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

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The Mah-Jongg Q & A Bulletin Board

Welcome to the Maj Exchange Q&A Bulletin Board. Ask questions about Mahjong. You will get answers here on this board (usually the same day). You can also ask questions about hanafuda/Go-Stop.

Note: 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. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.)

PLEASE CHECK THE FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and PLEASE scroll down and see if your question has already been asked and answered, BEFORE YOU ASK YOUR QUESTION.

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

  • If you have a question about the NMJL card, please read FAQ 16. (See links at left.)

  • If you have a beginner question about American rules, please read FAQ 19. (See links at left.)

  • 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 clicking the picture below doesn't work for you, email your question to Webmaster@Sloperama.com, or any email address you know to be mine (it doesn't matter which of my email addresses you use to get email to me). I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome.


    Click the image to ask your mah-jongg question or submit a comment!

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

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

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


  • I accidentally produced a rotatable game table

    From: "Linda and Robert" (tooelemountains)
    Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2008 8:59 AM
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > Hi, Tom.
    > I accidently produced a gaming table that could be rotated (spun like a
    > ball bearing loaded lazy susan) but resists sliding forward/back or
    > sideways. It would be of little use for MahJongg except for perhaps
    > someone in a wheelchair or with arm movement disability who needs to
    > rotate the table top around to reach the discard, etc.
    >
    > I had a laptop and wanted a table for it to scoot in front of the couch
    > when watching TV, and needed a wide flat surface to keep air flow under
    > the computer. We already had a wooden round top wooden bar stool, 27
    > inches high (the 12 inch smooth varnished wood top was too small). So, I
    > laid a handy 16x12 inch oblong square tempered glass kitchen cutting
    > board on the stool and was surprised to find that the glass board would
    > now rotate around very very easily, but would strongly resist sliding
    > straight off of the stool. Made for easy viewing angle adjustment! At
    > least it did with the smooth side of the glass board facing the wooden
    > stool top. The other side of the glass board had a pebbly surface and
    > was no good with that side down (it wouldn't spin around). The four feet
    > on the glass board hung off to the sides of the stool and so were no
    > problem. And with another larger finished wood shelving board from a
    > building supply shop on top the glass, it would allow spinning a mah
    > jongg layout around so that players in a rest home, for instance, could
    > all reach anywhere on the board.
    >
    > Meanwhile a real ball bearing table would be nicer, but...

    Hi Robert,
    So if players wanted to rotate only the discard floor, without also rotating their hands (with racks or without), I guess one could put a lazy Susan in the middle of the table, leaving room around the edges of the table for players to array their hands (with racks or without). (No player would want everybody else to see his or her hand, of course.) Figuring out a way to make the lazy Susan stay in place shouldn't be too hard.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 30, 2008


    I created rules for playing mahjong with dominos, part 2

    From: "Robert K - ruthie3
    Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 3:09 AM
    Subject: stonehenge rules
    > The pagat card game rule website placed an html verison of the rules to
    > 'stonehenge' on his page. It is a more recent updated version of my rules as
    > i have updated it several times since i sent you the original posting.
    > Primarily for ease of understanding for new players. Also is included
    > revision dates.
    > Here is the link
    > http://www.pagat.com/invented/stonehenge.html
    > Bob.
    > P.S.
    > Oh and BTW. My computer's time is set off intententionaly to help advoid
    > various calender triggered viri.


    Those confusing joker rules (FAQ 19G)

    >From: Mary J. Wright
    >Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2008 5:44 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it within the rules to use a discarded tile to replace an exposed tile to call for MJ?
    >For example:
    >A player has exposed 2 - 4 dots plus a joker. A 4 dot is discarded, the player with the exposed dots takes the 4 dot and calls for MJ. He/she uses the joker from the 4 dot exposure to make up for missing tile in the 4 - 3 dots required to make the first consecutive hand on the NMJL card. Is this a legitimate way to MJ?

    Hello MJ,
    You can find the answer to this question, and many other often-asked questions, in the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs"). You have asked Frequently Asked Question #19G. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question. You should also read FAQ 19M.
    If the wording of either answer is unclear, just let me know what information is missing, and please let me know how I can improve the wording of the answer for future askers of this same question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    Turkey Day, 2008


    Question about the "cold wall" rule

    >From: smi6984
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 8:08 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you are playing from the cold wall, can you pick up a discarded tile to win the game?

    Hello Smi,
    Please read Frequently Asked Question #19Y. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Please bookmark the page for your future reference. Since your group is playing by rules that your group made up, your group has to decide how your group's rules should work. I can only tell people how the actual rules are supposed to work.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 26, 2008


    Looking for feedback on my mah-jongg solitaire rules, part 4

    >From: Kemp Solis
    >To: Tom Sloper
    >Cc: sylvain.malbec
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 8:34 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Mr. Sloper:
    >Thanks very much. FAQ 4b, together with your book, contain just what I'm looking for. It appears that there are some small differences in the scoring between the different web sites, but then I haven't completed my study. I'm continuing to make small revisions in my solitaire games, as I continue to find some errors. I'll forward them to you when I think they would be of interest.
    >JOHN KEMP

    Good luck, Mr. Kemp
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 25, 2008


    Looking for feedback on my mah-jongg solitaire rules, part 3

    >From: John Kemp -- KempSolisbcglobal.net
    >To: webmastersloperama
    >Cc: sylvain.malbec
    >Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 2:16 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Mr. Sloper & Ms. Malbec:
    >I appreciate your notes regarding my solitaire games. I have read most of The Red Dragon and The West Wind, which has clarified some things, but I'm still a little unclear about the sequence of doubling in the Chinese game. My version is apparently based on Classic Chinese. Also, I have converted my text from WordPerfect to Word, and my updated versions are attached. If you care to pursue this any further it would be appreciate it, but you may consider me a waste of valuable time because I'm a beginner.
    >JOHN KEMP

      CLICK HERE to download and open the file. Or right-click and "Save Link As..." (Firefox) or "Save Target As..." (Microsoft Internet Explorer). Make sure you know where you save the file on your hard drive so you can go to it and open it. The file was created by Microsoft Word.

    Mr. Kemp,
    I'm delighted that you have my book! The book describes the official Chinese rules, not the old classical rules. If you want a better understanding of the classical scoring, you can find websites in FAQ 4b and books in FAQ 3.

    To the readers of this bulletin board: after you try Mr. Kemp's game, you can email him directly (of course you have to change to the "@" symbol to email him), or email your comments to me and I'll post them here on this board. Mr. Kemp, you should watch this board for further comments from readers who try your rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 24, 2008


    She denied being dead so I sat out the hand

    >From: janie (nannybyland)
    >Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 4:58:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Dear friends, I delclared someone "dead". she insisted that she was not dead. I said that I would forfit my hand and then sat out. I took no more turns. Turns out at the end of the game she had been dead after all. Should I have been compensated for having sat out when indeed SHE was the one in error??? I could not find this answer anywhere. I hope It hasn't already been answered. thanks, Janieb
    >
    >From: janie (nannybyland)
    >Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 8:41:36 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: While playing a game I declared another player dead. She said she absolutely was not dead, so I did what I thought I was suppose to do, I dropped out of that hand. When the game was over we discovered that she was indeed dead. Should I have been compensated?? I paid the winner myself. should I have paid since I did drop out of the game?
    >Thanks for your help.; I could not go thru the monkey to write my question.

    Hi Janie,
    I don't know why it took a week for your emails to reach me. I promise you, I just received them today! You wrote:

    She said she absolutely was not dead, so I did what I thought I was suppose to do, I dropped out of that hand.
    I have no idea why you thought YOU were supposed to stop playing! But let's continue...

    Should I have been compensated for having sat out
    It was YOUR decision to sit out of the hand.

    I hope It hasn't already been answered.
    Sorry to have to disappoint you, then. (^_^) See FAQ 19AB - "Called me dead but I'm not. What now?" (it's the same thing as "Called her dead but she said she wasn't"). The FAQs are above left. I recommend you bookmark FAQ 19. (I also recommend you buy a rulebook for your group, but I know I'm probably wasting breath with that one.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 23, 2008


    Where to buy a Ma Jong set in Chicago?

    >From: karen garrison (kkgjpg)
    >Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2008 9:20:47 AM
    >Subject: Find Players/Teachers
    >I am going to be in chicago and I want to know if anybody knows of a store that sells Ma Jong sets. Thanks K K
    >Location (city and zip code):
    >My kind of mah jongg is:

    Hi K K,
    You might find sets in Chicago's Chinatown. A quick Google turns up:
    http://www.chicago-chinatown.com/
    http://www.chicagochinatown.org/
    http://www.chicagochinatown.com/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatown,_Chicago
    For more: http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/how2search.htm
    When you're in the Chicago Chinatown area, just walk into shops and see what they have. Don't bother trying to identify specific shops beforehand. It's more fun to explore anyway.
    But you MUST make sure to buy the right KIND of set for the kind of mah-jongg YOU play. Chinatown shops don't always carry American sets (with 152 tiles, and racks) but do always carry Chinese sets (sometimes without indices). Before you go shopping, make sure you read FAQs 7a & 19BC. After your trip, if you weren't lucky to find a set you love, read FAQ 7k and buy one on the Internet. The FAQs are above left.
    May the tiles be with you. Literally.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 23, 2008


    Is there a hand like this? (follow-up)

    This week's column is based on Patti's Nov. 20 question (below). You can read the column (#388) by clicking the purple banner atop this page.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 23, 2008


    Riichi, continued

    >From: Vahid H
    >Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 3:47 AM
    >Subject: Re: Question about possible Reach Mahjong variation
    >Thanks so much for your speedy reply Tom!
    >If I may be so bold, two more quick questions about Reach variations:
    >
    >1) Why is it that the Dora is indicated by a tile, rather than BEING that tile itself? Surely that is a little more sensible from an intuitive point of view since the indicator tile naturally is in short supply (only 3 would be available) Presumably this would reduce the Dora score factor slightly.
    >I notice that the Japan Pro Mahjong League A-Rules only allow one Dora anyway and disallow Hidden Doras altogether.
    >
    >2) Why does the concept of the Dead Wall exist? Surely it would be enough just to have four tiles or so on reserve for when Quads are declared (perhaps even change the rule so you simply do not discard on the turn you Quad, instead of drawing a new tile to bulk up your hand). The reason I ask is because more luck would be removed from the game this way if every tile got played in every round-- counting the tiles would become a stronger strategy that further rewards player skill. You could really guess at your opponent's hands late game. What do you think?
    >
    >The rounds would be around three go-arounds longer too. The reason I ask all this is I am interested in a variation of Mahjong that maximizes player skill and minimizes luck.
    >Do these questions sound sensible?
    >Best Regards,
    >Vahid

    Hi Vahid, you asked:

    Why is it that the Dora is indicated by a tile, rather than BEING that tile itself?
    Understand that I was not involved in any decision-making process to determine this rule. And although I said yesterday, "I figure there's usually a reason why standard rules exist," I usually cannot offer a definitive reason. In this case, though, I have a guess. I think it's because the majority of players prefer having 4 possible score doublers over 3.

    By the way, although most people use only 3 red fives (one per suit), many sets come with 4 red fives -- 2 five dots, and one in the other 2 suits. Some people actually like to use all 4 red fives. The main reason manufacturers provide that number of red fives, though, is because the trays in the carrying case would have 1 blank space. After you pack the 136-tile set in, there are 8 spaces left over for flowers (which the Japanese usually don't use) and red fives (which aren't used by all Japanese). So if you put in 4 flowers (you wouldn't put in 5!), there's room for 4 red fives.

    Why does the concept of the Dead Wall exist?
    It helps to accept this infuriating practice of keeping 14 tiles out of play when you realize that many Chinese people refer to the dead wall as "the king's hand." I like to think of this "king" as one of the mahjong gods. It's like having a fifth, imaginary and invisible, player at the table who plays cagily, withholding his tiles from the game to add a further element of chance. In my columns, I'm always railing against those impish mahjong gods who enjoy messing with our heads (and our mahjong hands).

    Surely it would be enough just to have four tiles or so on reserve for when Quads are declared
    Well, now you raise the distinction between a "kong box" and a dead wall. Sort of like what A.D. Millington discusses in his seminal book on Chinese Classical. Recommended reading (see FAQ 3).

    The reason I ask all this is I am interested in a variation of Mahjong that maximizes player skill and minimizes luck.
    Then I wouldn't go with Japanese mahjong as your starting point. Yes, drop the dead wall. Don't use dora or red fives or flowers. Don't even permit doubling for seat wind, round wind, or dragons -- make the winds and dragons just non-suit tiles.

    Do these questions sound sensible?
    Some of them were questions that have been heard before (which makes them sensible). Your desire to maximize skill is also sensible, but I don't know that it will make the game more fun to play.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 22, 2008


    What do you think about this riichi variation?

    >From: Vahid H
    >Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 3:24 PM
    >Subject: Question about possible Reach Mahjong variation
    >Hi Tom,
    >Amazing site!
    >I was wondering...
    >What would it be like in terms of game balance to play Reach Mahjong with no restrictions on Yaku for open hands? Everything including Limit Hands (and perhaps even declaring Reach) would not need to be concealed, let us say.
    >
    >Is it just me or that would add more diversity to the game without really breaking balance?
    >Or am I missing something major?
    >
    >As far as scoring goes, the base points would still be less for open sets. Yaku would be the same for hands that used to be closed-only. Perhaps those ex-closed-only hands worth 1 Yaku would still be worth 1 Yaku open, whereas ones worth 3 (such as Mixed Double Chow) would be worth 2 open (and so on). What do you think, from a "game design" point of view? Possibly this variation could be combined with a two YAKU minimum?
    >
    >The only major common hands affected would be all sequences, double chow and tanyao, while yakuman hands would still be rare...
    >Any thoughts or suggestions?
    >Best regards,
    >Vahid

    Hello Vahid,
    Nice to hear from a newcomer. (^_^) You wrote:

    What would it be like in terms of game balance to play Reach Mahjong with no restrictions on Yaku for open hands? Everything including Limit Hands (and perhaps even declaring Reach) would not need to be concealed, let us say.
    Well, I honestly don't know. Some of those concealed hands can't be exposed anyway. As you say, only a few other hands would really be affected.

    What do you think, from a "game design" point of view?
    What we do in the game world, whenever possible, is "prototype it and find out."

    Possibly this variation could be combined with a two YAKU minimum?
    Okay, so you can expose anything that's exposable, as long as you make a 2-fan minimum. Sure, you could try that. (Or do you really mean that it has to have more than one yaku?)

    am I missing something major?
    Just that there's probably no way to know how this might work, without having tried it. I figure there's usually a reason why standard rules exist. But I also have nothing against trying table rules for a while to see if they enhance the fun. See FAQ 14, above left. The computer game Four Winds (FAQ 5, above left) is highly customizable. Maybe you can approximate these modifications in the options.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 21, 2008


    desperately seeking a Japanese mahjong translator

    >From: Catherine Skala
    >Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 4:58:10 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I am desperately seeking a Japanese mahjong translator for long term working relationship. I work for a translations company in Sweden.
    >Catherine Skala Catherine©globaltext.se

    Good luck with that, Catherine! I hope somebody who reads this board will contact you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 21, 2008


    Is there a hand like this?

    >From: Patti (catsrule)
    >Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 3:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is there a Mah Jongg hand consisting of a run (1-9), a chi and a corresponding pair of dragons?
    >ie: 1-9 in Characters, 3-4-5 in Characters and a pair of red dragons?
    >Thanks.
    >Patti

    Hi Patti,
    Well... this specific hand you described would have some value in Chinese Official (MCR) and in Chinese Classical, and in HKOS, and in Japanese rules. But none of those games has this particular combination (a "pure straight" aka "dragon," plus a chow in the same suit, plus a pair of "corresponding" dragons) as a special hand. So the answer is, "it depends." Which game do you play, Patti? If you don't know, see FAQ 2b, or tell me the name of the author of the rulebook you use, if the author's book is listed in FAQ 3. The FAQs are above left.
    Since you mentioned "corresponding dragons," you probably play British/Western rules, maybe Wright-Patterson? Or possibly HKOS... I can't tell from your email.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 20, 2008


    have you heard of an automatic mahjong table

    >From: "David N
    >Sent: Monday, November 17, 2008 11:33 AM
    >Subject: hello...
    >> hi Tom:
    >> My name is David, from Cypress, CA. I happened to run into your very interesting site looking for a mahjong set, specifically vietnamese mahjong set! Your site is a very comprehensive and full of infos on mahjong that i never saw such a large collections like this before. THANKS so much!
    >> Looking at your bio, i guess that you are about my age... [omitted] ...sounds like you had a great career and is enjoying your retirement and handle a very interesting aspect which i'm sure you are very happy!
    >> Hope to chat with you some more and i only have one question for your advise: during your mahjong experience, have you heard of an automatic mahjong table where the tiles are showed down in the middle of the table and another set (already assembled) pops up in front of the 4 players...this is very innovative and i wonder anybody in the states got it for sale...i'd think it will cost an arm&a leg but would be interested to know how much.
    >> Hope to correspond with you in the future, Tom!
    >> Regards,
    >> David N

    Hi David,
    It's so nice to hear from someone so enthusiastic. As you can see by looking around here, I like to share the conversation about all things mahjong with other folks who also have found my site. To respond to your comments:

    sounds like you had a great career and is enjoying your retirement
    Well, I'm not planning to retire anytime soon, actually. I'm going to keep on working as long as they'll let me!

    have you heard of an automatic mahjong table
    Oh yes. I have one. And I have a page full of information about them here on the site. Click here, and also read FAQ 7f (see FAQ links above left).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 17, 2008


    Column feedback

    >From: Mois%E9s Sol%E9
    >Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 4:06 PM
    >Subject: Where did Chinese Official go?
    >I have noticed that weekly columns about Chinese Official aren't appearing anymore.
    >Have you discontinued support of that variety? It is a shame, because that's the variant we play. But I searched at the column index and the last one for Chinese Official is #290, Oct 29, 2006. That's more than TWO YEARS, and almost 100 columns, without addressing Chinese Official. (Site is still good, but much better with Chinese Official. Lately, it seems American is the only way)
    >What happened?
    >Thanks.
    >Moisés.

    Hi Moises,
    I have written columns on that variant since October 2006. It's just that I've been calling it by its official name: Mahjong Competition Rules (MCR). Still, it is true that I haven't written many columns on MCR for the past several months. I'm glad to hear that someone is missing them. Since the majority of the commentary I was getting was about American, that's where I focused my efforts. Now that the other side has been heard from, I'll turn my attention back to MCR (formerly known as "Chinese Official") for a near future column.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 16, 2008


    Identify my mahjong set

    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: Mark S
    >To: tomster©sloperama:com
    >Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 12:57 PM
    >Subject: Fw: Help with identification
    >
    >--- On Sun, 11/16/08, Mark S wrote:
    >
    >From: Mark S
    >Subject: Fw: Help with identification
    >To: request©mahjongtiles:com
    >Date: Sunday, November 16, 2008, 12:54 PM
    >
    >--- On Sun, 11/16/08, Mark S wrote:
    >
    >From: Mark S
    >Subject: Fw: Help with identification
    >To: jim©mahjongmuseum:com
    >Date: Sunday, November 16, 2008, 12:51 PM
    >Hi,
    >I am trying to get some help identifying a set. So far, the email gets kicked back. I have sent to the emails you have listed on your site. This appears to be the last email available. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Mark.
    >
    >--- On Sun, 11/16/08, Mark S wrote:
    >
    >From: Mark S
    >Subject: Fw: Help with identification
    >To: mahjongmuseum©aol:com
    >Date: Sunday, November 16, 2008, 12:48 PM
    >Greetings,
    >Hopefully you don't look at my request to identify a mahjong set as added junk mail. I have seen a number of mahjong tiles and never have I come across a set as intricate as the ones I am submitting in the photos. Also, I can't seem to make out the material it is made out of. I have experience with Ivory. I don't see any pits on any of the tiles, but I also don't see any cross-hatchings indicative of Ivory. Can you please look at the photos and help shed some light on the history, identity of this particular game. I am submitting a few photos. If you need more please let me know. Like I said, the detail is amazing on these tiles. The photos don't do it justice. If need be I can take more. Thank you for any help or direction you can provide. Thank you in advance, Mark.
    >
    >--- On Tue, 11/11/08, Mark S wrote:
    >
    >From: Mark S
    >Subject: Help with identification
    >To: webmaster©mahjongmuseum:com
    >Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2008, 9:08 PM
    >Greetings,
    >Hopefully you don't look at my request to identify a mahjong set as added junk mail. I have seen a number of mahjong tiles and never have I come across a set as intricate as the ones I am submitting in the photos. Also, I can't seem to make out the material it is made out of. I have experience with Ivory. I don't see any pits on any of the tiles, but I also don't see any cross-hatchings indicative of Ivory. Can you please look at the photos and help shed some light on the history, identity of this particular game. I am submitting a few photos. If you need more please let me know. Like I said, the detail is amazing on these tiles. The photos don't do it justice. If need be I can take more. Thank you for any help or direction you can provide. Thank you in advance, Mark.

    Hello Mark,
    As near as I can figure out, your questions for me are:

    I can't seem to make out the material it is made out of. I have experience with Ivory. I don't see any pits on any of the tiles, but I also don't see any cross-hatchings indicative of Ivory.
    You haven't given me enough clues. Read FAQ 7c and follow all the links you find therein. They look kind of like plastic to me, but I can't be sure.

    Can you please look at the photos and help shed some light on the history... of this particular [set]
    I assume you mean "how old is it"? You haven't given me enough clues. Read FAQ 7g and give me more clues.

    Can you please look at the photos and help shed some light on the... identity of this particular [set]
    This is the set that belongs to Mark S. (according to you). Read FAQ 7p. The FAQs are above left.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 16, 2008


    2 FAQs

    >From: Shelley
    >Subject: [NO SUBJECT]
    >Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2008 9:24 AM
    >.Hi,
    >I have some questions regarding the 2008 mahj card, could you please confirm the following for me:
    >1) on a hand that has 2008, can jokers be used for the 00?
    >2) on the quint hand 1123, can the 2 or 3 be pairs, or can it only be the 1st number in the series?
    >I look forward to hearing from you.
    >Thanks
    >Shelley
    >--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    >The information contained in this transmission (including any attachments) may contain privileged and confidential information. It is intended only for the use of the person(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient or the employee or agent responsible for delivering this communication to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, dissemination, distribution or duplication of this communication and/or its contents is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email or by telephone and destroy all copies of the original message.

    Hello Shelley, you asked 2 questions.

    This is Frequently Asked Question #19E. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question. If the wording of the answer is unclear, just let me know what information is missing, and please let me know how I can improve the wording of the answer for future askers of this same question.

    This is Frequently Asked Question #16.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 2, 2008
    >--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    >"When you email me, I own it." Questions and answers are handled in this public forum only - I don't give free private answers. The "price" of the free answers is that they are given in this public forum. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes permission for your email to be made public. I'm not impressed by legal confidentiality disclaimers that some folks append to every email they send. I've already got my own legal disclaimers, plastered all over this website. It's like the Vogons said to the people of Earth before demolishing the planet to build a hyperspatial express route:
    "There's no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it's far too late to start making a fuss about it now." - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


    The Charleston

    >From: DOROTHY S
    >Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2008 8:10 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment;
    > in my game I was told I can't pass three winds. is this true. I thought you only could not pass jokers

    Hello Dorothy,
    Someone else asked a similar question recently. Scroll down and see the posting entitled "Strategy," written by "Joan -- jbe1224" on Thursday, October 2, 2008 8:14:32 AM.

    But basically, there are far too many players of American mah-jongg who think that strategy principles are rules. There's a difference between strategy principles and rules, Dorothy. Your group is badly in need of a rulebook.
    I'm fighting an internal struggle right now. Should I rant about how badly the NMJL needs to issue a new rulebook that covers everything in the kind of detail I went into in my book? Or should I maybe consider that for a column instead...
    I guess I won't write that rant right now. Dorothy, you were told wrong. "Don't pass three winds during the Charleston" is not a rule. Another player might not want to get three winds, but that dislike doesn't give her the right to tell you what you can or can't do.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    The ides of November, 2008


    Frequently Asked Question 19AY

    >From: Ellen and Dean Sanders
    >Cc: dss38
    >Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2008 9:34 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I misnamed a discarded tile - I said 4 Bam and it was a 5 Bam. Someone else corrected the miscall. The player who corrected the miscall announced that if I had the misnamed tile (4 bam) in my hand, that I had to exchange it for the 5 Bam. Is she correct?
    >Thank you!

    No, she's not.
    Read FAQ 19AY. http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq19.htm
    Bookmark the page for your future reference.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 13, 2008


    I created rules for playing mahjong with dominos

    From: "Robert Kalin" (ruthie3)
    Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 2:46 AM
    Subject: domino mahjong
    >I created a ruleset for playing mahjong with 4 sets of Double-Six dominos.
    > When This idea poped into my head i thought that I was far from original in
    > this. I searched the internet and found no such conversion rules anywhere.
    > Not even a game that used the same mechanic of matching up identicle tiles
    > in differnt gameplay. Not in dominos that is. So here is a link to a text
    > file of the rules. I striped out a lot of mahjong complexities to appeal to
    > the domino player crowd. I named it 'Stonehenge' so that people would not
    > confuse this game for the computer solitaire 'mahjong' game. The basics of
    > mahjong are there albiet verry verry simplified. Feel free to copy the rules
    > and distribute them.
    > Bob.
    > LINK http://www.angelfire.com/alt2/robertkalin/mahdom.txt

    Hi Bob,
    Wow, I have no idea why that email took 3 months to reach me! Maybe some folks will check out your rules and comment here.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 12, 2008


    A mystery about my tiles (Frequently Asked Question 7e)

    >From: "MJOatGulf
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 7:52:59 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >The red dragons on my set have a C in the corner and the green dragons an F. What do the letters stand for ?
    >Thank you in advance
    >MJ

    Hello OatGulf,
    This question has been asked many times before. You can find the answer to this question in the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs"). You have asked the "mystery tiles" FAQ, FAQ 7e. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 12, 2008


    if a NMJL player like me were curious about Chinese playing, part 3

    >From: Lori Todd
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 8:25 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Thank you Tom for the concise, totally understandable Asian MJ instruction download! Obviously the little Click Here button is now working. Do you have any newbies you are teaching currently? I would love to try this. I am already confusing myself with thoughts like: if one or more tile/s in your hand could work in two/more different required sets (pungs chows etc) in that hand, can you double up on points like in Scrabble by having lots of overlapping tile uses within that hand? Best, LDHT (Lori “Da Hoodlum” Todd

    Hi Lori,
    Stop confusing yourself. It's okay to wonder things, but confusion is a bad thing.
    No, a tile in a mah-jongg hand can be used as part of one group, and one group only. If you have a pung of 3B, for instance, and a 123B chow, you cannot call that last 3B part of a chow and part of a kong. It's part of a chow only.
    As for multiple use of a group, that depends on which kind of mah-jongg you're playing and other specifics of the hand.
    Now that you've read the handout, you should also read FAQ 10. Then use FAQ 2a to choose which variant would be best for you. Then use FAQ 3 to find a book, and/or FAQ 4b to find a website. If you want me to teach you, you have to get 3 other suckers... I mean students.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    11/11, 2008


    If a NMJL player like me were curious about Chinese playing, part 2

    >From: Lori Todd
    >Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 10:55:56 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Thanks, Tom, for your encouragement in my quest to learn Asian style MJ, after some years of NMJL playing. Sadly, I clicked on the Click Here to download your sheet that you give your students, and was taken straight to an error page. I tried respelling the word “downlode” in the URL making it “download” to no avail. I await your merciful release from this error prison. Best, Lori “da Hoodlum” Todd

    Hi Lori,
    Sorry about that. Try it again. CLICK HERE. It should work twice as good now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    11/11, 2008


    Where can my friend buy Shanghai: Second Dynasty or Shanghai: Mah-Jongg Essentials?

    From: Rena
    To: Tom Sloper
    Cc: Katie
    Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 6:05 PM
    Subject: Re: NMJL card file for e-game
    Hi Tom,
    Appreciate your great online mahj with the NMJA card. I have a friend who is new to mahj and desperately wants to play online. Does she still go to AMJA to get the game, or can you help her? I know she needs to get the 2008 NMJA download from you.
    Thanks so much,
    Rena

    Rena,
    There is noplace I know of where your friend can buy Shanghai: Second Dynasty or Shanghai: Mah Jongg Essentials. Those games have been out of print for years.
    Her only choices nowadays are the NMJL's online game or the online game on MahjongTime. See FAQ 5 (the FAQs are above left).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 10, 2008


    Link exchange request

    >From: Peter Gregory
    >To: Sloperama
    >Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 2:46 PM
    >Subject: Request for link to my Mah-Jong site
    >Dear Sloperama,
    >I have just published a 60+ page web site explaining the rules of Mah-Jong as set out by the British Mah-Jong Association (BMJA).
    >
    >The URL is: http://www.mahjongbritishrules.com/
    >
    >Would you kindly take a look at it and, if you think it appropriate, add a link to it from your Mah-Jong web site.
    >I have included a link to your web site from mine.
    >Kind regards
    >Peter Gregory

    Hello mahjongbritishrules,
    Done. It's in FAQ 4b.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 10, 2008


    Where to get the American 2008 card? And how do we get our club to obey rules?

    >From: (Lana) looky.lou
    >Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2008 5:07 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >As NMJL players we want to try the American Mahjong 2008 card -- just for the experience. What's the best source since the online site I was sent to only offers the older 2007 cards? Have they out of existence?
    >
    >Love the 'hoodlums' joker fiasco. Way to go!
    >
    >How do we "gently" break our senior center players into getting back to the Basic Rules regarding not picking discards back up, too few tiles, discarding before picking, etc. without having them go ballistic? People at certain tables ignore the basics but it's difficult to monitor and I'd rather not make a gazillion enemies by making some kind of announcement. Since we sometimes move to different tables to accommodate any table short of players this has become very awkward. "But rules are rules, right?" Suggestions?
    >Lana (looky.lou)

    Hi Lana, you have several questions:

    we want to try the American Mahjong 2008 card
    I assume you mean the AMJA versus the NMJL?

    What's the best source since the online site I was sent to only offers the older 2007 cards? Have they out of existence?
    I have no idea what site you visited. I just looked at the AMJA site and the 2008 card is right there. Go to FAQ 4a and follow the link to the AMJA site.

    How do we "gently" break our senior center players into getting back to the Basic Rules regarding not picking discards back up, too few tiles, discarding before picking, etc. without having them go ballistic?
    You probably can't. Going ballistic is about all the entertainment they can get anymore! I'm kidding. Sort of.

    I'd rather not make a gazillion enemies by making some kind of announcement.
    I have absolutely no way to help you if you're not willing to make "some kind of announcement." If you're not going to take action, you have to live with things the way they are.

    Since we sometimes move to different tables to accommodate any table short of players this has become very awkward. "But rules are rules, right?" Suggestions?
    Rather than decree rules, why don't you begin the next weekly session with a discussion and a vote? Before you start the discussion, though, make a list of the particular rules that are problematic. Then go through them one by one and get majority consensus on how to handle those. (Note: If anybody wants to know what the real rules are, the NMJL rulebook probably doesn't cover everything. You need my book.)

    Then you'll have to document those votes, the decided-on rules, and post them on the bulletin board. And have copies available for each table so people can remember what was voted on, on the spot. Then every time a new player joins, inform them what your club's rules are.

    That's it, Lana. That's all I've got. If the above isn't going to work for you, then nothing will.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 9, 2008


    Exposure in error, part 2

    >From: "Vicki Davis" (vickser)
    >Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2008 4:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >> My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >> Boy, you're really making me work! I did look at FAQ 19 and still
    >> cannot find the answer. I think that the answer to your question is
    >> B, her erroneous exposure was illegal, because you can't expose a
    >> 2008. When I said "can she continue to play?" I meant can she put the
    >> tile back down and return her tiles to her hand. I felt that her hand
    >> was NOT dead and that she should just return it to her rack, but two
    >> of the other players felt she WAS dead. I can't wait to hear the
    >> right answer!

    Hi Vicki, you wrote:

    Boy, you're really making me work!
    I believe that the best Q&A involves equal work on both parts. The asker should work just as hard at asking the right question (so that the answerer can hit the target with the answer), as the answer is at answering it.

    I think that the answer to your question is
    >> B, her erroneous exposure was illegal, because you can't expose a
    >> 2008.
    Ding ding ding ding! Yes. It's an illegal exposure. Good for you. This IS answered in FAQ 19, by the way -- it's FAQ 19AA. You must have missed it in your reading of the FAQ.

    When I said "can she continue to play?" I meant can she put the
    >> tile back down and return her tiles to her hand.
    That's entirely up to you folks. In a tournament, she'd be called dead (FAQ 19AA). But in a friendly home game, players tend to be more forgiving.

    I felt that her hand
    >> was NOT dead and that she should just return it to her rack, but two
    >> of the other players felt she WAS dead.
    Well, then, in this case the majority should have held sway, and the player should be called dead. I'm not saying mah-jongg is a democracy, mind you. I'm just saying that the most harmony is achieved if the majority opinion holds sway. Read FAQs 9 & 14. By the way, you didn't mention whether her move was challenged before she discarded or not.

    Thanks for working through the answer with me, Vicki.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 9, 2008


    If a NMJL player like me were curious about Chinese playing and wanted to give it an uncommitted test drive...

    >From: Lori Todd
    >Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2008 12:31:48 PM
    >Subject: RE: Press Release
    >Listen, if a NMJL player like me were curious about Chinese playing and wanted to give it an uncommitted test drive, does anything come to your very savvy mind? I think Johni has played it a couple of times, and I don’t know anyone else who has or who wants to try it. I get so sick of the Card by this time of year, it would be fun to stretch the brain a little. But I would be such an idiot newbie.

    Hi Lori, you wrote:

    if a NMJL player like me were curious about Chinese playing and wanted to give it an uncommitted test drive, does anything come to your very savvy mind?
    This comes to mind: I've taught some NMJL players, and they loved it to pieces.

    I get so sick of the Card by this time of year,
    Yeah, I hear that a lot.

    it would be fun to stretch the brain a little.
    Yes indeedy!

    But I would be such an idiot newbie.
    You'd be surprised. As I wrote in FAQ 19X, the NMJL game is THE most difficult to learn of all the 40+ mah-jongg variants in the world. If you can learn American mah-jongg, it should be a piece of cake to learn an Asian variant.

    I've written a 2-page handout that I give to my mah-jongg students who are accustomed to American mah-jongg. CLICK HERE to download it. Or right-click and "Save Link As..." (Firefox) or "Save Target As..." (Microsoft Internet Explorer). Make sure you know where you save the file on your hard drive so you can go to it and open it. The file was created by Microsoft Word.

    And read FAQs 10 & 20. The FAQs are above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 9, 2008


    Looking for feedback on my mah-jongg solitaire rules, part 2

    >From: Sylvain Malbec
    >Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2008 8:28:15 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong one-player rules (or "Mahjong 4 minus 3 players rule")
    >Hello Tom,
    >I've some little things to say about mahjong one-player rules.
    >I write to you, and not directly to Mr Kemp, because what I say would be more suited in the bulletin board.
    >
    >1) Not a surprise, I'm unable to read a Corel WordPerfect document.
    >A Microsoft Word document would be more easily readable, of course, but an other/better option is tu use a pdf converter.
    >Pdf converters are freely available throw internet, can convert a file from ANY program who have a printing option, and pdf files are readable one ANY computer without formating problems (everyone have Arcobat reader since it's free and spread in almost every CD-ROM).
    >
    >2) I don't realy see what is the goal of this one-player rule (maybe I will see if I was able to read it :( ).
    >One-player practice didn't need a rule :
    >- Take a book / help sheet about the 4-players rule you use if you are not familiar, like in a 4-players game.
    >- Shuffle the tiles, like in a 4-players game.
    >- (You would probably skip wall-buiding and die-casting.)
    >- Draw 13 tiles, like in a 4-players game.
    >- Draw one tile, discard one tile, etc, like in a 4-players game (just don't wait for opponent to do the same thing).
    >- If you want to use claming mechanisms, just flip a random tile per virtual opponent and consider it as his discard.
    >- If you have "mahjong", you win, like in a 4-players game. Calculate score like according the rule you use, like in a 4-players game.
    >- When you have drawn and discarded the same number of tiles* than in a 4-players game, the hand is over.
    >
    >* This number of tiles depend on the rule you use : 23 in Chinese Official, 19 or 20 in Chinese Classical, 17 or 18 in Riichi.
    >
    >As you can see, it's not realy a one-player rule, but rather a 4-player game without opponent.
    >May the players be with you.
    >--
    >Sylvain MALBEC
    >sylvain.malbecgmail.com
    >chat: dhaos_manahotmail.fr

    Bonjour Sylvain,
    I like your suggestion for "other players" to make claimable discards. Très bien! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 9, 2008


    Praise for column 386

    >From: Lajohni
    >To: [a bunch of hoodlums]
    >Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2008 3:36 PM
    >Subject: Press Release
    >http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/column386.htm
    >Toms weekly column ... LOVE IT. Note the coming FAQ 7t which will tell you how to make your own stickers AND the nod to the eBay Mah Jongg Group :)
    >Pat, don't choke on ... "Her brilliance was to realize that she could scan the jokers of old mah-jongg sets and turn them into stickers" We know your the brain behind it.

    >From: Tamara
    >Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2008 5:02 PM
    >Subject: Re: Press Release
    >Oh, how I enjoyed reading this! ;-)
    >Great job on the "hoodlum's" Tom's part! Brilliant composition! 8-)
    >Hell's Bell's! That was the most fun I have ever had without clothes on!! =-O 8-)
    >Encore! Encore!
    >How does one clean french ivory tiles, Tom?
    >Thanks a bunch!
    >ADMIRATION!
    >Sincerely yours,
    >Tamara

    >From: gina smith
    >Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2008 7:30 PM
    >Subject: RE: Press Release
    >Bless you Tom Sloper!!! I am so glad that you added this information to your site, which is read by so many. I not only scanned tiles for stickers, but have used Lori's and am in the process of designing some of my own! It's fun! And I have no artistic ability whatosoever! Thanks to every one of us hoodlums. Now hopefully there will be peace in the kingdom where we can all go about doing our businesses, sharing our ideas and enjoying mah jongg in its many capacities! Gina

    >From: Lori Todd
    >Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2008 8:46 PM
    >Subject: RE: Press Release
    >Tom you are my total and complete hero. You are rendering a tremendous service to our little MJ Community online. And what a very dry wit you have. I do wonder if [Ms. X] ever checks out your Q & A…. I wish I could forward her the link in case she is missing the show! Many many thanks, Lori

    >From: "MEADCCI
    >Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2008 9:06:03 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: Bless Your Mah Jongg Heart
    >Tom,
    > You and I have known one another for many mango seasons and I've always known you to be creative, honest and clever. Your website has been a shining star for all of the "family" and I am so proud of your stance on the sticker thing. WTG guy !!!
    >Pat

    Well, thanks, Ladies. But I don't know how happy I should be to get such praise from a bunch of "hoodlums."
    Tamara, all the cleaning tips I have are in FAQ 7o (that's seven oh, not seventy). The FAQs are above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 9, 2008


    Exposure in error

    From: "Vicki Davis" (vickser)
    Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2008 5:54 PM
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    > My mah-jongg question or comment is: A tile was picked up (a soap)
    > for 2008 and exposed in error is the player dead or can she continue
    > to play?

    Hi Vicki,
    There are two kinds of erroneous exposure:
    One in which the player exposed something she didn't mean to. Even if it's a legal exposure, it was an error and she's kicking herself after she realizes she should have played it differently.
    One in which the player made an illegal exposure (one that is not permitted under the rules or per the current card). For example, a recent card had no legal dragon pung exposures. On a card like that, punging a dragon would be cause for "instant death." This year's hand has two legal dragon pung exposure hands, and three legal dragon kong exposure hands.

    And I realize that I'm being a pain in the butt, Vicki, but I truly believe that it's better to teach someone to fish than to catch a fish and give it to him. Rather than just tell you the answer, I want you to tell me which kind of erroneous exposure it is to put up a 2008. Is it type A or type B?

    And when you say "can she continue to play," what exactly are you envisioning:
    She leaves the 2008 exposed and continues playing, or...
    she has to return the 2008 to the sloping front of the rack before continuing to play?

    Of course you realize that in the event of erroneous exposure type A above, the player merely continues playing (without returning the exposure to the sloping front of the rack). But what do you think the proper response is to an erroneous exposure of type B? Is it:
    She pays 25 cents to each other player;
    She's subject to the death penalty;
    She returns the exposure to the hand;
    All of the above; or
    None of the above?

    I really want to hear what you think is the answer to your own question, Vicki. After you tell me your thoughts, then I'll give you the answer. By the way, did you look in FAQ 19 to see if this question is answered there?
    Tom Sloper
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 8, 2008


    Looking for feedback on my mah-jongg solitaire rules

    >From: Kemp Solis
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2008
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Solitaire rules
    >Mr. Sloper:
    > I contacted you at the suggestion of Lois Madow. 
    >I've been trying to learn how to play Mah Jongg without playing with experienced players, and it occurred to me that it might be worthwhile, as a learning tool,  to devise a solitaire version to be played with physical tiles rather than on a computer.  I have come up with the attached rules for such a game. 

    >A few weeks ago I sent it to the American Mah Jongg Association, and yesterday I received a call from Lois Madow of the Association.  She didn't understand what I was trying to do, but suggested that I contact you about this.

    >The general idea is for a single person to play against the tiles, trying to achieve Mah Jongg with as few draws as possible.  Whatever score is made is reduced proportionally by the number of tiles drawn, as described in my rules.  It's not that much of a challenge, but for a beginner it forces him to think about formulating hands and discarding as well as possible.  I can't help but think that someone, somewhere has devised something like this, very possibly better.  Do you know of any games like this, and what do you think of this?
    >
    >I suppose what I'm looking for are the following:
    >      1.  Information about a non-computer Mah Jongg solitaire game that somebody else has already invented (could this be you, in one of your books?  If so, which one?), and/or
    >     2.  A critique of this game by someone who plays Mah Jongg. 
    >To be more specific, I guess my question is:  Does my solitaire game have anything in it that is significantly contrary to the rules of real mah Jongg? 
    >
    >The game is intended to learn and practice the real game, so it is my intention that its rules be essentially the same as the real game.  It is intended to be played with a physical set and not on a computer.  Since there is no opponent, the player has an easy time of achieving mah jongg, hence the % of undrawn tiles adjustment at the end.
    >
    >I don't know enough about mah jongg yet to know if this game is viable.  As far as copyrights, etc., don't worry about it.  You can do whatever you want with my game;  I designed it for my own use, and am just looking for a little feedback.  Thanks for your time.
    >John Kemp
    >kempsolisbcglobal.net

      CLICK HERE to download and open the file. Or right-click and "Save Link As..." (Firefox) or "Save Target As..." (Microsoft Internet Explorer). Make sure you know where you save the file on your hard drive so you can go to it and open it. The file was created by Corel WordPerfect.

    Mr. Kemp,
    Readers of this bulletin board can download your game rules using the link above. I hope you get lots of feedback.

    As for my thoughts:
    a. WordPerfect isn't as widely used as Microsoft Word is. I was able to open the file using Word, though. The formatting doesn't look right, but it's readable.
    b. The first part of the document gives the scoring, but not the gameplay, of the Chinese Classical version of your solitaire game. I think it ought to start by describing the gameplay rather than jumping straight into the scoresheet.
    c. The scoring involves a lot of math. It's the main reason (I believe) that CC has fallen largely out of favor. Now most people who play Asian variants play Hong Kong, Japanese, Taiwanese, or Chinese Official rules rather than CC.
    d. Looks to me like someone would want to print multiple copies of your scoresheet, and use one every time s/he plays. It'd be best if it could fit on one sheet. But it's already very small print. Kind of like an IRS tax form.
    e. I don't think the "nomenclature" section is needed. If it's needed, then it should be on the back of the sheet, and should include pictures of the tiles.
    f. The American version of your solitaire game includes rules of play, which is a good thing. But some of the premises or rules are confusing.
    - I don't know what #4 means, and in #6, how are you defining "stealing"? (Read my Column #353, purple banner atop this page.)
    - And D.2.a. needs further explanation (since there is no calling in the solitaire game, how could a hand be considered "exposed"?).
    - E.1.b. needs explanation too. Since in this solitaire game the only way to obtain a tile is by picking it from the pile, the score is always considered self-pick, so is always doubled? Just say so, so that the player isn't confused on this point.
    g. I don't think you need the Nomenclature & No. Pieces section (same comment as above for the Chinese Classical variant).
    h. I think your game's instructions should list the equipment needed to play:
    - Scoring sheet (the WordPerfect file);
    - Mah-jongg tiles or kards (set of 152 including 8 flowers, 8 jokers);
    - NMJL or AMJA card if playing American version;
    - Pencil or pen;
    - Electronic calculator optional.

    To the readers of this bulletin board: after you try John's game, you can email him directly (of course you have to change to the "@" symbol to email him), or email your comments to me and I'll post them here on this board. John, you should watch this board for possible comments from readers who try your rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 8, 2008


    How to read the NMJL card?

    >From: Arlene R
    >Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008 4:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Regarding consecutive run #6…any 2 consec. Nos….do they have to be like numbers
    >For example 111 222 111 222 DD…or can the we have 111 222 555 666 DD. Thanks

    Hi Arlene, you asked (regarding Consec.#6 on the 2008 NMJL card):

    any 2 consec. Nos
    Let me repeat that for emphasis. "Any 2 consecutive numbers"...

    do they have to be like numbers
    No, they are not allowed to be like numbers. The parenthetical says "Any 2 consecutive numbers."

    For example 111 222 111 222 DD
    Which is what the card shows you (two consecutive numbers in one suit, and those two consecutive numbers in a 2nd suit).

    or can the we have 111 222 555 666 DD.
    But that would be 4 numbers, and not consecutive!

    The parenthetical clearly says "Any 2 Consec. Nos." like this for instance:

    222 333 222 333 DD
    666 777 666 777 DD
    888 999 888 999 DD

    See? "Any 2 Consec. Nos." -- not 3 numbers, not 4 numbers, and not non-consecutive numbers.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 7, 2008


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

    >From: Linda I
    >Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2008 2:39 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you have 2 jokers in your hand and need 3 of kind for your game, i.e. 3 #4 dots, can you call for a discarded 4 dot if you only have the 2 jokers or must you have at least 1 4dot in your hand and 1 joker?
    >Thank you.
    >Linda I.

    Hi Linda,
    You can find the answer to this question, and many other often-asked questions, in the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs"). You have asked Frequently Asked Question #19L. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question. If the wording of the answer is unclear, just let me know what information is missing, and please let me know how I can improve the wording of the answer for future askers of this same question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 6, 2008


    Japanese terminology

    >From: Jonathan Cho
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 8:19 PM
    >Subject: Maajan Vocabulary and Fried Chicken
    >Now, I realize you've done this before, Tom, but bear with me. I checked your FAQ, I checked my favorite Japanese Riichi Maajan reference sites, and I can NOT find the Japanese versions of the following terminology:
    >
    >Turns
    >[Individual] Discarded Tiles
    >Living/Dangerous Tile (Not necessarily Furiten)
    >
    >Furthermore, I have a few additional questions regarding the popular optional rule "Yakitori," the roasted bird:

    >If YAKITORI is in effect, does a Yakitori player pay the usual chombo penalty, 8000 points, to the three other players, or just the top ranked player?
    >If a Yakitori penalty is split amongst the players, is it in the usual "Dealer gets double" manner, i.e., 4000 / 2000?
    >What happens when there is more than one Yakitori penalty?
    >What on earth is Yakibuta, the so-called "revenge penalty" counterpart?
    >
    >It's hard to find good info on these bits, so please, help me as much as you can, or refer me to someplace that can!
    >Arigatou gozaimashita,
    >Jonathan C.

    Konnichi wa, Jonathan, you wrote:

    Now, I realize you've done this before
    Actually, no. You're asking for terms that are not usually asked about (not a Frequently Asked Question).

    Turns
    [Individual] Discarded Tiles
    I don't know. You might find an answer on Jenn Barr's ReachMahjong site (you guessed it: reachmahjong.com).

    Living/Dangerous Tile (Not necessarily Furiten)
    Well, a "dangerous" tile is "abunai." Abunai means "danger" or "dangerous."

    If YAKITORI is in effect, does a Yakitori player pay the usual chombo penalty, 8000 points, to the three other players, or just the top ranked player?
    No. It's not an offense like chombo. It's just bad luck, like being noten. Here's the description of Yakitori I wrote for the Activision game, Shanghai: Second Dynasty:

      YAKITORI ("roast bird")
      At the beginning of a new game, all players have a special Yakitori marker, turned face-up (it depicts a skewered chicken).

      When a player wins his first hand of the game, his Yakitori marker is turned face-down. At the end of the game, any player whose marker is still face-up must pay a penalty of 1500 points.

    The 1500 points is distributed according to how many players have flipped their chickens. If everybody else flipped his chicken, then the yakitori player gives 500 to each one.

    What happens when there is more than one Yakitori penalty?
    You mean, three people have not flipped their chickens? They all pay 1500 to the person who did. If two did and two did not, the yakitori players each give 1500 to a player who flipped his chicken (so that both players who flipped collect 1500 from someone).

    What on earth is Yakibuta, the so-called "revenge penalty" counterpart?
    I don't know. Where did you hear about it? My friends who play in Japan surely know this. Jenn Barr's website might not include information on this, but you can probably email a question to her. Check out her site.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 5, 2008


    Misnamed discard

    >From: Don Z
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 7:07 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: A player discarded a flower but called "birdie bam". No one noticed for several discards and finally someone asked "When did that go down? I would have called for it for an exposure but not MahJongg. Another player also declared they would have called for it for exposure." We're a friendly group and because we could not find an answer, we let it go. Is there a penalty to offending player, even after so many (about 6-8) discards? How should we have handled it?
    >Wisconsin Novice Players.

    Hello Don, you asked:

    Is there a penalty to offending player
    Six to eight plays later? There are four "offending players" at that point, and penalizing all of them would be pointless, don't you think?

    How should we have handled it?
    You should all have been watching the game instead of focusing on your own hands.

    Please read FAQ 9, Don. It offers some thoughts on how to handle errors in the absence of a rulebook (and of course, you ought to have a rulebook handy every time you play).

    By the way, you never mentioned which kind of mahjongg you were playing. I'm guessing either Chinese Classical or American -- maybe Wright-Patterson or British Empire rules (it's uncommon for players of any other variant to vocalize the name of the discard). May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 5, 2008


    Stickers, part 7

    >From: gina smith
    >Email: gtsgfshotmail.com
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 11:00 AM
    >Subject: from Gina
    >Dear afordz:
    >I read your email to Tom with great interest as I am one of the "hoodlums" who sold a set on ebay this past week with joker stickers made from a scanned tile from a 1940's set that has been in the public domain.
    >
    >You have every legal, moral and ethical right to use scanned tiles that are in the public domain in the making of your own stickers. Period. As a matter of fact, you can make your own joker stickers with your own designs as many of us are starting to do.
    >
    >Please join the mah jongg group in Community on ebay. It has all the complicated legalinformation put in a form that is quite easy for us laypeople to understand regarding copyright, first sale doctrine and the use of public domain information. I think you will find that there is an individual who has been misusing or misinterpreting information in order to misdirect and intimidate individuals on ebay and elsewhere. This individual has been using the VeRo program to incorrectly stop auctions. Please be assured that auctions have been relisted with no negative repercussions. If you wish to discuss this further, please feel free to do so by contacting the leaders of the mah jongg group on Ebay or email me privately. You have my email address.
    >Gina Smith


    Stickers, part 6

    >From: a f (afordz)
    >To: Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 1:48:23 PM
    >Subject: RE: making joker stickers
    >Thanks Tom, You were a big help!!!!

    May the tiles be with you, A.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    Election Day, 2008


    Stickers, part 5

    >From: a f (afordz)
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 6:40:57 AM
    >Subject: making joker stickers
    >My question is...Is it illegal to make joker stickers by copying existing jokers. I should explain further. I just listed an enrobed set on Ebay. I thought I was doing a good thing by color copying the joker tiles in my set and cutting them out. While I was researching my set, I had seen many people make joker stickers for their sets. I did not attach them I just made them to save a buyer some time. Obviously I know very, very little about Mah Jong and I thought I was doing a good thing. I received an email this mourning that stated and I quote,"You are supporting the
    >group of hoodlums on ebay with their outrageous and vicious
    >attack on a highly respected and admired member of ebay and
    >the mah jong community. Those stickers you are displaying are
    >illegal and downright ugly".
    >I guess you can say it is my fault for not being fully informed and ignorant when it comes to this game. But I am not sure what it is that I did wrong and I am wondering if I should pull my auction or at least take out any pictures that include the stickers. Thanks for your help. Have a great day.

    Hello "afordz,"
    You wrote:

    Is it illegal to make joker stickers by copying existing jokers.
    Those enrobed sets were probably made in the 1960s. And the company that made them is no longer in business. If that company was still in business, and was still making joker tiles in the same design, that company would probably have grounds for complaining to you. But in this case, it's very possible that the image of those jokers has fallen into the public domain since the original company is not enforcing its rights. You can read more on the eBay Mahjongg Group. Scroll down and read the post entitled "Stickers, part 4"
    >From: gina smith
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 12:06 PM

    While I was researching my set, I had seen many people make joker stickers for their sets.
    Yes, I was one of those who offered joker stickers on eBay this past week.

    I received an email this mourning that stated and I quote,"You are supporting the
    >group of hoodlums on ebay
    I'm a hoodlum? Cool! That's the first time anybody ever called me that. (^_^)

    with their outrageous and vicious
    >attack on a highly respected and admired member of ebay and
    >the mah jong community.
    If not for this joker sticker issue, I wouldn't argue with that self-assessment.

    Those stickers you are displaying are
    >illegal
    She thinks that she has the sole and exclusive right to photocopy that public domain image, and that this gives her a right to act against others who do the same. Fact is, unless she bought the IP ("intellectual property") from the former owners of that company, she doesn't have a legal leg to stand on.

    and downright ugly".
    She came to be so highly respected and admired by exactly this kind of graciousness. We should all follow her example! [Retroactive sarcasm] [/Retroactive sarcasm] (^_~)

    I am wondering if I should pull my auction or at least take out any pictures that include the stickers.
    That's a choice you have to make yourself. The "hoodlums" I participated with last week all posted joker sticker sales in a coordinated effort to combat her, but she might file a complaint with eBay and get your auction shut down (that's how she's operated in the past). She didn't complain against our group of auctions, but you know how wolves operate -- they seek out and attack the lone animal that's separate from the herd.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    Election Day, 2008


    Tell Me About My Mah Jongg Set, part 2

    >From: Ollieb4me
    >Sent: Monday, November 03, 2008 9:53 AM
    >Subject: My Mah Jongg Set
    >Tom: I inherited this Mah Jongg set in 1999; it belonged to my mother and father. I used to play with the set as a child in the 1940s. It is possible that my grandmother purchased it while on a cruise around the world as a teenager, however I have absolutely no information about its origin.
    >
    >I am hoping you can look at the pictures I have attached and determine if the lines in the tiles indicate elephant or mammoth ivory or just may be an imitation and whether or not you believe the box and tile designs indicate the origin and/or date of the set. I have read all your relevant FAQs and searched many other websites and links and cannot identify the material nor origin or age of my set.
    >
    >This may be an antique set of Chinese origin; there are no rules, instructions, racks, chips or jokers.
    >
    >The box may be rosewood or mahogany—just a guess. The lid is elaborately painted with a dragon, flowers and leaves and appears to be done in gold leaf. There are also 4 round, brass tacks with a ribbon design in each corner and are the center of the painted flowers. I believe the entire exterior of the box may be covered in leather and then painted. The box has two brass handles on either side, brass hinges on the lid and front panel which folds down. There are 4 pull out trays and 4 drawers all with brass pulls. There is a brass lock built in the lid and front panel, however I do not have a key. The underneath side of the lid as well as the interior of the front panel are partially painted with designs. The dimensions of the box are 145mm high by 184mm deep by 247mm wide (this is measuring the lid). There is no name or any carving to indicate who or where the box was made.
    >
    >The set has 144 tiles that I believe to be ivory however the lines on the pieces are not typical elephant nor mammoth. The tiles have Arabic numerals and English letters and are approximately 22mm wide x 30mm high x 13mm deep—some are a bit smaller but very close to these dimensions.
    >
    >There are: 8 Flower Tiles NESW – no numbers
    > 4 each of the Four Wind Tiles
    > 12 Dragon Tiles (4 blue/grey, 4 red & 4 green)
    > 36 Bams; 1 bam tiles are phoenix bird with no numbers on them
    > 36 Dots – no numbers
    > 36 Craks – w/numbers
    >
    > Scoring Sticks in ivory: 1 dot: 36 78mm long
    > 2 dot: 40 63mm long
    > 5 dot: 8 84mm long
    > 10 dot: 35 68mm long
    >
    > Scoring Sticks in plastic ?: 1 dot: 31 90mm and 108mm long
    > 2 dot: 40 77mm long
    > 5 dot: 8 96mm long
    > 10 dot: 32 80mm long
    >
    > Scoring Sticks in bone: 2 dot: 4 70mm long
    > 4 dot: 4 64mm long
    > 8 dot: 4 70mm long
    >
    > Additional pieces: 1 ivory cylindrical container w/lid and 4 ivory wind disc indicators
    > 1 small wood box w/sliding lid containing 2 ivory
    > dice—all are actually flowers
    > 1 tiny dice, probably plastic w/all black dots
    >
    >All dimensions are approximate. I have not yet shown this set to anyone to determine if in fact the tiles are ivory or a synthetic material or if the box is covered with leather and painted in gold leaf. The next time I head for Denver or Albuquerque I’ll try to find someone who can make these determinations. Meanwhile, maybe with the above information and the pictures attached you may have seen a set like this somewhere and can give me a little information.
    >
    >Thanks for your time. Carol Bentley ollieb4me

    Hi Carol, your questions for me are:

    I am hoping you can... determine if the lines in the tiles indicate... ivory or just may be an imitation
    They're not ivory. I asked you before to look at FAQs 7c & 7c2. If you'd read those, you should see that these are plastic. The lines on the tiles are very straight and regular. If you'd performed the bright light test, you'd see that the grain isn't pearlescent enough, and doesn't behave the way ivory grain does. This kind of plastic is sometimes called "French ivory" or "Pyralin," but it's actually celluloid. Maybe the little dice and wind indicators and the jongg (the cylindrical container) might be real ivory, I can't tell for sure. You'd have to perform the bright light test described in FAQ 7c2.

    and whether or not you believe the box and tile designs indicate the origin
    In other words, "where was it made." It was made in America. The tile designs are distinctive to a particular company, the Piroxloid Products Corp. Check CHarli's website and Jim May's website (links to both are at the bottom of FAQ 4a) to find other sets by the same company. Also, somebody else just asked me to look at his similar set a couple months ago. Scroll down to the bottom of this page, and click where it says " MORE Q&A!! CLICK HERE to read older Q&A postings!" Then on the next page, scroll down to Saturday, September 13: "Please appraise my Pyralin set," asked by Frank.

    and/or date of the set.
    In other words, "how old is it." It was made in the 1920s. I'm not so sure about the box, though.

    Your set has a curious admixture of bone sticks and plastic sticks. The bone sticks were made in China, the plastic ones in America.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 3, 2008


    More HKOS questions
    (not a continuation of "Tin Woo, Sup Sam Yiu, & Jit Woo")
    >From: Pauline W
    >Sent: Sunday, November 2, 2008 3:32:28 PM
    >Subject: HKOS mahjong questions
    >H There,
    >In HKOS Mahjong, a person finishing on the last card of the game. does this constitute a full house payment?
    >
    >A player holding three red dragons, three white dragons and finishing on the green dragons as pairs,, is this a full house? Also the player throwing out the winning card, is he/she liable for the payment of all the other players as a penalty for throwing out the winning card., when the two sets of dragons are showing on the table.
    >
    >Many thanks.
    >Pauline

    Hi Pauline,
    You asked:

    A player holding three red dragons, three white dragons and finishing on the green dragons as pairs,, is this a full house?
    In other words, "Little Three Dragons." It depends on which book (or website) is your authority. Read FAQ 17. The FAQs are above left.

    the player throwing out the winning card, is he/she liable for the payment of all the other players as a penalty for throwing out the winning card., when the two sets of dragons are showing on the table.
    The "bao" or "pao" (penalty) for throwing to Little Three Dragons would only apply if your group recognizes Little Three Dragons. So the answer to this question depends on the answer to your first question.

    By the way, Pauline, have you read FAQ 14 yet?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 2, 2008


    Can flowers be discarded? (part 3)

    >From: James L. Gayner
    >Sent: Saturday, November 1, 2008 11:50:52 AM
    >Subject: Mah-jongg
    >My last email to you lacked data. Let me send again.
    >We are playing Chinese Classical Mah-jongg. My goal to to have zero points in my hand when someone declares Mah-jongg. When drawing a tile from the wall, I draw a Flower. If I keep it in my hand I will have points. If I deplay it as a flower and take another tile from the flower wall, I will have points. Can I just discard the title? What are the possibilities of using the tile by the other players?
    >I hope this is clear.
    >Thank you
    >Jim Gayner

    Hi Jim,
    Yes, much clearer, thanks! I'm so glad you came back so you could get the answer.
    The answer is no. Flower tiles may not be discarded in Chinese Classical mah-jongg.

    But let's examine your reason for wanting to discard it. If you'd wanted to get rid of the flower so that you could win with a "no-points hand," then for your information, it isn't necessary. The hand points don't include the flower points. Millington (one of the best sources of information on CC still available through bookstores) says that the no-points hand can still have flowers.

    But that's not why you asked. You want to discard the flower solely so that you don't have to give 4 points to the other players if someone wins. Not that great a reason, I'm thinking. 4 points is very little in the overall scheme of things in CC. Since you can't discard the flower, you're going to have to fork over the 4 points when somebody wins.

    Then again, I recommend you read FAQ 14. If your group wants to make a rule that permits discarding flowers, you can do that. There's no mah-jongg police who'll arrest you for making your own table rules. (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    November 1, 2008 (clocks-back day, yay!)


    Can flowers be discarded? (part 2)

    >From: James L. Gayner
    >Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2008 6:10 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-jongg
    >We know a few words in Mandarin so we will play Chinese style. Do you have the ability to send Chinese characters should we need a translation from English?
    >Thanks

    Wha...???
    James, you previously asked whether flowers could be discarded.
    My answer was "it depends on what kind of mah-jongg you play; what kind of mah-jongg do you play?"
    And your reply to that is some nonsequitur question about the Chinese language???
    What's the deal? If you haven't even chosen a mah-jongg variant yet, why are you asking about fine points of the rules? And why are you asking me if you need a translator? I'm so confused!
    If you need to choose a variant, read FAQ 2a. Then if you want to buy a book, read FAQ 3. If you want to find rules online, see FAQ 4b. If you already know how to play mah-jongg but don't know what kind of mah-jongg you play (so I can answer your question about the flowers), read FAQ 2b.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 30, 2008


    Can flowers be discarded?

    >From: James L. Gayner
    >Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2008 12:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-jongg
    >Flowers and seasons question
    >If a flower or season tile is drawn from the wall, can the tile be discarded by the player? In this case the player is wanting to have no points when someone Mah-jongg's.
    >Under what conditions can a discarded tile be taken from discarded tiles on the table?
    >Thank you James Gayner

    Hi James,
    It depends. Which kind of mah-jongg do you play? You don't play Japanese, obviously, but do you play MCR? American? Chinese Classical?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 30, 2008


    Tell Me About My Mah Jongg Set

    >From: Ollieb4me
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 4:13 PM
    >Subject: Tell Me About My Mah Jongg Set
    >Hi Tom: Please help me figure out what kind of Mah-Jongg set I have. If my pictures are not good enough I can probably borrow a better camera and resend some of the pictures. I have attached the description document and several pictures (may actually have to send some of the pix in another email due to the number of pictures). Thanks, Carol Bentley
    >[15 photos and a Word document, not shown]

    >From: Ollieb4me
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 4:47 PM
    >Subject: Tell Me #2
    >See additional pictures attacked. Did the best I could to show the lines in the tiles. Carol Bentley
    >[14 more photos, not shown]

    Hello Carol,
    Your question for me is:

    Please help me figure out what kind of Mah-Jongg set I have.
    Carol, I love you to pieces, but I've had a VERY long day. Seriously, it's past my bedtime, and only now have I been able to read today's emails. You've sent me 29 photos and a Word document. I do this for free, but you're making this much too much work for me!

    And I don't even know what your question means in the first place. What do you mean, "what kind of set"? Have you read FAQ 7a yet? That FAQ answers the question "what kind of set." The FAQs are above left, as I'm sure you already knew. And have you read FAQs 7c & 7c2 yet? For all I know, you might be asking if it's ivory. You MUST read the FAQ before asking me an I.I.I. ("Is It Ivory") question - that's my rule.

    See why I don't even know what you're asking? Please read FAQ 7p to see how bad I am with vague questions. Then please rephrase the question, and send me the MINIMUM of photos I would need to help you answer your question. And please don't send me any documents. Put all your information, and your crystal clear question, within the text of the email itself, please. I'm happy to tell you what I can about your set, but please make it easier for me.

    Good night, and may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 29, 2008


    Change of Heart (FAQ 19AM) - part 7

    >From: ELAINE SANDBERG
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 10:09 AM
    >Subject: rule change
    >Tom,
    >I think I have the answer to the question about calling a tile, etc.
    >I have spoken to the "guru of the League" ( I think)--Marilyn, and at first she said ..once you call the tile and place it on the rack, it's yours. That's tournament rules. But when I pressed her and said most people playing don't use tournament rules, she said what you had originally explained.....you are permitted to return a called tile that has been placed on your rack, as long as no other part of your combination has been exposed.
    >So tournament rules differ from ordinary playing rules, as I thought.
    >I hope this clarifies the situation.
    >Hope your book is doing well and so are you.
    >Elaine

    Hi Elaine,
    Well, I'm not sure it does clarify the situation. They're going to have to put this in writing in a yearly bulletin (or write a newer more detailed rulebook). Anyway, thanks for sharing the news! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 29, 2008


    What to do about a slow player? (FAQ #375)

    >From: Doris Blazy
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 9:52 AM
    >Subject: How long time limit to make hand?
    >I have your book the Red Dragon & The West Wind and enjoy it. We have some new people in the group. They take too long to choose and pick out a hand. We give them some leeway at the start but is there a cut and dried rule for picking out a hand. I think 5-10 minutes whould be sufficient or even less. Can you answer me. I couldn't find a rule of it in your book unless I looked in the wrong place. Thank you
    >Doris Blazy Oklahoma City
    >Have a great day.....

    Hi Doris,
    I'm so glad to hear from someone who's got my book! (^_^)
    There is no "rule." But read my Column 375. Click the purple banner atop this page to access the columns, then scroll down to #375 (August 3, 2008). I wrote that column after getting, like, three queries just like yours in a period of 2 or 3 weeks or something. If you're interested in finding those queries and my responses, you can scroll down to the bottom of this page and click the link to see older postings (and do the same thing on the next page, and the next... until you get to late September's Q&A).
    Just search each page for the word "slow."
    Oh - and read FAQ 9 too (the FAQs are above left). I'm sure it says something in there like "keep the game moving." Come to think of it, I'm sure I wrote that in my book too. Yep, there it is -- page 110. Highlight the section "Novice Players' Biggest Common Mistake," then giftwrap the book and give it to your friend.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 29, 2008


    Tin Woo, Sup Sam Yiu, & Jit Woo, part 2

    >From: Pauline W
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 12:24 AM
    >Subject: Many thanks
    >Hi There,
    >Many thanks for the answers posted to my two questions on the 28th October..It would be interesting to know the possibilites of attaining a "Heavenly Hand"
    >By the way, we do play HKOS mahjong.
    >Pauline.

    Hi Pauline,
    Technically, you still haven't asked me the question, "what's the probability of attaining heavenly hand"... but that's a good thing. Because I have no idea how to calculate the odds of that. No mathematician I.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 29, 2008


    Tin Woo, Sup Sam Yiu, & Jit Woo

    >From: Pauline W
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 9:55 AM
    >Subject: questions on mahjong
    >Hi There,
    >Am wanting to find out what are the possibilities of being dealt 14 cards , being the banker,, and without picking up or discarding any cards ,instantly finished (mahjonged). This must be an amazing feat of luck!!!!
    >If a person is waiting for the 13th card in a game where the player is holding 13 different cards ( all the ones, nines, winds and dragons) and the player before him/her finishes on that card,,,,does this hand override all other players and is the overall winner.
    >Many thanks.
    >Pauline

    Hi Pauline, you made a comment and asked a question, as follows:

    Am wanting to find out what are the possibilities of being dealt 14 cards , being the banker,, and without picking up or discarding any cards ,instantly finished (mahjonged).
    Good luck finding out exactly what the odds are of achieving "Heavenly Hand," because I don't know. I've met people who've seen it happen. I imagine if you play often enough and long enough, you'll see it happen. By the way, the Cantonese name for heavenly hand is "Tin Woo."

    If a person is waiting for the 13th card in a game where the player is holding 13 different cards ( all the ones, nines, winds and dragons) and the player before him/her finishes on that card,,,,does this hand override all other players and is the overall winner.
    You seem to be describing "Sup Sam Yiu" (the Thirteen Orphans hand), but the person would have to be waiting for the 14th tile, since s/he is already holding 13. And the play you're describing, whether or not a player can intercept another player's claim for a discard, is called "Jit Woo" in Cantonese.

    Because you're asking about this rule, I have to assume you play HKOS (Hong Kong Old Style). If I'm wrong, you should ignore what I'm about to say, and start over again (and tell me which kind of mahjong you play).

    The two best books on HKOS are Perlmen & Chan, and Amy Lo (see their books in FAQ 3, above left). Because Amy Lo is easy to find on bookstore shelves, I usually recommend her book. But in the case of this interception play you're asking about, Jit Woo, Amy Lo doesn't describe it adequately. Perlmen & Chan say that the Sup Sam Yiu hand "cannot be chitted." (While Lo says "jit," P&C say "chit.")

    To chit or jit means to trump the claim of another player who's also claiming the discard (by means of an earlier position in the play order). So if a player who's earlier in the claiming order than you also says "woo" (or "hu" in Mandarin), but your claim is for Sup Sam Yiu, you get the tile, under HK Old Style rules.

    So, Pauline -- is your question about HK Old Style rules? (^_^)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 28, 2008


    Those genuine ivory sets, part 2

    >From: Linda-and- Robert
    >Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 5:21 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Another post about the genuine tiny ivory set I bought at New York Findings site:
    >The four pieces on the lower right (below the rabbit jokers), do you consider these alternate 1 bams (I lean towards that) or alternate dragons?
    >Or jokers maybe?
    >P.S. My set has identical pieces, but this picture is from the mahjong museum.
    >N.Y. Findings cheerfully replaced a 6 dot (mine arrived with two 5 dots and no 6 dot).
    >Rob K.

    Hi Rob,
    This set has so many extra tiles that you get to decide how you want to use them. You can declare them to be special jokers (like for instance "bam jokers" since they remind you of 1B), or extra flowers, or whatever you want.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 27, 2008


    I need some snappy Japanese mahjong dialogue, part 10

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2008 11:52 PM
    >Subject: Part 10
    >Tom,
    >In my last email I asked the following question and you gave me the following answer:
    >Do you read, hear, and/or say, "to go mahjongg"?
    > That is one acceptable terminology.
    >May I ask you for other acceptable phrases which one may use to refer to declaring mahjongg?
    >Jan

    Hi Jan,
    See FAQ 6. You can say "to win," or "to go out," or "to make it," or "to make mahjongg," or "to call mahjongg," or "to claim mahjongg," and other things listed in FAQ 6.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 27, 2008


    Thanks for the lessons!

    From: "Facebook"
    Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 5:31 PM
    Subject: Holly G sent you a message on Facebook...
    > Holly sent you a message.
    > --------------------
    > Subject: Thanks for the lessons!
    > Tom:
    > Our group took lessons from you almost two years ago and we are still going strong. Just finished our second all girl Mah Jongg marathon weekend and loved it. Can't believe I waited so long to learn. Thanks again!
    > Holly G

    Hi Holly,
    That's cool! Glad you're enjoying mah-jongg. Thanks for writing.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 25, 2008


    My mystery tiles, part 2

    >From: Alan B
    >Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2008 8:06 PM
    >Subject: Re: Question about Mah Jongg Tile
    >Tom - thanks for the link to 7e to answer my question. Your website is VERY extensive and I didn't read far enough down in this section.
    >In response to to your question about why I sent the other images, I thought that may help in identifying my set. My apologies if it was "too" much information.
    >Alan

    Hi Alan,
    OK, no prob.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 25, 2008


    My mystery tiles

    >From: Alan B
    >To: Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2008 4:41 PM
    >Subject: Question about Mah Jongg Tile
    >Tom - attached are images from a set that I have. The case shown is not original. The original is damage and waiting repair. Can you tell me what the "Blank" tile with the "P" is? See the Dragons Flowers Winds.jpg image. I assume it is a White Dragon? The other four tiles are "Blanks".
    >What does the "C" on the Red Dragon mean? What does the "F" on the Green Dragon mean?
    >Thanks -
    >Alan O. B

    Hi Alan,
    You can find answers to many often-asked mah-jongg questions in the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs"). There are links to the FAQs above left. The "mystery tiles" FAQ is FAQ 7e. After you've read it, I'm always here to answer further questions anytime.
    By the way, I don't see why I needed to see those other 5 photos you sent...???
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 25, 2008


    Mah-Jongg Tournament next weekend in Manhattan

    >From: "eBay Groups Administrator"
    >Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:24 PM
    >Subject: Manhatan Mah Jongg Tournament
    > The member "manhattanshelley" has sent the following message to the group: Mah Jongg
    > From: manhattanshelley
    > To: Mah Jongg
    > Sorry for the late notice, but I just found this group.....there is going to be a NMJL Tournament in Manhattan on November 2, 2008 and we still have room for another table.
    > Anyone out there interested contact:
    > manhattanmahj@aol.com
    > or check out our website: www.manhattanmahjongg.com

    Hi Shelley,
    You can always send me announcements of your upcoming events and I'll post them here.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 25, 2008


    Which version of the game is easier - Chinese or American?

    >From: Rae
    >Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 7:55 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: My brother sent me a beautiful mah jongg set from Shanghai. It has no numbers or letters on it. Which version of the game is easier - Chinese or American? Of course, I will not have enough tiles for American. . .so, which instruction booklet should I purchase to learn to play. I need simple!
    >Thank you,
    >Rae

    Hello Rae,
    Congratulations on the nice gift from your brother! You wrote:

    It has no numbers or letters on it.
    Don't try to pull the wool over my eyes! I've been to China, and I know for a fact that it DOES have numbers and letters on it. Chinese numbers. Chinese letters.

    Your suit of craks ("characters") most definitely has numbers:

    So don't tell me your tiles don't have numbers!!

    And your winds and dragons most definitely have letters... well, technically, words:

    So don't tell me your tiles don't have letters!! (^_^)

    Which version of the game is easier - Chinese or American?
    Funny you should ask. Because this question has been asked many times before. You can find the answer to this question (and many other often-asked questions) in the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs"), above left. But let's ignore the fact that there are many more than just those two mah-jongg variants that you named. And let's ignore the fact that this question is answered in Frequently Asked Question #19X. Let's just continue on...

    Of course, I will not have enough tiles for American. . .
    Excellent. I'm glad you know that. I don't have to refer you to FAQ 7a...

    which instruction booklet should I purchase to learn to play.
    That depends on which mah-jongg variant is best for you! After you choose your variant, you can find all the books listed in FAQ 3.

    So, you need to choose a variant. What are your criteria? (You don't really need to answer -- that was a rhetorical question, asked only to smoothly transition into your closing comment)...

    I need simple!
    Well, FAQ 2a was written to help you choose a variant. When you take the questionnaire in FAQ 2a, just ignore ALL the questions except #9, and you'll have your answer! Then go to FAQ 3 to find the book (hint: the author's name is Amy Lo).

    I'm always here anytime you have more questions about mah-jongg, Rae. Pretty magical, eh? (~_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 24, 2008


    I need some snappy Japanese mahjong dialogue, part 9

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 6:19 PM
    >Subject: Three Japanese mahjongg questions
    >Tom,
    >You're a wonderful help to me. I really feel grateful to you. Please bear with me, I think I'm almost there now.
    >Can you confirm a few things for me?
    >
    >1. In my questions to you, I capitalized the names of the tiles (for example: Eight Crak tile, South Wind tile, Green Dragon tile, etc.). You left these words capitalized in your answers, I noticed. Can I assume then that this is the way you read it (or write it) in mahjongg publications? If tile names should not be capitalized (for example: eight crak tile), would the cardinal headings of the wind tiles still be capitalized (for example: South wind tile)?
    >
    >2. Do you read, hear, and/or say, "to go mahjongg" (for example: "Tom went mahjongg after I discarded the Six Dot.")?
    >
    >3. Can I confirm with you that, indeed, it is possible to go mahjongg on (with?) one of the four wind tiles (for example: "Tom went mahjongg with the South Wind tile.")?
    >
    >Thanks so much!
    >Jan

    Hi Jan, you asked three questions:

    Can you confirm a few things for me?
    Yes.

    1. In my questions to you, I capitalized the names of the tiles... Can I assume then that this is the way you read it (or write it) in mahjongg publications?
    Well, you could, but really whether or not to capitalize the tile names is an editorial choice the writer gets to make. For example, read a Bridge or Poker column (whether or not "Bridge" or "Poker" ought to be capitalized, I couldn't say), and see how those writers treat card names when using them in a sentence.

    2. Do you read, hear, and/or say, "to go mahjongg"
    That is one acceptable terminology.

    3. Can I confirm with you that, indeed, it is possible to go mahjongg on (with?) one of the four wind tiles
    Yes, you can confirm that with me.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 24, 2008


    I need some snappy Japanese mahjong dialogue, part 8

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 11:51 PM
    >Subject: More Japanese mahjongg questons
    >Hi again, Tom. I thank you so much for your patience with me. Please forgive me if I ask too many questions of you here. All of my questions pertain to Japanese mahjongg, by the way.
    >
    >1. If some young Japanese guys were to play mahjongg together on a Friday night, where might they typically play? One guy's apartment, a mahjongg parlor, or somewhere else?
    >
    >2. If I were to invite you to my place to play mahjongg for an evening, Tom, I think we would probably be playing more than one actual game. However, would it be okay for me to say to you, "Tom, why don't you come over for a game of mahjongg?" Or would that sound strange to your ear, because "a game" would mean just one? Would I be better to say "a night of mahjongg"?
    >
    >3. In reading one of your posts on the bulletin board, you referred to your "local janso." Can I ask you what a janso is? (Chinese word or Japanese word?)
    >
    >4. When referring to the process of "discarding" amongst English speakers, is "discard" the most frequently used word? How about "throw away"? How about "get rid of"? How about "lay"? For example:
    >"If Tom wouldn't have discarded the Three Dot, I wouldn't have won that hand."
    >"Tom, why didn't you get rid of the West Wind earlier?"
    >"I threw away the Nine Bamboo, because I thought Tom needed the Six Crak for mahjongg."
    >"When she laid the White Dragon, I thought for sure Tom had mahjongg."
    >Do all four of these sentences sound okay to you, or not?
    >
    >5. If you were to discard a tile I needed for mahjongg, would the following sound okay, or too dramatic?
    >Tom discarded the South Wind and I pounced on it. "Mahjongg!" I cried.
    >Tom threw away Five Bamboo. I called "Mahjongg!" before I even had my fingers on the tile.
    >Tom knew what I would lay. When I got rid of the Eight Crak, his arm was already stretched out, his hand waiting to snatch it up.
    >
    >6. In one of your previous replies to my questions, you stated that a player can win Japanese mahjongg by picking up the discarded mahjongg tile of another player (known as "ron"), correct? To win by ron, can any of the other three players pick up a discarded tile the moment it is discarded, or must it be your turn to play in order to pick up a discarded tile? If any of the other three players may pick up a discarded tile the moment it is discarded, what happens when two players (both with ron in mind) make a grab for a discarded tile at the same time? Or is the winner the first one to actually say "Ron!" / "Majan!" / "Mahjongg!"?
    >
    >7. With ron, can you tell me about the timing of the reach for the discarded tile and the triumphant call of "Ron!" / "Majan!" / "Mahjongg!"? For instance, as soon as I see you discard the Green Dragon tile, I would say, "Ron!" and then reach for it? Or would I reach for the tile, place it with the rest of my tiles, and then say, "Ron!"? Or does it make no difference whatsoever, because the hand is over?
    >
    >8. Japanese mahjongg tiles:
    >1 - 9 Crak
    >1 - 9 Bamboo
    >1 - 9 Dot
    >North, East, South, and West Wind tiles
    >Red, Green, White (am I missing a color?) Dragon tiles
    >Is that all of them?
    >
    >My warmest thanks to you, Tom.
    >Jan

    1. If some young Japanese guys were to play mahjongg together on a Friday night, where might they typically play? One guy's apartment, a mahjongg parlor, or somewhere else?
    They would play at the janso (the parlor), where there are automatic dealing machines. You can see photos of janso if you click "Mah-Jongg Friends" above left (beneath "Mah-Jonggy Fun"). And you can see more photos of automatic dealing machines in FAQ 7f (and be sure to follow the links to see my Jansui machine).

    2. If I were to invite you to my place to play mahjongg for an evening, Tom, I think we would probably be playing more than one actual game. However, would it be okay for me to say to you, "Tom, why don't you come over for a game of mahjongg?" Or would that sound strange to your ear, because "a game" would mean just one? Would I be better to say "a night of mahjongg"?
    I already answered this on September 15 (below). "Game."

    4. When referring to the process of "discarding" amongst English speakers, is "discard" the most frequently used word? How about "throw away"? How about "get rid of"? How about "lay"?
    We already discussed this on October 18 (below). "Throw" is okay, but "throw away" would only be the right word only when the player is completely heedless of defense (which would be a bad idea), and "lay" just sounds odd. "Discard," "throw," and "play" are OK.

    "If Tom wouldn't have discarded the Three Dot, I wouldn't have won that hand."
    I object to the use of "wouldn't have" twice in rapid succession. I'd use "hadn't" in place of the first instance.

    "Tom, why didn't you get rid of the West Wind earlier?"
    "Get rid of" doesn't work. The other player is saying he wanted that tile, so he'd be more likely say "why didn't you give me my West Wind?" (Note that "earlier" might be appropriate but you'd have to paint a very clear picture of all the events in the hand, and I don't think you want to go there.)

    "I threw away the Nine Bamboo, because I thought Tom needed the Six Crak for mahjongg."
    OK. The player is saying he was breaking up his hand as a defensive move. He didn't want to "throw away" the 9B but saw a strategic necessity to do so.

    "When she laid the White Dragon, I thought for sure Tom had mahjongg."
    "Laid" makes me cringe. You'd be better off saying "discarded" or "threw" or "played," as we discussed on October 18.

    Tom discarded the South Wind and I pounced on it. "Mahjongg!" I cried.
    OK.

    Tom threw away Five Bamboo. I called "Mahjongg!" before I even had my fingers on the tile.
    Tom threw away Five Bamboo. I called "Mahjongg!" before I even had my fingers on took the tile.

    Tom knew what I would lay. When I got rid of the Eight Crak, his arm was already stretched out, his hand waiting to snatch it up.
    "Lay" makes me wince. Here:
    Tom knew what I would play. When I got rid of put out the Eight Crak, his arm was already stretched out, his hand waiting to snatch it up., palm up, saying in effect "just put it here."

    To win by ron, can any of the other three players pick up a discarded tile the moment it is discarded, or must it be your turn to play in order to pick up a discarded tile?
    The former. Read FAQ 10. Mahjongg trumps all other plays by anybody.

    what happens when two players (both with ron in mind) make a grab for a discarded tile at the same time?
    In Japanese mahjongg, two players can win on the same tile. The discarder must pay them both. It's always a high-excitement moment when this happens.

    as soon as I see you discard the Green Dragon tile, I would say, "Ron!" and then reach for it?
    Yes.

    Or does it make no difference whatsoever, because the hand is over?
    Yeah. It wouldn't be normal not to speak first, but some players might change up the order just for dramatic effect.

    8. Japanese mahjongg tiles:
    >1 - 9 Crak
    >1 - 9 Bamboo
    >1 - 9 Dot
    >North, East, South, and West Wind tiles
    >Red, Green, White ... Dragon tiles
    >Is that all of them?
    Yes. But that's not what the Japanese players call them. You said your players are of Japanese nationality, and you're writing in English, but I don't know where you draw the line. I assume that if your young men go have some sushi, that you're not going to write "raw fish" instead of "sushi." If they drink some sake, I assume you're not going to call it "rice wine" instead. See FAQ 6, and see the Japanese columns I've written (click purple banner above, scroll through the list).

    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 24, 2008


    Can I make a set that's nothing but jokers? (Frequently Asked Question #19L)

    >From: Linda H.
    >Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 8:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Under NMJL rules, can a set of 3,4, or 5 jokers be used to make a pung, kong or quint within a hand?

    Hi Linda,
    Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question (FAQ 19L). If the wording of the answer is unclear, just let me know what information is missing, and please let me know how I can improve the wording of the answer for future askers of this same question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 23, 2008


    Should I fix my enrobed set before I sell it, part 2

    >From: a f
    >Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:03 PM
    >Subject: RE: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks so much for the quick email!!! I have to say, I have gotten a fast but limited education in Mah Jongg in the past day or two. I think I have figured out that my set looks very much luck the Burgundy Enrobed set by MET Games from the 40's - 50's. I know you haven't seen the set up close but I was wondering if you think $675 was a fair price for the set. Right now it is missing the 4 w/circles. I am not sure about the flower tiles, I have 13 of them but I also have 5 tiles mostly covered in tape, so they may be more flower tiles. I also have 4 Jokers which look like Buddhas, 2 sitting and two with thier hands over thier heads. Without the missing tile I was offered $675. That is why I had asked about replacing it because I did find a site that has it. I have added some photos if it wouldn't be too much trouble, maybe you could give me your opinion. Thanks again for your time and help.
    >Andrea

    Hello Andrea,
    As I read your email, your only question for me now is:

    I was wondering if you think $675 was a fair price for the set.
    I don't know, Andrea. For one thing, you have not given me all the information I require for any "how much is it worth" question (FAQ 7h above left), and for another thing, I haven't seen how much enrobed sets go for these days. I stand by my first answer. And of course once the tile is in place in the set, I recommend that you start over again with the price negotiation.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 23, 2008


    Should I fix my enrobed set before I sell it, or not bother?

    >From: a f
    >Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 12:56 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Should I replace a missing Enrobed tile before I sell the set???
    >I recently purchased and listed a Mah Jongg set on ebay before I realized that it was missing a tile. I also did not know it was "enrobed". I just learned that term. I had listed the set and then was asked to put the tiles in order to make sure it was complete. Go to realize I am missing a tile. Also go to realize the set is much more valuable than I realized. So I ended the auction so I can update the ad about the missing tile. I have been flooded with offers because it is an Enrobed set, I am guessing. Anyway, I was researching the set and I found a place to buy the missing tile. Should I go through the trouble or sell it as is. If you need photos I could send them. I appreciate any help you might be. Have a good day!
    >Andrea
    >P.S. Wonderful Website!!!

    Hi Andrea,
    I believe you can get a much higher price for the set if you replace the missing tile before selling it.
    That's great you've already found the replacement tile - just go buy it.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 23, 2008


    I need some snappy Japanese mahjong dialogue for a story I'm writing, part 7

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 12:57:48 AM
    >Subject: RE: Japanese mahjongg
    >Tom,
    >My sincerest thanks to you. I'm so sorry I didn't think to refer back to your website for answers to my questions. I have a studious nature, but I'm a lousy student.
    >Your answers are great!!! I really do appreciate your help to me. Keeping a bulletin board such as you do is clever idea.
    >Kind regards,
    >Jan

    You're welcome, Jan. I look forward to reading your story!
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 23, 2008


    Stickers, part 4

    >From: gina smith
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 12:06 PM
    >Subject: more on making your own stickers
    >Dear Tom:
    >There is a group that has been started on Ebay by Johni Levene and Lori Todd, two long time and knowledgeable mah jongg friends of mine. If you go to Community and then Groups, and then type in Mah Jongg, it will take you to that group. I suggest that anyone who is interested in Mah Jongg can join. I know most of the people who are in the group and they are quite willing to share their experience. Under the discussion section, there is a myriad of detailed information such as repainting tiles that need touch up, creative uses for orphan tiles, and a step by step section on making your own mah jongg stickers as well as a HUGE question and answer section on copyright law for mah jong sticker production. I think anyone who is interested in mah jongg should come and have a look! Gina

    Hi Gina,
    I know Johni and Lori (in fact, they asked about mystery flowers recently below), but I was completely unaware of the eBay group. I checked it out and you're right, it is awesome. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 22, 2008


    I need some snappy Japanese mahjong dialogue for a story I'm writing, part 6

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 10:41:47 PM
    >Subject: FW: Japanese mahjongg
    >Tom,
    >Perhaps you are too busy to answer my questions about Japanese mahjongg. I understand. However, if you could just tell me for certain whether in Japanese mahjongg the winner of a game calls out the word "Mahjongg!" (or the Japanese equivalent) when they lay down the winning tile, I would very much appreciate it.
    >You have my apologies for my ignorance of the Japanese mahjongg game rules. And you have my thanks for your time and trouble.
    >Kindly,
    >Jan Cleri

    Hi Jan, you wrote:

    Perhaps you are too busy to answer my questions about Japanese mahjongg.
    No, I'm not too busy. I answered your Oct. 17 question on Oct. 18. Just scroll down to see that entry.

    if you could just tell me for certain whether in Japanese mahjongg the winner of a game calls out the word "Mahjongg!" (or the Japanese equivalent) when they lay down the winning tile
    Actually, what they say usually is either "Ron!" or "Tsumo!". But you previously indicated that you only wanted your characters to speak English. Below, in my reply of the 18th, I commented on the acceptability of the phrases you had sent me on the 17th. Two of them work, and one of them doesn't.

    A player of Japanese mahjongg says "Ron!" (pronounced the same as "roan," the word for a particular horse coloring) when the winning tile is a tile discarded by an opponent (the discarder will be paying the winner, and nobody else will be paying).

    A player of Japanese mahjongg says "Tsumo!" when the winning tile is obtained by picking it himself from the wall. All the other players will be paying the winner in this case.

    You have my apologies
    Don't be silly, apologies are most definitely not called for.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 22, 2008


    Stickers, part 3

    >From: gina smith
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 6:41:18 AM
    >Subject: Making stickers
    >Hi Tom:
    >Some information for making stickers for the artistically imparied - like me!
    >There are some good vendors out there for buying stickers but you can make your own.
    >You can scan any of your own tiles in a set (flowers, joker tiles, etc) or just use any image you find that is in the public domain. I suggest you scan in at least a 300dpi and then shrink it down for razor sharp images. If you go to www.papilio.com you can purchase waterproof vinyl permanent adhesive paper. Print your design on this paper using the setting for glossy photo (like you are printing for film). Go to Staples or any stationery store and purchase thin sheet laminating paper and carefully place over the printed stickers. Cut out carefully and stick to your tiles. When you first see these stickers, they will seem really thick, but when you take the backing off, they are thin and strong and will go quite nicely on your tiles. These are high quality stickers and will last forever. Inexpensive to make. If you are really creative (I am not, but I intend on playing around this winter during the cold weather to get better), get on Photoshop or Corell and design your own stickers! Fun and easy to do. You can start with a scanned tile or picture and embellish it, or start a design from scratch. Custom made stickers! I would be interested in hearing how you make out with this project. Gina

    Thanks, Gina. Maybe I'll make an FAQ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 21, 2008


    the reliability of the NMJL online game? Is it a good site?

    >From: needlepoint96
    >Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2008 10:45:13 PM
    >Subject: Online Game
    >Hi,
    >Love your Q & A. Have you heard anything about the reliability of the NMJL online game? Is it a good site? I joined a few days ago, but have not been able to get on the website for the last 2 days. I wind up on AOL search (?????) every time I try to bring up the website and was wondering if you have had any other inquiries about the problem.
    >Thanks a bunch,
    >Carol

    Hello Carol, you asked:

    Have you heard anything about the reliability of the NMJL online game? I joined a few days ago, but have not been able to get on the website for the last 2 days. I wind up on AOL search (?????) every time I try to bring up the website
    If you have technical problems with an online computer game, you need to contact the game's makers (not me!). There must be a technical support link there somewhere...
    ...Hmm. I just tried going to http://www.nmjl.org/software/ and it appears that their website is down right now. Looks like you'll just have to try them again tomorrow. I didn't have anything to do with that site, so I'm not the person to get help from in regards to that site (see FAQ 24, above left). Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 20, 2008


    Love your website!

    >From: Ollieb4me
    >Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 5:43 PM
    >Subject: Sloperama.com Website
    >Just left your website--what a work of art! I inherited a mahh-jongg set from my mother about 10 yrs ago and am considering a move out of USA and probably cannot take the set with me and this afternoon decided to try to determine if it is worth trying to sell when I came across your site. I have no historical info about my set but have determined the tiles and some other pieces are most likely elephant ivory (I used to sell whale, elephant and mammoth ivory). I will use your site and some links to investigate approximate age, completeness, etc. Thanks for making this task so easy for me. Carol B

    Hi Carol,
    Well, cool. Glad you're finding it useful. If you have any questions, I'm always here.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 20, 2008


    Where can I buy a wind indicator ("bettor")?

    >From: Kathy Limm
    >Email: ashnewalcomcast.net
    >Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2008 6:51 PM
    >Subject: searching for a prevailing wind indicator
    >The indicator that came with my set shows E,2,3,4. Do you know where I can find one that shows E,S,W,N? I've checked quite a few websites and stores, but there are none that can be purchased without buying the whole MJ set.
    >Thanks for your help,
    >Kathy
    >Denver, CO

    Hello Kathy,
    You can try telephoning the vendors listed in FAQ 4a (above left), and the tile suppliers you can find on the Tiles Wanted and Tiles For Sale bulletin boards (also above left). I have also posted your quest on the Accessories Wanted bulletin board.

    FYI, players of American mah-jongg call these devices "bettors," which is pretty confusing given that they also use that word to refer to a 5th player who bets on who'll win. But anyhoo. Just call those folks (especially the tile suppliers - they specialize in selling bits and pieces, so probably have what you're looking for).
    May the wind indicator be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 19, 2008


    Shouldn't the winner announce what hand she won on?

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2008 12:02:03 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: once a person has declared mahjongg and exposes the entire hand upon the rack, shouldn't they immediately tell us what the hand is (I always do). For instance I would say, under Consecutive Run, it is the 5th hand. Most people don't announce which hand and I find this discourteous.
    >
    >I read someplace a while back that you shouldn't ask what hand it is, but for people who are not expert players, they wouldn't know off the bat which hand it is so why shouldn't the winner announce it, it would only take a second?
    >Thanks

    Hi Donna, you wrote:

    once a person has declared mahjongg and exposes the entire hand upon the rack, shouldn't they immediately tell us what the hand is (I always do).
    Yes. I said as much in my book (rule 66d). In the official NMJL rulebook it only says that the winning hand is to be "verified," which of course means that all the players check the hand against the card. This is bolstered by the line in red, bold, all caps, atop the center pane of the back of the NMJL card. ("PLAYERS SHOULD NOT THROW IN HANDS UNTIL MAH JONGG IS VERIFIED.")

    Most people don't announce which hand
    I disagree. In all the groups I've played in, and all tournaments I've played in, the winner always identifies the hand and helps others see which hand it is on the card.

    I find this discourteous.
    Unquestionably.

    I read someplace a while back that you shouldn't ask what hand it is
    I have no idea where you read that. The thing is that you shouldn't have to, but it often happens that a player can't match the winning hand with a hand on the card. It is the winner's job to make sure that everybody "verifies" that the hand matches a particular hand on the card.

    why shouldn't the winner announce it, it would only take a second?
    Well, sure. Besides, how is everybody supposed to know how much to pay the winner if she doesn't specifically tell them? "The first hand in Consecutive Runs. Janie and Zelda pay me a quarter. Betsy pays fifty because she threw it." Or "The 4th hand in 2468. It's double since I picked it myself. It's a 30-point hand, so everybody pays me sixty." That second to announce the hand and the payments can save two or three minutes of people asking you and you explaining. And absolutely nobody should throw their hand in until the hand is verified and the payment amount is known.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 19, 2008


    I need some snappy Japanese mahjong dialogue for a story I'm writing, part 5

    >From: Jan
    >Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 11:37:23 PM
    >Subject: RE: mahjongg sentences
    >Hi, Tom, how are you?
    >Supposing I am ready to win a game of Japanese mahjongg. Do I announce the tile that I am about to play to win, or just call "Mahjongg"? And do I "play" a tile, "throw" a tile, or "discard" a tile?
    >For example:
    >
    >"Six bamboo," she said, slapping down the winning tile. "That's mahjongg!"
    >or
    >"North wind! Mahjongg!"
    >or
    >"Mahjongg," she cried, even before she had played the flower tile.
    >
    >And by the way, Tom, do four games of Japanese mahjongg constitute a "round"?
    >Regards
    >Jan

    Hi Jan, you wrote:

    Do I announce the tile that I am about to play to win, or just call "Mahjongg"?
    You don't get rid of a tile concurrently with declaring a win. All throughout a hand, you hold 13 tiles in the hand. Each turn, you take a 14th tile into the hand. You can only win with 14 tiles in the hand. So therefore you can never declare mah-jongg simultaneously with getting rid of your 14th tile.

    And do I "play" a tile, "throw" a tile, or "discard" a tile?
    Those terms are all interchangeable.

    "Six bamboo," she said, slapping down the winning tile. "That's mahjongg!"
    Slapping down the winning tile is something that happens in Japanese mahjongg when one picks the winning tile from the wall, so this line is not off base. The slapping down occurs next to one's hand, not in the discard area.

    "North wind! Mahjongg!"
    This line would work for either self-picking the tile or for someone discarding it.

    "Mahjongg," she cried, even before she had played the flower tile.
    Given what I wrote above, this line is way off base. Not only would she not play a tile after declaring the win, but flower tiles are not even used in Japanese mahjongg.

    do four games of Japanese mahjongg constitute a "round"?
    No. Four hands constitute a round. A game consists of either one or two rounds, depending on which rules the players are using. The evening's play session might consist of one game or multiple games.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 18, 2008


    Frequently Asked Question #19E3, part 2

    >From: Sharyn Krumrei
    >Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 12:35 PM
    >Subject: RE: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you so much! (It saved me having to refund my money!)

    Well, no, not really. In my opinion, there should never be any going back and trying to undo a payment that had been made and settled when the game was played. Every group should have a copy of the complete rules, so as to determine the proper way to handle an event at the moment it occurs. Then, there's no going back and "refunding" any money. What's in the past is in the past. There's no turning back the clock.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 17, 2008


    Where do I get stickers? (part 2)

    >From: DSWB
    >Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 9:59 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >About those dragon stickers: I recently purchased custom dragon stickers from Charli.org and a more traditional design is available from mahjongtiles.com They are both reliable vendors. I really enjoy your site, thanks for all your efforts.

    OK, thanks for the info. Didn't know those vendors carried dragon stickers too.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 17, 2008


    Where do I get stickers?

    >From: "trimeloni.crew
    >Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 6:23:27 AM
    >Subject: stickers
    >Tom, I thank you for your informative web site. You mentioned in several places to use stickers on blank tiles for missing pieces. I've perused most of your site but can't seem to find where to buy stickers for my blank tiles. I have a set with blanks but no red or green dragons. Stickers would be perfect. Can you help?
    >Thanks, Kathy

    Hi Kathy,
    Nobody sells stickers for red & green dragons. There's no profit in it.
    Usually when I refer to stickers I'm talking about joker stickers, which are a common need for players of American mah-jongg.
    But stickers aren't that hard to make yourself. Go to any office supply store, and you'll find label paper. You put the paper in your computer printer, and you can print any design on it. By using a trial-and-error method (with non-label paper, which is cheaper, throughout the trial-and-error process), you can figure out a way to print the design in the proper size for your tiles.

    I recommend whole-sheet label paper. It doesn't have any pre-cut labels. You just print whatever you need on a sheet, then cut them out and sticker them onto your tiles.
    As for the designs themselves, you have 3 ways you can go:
    1. Scan your tiles;
    2. Take a digital photo of your tiles;
    3. Find tile images on the Internet.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 17, 2008


    Frequently Asked Question #19E3

    >From: Sharyn Krumrei
    >Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 6:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If you are going for a concealed hand in American Mah Jongg, are you allowed to pick the winning tile (Mah Jongg tile ) from another player’s discard, or do you have to draw all the tiles yourself?
    >Thank you.
    >Sharyn Krumrei

    Hi Sharyn,
    Please read Frequently Asked Question #19E3. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question. If the wording of the answer is unclear, just let me know what information is missing, and please let me know how I can improve the wording of the answer for future askers of this same question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 16, 2008


    Lines or scratches or fractures (I'm not telling you which) in my "vintage" set - do they affect the value? It's still worth money, right?

    >From: Yousta
    >Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 11:49 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What are the lines or scatches that occur on a vintage Cardinal set. Are they stress fractures from play. Do those lines affect the value of the set? A Cardinal set should be worth money even with wear on some tiles. Right?
    >Thank you.

    Hello Yous, you wrote:

    What are the lines or scatches that occur on a vintage Cardinal set.
    It depends. Are they cracks, or are they "scratches," or are they just marbling within the plastic? You'd have to let me see them up close.

    Are they stress fractures from play.
    I don't know. Are they internal (beneath the surface of the tile) or are they external (can you feel them on the surface of the tile)? You'd have to let me see them up close.

    Do those lines affect the value of the set?
    It depends. Are they cracks, or are they just marbling within the plastic? You'd have to let me see them up close.

    A Cardinal set should be worth money even with wear on some tiles. Right?
    Wrong. Condition is very important when valuating anything.
    Right. Everything has some value, even if it's measured in fractions of a penny.

    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 16, 2008


    Maps of distribution of players of MCR and Riichi

    >From: Tina Christensen
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 9:32 AM
    >Subject: Maps of world-wide distribution of players
    >Maps of world-wide distribution of players
    >Maps of the world-wide distribution of mahjong players has been made. Currently two maps exist: for players of MCR and riichi, respectively.
    >We encourage all players to register on the maps, preferably with a short comment about themselves and their mahjong experience.
    >Spread the word to all players in your country!
    >http://mahjong-europe.org/distribution/
    >--
    >Tina Christensen
    >Consultant of World Mahjong Association
    >Vice President of European Mahjong Association
    >President of Mahjong Denmark

    This is awesome, Tina!
    I wish someone technical would create one for players of American mah-jongg and other variants too. NOTE: I'm not complaining -- I'm not just someone with a case of the "shouldas." That's just my sneaky way of announcing to my readers that if you don't play MCR (Chinese Official) or Riichi (Japanese), and if you aren't technical enough to set up a map for players of your own variant, don't cry to me about it! Because this website is as technical as I get! And I don't got no money, neither. (^_^)

    May the tiles be with us, everyone, said Tiny Tom.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    The Ides of October, 2008


    Should I call myself dead? (FAQ 19AC)

    >From: Vicki {vickser}
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 3:35:02 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If my hand is dead, and I have exposed some of it already, do I have
    >an obligation to call myself dead? Should I call myself dead or
    >should I stay and play defensively? What's in it for me?
    >Thank you.

    Hi Vicki, long time no see!
    This question is answered in FAQ 19 (you already know where that is). FAQ 19AC will tell you what you want to know.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    The Ides of October, 2008


    Where can we go to find rules for playing with money? (short and concise)

    >From: Jean
    >Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 9:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: We have been playing Mahjongg (national) for some time now but not with money. Now we want to try playing with money to see how we like it. Where can we go to find rules for playing with money? (short and concise). Jean

    Short and concise, eh? No problem.

    Each point equals one cent.
    Those rules are on the back of your card. (The first three sentences at the top left corner.)
    You can also read Frequently Asked Question #19W. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question. If the wording of the answer is unclear, just let me know what information is missing, and please let me know how I can improve the wording of the answer for future askers of this same question.
    You can also check out Linda Fisher's website. There's a link to it in FAQ 4a.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    10/10, 2008


    Some more Frequently Asked Questions, part 2

    >From: malsal52
    >Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 4:52:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Dear Tom: Thank you for the information on sets without numerals or letters. Of course, I meant Western numerals and letters. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that. I actually need the set for a piece of art that I am creating. Thank you for pointing me in the direction of the FAQ's. You have a great website -- maybe I'll start playing mah jongg again!
    >Marilyn

    OK, Marilyn.
    I'll stop worrying that the next thing will be you coming asking me where you can find eight jokers, and how to read the craks and winds.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 10, 2008


    Have I scored my "hall of fame" hand correctly?

    >From: Linda-and- Robert
    >Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 3:48 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >After playing MJ for only 3 months I wasn't seeing any good hands, until I got a full house today and 5 minutes later a triple full house (whoo hoo)! Now this might be my lifetime best so am curious if I had scored my hall of fame correctly?
    >
    >HKOS
    >round East, I'm seat South
    >
    >pong white dragons
    >pong green dragons
    >kong west winds
    >pong south winds
    >eyes east winds
    >+one west flower
    >
    >I claimed 13 fan:
    >chicken hand (0 fan) NO = 0
    >self pick going out (1 fan) NO =0
    >replacement tile going out (1) NO =0
    >robbing kong (1 fan) NO = 0
    >all chows (1 fan) NO =0
    >pong matching seat winds (1) YES =1 fan*
    >pong matching round winds (1) NO = 0
    >dragon pongs (1 each) YES =2 fan**
    >no flowers (1 fan) NO =0
    >flowers matching seat (1 each) NO =0
    >flowers bouquet of four (1 fan) NO =0
    >all pongs, no chows (3 fan) YES =3 fan***
    >semi pure 1 suit + honors (3 fan) NO =0
    >seven pair (4 fan) NO = 0
    >two dragon pongs+dragon eyes (4) NO=0
    >three dragon pongs (6 fan) NO =0 fan
    >pure all one suit (6 fan) NO =0
    >pure winds/dragons (7) YES =7 fan*******
    >special max hand (max fans) NO =0
    >total = 13 fans *************
    >
    >(no self pick) 10 or more fans = max fans = $256
    >Er, I mean 256 points...
    >Made up career loses on one hand :))
    >Rob K.

    Hi Rob,
    Yep, that's a bragworthy hand, all right. So as I understand your question:

    [Have I] scored my hall of fame [hand] correctly?

    I don't know, Rob. You didn't say which book or website you and your group use as your "Bible." You used the terms "full house" and "triple full house." I don't know which book or website uses those terms. I suppose they means the same as "pure" and "clean"...

    Every HKOS book or website uses slightly different terminology and scoring. So I certainly can't confirm or deny that you used the "correct" number of fan and converted it to the "correct" final score. Besides, I'd rather not take responsibility for double checking everybody's math.

    And of course whatever you scored it as today is final -- there's no going back and saying to your friends, "hey I figured out the score wrong, you owe me another 50 cents." At least now everybody can see the great hand you made! It's definitely a biggie. That's a good thing.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 9, 2008


    Some more Frequently Asked Questions

    >From: malsal52
    >Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 2:03 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it true that authentic Chinese sets have no numerals or letters on them? I would like to purchase a set like that. I've been searching Ebay, but there are so many listings! I'm wondering if you know of a company that sells them. Thanks so much.
    > Marilyn

    Hi Marilyn, you wrote:

    Is it true that authentic Chinese sets have no numerals or letters on them?
    You mean like this...?

    This set does have "numerals" and "letters" on the tiles -- Chinese numerals and letters/words. The pictured set is a Japanese set. The Chinese also make sets without Western indices. This picture is from FAQ 7a, where you can learn about the various types of mah-jongg sets.

    I'm wondering if you know of a company that sells them.
    Sure. You haven't discovered the FAQs yet, I guess. There are several vendors listed in FAQ 4a and FAQ 4b.

    But, Marilyn, the question has to be asked -- why do you want a set without Western indices? If you want it for playing mah-jongg with, which kind of mah-jongg do you play? And if you live in North America, do all your mah-jongg friends have the ability to read the Chinese characters, or the patience to learn how?

    If you play American mah-jongg or Chinese mah-jongg, a Japanese set isn't right for you. FAQ 7a explains why, and FAQ 2b also contains useful information on sets needed for specific variants. You need to educate yourself before you spend money on the wrong thing! Read the FAQs. They're above left.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 9, 2008


    Two frequently asked questions

    >From: MARION M
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 7:54:34 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Found a Mah-Jongg "Junior" set with Babcock red book of rules manufactured by the para Fine company for and sold only by Mah-Jongg Sales Company of America - San Francisco,New York and Chicago - dated 1923.
    >Wondering about the value. Top veneer is off one flower - how do I get a replacement? Thanks for your prompt attention. Love your web site.

    Hi Marion, you asked:

    Wondering about the value
    That depends on the particulars of your set. Read Frequently Asked Question #7h. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 7h. If the wording of the answer is unclear, please let me know how I can improve the wording for future askers of this same question.

    how do I get a replacement [tile]?
    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.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 7, 2008


    Frequently Asked Question #19AG

    >From: DAR
    >Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 8:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can you stop any passing before the first right, or as soon as you and everyone else gets all the tiles What I am saying no passing at all. Is this legal or a rule??
    >Thanks,
    >Darlene C*******
    >Menifee, Ca. (951)###-####

    Hello Darlene,
    The Charleston is described on the back of your NMJL card in brief. And it's described in full in the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs"). Specifically, the one you want is Frequently Asked Question #19AG. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question. If the wording of the answer is unclear, please let me know how I can improve the wording for future askers of this same question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 6, 2008


    Change of heart - part 6

    >From: Chuck & Marsha
    >Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 7:17 PM
    >Subject: Re: National Maj Jongg League Response
    >Tom....I received a call from Lois (she said she knew you) from the AMERICAN MAH JONGG LEAGUE (I didn't even know there was one...) and her response was different from everyone so far.....she says:
    >
    >"When you call, as soon as you TOUCH the tile...it is yours...no turning back....you are committed..."
    >
    >I guess because we play with a National Mah Jongg League card, we should go by their rule though......
    >I'm learning alot about Mah Jongg......I do love the game.
    >Thanks for your postings.....Marsha

    Interesting, Marsha.
    Wonder when we'll see printed rules from the AMJA... (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 6, 2008


    Where can I print tallies online? (part 2)

    >From: Gerald S
    >Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 3:18 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I guess I used the wrong term, but I'm looking to keep score for a 500 pt game.  (printable from on-line)
    >Thanks.  
    >Beverly S

    Hi Beverly,
    You still haven't told me what kind of mah-jongg you play. I'm going out on a limb and assuming Chinese Classical (see FAQ 2b). I don't know if any of the CC websites listed in FAQ 4b have a downloadable scoring sheet. There WAS a CC scoring calculator download, listed in FAQ 5, but I see that the link is dead now.

    MAYBE you can take an MCR scoring calculator and adapt it for use with CC, but I make no guarantees. If you want to try that, see FAQ 5.

    Or maybe a reader of this bulletin board will come forth with a CC scoring spreadsheet for you. Keep watching this board!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 6, 2008


    Where can I print tallies online?

    >From: Gerald S
    >Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 2:25 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: where can I print some tallies on-line for MJ?
    >Thanks.
    >Beverly S

    Hi Beverly,
    I have no idea what you mean by a "tally." What kind of mah-jongg do you play (if you don't know, use FAQ 2b, above left)? Describe what a "tally" is and how it's used. You say you expect to find such a resource online somewhere -- if such a thing exists online, it would probably be listed in FAQ 4b.
    You can link to all the Frequently Asked Questions above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 6, 2008


    Change of heart (FAQ 19AM) - part 5

    >From: Chuck & Marsha
    >Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 6:47 AM
    >Subject: National Maj Jongg League Response
    >Called the National Mah Jongg League about changing my mind about taking a discard....they do not agree with your ruling.
    >
    >You say (19am I think) "Not after you've exposed tiles from you hand...NO" and then you say "If you've only picked up the discard and put it atop your rack without exposing , then YES you can."
    >
    >Mah Jongg League said in a phone call this am that the minute you put the discard atop your rack you cannot change your mind. Doesn't make any difference if you've added to it from your hand. You are committed.
    >
    >I think I have this correct. Just thought you should know National's response.
    >Thanks for all your emails....please let me know if I'm incorrect on any of this.
    >Marsha

    Hi Marsha,
    It would have been better to have gotten that in writing. At this point, it appears that the change of heart rule has more depth to it than the NMJL has ever published in writing.

    1. It's OK to pick up a discard, change your mind, and put it back.
    2. But if you put the tile on your rack, you've committed to taking the tile and must complete the exposure.
    3. Or if you expose tiles from your hand, you've committed to taking the tile and must take it.

    This was never put in writing in full by the League. Only #s 1 and 3 above. Now you've gotten #2 verbally. Anyway, I'll make this change to FAQ 19AM and I'll also add it to the errata for my book (to go into a future revised edition).

    Thanks for clarifying this important rule, Marsha.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 2, 2008


    Length of play in Japanese riichi majan

    From: "Mikko
    Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 10:23 PM
    Subject: Speed of Japanese Mahjong
    > Here's another one for your bulletin board:
    > I've noticed you constantly say Japanese mahjong takes approximately one
    > hour per game. Is that really a full game of two rounds, which would
    > easily mean more than ten hands with all the repetitions?
    >
    > I'm just wondering, as we just recently played a game of riichi and had
    > to quit after three hours - we managed to finish the second hand of the
    > South round and had played 11 hands so far.
    >
    > I suppose using an automatic table removes all the time spent shuffling
    > the tiles and building the walls, but still, our group might have some
    > work to do if we wanted to play that fast...
    > Mikko

    Hi Mikko, you wrote:

    I've noticed you constantly say Japanese mahjong takes approximately one
    > hour per game. Is that really a full game of two rounds,
    Well, here's the thing. At an international competition, it's normal to permit 1.5 to 2 hours per game session (4 rounds), and 2 hours is usually enough to complete 4 rounds. Even when the limit is 1.5 hours, many tables' games are completed.

    I've observed that in American mah-jongg, to play one hand takes an average of 15 minutes. So to play 16 hands of American mah-jongg would usually require 4 hours.

    Maybe the extra time for the American game is due to the Charleston and chatting and noshing. At an international competition, the only thing that sometimes adds time is the necessity of switching seats after each round.

    But my one hour estimate for Japanese mah-jongg is based on the speed of play of experienced players of Asian variants. Down at the local janso the players don't like it if you start thinking too much.

    which would
    > easily mean more than ten hands with all the repetitions?
    Well, it could. It doesn't always. Sometimes it ends even sooner, if a player loses all his chips before the 2 rounds have ended.

    after three hours - we managed to finish the second hand of the
    > South round and had played 11 hands ...our group might have some
    > work to do if we wanted to play that fast...
    Well, maybe you're chatting. Maybe you're doing postmortems on each hand. Maybe you take bathroom breaks without running (running) to the bathroom, and without someone else sitting in your seat to keep the momentum going. Believe me, Japanese players (at least at my local janso) like to keep it moving at a good clip. It's focus and dedication, and there's pressure to keep the speed up.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 6, 2008


    Change of heart (FAQ 19AM) - part 4

    >From: Chuck & Marsha
    >Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 8:22 PM
    >Subject: Talked with Elaine Sandberg
    >I talked with Elaine Sandberg tonight and she said her book was incorrect (Page 93) about exposures...her latest edition (I have a 2007) corrects the error.
    >She said she agreed completely with you

    Cool, Marsha, thanks for letting me know.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 5, 2008


    Change of heart (FAQ 19AM) - part 3

    >From: Chuck & Marsha
    >Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 5:27 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Oh boy.....I'm really confused.
    > You mentioned the 2007 Bulletin from the National Mah Jongg League....I checked my 2008, January bulletin and there is a question that says "Q. A player calls for a 4 crak and puts up two 4-craks with a Joker. She has not discarded as yet. She really wants to expose 3 -4 craks with a Joker. May she put another 4-crak up or another Joker?
    >A." Yes...you may add to the exposure or take away from the exposure AS LONG AS YOU HAVE NOT DISCARDED AS YET. Once you discard you are committed to that exposure."
    >I think that means you may be incorrect. :-)
    >My only question is can you also return the tile you called?? Elaine says yes.
    >What say you?!!? Marsha

    Hi Marsha, you wrote:

    ....I checked my 2008, January bulletin and there is a question that says "Q. A player calls for a 4 crak and puts up two 4-craks with a Joker. She has not discarded as yet. She really wants to expose 3 -4 craks with a Joker. May she put another 4-crak up or another Joker?
    >A." Yes...you may add to the exposure or take away from the exposure AS LONG AS YOU HAVE NOT DISCARDED AS YET. Once you discard you are committed to that exposure."
    >I think that means you may be incorrect. :-)
    No. It doesn't mean that. The question "can I change the size of my exposure before discarding" is an entirely different question from "can I change my mind about taking a discard once I've exposed." The former is FAQ 19AF (yes, you can) and the latter is FAQ 19AM (no, you can't). Two different questions, thus two different answers.

    My only question is can you also return the tile you called?? Elaine says yes.
    >What say you?!!?
    I already answered this question. If you don't believe my answer, or if you think the NMJL's 2008 answer to one question contradicts their 2007 answer to a different question, then you should send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the NMJL. Their address is right there on the card.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 5, 2008


    Change of heart (FAQ 19AM) - part 2

    >From: Chuck & Marsha
    >Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 3:06 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you but a book that YOU had a forward in A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO AMERICAN MAH JONGG BY ELAINE SANDBERG disagrees with your ruling about my question. I am very confused. In her book, on page 93, it says "If you make a mistake-say you expose a Kong instead of a Pung, or you expose the wrong numbers or the wrong Suit- you can correct your error and change your Exposure. If you simply change your mind, you may take your Exposure back and replace it in your hand. BE SURE TO RETURN THE CALLED TILE TO THE TABLE."
    >This is not what your posting said.
    >What is correct? You or Elaine Sandberg's book? Thanks, Marsha

    Hi Marsha,
    So you're asking me who is right - me or Sandberg. Just as I told Mary on Thursday, September 04, 2008 (below) when she also asked me which of us was right: "Me, of course. (^_^)" (It's reasonable to imagine that if you ask Sandberg the same question she might say it's she who's right, which raises the question of whether this is the best way to find out for sure who's right, but let's skip that for the moment.)

    As I noted in FAQ 19AM, my source for the answer I gave on this issue is the 2007 bulletin from the National Mah Jongg League. All players who order their cards directly from the NMJL get the yearly bulletins. The bulletin always lists clarifications of the rules that go beyond the official rulebook. For this reason, I always recommend that players order their cards directly from the NMJL and always keep the yearly bulletins. But most people who get the bulletin never bother reading it, much less keep it as a useful reference. So, the gist of it is, I have proof in writing direct from the NMJL that my answer is correct. If you have the 2007 bulletin, so do you.

    By the way, I wrote that forward for Elaine quite some time before I wrote my own book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind."

    And whenever faced with conflicting information about the rules, the only real way to know for sure which is right is to send the question with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the League. Their address is on the card.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 5, 2008


    Change of heart (FAQ 19AM)

    >From: Chuck & Marsha
    >Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 12:52 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If I make a mistake in calling or simply change my mind after racking, can I correct my error and take back my Exposure and replace it in my hand and return my called tile to the table and then continue by discarding? Are there any penalties for these missteps as long as I have not discarded? Thank you, Marsha

    Hi Marsha,
    The "change of heart" rules are discussed in FAQ 19AM. Please scroll up and find the links to the Frequently Asked Questions, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question. If the wording of the answer is unclear, please let me know how I can improve the wording for future askers of this same question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 5, 2008


    Re the Japanese handheld in columns 380 & 381

    >From: flieg
    >Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2008 4:16 AM
    >Subject: Perfect Mahjong 2
    >Hi,
    >I read a text about your Perfect Mahjong 2, saw linked page and I think that instead of pressing N after turning on you may try to press S1 / S2 / S3. It looks like the box says:
    >1) 4 player mahjong
    >2) 2 player mahjong
    >3) 2 player don't-know-what
    >Hope that will help,
    >Flieg

    Cool, thanks Flieg!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 5, 2008


    Can I redeem a joker when I'm doing a concealed hand? (American maj)

    >From: Jigsworth
    >Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2008 3:10 PM
    >Subject: concealed hand
    >If you are playing a concealed hand can you replace jokers exposed in someone else's hand?

    Hi Jigs,
    Your hand being concealed has nothing to do with whether or not you can redeem a joker. Maybe if you read FAQ 19AR you'll have your answer. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question.

    Were you maybe thinking that you'd have to expose a set if you redeem a joker? Not so. The only time you have to expose a set is when you claim a discarded tile. The only thing that ruins a concealed hand is having an exposure prior to declaring maj.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 4, 2008


    Mahjong on Nintendo DS

    >From: Mikko (mahjongopas)
    >Sent: Saturday, October 4, 2008 5:43:31 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong on Nintendo DS
    >Hi!
    >I noticed you mentioned playing mahjong on Nintendo DS on your pages...
    >Any tips regarding that? Apparently there's quite a few Japanese mahjong
    >games for Nintendo DS, have you tried any of those?
    >
    >I was just wondering if buying one (The Mahjong by D3 or 1500 DS Spirits
    >Mahjong by Tasuke, for example) would make any sense. I can't read a
    >word (or a character?) of Japanese, but I do know the rules of mahjong,
    >so I was wondering if I could manage with one of those Japanese games.
    >
    >I do have Four Winds (that one's Finnish, too), but I wouldn't mind
    >having a portable version.
    >Thanks,
    >Mikko

    Hi Mikko,
    Since I studied Japanese for many years and spent a lot of time in Japan (working in the video game industry), I can usually manage to find my way around a Japanese game, even one that includes menus with kanji characters that I can't read. Even if one can't read menus at all, though, the trial-and-error process usually leads one into some game mode or other.

    Then the only problem is figuring out how the controls work, and what the onscreen user interface is telling you. If one has patience to use trial-and-error to figure that out, then it does make sense to buy a DS game. I haven't tried either of the ones you mentioned. I started with Yakuman DS, playing one-on-one mahjong against Nintendo game characters, but later Jenn Barr recommended Mahjong Fight Club to me. Partly because she's one of the mahjong professionals you can play against.

    So that's the one I play now. Yakuman DS being a one-on-one game, the playing is skewed, very different from the regular 4P game. I enjoy Mahjong Fight Club a lot. I've played Jenn numerous times (not really her, just her image), and I've played Garthe a couple times too, and I even played once against Kojima-san (who I played against once in real life, back at the end of the last century). The A.I. is pretty good, but I've managed to advance pretty far in the ranking, and the feeling of competition is high.

    Let's see if I can write the game's title in kanji here. You might have to set your browser to view Japanese encoding to view this...

    麻雀格闘倶楽部DS Wi-Fi 対応

    You can find information about the game at Konami's website and Nintendo's website:
    http://www.konami.jp/gs/game/mfc/ds/
    http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/software/ac5j/index.html

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 4, 2008


    Q's about the Charleston from a non-player of American "maj"

    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >From: Jonathan Cho (kosetsu)
    >Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008 12:11:35 PM
    >Hiya Tom:
    >I was expanding my Mahjong horizons, as a student of only the Asian styles prior, and as I was reading about the American style, I had to wonder: what on Earth is the Charleston all about?
    >
    >I read FAQ #19, and I sort of get the point that it's a little ritual that occurs after the walls are formed and after the hands are dealt, that the first dance is mandatory, the second optional, and the Courtesy is... uh, optional also, but can still be performed even if the second dance had been called off...? But what I really don't understand is how the dances work.
    >So, my question comes down to three parts.
    >
    >1) How does each dance work? You pass three tiles to the right, then three tiles to the player across the table, then three tiles to the player to your left?
    >
    >2) The second dance works in reverse?
    >
    >3) If the Courtesy dance is optional, and you can exchange as many tiles as you want (up until 3?), do you only exchange with a willing partner, or do all players exchange tiles? What happens when three players want to exchange tiles?
    >Thanks for your time,
    >~JonJon

    Hi JonJon, you asked:

    what on Earth is the Charleston all about?
    The American game takes a unique approach to mah-jongg. The American game requires players to play a limited set of "pretty pattern" hands, which are listed on a card that changes every year. If the game didn't include a Charleston and 8 jokers, the list would need to be a lot larger, or other changes would have to be made to the game to make it playable and fun. The jokers provide the flexibility needed to keep the game fun despite the severely short yearly list. The Charleston provides a chance for the players to get set up with some options.

    I read FAQ #19...
    The Charleston is discussed in several places in FAQ 19. FAQ 19AG, 19AH, 19AW. I don't know if you saw all three? I realize that the FAQ could be organized better, but as some fictional literary character remarked, they have "just growed" over the years. Later questions are added at the bottom. To reorganize them all and group them logically (and renumber them all each time) would be more work than I can afford to do as an ongoing perpetual concern. My book, on the other hand, discusses the Charleston in a coherent way.

    How does each dance work? You pass three tiles to the right, then three tiles to the player across the table, then three tiles to the player to your left?
    Your powers of perception have served you well, Grasshopper. (^_^)

    The second dance works in reverse?
    Very good, Grasshopper.

    If the Courtesy dance is optional, and you can exchange as many tiles as you want (up until 3?), do you only exchange with a willing partner, or do all players exchange tiles? What happens when three players want to exchange tiles?
    Then one of them will be "disappointed." (See FAQ 19AH.) But really, it's no big deal to have a courtesy pass refused. By this time in the Charleston uberdance, it's unlikely any big change will be happening to the hand.

    JonJon, I think you could also gain another view of the Charleston if you check out Linda Fisher's website, where she describes how to play the American game. THIS website's purpose (my website's purpose) is to answer questions -- not to lay out in detail all the rules in detail for every known variant (listed and briefly described in FAQ 2b). You can find links to other mah-jongg websites in FAQ 4. FAQ 4 is broken down into two parts: FAQ 4a lists selected (highly recommended, frequently visited) websites -- FAQ 4b lists kajillions of websites that contain useful information about mah-jongg. The quickest way to find a link to Linda Fisher's website is FAQ 4a.

    In summation -- ask me more questions anytime, or buy my book, or check out Linda's website, or all of the above! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 2, 2008


    Strategy

    >Subject: American
    >From: Joan -- jbe1224
    >Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008 8:14:32 AM
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I would normally not pass more than a pair in the Charleston, but I recently had a situation in which I was nearly set for a hand and still had several passes to go. The only tiles I didn't need were three 1 Bams. Although the person I passed them to kept and used them, they did not result in Mah Jongg for her. When my group found out what I had done, two of them said they would never have passed all 3 like tiles and would have given up a flower (I only had one) instead. Another person said they would have done the same as I had done. The receiver of the tiles just smiled and said she would have passed them also. I have far less experience than the others do and so I'm wondering what you would have done.
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Joan

    Hi Joan,
    You wrote:

    When my group found out what I had done, two of them said they would never have passed all 3 like tiles
    So those two players live in a black-and-white world, is what they're saying. Shades of gray don't exist. Strategy principles never get trumped by other strategy principles, in their minds.

    Maybe you can use that against them! (^_^) Remember that they have particular strategy principles, and exceptions are foreign to their way of thinking. Learn what their overriding strategy principles are, and you've got an edge over them.

    Let's talk about the word "never." These two players say they would "never" pass a pung in the Charleston. I say they should "never" say "never." Because there's always an exception to every hard-and-fast rule (even this one). To say that there's "never" an exception to any hard-and-fast rule is just plain shortsighted.

    In the above hand, what are your options? In my opinion, because it's just 3 tiles away from S&P#2, I'd lose the Easts and hope for F 2D 4D. Of course, you could go for Consec. #1, but you're 6 tiles away from that. If you throw F and/or soap, you're lots farther from the valuable S&P hand. Maybe you can find something else to go for with these, too -- I didn't spend a lot of time coming up with this example. How about this one...

    In the above hand, you're just 3 tiles away from S&P #7, the most valuable hand on the card. It needs F 2B E. It'd be crazy to say "but I can't pass a pung, I have to break it up," and put yourself farther away from the mega-hand.

    You might want to check out my weekly column, Joan. Just click the purple banner atop this page.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 2, 2008


    Feedback on past questions about sets

    >From: gina smith
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 12:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong Q & A
    >Hello Tom:
    >Just some 2 cents worth:
    >
    > For Frank: 9/13
    >Pyroxloid was a company, not a type of plastic. Pyralin was a vintage plastic, although not considered French Ivory. Both French Ivory and Pryalin were under the Celluloid umbrella. French Ivory looks like ivory with the lines running across the surface. Pyralin does not. Pyralin usually put out pyralin sets. To the best of my knowledge, Pyroxloid didn’t put out any French ivory , so the booklet was probably added. (Don’t be fooled by identifying a set by the accompanying booklet. They were often mixed in.) Interestingly enough I am looking at a 6 crak and a Fa from a set like yours on my desk as I write. I have never seen a FI set with this tan colored back so it is very uncommon.
    >
    >For Todd 9/2
    >This looks like a “married” set or a transitional to me. The dragons in your set which I believe is bakelite are unique to a Mah Jong Sales of America set, one that was originally started by Babcock and then bought out by Parker brothers. So the whole thing is quite a mystery! The sticks and coins were added.
    >
    >For Jim 8/26
    >Really interesting wooden box. Probably home made, but unique.
    >
    > For Jim 8/21
    >The M was probably added to the side of the box by the purchaser. Maybe their initial? The box is probably original but at a later date due to the tile carvings –later 30’s-1940’s? The brass has been polished. The flowers are lovely and more contemporary in design, the sticks smoothly carved, the tiles thick in bone, bigger coffin dice box and the mingh jar really nice, so this is a higher quality set. Obviously can’t tell if it is complete.
    >
    >For Donna 8/13
    >This is a really nice bakelite MET Games long tailed peacock set c 1940’s. The flowers are sequenced and bouqueted 1-5 2X. If you look in your flower picture, the first 8 tiles (from left to right) are original to the set, I speculate the two stickered flower tiles are blanks if you remove the stickers. In the second row of flowers (from left to right) , the first 4 flowers are probably from an ES Lowe set, the next four are duplicates ( the two different fives would go with the MET set) and the last two are probably from a Royal set. The two joker tiles go with the MET set and were used as a substitute in case you lost a main playing tile, not as a joker tile as we used them starting in the 1960’s. The box looks like a MET box with the bakelite handle. Really nice set. I love the bird!
    >
    >Gina

    Thanks, Gina. I hope those people from last month and 2 months ago come back and see your comments.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    October 2, 2008


    Is it Unique Wait if I can see that other possible tiles are dead?

    >Subject: Mah Jong question
    >From: Roman
    >Date: Monday, September 29, 2008 3:43:18 PM
    >We play Taiwanese Mah Jong and have come up with a problem. We give an extra point in our scoring if the only tile you can Mah Jong with is a single. Example, a one, nine or one of a pair. The question is what if you are waiting with 2 pairs and need one tile for a pong to win. You notice that the other 2 tiles for one of your pair are already exposed. Does this mean you are waiting for only one tile? I say no. You should not get the extra point. Can you help with this??
    >Donna

    Hi Donna, you wrote:

    We give an extra point in our scoring if the only tile you can Mah Jong with is a single. Example, a one, nine or one of a pair.
    I understand what you mean in regards to waiting to make the pair (Single Wait). But you’ve lost me as regards the one or nine. You probably meant to say that you are holding (for example) 1 and 3, waiting for 2 (Closed Wait) -- or holding 1 and 2, waiting for 3 (Edge Wait).

    There are (as you can discern from what I wrote above) three types of Unique Wait: Single Wait, Closed Wait, and Edge Wait. Are you with me so far? I hope so, because therein lies the answer to your question.

    what if you are waiting with 2 pairs and need one tile for a pong to win.
    Then you are not in any of the three possible Unique Wait situations. You aren’t holding a single, waiting for its mate (Single Wait). You aren’t holding 5 and 7, waiting for 6 (Closed Wait). And you aren’t holding 8 and 9, waiting for 7 (Edge Wait).

    You notice that the other 2 tiles for one of your pair are already exposed. Does this mean you are waiting for only one tile?
    Well, the way you phrased the question, yes. You are, but you do not qualify for Unique Wait. Your situation does not fit any of the three allowable types of Unique Wait. The Unique Waits must not depend on what tiles are dead on the floor or among others’ exposures.

    Can you help with this??
    Only if your group is willing to abide by my opinion! (^_^) Author Amy Lo’s description of Unique Wait (she calls it duh ting) doesn’t go into any detail. But I play internationally, and it’s widely accepted (across numerous mahjong variants) that Unique Wait is awarded based on the type of wait, not on what tiles are dead.

    Per your friend's thinking, if I was holding 4 and 5, and 3 was dead on the table, waiting for 6 would be Unique Wait. Nobody in any tournament would ever accept that logic.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 29, 2008


    My preferred variant (for the column)

    >From: Gail
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 6:50 PM
    >Subject: American
    >Thank you so much for your weekly columns. I really enjoy them. The American Mah-Jongg, that is. As you requested, I am letting you know that it is my "preferred variant." Hope you will keep that in mind when planning future topics.
    >Keep up the good work. You website is vital.
    >GAIL

    Great, thanks, Gail!
    The plan is to do an American column this coming weekend. Haven't chosen the specific topic yet, though.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 24, 2008


    Stopping the Charleston

    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >From: "Chyde54901
    >Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008 12:27:06 PM
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it good strategy to complete all rounds of the Charleston even though it can officially be stopped after RAL?
    >One player in our group says when a player stops the Charleston after the first round she should be penalized by the player across from her who should refuse to exchange any tiles with her in the final optional exchange. She says stopping the Charleston is bad strategy because it seldom results in maj jongg for the stopper.
    >Thank you for considering my question.
    >Chrys

    Hi Chrys, you wrote:

    Is it good strategy to [always] complete all rounds of the Charleston
    No! It would also not be good strategy to always STOP the Charleston. Good strategy means using your brain to determine when it would best be appropriate to use options that the rules permit.

    One player in our group says when a player stops the Charleston after the first round she should be penalized
    If the rest of you in the group want to institute that as a table rule, nobody will stop you (see FAQ 14, above left). But I wouldn't enjoy playing with such a table rule myself.

    She says stopping the Charleston is bad strategy because it seldom results in maj jongg for the stopper.
    Then she doesn't understand the fact that stopping the Charleston is part of the official rules -- and that the rule exists to offer the players an optional move that is sometimes good strategy.

    The Charleston-stopping rule is often, unfortunately, a cause of conflict and disharmony among players of the game. There are players who abuse the rule, stopping it every time, making everybody else mad. There are players who get angry if someone ever stops the Charleston, even if the stopper has not abused the rule. I see a lot of both types of players here. In my group, we use the option of stopping the Charleston only occasionally, based on our tiles and the hand(s) we think we can make.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 21, 2008


    Frequently Asked Question #19AF

    >From: Sharon
    >Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 12:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >A player has called for a discarded flower and places it on her rack with three other flowers however one of the flowers is actually a 1 bam.( She mistook the 1bam for the flower)---Can she remove the 1 bam and put a joker in it's place to correct the exposure?---It is still her turn as she has not yet discarded a tile. Thanks Sharon
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Hi Sharon,
    FAQ 19AF contains the answer to this question. Please scroll up and find the links to the FAQs, above left. Click FAQ 19. Bookmark the page for your future reference. Scroll down and find the answer to this question. If the wording of the answer is unclear, please let me know how I can improve the wording for future askers of this same question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 20, 2008


    Heavenly hand

    >From: Judy
    >Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 11:08 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    > If East wins Mah Jongg after the Charleston is complete,
    >does he get bonus points? How often might this happen.
    >thank you.

    Hi Judy,
    I assume your question is in regards to American mah-jongg.
    The American game does not have any special bonus for winning a "heavenly hand."
    Maybe some tournament organizers might award a bonus, though.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 18, 2008


    My teacher listing in FAQ 4a

    >From: KiawahBarb@aol.com
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 1:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom
    > I have my name added as a Mahjongg (AM) teacher in the Ithaca, NY area but want to add in addition South Carolina. I'm in NY for 3 months a year and the rest of the year SC. I actually did teach 10 ladies who drove 1 1/2 hour this summer to learn, and it was a thrill to do that. I have now reached my 100th person. 99 women, 1 man. I couldn't be happier with the way the American game has evolved. After 36 year of playing this game, I have more players to play with on a weekly basis more players than I had in early years of my playing. Guess the popularity of Mahjongg has finally been given the respect it deserves.
    >Thanks
    >Barbara Berger

    Okay, Barb, you got it. My very first "snowbird" teacher listing in FAQ 4a. Sorry I hadn't planned on that eventuality when I designed the teacher grid.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 16, 2008


    Mahjong.Asia domain for sale

    >From: Meyer-Rochow, Rembert
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 2:14 AM
    >Subject: www.Mahjong.Asia
    >Dear Tom – I own this domain and am considering offers to sell it.
    >If you are interested, or if you know people who might be, please let me know.
    >Kind Regards
    >Rembert Meyer-Rochow
    >Rembertmeyerrochowgmail.com

    Good luck with that, Rembert.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 16, 2008


    Countdown timer for tournaments

    >From: "Stephan Hilchenbach (mah-jong.de)"
    >Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 11:48 PM
    >Subject: Countdown timer for Mahjong tournaments
    >> Hi folks,
    >> I recently set up a countdown timer website that may be useful for
    >> tournaments (and other events). Can be run offline as well.
    >> Please take a look at
    >> http://www.countdown-timer-stop-watch.com/index_gb.html.
    >> If you'd like to place a link to this site, I'd be glad.
    >> Thanks a lot,
    >> Stephan

    Great, Stephan.
    I'm definitely adding that to FAQ 21.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 16, 2008


    Please appraise my Pyralin set - part 2

    >From: Lori
    >Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 10:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I wanted to respond further about the set that Frank posted for appraisal. It is a fantastic set, and unusual in one further regard: it is the first one of these that I have seen with a tan, rather than a black back. If that set gets listed on eBay, I would surely bid. Nice buy, Frank! Best, Lori


    What do these flower tiles say?

    >From: lajohni
    >Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2008 10:28 PM
    >Subject: Fwd: Flowers From Empty Chair, Broken Swing Set, 2008
    >Hi Tom ... Can you take a look at the flowes on this set? Do you know anyone who can tell us the meaning?
    >That does not make sense to me that the broken swing with the "dead guy" would be on a tile meaning mother. Johni
    >-----Original Message-----
    >>From: Lori
    >>Sent: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 9:14 pm
    >>Subject: Flowers From Empty Chair, Broken Swing Set, 2008
    >>Hi everyone!
    >>Attached is a copy of the Flowers from the mystery set that we played with here today, with the Empty Chair and Broken Swing.
    >>Nick S translated most of the characters for me tonight:
    >>1: Benevolence (with the open gate symbol)
    >>2: Religion/Belief (woman kneeling and praying)
    >>3: See (verb) (woman standing and gazing ahead)
    >>4: Mother (the empty chair image)
    >>N: Moon (man walking under moon holding long scroll)
    >>E: Middle (man deep in thought)
    >>W: Appreciate/Enjoy (man standing, gazing up and ahead, one hand raised)
    >>S: Autumn (the person on ground in front of broken swing – is that a pun with “Fall”??? – cross-lingual pun, that one!)
    >>If anyone knows any other of the characters, or the symbolism of the tiles or the "story" of the tiles, PLEASE let me know.
    >>We were seriously spooked by the set by the end of play. Is that last guy on the ground DEAD???
    >>xoxox me

    Hi Johni,
    "What do my flower tiles say" is a fairly common question, and doesn't always get the happy answer. By which I mean, you find out that the characters say some nonsense thing like "Benevolent Religion See Mother, Mid Autumn Appreciate Moon." (See, so now you have to figure out what the heck that means.) Note that I rearranged the wind flowers. The Chinese don't array them NEWS, but rather ESWN.

    So what you need is for someone who's fluent in Chinese (not just the language but also the culture) to see the tiles and explain them for you - someone who's fluent in Chinese AND also willing to read an email in English and reply in English.

    The best way would be to post the picture online somewhere, then post the question on the mahjong newsgroup. You have to set up an account on Google Groups and your email address will go public - so it's a good idea to get an extra free email address, like on hotmail or gmail or yahoo and use that rather than your real email address (otherwise spam'll start coming at you faster than you can believe).

    1. Set up a photo account online somewhere, like Flickr or Photobucket or something, and post the photo there.
    2. Set up a "spam magnet" email address, like Yahoo or Gmail.
    3. Go to http://groups.google.com/group/rec.games.mahjong/
    4. Set up an account using your spam address, not your everyday address.
    5. Post the announcement, with the internet address of your photo.
    6. Check the newsgroup every day - and your spam email too - for a couple of weeks.

    That's really the best way to go. I have several folks I know who MIGHT be able to help you with this, but rather than shotgun them all, just put it on the newsgroup - because those folks all read the posts there anyway.

    Another thing the set's owner can do is buy the Chinese symbolism books I mentioned in my FAQ 3 (that's why those books are in FAQ 3 -- because they're useful in understanding flower tiles sometimes).

    Anyway, just on the off chance that somebody might see it here, I'm posting it here. Could be a while before you get a useful answer. Good luck!

    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    September 2, 2008


    Those genuine ivory sets

    >From: Linda-and- Robert
    >Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 2:41 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding the genuine ivory sets (new) that have been on sale for several months now, ebay or his home page (home page is cheaper):
    >Well, I bought one and it is outstanding!
    >The obvious catch is that the tiles are tiny travel size, but what the heck its not that expensive ($225) for ivory!
    >Glad you have the opportunity to preview these comments because perhaps mentioning commercial sites are not appropriate for the forum, in which case you should of course send my comment here to the bit bucket :).
    >Rob

    Hello Rob,
    You wrote:

    Regarding the genuine ivory sets (new) that have been on sale for several months now, ebay or his home page (home page is cheaper):
    It's not clear exactly what you're talking about, so I'm going out on a limb and assuming you mean the miniature ivory sets sold by New York Findings (you can see one such set on Jim May's mahjongmuseum website - set #260, on his Unique Sets page, not on his Small Sets page). I couldn't find anything about such sets currently being auctioned on eBay. And New York Findings has been selling these sets for several years now.

    Well, I bought one and it is outstanding!
    Yes, I rather like the one I bought several years ago too. In fact, Christina Cavallaro and Anita Luu came to my home and photographed it (and other sets in my collection) for their book, "Mah-Jongg from Shanghai to Miami Beach."

    Glad you have the opportunity to preview these comments because perhaps mentioning commercial sites are not appropriate for the forum
    I guess that's why you never mentioned the site, then! (^_^) It's not hard to find on Google.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    The Ides of September, 2008


    Japanese mahjong in English, for Playstation 2

    >From: Willems, David
    >Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 6:44 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hello Tom,
    >Last week saw the US release of the PlayStation 2 game "Yakuza 2." It has a lot of side missions that go along with the main story, but some of them involve a mahjong parlor, and I was delighted to see that a fully functional Japanese style mahjong game is included to be played in the game. A basic set of instructions outlining the various hands are all in English, and the players at the table have various expresisons and exclamations depending on what is played. It's by no means a fancy setup, but to the best of my knowledge it's the only Japanese style mahjong game that has been available in English in the US since your computer game collection.
    >Take care,
    >David
    >From: Willems, David
    >Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 6:45 AM
    >Subject: RE: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I forgot about the Mahjong Time website, they have a Japanese version in english too.

    Hi David,
    Cool! Thanks for the info. So this would be the only/first Japanese mahjong game in English on a videogame console. For computers, in addition to MahjongTime, there's also Four Winds. Too bad it's PS2 - would be better if it was for the PS3, the newer platform.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    The Ides of September, 2008


    I need some snappy Japanese mahjong dialogue, part 4

    >Subject: FW: mahjongg sentences
    >From: J**
    >Date: Monday, September 15, 2008 8:41 AM
    >Tom,  
    >One more question, if I may please.  What do you call it when you get together for mahjongg with a few friends.  A mahjongg party?  A mahjongg gathering?  A mahjongg game?  Or something else?  
    >Thanks again,  
    >J**

    A game.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on mah-jongg East & West.
    トム·スローパー   /   湯姆 斯洛珀  /  탐 슬로퍼
    Los Angeles, CA (USA)
    The Ides of September, 2008


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