SITE LINKS  

The Mah-Jongg FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)

19. American Mah-Jongg
16. The NMJL Card

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

Maj Exchange Boards
Q & A Bulletin Board
Find Players/Teachers BB
Sets For Sale BB
Sets Wanted BB
Tiles For Sale BB
Tiles Wanted BB
Accessories For Sale BB
Accessories Wanted BB

Weekly Strategy Column

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

Other parts of Sloperama:
Hanafuda (Go-Stop)
Game Design Section
Business Section
Sloperama Home Page

The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    No shouting, please. Typing in all capital letters is considered "shouting." Nobody is allowed to shout here but me! (^_^) If your question or comment is typed in all capital letters, it will be converted to all lower case before being posted here with my reply.

    For reader enjoyment, humor is sometimes used in the responses that I give. Please don't be offended by a response given in the spirit of reader enlightenment and entertainment.

    Terms of service and privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. Your email may be edited before posting.

    No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).

    This is an information exchange, not a social site. I'm not a programmer, and to keep spammers out, I had to go low-tech. Due to the actions of spammers, I had to remove the ability of visitors to post here without my involvement. As a result, all users' posts now have to go through me, and I when I post them, I omit email addresses (with exceptions as stated above). I learned from bad experiences that many (if not most) posters want their contact information to be kept private. Please do not ask to be put in touch with other people who've posted here, if their email addresses are not shown here. Please don't put me in that uncomfortable position.

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

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

    Keep scrolling - the Q&A is below.





  • Tell me anything about this set

    > From: Suzy P
    > Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:09 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Hi Tom,
    > I have a Mah-Jongg set made by The Chinese Game Co. of Baltimore, MD.
    > The tiles are made of metal and the set is in it's original box with
    > 143 tiles. The 6 crack is missing.
    > I'm having a hard time finding any information on this set. The score
    > card that was in the box is dated 1923.
    > I would appreciate anything you might be able to tell me about this
    > charming set.
    > Thank you!
    > Suzy

    Hello, Suzy.
    As I wrote in FAQ 7P, I don't know how to deal with "tell me anything" questions. In this case, though, I can tell you two things:
    That set is very rare. I saw one go on sale on eBay once, and it went for over $500, I think. It's likely going to be impossible to get a replacement tile for it.
    Your photos are tiny in the extreme; one photo you sent (not shown above because it's so small as to be useless) is only 199 pixels tall. It makes me wonder if you actually own this set -- because if you did own it, you could take photos of it easily. Modern digital cameras don't take photos of those dimensions, and I doubt that you took photos of the set and shrank them that small intentionally. Photos like that could only come from a website (such as eBay).
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Donation

    > From: Victoria B via PayPal
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 8:17 PM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Victoria B
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Victoria B
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $10.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ########
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Victoria B
    > Message: Thank you again.
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Thank you, Victoria!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Donation

    > From: Julie K via PayPal
    > To: Thomas Sloper
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 11:36 AM
    > Subject: Notification of donation received
    > PayPal
    > You've Got Cash!
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Julie K.
    > Receipt ID: #########
    > The number above is the donor's receipt ID for this transaction. Please retain it for your records so that you will be able to reference this transaction for customer service.
    >View the details of this transaction online
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $10.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ########
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Julie K
    > Mailing Information:
    > Address Julie K
    >Holland, MI #####
    > United States
    >Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Thank you, Julie!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Hong Kong scoring flowchart

    > From: Nathan L
    > Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:12 AM
    > Subject: Hong Kong Mahjong Scoring Flowchart
    > Hi Tom,
    > I have gone insane and made a flowchart for Hong Kong Style Mahjong with the idea that it would help beginners (like me) score their hands. It was a daunting task and it's come out looking rather intimidating. I bet there's an ap for this, but this was mostly for me to help me learn it all. If you have the time and inclination, maybe you could have a look through it and see if I've screwed up anywhere.
    > Thanks!
    > Nathan
    > P.S. This is a rough draft. I'll make it look prettier once I'm sure it's all correct.

    It's a great thing you're doing, Nathan. I don't have the energy to try to validate it (very busy end of semester). But maybe a reader will want to check it out. I made the image downloadable in full size.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    My aunt's set

    > From: Victoria B
    > Date: May 12, 2014 at 8:54:17 PM PDT
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > First, thank you so much for your very helpful site. It is much appreciated.
    > I am attaching two photos. I used FAQ 7b to hopefully put together a complete set of 144 tiles. The tiles belonged to my late aunt. She had a club of friends who used to play in San Francisco in the 20s, 30s and 40s, and 50s. With a couple of exceptions, most of the tiles in the set I tried to put together appear to be from the same era. The extra tiles in the separate photo are thicker and appear to be older.
    > My questions for the set I have attempted to put together are:
    > 1) Is it OK to use the blank tiles for the white dragon?
    > 2) Are the tiles I have correct for the green and red dragons?
    > 3) Are the 8 tiles correct for the flower tiles? (One of the "1" tiles is a fraction bigger than the others.)
    > 4) Would the four joker tiles be considered part of the set?
    > I also have four wooden trays and a black zippered bag in which my aunt stored the tiles. I haven’t ascertained yet if the tiles are ivory or bone; my husband and I are going to use your guidelines to determine that.
    > Thank you in advance for your reply and assistance.

    Hi, Victoria. I had to do a lot of work on your photos so my readers can understand your questions.

    You wrote:

    With a couple of exceptions, most of the tiles in the set I tried to put together appear to be from the same era.
    I sure wish I knew which ones you're talking about.

    Is it OK to use the blank tiles for the white dragon?
    Let's put it another way: "Is it OK to use the white dragon tiles as white dragons?" Please read FAQ 7E.

    Are the tiles I have correct for the green and red dragons?
    I'm not sure what you're asking. What do you mean, "are they correct"? Do you think they might be fake, or mistakenly included...? If they're the same size as your other tiles, then they were included with the set. See FAQ 7E.

    Are the 8 tiles correct for the flower tiles? (One of the "1" tiles is a fraction bigger than the others.)
    That red "1" flower tile is actually a One Bam (not a flower). And that tile is clearly from another set.

    Would the four joker tiles be considered part of the set?
    They appear to be larger than your other tiles, which means that they have been taken from another set and stickered to be used as jokers with your set (probably in the early 1960s - see column 509.

    What you need to do is separate your tiles by size. I'm guessing that you have one set that's almost complete, but not quite, and a hodgepodge bunch of other extra tiles of a different size.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    A discard was misnamed, causing a problem -- what now?

    > From: Nanette
    > Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 5:39 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > A player miscalls a discarded tile. She corrects her mistake but not before the next player racks a tile. The corrected tile was needed for an exposure. What should happen?

    Hi, Nanette.
    Three players made mistakes. How, oh how, should this be resolved? Let's walk through it, shall we?
    Player 1 discards a tile and says the wrong name. She made a common mistake.
    Player 3 never looks at player 1's discard (also a common mistake).
    Player 2 never looks at player 1's discard (again: a common mistake), and picks and racks. I wonder how quickly she did that - if she's an aggressively quick player. But anyway...
    Player 1 realizes she misnamed the tile, and says "oops, that wasn't an X, it was a Y."
    Player 3 says "what? It was? I wanted that!" And by now, it's too late. She made a mistake (see step 2 above), and now she has to reap what she sowed - in other words, because of her own mistake (the middle part of a three-mistake cascade), she cannot have the discard. She shoulda looked, not only listened.
    For your future reference, you should read FAQ 9 (philosophies 2-4) and FAQ 19-AY. I didn't apply the FAQ 19-AY rule in this instance because your player 2 added another complication (so FAQ 9 philosophies 2-4 kicked in).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2014


    Should we tell her she scores double?

    > From: Linda B
    > Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 9:48 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a hand is jokerless but not one of the pair hands should we tell the person if they do not recognize that they can get double?
    >Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    I assume you're asking if a player should be told that she should double the amount she's asking everyone to pay for her winning hand, when she should double it.
    In the most recent yearly newsletter from the National Mah Jongg League, the League stated their rule on this. See column 595, question 14. You can access the columns by clicking the purple banner atop this page.
    [Hint: It's the winner's responsibility to tell everyone what she's due.]
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2014


    Origins, part 15 - who is "al email"?

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 8:44 AM
    > Subject: al email
    > Tom,do you have this guy known as al email in the google group? Would you mind recommend me to him like what you did before? There is something I want to ask him regarding his claim here.
    > Ma-Diao is a trick-taking game and a trick consists of 4 cards (page
    > 117 The Playing-Card, Volume XXIX, Number 3).
    > https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/rec.games.mahjong/Ma-Diao$20is$20a$20trick-
    taking$20game$20and$20a$20trick$20consists$20of$204$20cards|sort:relevance|spell:true/rec.games.mahjong/
    RQxbC9Gp2gM/uTWXQ4SC1JAJ

    Hi, Darren.
    I don't remember who "al" is. With the annoying way Google tries to protect email addresses when it displays usenet posts, it's difficult to figure out who he is. He's apparently from Canada, based on the visible stub of his email address. I can't help you get in contact with him now, six years after his posts.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2014


    Hong Kong end game, part 2

    > From: Ray Heaton
    > Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2014 10:21 PM
    > Subject: Re: Hong Kong end game
    > Thanks Tom,
    > I suspect using "...at something of a disadvantage..." was the wrong phrase, and yes to keep winning is of course rather beneficial. But the last (East) player has to lose eventually for the round and the game to finish and so East (if leading in points) will want that loss to be at a score low enough for them to still win overall.
    > This "non rotation" has led to some interesting attempts to control who wins...for example a player who is way behind needs to either win a hand well (i.e. needs a high scoring hand) or if their tiles are not good enough, may be better helping East win quickly and cheaply so there's an "extra hand" (more than one extra hand if East keeps winning of course), so that they might have the tiles that will score highly in the next "extra hand". This could be a rather risky strategy.
    > Thanks for all the help, Tom. Much appreciated.
    > Ray

    Hi, Ray.
    Everything you said is spot on, other than a couple of things:

    But the last (East) player has to lose eventually for the round and the game to finish
    That's an odd way of saying "the game doesn't end until the fourth East of the North round doesn't win the hand." To say "he has to lose in order for the game to finish" seems to emphasize a great desire on the part of everyone for the game to come to an end, and I don't think one can rightly say that everyone generally wants that.

    and so East (if leading in points) will want that loss to be at a score low enough for them to still win overall.
    At first I was wondering who "them" is, and what point you were making, but I get it now. The fourth East in the North round, if leading in points, doesn't want to pay a lot of points to the player who wins the hand (so he can retain his lead despite the loss). Quite right.

    As I said before, everything else you say is spot on. There is indeed a sort of mental tug of war that goes on between the contestants as the game comes to a close, due to the factors you described. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2014


    Hong Kong end game

    > From: Ray Heaton
    > Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2014 1:39 PM
    > Subject: Hong Kong end game
    > Hi Tom,
    > I've been playing the Hong Kong version recently; in this version if East wins then the deal stays with the same player and does not rotate. This means that a round can have many hands especially if the player who deals keeps winning. (A game is four rounds, each round has four hands unless East wins, so that's a minimum of sixteen hands for a full game).
    >
    > I'm unsure if we have been interpreting this "non-rotation" rule correctly.
    > We've had the situation several times where the last person to deal in a round wins the hand. And therefore the round doesn't end, rather they deal again and keep doing so until someone else correctly shouts Hu, and both the hand and the round end!
    > If this is correct, the last player appears to be at something of a disadvantage, because, for the round to end, they have to lose the hand.
    >
    > However we've been quite enjoying the challenge of the last player, if they are leading in the game, trying to either win the hand themselves or to engineer a win for one of their opponents but at a cost that doesn't mean they overtake his/her score. Of course the other players in this situation are trying to either win with a high enough score to win, or to ensure East wins but with a low score to ensure they get another chance.
    >
    > If this doesn't read rather like gobbledegook, have we interpreted this ruling correctly? Have you had much experience of this version, and if so do you have any advice for this end game situation that we can draw into our play?
    > Best regards
    > Ray

    Hi, Ray. You wrote:

    I'm unsure if we have been interpreting this "non-rotation" rule correctly.
    > We've had the situation several times where the last person to deal in a round wins the hand. And therefore the round doesn't end, rather they deal again and keep doing so until someone else correctly shouts Hu, and both the hand and the round end!
    > If this is correct,
    It's correct. During a round, four players will be East. During any player's tenure as East, the deal can stay at that seat as long as the player keeps winning. It's true early in the round, it's true in the middle of the round, and it therefore also has to be true late in the round. Yes, when the fourth player is East, sequential wins do prevent the wind round changing.

    the last player appears to be at something of a disadvantage, because, for the round to end, they have to lose the hand.
    I don't follow you (I don't see how the player who's on a winning streak is disadvantaged). For the player on a winning streak, he doesn't want the round to end!

    However we've been quite enjoying the challenge of the last player, if they are leading in the game, trying to either win the hand themselves or to engineer a win for one of their opponents but at a cost that doesn't mean they overtake his/her score. Of course the other players in this situation are trying to either win with a high enough score to win, or to ensure East wins but with a low score to ensure they get another chance.
    I imagine everyone but East wants East's winning streak to end. So yes, if I'm West, and I can't win, then I'd prefer North or South to beat East, and yes, not so big that it's bad for me.

    any advice for this end game situation that we can draw into our play?
    Like you said - other players should try to stop East's winning streak without hurting themselves in the process. Know who's got the most points, if you know you can't win, and try to help the player with the lowest score, if you can figure out what he needs.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014

    [Note: this response was edited/changed/corrected a couple of hours after its initial posting.]


    Counterclockwise, clockwise? I'm so confused!

    > From: "Fluflu23
    > Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2014 6:42 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Hi There!.
    > When passing out tiles, do you pass to the right or left, if you are east wind?
    > Also, when playing, after you discard your #14 tile, does the person on the left play or the person on the right?
    > Phew! Confusing.
    > Have a great day
    > Lorraine

    Hi there! Welcome to my website.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19Q. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Every player should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    Oh, and one more thing, Lorraine - East ("dealer") does not deal tiles to the other players. Every player takes her own tiles from the wall. See FAQ 19CA (I just added it now).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Strategy, part 3

    > From: Barbara B
    > Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 10:45 PM
    > Subject: thanks, tom
    > Barbara B

    > From: Barbara B via PayPal
    > Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 10:48 PM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Barbara B
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Barbara B. You can view the transaction details online.
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $10.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ############
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Barbara B
    > Message: Thank you for your help and for your website.
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Thank YOU, Barbara!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Should you leave space between exposures?

    > From: Lisa P
    > Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 1:31 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: when putting up exposures, should you leave a space between the exposures? Thanks.

    Yes. You should. It's a courtesy to the other players (there is no rule). Read FAQ 19Z - you can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Where and when, part 2

    > From: Mark H
    > Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 9:29 AM
    > Subject: Re: Where and when do you think my Mah Jong set was made?
    >Many thanks Tom - impressed by the rapid response!
    >Mark H


    Strategy, part 2

    > From: Barbara B
    > Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 7:49 AM
    > Subject: Strategy Question Part II
    > Tom,
    > Thanks for the response ~ very helpful. I definitely read (study,
    > really) your strategy column every week and I've read all the old
    > ones. Your column is really the only place to go for help so thank
    > you very much.
    > So here's my specific strategy question. I am dealt a bad hand and
    > (no Jokers, no pairs, no triplets and tiles spread evenly across all
    > categories). After the Charleston, it is no better. Near the end
    > of the game (last wall) I would know what strategy to employ, but at
    > the beginning like this, I don't know. I do try your suggestion to
    > go for an S&P hand. Sometimes, I just collect as many pairs, Jokers
    > and triplets as possible until I get an idea of what others are
    > doing. Do you have any other thoughts you are willing to share?
    > Barbara B.

    Hi, Barbara.
    When I have a garbage hand, the first thing I do is count highs and lows, and odds and evens. I try to get rid of junk during the Charleston, and observe trends (what the other players are passing) and adjust my thinking accordingly. Sometimes everybody is passing Winds so I collect them. There is no happy solution for a bad deal and a bad Charleston, and a direction that doesn't come in until towards the end of the wall. Just remember that, all else being equal, you'll lose 75% of the time - and you will have streaks of bad luck (and streaks of good luck).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Strategy questions

    > From: Barbara B
    > Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 6:46 AM
    > Subject: strategy questions
    > Hi Tom,
    > Let me start by saying I have your book (love it) and have read all
    > the strategy sections many times.
    > Is it considered bad form to want to discuss strategy? I am new at
    > Mah Jongg. Our teacher taught us the rules and some basic strategy
    > and she is now part of a group of 5 people who play weekly. She
    > will help with strategy if asked a direct question, but otherwise the
    > group does not seem to want to discuss it. I am not finding much
    > online either. One person in my group plays every hand to win no
    > matter how bad the deal was; she says I am "overthinking".
    > So, I don't bring it up anymore but I would like to discuss strategy
    > with someone! Is it the case that everyone, after learning the
    > basics, develops their own strategy? I have developed some strategy
    > "rules" for myself and I don't win or lose any more than any other
    > person in the group. We play a great many wall games.
    > I am putting a specific strategy question in a separate e-mail.
    > Thanks,
    > Barbara B

    Hi, Barbara. You wrote:

    Is it considered bad form to want to discuss strategy?
    I was going to say, "it depends," but then you explained the situation - you're a newbie, playing with experienced players. In that situation, it is bad form to discuss strategy during gameplay. It's perfectly fine to discuss strategy when nobody is playing.

    I would like to discuss strategy
    > with someone!
    You should be able to do that before and after games. Have you been reading my weekly strategy column? See the purple banner atop this page.

    she says I am "overthinking".
    That kind of goes along with what I wrote in my book, to just keep up and the winning will eventually come. You say you don't win or lose any more than anybody else, so it sounds to me like you're past what I wrote.

    Is it the case that everyone, after learning the
    > basics, develops their own strategy?
    Sure. If everyone in a group discusses her own strategies, then others in the group may try those strategies too, and everyone in the group could theoretically wind up using the same strategy - or at least everyone will know each other player's strategy. It's normal for players to want to keep their strategies secret (and not "give away the farm").

    We play a great many wall games.
    So the players are all fairly equally matched, and are playing defensively.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Where and when?

    > From: Mark H
    > Sent: Thursday, May 8, 2014 10:56 AM
    > Subject: Where and when do you think my Mah Jong set was made?
    > Hi Tom,
    > First, thanks for all the good work in putting up your MJ website - I found it fascinating and really useful.
    > Could you please let me know where and when you think my set was made? I've put down the info in the format that you request, and I've attached pictures of the set. I'm quite happy for this enquiry to be placed in the public domain, but I would only ask you to withhold my email address to keep spammers at bay.
    > Many thanks in advance for whatever info you can provide.
    > Mark H


    > Mah Jong Set information:
    >1. factual detailed list of all the contents. One wooden box with a sliding front cover. Inside, 5 sliding drawers containing 144 tiles plus 8 further flowers/seasons and 4 blanks, making 156 tiles in all. 6 small rounded dice, possibly ivory, a plastic round indicator for which wind is in play, a quantity of cheap red and green plastic circular counters and tally sticks - 36 two-spot, 17 four-spot and 3 12-spot, all made of bamboo
    >2. The set does not contain any paper materials.
    >3. The tiles are made of deep yellow bakelite, but the backs are an odd shade of green - not very attractive.
    >4. The history of the set is pretty obscure. I bought it in a junk shop in Chatham, UK many years ago. Since Chatham had been a major naval base and sea port for some considerable time it might be reasonable to assume the set was brought in from overseas.
    >5. The dimensions of the tiles are as follows: Height is 28 mm, width is 22 mm, depth is 12.5 mm with the green base portion being 2 mm of this.
    >6. How many tiles are there in the set? All 36 bamboo tiles, all 36 characters, all 36 circles, all 16 winds in 4 sets of 4 (N, E, W and S), all 12 dragons (4 sets of 3, red, green and blank), 16 flowers/seasons in 4 complete sets, and 4 blank spares, one of which has been engraved with the 3 of characters, but not coloured in.
    >7. What kind of container does the set come in? It's wood, one of those squarish boxes with 5 drawers. It's a light hardwood, it's been stained at some point in its past, but the outside is nicely faded. The sliding cover on the front has a carved illustration of a twin masted junk or sampam style craft. The drawers each have finger holds carved into the front, along with numbers from 1 to 5. A plugged and filled circular hold on the top of the box suggests that at one time it had a handle, but this is no longer present. The box and its finish may be classed as workmanlike and no-nonsense rather than fussy and over-adorned. It is well made and - apart from the missing 'handle' - has no damage.
    >8. The characters are the more elaborate kind and appear to all be hand carved to judge by the minor inconsistencies between them. The same goes for the western style numerals that appear on the tiles.
    >9. Provide a picture of the One Bams. Attached
    >10. Provide a picture of the dragons too. Attached
    >11. And provide a picture of the flowers/seasons. 16 of them in 4 sets of 4 - picture attached.
    >12. How many jokers (if any) does the set have? None

    Hi, Mark. You wrote:

    Where ... do you think my Mah Jong set was made?
    My guess is China. It appears that the tiles are what many collectors refer to as "Chinese Bakelite," but may be casein. I'm guessing that the designs on the tile fronts are carved, not machine-stamped or molded. Carving of tiles indicates Chinese origin. Sorry I don't know where in China.

    ... and when do you think my Mah Jong set was made?
    Most likely the 1960s, but possibly as early as the 1930s. The set has 16 flowers and 8 white dragons (blanks). Having that many flowers was not the norm before WWII. The box does not date back to the 1920s, but was crafted to resemble 1920s boxes. It's made of a different wood, and has no brass handles on top or on the drawers. Sorry I can't be more specific on the date.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Origins, part 14

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:48 AM
    > Subject: Robert F Foster
    > Tom did you write this book where you said according to David Parlett, Robert F Foster said conquian trace its origin in the early 1860s? Which book or research by David Parlett said that?
    > http://books.google.com...Foster...traces+Conquian..."
    > Also,can you explain what it mean here when it says "traces Conquian back to early 1860s"?
    > Is it saying conquian definitely first originated/appeared in early 1860s or is it saying there are traces of conquian in 1860s or is it saying the earliest trace of conquian so far is in 1860s?

    Darren, you wrote:

    Tom did you write this book
    Obviously I did. Just look around. The author's name is Tom Sloper. My name is Tom Sloper. I have ads for that book atop this page. My signature says I authored that book.

    where you said according to David Parlett, Robert F Foster said conquian trace its origin in the early 1860s? Which book or research by David Parlett said that?
    I have two books by David Parlett: "A History of Card Games" and "A Dictionary of Card Games." Both talk about this, but especially "A History of Card Games." I recommend you buy a copy.

    can you explain what it mean here when it says "traces Conquian back to early 1860s"?
    > Is it saying conquian definitely first originated/appeared in early 1860s or is it saying there are traces of conquian in 1860s or is it saying the earliest trace of conquian so far is in 1860s?
    None of the above. The way I interpret Parlett's words, it means Foster did analytical/detective work which determined that Conquian's gameplay originated in the 1860s.
    So, "definitely"? - No.
    "There are traces"? - maybe, but the word "trace" was used as a verb, not a noun.
    "The earliest trace"? - maybe. Why don't you get Parlett's book yourself?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    I do not understand their reasoning

    > From: Joan
    > Sent: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 12:56 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: We were about 3/4 done with the last wall when a 4 crack was discarded. I called the tile and put it up with two other 4 cracks. The other players (more experienced than I) asked if I was "waiting". I replied that I wasn't and was then told I should not have called the tile. When I questioned that I was told that 1. I changed the picking and 2. by exposing I was not playing defensively.
    > I do not understand their reasoning since I did not include a joker, it was my only exposure, and no one knows what the remaining tiles in the wall are, so what difference does it make if the picking is changed?
    > Several of us read your column so I said I would write to you for your opinion. Thanks.
    > Joan E.

    Hi, Joan.
    I'm afraid I can't explain the reasoning for their made-up rule. Read Frequently Asked Question 19Y and FAQ 14. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    Your group owes it to you to inform you of all their table rules -- it's not nice to expect newcomers to "just know" them.
    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!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    This week's column, part 2

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Monday, May 5, 2014 8:33 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Ahh! Yes question #2! I was reading the hand incorrectly, with unlike pungs of 3, 6, 9 rather than like pungs at the end. These exercises really help to be more careful reading the card!
    > Thank you.
    > Bee


    Three questions

    > From: "sucesemassena
    > Sent: Monday, May 5, 2014 6:54 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: What does the symbol on the front of the 2014 card mean? Is it different each year?
    > If a person is dealt mahjongg can they declare it or do they have to play the first charleston?

    > Thank you.
    > Suzanne s

    Hi, Suzanne. You wrote:

    What does the symbol on the front of the 2014 card mean?
    I assume you mean this:

    It's the Chinese writing for the name of the game, mah-jongg. 麻雀

    Is it different each year?
    No.

    If a person is dealt mahjongg can they declare it or do they have to play the first charleston?
    Read Frequently Asked Question 19-BJ. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    This week's column

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Monday, May 5, 2014 5:38 AM
    > Subject: May 4th column
    > #2 shouldn't the hot tile be a 6D in lieu of 6B as bams are already showing?
    > #9 shouldn't the hot tile be a 3C in lieu of 3B as bams are already showing? And include 6C & 9C?
    > Bee

    Good morning, Bee. You wrote:

    shouldn't the hot tile be a 6D in lieu of 6B as bams are already showing?
    Let's take a look at #2 from the column:


    2. 369 #5; the hot tiles are 6C 9C 6B. Be on the lookout for 6C; it's a key tile. If 6C goes dead, the hand is dead (and you should say so).

    And let's take a look at 369 #5 on the card:
    333 66 999 333 333 (Any 2 Suits, Like Pungs 3, 6 or 9)

    With a pung of sixes and a pung of threes in another suit, there's only one way the hand can be completed:

    Therefore one should not discard 6C or 9C or 6B. It's a 2-suit hand, so dots have no place in the picture.

    --

    shouldn't the hot tile be a 3C in lieu of 3B as bams are already showing? And include 6C & 9C?
    Okay, let's take a look at #9 from the column:


    9. 369 #5; the hot tiles are 3B 6B 9B 3D 6D 9D. The sixes are key.

    And let's take a look at 369 #5 on the card:
    333 66 999 333 333 (Any 2 Suits, Like Pungs 3, 6 or 9)

    With pungs of threes in two suits, there are two ways the hand can be completed:

    Since it's a 2-suit hand, craks have no business being in the hand. The hot tiles are threes, sixes, and nines in the two visible suits, and sixes are key.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Donation

    > From: Chris S via PayPal
    > Sent: Sunday, May 4, 2014 6:31 PM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Chris S
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Chris S. You can view the transaction details online.
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $10.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ###############
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Chris S
    > Message: Just a small "thank you" for the work you share with us. I appreciate it.
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    I appreciate the appreciation, Chris. Thanks so much!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 4, 2014


    How old is my set?

    > From: Don <donandjoni
    > Sent: Sunday, May 4, 2014 10:47 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I have set that was given to me several years ago from my mother in law it think it is at least 55+ years old. the paper work in the case says it was made in Providence, RI 02905 by Crisloid Plastics Inc. Its the American Beauty Non Fading Royal Depth Control Mah Jongg Set.. It is a beautiful set in perfect condition, I was wondering if you would know how old it is.
    > I am just curious if you can find the answer to my question.
    > Thank You
    > Joni M

    Hi, Joni.
    Since your paperwork includes a ZIP code, the set was made no earlier than 1963.


    Mr. ZIP was the Postal Service mascot during the sixties and seventies. The ZIP code was introduced in 1963.

    I could perhaps narrow it down a little if I knew how many flowers and jokers are in the set... Manufactured jokers and flowers (not stickered). See column 509.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 4, 2014


    The League says it IS a race, part 3

    >From: Beth M
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:30 PM
    >Subject: Re: Re: NMJL Rule
    >Thanks Tom for posting your response on the bulletin board.
    >Believe me, I would have preferred to email the NMJL instead of calling them. But they are old fashioned and I would have needed to send them a letter along with a send a self addressed stamped envelope for their response. But guess what...I will!
    >Beth

    Hi, Beth.
    I don't know why, but your email has been in my spam folder since Wednesday. I wonder if you saw what I posted on Thursday. Anyway, to respond belatedly to your latest:

    I would have preferred to email the NMJL instead of calling them. But they are old fashioned and I would have needed to send them a letter along with a send a self addressed stamped envelope for their response.
    Yes, that's what I meant when I said you should have "written them."

    But guess what...I will!
    If you do write them about this question, make sure to quote them what they say in their own newsletters and rulebook, as I posted on Thursday (below). Either they've changed the rule, or they have to retract what you were told on the phone.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Donation

    > From: Catherine H via PayPal
    > Sent: Saturday, May 3, 2014 2:50 PM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Catherine H
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Catherine H. You can view the transaction details online.
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $10.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ############
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Catherine H
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Thank you, Catherine. This is a good day for Sloperama!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Donation

    > From: Randy R
    > Sent: Saturday, May 3, 2014 8:56 AM
    > Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Roberta R
    > Dear Tom,
    > You're welcome. I really enjoy visiting your site and doing the weekly challenge. Being new to mahj, it has helped my game tremendously.
    > Sincerely,
    > Bert R


    Donation

    > From: Roberta R via PayPal
    > Sent: Thursday, May 1, 2014 5:48 PM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Roberta R
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Roberta R. You can view the transaction details online.
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $5.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ##########
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Roberta R
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Thank you, Roberta. Every little bit helps. It's good to feel appreciated.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    A discard was misnamed, causing a problem. What now?

    > From: Catherine H
    > Sent: Friday, May 2, 2014 5:50 PM
    > Subject: Question re: misnamed tile
    > I read several sections in RDWW and your FAQs but couldn't find this particular situation.
    > Player 1 discards and misnames her tile. Player 2 draws a tile from the wall. Player 1 realizes that she has misnamed her discard and correctly names it. Player 3 wants the correctly named tile for an exposure.
    > How is this situation resolved for all three players--1 who misnamed the tile; 2 who is holding a tile she drew from the wall and 3 who wants the correctly named tile for an exposure.
    > Thanks very much.
    > C. Hirata

    Hi, Catherine.
    This is a fairly straightforward "window of opportunity" question.
    You didn't say what Player 2 did after picking a tile from the wall. If Player 2 has not yet racked the tile, then FAQ 19-AT applies.
    If Player 2 has racked the picked tile, then Player 3 is too late. You have to realize that Player 3 is not error-free here. She never bothered to watch what tile Player 1 discarded. If she had been watching (and not only listening), she would have seen that it was a tile she wanted, and she could have spoken before Player 2 picked from the wall. Now she has to suffer the consequences of her own mistake.
    Also read column 458.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Is this heavenly hand?

    > From: Randy R
    > Sent: Thursday, May 1, 2014 4:50 PM
    > Subject: does dealer have to discard?
    > Hi Tom,
    > The dealer in our mahj group stopped the Charleston after the first left.
    > After the Courtesy and Mish, when it came time for her to throw out her 14th tile. she flipped up her tiles and declared mahj. Is this considered a heavenly hand since she went through part of the charleston or does she have to discard that first tile to officially start play?
    > Thanks,
    > Bert

    Hi, Bert.
    See column 476. She doesn't have "heavenly hand," but of course she's permitted to declare mah-jongg. It would be unfair in the extreme if anyone were ever required to destroy a complete winning hand after the mandatory Charleston passes.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014


    That 2014 hand (you know the one)

    > From: Marguerite S
    > Sent: Thursday, May 1, 2014 3:16 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: The highest scoring hand on the 2014 National Majhongg card is a closed hand for 75 points that includes three sequences of 2014. A lady in our little club in East Troy, WI won with that sequence today. We are wondering if there is a name for attaining said hand. Golf has a hole in one, bowling has a 300 game, bridge has a slam, so what is the triple 2014 Majhongg hand called?
    >Nim

    It's called "That 2014 hand (you know the one)." (^_^) Or sometimes "The 2014 hand at the bottom of the card."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014


    Is there a penalty for throwing the winning tile I thought there was

    > From: Ellen
    > Sent: Thursday, May 1, 2014 6:26 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Are you allowed to throw into a fourth exposure for forty years I have believed you could not but a regular in my game said we made that a house rule not a real rule thank you for your time

    Hi Ellen you should get a copy of the official rule book you should also read the yearly newsletter they always answer frequently asked questions in the yearly newsletter

      2007 NMJL newsletter:
      Q. A player has 2 exposures on their [sic] rack and another player discards the winning tile for Mah Jongg. What is her penalty?
      A. We have NO RULING on a "hot" tile. However, a good player would try to never discard a dangerous or obvious tile at anytime [sic] or into the third or fourth exposure, thereby helping their opponents [sic] or giving Mah Jongg.

      2014 NMJL newsletter:
      Q. A player has 2 exposures...May I discard a tile toward her hand?
      A. We have NO RULING for a "hot" tile or "hot" Wall. That is strictly an individual game's "table" rule.

    Also see Frequently Asked Question 19Y You can link to the FAQs above left After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19 Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question Thanks
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014


    The League says it IS a race, part 2

    Yesterday's email from Beth M has been nagging at me. When I responded yesterday, I did not have the rulebook and the yearly newsletters at hand. This morning I checked my sources again.

      "Mah Jongg Made Easy" (the official NMJL rulebook) - p. 19. Quote:
      (c) When two players want the same tile for Mah Jongg, the player nearest in turn to the discarder gets the preference.

      2007 NMJL newsletter:
      Q. I called Mah Jongg on a discarded tile. Just a few seconds later, the player next in turn to discarder also called Mah Jongg on that same discarded tile. Who is entitled to the Mah Jongg?
      A. Just as long as you have not exposed your hand...player next in turn would have priority.

      2013 NMJL newsletter:
      Q. Two players called for the same tile for an exposure. The second player who called started to make her exposure but next in turn announced that she wanted that tile also. Who is entitled to the tile?
      A. Just as long as the other player started to make her exposure, next in turn was TOO LATE.

    While Jean and Mary, answering the phone at the League office, say that the player who speaks first gets the tile, that flies in the face of the written rulings issued by the League. "Too late" depends on actions (like exposing one's tiles), not on who was quicker to speak. The verbal responses quoted by Beth differ from what the League has said in writing. If the League is changing its rules, it must do it in writing. Watch for the 2015 newsletter in January. And always get your rulings from the League in writing -- never over the phone.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014


    The League says it IS a race!

    > From: Beth M
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 9:22 AM
    > Subject: NMJL Rule
    >Hi Tom,
    >I love your website on mah jongg; it has been so informative over the years. I am an avid and long time maj player. The other day we had a disagreement at the table. The situation was that two players basically called mah jongg at the same time to claim a discarded tile for maj. I said that the person next in line would get the mah jongg. The other gal said it was the person who called it first.
    >
    >The next day I sent the Q and A below to the other player. She replied that she had contacted Jean at the NMJL and that Jean said the maj goes to the person who said it first. I then called the NMJL and talked to Mary who agreed with Jean in that the maj goes to the person who called it first. I asked about the rule and she said that the only time it would go to the next person in line is when players call for maj "SIMULTANEOUSLY" but quickly stated that things generally do not happen simultaneously. I read her your Q2 and A2 below but she would not listen to me and would not provide an explanation. The conversation left me very frustrated.
    >
    > Tom, this seems to be a real problem. Can you help resolve this issue and conflict? The written rule seems clear but the verbal information from the NMJL is quite different especially the Q2 and A2 response below.
    >
    > I look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience. Feel free to email me or call me at the work # below.
    >Thank you so much.
    >Beth M
    >Long Beach, CA
    >[tel. no. deleted] - work
    >
    > Q1: Who gets a discard iftwo want it for the same thing? ("Conflicting claim")
    > A1: Whentwo players claim a discard for exposure, the player whose turn would be nextin order of play (counterclockwise from discarder) gets the tile. Likewisewhen two players claim a discard for mah-jongg.
    >
    > Q2: What if the two calls aren't simultaneous - that oneplayer verbalizes her claim after another player has already spoken forit?
    > A2: It's not a race. The player next in turn gets the tile.
    >
    > Forfurther reading:
    > RDWW -p. 53 (rule 63), pp. 96-97
    > NMJL -p. 19

    Hello, Beth.
    I wish you had written them instead of calling them. The National Mah Jongg League is absolutely the arbiter of their rules. But they have to put it in writing. I wrote my FAQs based on what the League has written in their official rulebook and in yearly newsletters. Until they say, in writing, that a conflicting claim goes to the person who spoke first, I'm not changing the FAQ. Then again, I might tack this tidbit (your story) onto the FAQ, and confuse the hell out of everybody.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Can I use zero in Consecutive Runs?

    > From: Lilly L
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 8:57 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Zero is a number. In a sequential run, can it start with zero?
    >The computer programmers I play with insist this is correct interpretation of NMJL card
    >Thank you kindly for a ruling on this
    >Lilly

    Hi, Lilly.
    If it was up to programmers, there would be a Highway Zero, and instead of shouting "we're number one!" people would shout "we're number zero!" And the Beatles' CD "1" (for "number one hits") would be "0" and deejays would say, "and now here's number zero on the charts: 'Happy,' by Pharrell!"
    The point being, normal people start counting at one, not zero -- you can't always listen to programmers.
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19BH. You'll find links to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ #19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    2014 #2, for the eighth time

    > From: "justme288
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 7:51 AM
    > Subject: mahj 2014 question
    > On the hand 222 000 1111 4444... it says two different suits... so my questions is do you have to have to use dots for the 222"s? or can use another suit??
    >Thank you,
    >Ellen

    Hi, Ellen.
    For the answer to your question, you can scroll down and see the answer I gave to the previous seven people who asked this. Or (better!) you can read Frequently Asked Question 16, where I show pictures of every possible way you can make that hand (you'll find links to the FAQs above left). Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about the 2014 NMJL card are found in FAQ 16. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    What do you mean, "the most powerful hand on the card"?

    > From: Deborah A
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 5:51 AM
    > Subject: "Most Powerful Hand on the Card" Column #601
    > Hi Tom:
    > I have been travelling and just now am catching up with your columns. I need a refresher as to what you mean by "most powerful hand on the card" (see your answer to #10) I looked it up in FAQ but couldn't find it. Please direct me as to where I can find an explanation so that I can understand why Consecutive # 2 is the most powerful hand on the 2014 NMJL card.
    > Thank you.
    > Deborah

    Hi, Deborah.
    You won't find this in the FAQs, because this is not a "frequently asked question." It's a matter of strategy. I have mentioned it before in the strategy column, and I think what I'll do is write a special column about this particular hand. But for now, to answer your question:
    Consec. #2 is perennially the easiest hand on the card to make. Consider: the easiest section on the card is Consecutive Runs, for a simple reason: this section is based on consecutive numbers, and number tiles are the most numerous type of tile in the mah-jongg set. Consec. #2 is the easiest hand in Consecutive Runs to make, because it needs only two suits, it has no pairs (meaning you can use jokers in any grouping in the hand), and you can use any four consecutive numbers to make it. It's very flexible (meaning you can switch within it, or switch to it, if necessary).
    I once played with a man for whom the rest of the card was too mentally taxing, and he only played Consec. #2. He managed to win a reasonable percentage of the time. The ladies with whom we played got very ticked off at him for this practice.
    Mind you, when I say Consec. #2 is "the most powerful hand," that does not mean I recommend you do what my friend did. Just remember that whenever you find yourself stuck on the horns of some kind of dilemma, you can consider switching to Consec. #2.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 29, 2014


    Can a joker be used in a kong?

    > From: Doris F
    > Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2014 1:04 PM
    > Subject: MJ
    > Hi, Tom,
    > I have a question. In the hand on the new card, FFFF 2222 0000 14,
    > can jokers be used for the 0s?
    > Thanks,
    > Doris
    > dojam35

    Hi, Doris.
    Yes. You can use as many jokers as you want to make any pung, kong, or quint on the card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Which ones are my winds, dragons, and flowers?

    >From: vivian m
    >Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014 10:30 PM
    >Subject: Re: Can you identify winds and flowers in this set?
    >And thank you for your prompt response! Given what your in-box must be, I'm very impressed.
    >V
    >P.S. I also have a Craftmaster set, with the 1923 Rules for Ma-Jong booklet. Your posting on that set was very informative. I play only Western. Using the blanks and the Patent Pending tiles as jokers works well.


    Which ones are my winds, dragons, and flowers?

    > From: vivian m
    > Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014 2:45 PM
    > Subject: Can you identify winds and flowers in this set?
    >This set has 4 of each of the pictured tiles, plus 8 jokers made with stickers on blanks. My question concerns the bottom row. I infer that 1,2,3 are white, red, and green dragons, respectively. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) I assume the 24 tiles represented by 4-9 are flowers and winds. Can you identify them for me?
    >Thanks.
    > Vivian M

    Hi, Vivian.
    I have no idea how the set's creator intended those tiles to be apportioned. Of course you'd want a sequential group of 3 to be the dragons, and yes, the first three do seem most logical - but which should be "red dragon"? Looking at the craks in your set (which, by the way, is weirder than most of the weird sets in my own collection!), it looks like those tiles all have green on them, so the #3 tile (the green dinosaur) might best be the "dragon" that goes with your craks. And the #2 tile (the castle) is architectural, so goes nicely with your bams, leaving the #1 tile (the blue dragon) to go with your dots (yin and yang). As for which are flowers (#4 and #5, OR #s 8 and 9), that is entirely up to you. I recommend you make a reference card each player at your table can use while playing.
    Afterthought: your #7 tile is the Big Dipper, which points North - so most likely your #4, 5, 6, and 7 tiles are E, S, W, and N respectively, leaving #s 8 and 9 as your flowers.
    And another afterthought: your 8-bams are upside-down in the picture. Notice how all the bams are letters. I, T, K, X, A. Then Hi, ON, BY, WE. I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to those (they don't spell out a sentence that means anything, like "Itkxa hi on by we," which is nonsense) except for the number of lines (pen strokes).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2014


    How to sell, how to donate?

    > From: Sidney T
    > Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014 12:00 PM
    > Subject: mah jong set
    > Tom;
    > We acquired this set many years ago from a friend We were told it is from the 20's
    > We would like to sell now and would appreciate some advice as to where and how would be the most efficient method.
    > Any idea abot approximate value would be appreciated.
    > Believe I have attached pics as per instructions.
    > Do you need any additional info?
    > How do I make donation to your site?
    >Sidney T
    >
    >Description
    >leather case with handle in reasonable good condition for age.
    >3 draws, two with tiles one with accessories
    >the top is not attached as the threads sewing at leather hinge are missing.
    >Can easily be sewed back in holes
    >148 tiles bamboo and Bakelite
    >Size; 13/16ths X 13/16ths X 7/16ths
    >4 buttons south, east, north, west in case
    >130 sticks assorted sizes.
    >6 dice in box
    >2 scorecards by Mrs. Prescott Warren copyright 1924
    >3 Pr. Dice in wood box
    >
    >Tiles;
    >43 cracks no 1-9
    >31 bams no. 1-9
    >26 dot no 1-9
    >11 flowers
    >14 blanks
    >2 red dragons
    >2 green dragons
    >19 wind tiles
    >5 betting discs
    >Betting sticks?
    > 40 x 20 dots
    > 39 x 14 dots
    > 8x 10 dots
    > 40 x 2 dots
    >
    >MAHJONGDESC.8/12/2008


    Hi, Sidney.
    One of your photos tells the story of your set much better than your written description, so I broke down your photo to show the composition of each suit and tile type. You wrote:

    We would like to sell now and would appreciate some advice as to where and how would be the most efficient method.
    Your BEST bet is to sell it on eBay. You can also post it on my Tiles For Sale BB - but to save us both some trouble, I'm not only answering your questions here on the Q&A BB but also posting this on the Tiles For Sale BB (not on the Sets For Sale BB, since you do not have a complete set).

    Any idea abot approximate value would be appreciated.
    That's really hard, because what you have is not a complete set -- it's a hodgepodge of tiles from two sets, with a lot of them missing. The case is worthless, but the scorecards might be worth something (I didn't see a picture and you didn't tell me condition), and the tiles and other bits all have value. But only to (a) collectors who need replacement parts, or (b) sellers who sell tiles and bits to collectors.

    Do you need any additional info?
    Normally, I would need all the information in FAQ 7H, especially condition. But since your set is just a collection of random tiles, I can't really give you a valuation. I don't know how much you might get for a batch of 148 random bone and bamboo tiles.

    You say you have 148 tiles in all. If you look at http://www.mahjongtiles.com/, you'll see that bone and bamboo tiles can go from $4 to $10 each, depending on quality, demand, and rarity of the tile's carving. That does NOT mean YOU will get that much for each tile. To get that much means opening a website of your own (that costs money, and takes time to manage), and it will take a LONG time to sell them all, one or two at a time to people who are missing a tile.

    So your best bet is to sell the scorecards on eBay, and sell the tiles as a lot (or broken up into suits as I've broken up your photo above), and sell the other bits as a lot. Or sell the whole collection. I have no idea what you can get for it. But let's continue doing the math thing I started a paragraph ago. Figure that any seller who might buy your parts, for the purpose of reselling, absolutely has to make a profit (otherwise it's not worth his while). The absolute most a seller might pay for your tiles is somewhere around $1 each. If you have 148 tiles, that comes to about how much a complete set in good condition would go for - so I think it's unlikely someone would pay $150. More likely, under $100. But I could well be wrong.

    How do I make donation to your site?
    Click anywhere on this site where it says "donations appreciated." I accept donations through Paypal. I suppose if anyone wanted to send me a check instead, all he or she would have to do is email me and say "what's your address, so I can send you a check?" (^_^)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2014


    Do two non-identical pairs make a kong, part 2

    > From: heather
    > Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014 9:20 AM
    > Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Yes we were comparing the 2010 to the 2013
    > That is why I questioned it
    > Thank you for your clarification
    > I still can’t find that explanation on the card
    > I am not sure why they have shown it 2 ways if it has to be the same 11DD or 11 DD
    > Heather

    Hello, Heather. You wrote:

    I still can’t find that explanation on the card
    Open the card and turn it over, face-down. Look at the left pane. Read the first line of the 2nd paragraph (the line immediately beneath where it says "STANDARD BASED ON EIGHT FLOWERS AND EIGHT JOKERS"). You need to read the entire back of the card and make sure you understand everything on it. Every player needs to know everything on the back of the card.

    I am not sure why they have shown it 2 ways if it has to be the same 11DD or 11 DD
    Consider the chronology. It was shown as "11DD" in 2010, and ever since then they've always shown it as "11 DD." Now consider why that might be. Most likely, they put in the space because they got too many questions from people thinking it was a kong.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2014


    Do two non-identical pairs make a kong?

    > From: heather
    > Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014 6:30 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Like numbers
    > When you see 11DD can you pick up the number or the dragon needed from a discarded tile
    > We have a had soooo much discussion about this
    > Some cards show 11 DD & other 11DD with no space
    > If there is a space I would not pick up unless it is for a mah jong
    > If there is no space I say we should be able to as it is really 4 tiles together not a pair
    > Please give us your opinion
    > Thank you
    > Heather

    Hello, Heather. You wrote:

    Like numbers
    > When you see 11DD
    You're not using the 2014 card?

    Some cards show 11 DD & other 11DD with no space
    Are you comparing the 2010 card with, say, the 2013 card?

    We have a had soooo much discussion about this
    Somebody should have asked sooner.

    If there is no space I say we should be able to as it is really 4 tiles together not a pair
    By that logic, "2014" is a kong, and "NEWS" is a kong. You are wrong. On the back of the card, it says "Pair-2 like tiles; Pung-3; Kong-4..." Because space is at a premium on the back of the card, "shorthand" is being used. Clearly, the League means to say that a kong is "4 like tiles" (in accordance with every other mah-jongg variant in the world). You should read Frequently Asked Question 19E. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question.
    Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2014


    Donation

    > From: Diane S via PayPal
    > Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 11:51 AM
    > Subject: Notification of donation received
    > PayPal
    > You've Got Cash!
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Diane S
    > View the details of this transaction online
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $20.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: [deleted]
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Diane S
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Thank you very much, Diane!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    The order of mah-jongg

    > From: Diane S
    > Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 2:35 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: when calling a tile for mahjongg does it matter whether you place your Mahjongg tiles on your rack before you pick up the tile you called?
    > Do you have to pick up the called tile first and put it on your rack before exposing your Mahjongg.
    > Has come up in our tournament. Thanks for your help.
    > Diane S

    Since you mentioned racks, you're talking about American mah-jongg. There is no rule saying which thing must occur first.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Origins, part 13

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:34 AM
    > Subject: Translation
    > Here's a conversation we had before.
    > Q.Also,do you mean the card game become known as Peng He Pai when the numbers of cards being expanded to 120 or 150?
    > A.I know that the deck and the name changed - I do not know details of how the gameplay changed. My source (MJM = the book of the Mahjong Museum in Chiba, Japan) was originally written in Japanese, and the English translation is cryptic.
    > But the 120 cards is at least correct right despite the English translation being cryptic?

    It says "120 or 150," Darren. Here is a scan of the text from the Mahjong Museum's "Big Encyclopedia," in both Japanese and English. Click it to see it full-size.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Smelly tiles, part 2

    > From: Diana J
    > Sent: Monday, April 21, 2014 8:57 AM
    > Subject: Re: Smell on Mahjongg Tiles
    >thanks, I'll give the suggestions a try.


    Smelly tiles

    > From: Diana J
    > Sent: Monday, April 21, 2014 7:40 AM
    > Subject: Smell on Mahjongg Tiles
    > Mr Sloper, I did check your faq before sending this question and didn't find an answer, I don't think.
    > I just bought a 'new' set of tiles, which, based on the price, are probably seconds. They look nice, but they smell terrible. Very harsh, chemical plastic-y smell.
    > I have aired them out, and it doesn't seem to help. Right now, I have them in a container with newspaper on top hoping it will suck up some of the smell.
    > I am sensitive to smells, and will never use these tiles if they continue to stink. I realize they were cheap, and all that, but they should be usable. So do you have any ideas that would get rid of that plasic, chemical smell? I know soapy water is out, and may be willing to try the scrubbing bubbles, but the paint has some gold accents, and I was afraid it may get rid of that.
    > Thanks,
    > Diana J
    > Highland Falls NY

    Diana, did you look in FAQ seven oh? Get rid of that newspaper now! Search the page (control-F) for the words "smell" and "newspaper."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Origins, part 12

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 9:50 PM
    > Subject: Forum
    > I mean a forum about mahjong and card games where people create account and join in to talk about mahjong and card games with you being the admin/moderators.

    This forum is good enough for my purposes, Darren.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Origins, part 11

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 9:15 PM
    > Subject: Mahjong
    > >>>Oh. I do not believe Darren is really your name.
    > That was a quick reply. It's my first name. Christian people in where I live does adopt English name despite not being English.
    > Have you ever consider making a forum to talk about mahjong or card game?

    I don't know what you mean, Darren. Another forum besides this one?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Origins, part 10

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 9:02 PM
    > Subject: Thierry Depaulis
    > >>>Parlett and Depaulis and pagat.com are good sources of card game history.
    > I manage to e-mail Parlett. He did reply to me. However,Depaulis didn't reply to me. Can you give me his e-mail address? Does he reply to e-mail?
    > Oh,you can just call me Darren.

    I do not give out email addresses. But in your case, I'll give out yours (I emailed Thierry to let him know about this conversation - if he wants to talk to you, he'll be able to contact you). Your email address is bittorent89 at yahoo dot com
    Oh. I do not believe Darren is really your name.
    By the way, I edited/corrected my previous reply several times. On the chance that you might have seen an earlier (not as good) reply, you might want to read the below again.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Origins, part 9

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 7:52 PM
    > Subject: Mahjong and card game history
    > >>>'1850-1855 is when the Taiping Rebellion occurred. My sources are http://www.mahjongmuseum.com/lage0923.htm and the booklet of the museum in Ningbo (I call it "DH/BP/MJ" - Display Hall of the Birthplace of Mahjong - in the timeline). I forget where, but I had heard that Chen Yumen was an officer during the rebellion, and Powell (one of my sources) stated that Chen created mahjong while an officer. So I just used the dates 1850-1855 (probably wrongly).'
    > Taiping Rebellion is 1850-1864.Did the booklet of the museum in Ningbo said it's 1850-1855. Another link I read says mahjong is published in 1850. Too many contradiction of source. I'm getting more confuse.
    > http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2093/mahjong
    > I believe Tom from this google group and you are the same person. Do you got any idea what Thierry Depaulis mean when he said something that happen in 1850 and 1864?
    > 'BEFORE Chen did something in 1864 (as is
    > stated in 'Majiang qiyuan di chenlie guan bian / The history and
    > culture of Mahjong', Ningbo, [2002]).
    > I cannot prove this for the moment but in a few weeks, when Michael
    > Stanwick's impressive paper appears in 'The Playing-Card', I will be
    > able to bring new arguments. All in all I agree with most experts that
    > the "event" must have happened in around 1850.'
    > https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.mahjong/7f7La6tBpbc
    > 1850 and 1864. What are the thing that Chen did something in 1864 and the event happen around 1850?
    > >>> You could ask the editor.
    > Yeah,good idea. Will do.
    > Do you thinks there's any connection between primero and rummy/mahjong.
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primero
    > Might need some time to digest it.

    Anonymous person, you wrote:

    Taiping Rebellion is 1850-1864.
    Oh. You're right. Okay, I've corrected the FAQ.

    Did the booklet of the museum in Ningbo said it's 1850-1855.
    I don't know. You should get your own copy.

    Another link I read says mahjong is published in 1850. Too many contradiction of source. I'm getting more confuse.
    Most people are confused since many sources say mahjong goes back to Confucius, and several more modern sources say it doesn't. Don't you get it? Nobody knows exactly when Chen Yumen did what he did. Your quest for certainty is admirable, but you need to dig much much deeper than websites. This is a challenge for a serious historian!

    http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2093/mahjong
    I suspect "1850" is a rough guess based on the phrase "Originating in China in the mid-19th century," elsewhere on that page. Or it might be based on Thierry Depaulis' newsgroup post that you cited below (or some other writing of his).

    I believe Tom from this google group and you are the same person... https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.mahjong/7f7La6tBpbc
    Yes, of course that's me. There are a lot of posts from me on that newsgroup (my FAQs here used to be the mahjong newsgroup FAQs). It's very difficult to follow you sometimes - you cite a URL without making it clear which URL goes with which statement or question (I was looking for the newsgroup citations on boardgamegeek).

    Do you got any idea what Thierry Depaulis mean when he said something that happen in 1850 and 1864?
    > 'BEFORE Chen did something in 1864 (as is
    > stated in 'Majiang qiyuan di chenlie guan bian / The history and
    > culture of Mahjong', Ningbo, [2002]).
    > I cannot prove this for the moment but in a few weeks, when Michael
    > Stanwick's impressive paper appears in 'The Playing-Card', I will be
    > able to bring new arguments. All in all I agree with most experts that
    > the "event" must have happened in around 1850.'
    He was saying that he believed mahjong existed in some form as early as 1850, and that perhaps Chen Yumen merely made some improvements to it.

    Do you thinks there's any connection between primero and rummy/mahjong.
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primero
    I never heard of primero before. I am not a historian of card games - I've merely collected information that informs the history of mah-jongg. Wikipedia says primero is the "mother of poker," but now what you would need to do is research poker itself. I know poker was one of the games played by soldiers in the American civil war (the early 1860s). Whether poker led to rummy I do not know. Parlett and Depaulis and pagat.com are good sources of card game history. I suggest you check them out.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Need more Zs

    > From: "robert.c
    > Cc: Robert C
    > Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 1:51 PM
    > Subject: FAQ 2a Questionnaire
    > Dear Tom,
    > Many thanks for your useful questionnaire http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq02a.htm
    > . I have previously played Japanese Classical (from Eleanor Noss Whitney's
    > book) and now I'm looking into Zung Jung and Chinese Govt. Official.
    > May I
    > offer a couple of suggestions regarding the questionnaire?
    > In question 10 I
    > suggest a 'Z' could be added to categories i), ii), iii), iv) and v), since
    > Zung Jung normally uses the basic 136 tiles.
    > Also, in question 14, you might
    > add a 'Z' to answer (ii). Since Zung Jung can be played with 4 players.
    > Once
    > again, many thanks,
    > Robert, UK

    Hi Robert,
    Your suggestion is well taken. I made the change.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Tile engravers in New Zealand, part 2

    >From: Ann B
    >Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:53 PM
    >Subject: Re: Re engraving tiles
    >Thank you Tom,
    >I see your answer.
    >You have such an interesting site. I have thought of jewellers but an antique dealer who sells may jong sets advised against. However, I think that is probably the only way. She did suggest that there are elderly Chinese men who do the job so perhaps I need to visit the local Chinese Buddhist Temple down here in Auckland, NZ.
    >Anyway thanks again.
    >Ann

    Yes, Chinatown is always a good bet too! Good luck, Ann.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Origins, part 8

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 7:46 PM
    > Subject: Yutopian source and date
    > I remember sending you similar link before in wikipedia. Below is description of mahjong history from Yutopain.
    > In the two hundred year history of Ma Diao, its rules continued to evolve. During the reign of Kang Xi Emperor (1662-1723 A.D.), the rules of Mahjong took an important turn, by combining two sets of the Ma Diao game. The Shi Suit has been eliminated. The set contained three suits, with Wen (balls or circles), Suo (bamboo or sticks), and Wan (characters). Each suit consisted of two sets of 1s to 9s for a total of 54 cards. The rest of the cards consisted of two each of Flower, Blank and Red Ten Thousand, for a total of 60 cards. Each player took 10 cards with the remaining 20 cards placed in the center of the table to be drawn later. A winning hand consisted of two sets of 4 cards with sequential numbers of the same suit plus a pair of ones (of any suit), Flowers, Blanks, or Red Ten Thousands. If after the cards were exhausted from the center of the table and no one won, each player discarded five cards, which were then shuffled and returned to the table. This continued until someone won.
    > http://www.yutopian.com/mahjong/history.html
    > I just want to ask if you got any idea where does Yutopian get it's source/reference list.
    > According to your Mahjong Timeline,Chen Yumen modify card to tiles in 1850-1855.
    > http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11h.htm
    > However,according tot his site,this occur in 1864.
    > 'he felt that cards were inconvenient to play with and it was in 1864 that he first introduced bamboo tiles and added more contents to the playing tiles than cards.'
    > http://www.whatsonningbo.com/ningbo-info-158.html
    > So which date is it? 1850-1855 or 1864? Typing error? Or did I misinterpret something here?

    > From: bittorent bittorent
    > Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 9:00 PM
    > Subject: You-Hu and Peng He Pai
    > Sorry for sending a second e-mail before you get the chance to reply the previous one. I've question for the below quote.
    > Ching era; Chian-lung Years (1735 - 95) [China]; You-Hu was now more popular than Matiao, and Peng He Pai expanded the number of cards to 120 or 150. (Source: MJM) John Low says that the Peng He Pai playing cards were also known as zhi pai, and that this game was rummylike.
    > http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11h.htm
    > Is You-Hu and Mo He the same thing?
    > Also,do you mean the card game become known as Peng He Pai when the numbers of cards being expanded to 120 or 150?
    > As English not my native language,when I first read it,I though it mean Peng He Pai is the name of the person who responsible for expanding the number of cards to 120 oe 150.

    > From: bittorent bittorent <bittorent89@yahoo
    > Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2014 6:31 AM
    > Subject: Card game history
    > Did you have new email address or do you still use this one(webmaster@sloperama.com)? I decided to send you again for in case you actually use this one. I've three questions here.
    [Repeat of previous emails deleted]

    Welcome back, unknown anonymous person. 你好.
    I haven't heard from you since July 3, 2013 (http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive26.htm). I wish you would tell me your name so I don't have to call you "anonymous person" all the time. I won't reveal your full name here on this site (it's my policy to omit family names of people who ask questions here). It's polite to introduce oneself. You wrote:

    I just want to ask if you got any idea where does Yutopian get it's source/reference list.
    No, I don't.

    According to your Mahjong Timeline,Chen Yumen modify card to tiles in 1850-1855.
    1850-1855 is when the Taiping Rebellion occurred. My sources are http://www.mahjongmuseum.com/lage0923.htm and the booklet of the museum in Ningbo (I call it "DH/BP/MJ" - Display Hall of the Birthplace of Mahjong - in the timeline). I forget where, but I had heard that Chen Yumen was an officer during the rebellion, and Powell (one of my sources) stated that Chen created mahjong while an officer. So I just used the dates 1850-1855 (probably wrongly).

    However,according [to this] site [URL below],this occur in 1864.
    > 'he felt that cards were inconvenient to play with and it was in 1864 that he first introduced bamboo tiles and added more contents to the playing tiles than cards.'
    > http://www.whatsonningbo.com/ningbo-info-158.html
    > So which date is it? 1850-1855 or 1864? Typing error? Or did I misinterpret something here?
    There is no conclusive statement in my timeline or my source as to exactly what year Chen Yumen developed mahjong. I do not know what whatsonningbo's source for the 1864 date is. You could ask the editor. He gives his email address on that page, and says, "This site contains materials from other clearly stated media sources for the purpose of discussion stimulation and content enrichment among our members only. whatsonningbo.com does not necessarily endorse their views or the accuracy of their content." I have no reason to doubt that 1864 could be when Chen Yumen developed mahjong. That's only a few years off what it says in my timeline -- and I think I'll modify the timeline accordingly.

    Ching era; Chian-lung Years (1735 - 95) [China]; You-Hu was now more popular than Matiao, and Peng He Pai expanded the number of cards to 120 or 150. (Source: MJM) John Low says that the Peng He Pai playing cards were also known as zhi pai, and that this game was rummylike.
    > http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11h.htm
    > Is You-Hu and Mo He the same thing?
    No - what that entry in FAQ 11H is saying is, "you-hu evolved into peng-he by adding cards to the deck." So the peng-he deck is similar to the you-hu deck, but has more cards than you-hu.

    Also,do you mean the card game become known as Peng He Pai when the numbers of cards being expanded to 120 or 150?
    I know that the deck and the name changed - I do not know details of how the gameplay changed. My source (MJM = the book of the Mahjong Museum in Chiba, Japan) was originally written in Japanese, and the English translation is cryptic. But yes, the game name changed when the deck expanded.
    Please note the Ching Era and 1783 entries in the timeline - there are discrepancies in the you-hu deck count. According to MJM, the you-hu deck was 60 cards, but according to a 2007 Thierry Depaulis mahjong newsgroup post, youhu was played with 32 dominoes*.

    As English not my native language,when I first read it,I though it mean Peng He Pai is the name of the person who responsible for expanding the number of cards to 120 oe 150.
    I guess you understand now that "pai" is just the Chinese word for "card" or "tile" or "domino." In English, we use different words for cards and tiles (cards are thin and flexible, tiles are thick and hefty - dominoes are a type of tile).
    * So when Depaulis said that youhu was played with 32 dominoes, he may be referring to "pai," which could just as well be cards. It is possible that he knew something more definitive than that, though, and used the term "dominoes" deliberately.

    Did you have new email address or do you still use this one(webmaster@sloperama.com)? I decided to send you again for in case you actually use this one.
    I received your first two emails late at night just before going to bed. I received your third email in the morning, before I had a chance to digest and respond to your emails. I needed time to check those web pages you told me about, and to recheck my timeline and my sources. Any sloperama.com email address is fine (tom, tomster, webmaster, mj - they all work). So there was no need to resend your questions.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Can he call the tile he just threw?

    > From: Cheryl T
    > Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 12:35 PM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg
    > Recently playing with my grandsons, one boy threw a tile in error, (he realized he needed it and shouldn't have thrown it.) I said he could not take it back as it was already named and on the table. He then asked, since his turn is over and the next person didn't go yet, can he call the tile he just threw. I thought it a good question. What would be the reasoning for a correct answer?
    >Cheryl
    > Sent from My

    Hi, Cheryl. You wrote:

    He then asked, since his turn is over and the next person didn't go yet, can he call the tile he just threw. I thought it a good question.
    Yes, an excellent question. He's a very bright and imaginative boy. He should go into law or politics! No, he cannot claim the tile he just discarded.

    What would be the reasoning for a correct answer?
    Because no form of mah-jongg, in any country on the planet, would permit such a move. Actions commit one to a move. By discarding the tile, he committed, irrevocably, to removing it from his hand. He might yet get another chance to get that tile's sibling, either by picking it or by calling it when someone else discards it -- which some forms of mah-jongg forbid, since he'd previously discarded the same tile so it should be a safe discard for anyone subsequently -- I assume you are playing American-style mah-jongg and are a grandmother, and calling it if it comes out again is permitted in American mah-jongg.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Tile engravers in New Zealand?

    > From: Ann Batten <anbattenme dot com>
    > Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 2:27 AM
    > Subject: Re engraving tiles
    > Hello Tom,
    > I have just been recommended to your website by a very experienced player in Auckland, NZ. I have enjoyed browsing it and have saved to to my bookmarks.
    > I have bought a very nice antique Mahjong set but the character tiles have no numbers.
    > Do you or any of your readers know where in NZ I may find a person who can engrave tiles. I believe that the set is bone.
    > Best regards
    > Ann

    Hi, Ann.
    I have no information about tile engravers in New Zealand, or anywhere else (other than the Arkay link in FAQ seven oh). Your question is now "out there" for anyone to see (and I've left your email address visible but bot-proofed so people can contact you directly), but I don't think posting a question on a website is going to get you an answer to this kind of obscure question. You need to pro-actively look for engravers.
    So let's think about this logically -- what kind of products do engravers usually work on?

  • Signs,
  • Trophies,
  • Jewelry...

    Right? Maybe you can think of some more. What you need to do is look for businesses that do those things, and inquire with them. Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Please help me on this matter

    > From: Kenny D <yavapaigoldandsilver
    > Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:23 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: I bought a mah jongg set a week ago. the tiles are a butterscotch yellow, almost looks like amber. anyway the set has 144 pieces and never used. it has a blue soft plastic case. the odd thing is, every piece has a large bug-insect inside of each tile. could you please help me on this matter. I will send a few pics. thanks ken

    Help you with what, Kenny? Please read FAQ 7 (the question you're asking is essentially FAQ 7-P). The FAQs are above left.
    I've heard of this type of tile before, with a cricket inside. Crickets are considered good luck in Asia. The plastic is often referred to as "applejuice Bakelite" due to its resemblance to apple juice.
    Standing by to help when you have a specific question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 17, 2014


    Can I expose a 2014?

    > From: Sharon S
    > Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:31 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Can a discarded tile be picked up to make 2014 an displayed?

    Hi, Sharon.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question.
    Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 17, 2014


    Peeking during the Charleston

    > From: Diane S
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1:49 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you look at your pass or rack your pass before making your pass in the charleston are you dead?

    Hi, Diane. You wrote:

    If you look at your pass ... before making your pass in the charleston are you dead?
    I had to read this a couple of times to figure out what you're asking. Of course you have to look at "your pass" (the tiles you're going to pass to your neighbor) - so of course what you mean is, "if you look at the tiles passed to you by another player" before you pass your tiles to another player.

    Clearly, you understand that looking at the tiles passed to you should not occur before you pass your tiles. But you aren't dead until someone calls you dead. You can't call yourself dead (see FAQ 19).

    If you ... rack your pass [from another player] before making your pass [to another player] in the charleston are you dead?
    You aren't dead until someone calls you dead. If someone else notices what you did, she can call you dead, and you'd have to admit your wrongdoing and sit out the hand.

    But in a non-tournament setting, if someone calls another player dead during the Charleston, most players would say, "oh let her play."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Misnamed tile in tournament

    > From: Judith O
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1:04 PM
    > Subject: Misnamed tile in tournament
    > I understand the rules/penalty for a misnamed tile in regular Mah Jongg. But.....
    >What happens in a tournament when money is not being used? In our semi-annual local tournaments, giving someone Maj Jongg results in a -10 points as a score. (If a person has 2+ exposures, then the penalty increases to -20.) The others receive a 0 and the winner scores points equal to the value of the hand on the card.
    >So, in this case, is the mis-namer penalized -40 points (OR horror... -80 points?) Does the MJ caller still receive the point value of the hand?
    >TIA.
    >Judith

    Hi, Judith.
    Every tournament has its own rules. So I can't tell you how it will work in a tournament you might attend. Or maybe you are a tournament organizer, and you're asking how you should judge it - I don't know exactly where your question is coming from. So I can only tell you how I think it should go (not necessarily how it will go if it happens in a tournament you attend).
    If the misnamed tile does not result in any cascading error (nobody wants the named tile for anything), then no penalty.
    If the misnamed tile is wanted for exposure, then not only has the misnamer erred, but also the caller has erred. As per FAQ 19AY, still no penalty to the misnamer. She must correctly name the discard. The erring caller's penalty is that she doesn't get the tile she wanted (since the discarder hadn't discarded the tile the caller wanted).
    If the misnamed tile is wanted for mah-jongg, then the game is over. The erring discarder must pay the maximum points as if there were three exposures, other players don't lose points, and caller gets points for her hand as if her wanted tile had actually been discarded.
    As I said, that's my opinion on how it should work in a tournament. Your mileage may vary.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Ivory harder than ever to sell

    >> From: tooelemountains
    >> Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 10:00 PM
    >> Subject: Ivory ban law enforcement.
    >> Hi Tom, and the Sloperama bulliten board.
    >> I know not supposed to post links but maybe question nor understood without knowing the laws and enforcements.
    >> Is the ban on selling old used ivory being enforced. I purchased an ivory (genuine) on Ebay about 5 years ago, no problem.
    >> There have been no new laws since then, but enforcement policies have changed?
    >> http://tinyurl.com/Ivory-ban-enforcement
    >> Rob and Linda

    Hi, Rob and Linda.
    Thanks very much for the link. The article was published on February 11, 2014, and it says the ban was announced on Tuesday, February 11, 2014.
    Once the ban is in effect, owners of ivory articles can't sell them without a permit, which can only be obtained by proving that the articles were imported before 1989. The wording suggests that a permit may not be needed if the articles can be proven to be over 100 years old.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Need a Chinese mahjong scoring calculator

    > From: Lee
    > Sent: Monday, April 14, 2014 2:09 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Subject: Mahjong Scoring Automation
    > Hello Tom,
    > My wife and I are just starting to learn to play Mahjong (Chinese rules). We are currently just trying to get to Mahjong. But will soon be ready for the next step; scoring.
    > Frankly, that is a bit intimidating with all the scoring hands, etc. I was wondering if there is any type of program (PC)available that one could enter the hands at the end of the game and determine what the scores would be.
    > Ideally, the program would start by asking the user to select a rules/scoring set, then allow the hands to be quickly entered and let the program show us how the hands are scored (element by element).
    > Thinking this could be an excellent tool to learn scoring, and what to watch out for when building ones hand.
    > I'd appreciate any helpful guidance or suggestions.
    > Lee M
    > Ogden, UT

    Hi, Lee.
    You say you're learning "Chinese rules." I don't know which Chinese variant that is.* There are some Majiang Competition Rules (MCR) scoring calculators listed in FAQ 5.**

    *If you don't know which Chinese variant you're learning, you can find out by using FAQ 2B.** Or you can tell me the name of the author of your rulebook (or you can tell me the website you're using to learn).

    ** You can link to the FAQs above left. You could also just Google "mahjong scoring calculator" and see what pops up.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Column #600

    > From: Daphne S
    > Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2014 6:49 PM
    > Subject: #3 in your latest post
    > Hello Tom-
    > I really enjoy your blog and learned most of my MJ strategy from it. Couldn't problem #3 in your latest post be the 369 hand #6- a closed hand? Call her dead?
    > Thanks-
    > Daphne

    Hi, Daphne. You wrote:

    Couldn't problem #3 ... be the 369 hand #6- a closed hand?
    Yes, it could.

    Call her dead?
    Absolutely not. She could also be making the hand I said she could (369 #5), which is not a concealed hand. If sixes in both suits are dead*, THEN you could call her dead, because if the sixes are dead, she can't make the exposed hand. It doesn't matter which hand she's trying to make, at this point. If the sixes aren't dead, then her hand is possibly valid, and it would be a mistake to call her dead.

    * (What I mean by "dead" is explained in the column.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 13, 2014


    W-D #4

    > From: The Berts
    > Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2014 9:59 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the winds-dragons (2014 card)
    > NN 11 SSS 111 1111 (any like odd no.)
    > Player claimed mah-jongg with doubleton 3 craks…pung with another 3 crak plus 2 jokers.. kong with 3 bams.
    > Another player said her mahjongg was in error since it required her to use 3 different suits…she using only 2
    > She argued that it did not specify 3 different suits. Does the color change require a change of suit?
    > Thanks….Lori

    Hi, Lori. You asked:

    She argued that it did not specify 3 different suits.
    If she is not color-blind, that's a blatant lie.

    Does the color change require a change of suit?
    Read the back of the card, and read FAQ 16. You can also see the response I gave Judy G on April 1 (below). Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 12, 2014


    2014 #2

    > From: Judith Ann D
    > Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2014 4:48 PM
    > Subject: 2014 card line 2
    > The pung of two's can they be any suit except the suit used for the k0ngs of ones and fours?
    > As 222 craks, 000 white dragons, 1111 4444 bams? or 222 bams 000 white dragon, 111 4444 dots?
    > Thank you Judy

    Hi, Judy.
    This is the sixth time someone has asked me about that hand, so I have updated Frequently Asked Question 16 for the 2014 hand (and the only hand the FAQ discusses so far is the 2nd 2014 hand! Please go read the answer to your question in FAQ 16.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014

    Correction: This is the seventh time this question was asked. Lourdes' April 1 question is also about 2014 #2.


    2014 #2

    > From: Rebecca L
    >Cc: Marsha R
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 11:28 AM
    > Subject: 2014 NMJL Card Question
    > Hi Tom,
    > The gals and I were playing with the new 2014 NMJL card for the first time yesterday. A question came up regarding 2014 #2: Can the pung of 2s be in your suit of choice? Could they be cracks or bams? Or must the pung of 2s be dots to match the pung of white dragons?
    > We'll watch your answer.
    > Thanks

    Please scroll down and read the other four Q&As about "2014 #2" (easiest thing to do is use control-F and just search the phrase). The most recent one was April 3, and the first questions were asked on March 30.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014

    Correction: This is the sixth time this question was asked, not the fifth.


    Broken Go-Stop link in the Hanafuda Links page

    > From: Robert W
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 8:19 PM
    > Subject: Looking for gostop
    > Hello,
    > I found your page in a search. I'm looking for an online or downloadable version (Mac only) of the Korean game Gostop.
    > The link you posted for Gostop is no longer valid (http://game.ijji.com/gostop/index.nhn). The link goes to Aeria Games (http://www.aeriagames.com/) and Gostop is not listed among their games.
    > Do you have a current working link for either a downloadable MAC-version or an online version of Gostop?
    > Thanks,
    > Robert

    Hi, Robert.
    I'm sorry that that link is no good anymore. I'll take it down. And I'm sorry that I don't have a Mac link for you -- all I have is what's in that list. One of these days I should do a thorough cleaning. Good luck!
    Tom Sloper

    April 8, 2014


    What if everybody wants to blind pass?

    > From: Jeanne F
    > Sent: Thursday, February 6, 2014 1:54 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: If all four players want to blind pass how does that work.

    Hi, Jeanne.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-BS.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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!

    You can also read column #534. Click the purple banner above to access the columns.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 8, 2014


    My friends keep a constant chatter going

    > From: Debbie B
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:19 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I started a Beginner’s Mah Jong with three other friends. It is obvious to me that I am the only one who needs “quiet” during the rounds; while my friends keep a constant chatter going regarding their hand, the weather etc. grandchildren; what’s for dinner…………. Several times I have clearly said politely, that I can’t multi-task while playing to no avail. I guess I need to suck it up; but it affects my ability to play. Any other suggestions?
    > Thank you!

    Hi, Debbie.
    If you want to play with those friends, realize that this is who they are, and this is how they're going to play. You can't change them, and you shouldn't try.
    If you want to get better at playing so their chatter won't bother you so much, just let go of trying so hard to win. Winning will come in time, as will reading the tiles and the card.
    I recommend "going with the flow." Think of it as happy girls' night together rather than a competition.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 8, 2014


    Can you identify this set

    > From: Kelly M
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:24 AM
    > Subject: Identifying MJ set
    > Hi Tom,
    > Just curious if you can identify this MJ set for me (see attachment). I
    > know it's not an American set as there are no jokers, but I wasn't sure if it
    > was Asian, Chinese, etc. Or what it's worth.
    > Thanks!
    > Kelly

    Hi, Kelly. You asked:

    I wasn't sure if it
    > was Asian, Chinese, etc.
    It's Asian, all right. Could have been made in Korea or China (more likely than Japan).

    Or what it's worth.
    If it's in like-new condition (including the case), then somewhere between $40 and $60.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 8, 2014


    Conflicting claim with partial exposure

    > From: The Berts
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:04 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: Regarding tile wanted by 2 players. Read the Q&A but players are still in disagreement.
    > A tile was discarded and called first by player A who was in the process of partially exposing when player B (who would have been next in turn) also called for the same tile. Disagreement arose because the calls were very close but not simultaneously…player A had not made a full exposure…player B should have first choice.
    > Thank you for your help,
    > Laurie

    Hi Laurie,
    You say the two claims were made very close together. Sounds to me like player A was very quick to start exposing her tiles. You say she had "not made a full exposure." Not quite sure exactly what that means, but it sounds to me like player B was not exactly guilty of "waiting too long." Just ask yourself, did player A jump very quickly, and also ask yourself, did player B hesitate a bit too much?

    If player A jumped very quickly and player B did not hesitate "too much," then player B should get the tile.
    If player A didn't jump really really fast, and player B did hesitate a bit too much, then player A should get the tile.

    If neither of those two scenarios helps decide this, then how about these:
    If player A jumped very quickly and player B hesitated a bit too much, then player A can have the tile.
    If player A did not jump very quickly, and player B did not hesitate overly much, then player B can have the tile.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    They play "Being on" and it puts other players at a disadvantage

    > From: jandrf2013
    > Sent: Monday, April 7, 2014 3:07 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > I play with a group who has an alternate called ‘Being on”. I hope I can explain this correctly. Everything starts in the typical manner however if they don’t like the hand they are dealt and after the Charleston takes place they say I am going to” be on.”
    > This means they can only MahJongg with 7 pairs. Obviously no jokers but they are not allowed to use flowers or seasons either.
    > No one is allowed to pass them a flower in the Charleston and if they pick a flower or joker they are no longer “on” but revert to playing the normal game.
    > If they win the other players have to pay them $1.
    > It seems to me that this puts the other players at a disadvantage and there are 2 games being played instead of one.
    > May I have your thoughts?
    > Thank you.

    Hi, jandrf.
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-AZ, and also read FAQ 14.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Why no PC-friendly column, part 2

    > From: Deborah A
    > Sent: Monday, April 7, 2014 4:45 PM
    > Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Thank you for your prompt response. The problem was indeed with the browser and our internet. I could access the column on the phone using data but at the time, I just assumed it was using wi-fi.
    > Deborah

    Glad we got that sorted out, Deborah!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Why no PC-friendly column this week?

    > From: Deborah A
    > Sent: Monday, April 7, 2014 4:55 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Please post your latest column April 6, 2014 #599 so that desktop and laptop users may access it as well.
    > Thank you.
    > Deborah

    What are you talking about, Deborah? Are you experiencing some problem accessing the column? If so, you'll need to tell me what the problem is. Maybe you need to refresh your browser, or clear its cache, or use a different browser.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Player out of turn, part 2

    > From: Barbara M
    > Sent: Saturday, April 5, 2014 11:28 AM
    > Subject: Missed turn
    > This is another question regarding the missed turn. If player 2 missed turn and player 3 throws a tile that is not Mah Jongg, what happens? Do we continue playing with all 4 players or is someone dead?

    Hi, Barbara.
    Again, I must put on my psychic hat and read your mind to determine what "missed turn" means. I must ASSUME you mean that player 2 missed her turn because player 3 played out of turn. For the answer, read Frequently Asked Question 19-AA.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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. Your question is answered in rule 101 on page 63 of my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2014


    Player out of turn throws someone's mahj tile. What now?

    > From: Barbara M
    > Sent: Saturday, April 5, 2014 8:10 AM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg missed turn.
    > Player 1 takes turn
    > Player 2 missed turn
    > Player 3 takes turn and throws someone's Mah Jongg
    > Is player 2 dead? If player 3 did not throw mah Jongg and the game continued would player 2 be out of game? Does player 3 get any penalty?

    Hi, Barbara.
    You say "player 2 missed turn" - I assume you mean player 3 played out of turn (taking a tile when player 2 should have had her turn).
    See rule 100 on page 63 of my book - discarder pays four times the value of the win, and nobody else pays. This rule was given by the National Mah Jongg League in the January 2005 bulletin (last red Q&A on the Q&A page).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2014


    Donation from Gail

    > From: Gail F via PayPal
    > Sent: Saturday, April 5, 2014 8:21 AM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Gail F
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Gail F
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $10.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ########
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Gail F
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Thank you muchly, Gail!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2014


    Custom mah-jongg sets?

    > From: Nathan L
    > Sent: Friday, April 4, 2014 4:12 PM
    > Subject: Manufacturing custom mah-jong sets
    > Hi Tom,
    > A fellow computer game pro here. I write for inXile Entertainment down in Newport Beach, but my question is entirely unrelated to that.
    > I played mah-jong again for the first time in years last week and since then I have become obsessed with the idea of making a set of my own design. I was wondering therefore if you know of anyone who has done this, or if you know any Chinese manufacturer who would be willing to make small orders of custom sets. I ain't rich, and I'm sure the expense is ridiculous, but I'd still like to find out how ridiculous. If you have any info along these lines I would be eternally grateful.
    > Thanks!
    > Nathan L

    Hi, Nathan.
    So you work with Brian Fargo. Tell him hi for me. We did a little work together in 1989. That was a long time ago, so he might not remember me. I have information about manufacturers in Hong Kong in FAQ 7M and in my story about Hong Kong (http://sloperama.com/hk/hkmj.htm). You could also talk to YMI (Yellow Mountain Imports) and the vendors listed in FAQ 4A. I have no idea how much some custom sets might cost.
    May the tiles be with you. Literally!
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2014


    Age/worth of my set, part 2

    > From: LuAnn P
    > Sent: Friday, April 4, 2014 7:20 PM
    > Subject: Followup to earlier post today
    > Regarding post;
    > Age/worth of my set
    > I guess that you didn't believe what I told you regarding the history of the maj jongg set that I told you
    > about, or you gleaned over it;
    > "Received the set from a friend who is 82 years old. (born 1932). Her mother received it from a friend.
    > My friend recalls playing with the tiles when she was a child, not sure of her age at that time."
    > Since she was born in 1932 and played with the tiles when she was a child wouldn't you think that might
    > be between 1933-1945, thus making your statement below somewhat irksome?;
    > "It could have been made anytime between the 1930s and 1960s."
    > Also, I would have thought that the picture of the white dragon, with only the P on it might be an indicator
    > of age? In her book "A Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg, how to play the game & win", Elaine Sandberg
    > makes the statement on page 25 that "In some older sets from the 1930s, Whites had a P for "po", which means
    > white in Chinese, engraved in the upper left-hand corner"
    > Regards,
    > LuAnn P

    Hi, LuAnn. You wrote:

    I guess that you didn't believe what I told you
    I did not disbelieve you. It's unfortunate that you mistook my response as disrespectful or callous.

    or you gleaned over it;
    I have had many many people tell me stories about their sets, and when I look at the set's pictures, it's obvious to me that there's an inconsistency between the story and the set. So now when I get a story, I take it with a grain of salt, and look at the set to see what story its pictures tell me.

    "Received the set from a friend who is 82 years old. (born 1932). Her mother received it from a friend.
    > My friend recalls playing with the tiles when she was a child, not sure of her age at that time."
    So you wanted me to do math, and come to a determination of the set's age that way, without regard for what the tiles look like? That's not how I do things.

    Since she was born in 1932 and played with the tiles when she was a child wouldn't you think that might
    > be between 1933-1945, thus making your statement below somewhat irksome?;
    "Irksome" is a surprising choice of word. As you noted, I said the set could have been made anytime between the 1930s and 1960s. Since your own math confirms in your own mind that the set was made in the earlier part of that range, I don't know what makes you so irked at me.

    Elaine Sandberg
    > makes the statement on page 25 that "In some older sets from the 1930s, Whites had a P
    For all I know, some sets were still made with a P even after the 1930s. I do not regard Sandberg's statement as the final word on white dragons marked with a P.

    Since you are irked with my response to your age question, I don't suppose you still want me to give you an estimate of its value. But if you do, I'm ready to help, once I have the necessary condition information.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2014


    Age/worth of my set

    > From: LuAnn P
    > Sent: Friday, April 4, 2014 10:32 AM
    > Subject: Age/worth of my Mah Jongg set
    > Received the set from a friend who is 82 years old. (born 1932). Her mother received it from a friend.
    > My friend recalls playing with the tiles when she was a child, not sure of her age at that time.
    > Set came in box with removable trays (see pictures). Doesn't have any paperwork, but the box
    > does have "Heavenly Twins Visiting Case, patent applied for" in the inside top of box. (see photos).
    > The tiles are 1 3/16" long, 7/8" wide, 7/16" thick. There are no jokers in the set.
    > There are 8 flowers, numbered 1-4 and 1-4. They were confusing, so F was written on them in magic marker
    > recently. Enclosing pictures of a crak, pic of dragons and one of the flowers. I believe that they are made of Bakelite.
    > Really appreciate any information that you can give me.
    > Regards,
    > LuAnn P

    Hi, Luann. You want to know about:

    Its age
    It could have been made anytime between the 1930s and 1960s. Not enough clues to be more exact than that. It was not made to support "modern American" mah-jongg (since it doesn't have jokers or more flowers, or even racks) -- it it had been made to support the American game, I would have more clues.

    Its value
    I can't tell you that, because you haven't given me any information about its condition. See Frequently Asked Question 7H. You'll find links to the FAQs above left, marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    2014 #2

    > From: Dina W
    > Sent: Thursday, April 3, 2014 10:20 AM
    > Subject: question about new card 2014
    > In 2014 #2, does the pung of 2's have to be dots (suit) to match the white dragon?
    > Dina W

    Hi, Dina.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Questions 19-AE and BY and BZ.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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!
    Also, you could scroll down and see the responses I gave the other three people who asked about 2014 #2, below.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    What happens if a dead player is not declared dead?

    > From: Zoe G
    > Sent: Thursday, April 3, 2014 10:22 AM
    > Subject: dead with 14 tiles
    > Hi Tom! It's Zoe G
    > If a player has 14 tiles and no one call that person dead, what happens next? Does the person keep playing with 14 tiles?
    > Zoe

    Hi, Zoe. If a dead player is not called dead, she keeps playing.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Can I call myself dead?

    >From: Diana S
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 9:48 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: can call yourself dead if you find yourself with one tile too many? It would be futile to play on - you could never mahj properly and all you could really do is hope no one else notices you have too many tiles. It seems you could call yourself dead in this situation. Certainly if you point it out to the other players they will call you dead. Is this an exception to the rule?

    Hi, Diana. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-AC.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Why no mobile-friendly columns anymore?

    > From: Pat B
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 4:59 PM
    > Subject: Mobile?
    > Hi Tom. Love your website. But why no mobile versions for your strategy columns in 2014? That is especially painful now that you are discussing the new 2014 card. Please bring back the mobile versions, pretty please?
    > Your fan,
    > Pat
    > Sent from my
    ████

    Pat, I did not discontinue offering mobile versions of the column. To the right of the date and subject of the column, you'll see an icon that looks like a mobile phone. It looks like . Just touch that. ... Go ahead, touch this one!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Is this self-pick and jokerless?

    > From: Alice S
    > Sent: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 8:02 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Player Susie pick a tile, exchanges that tile for a joker and declares Mah Jongg. Does the player from whom she took the tile pay double? And if the hand is now pure, does everyone pay double since the hand was made pure from a joker exchange?
    > Thanks

    Hi, Alice. You wrote:

    Player Susie pick a tile, exchanges that tile for a joker and declares Mah Jongg. Does the player from whom she took the tile pay double?
    Read Frequently Asked Question 19-AN.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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!

    if the hand is now pure, does everyone pay double since the hand was made pure from a joker exchange?
    It doesn't matter if there had been jokers in the hand before -- there were no jokers in the hand when it went mah-jongg. Read FAQ 19W.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Is white dragon suitless when it's not being used as zero?

    > From: Georgia S
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 8:01 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: Regarding..
    > The note on the back of the NMJL card: white dragon is used as zero “0”. It may be used with any suit (craks, bams or dots). Does this only apply to the “year” hands, or does it mean anytime a hand includes dragons those dragons can be white dragons even if the hand is all, for example, craks? Such as 22 44 666 888 DDDD Or FFFF 1111 2222 DD (Any 2 Consec. Nos.)
    > I interrupt dragons must match the suit where there is no parentheses.
    > The question has arisen two times for Mah Jongg.
    > Thank you for your Q&A Bulletin Board
    > Georgia
    > Snow birding in Florida

    Hello, Georgia. You wrote:

    white dragon is used as zero “0”. It may be used with any suit (craks, bams or dots). Does this only apply to the “year” hands
    It only applies where you see a zero "0" on the card. If white dragon ("soap") is not being used as a zero, then it's a dragon. And when soap is being used as a dragon, it matches only the suit of dots.

    I interrupt dragons must match the suit where there is no parentheses.
    Only if it's the same color ink on the card.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014


    Can white dragon ("soap") be used as both zero and dragon in the same hand?

    > From: "rich7499
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 5:15 PM
    > Subject: Question regarding the Use of Soap as Zero and Dragon in the Same Hand
    > When a soap has been used as a zero in the year 2013, can it (soap), in turn, be used as a pung of dragons in the same hand?

    Yes, of course. Why not? (Assuming that there is a hand that uses both a 2013 and a pung of dragons -- like the bottom hand in the 2013 section.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014


    Do I have to use dots in a 2014 hand? (2014 #2)

    > From: Lourdes J. G
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 4:01 PM
    > Subject: Question regarding 2014 hand #2
    > I am an avid Mah Jongg player and as a free service to my community (St. James Plantation, in Southport, NC), I teach a series of four three hour American Mah Jongg lessons twice a year. In the last 8 years, I have taught 300+ mah Jongg players. To this end, I try very hard to know as much as I can about the game.
    > I just received the 2014 playing card and have a question about hand #2 under 2014:
    > Here is my question:
    > 222 000 1111 4444 (Any two suits using 2 DOTS only along with white Dragon as ZERO, etc.??)
    > Or 222 000 1111 4444 (Any two suits using any suited 2 because Zero is neutral and then using a different suit for the Kong part)
    > Given the premise that when the White Dragon serves as a ZERO, it does not have a suit; then does this mean that we can use any suited 2 (craks, dots or bams) in that hand as long as it is different from the 1’s and 4’s? Or must we use three two DOTS in that hand to match the white dragon serving as a zero?
    > Thanks for a speedy response.
    > Have a great day! God Bless.
    > Buen Día; Que Diós te Bendiga.
    > Lourdes J. G

    Hola, Lourdes. You wrote:

    does this mean that we can use any suited 2 (craks, dots or bams) in that hand as long as it is different from the 1’s and 4’s?
    Yes, of course.

    Or must we use three two DOTS in that hand to match the white dragon serving as a zero?
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-AE.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014

    Note: FAQ 16 has since been updated for the 2014 card, and now includes all the answers to this particular hand.


    How does the color-coding work, part 2 (W-D #4, #5)

    > From: Judy G
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 3:28 PM
    > Subject: Re: Mah Jongg card 2014
    > Thank you for your quick response.
    > I was confused because hands that require 3 suits, specifically state any 3 suits, and likewise, 2 suits state any 2 suits. But this hand is different. It onkly says ANY LIKE NUMBER with mentioning that it is either 3 or 2 suits. This is an issue only because it is not unusual to have 4 of one suit and a joker which could be displayed at 2-3.
    > Judy

    Hi Judy, you wrote:

    I was confused because hands that require 3 suits, specifically state any 3 suits
    That's not true. Look at Like Numbers and Addition Hands and Quints #4 and Consec. #3. Read FAQ 19-AJ. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014

    Note: FAQ 16 has since been updated for the 2014 card, and now includes all the answers to this particular hand.


    How does the color-coding work on the NMJL card? (W-D #4, #5)

    > From: Judy G
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 2:06 PM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg card 2014
    > I have read your latest 2014 interpretations and FAQs 19 but have not seen this question:
    > Under Winds-Dragons (2014 card)
    > 4th and 5th hands down (odds or evens)
    > the card reads NN 11 SSS 111 1111(any like odd no.)
    > EE 22 WWW 222 2222 (any like even no.)
    > Am I correct in assuming that these hands can be played one or two suits using jokers for the rest of the numbers except the pair that can only be a numbered pair?
    > Thanks.
    > Judy G

    Judy, read the back of the card. Left pane, just beneath where it says "STANDARD BASED ON EIGHT FLOWERS AND EIGHT JOKERS" (1st and 2nd lines). It says, "1 color--any 1 suit; 2 colors--any 2 suits; 3 colors--3 suits." That means that this hand is a three-suit hand. I have now added this to FAQ 19.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014

    Note: FAQ 16 has since been updated for the 2014 card, and now includes all the answers to this particular hand.


    2014 #2

    > From: "khiori
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 12:26 PM
    > Subject: 2014 Card Question
    > Tom,
    > How do you interpret the second hand under "2014" that is listed as "any 2 suits"? Is it possible to do a red or green 222 with Blue dragons, 1111 and 4444? Meaning that the last 3 tile sets are all blue? Personally I think they should show 000 (zeros) in black on the card like winds if they have no color. Most of the time that hand is going to be done in 3 suits (which is actually how it is shown as a Blue Dragon with a Green 222). I have a bad feeling in my group it is going to engender endless questions! Which means I will be explaining it endlessly...
    > Thanks,
    > Khiori

    Hi, Khiori.
    The color of the zero is unimportant. It's a zero. Zeroes are explained on the front of the card, right up there at the top. I suppose the thinking is that since zeroes are suitless, they "go with" any suit, so zeroes can be printed in any color.
    As I told Luz and Eileen on Sunday (below), you can read the answer to your question in FAQ 19-AE and also in FAQ 16 (even though FAQ 16 is about the 2013 card -- I haven't updated it yet for the new card).
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014

    Note: FAQ 16 has since been updated for the 2014 card, and now includes all the answers to this particular hand.


    I'm missing a tile -- what can I do?

    > From: "SaulG
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 11:27 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mach-jog question or comment is:
    > have a 3 bam missing green bottom manufacturer cardinal are they still in business so i can contact them thank you or how i can obtain single tile of same color

    > From: "SaulG
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 11:45 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > is the maker of cardinal mah-jongg sets in bklyn ny still in buisness

    Hi, Saul. You wrote:

    how i can obtain single tile of same color
    First you should visit my Tiles For Sale bulletin board -- see if anyone has offered tiles like yours. Send an email to any poster who might have tiles suitable for your need. Give them a day or two to respond by email (not everybody checks their email every 15 minutes like I do!).

    If the Tiles For Sale BB doesn't yield any results, then visit my Tiles Wanted bulletin board. On the Tiles Wanted BB, read everything at the top -- there is information there about other sources for replacement tiles. Contact those suppliers by email or (if they have a phone number posted) by phone. If using email, give them a day or two to respond.

    If that still yields no results, then on the Tiles Wanted BB, post your own announcement about what you're seeking.

    You can access the other bulletin boards and the FAQs via the Site Links, above left.

    is the maker of cardinal mah-jongg sets in bklyn ny still in buisness
    No.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014


    How does the color-coding work on the NMJL card? Does red mean craks, green mean bams, blue mean dots?

    > From: "barbaradm
    > Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 6:41 AM
    > Subject: 2014 addition hand question
    > Hi Tom, Newly introduced to your site and fine it fun and informative. Question about the 2014 mixed suited addition hands. Must the suits be as shown, bams for 4, 5, 6 , only craks for 7's, and only dots for 11, 12 and 13? No info listed in ( ) . Thanks!

    Hi, Barbara.
    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-AK.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 1, 2014


    Another broken link, and where the heck are these mythical errata?

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 8:21 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Hi Tom,
    > The DIY Joker sticker FAQ indicates that there is more information about copyright in the Ebay MJ group. I followed the link but did not find an Ebay group. As the postings were from 2008, has this group disbanded? If not, can you give me another link?
    > BTW I bought your book recently and think it is great. I've only read part of it but so far it is very informative and easy to understand. I thought I saw an errata link on your site but I can't seem to find that either. Please give a link to that.
    > Thank you,
    > Bee

    Hi, Bee. You wrote:

    I followed the link but did not find an Ebay group. As the postings were from 2008, has this group disbanded? If not, can you give me another link?
    That group has moved to Facebook, and whatever information there was about copyright on the eBay group is probably gone (but just about any old web content can be found via the Wayback Machine, if you care to go try that). I'm about to go to bed, and don't have time to go fix FAQ 7T right now.

    I thought I saw an errata link on your site but I can't seem to find that either. Please give a link to that.
    Scroll all the way up and click the RDWW link (or click any RDWW link anywhere on this page, including in my signature below). The errata download link is right there. Oh, and thanks for buying my book! (^_^)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 31, 2014


    Broken link

    > From: 2nd Account <bfl60ney
    > Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 9:02 PM
    > Subject: Broken link
    > Hi Tom,
    > I have enjoyed your website and learned much from it. However, I wondered if you are aware that there is a broken link.
    > I clicked on "which MJ rules", then on "I just want to see a detailed overview...", then scrolled down to Israeli Mahjong Association where there is a link to their website: http://www.mjong.tk/,
    > which goes to a website in Russian for renting apartments!
    > If you know the real address for the Israeli Mahjong Association, I would be very interested to know!
    > Thank you.

    Hi, 2nd.
    Sorry the link no longer works. That page it goes to is what's called a "parking page." I tried googling the IMA and turned up a few things (which I didn't follow -- maybe you did?). Did you try emailing mjil@ezrs.com to see if that address is still working? Anyway, I've now deleted the broken link. Hope you find someone to play with (or whatever it is you're looking for from the IMA).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 31, 2014


    Can I redeem a joker before I take a discard? (When can I redeem a joker?)

    > From: Jill G
    > Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 7:09 PM
    > Subject: mah jong question
    > It's your turn. The previous person threw a tile that you need for a pair and you also have a tile that you can use to replace for a joker. By doing that, (i.e. first replacing the joker) you could then pick up the last discarded tile and declare mah jong, Is this legal?
    > Thanks!
    > Jill G

    Hi, Jill.
    So you're saying you want to first redeem the joker, and then take the discard. Read Frequently Asked Question 19M.
    If you don't know where the FAQs are: Look above left (they're 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!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 31, 2014


    How do we handle her unwanted commentary?

    > From: "Mieke99
    > Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 6:33 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: we have a player who analyzes everyone's hand after each game. We have told her that we don't want to hear her analysis. she also will say what hand a person could have or should have played. How do we handle this analyzer?

    Mieke,
    There's no way to stop her from talking about whatever she wants to. You don't have to play with her, if her commentary disturbs you. I guess you could talk loudly over her when she does it (or plug your ears and say "LA LA LA LA LA"...)
    Another thought: you could try psychoanalyzing her - you could offer her unwanted advice on what she should have done in the past...
    ... Ahem. Sorry, now I'm offering solutions that do not improve harmony. If she is disturbing the group's harmony, and you all have told her very clearly and repeatedly that her advice is unwelcome, then you could find someone more harmonious to enhance your group's game.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 31, 2014
    [Edited later the same day]


    Donation

    > From: Stacy via PayPal
    > Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 5:13 AM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Stacy
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from Stacy. You can view the transaction details online.
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $20.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ###########
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Stacy
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Thank you very much, Stacy! I appreciate your generosity.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 31, 2014


    2014 #2

    > From: Luz S
    > Cc: Lee D
    > Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2014 2:53 PM
    > Subject: 2014 Mah Jongg card
    > Ok Tom, I'm calling the Mah Jongg League tomorrow, but thought I would ask you too:
    > Second hand on in the 2014 section:
    > My interpretation I can have:
    > 3- two bams, 3 soaps and four 1 & 4 dots
    > Others think it has to be:
    > 3- two dots, 3 soaps and four 1 & 4s in either bams or cracks.
    > Please give us your interpretation. I have made the hand twice and may have to refund the money.
    > Thank you for all your great work on behalf of Mah Jongg.
    > Lucy S

    Hi, Lucy.
    Your question is essentially the same as Eileen J's, who also emailed me today, and you are asking about the same hand. And my answer is the same. Please scroll down and see the answer I gave Eileen J a few minutes ago (below).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014
    [Response edited 3/31/14]


    Donation

    > From: Sylvia via PayPal
    > Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2014 2:46 PM
    > Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Sylvia
    > PayPal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper,
    > This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from Sylvia . You can view the transaction details online.
    > Donation Details
    > Total amount: $20.00 USD
    > Currency: U.S. Dollars
    > Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    > Confirmation number: ##############
    > Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    > Contributor: Sylvia
    > Sincerely,
    > PayPal

    Sylvia, thank you very much! Every donation helps.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    2014 #2

    > From: Eileen J
    > Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2014 1:35 PM
    > Subject: 2014 question
    > Played the 2nd line in the 2014 section of the new card.
    > 222 000 1111 4444
    > Since it shows zeros - 000 not DDD's can the 222's be any suit or just 2 dots?
    > Thank you
    > eileenj

    Hello, Eileen.
    I haven't yet updated FAQ 16 for the 2014 card, but the question you're asking is one that was asked regarding the 2013 card as well. Go to FAQ 16 and read the answers about the first couple of 2013 hands. Also you could read FAQ 19-AE.
    Look above left for the FAQs (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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    This week's column

    > From: Catherine H
    > Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2014 7:22 PM
    > Subject: Column #598 comment
    >Hi Tom... So excited to see your column go up for the 2014 card! I received mine today.
    > Just wanted to let you know that you have the first section of your #598 post labeled "2013" instead of 2014.
    > Love your site and check it out often!
    > Catherine

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

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    This week's column

    > From: Nancey C
    > Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2014 2:42 PM
    > Subject: 2014 NML card
    > Thanks for your observations about the new card. I'm in agreement with you!
    > You mentioned that there are no hands with a twin pair requiring two jokers but #5 in the 369 Section does have that requirement. I wish it didn't.
    > On the bright side, #1 Quints can be made with only one joker.
    > Best of luck,
    > Nancey C

    You're right, Nancey. I misstated that originally. Now it's fixed, thanks to you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Here's what we did, part 2 (2013 card)

    > From: Belinda - Frontier
    > Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 10:19 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > Here's What We Did - Part 2 (similar to my question of March 11)
    > We had another situation develop similar to the one in my March 11th email.
    > A player had four Wests exposed and called for a 2 bam and placed it along with two others and three jokers on her rack and discarded. I knew there is only two hands with four Wests and no hand with a sextet on the 2013 card. She and the other player (we were a table of three) said that there definitely was a hand that used a sextet. I explained that the hand she was using, Winds and Dragons #4, is not a sextet of even numbered tiles but rather two pungs and cannot be placed as an exposure together except if she was calling mah jongg. In other words, she should have only exposed the 3 two bams, not the additional jokers. That by doing so she is actually dead for making a wrong exposure. From your answer on March 11th, I believe I was correct about a wrong exposure and I believe the six tiles are not a sextet but rather two pungs, but thought I would check with you to be absolutely sure. Was I correct?
    > In reviewing the rulebook, I found page 19, rule 14 which I believe applies in this case as well as the March 11th situation.
    > It was a friendly game just for fun and points only, so we told her to put the jokers down and we continued as if she did not expose them. Aren't we nice!?!
    > Bee
    > Belinda

    Hi, Bee. You wrote:

    by doing so she is actually dead for making a wrong exposure.
    In a tournament, a judge might enforce a death challenge. But in a friendly home game, why not let her just return the jokers to her hand.

    I believe the six tiles are not a sextet but rather two pungs, but thought I would check with you to be absolutely sure.
    Yes, it's two pungs. I once stated (in a past FAQ 16) that spaces on the card are never significant. But this case (two identical pungs) is a case in which the space between the printed pungs clearly has meaning.

    the rulebook, page 19, rule 14 which I believe applies in this case as well as the March 11th situation.
    "An incorrect exposure" covers a lot of ground. Exposing when an exposure is not called for (as described in your 3/11 post) is indeed "incorrect." Exposing a sextet when a pung is called for (as described in today's post) is indeed "incorrect."

    It was a friendly game ... we told her to put the jokers [back into the hand] and we continued as if she did not expose them. Aren't we nice!?!
    That's what I would have done (unless it happened in a tournament).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    How does the color-coding work on the NMJL card? -- Odds #6 (2014 card)

    > From: "mbush
    > Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 3:59 PM
    > Subject: 2014 card
    >Tom, question about the new card.
    >In 13579 section, the sixth pattern (FF 1111 9999 DDDD) is in three colors, with nothing in parentheses following. Usually the patterns will show something like "Kong Dragon Any Suit" or "Kong Dragon 3rd Suit". My group is thinking that the DDDD can be any suit, matching the 1111 or the 9999 or not matching either one.
    >What's your verdict?
    >thanks for your help,
    > mbush

    Hi, mbush. You wrote:

    In 13579 section, the sixth pattern (FF 1111 9999 DDDD) is in three colors,
    Actually, the card shows two versions of the hand - one in just one color, and one in three colors.

    with nothing in parentheses following.
    Right. You might want to read Frequently Asked Question 19-AJ. You'll find links to the FAQs above left, 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!

    My group is thinking that the DDDD can be any suit, matching the 1111 or the 9999 or not matching either one.
    Read the back of the card. Left pane, just beneath where it says "STANDARD BASED ON EIGHT FLOWERS AND EIGHT JOKERS" (1st and 2nd lines). It says, "1 color--any 1 suit; 2 colors--any 2 suits; 3 colors--3 suits." That means that this hand can be made either as a one-suit hand or a three-suit hand. The color-coding is clear -- you may not make a 2-suit version of this hand.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2014


    Big Japanese tiles

    > From: Lynne O
    > Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 8:29 AM
    > Subject: japanese riichi mahjong sets
    > Tom,
    > I've been to your site and have been able to get some very valuable information from it regarding mahjong sets.
    > I am looking specifically for japanese riichi mahjong sets and am wondering if the tiles in these sets are ever large (1 1/4" tall x 7/8" wide x 3/4" thick) like some of the chinese set tiles. Would you happen to know the answer to this question? If you answer is yes, then I will keep looking for same, if not, then I'll choose a japanese set with colored backs.
    > All the best,
    > Lynne O

    I've never seen a Japanese set that big, Lynne. The last Japanese set I got, a couple years ago, was the usual Japanese size (as cited in FAQ 7a).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2014


    It's here! (2014 card)

    > From: Kathie H
    > Sent: Friday, March 28, 2014 8:51 AM
    > Subject: Its Here!
    > The new card is in!! Waiting for your column
    > K

    Working on it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2014


    Can a dead player's jokers be redeemed?

    > From: Connie H
    > Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2014 7:44 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > A friend called for a green dragon and exposed 3 tiles, 2 dragons and a joker. We immediately called her dead since all hands with 3 dragons are concealed. Our question is...does her exposure stay on her rack and can anyone trade out a dragon for the joker?

    Welcome to my website. You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19P.
    Look above left for the FAQs (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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 27, 2014


    Donated mah jongg board

    > From: Alice H
    > Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2014 11:49 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: Someone has donated a mah jongg board for a silent auction. I have not seen it yet but several people have been asking me how a mah jongg board is used? Is there another type of mah jongg game played on a board? Thanks! Alice

    Hi, Alice. I don't know what a "mah jongg board" is. Can you send me a picture?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 27, 2014


    MCR scoring Q, part 2

    > From: "HKelley350
    > Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014 9:09 PM
    > Subject: Scoring
    > Tom:
    > Played my first two games today, one American Rules, and the 2nd .MCR Rules. In the American rules I won on the 2nd hand of the Consecutive Run (2013), pulling two jokers, and in the Chinese won with the following hand: 1-2-3 Bam Concealed Chow, 1-2-3 Dot Concealed Chow, 6-7-8 Crack Concealed Chow, 9 Dot Concealed Pung & 7 Bam Concealed Pair. Since the 2nd game was "just for fun", it was not scored. I was wondering if this would have been scored as: 3-Concealed Chows - 16
    > Fully Concealed Hand - 4
    > No Honors - 1
    > One Mixed Double Chow- 1
    > One Terminal Pung - 1
    > Closed Wait (6-7-8) 1
    > Again, thanks Tom for your help.
    > Helen K

    Hi, Helen. You wrote:

    3-Concealed Chows - 16
    Where did you find "Three Concealed Chows" written down? Not in my book, that's for sure. There's no such fan in MCR!

    Fully Concealed Hand - 4
    For the hand to be fully concealed, you have to self-pick the winning tile (you can't be fully concealed if you win by discard). So you have to claim another point for self-pick. If you won this hand by discard, then you cannot claim fully concealed.

    Closed Wait (6-7-8) 1
    If you have a closed wait, when you self-pick the winning tile, you must not put that tile among your concealed tiles (other players will not be able to confirm that it was a closed wait). See rule 57.b.

    Since the 2nd game was "just for fun", it was not scored.
    You need to score, even when it's just for fun, because the scoring is a vital part of the game. You can also take a photo of your winning hands with your phone, for later analysis (that's quicker than writing it all down).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Petition - National Mah-Jongg Day

    > From: mah jongg seller
    > Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2014 12:37 PM
    > Subject: Please post ?
    > Hi, Tom!
    > Not sure where you will post this, but please post at your convenience.
    > Thank you!
    > Faye
    > share and sign this petition to proclaims april 30th national mah jongg day! Did you know that may 25th is brown bag it day? Do you care? No. But we all care about Mah Jongg.
    > www.thepetitionsite.com/.../proclaim-april-30th-as-national-mah-jongg-day/
    > Sign Up For Our Newsletter!
    > Follow us on Twitter!
    > like us on Facebook!
    > www.WhereTheWindsBlow.com
    > Mah Jongg Gifts & Accessories


    Can I change my exposure, part 2

    > From: judith C
    > Sent: Friday, March 14, 2014 1:59 PM
    > Subject: Re: Mah Jongg Question
    > As always - you're a lifesaver,Tom.
    > I'd be the first to say - "Women are tough!"
    > At least I can breathe a "sigh of relief" now.
    > I try to follow all the rules - but it's especially hard to get some of the "new" players to believe me.
    > Thanks for your help - at least I can get some restful sleep now.
    > May the tiles be with you too,
    > Judy

    You're welcome, Judy.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 14, 2014


    Rainbow Delight manufacturer or distributor?

    > From: Sheryl P
    > Sent: Friday, March 14, 2014 9:05 AM
    > Subject: tile purchase
    > Dear Tom, do you happen to know who the manufacturer of the Rainbow delight mahjongg tile is? I want to buy them wholesale. Thank you for your time. Sheryl

    Sorry, Sheryl. I'd never heard of it until you mentioned it. I don't really know much about manufacturers or distributors. The only manufacturers I know of are those listed in FAQ 7m and at http://sloperama.com/hk/hkmj.htm ...
    A little over 10 years ago I toyed with the idea of retailing, and the only distributor/importer/supplier I remember from then is CHH. And there's Yellow Mountain too, but I don't know if they're a supplier or only a retailer.
    Good luck, and...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 14, 2014


    Can I change my exposure if I haven't discarded yet?

    > From: judith C
    > Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 4:43 PM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    > Dear Tom --
    > Please help - this has been keeping me up for a week now.
    > At a recent MJ game a player discarded a 3 bam which I needed for a display of 4 tiles (all 3 bams). I called the 3 bam discard, exposed it with 3 jokers (by mistake, because I had another 3 bam in my hand). As I realized what I had displayed, I quickly said, before discarding anything - oh, I'm sorry I have the other 3 bam - I didn't mean to put up one (1) 3 bam with 3 jokers. I then took my 2nd 3 bam and put it on top of my rack (for the 4-tile exposure) and took back my joker. I then threw a tile to end my turn. Was this correct or not? This was disputed by one of the players who said, "We don't play that way." I insisted that it was a correct play, I wasn't trying to cheat anyone, and that during my turn, until I threw a discard, ending my turn, I could fix my display! I would like your ruling because I've been very upset about this. I really thought - and still think I played this correctly.
    > Your response will be very much appreciated!
    > Thank you.
    > jcontinelli1128

    Hi, Judith. You wrote:

    I called the 3 bam discard, exposed it with 3 jokers (by mistake, because I had another 3 bam in my hand). As I realized what I had displayed, I quickly said, before discarding anything - oh, I'm sorry I have the other 3 bam - I didn't mean to put up one (1) 3 bam with 3 jokers. I then took my 2nd 3 bam and put it on top of my rack (for the 4-tile exposure) and took back my joker. I then threw a tile to end my turn. Was this correct or not?
    Read Frequently Asked Question 19-AF.
    Look above left for the FAQs (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!
    Now get some sleep!

    This was disputed by one of the players who said, "We don't play that way."
    It doesn't surprise me one bit that some of your players have never read the official rulebook. Print out FAQ 19-AF and show it to them. Or show them page 53 (rule 60f) in my book, or show them page 14 in the official rulebook. ...What's that you say? Nobody has the official rulebook? Quelle surprise!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Controversy: FAQ 19.AM.1 (touching vs. lifting a wall tile)

    > From: "Chap10514
    > Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:08 AM
    > Subject: controversy on question AM FAQ's #19
    > Tom,
    > I have been having an interesting dialogue with a MJ teacher who claims the rule " you touch it you take with regards to picking from the wall. You address this in section AM of your FAQ #19.
    > Apparently, the NMJL disagrees with your interpretation of being allowed to even TOUCH the tile on the wall without lifting or moving it. They claim if you so much as make the intention of going for the wall to pick a tile then you have made the commitment and if tile is touched that is also intention to them.
    >
    > I always defer to your guide as a reference when conflicts come up. I asked Linda at the league on 3/13/14 to look up your referred page numbers in the NMJL p.17,2006 as well as the NMJL 2008 p. 18.
    > She could only reference the 2006 yr and said what I have mentioned above.
    > I would very much appreciate your thoughts on this topic. Exactly where did you see written interpretation of this particular MJ rule . Initially, when I pushed her she said it was subject to interpretation but then she adamantly did an about face and held to the if you touch it, it's yours. Intention is committment.
    > Thanks so much for a response. I thought I was up on all the rules as per your guide and certainly felt foolish defending this nuance of the game. Appreciate any feedback you may provide.
    > Sincerely,
    > Linda H

    Hi, Linda. You wrote:

    Apparently, the NMJL disagrees with your interpretation of being allowed to even TOUCH the tile on the wall without lifting or moving it. They claim if you so much as make the intention of going for the wall to pick a tile then you have made the commitment and if tile is touched that is also intention to them.
    That's perfectly fine logic. But they've never said that in writing.

    I always defer to your guide as a reference when conflicts come up. I asked Linda at the league on 3/13/14 to look up your referred page numbers in the NMJL p.17,2006 as well as the NMJL 2008 p. 18.
    > She could only reference the 2006 yr and said what I have mentioned above.
    I must yield to the NMJL, whenever they issue a rule in writing. If a rule is not written, the rule does not exist. I wrote FAQ 19.AM.1 based on written rules directly from the NMJL.

    your referred page numbers in the NMJL p.17,2006 as well as the NMJL 2008 p. 18.
    2008 page 18, you say? I don't know what you mean. I just looked at the 2008 bulletin, and (counting the title page as page 1) there are only 16 pages. I checked the Q&A in that bulletin and did not see the question about "change of heart" while picking from the wall. And I also looked at page 18 of the rulebook (which has not been edited or updated in thirty years), and did not see any mention of touching versus picking the wall tile there. So I don't know what you mean when you say "NMJL 2008 p.18."

    And I have to confess that there is an error in FAQ 19.AM.1 - Rulebook page 17 actually does not mention this. (I have it penciled in there in mine.) I am deleting this reference from the FAQ.

    I based FAQ 19.AM.1 on these sources:

  • The 2005 bulletin, page 5 (counting the front cover as page 1):
    "Q: Player next in turn lifted the next tile up...
    A. No.... When a tile is discarded, the next person in turn makes their intention to pick a tile and, in fact, does pick tile... they cannot put the tile back...
  • The 2006 bulletin, page 5:
    "Q. A player lifted the next tile from the wall...
    A. No.. Once the person made her intention to pick her tile by lifting it off the wall, she cannot put it back and decide to call the previous discard."

    Since the 2006 mention was more recent, I just mentioned that one.
    Here, let's recheck all the bulletins from 2007 to 2014...

  • 2007 bulletin bulletin draws a parallel between taking a wall tile and a discard - "A CALL FOR A TILE IS JUST LIKE A PICK FROM THE WALL, ONCE TAKEN...IT CANNOT BE PUT BACK."
  • 2008 bulletin is silent on this, as already mentioned.
  • 2009 bulletin - silent
  • 2010 bulletin - silent
  • 2011 bulletin - silent
  • 2012 bulletin - Q: "A player lifted the next tile from the wall...
    A: No... Once the person made her intention to pick her tile by lifting it..."
  • 2013 bulletin - silent
  • 2014 bulletin - silent

    Note that FAQ 19.AM.2 is about taking a discard, and note that author Elaine Sandberg got (not in writing, unfortunately) a ruling that it's okay to lift a discard and put it back, as long as she has not exposed tiles from her hand. The 19.AM.1 rule issued in writing (several times) talks about "lifting" a wall tile. There is no mention of just "touching" a wall tile in any written rule from the league. Furthermore, although the 2007 bulletin says that a discard is treated the same as a wall tile, there clearly IS a difference - it's okay to touch (and even lift) a discard, as long as you don't expose tiles from the hand. But you can't lift a wall tile and put it back.

    To the best of my knowledge, the League has never issued a written rule saying "once the wall tile is touched, you have committed to taking it." They have also never said "once a discard is touched, you have committed to taking it." When they do issue a revised ruling, I'll change FAQ 19.AM.1 - the League is the sole arbiter of its rules, after all.
    I think the rulebook is LONG overdue for an update. Thirty years is a long time.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Can you tell me what the symbol on the joker, part 3

    >From: Fran Z
    >Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2014 4:58 AM
    >Subject: Re: Joker tiles
    >Yes. In that picture it's the one in the bottom right corner. It says Joker in red at the top, and below it is a circle with some writing or design in it.
    >Thanks,
    >Fran
    >Sent from my iPad

    Fran, please go back to FAQ 7e and scroll down. That particular joker tile has been discussed frequently before, so it is a frequently asked question (and thus has been answered in FAQ 7e). Here's an iPad-friendly link:
    http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/special.html
    Look for the February and March 2011 posts titled "What the heck is it."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Column 550

    > From: "HKelley350
    > Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 7:04 PM
    > Subject: Col. #550
    > Was reviewing column #550 tonite, and would like to know if there has been some resolution regarding the scoring differences expressed by Kugimiya-san vs. Starback? I have the tiles set up before with: CK, CK, CK, MK. I scored this as 3 Kongs - 32 pts & 3 Concealed Pungs/Kongs i- 16 pts. Can a Fully Concealed Hand for 4 pts be scored in this as well? If not, what would be the reasoning? Thanks Tom!
    > Helen K

    Hi, Helen. You wrote:

    would like to know if there has been some resolution regarding the scoring differences expressed by Kugimiya-san vs. Starback?
    I have not attended any international competitions since, so I don't know what the officials in China have ruled. But I am with Kugimiya-san. ... I believe Starbäck is wrong here.

    I have the tiles set up before with: CK, CK, CK, MK. I scored this as 3 Kongs - 32 pts
    But it's four kongs. 88 points. It doesn't make sense to call it three kongs when there are four.

    & 3 Concealed Pungs/Kongs i- 16 pts.
    Right.

    Can a Fully Concealed Hand for 4 pts be scored in this as well? If not, what would be the reasoning?
    No, because you have a melded kong. The hand cannot be considered fully concealed if there's a melded set in it.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 12, 2014


    Can you tell me what the symbol on the joker, part 2

    > From: Fran Z
    > Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 4:39 PM
    > Subject: Re: Joker tiles
    > Hi Tom,
    > It's the 4th tile from the bottom left in FAQ 7e, a white tile with the word Joker across the top and beneath this, a circle with writing in it.
    > Thanks so much,
    > Fran

    Fran, there are a LOT of pictures in FAQ 7e. Do you mean this one?



    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 12, 2014


    Can you tell me what the symbol on the joker tile means?

    > From: Fran Z
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 3:03 PM
    > Subject: Joker tiles
    >Can you tell me what the symbol on the joker tile means? It's a white tile with a blue symbol.
    > Thank you,
    > Fran

    Well, Fran, if it looks anything like this, then it means "100 uses."

    If that's not what it looks like, then see Frequently Asked Question 7E (the "mystery tiles" FAQ). You'll find links to the FAQs above left, marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow (emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ). If you don't find anything like your "mystery tile" in the FAQ, then send me a picture.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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 12, 2014


    Here's what we did

    > From: Belinda
    > Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 8:39 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > What should happen next after the following happened during an Am MJ game.
    >
    > A player has a kong exposed, then picks a tile from the wall and exchanges it for a joker from another player. She then exposes that joker along with another joker and two flowers and then starts to discard.
    >
    > We resolved this error by saying that her flowers should not be exposed and that she should place them back in her hand. This seemed to be the proper thing to do, but was it?
    >
    > Should she have left them on top of her rack, exposed and making the jokers available for redemption? Should she have been called dead? Should there have been some kind of penalty? None of these scenarios seem the right thing to do. Her hand was not dead (she actually won on the next round). We know of no penalty listed in the rules for this error. And it would not seem right to allow the exposure to remain and the jokers to be redeemable.
    >
    > Your FAQs section indicates that when a mistake is correctable it should be corrected. Do you agree with our solution to the error?
    > TIA for your response.
    > Bee

    Hi, Bee. You wrote:

    A player has a kong exposed, then picks a tile from the wall and exchanges it for a joker from another player. She then exposes that joker along with another joker and two flowers and then starts to discard.
    That's crazy. She doesn't need to make an exposure.

    We resolved this error by saying that her flowers should not be exposed and that she should place them back in her hand. This seemed to be the proper thing to do, but was it?
    That's the friendly thing to do. In a tournament, someone might let her discard, then call her dead.

    Should she have left them on top of her rack
    No. She was not supposed to expose anything.

    Should she have been called dead?
    You said she only "started" to discard. Once the discard is completed, then she'd rightly be called dead for having made an illegal or improper exposure.

    Should there have been some kind of penalty?
    Like what? Death isn't penalty enough?

    Do you agree with our solution to the error?
    Sure. It was the nice thing to do for a beginner (she clearly hasn't learned the rules yet).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    A wall tile was seen, part 2

    > From: "lindaz
    > Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 3:18 PM
    > Subject: accidental tile exposure part 2
    > Hi Tom,
    > Thanks for your answer. I will give you the humiliating details about my loss (actually my stupidity!) which I omitted in my earlier email for brevity and pride. Maybe it will be a learning tool for your other readers. I did look at FAQ 19 for the answer and I'm glad you added this situation.
    > I needed 3 DOT plus another tile (or a joker) for Mahjong. The tile accidentally exposed was 3 dot. The player to my left then discarded a 3 DOT and I called it instead of waiting for a "guaranteed" draw of that tile from the wall, since my turn was next. (Duh!! I don't know what I was thinking) So, I called the discarded 3 DOT and used a joker and my own 3 DOT to expose a pung. The next player drew the 3 DOT from the wall and, retrieved my exposed joker, and called Mahjong.
    > Had I been smart, I would have waited to draw the 3 DOT from the wall since I knew it was there. I'd have placed it in my rack, and not exposed my joker. I'd then have a better chance for Mahjong. There was no guarantee that I would have gotten Mahjong had I made the correct decision, but I would have given myself a better chance. Maybe it's Karma... but it still seems a little like cheating to use knowledge like this to your advantage.
    > Thanks so much, Linda

    Hi, Linda.

    Had I been smart, I would have waited to draw the 3 DOT from the wall since I knew it was there.
    Shoulda, woulda, coulda! (^_^)

    but it still seems a little like cheating to use knowledge like this to your advantage.
    In my view, the smart players will use the knowledge. But go ahead and be "honorable," if that suits your sensibilities.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 10, 2014


    The Red Dragon & The West Wind

    > From: James K
    > Sent: Sunday, March 9, 2014 4:48 PM
    > Subject: The Red Dragon and the West Wind
    > Tom,
    > My wife and just started to learn Mah-Jongg and bought your book as our guide to Chinese style mah jongg. You have an example of a pure straight - one through nine in one suit. We had a hand with one through nine of dots. What must the other four tiles be? Would two Norths and two 4 characters fill it out? Or are the other four tiles irrelevant?
    > Thanks.
    > Jim

    Hi, James.
    I'm delighted you bought my book! A complete mah-jongg hand is 14 tiles, so you need 5 more tiles (not 4). The other tiles can be a pung of anything and a pair of anything (or a chow of anything and a pair of anything).

    The other 5 tiles just have to make (together with the straight) a legal mah-jongg hand (typically, that would be 4 sets and a pair - see page 164). The pure straight earns 16 points, which exceeds the 8-point minimum. You might also earn points from the other 5 tiles.
    Hope that helps!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Elaine Sandberg's book

    > From: Beth S
    > Sent: Sunday, March 9, 2014 4:25 PM
    > Subject: 2010 Edition of Sandberg, A Beginner's Guide...
    > I have been teaching Mah Jongg using the 2007 edition of the book for about 5 years, and have gotten many learners to buy copies of the book.
    > To my surprise, in the most recent round, one of the learners turned up with a version of the book, ordered from Amazon, which has the same ISBN number as my 2007 edition, but different pagination and seemingly some different content. It says it is a 2007, 2010 edition.
    > I would like to get a copy of that edition, but the websites offering the book for sale (including Amazon!) list 2007 (only) as the publication date.
    > How can I order a copy of the book and be sure to get the 2010 version?
    > Thanks for your help.
    > Best wishes,
    > Beth S

    Beth, I have no idea. My recommendation is that you use my book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, in your classes instead! (Or buy yourself a copy of Sandberg's book with the new pagination so that you and your students are "all on the same page.")
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    A wall tile was seen; now what?

    > From: "lindaz
    > Sent: Sunday, March 9, 2014 7:58 AM
    > Subject: accidental tile exposure
    > Hi Tom,
    > What should be done if a wall tile (other than the one being drawn) is accidentally knocked over and exposed? This happened to me last week and caused me to lose to another player! In this case, the exposed tile was replaced in its original spot but I wonder if this is correct.
    > Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda.
    You didn't convince me that seeing the wall tile "caused" you to lose. The fact of the matter is that when a wall tile is accidentally exposed, it's just too darn bad, but it goes right back where it was. Once the wall is built, whenever something happens to the wall, best efforts must be made to preserve the original order of tiles in the wall. I'm now adding this to the frequently asked questions in FAQs 19 and 20.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    A difference of opinion with a website

    > From: Libby Q
    > Sent: Saturday, March 8, 2014 4:02 PM
    > Subject: review games for correct strategy/defensive play
    > Hi~
    > I play AM NMJL version on a website. We have team/guild play & I was wondering if you could review some games, 8 games total ... I am looking for an impartial opinion. The CEO of the website has one opinion & I have another... I will be happy to give donation for your time & opinion.
    > I will forward them to you as soon as I hear back from you..
    > I look forward to hearing from you,
    > Libby Q
    > Chatsworth, California

    Hi, Libby.
    I assume you are playing on MahjongTime (I don't think NMJL's game by Sigma Software supports "guild play," and I don't know of a third site that currently supports NMJL rules -- and, besides, I have tried talking to MahjongTime about some details of their online game, but didn't get anywhere).
    I would be happy to look over your points of contention -- and I would very much appreciate a donation.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Exposing with jokers, part 2

    > From: Sharon S
    > Sent: Saturday, March 8, 2014 3:13 PM
    > Subject: RE: Mah Jongg Strategy Question
    > Thank you!

    You're welcome!


    Exposing with jokers early in the game

    > From: Sharon S
    > Sent: Friday, March 7, 2014 6:49 PM
    > Subject: Mah Jongg Strategy Question
    > If it is early in the game and I need four of something, and I have one of them along with two jokers, then one is discarded, is it better strategy to pick up the tile that was thrown out and expose my hand by laying out the one I had, the two jokers, and the one I picked up (as well as leaving the jokers vulnerable) - or - is it better strategy to let the one thrown out pass by and wait, hoping I either draw it or one is thrown out later in the game, to avoid giving away the hand I'm playing (and wait to see if I can use the jokers elsewhere)?
    > Hope this isn't too confusing. This happens to me all the time and I need better strategies.
    > Thank You!
    > S. Smith

    If it's early in the game, S., many players would let it go. I know I would (unless my hand is already pretty close).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Is it allowable to touch or move discarded tiles?

    > From: Powers K
    > Cc: Corinne S
    > Sent: Friday, March 7, 2014 2:40 PM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it allowable to touch or move any discarded tiles around on the table from their original spot once they are placed there by the discarder? For example to make room for a wall break? Thank you!
    >Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. - Marcel Proust
    >Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. - Marcel Proust
    >Let us be grateful to people that make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. - Marcel Proust
    > Karin P

    Hi, Karin. I assume you are asking about American-style mah-jongg (that you are NOT asking about Chinese or Japanese mah-jongg).
    Yes, it is good manners to clear some space in the discard floor (by pushing discards out of the way) before swinging out a wall. It is bad manners, though, to go touching the discards randomly (and worse manners to habitually fiddle with the discards a lot).
    Tom Sloper
    And this above all: to thine own self be true. And it shall follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. - William Shakespeare
    And this above all: to thine own self be true. And it shall follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. - William Shakespeare
    And this above all: to thine own self be true. And it shall follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. - William Shakespeare
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 7, 2014


    A change of heart combined with a conflicting claim

    > From: Linda T
    > Sent: Thursday, March 6, 2014 9:38 PM
    > Subject: Mah jongg question
    > Hi,
    > Here is my question:
    > In regard to 2 players wanting the same tile--
    > After the discard, the next player does not call for the tile but places her hand on the next tile on the wall to draw. Before she picks up, another player calls for the tile. Then the original player says she wants the tile.
    > I know that the original player has priority in getting the tile if she called for it before starting to pick up from the wall. Does she get the tile even when she is picking up from wall?
    > Thanks!
    > Linda
    > ALOHA FBI (from the Big Island)!

    Aloha, Linda.
    The way you worded your email, you asked two entirely different questions:
    Does she get the tile even though she touched the tile on the wall?
    "Does she get the tile even when she is picking up from wall?"
    The answer to #1 is yes. The answer to #2 (the way you worded it) is no. Read the "change of heart" Frequently Asked Question - it's FAQ 19AM. The FAQs are above left (marked by a blue and yellow flashing arrow emblazoned "READ 1ST," like this ).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Was she dead after she called herself dead?

    > From: Alice H
    > Sent: Thursday, March 6, 2014 8:10 AM
    > Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: Part of a hand was put up with jokers in it, the player later notices too many tiles in her hand and declared herself “dead.” Could her jokers be taken by the other players or were they “dead?” Thanks Tom!

    Hi, Alice.
    It's against the rules to call yourself dead. Did anybody confirm that she was dead, or did they just take her word that she was dead? Read Frequently Asked Question 19AC and FAQ 19P. Look above left for the FAQs (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!
    Every group (even better: every player) 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 the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Could you give me some information, part 2

    > From: M Robin C
    > Sent: Monday, March 3, 2014 4:34 PM
    > Subject: Re: mah jong set
    > Tom,
    > These look like celluloid, based on the ones you showed on your site. Do you agree? What would the dark base material be? Can you give me an idea of what this set might be worth? I would like to sell it.
    > Robin

    Hi, Robin.
    Yes, they're celluloid. The backs are some dark plastic - maybe Bakelite (I don't know for certain). And yes, I can give you an idea of its worth, if you give me the information I need. Please read FAQ 7H.
    And you should also read FAQ 7N (tips for sellers).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Column 593

    > From: Ray Heaton
    >Sent: Monday, March 3, 2014 7:44 AM
    > Subject: Strategy Column #593
    >Hi Tom,
    >Great to see some MCR hands in your strategy column again, but there's a couple of hands that I'm not sure on.
    >You say All Greens need defending against on hands #6 and #9, but I thought All Greens had to be made up from 2,3,4,6,8 Bams and Green Dragon, so excludes 1, 5, 7 and 9 (as these can have colours other than green). Both the hands have some of these excluded tiles, so All Greens isn't possible?
    >Otherwise, All Greens would appear to be a reasonably easy very high score to achieve!
    >Nevertheless, an entertaining column, thanks!
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Quite right, Ray.
    I fixed the column, thanks to you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-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, 2014


    Several times a year, older postings are archived so as to keep this bulletin board lean and quicker to load. The archive goes back several years, and it's real easy to access older questions and answers!

    WANNA SEE MORE MAH-JONGG Q&A?
    CLICK HERE to go back in time and read older Mah-Jongg Q&A postings!
    CLICK HERE to return to the present and see the latest Mah-Jongg Q&A postings!


      Color key


        Green = a happy email from a grateful reader.
        Blue = an FAQ, a question that's been asked frequently.
        Purple = an unhappy email from a dissatisfied reader.
        Red = a forbidden technical support question about a computer game. Or any question that makes ME unhappy.
        Orange = a weird or off-topic email.
        Black = none of the above. Regular question or comment, one that is not an FAQ, neither happy nor unhappy.


  • See who's visiting this page. View Page Stats
    See who's visiting this page.

    © 2014 Tom Sloper. No part of this website may be re-published without written permission of the author.