used first in bridge, pinochle, or western/British/Australian mah-jongg. Especially since the origins and evolution of that variant are unknown.
    One more note: I checked Foster's Hoyle (1897-1937) for the 64-card pinochle game, and he just calls it "64-card Binocle" (or "Bezique," depending on details of play), not "Goulash."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 2, 2013


    Why "goulash"? (part 2)

    > From: Rosstella
    > Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 7:45 PM
    > Subject: Re: "Goulash"
    > Thanks Tom,
    > Much appreciated.
    > Cheers
    > Stella


    Why "goulash"?

    > From: Rosstella
    > Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 6:17 PM
    > Subject: "Goulash"
    > Hello Tom,
    > I play and teach MJ using Max Robertson rules in Australia and am often asked why the word Goulash. It is such an odd name to have for a playing term in an Oriental game . Do you know it's origin? I have contacted the BMJA as I know they also use this term, but even the co-author of the club rules has no idea. Any thoughts?
    > Thanks
    > Stella M

    G'day, Stella.
    I think the reason is simple. In the goulash (also called the Charleston or the razzle by some players), each player "mixes up" her hand by exchanging 3 tiles with other players in turn.

    Let me back up a bit and explain a little about mah-jongg history. After mah-jongg's initial 1920s craze died down (after the "mah-jongg wars," which female players likely blamed on the men whose macho competitive nature insisted on raising the game's difficulty... long story, too long, see FAQ 11), women continued playing mah-jongg, making their own rules in the process. The result: British/western rules (Robertson, Thompson/Maloney, Strauser/Evans, Wright-Patterson, etc.) and NMJL/American rules.

    So one of the practices the ladies came up with was a mixing-up of unwanted tiles. Apparently, this process reminded American ladies of a dance: "The Charleston," from the 1920s. And this process reminded the ladies who made up British/western mah-jongg of a dish involving a mix of any old ingredients one had lying around: "Goulash."

    I happen to know that the Japanese equivalent of goulash is sukiyaki ("whatever-you-like-cooking"). But mah-jongg is Chinese, not Japanese. What's the Chinese dish made from whatever mashup of ingredients one happens to have lying around? And was the name of that dish a common everyday household word in English-speaking countries (as common as goulash, which my mom used to make about once a week when I was a kid) during the 1930s or 1940s or 1950s or whenever western/British/Australian rules were codified?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 28, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question 19A/B

    > From: irene z
    > Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 3:44 PM
    > Subject: quick question
    > Tom,
    >Here is the situation - on my rack I have exposed a 7 dot, 7 dot, Joker & 7 dot. A player is discarding and names her tile a 7 dot - the tile is named (then she realizes there is a joker to be claimed) but hasn't hit the table. Is she allowed to claim my joker?
    > Thanks,
    > Irene Z

    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Questions 19A & B.
    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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question 19E

    > From: Jeanne F
    > Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 3:11 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can you draw a tile for NEWS if you are not mah jingling

    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19E.
    Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2013


    This week's column

    > From: Ray
    > Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2013 11:21 PM
    > Subject: Column 557
    > Hi Tom,
    > We've not conversed for a while, you must have been relieved that my simplistic questions on MCR dried up for a while!
    > But in Column 557, hand number 1, you suggest when playing MCR to discard the 7 Bams and go for Reversible Tiles. But why not simply go Hu?
    > The hand has chows of 5,6,7; 5,6,7, Pungs of 8,8,8; 9,9,9 and a pair of Whites
    > So gets the following (I think)
    > Pure Double Chow (1)
    > Pung of Terminals of Honours (1)
    > Two Concealed Pungs (2)
    > Fully concealed Hand (4)
    > Half Flush (6)
    > So that is 14 points, well over the 8 needed!
    > I haven't been playing MCR much since Christmas as my regular opponents have lost much interest; the on-line Mahjong Time game doesn't seen to attract too many MCR players either, though many players do seem to play the Honk Kong version (with no minimum points) so I have been giving that a go recently.
    > Regards
    > Ray H

    > From: Ray
    > Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 1:59 AM
    > Subject: Column 557 part two
    > Hi Tom,
    > No emails for weeks, then two in one day!
    > MCR rules on Column 557...
    > For the fifth hand shown, I would discard the 3 Bams not the 8 Bams. You suggest either. The reasons being there's only one 3 Bams left, so those Mah Jong gods would need to be smiling on you to get the last of the 3 Bams to achieve the pair; throwing the 3 means the required points can be achieved with either the 8 Bams (the 8's then being the pair) or a 7 Bams in which case you'd have a chow of 6,7,8 and a pair of 6's (so not only does this mean two tile chances, there are more of these tiles remaining too).
    > For the eighth hand, I'm not sure where the other two points are coming from as All Types is a 6 pointer. Don't you need to be holding the Prevalent or Seat Wind to go Hu?
    > Regards
    > Ray H

    Right on both counts, Ray. Darn! I really wanted to work Reversible and All Types in there. I might redo the column, or just append this to 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
    February 25, 2013

    P.S. (March 10) Of course, I did that on purpose. The column is changed now. - Tom


    Cheating, Hong Kong style

    > From: Barbara
    > Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2013 11:31 AM
    > Subject: Cheating or not cheating?
    > I have been part of a small group learning to play Cantonese style with HKOS scoring. Someone interested in joining our game night asked a question about Cantonese style since she had been told it was a version which allowed "cheating." Specifically: "A fellow meet upper had shown us that Cantonese style is where one can legitimately cheat if no one catches on. Is that how you all play? I prefer playing games straight."
    > The person who has been our "teacher" since this game night started, had earlier mentioned a "what if" and reiterated the following as her response to the new person: "In Cantonese the rule is that if you find yourself either short or over the number of tiles you are supposed to have you can try to take an extra tile or discard an extra tile without the other players noticing. If another player notices then you must keep the tiles you have and continue playing, usually defensively since you cannot win with too many or not enough tiles. This is the rule in Cantonese and not considered cheating. Cheating would be stealing a tile to give you the winning tile and immediately declaring "Mahjong." Cheating is not tolerated. Hope this aids in your understanding of the game."
    > I have read and reread FAQ9 and FAQ20 and probably because I am still new at the Cantonese game am not yet able to ease my conscience about "legitimate" cheating. Is this correct? Is this addressed somewhere I may have missed? I have sat in as a beginner in an American/NMJL game and would imagine those ladies would have told me to not come back if anything similar would have been attempted at their table.
    > Barbara M

    Hi, Barbara. You wrote:

    Is this correct?
    I assume you mean "do they really permit this in Hong Kong." I can't say exactly; it never came up when I played there, and I haven't seen it in print. But, I have heard of such a practice before, and I have even considered trying to do it (but have never actually tried to do it), and it does not sound out of character for Cantonese folks.

    Is this addressed somewhere I may have missed?
    You mean in writing? The real authorities on Hong Kong mah-jongg (in print, in English) are Amy Lo, and Perlmen & Chan (see FAQ 3). I just checked, and I didn't find a mention of this practice there.

    I have sat in as a beginner in an American/NMJL game and would imagine those ladies would have told me to not come back if anything similar would have been attempted at their table.
    I agree that this is likely what would happen if you actually tried to do this, in an American game.

    Subject: Cheating or not cheating?
    I assume this is your real question. I would say that it's not really a "rule" in Hong Kong so much as an "accepted way of doing things" in Hong Kong, with the added proviso that even in Hong Kong, "don't let yourself be caught." But don't go thinking that players of any other variant will react in any way but negatively if you try 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
    February 24, 2013


    Antique mah-jongg set

    > From: Juliene W
    > Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2013 6:05 PM
    > Subject: antique Mah-jongg set
    > I purchased this bamboo set in China several years ago with the
    > intention of using it to play the game. It is really a collectors
    > item and I would like to sell it. What do you think the value is and
    > how to I market it?
    > Thanks,
    > Juliene W
    > You have been sent 1 picture.
    > DSCN1537.JPG

    Hi, Juliene. You wrote:

    Subject: antique Mah-jongg set
    > It is really a collectors
    > item
    What makes you think it's an "antique"? What does "antique" mean to you, anyway? Fifty years old? Twenty-five? And what makes you think it's "really a collectors item"? It looks pretty ordinary to me (what I can see of it in that one low-resolution photo).

    What do you think the value is
    Hard to say, since you did not give me the information I need (as specified in Frequently Asked Question 7H; scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Depends on the condition of all the parts. You sent me only one low-resolution photo, so I don't know what parts are present besides the Westernized tiles, the valueless Chinglish instruction manual, and (apparently) some kind of box -- or what condition any of them are in.

    how to I market it?
    Read FAQ 7N. Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question. Thanks, and 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
    February 23, 2013


    2 players with wrong tile count, in a 3 player game

    > From: "jgbarreras2
    > Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:46 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: we had 3 players,one had noticed she only had 12 tiles. so she was called dead. game continued and 2nd player had 14 tiles. so she was dead. the third player states she was the winner and should be paid because she would have got mahjong. was the game dead since 2 players were out.

    Well, let's see what the rulebook says, jgbarreras2. Page 18, rule 10. The rule talks about 4 players, of course, since that's the usual number. The rule says that if 1 or 2 players have the wrong tile count after East discards the first tile, those 1 or 2 players are dead and the rest continue playing. It goes on to say that if 3 out of 4 players have the wrong tile count, the game is replayed. Extending this logic from the usual 4 players to your 3 players, then, if 2 players are dead for the wrong tile count, then the game is simply replayed. The survivor does not get paid.
    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2013


    Looking for a whole lotta 2012 cards and I don't want to pay for them

    > From: Wendy Meagher
    >Email: wmeagher1 at gmail.com
    >Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 6:50 PM
    > Subject: 2012 cards
    >Hi Tom
    > My name is Wendy and I have the privilege of teaching MJ in the Adult Ed for my school district. This semester i have approximately 35 people enrolled and i am looking for 2012 cards as the class starts March 6th and the new card does not arrive until the firsr week of April. I will gladly pay the postage if you can help me out or give me some suggestions. Also, as we will only need them for about 2 weeks (before we receive the new cards) i was hoping to pay for the postage only.
    > Thank you for your consideration. If you need to reach during the day i can be reached at 631 774-2335 or after hours at 631 724 3135 or email me at this address.
    >Thanking you in advance for your consideration
    >Wendy


    Frequently Asked Question 19G(3) - sort of

    > From: Paula B
    > Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 7:02 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > When a person discards a tile, such as 4 bam, and the next person discards the same tile, it is correct to say same, or should you say the name of the tile? This question just arose as we were playing and no one knew the answer. Thanks!

    Welcome to my website, Paula!
    The League encourages this practice because it effectively encourages players to pay attention, not just with their ears, but their eyes as well. When your group adopts this practice, another question is bound to come up -- see Frequently Asked Question 19G(3).
    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!
    And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, every group really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or, might I add, my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 21, 2013


    Oopsie

    > From: Laynee G
    > Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:38 AM
    > Subject: mahj question
    > I was playing the hand 2222 4444 6666 88
    > I called a 2 crack and put it up on my rack with a joker...222J
    > After the player on my right picked and discarded I realized I had the other 2 in my hand ! Could I replace the joker with the 2 cracker left in my hand and then put the Joker back in my hand ??
    >l_greenberg

    Hi Laynee,
    The next time it's your turn, you can redeem a joker from your rack (and/or anybody else's rack). See Frequently Asked Question 19M. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 2, 2013


    What my tiles are made of

    > From: Mah Jong <bbgun
    > Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 7:16 AM
    > Subject: What's it made of?
    > Thanks for your highly informative website!
    > I read the FAQ and did a fair bit of searching but I still cannot figure out what my set is made of or how old it is. Do you have an idea?
    > Some details
    > - this is a set that my grandmother played with when she was a kid in the 1920s or 1930s. It comes in a box with drawers that has ?? printed on each side.
    > - the tiles are two-tone, the body being black and the face white. Gold-colored glitter is added to the backings.
    > - there's no visible seam between the black and white; in some places there is what appears to be paint overruns but I can't tell if it's black paint overrunning into the white or vice versa
    > - the white part is very shiny and isn't translucent at all
    > - the sides are shiny as well, though not as much, and there are places where the black sides are crackled. Where they're crackled, the tile appears to be a solid, matte black underneath.
    > - the tiles are cold to the first touch which make me think they could be painted ceramic?
    > - the designs aren't carved, and they appear to have been stamped on the tiles
    > Any info appreciated!!
    > Ben

    Hello, Ben. You asked:

    what my set is made of
    That looks like a Craftmaster set. Craftmaster had a patent-applied-for "secret formula" for the composite material they used for their tiles. I don't know what that material is. The white surface is printed (the designs are not molded, stamped, or inset).

    or how old it is.
    1920s.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 21, 2013


    What my tiles are made of

    > From: Lisa C
    > Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:35 AM
    > Subject: tiles
    > I am interested in what my tiles are made up as can I send a picture?
    > Lisa

    Sure, Lisa. Just read FAQs 7C, 7C2, and 7C3 first. Scroll up and click those Frequently Asked Question links, 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. After reading them, if you still need help, send pictures.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 20, 2013


    Column #554

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Monday, February 18, 2013 7:49 PM
    >Subject: jan 20th WWYP
    >Hi Tom,
    >If I were dealt the first hand I would keep all the cracks, the flowers and the red. would be thinking either odds #5 or 369 #1 as the most likely hands and consec #4 as a backup depending on what is passed. I would pass the 2 dot, 7 dot and 9 bam!
    >also for the third hand I think I would hold the winds, the dragons and the 1. At least for the first pass or two. winds tend to get passed early when they aren't being used and it isn't like anything else jumps out as a good starting point!
    >for #5, I would hold on to the F 1-3-5 and two soaps for possibly odds #3, so would pass the S, green and 9 crack! just to keep more options open until I see what comes in (if anything!)
    >thoughts??
    >thank you
    >elise

    Hi, Elise. Let's see what I wrote in the column:

      1. Odds #5 is strongest here, but to pass all your evens might give someone a head start on Evens #5. If you want to play defensively, you could pass 3C in place of the 6C.
      3. Those winds are not going to work, but it's not good to pass three of them at once. The numbers are weighted high, so low numbers can go. The Ds are not likely to be useful, so pass a wind, any D, and 1C.
      5. Think 2012 #3, maybe Consec. #5 as fallback; get rid of G and any number higher than three.

    Yes, I like Odds #5 too. You are right to also consider 369. I am not a big advocate of defensive strategy in the Charleston, but I know that a lot of my readers are.
    Good call.
    Good, and that option is also open with my recommended discards.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 19, 2013


    Updates for FAQ 5

    > From: Nicholas C
    > Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2013 11:33 PM
    > Subject: Changes in FAQ 5
    > Hi Tom:
    > (Internet Online play section)
    > Sadly, the IMS at game-host.org is now offline as of at least November 2012 (and it has likely been offline even before that time). It seems that all forms of IMS are extinct on the Internet after over 15 years.
    > (Japanese majan section)
    > Janryumon is now at http://www.ncsoft.jp/janryumon/
    > Also, Janryumon apparently no longer blocks non-Japan IP addresses since about May 2012. In addition, as of the update of January 15, 2013 to Shin Janryumon, it is now mostly a pay site, except for games against AI players.
    > To play more than a certain amount of games (barring a very huge streak of good luck) with human players, one ultimately needs to charge the Janryumon (well, NCSoft) account with real money, which is much easier for those in Japan, but still possible for those outside of Japan.
    > Janryumon also has had an iPhone/iPad version since at least late 2011 - they even have a site for that via http://www.janryumon.com
    > Thank you again,
    > Nicholas

    Thanks, Nicholas. I cannot tell a lie. I made those fixes in the FAQ; honest!
    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
    Presidents Day, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question #19E

    > From: Charlotte B
    > Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2013 6:13 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Winds-Dragons section: NEWS
    > Question is can an individual tile be called for NEWS during play to complete for exposure? Or can it only be called for MJ?
    > Thank you!

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

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 16, 2013


    Filipino mahjong online

    > From: Joseph S
    > Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 11:42 PM
    > Subject: Filipino mahjong
    > Hi Mr. Sloper,
    > Good to be back emailing about mahjong. Upon random internet scrounging I found an online flash (I think that's what it's called) Filipino mahjong game.
    > The page is here http://delasalaspost.com/FlipMahjong.html and the link to play the game is at the bottom.
    > Joe

    Hello, Joe! Long time no see. Thanks for the link. I've added it to FAQ 5.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 16, 2013


    What if a player is a petulant brat?

    From: Kane L
    Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 8:20 PM
    Subject: Mah Jongg question
    What if a player PURPOSELY throws in their hand, in error, (in this case, when another player called for a tile and made an exposure) and then knocks over part or all of a wall?
    I assume that the offending player is dead, but no one has called Mah Jongg and the other players are still in play. So?
    1. Do you return exposed tiles to the wall as they were, if you can, or as close as they were, or do you bury the exposed tile(s) and let play continue for the remaining players?
    2. If they were irretrievably mixed in with the dead tiles on the table, should the offending player pay the each of the other live players the value of the lowest hand on the card?
    3. Is the hand declared dead for all and thrown in?
    I read your response for when a player inadvertently knocked some tiles from the wall, while I was trying to figure this one out.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful website and weekly columns, and for helping all of us become better players.
    It is so appreciated.
    :) Linda K
    PS: Is there anyway to add a search box to your column?

    Hi, Linda.
    Wow. Petty, pouty, bratty behavior like that is just plain unacceptable! It should not be tolerated. It should certainly be penalized.
    If it's possible to reconstruct the wall accurately, that's the way to go. "Burying" or "re-shuffling" while rebuilding is just not kosher.
    Yes.
    No. That would be unfair to the non-bratty players. Read my philosophies in FAQ 9.

    Is there anyway to add a search box to your column?
    Probably, but my skills are not up to that level. I just use Google, and add my website name to the search string.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 15, 2013


    Can you call a tile from 2 consecutive discards.

    > From: "Shardon89
    > Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 4:35 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >my mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can you call a tile from 2 consecutive discards.
    >Thank you

    Hello, Shardon. It's not clear exactly what you're asking, but I'll give it my best shot.
    Only the 2nd of two discards is "live," and is available for a player to call. After one discard is "covered" by a 2nd discard, the 1st discard is "dead."
    If that does not answer your question, please try again and rephrase your question (with more words).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 15, 2013


    thre is no way this set could be c. 1910...right?

    > From: Erica Z
    > Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 10:29 AM
    > Subject: mahjong Q & A
    > There is a set on eBay right now that the seller says is from 1910. Since Mahjong was not introduced in the US until 1920, I would doubt that the set is from 1910. What say you?
    >Mah Jong Ten Flowers Bakelite c.1910 New York Complete! w/5 holders!
    >item no. 360591938392
    >http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=&_osacat=19092&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313&_nkw=1910&_sacat=19092&_from=R40
    >thank you

    >From: Erica Z
    >Sent: Friday, February 15, 2013 10:35 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: mahjong Q & A
    >Ah, I see on your site that...
    >The first sets for export to the West were made in 1919-1920. That means that tiles did not have Arabic numerals (1,2,3,4...) or Roman letters (E,S,W,N...) on them until the 1920's
    >so thre is no way this set could be c. 1910...right?
    >Sorry for not reading the FAQ first. Please forgive me.

    Hi, Erica.
    I very much dislike following links for info seekers, but I made an exception in this case. Yes. There is no way this set could be c. 1910. There is no excuse for such misrepresentration.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 15, 2013


    Broken hanafuda link

    > From: Adam H
    > Sent: Thursday, July 7, 2011 11:56 PM
    > Subject: Missing link on website
    >Hi, wanted to let you know a link on one of your pages has stopped working:
    >Your page, at http://www.sloperama.com/hanafuda/links.html refers to this link:
    >Play a hanafuda game online at http://kalaniosullivan.com/Games/index.html#HANAFUDA%20ANYONE? (thanks to "PQ")
    > This link is gone, the domain redirects to a placeholder website.
    >Thank you for the Go-stop information, I have wondered what the Animal card of the Chrysanthemum set was. We had decided it was some kind of weird bug - it will blow my friend's mind when I tell him it's a sake cup :)
    >Cheers!
    > Adam

    Thanks, Adam. It's fixed, thanks to you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    2/13/13


    Mah-jongg software, NMJL, Windows Vista

    > From: Carol K
    > Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 11:27 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Is there any Vista compatible software for American Mahjong using the National Mahjong Association's rules?

    Hello, Carol.
    There are only two extant NMJL-compatible mah-jongg games: the NMJL's game and MahjongTime. Neither of those is incompatible with Windows Vista. You can find links to both in Frequently Asked Question 5. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 11, 2013


    Why ask why?

    > From: suzanne a
    > Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 10:50 PM
    > Subject: Greetings from Australia
    > Hi Tom
    > Thank you for such a great mahjong site. I apologise upfront, and beg your patience, because I am soooo confused. I have trawled the net, reading through more than a dozen sites, and read half a dozen books, and am still more confused about the way we are playing.
    > Background
    > A few months ago, I joined a mahjong-for-beginners group which meets weekly for a 2-3 hour session.
    > The group was started to give a welcome (and welcoming) venue to those of us with a passion to learn Mahjong, but with little, or absolutely no, experience.
    > However, we are very confused, because some of the group have had a few lessons and are strict about things like: how to build the wall, who deals, who is which wind, which groups of tiles constitues a valid hand. But while these people are keen to impose their protocols on setting up, dealing etc, they have no idea what rule-set they have been taught (is it basically Asian or Western) and cannot answer any questions from us rank beginners. I tried asking them to look at your site but no way Jose.
    > 1) We do not keep score .
    > 2) Each round/deal constitutes a game.
    > 3) The first person to get a Mahjong hand is the winner of that game.
    > Mahjong hands - some of the experienced players have a small book which has pictures of
    > "valid" or "special" hands, with a list of these hands at the back. You can only go Mahjong if you have one of those hands, no other variations are allowed. Examples are Gertie's Garter, Wriggly Snake, Little Robert. Your "four sets & a pair" idea is unheard of. Pity, I love it, a wonderfully gentle way of introducing new players to the game.
    > 4) Ghoulash is played if no-one gets Mahjong. Tiles are meant to be swapped in certain sequence to do with which wind you are. In a ghoulash game, 2B is wild and no chows are allowed.
    > 5) We have flowers/seasons in the deal, but when we get one we place it facing out on our rack & replace tile from the "flower" wall. We do not have jokers.
    > 6) We call "fishing" when we are 1 tile away from Mahjong.
    > 7) There is a grabitrackitchuckit style of playing. We range in age from 50 to 80 and as some of the new players are necessarily slow, this can discomfort them. (Thank you for your advice on this in FAQ, I wish they'd read it.)
    > Questions
    > What version are we playing?
    > Why use winds (and the associated protocols) if not scoring - particularly when no-one knows how to work out who is which wind and why!
    > If we do not score, why are we limited to those "special" hands to get Mahjong?
    > Should I really be asking these questions of my psychologist?
    > I look forward to your advice. I love the game and have been privileged to meet some lovely people through Mahjong.
    > May the tiles be with you.
    > Best regards
    > Suzanne A

    > From: suzanne a
    > Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 1:08 AM
    > Subject: Result!
    > Hello again Mr Sloper
    > I hope you get this before you have torn out all your hair after reading my first email.
    > After 6 hours' research, I finally worked out that we are (trying) to play British rules.
    > It all makes so much sense now.
    > Thank you for your patience (Ihope).
    > Kind regards & may the tiles be with you,
    > Suzanne A

    G'day, Suzanne. Your question #1 is moot, but to address your other questions:

    Why use winds (and the associated protocols) if not scoring
    If you start the question with "if not scoring," I can't answer any "why" question. Those questions would have to be directed to those who are teaching and leading your group.

    particularly when no-one knows how to work out who is which wind and why!
    I don't know if your teachers are not doing a good job, or you simply haven't absorbed the learning. I think your group needs a book as its "bible." You mentioned a "small book" that just lists hands -- I assume that is a Thompson & Maloney book, the one that only lists hands (and does not define the complete rules). Thompson & Maloney have published a couple of other books, and those would be good for you all to have (if the teachers' book is a T&M book). Or you could get the Strauser & Evans book (I'm much more familiar with that one, since I was involved in updating it and adding strategy to it, a few years ago).

    If we do not score, why are we limited to those "special" hands to get Mahjong?
    Because you're playing a variant that doesn't permit a lot of leeway, I suppose. I really can't answer any "why" questions.

    Just going with what you've said, it sounds like your teachers are guilty of a huge sin: not having complete knowledge of the subject being taught. You really owe it to yourself to get a book. See FAQ 2B and FAQ 3.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 11, 2013


    How old is it?

    >From: Alex C
    >Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 6:08 PM
    >Subject: Please help to date my grandpa's mahjong set
    >Hello,
    >I'll start by saying I don't know anything about mahjong. When my grandpa died in 2010, one of the things I inherited was this mahjong set. He was a veteran officer for American forces in World War II, and I have no idea if he got the set at that time...or later in the USA.
    >It seems to be made in Japan by Maruichi Industry Co Ltd. 144 printed tiles + 4 blanks. No jokers. Lots of "sticks." I tried to arrange the tiles as shown on your website. The game pieces are some sort of plastic. The "crak" characters are more elaborate. The graphics on the tiles are sunk in, engraved(?) and painted.
    >I couldn't find anything useful on the company name.
    >Any ideas?
    >Thank you,
    >Alex C

    Hi, Alex.
    For some unknown reason, Yahoo Mail is not letting me download your photos at the moment. I was able to look at them (I just couldn't save them to my hard drive so I could upload them with this bulletin board post). When the problem is resolved, I'll post pictures here.

    One of your photos shows a page from your paper materials. It shows another set configuration available from Maruichi: a set with 8 jokers. Clearly, that other Maruichi set was made for American mah-jongg, after 1961. As I wrote in other places on this site, the NMJL did not require 8 jokers until after 1961. So your set is less than 50 years old. I'm guessing your set might have been made in the 1970s or 1980s. And of course, going by that page and by the Western indices on your tiles, your set was made for export to the West.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 10, 2013


    Broken link in the current column

    > From: Beth G
    > Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 5:12 PM
    > Subject: Mobile 555 link is broken
    > Those snakes can be slinky!

    Thanks for letting me know, Beth. It's fixed now. Gung hei fa choi!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 10, 2013


    When the last wall tile is a flower, part 3

    >From: John C
    >Sent: Saturday, February 9, 2013 5:04 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hey Tom,
    >Thank you for both of your timely responses.
    >I bought your book this morning at the Apple Online Store.
    >John

    You're welcome, John. Thanks for buying my book - I hope you enjoy 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
    February 9, 2013


    When the last wall tile is a flower, in Chinese Classical rules

    >From: John C
    >Sent: Saturday, February 9, 2013 6:31 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hello Tom,
    >We follow the Chinese style per the 1924 edition of the Snyder's Manual.
    >Thank you for your earlier response,
    >John C

    I see, John. So you play Chinese Classical, then. Too bad. I checked the books -- Foster, Hartman, and your Snyder -- and they're not crystal-clear on this. So I checked the ultimate rule-writer of CC, A.D. Millington. And he is clear on this: if the last wall tile is a flower, you do not take a replacement tile. The hand is a "wash-out." Nobody scores, and East redeals.
    As for the other thing -- that you held all eight flowers -- CC did not have an "all eight flowers/seasons" rule. If one holds a bouquet (four matching flowers), one scores either one double or three doubles (depending on your author). In your case, you would simply have two bouquets. But only if somebody won (if the hand was not a wash-out).
    May the tiles be with you again someday!
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 9, 2013


    When the last wall tile is a flower

    > From: John C
    > Sent: Friday, February 8, 2013 3:17 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Good Evening from Martha's Vineyard!
    > Mr Tom Sloper,
    > I was playing Mah Jongg yesterday and something came up. I have not been able to find a ruling from any of the books we have.
    > I was "ready" and was drawing the last tile from the wall. While not my woo tile, I did draw a flower. Being a flower, I then thought I could go to the dead wall and take a tile from the summit - so I did. The tile I drew from the summit was my woo tile. Is this allowed?
    > According to the multiple ladies in the room ( I was the only male) - they all said nooooo! What is the correct answer?
    > While you are composing a response keep in mind that I also drew all 8 flowers and seasons (yes - all eight) from the wall in that game, had a pon of dragons, and an all pon hand. I computed my points to be over 20,000. So if there is any bending of the rules from the Almighty Mah Jongg Master - now is the time!
    > Respectfully submitted,
    > John C

    Hi John,
    You didn't tell me which mah-jongg variant you play. The rule could be one thing in Chinese Classical, and another thing in Shanghai style or Cantonese style.
    BUT... if everybody else in the room said you can't take a flower replacement from the dead wall, don't you think that might indicate that you can't? I mean, I can look up the "book" rule for you, but the prevailing rule has already been given you. When a group uses a rule not in the book, and you join that group, you kind of have to just go along with the way the group does things.
    And another but. Your variant doesn't have an "eight flowers" rule? In some variants, if you have all eight flowers, you win instantly. Since you didn't tell me what variant you play, I don't know what I can tell 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
    February 8, 2013


    Frequently Asked Question #19N

    > From: Sandy M
    > Sent: Thursday, February 7, 2013 3:35 PM
    > Subject: Question
    > If someone is showing 2 Jokers in a Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet, can you take both Jokers in one turn if you have the 2 tiles the Jokers are being used for?
    > Thank you.
    > Sandy

    Welcome to my website, Sandy. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19N. Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2013


    Looking for a computer game (offline solo play)

    > From: Pat H
    > Sent: Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:39 PM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg for computer non internet
    > hello
    > I purchased a mah jongg game from you many years ago and would like to purchase again. Are you still offering a Mah Jongg game, Can't figure out from the faqs page, there seem to be many solo (off line) game. Your is like an old friend
    > Thanks
    > Pat H

    Hi, Pat. Activision let me go 13 years ago, and I have not worked for another company that makes mah-jongg games since then. FAQ 5 is all I can offer you. 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
    February 7, 2013


    This can be frustrating.

    > From: Jane M
    > Sent: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 3:32 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > A player can stop the Charleston after passing the first left. Sometimes some players pass quickly and get ahead while one player may be slower at passing her tiles. That player wants to stop the Charleston after the first left, but the others say it cannot be stopped because they have already received/seen their second left. This can be frustrating.
    > Thanks,
    > Jane

    Hi, Jane.
    I can't tell if you wanted to ask a question or if you just wanted to vent. Have you tried talking to the other players about this?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2013


    How do the betting rules work when you have a kitty or pot?

    > From: Broschofsky G
    > Sent: Thursday, February 7, 2013 11:23 AM
    > Subject: betting & the wall
    > Hello,
    > I have a couple questions about betting, both specifically dealing with the wall:
    > 1.If a bettor bets on a wall game and there is money in the "pot" from past wall game(s), does she win the money in the pot as well as being paid by all 4 players for a wall game?
    > 2. If there is a pot from past wall game(s) and the bettor bets on a winning player, does she split the pot with the winner as well as being paid by the 3 non-winning players?
    > Thank you.
    > Best,
    > Minxx

    Hi, Minxx. You wrote:

    If a bettor bets on a wall game and there is money in the "pot"
    I have to stop you right there. You're using a custom "pot" or "kitty" rule. I don't know how your custom rule works!

    If there is a pot from past wall game(s)
    Again. I don't know how your custom rule works.

    Subject: betting & the wall
    > I have a couple questions about betting, both specifically dealing with the wall:
    You aren't asking about the betting rules. You're asking how your table rule works with betting. And as I wrote in FAQ 14, that's something your group has to figure out.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2013


    Atomic

    > From: Donna G
    > Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 1:41 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: what are the rules regarding an atomic hand? When do you declare it, what are the rules re flowers and jokers?

    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Questions 14 & 19AZ.
    Scroll up and look left for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 5, 2013


    This year's special hand

    > From: Jean G
    > Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 8:06 AM
    > Subject: special hand
    > Can the 2013 be in any suit or must it be different from the 1-9 run?
    > Thanks.
    > Jean G

    Any suit.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 5, 2013


    Introducing this year's special hand

    It's time for the annual Chinese New Year hand. The Year of the Snake begins next week, on February 10.

    Chinese players refer to a run from 1 to 9 as a "snake." In some forms of mah-jongg there's a special hand that includes a 1-to-9 run; the hand is called "The Wriggly Snake." So this year's hand includes a 1-to-9 snake (in any suit), and a 2013 from American mah-jongg (in which white dragon represents a zero), and a green dragon. The green dragon character reads "fortune" in Chinese. So this hand symbolizes "good fortune in 2013, the Year of the Snake." It's a concealed hand, worth maximum score.

    恭喜發財!

    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 3, 2013


    Stopping the Charleston

    > From: Jane F
    > Sent: Sunday, February 3, 2013 5:47 AM
    > Subject: Charleston Strategy
    > Tom,
    > What are your thoughts about stoping the Charleston? When do you suggest stopping it? Are there some guidelines you can offer?
    > Thanks
    > jane

    Hi, Jane.
    I wrote about stopping the Charleston in great detail in columns 493 & 494. Rather than my copying and pasting them here, or going through the effort to rephrase my thoughts from those columns, I suggest that you click those links and read the original columns. You're always welcome to come back at me with further discussion about what I wrote.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of these Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 3, 2013


    What is the point of rolling dice to break the wall?

    > From: Jamie
    > Sent: Friday, February 1, 2013 9:43 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: What is the point of rolling dice to create the wall if you do not play the hot wall?

    Hi, Jamie.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19AP. Scroll up and look for the FAQs, which are marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). Find the link to FAQ #19 (it's marked with a red, white, and blue flashing arrow, emblazoned "AMERICAN," like this ) and click it. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    P.S. I also wrote about this question in column 403.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Creator of the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations welcome.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2013


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