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The Mah-Jongg FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)

19. American Mah-Jongg
16. The NMJL Card

1. "Mah-Jongg 101"
2a. Which MJ Rules To Learn?
2b. Which MJ Rules Do I Play?
3. Books on Mah-Jongg
  3b. 1920s Books
4a Selected Links
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  7a. Types of Sets
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  -   7c2. Is It Ivory?
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12.
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The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg, and get answers, usually within hours!
  • But BEFORE YOU ASK YOUR QUESTION, PLEASE CHECK THE FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and please scroll down and see if your question has already been asked and answered on the board.
  • PLEASE READ FAQ 19 BEFORE ASKING ABOUT AMERICAN / NMJL RULES. Your question has probably already been answered there.
  • IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE NMJL CARD, PLEASE READ FAQ 16.
  • IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A MAH-JONGG TEACHER, PLEASE READ FAQ 4A and check the Find Players/Teachers Bulletin Board and check FAQ 15.
  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome.


    Ask "Mister Mah-Jongg" a question!

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

    Rules: 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.
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    Please do not ask computer-game support questions here; read FAQ 24 to learn how to get tech support.
    If you are seeking a "Mah-Jong Solitaire" tile-matching game, please read FAQ 12.
    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.
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    No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).
    The first time someone asks a question here, I send a reply email to let you know that you should come back and see your answer. If your email address is protected by a service that wants me to click a link and prove myself to be human, I don't click the link. You'll need to check back here to find your answer.
    This is an information exchange, not a social site. Due to the actions of spammers, all users' posts go through me, and when I post them, I omit email addresses (with exceptions as stated above). I have learned from experience that many (if not most) posters want their contact information to be kept private. Please do not ask to be put in touch with other people who've posted here, if their email addresses are not shown here. Please don't put me in that awkward position.
    Please note that this site is NOT associated with the National Mah Jongg League. Although questions about the League's card and rules are welcome here, please read FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 to see if your question has already been answered. Also, you can click here to learn how to contact the NMJL directly.

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


    Not tax-deductible

    Keep scrolling - the Q&As are below.

    But before we get to the Q&As, this needs to be said:

    Answer to THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2018: "NEWS" is four single tiles (it is not a kong). Jokers may NEVER be used for a single tile, or for a pair. For more about NEWS, read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. And read the back of the card!

    FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers question about NMJL rules.
    There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.


  • Is there a rule against touching someone's tiles or rack?

    >From: Louise D
    >Sent: Monday, August 20, 2018 5:07 AM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >Hi Mr. Sloper,
    >I have more of an etiquette question than a rules question.
    >When I call for a tile, a woman I play with will put the tile on my rack instead of just moving it closer to me so I can pick it up myself. Others will also take a joker off of someone's rack when they are retrieving it instead of asking for it.
    >I don't think it's a rule not to touch someone's tiles or rack, but I believe you shouldn't do it. What are your feelings on this?
    >Louise

    I agree with you, Louise. See FAQ 19-CF (touching someone's rack), 19-CG (touching someone's tiles), and 19-M (proper procedure for redeeming a joker).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 20, 2018 6:20 AM


    What if I have a complete winning hand after the deal?

    >From: Jason R
    >Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2018 10:56 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >If I’m dealt a mah-jongg can I declare it without going on whith the rest oif the game?

    Hi, Jason!
    Yes, a dealer can declare "heavenly hand" if s/he has a complete winning hand immediately after the deal, before exchanging tiles (if you play American mah-jongg) or before discarding his/her first discard (if you play a non-American variant). If you play American mah-jongg, you can read more about it in FAQ 19-BJ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 19, 2018 4:45 PM


    Crazy Rich Asians' mah-jongg scene

    I haven't seen the movie myself, but I just read this really interesting blog about the symbolism behind the mah-jongg scene: http://blog.angryasianman.com/2018/08/what-was-really-happening-in-crazy-rich.html?m=1.
    One thing I wondered about was this 1927 paper or quote by Hu Shi - I'd add it to FAQ 11H if I could confirm it.
    May the tiles be with us all!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 18, 2018 12:30 PM


    NEWS and 2018, part 13

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Friday, August 17, 2018 5:29 AM
    >Subject: Re[2]: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thanks Tom!

    You're welcome, Lisa.


    NEWS and 2018, part 12

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2018 10:20 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Greetings. If a players has a combination of tiles that includes NEWS or 2018, and one of the tiles is discarded, can they pick up the discard to complete one of these combinations and unconcealed it, and or use a joker for one of the 4 tiles? My understanding is these two examples are like 4 single tiles so the only want you could use a discard is if for mahjongg and you could never use a joker.
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Lisa


    Hi, Lisa! Sounds to me like you understand the rule - and apparently you need to convince others. You could show them my FAQ 16, but I am not the League, so if you want to convince somebody authoritatively, you should show them the NMJL's own FAQ. It's at www.nationalmahjonggleague.org (click the FAQs link).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 16, 2018 10:45 AM


    She spoke up after the other one exposed her tiles

    >From: Pat V
    >Sent: Monday, August 13, 2018 1:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I understand that when two players call for a tile to declare mahjong the next one in line for their turn is able to collect and win. However what is the ruling when only one person calls for the tile and picks it up and declares mahjong exposing their tiles. Then the person who was next be in line says they need the tile for mahjong. Is there a time limit for calling for the tile and declaring mahjong?
    >Thanks.

    Hi, Pat!
    Your next-in-turn waited too long to make her claim. The time to make her claim was before the first claimant exposed her hand. This is from the League, stated in the 2007 and 2013 yearly newsletters. And I stated it in FAQ 19-H3. I just discovered that FAQ 19-H3 was hard to discover through search words or the index, and so just now I made some changes to fix that.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2018 6:10 PM


    No columns lately?

    >From: Nancey C
    >Sent: Monday, August 13, 2018 6:50 AM
    >Subject: Hope you're doing well
    >I enjoy your column. I've noticed you haven't posted in some time and just want to wish you well. Hope you'll be back soon.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, Nancey! Just taking it easy over the summer. Last week of vacation.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2018 4:00 PM


    Putting a taken discard atop the rack

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Monday, August 13, 2018 3:51 AM
    >Subject: Your Errata file
    >Hi Tom, I was recently involved in a discussion about when a person can change their mind on taking a discard and looked into you Errata file for the updated answer you had written there.
    >As I continued reading your book ‘The Red Dragon and East Wind’ on page 100 which the Errata file directed me to, I see what I think might be an error that should be addressed.
    >Under ‘Winning’ the book has ‘Picking up a discard, and even putting it atop her rack, does not commit her to keeping it.’
    >With the actual rule you show in the Errata file regarding taking a Discard, again page 100, this line now appears to be error.
    >TimA

    Hi, Tim!
    I definitely need to make sure that RDWW with its errata file, and the FAQs, both tell the correct up-to-date rules - so I'm glad of an opportunity to correct an error or inconsistency. You are right - I need to correct that erratum, which I believe was brought about by some confusion over a League rule in a yearly bulletin. The rulebook didn't go into fine points, like the difference between touching a called discard versus picking it up, and whether lifting the discard or placing it atop the rack crossed the line of no return. Eventually, clarity was added to the rulebook. This erratum in my book, though, has gone undiscovered until now, thanks to you!

    On the matter of a change of heart about taking a discard for a win, the book says:

      Winning - A player can withdraw a spoken mah-jongg claim only if she has not yet exposed tiles from her hand and nobody else has made a fatal error as a result of the vocal mah-jongg claim. Picking up a discard, and even putting it atop her rack, does not commit her to keeping it.

    Clearly needs correcting. As I opened the errata file to take action, I found something else I ought to edit. The errata file was saying:

      P. 100 - Top of page (Taking a discard). The actual rule, direct from the NMJL: After claiming a discard, you can change your mind provided that you have not yet put the discard atop your rack or exposed tiles from your hand as part of the claim. Do either of those things and you're committed to taking the discard. Merely lifting the discard from the table does not commit you to taking the discard (this being a different case from picking from the wall).
      But, says the NMJL, that's the hardnosed rule used in tournaments. In a home game, the player might be permitted to put the discard back, even if she's put it atop her rack, so long as she hasn't exposed tiles from the hand as part of the claim.

    The League has restated the rule, so that portion of the errata was now in error. Today I've changed it to:

      P. 100 - Top of page (Taking a discard). The actual rule, direct from the NMJL: After claiming a discard, you can change your mind provided that you have not yet put the discard atop your rack or exposed tiles from your hand as part of the claim. Do either of those things and you're committed to taking the discard. Merely lifting the discard from the table does not commit you to taking the discard (this being a different case from picking from the wall).

      P. 100 - 3rd paragraph (Winning). Should read as follows: A player can withdraw a spoken mah-jongg claim only if she has not yet exposed tiles from her hand or placed the taken discard atop her rack, and nobody else has made a fatal error pursuant to the vocal mah-jongg claim. Picking up a discard does not commit her to keeping it, as long as she has not touched it to the top of her rack.

    I'll be posting updated errata soon (look for August in the file description). Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Tim!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2018 4:00 PM


    If I misname a discard...?

    >From: Carol S
    >Sent: Monday, August 6, 2018 9:39 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If I discard a 1 Bam and call it a 1 Dot by mistake do I need to return it to my rack and replace it with the 1 Dot?
    >Thank you
    >Carol

    No, Carol. That's an all-too-common misunderstanding of the NMJL rules. Read FAQ 19-AY. It's in the "Discarding, Naming" section of FAQ 19. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 7, 2018 10:00 AM


    Can I declare myself dead?

    >From: "areier
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 7, 2018 6:39 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can I declare myself “dead”
    >during the game and if I can...can I do it prior to the “hot wall”? Do I still have to pay if I really am dead? Everything I read says only the challenger can declare you dead! Thank you!!

    Hi, areier! You asked:

    Can I declare myself “dead”
    No. Read FAQ 19-AC. It's in the "You're Dead" section of FAQ 19.

    can I do it prior to the “hot wall”?
    The official rules do not define any kind of "temperature" or any special characteristics of the last short wall in front of the dealer. Read FAQ 19-Y3. Your group is using a table rule, and I cannot help you with anything in conjunction with your group's table rules. See FAQ 14.

    Do I still have to pay if I really am dead?
    Yes. You were one of the players at the table, and your debt to the winner is not negated by a death challenge, successful or not. Read FAQ 19-CK.

    Everything I read says only the challenger can declare you dead!
    Let's define "challenger," shall we? A "challenger" is a person who issues a challenge. In other words, the "challenger" is the person who calls you dead. Only the first person (other than yourself) who calls you dead gets recognized as the "challenger." Other people can call you dead too, but they don't get or pay 25¢ if there is a dispute as to whether you are, in fact, dead or not. Read FAQ 19-AB.

    On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't get a cent from sales of that book. Just sayin'.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2018 10:00 AM


    She called herself dead, part 3

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Sunday, August 5, 2018 9:05 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Thanks for checking your spam folder as I remembered that sometimes my emails to you ended up there. I did check in the places you told me concerning playing Mah Jongg with 2 people and I also came across something you wrote a few, maybe many years ago. Not verbatim but basically if you can’t find item in NMJL Rule Book then “it” is NOT a rule.” When I mentioned playing with 2 players I was referring to the final 2 of 4 players when 2 other players were dead. They were planning to continue the game already started until one made Mah Jongg or they ran out of tiles.
    > The directions I found on the page you mentioned were for 2 players beginning a game. I remember many years ago when 2 players were left from a game, we just threw in our tiles and started over again. I am in the process of looking through my many Mah Jongg “dittos”(I was a teacher) to find the one that tells about 2 players left in a game. I did find in “RD&WW”p. 100 under Death * Too few or too many tiles –“or player is holding 15 or more tiles (14 or more between turns), once Charleston has ended and dealer has begun to play. I was holding 14 tiles because it was my turn and I had yet to discard after redeeming that joker.
    > I did find your comments on “Table Talk and Etiquette” and an essay called “MJ Going to the Dogs!” by a Mah Jongg lady. Your comments and her essay can be used as a refresher to players in my MJ groups. So glad I copied all the info I did since much of info is coming in handy now. I understand there is a new method of playing Mah Jongg with 2 players called “Siamese Mah Jongg” which a player in my Thursday bimonthly group taught some of the players. I was at a table for 4 so didn’t learn how to play.
    > Glad you found my emails and thanks for answering them so quickly. Hope the fires are not near you in CA. Always looking for jokers, Lynn P.

    Good morning, Lynn!
    Not to worry, I'm not near the fires. The fires are really getting bad! You wrote:

    I did check in the places you told me concerning playing Mah Jongg with 2 people and I also came across something you wrote a few, maybe many years ago. Not verbatim but basically if you can’t find item in NMJL Rule Book then “it” is NOT a rule.”
    Some rules trump other rules. There is an exception to every rule, including this one. I believe it's a flaw of the NMJL rules that they are not written down in sufficient detail.

    When I mentioned playing with 2 players I was referring to the final 2 of 4 players when 2 other players were dead. They were planning to continue the game already started until one made Mah Jongg or they ran out of tiles.
    > The directions I found on the page you mentioned were for 2 players beginning a game. I remember many years ago when 2 players were left from a game, we just threw in our tiles and started over again.
    In my groups and at tournaments I've attended, the game doesn't stop when 2 players go dead. For scoring purposes at tournaments, the game must be allowed to play to its conclusion. A game is solidly concluded when 3 players are dead, or when someone wins, or the wall runs out of tiles. Since rules for 2 players exist, there's no reason to assume that when 2 players have died, the game cannot continue. Just because your group in the past did something else does not mean that's the way it must go.

    I understand there is a new method of playing Mah Jongg with 2 players called “Siamese Mah Jongg”
    Yes, it was designed by Gladys Grad. She has a website promoting it and describing its rules. I have links to it somewhere, and it's easy to find with Google.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 5, 2018 9:35 AM


    She called herself dead, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, August 3, 2018 7:36 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom, per chance did my part 2
    >“She called herself dead, and a problem ensued” fall through the cracks of your emails? Thanks for checking. Lynn P.
    >Me again, Tom. Is there any place in writing in your online columns or in your book where it says 2 players can continue to play Mah Jongg game if other 2 players are dead (which I shouldn’t have been called!). I should have acted as the “challenged player” and continued playing as per your book, “The Red Dragon & The West Wind”, p. 64 #104. I couldn’t find anything saying 2 players could continue playing, etc. in book and didn’t know how to find that information online in Q&A. I like to have a hard copy of the rules, your Q&A and other info regarding Mah Jongg in a folder so others can read correct answer to any question they may have. Let me tell you that folder’s contents have come in handy many times during Mah Jongg games. “Have Mah Jongg folder, will travel to play!” Thanks again for all your guidance and help in past years. Both are certainly appreciated. Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn!
    Found this email from yesterday in my spam folder this morning (so it didn't languish in there too terribly long). Oh wait. And there's the one from Thursday, also in the spam folder. So yes, your Thursday email had indeed fallen thru the cracks. I know we've been thru this before. That's one reason why I always check the spam folder now and then.

    The answer: No - I don't expect there is anything that specifically says, in so many words, that if 2 players go dead, the remaining 2 keep on playing. There's probably nothing that says, in so many words, that when somebody goes dead, now you have to count the remaining players to make sure there are more than 2 so you can keep playing. I don't believe you'll find any mention of what to do if 2 players go dead. But there ARE rules that say what to do if 3 players go dead.
    So you have to "infer from context" (as the brainy guys on Big Bang Theory would say). If you look at page 24, you'll find rules for 2 players. You'll also see rules for 3, 4, 5, and even 6 players. You won't find rules for 1 player, or for more than 6. Based on the fact that there are no mentions of having to stop if 2 remain alive, and the additional fact that there are rules for 2 players, one can infer from context that 2 people can continue playing if 2 go dead.

    May the tiles be with you. And may your emails stop getting waylaid by my spam filters (and yes, I have written filters to try to prevent your mails from going to spam but they are overridden or something).
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 4, 2018 9:00 AM


    Check out the new video

    Dear readers,
    A new film is out, telling the tale of last year's World Riichi Championship in Las Vegas. It's at https://vimeo.com/281080150.

    May the talking heads be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 4, 2018 8:00 AM


    Flowers don't count as part of the hand??? Huh?!?

    >From: Melinda S
    >Sent: Thursday, August 2, 2018 8:39 AM
    >Subject: counting flowers...
    >Hi, Tom-
    >Just found your site and am in shock at its density and thoroughness. Quite an achievement! I'm sure my friends and I will be buried in it for months. There's one who is almost as precise as you. I sent him the link and will bring over provisions in a few days...
    >Meanwhile, I wish it had a search function in it so I wouldn't have to bother you, but I'm sure that's a whole 'nother level of programming. Maybe you can add a FAQ labelled "Flowers." I was stumped when I saw this paragraph in FAQ #20: "Speaking of flowers... Flowers don't count as part of the hand. When counting your tiles (either to see if you need to pick or to discard, or to check if your hand is dead or not), count only your exposed groupings and your concealed tiles - don't count the flowers."
    >Can you please direct me to where the rules for flowers are spelled out? I know you've got it somewhere, but haven't found it yet. We can't figure out how you don't count them as part of the hand.
    >Thanks much-
    >Melinda

    Hi, Melinda! Glad you found my site. You wrote:

    Just found your site and am in shock at its density and thoroughness. Quite an achievement! I'm sure my friends and I will be buried in it for months.
    Aw shucks. Thanks!

    I wish it had a search function in it ... but I'm sure that's a whole 'nother level of programming.
    So do I! I use Google; it always finds what I want, but then I often know what words I used (and that helps type a good search string).

    I was stumped when I saw this paragraph in FAQ #20: "Speaking of flowers... Flowers don't count as part of the hand. When counting your tiles (either to see if you need to pick or to discard, or to check if your hand is dead or not), count only your exposed groupings and your concealed tiles - don't count the flowers."
    What mah-jongg variant do you play? FAQ 20 covers only commonly-misunderstood aspects of Asian variants. Do you play one of the many Asian variants - or do you play American (NMJL) mah-jongg?

    Can you please direct me to where the rules for flowers are spelled out? I know you've got it somewhere, but haven't found it yet. We can't figure out how you don't count them as part of the hand.
    I do not define rules for every mah-jongg variant on this site. I just have answers to the most frequently asked questions here. You can find flower rules in a book that describes your variant. Books are listed in FAQ 3. And there are also websites that describe rules for many variants - see FAQ 4B. But if you tell me which variant you play, maybe I can tell you what you're trying to find out. If you don't know what your variant is, try FAQ 2B. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2018 10:00 AM


    She called herself dead, and a problem ensued

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2018 8:08 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing by rules of the NMJL, I picked from the wall, placed picked tile on my rack, redeemed a joker with a 2 bam from another player’s ( player A) display of 3 bams and a joker. After I put the joker on my rack player A declared that she only had 12 tiles and she was dead. Player B said that she was dead and then counted my tiles and said I too was dead because I had 14 tiles. I told her I had to discard a tile since I hadn’t finished my turn. Player B said that I couldn’t discard and we were both dead. Then she told the 4th player that she and #4 should continue to play to see who gets Mah Jongg first. I told them that I thought we all had to throw in our tiles since 2 players don’t play with each other. I didn’t know if I was right but still thought I should have continued my turn and discarded my 14th tile. We all threw in our tiles and played the hand again with me dealing again.
    >As I see things player A should not have stated she only had 12 tiles after I redeemed her joker and I should have just discarded the tile I had picked from the wall despite what Player B said. Player A cannot declare herself dead nor should she have told us the number of tiles she had. Can 2 players continue to play the game until one gets Mah Jongg or tiles run out?
    >I have been following your column even though I haven’t emailed you for the past couple of years and am sorry you had some medical issues. Hope you are on the mend or OK now. Thanks again for your years of Mah Jongg info and thanks for info on above situation. Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn! Nice to see you! You wrote:

    After I put the joker on my rack player A declared that she only had 12 tiles and she was dead. Player B said that she was dead
    Since player B said that, player A is indeed dead. Since I don't know if her exposure was made before or after her hand lost a tile, I don't know if her exposure should remain exposed or not. Since it's now without a joker, though, it doesn't matter much.

    Player B said that she was dead and then counted my tiles and said I too was dead because I had 14 tiles. I told her I had to discard a tile since I hadn’t finished my turn. Player B said that I couldn’t discard
    I don't understand player B's reasoning. Every player acquires a 14th tile each time it's her turn - and sometimes she can take a turn out of turn (claiming a discard). You acquired your 14th tile by picking it from the wall. You traded one of your 14 tiles with player A's exposure, leaving you with the proper 14 tiles, made perfectly legally. I don't know why she thinks you were dead, but you weren't. The fact that player A called herself dead has no bearing on the legality of your play. [Italicized portion added next morning upon re-reading.]

    I told them that I thought we all had to throw in our tiles since 2 players don’t play with each other. I didn’t know if I was right
    You weren't. Two people can indeed play one another, if 2 players went dead. It's only to finish out the wall, and one of them might win.

    As I see things player A should not have stated she only had 12 tiles after I redeemed her joker
    Yes, but she did, and once that happened, any player can count player A's tiles and confirm the death diagnosis.

    I think I covered everything. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 1, 2018 10:00 PM


    Looking for instructor of classic Chinese play

    >From: Leilani Cronin <leilanicroningmail.com>
    >Sent: Monday, July 30, 2018 9:50 AM
    >Subject: Austin, TX Classic Chinese Mahjongg Instructor Needed
    >I am looking for an instructor in the classic or traditional Chinese Mahjongg. I learned many years ago from my grandmother, and I have started a 14-person group but play a modified version and scoring version. I would like to learn the true game complete with scoring.
    >Leilani Lum Cronin,

    Hi, Leilani!
    Pardon me for interjecting myself into your Find Teachers post. I just think you need to know what I have to say about your search.
    Your first problem is that the "classic" Chinese rules are not widely played anymore. That game is scored in a way that caused a lot of upheaval in the 1920s when the game first made its way to America. In China, nobody plays that way anymore. So it's unlikely you'll find a teacher experienced in teaching the classic system in your local area.
    Second, precious few mah-jongg teachers even know genuine "classic" rules. And when you find a teacher who teaches Chinese mah-jongg, she'll only be able to teach you a different "modified version and scoring" than what you already play - or maybe it's not that far off from what you play (but it certainly won't be "classic").

    I don't know why you want the classic rules, but if you really want the classic rules, your best bet is to learn it from a book or website. Since you already play, you aren't likely to get confused by the slight differences you may find. I list books in FAQ 3 (but I can tell you now that the best book on classic rules is Millington), and websites in FAQ 4B. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    But to get back to your reason for wanting different rules. Why don't you tell me what it is you want to accomplish? If you just want "genuine," be prepared for disappointment (your skilled players and your unskilled players are going to grow to hate one another). If you want "better than what we play now," then you'll have to tell me what's wrong with the system you use now - what does "better" look like? I wrote FAQ 2A to help people choose the best variant, depending on what one wants from a rule set. If you want simple scoring, go Hong Kong style. If you want more tiles and simpler gameplay, go Taiwanese style. I really don't recommend Classical scoring.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 30, 2018


    Is this a rule?

    >From: Bookie L
    >Sent: Sunday, July 29, 2018 6:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: hi tom ... thanks for your time! myjongg.net scores an additional 10 points if you mah jongg when picking the last tile from the wall...I've never seen this while playing, and I don't see it addressed in the faq's. Is this a rule???
    >Over and out,
    >Bookie

    I read you, Bookie. Roger that.
    Winning on the last tile is seen as a very lucky circumstance, and it is awarded extra in some variants. You didn't say what variant you were playing in MyJongg's game. In my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," I describe "Last Tile Draw" as worth 8 points in the Majiang Competition Rules.
    The majority of questions I'm asked here concern the American (NMJL) rules. There's no last tile bonus in the official NMJL rules... if that's what you're asking.
    May the tiles be with you. Over.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 29, 2018 7:00 AM


    Column commentary

    >From: Pat Z
    >Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2018 1:35 PM
    >Subject: June 20 column
    >Hand #4 could need a pung of White dragons and and a kong of 3 craks.
    >Pat Z

    Hi, Pat!
    You mean the June 10 column (#706). Consec #6 is the hand you're referring to (and I mentioned it in the column). And I did list soap and 3C as hot tiles, as you say. So you are absolutely correct - and my column agreed with you! (^_^)

      4. Ones and twos: Consec? Mmmaybe (#6). But how about 2018 #1? Her hot tiles are soaps, 3C, and 8B. No keys.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 28, 2018 10:10 PM


    Must exposures be in card order, part 2

    >From: Lillian Z
    >Sent: Friday, July 27, 2018 4:13 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >thank you for you quick response to my question.
    >Lillian

    You're welcome, and thanks for the thanks! So many people never bother to let me know if the answer is received or if it helped.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 27, 2018 4:40 PM


    Must exposures be in card order?

    >From: Lillian Z
    >Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2018 2:15 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: As a beginner I was observing a table of 4 players. One of the players declared Mah Jongg and it was declared as correct, but not in the order on the card. Two of the players refused to pay because the tiles were not in the correct order. They said this was a rule that the tiles had to be in the same order as listed on the card. Is there such a rule?

    Hi, Lillian!
    You've asked Frequently Asked Question 19-Z. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    But refusal to pay is downright mean-spirited. All the winner has to do is re-arrange her exposures. Once she has done that, the non-winners have no right to withhold payment. It's a rule that they must pay. Crack open the rulebook and show them that nowhere in the rulebook does it say that a player may ever refuse payment for a legal win.


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 27, 2018 12:00 PM


    Looking to buy rack-end prong caps

    >From: "nocsinwhitesatin
    >Sent: Friday, July 27, 2018 12:01 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I am looking to buy the black brass tip covers for Mahjong Racks (picture Below), for a friend who does not know how to use a computer nor has one. I ordered a set that said it was specifically for this purpose from Amazon but they are too small, I would like to know exactly what size I need before I keep ordering from different places and having to continue to return. Do you know what size...lets say screw covers or even the correct size made for the game should be.
    >Thank You,
    >Debi G

    Hi, Debi! You wrote:

    I am looking to buy the black brass tip covers for Mahjong Racks (picture Below), for a friend who does not know how to use a computer nor has one.
    Well, then, we can't expect her to do what I recommend you do. Actually, I have a couple recommendations. But we'll come to that. You also wrote:

    I ordered a set that said it was specifically for this purpose from Amazon but they are too small
    Of course, you're going to return them and ask for a larger size?

    I would like to know exactly what size I need before I keep ordering from different places and having to continue to return. Do you know what size...lets say screw covers or even the correct size made for the game should be.
    There's no one prong diameter (there is no standard that the various manufacturers are required to use). You can just measure the prong in question and provide the diameter to the vendor.

    In the eventuality that the vendors you find don't advertise prong caps in your friend's prong size, you can contact the vendors of loose tiles (listed in the Tiles For Sale Bulletin Board and at the top of the Tiles Wanted Bulletin Board) by telephone (get their phone numbers from their websites) and inquire. Sellers of loose tiles surely have lots of spare parts of mah-jongg sets (including prong caps).

    May the prong caps be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 27, 2018 12:00 PM


    Looking for a group in West L.A.

    >From: helaine gilbert
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 7:21 AM
    >Subject: Looking for a mah jongg group
    >Zoe G████ suggested that I contact you. I am an intermediate mah jongg player, and I am looking for a group in West Los Angeles.
    >Thank you,
    >Helaine Gilbert
    >hkg87yahoo.com
    >310-963-2998

    Hi, Helaine!
    I wish Zoe would have told you about my Find Players Bulletin Board. I posted your email there so you can either (a) be contacted by players near you, or (b) find players who've posted their availability.
    I don't keep a database of local players, and I don't try to play matchmaker. Everything I have is on the BB. You can search the page by zip code or city name.
    Next time you see Zoe, please tell her about the BB. Hope you find a game!
    Oh - if you don't want your contact info on the web, I can delete the post on the BB, and I can sanitize the one on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 25, 2018 6:35 PM


    How many mah-jonggs is it possible to get, part 2

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 7:19 PM
    >Subject: Possible Reply to Donald D's question of 7/18/2018
    >The majority of the 54 hands listed on the 2018 card can be made in multiple ways. For example, the first hand under 2018 can be made with 6 unique combinations of Pungs and Kongs: a Soap Pung plus any of 2B-1C-8D or 2B-1D-8C or 2C-1B-8D or 2C-1D-8B or 2D-1B-8C or 2D-1C-8B. Another example: the first hand under Quints can be made via any of 4x3x27=324 unique combinations of Winds, Dragons, and Numbers.
    >Perhaps Donald D's question was meant to ask how many different sets of 14 tiles could yield a Mah-Jongg per the 2018 card if one counts all the various combinations possible.
    >Ignoring differences due only to the use of Jokers (ie. a Pung of Soaps is a Pung of Soaps whether it includes 0, 1, 2, or 3 Jokers), I calculate 980 different combinations of 14 tiles that would be a Mah-Jongg on the 2108 card. The number of possible combinations would be significantly larger (perhaps by a factor of 50 or more) if the use of Jokers was factored into the calculation.
    >John H

    Could be, John! I'll try to see if I can get him to come back. Thanks for doing all that math!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 24, 2018 10:35 PM


    Manufacturer TYL

    >From: Hinda G
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 6:07 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I know that “TYL” was a Mah jongg set manufacturer many moons ago; However, I Am in search of what “TYL” stands for.....
    >I have asked several mj collectors....to no avail....Please advise.
    >Thank you.
    >Hinda G ( wannabe mah jongg history buff)

    Sorry to disappoint, Hinda! My "history" focus is more on the development of the game itself. I do not know anything about any manufacturers beyond what I wrote in FAQ 7-U.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 24, 2018 10:35 PM


    Please remove my Set For Sale post

    >From: Sheila
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2018 6:29 AM
    >Subject: Set For Sale
    >Please remove my set and question about flowers.
    >I am getting low ball offers.
    >I will never sell for that price.
    >Thank you.
    >Sheila H
    >Set For Sale:
    ># of tiles:
    >Color of tiles:
    >Material the tiles are made of:
    >Description of case:
    >Accessories included:
    >Overall condition of set:
    >URL where you can see pictures:

    I understand, Sheila. It's removed from the Sets For Sale board. Next time you post something for sale online, maybe you ought to state your desired price.
    May the tiles no longer be with you... at the right price!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 24, 2018 10:35 PM


    When are "seasons" used?

    >From: Bonny K
    >Sent: Monday, July 23, 2018 4:07 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi there. I just bought a set that has tiles with the seasons. I’ve never seen that before. All the other tiles are included, so they’re not replacing anything. When are they used!
    >Thanks,
    >Bonny K

    Hi, Bonny!
    "Seasons" are the same thing as flowers. See FAQ 7E-F, the "mystery flowers" FAQ. There are lots of other "weird" flowers besides seasons.
    If your mah-jongg variant uses flowers, you just use seasons alongside the flowers. The only variant in which the difference between seasons and flowers means anything at all is Hong Kong style. If you play Hong Kong mah-jongg, see FAQ 17.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 23, 2018 11:35 PM


    iPhone app for Filipino mah-jongg

    >From: Joseph Smith
    >Sent: Monday, July 23, 2018 12:26 PM
    >Subject: Filipino mahjong app
    >Hi Mr Sloper,
    >There’s an app for iPhone called Filipino Mahjong which is Filipino mahjong rules. It’s $4.99 if I remember correctly. Thought your readers might like to know.
    >Joe S

    Great, Joe! Thanks! I'll add that info to the FAQs.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 23, 2018 11:30 PM


    I had to pass a joker - or can a joker be used in a S&P hand...?

    >From: Paula P
    >Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2018 8:37 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I played "singles and pairs: closed hand 998 99887 998877. I had most of the tiles I needed at the onset. I had to pass a joker. At the end of the game, there was a discussion about whether I could have gotten mahjongg with a joker in that hand. I think not, because in certain numerical sequences, 2018, for example, a joker can't be substituted. There was also the idea that a joker can't be one of a pair or a single tile.
    >Paula

    Hi, Paula! You wrote:

    I had most of the tiles I needed at the onset. I had to pass a joker.
    Read the Charleston rules on the back of the card: "JOKERS MAY NEVER BE PASSED." The player to whom you passed the joker didn't speak up? Both of you broke the rules – you by passing a joker, and she by accepting it.

    there was a discussion about whether I could have gotten mahjongg with a joker in that hand. ... There was also the idea that a joker can't be one of a pair or a single tile.
    Read the back of the card. Look for the word "NEVER" (in all capital letters, bold text, and underlined).

    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card every year. Sometimes, wording is changed, deleted, or added. And, besides, many frequently asked questions (such as these) are answered on the card.

    Every player owes it to the other players to understand the basic rules stated on the back of the card.

    Also read FAQ 19-BJ and column 666 to learn more about when you are required to pass 3 tiles, depending on which pass of the Charleston you're making (no matter how close to mah-jongg your hand is).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 21, 2018 11:40 PM


    If you declare yourself dead...

    >From: Carol D
    >Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2018 11:36 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: if you declare yourself dead do you have to keep playing?

    Hi, Carol!
    I guess you understand that declaring yourself dead is problematic. Maybe your group told you to keep playing? Like it says in FAQ 19-AC, you're not permitted under the rules to declare yourself dead. And the League has said so, numerous times, in yearly newsletters.
    Until and unless someone else calls you dead, then yes, you keep playing.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 19, 2018 11:56 PM


    How many mah-jonggs is it possible to get?

    >From: Donald D
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 1:10 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: on the 2018 card, how many mah jongg s is it possible to get.????

    Hi, Donald!
    I'm not quite sure what you're asking, so please forgive me if my answers don't hit the target. The hands on the 2018 card are all possible to make. None of the hands on the card is impossible. But only one person can make mah-jongg; once someone makes mah-jongg, that hand is over.
    If I have not succeeded in telling you what you're trying to find out, please rephrase your question and I'll try again.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 19, 2018 12:20 AM


    Can I peek at the tile I'm stealing?

    >From: Heather
    >Sent: Monday, July 16, 2018 4:32 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We are having a debate in our group. Is it permissible to look at a stolen tile (s) before passing it on?
    >Thanks
    >Heather

    Hi, Heather!
    You have asked Frequently Asked Question 19-AW. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Note that because English is so wonderfully flexible, the FAQs may not be worded quite the way you would word your question. You can always search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the index of FAQs and click a link to jump to your answer.

    In addition to my FAQs, the question "can I peek at the blind pass" is also answered on page 12 of the official booklet of the NMJL.


    This is the League's official handbook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!

    A lot of contentious questions can be answered quickly, easily, and harmoniously, by the simple matter of having a copy of the official rulebook handy.
    May the tiles be with you, Heather!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 16, 2018


    How old is it and where was it made?

    >From: ralitsa r
    >Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2018 1:41 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong set
    >Hello Mr Sloper,
    >My name is Ralitsa and I`m from Bulgaria. I have received an old mahjong set as a gift from my father. It caught his eye at an antique market and since he knows I love board games, he got it for me. I have never owned a mahjong set before, and I have never played either, so I was wondering how old is it and where was it made. I would be very happy to learn more about it, so I will try to describe it to the best of my ability.
    >1. - The set contains only tiles and a pair of 9 mm plastic dice. If there were any other components, they have been lost. The dice look pretty basic, so I have my doubts that they may not be the original dice. (If the tiles are made from bone, then maybe the dice would also be made of bone?)
    >2. - There isn’t a paper booklet or scoring sheet.
    >3. - The tiles are made of bone and bamboo. I can`t really tell what kind of bone it is. They look like they were used a lot.
    >4. - I don’t really think the seller knows anything about it even if I was to seek him out, since he told my father he has played on that set, but when my father asked what the dice are used for, he said he didn’t know.
    >5. - Tile dimensions are 2.6/1.8/1 cm. Thickness of bone layer is 3 mm and bamboo layer is 7 mm. Thickness of the joint is about 1,5 mm.
    >6. - The set has 144 tiles. Each suit (dots, bamboo and characters) has 4 copies of 9 numbered tiles. There are also 4 copies of the 3 dragon and 4 wind tiles. There are 4 flower tiles and 4 (I guess) season tiles. There aren’t jokers or blanks. They all have western numbers or letters on the top left corner.
    >7. - Container is a wooden box, covered in red leather. On the top it has a border, a dragon and a phoenix painted in black and gold ink. The bottom is coated black. There are metal handles, a closing mechanism and plates on all angles. The inside is covered with paper and is divided in 3 – two big spaces and one smaller in the middle. It has been used a lot - the bottom has a lot of scrapes and all corners have been damaged as well.
    >8. - The symbol on the characters suit looks like the later kind.
    >I hope I have followed the instructions correctly, let me know otherwise. I apologize if the letter turned out a bit long. I am including pictures of everything that seem important.
    >Thank you so much in advance.
    >Kind regards,
    >Ralitsa

    Здравейте, Ralitsa!
    You did a great job providing the information. What you have there is a new set that was manufactured to look old. Well, "new" in relative terms (since mah-jongg sets are known to exist that are over 100 years old), anyway - your set is younger than 20 years old. It was made in China. If I drive down to Chinatown today, I expect I will see dozens of identical sets for sale there.
    If I recall correctly, those sets do not include booklets or chips or sticks. So your set is most likely as complete as it's ever been. Booklets that come with modern sets out of China are useless anyway (they are badly written, in fractured English, and it's unclear what variant is described), so it's just as well there's no booklet.
    If you want to know how to play (and how the dice are used), you first need to decide which variant to learn. I created FAQ 2A to help you make that decision. Having settled on a variant, I have a list of books (FAQ 3) and a list of websites (FAQ 4B) you can start with.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 15, 2018


    What do you call it, part 2

    >From: Jennifer Y
    >Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2018 8:51 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you. My friend raised this question at our weekly game on Friday. I enjoy reviewing your website and just ordered your book The Red Dragon and West Wind. May the tiles be with you, also. Y

    You're welcome, and that's great you're ordering "The Red Dragon & The West Wind!" Make sure to download the errata to supplement the book.
    If you come up with a fun name for all 4 of a tile being discarded in one go-around, let us know!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Bastille Day, 2018


    What do you call it when...

    >From: Jennifer Y
    >Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2018 7:33 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: what is the term when all 4 players lay down the same tile in succession?

    Hi, Jennifer!
    I have never heard of an English-language term for that. The Japanese probably have one, but I've not learned all the Japanese terms. I don't know if the Chinese have a term for that. All I know is that the Chinese have a superstition about four players discarding West in one go-around.* Because the word for "west" sounds a lot like the word for "death," it's said that if four Wests are discarded one right after another, someone will die.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Le 14 Juillet, 2018

    * (there isn't even a term for a "go-around," which is why I made up the term "go-around"!)


    Two players called for the discard, and the mah-jongg claimant turns out to have been in error, so what about the other's claim?

    >From: Lou <bookworm
    >Sent: Saturday, July 7, 2018 4:49 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >Player one discards a tile.
    >Two players call for it.
    >One wants it for Mah Jong so she gets the tile.
    >She exposes her Mah Jong, but it is incorrect so her hand is declared dead and she is out of the game.
    >Here’s the question: Can the other player who wanted the exposed tile now get it for her hand, or has the tile gone dead, and become unavailable?
    >Lou

    Hi, Lou! It depends on what the other claimant wants the tile for. Read FAQ 19-I(3). You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 7, 2018


    Mystery tiles

    >From: James M
    >Sent: Thursday, July 5, 2018 1:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: found these tiles and was wondering if they might be part of a mahjong set. Images don’t look like it but not sure. Thanks in advance.

    Interesting, James! Sorry but I have no idea what those are. They are not mah-jongg related.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 5, 2018


    My students refuse to play for money, part 3

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2018 6:19 AM
    >Subject: playing for money pt 2
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks very much for your insight! I missed your FAQ 26 to Barbara. I had considered playing for chips but I didn't think "pretend" money would inspire the learning of defense strategy. (losing money sure did motivate me to learn years ago!) I thought some people were just not competitive enough to care about defense but I realise I need to have another strategy lesson. I mean everyone plays games to win, right? Your strategy column has been a great teaching aid. We'll see if little pieces of plastic help to motivate them. (^_^).
    >Thanks, Linda

    I don't think colorful plastic coins are a motivator. Winning is its own reward. In my career as a video game producer (a project management role), I've learned that people are not all motivated by the same things. Not everyone is motivated by dimes and quarters! Some are driven by a compulsive need to prove something to their peers. Some are simply happy to spend time with their friends. I often use the "ooh and aah" method of rewards when teaching - when a winner shows her winning tiles, everybody say "ooh!" And when there's something special about the hand (it's jokerless, or it's a difficult hand), then everybody say "ah!" And in both cases, add a little bit of applause for the winner. It's surprisingly satisfying! It makes non-winners want to get a little of that for themselves. Everything doesn't have to be about money.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    4th of July, 2018


    My students, too, refuse to play for money

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2018 2:29 PM
    >Subject:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I'd like your advice on teaching my students about defensive play. I taught a group of 8 people MJ a year ago; some have picked up the game quickly and others still struggle with strategy. I've brought up the subject of playing for money because I think it's more fun and it helps teach defensive play. A couple of people objected for various reasons while others said they were OK with it but only one (an experienced player) was enthusiastic. I let the issue drop but I see the 2 better players who could probably learn more strategy if they had to pay for losing! To keep harmony I have not mentioned it again-- one gal had moral objections to gambling and another had played with a cutthroat group who intimidated her. Any suggestions or should I just accept things as they are? I appreciate your experience in these minor dilemmas!
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    When barbara w asked this question on Friday, April 6, I not only responded to her with my advice about players who object to playing for coins, but even added that exchange to FAQ 26. In short, I say let them play without coins. There are people who enjoy gambling, and there are those who don't. People who love the Las Vegas experience, and people who detest it. There are people who are comfortable with spending a little money in the course of having fun - and there are people who worry about having enough money to get through the rest of life without having to burden their children.
    I think I'll add this, too, to FAQ 26. You also wrote:

    some have picked up the game quickly and others still struggle with strategy.
    Yes, that's the way it goes. If only the ones who picked up the game quickly were also good teachers!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 3, 2018


    She called a discard, put it atop her rack, then asked for a do-over

    >From: Lil W
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 3, 2018 5:03 AM
    >Subject: Four against me
    >I threwa 3 bam. A player Picked up the tile and put it on her rack and said Mah Jong. She quickly took it off her rack and said she called mah Jong in error. She wanted to continue playing after discarding the 3bam. I called her dead and. The other players said she was safe. The better chimed in afterwards and agreed.
    >Four against. Who is right?
    >Sent from my iPhone. Thanks Lil

    Hi, Lil!
    Well, let's take this step by step:

    I threwa 3 bam. A player Picked up the tile and put it on her rack and said Mah Jong.
    As I picture this, she put the taken discard atop her rack. No other tiles from her hand were put atop her rack.

    She quickly took it off her rack
    She's not allowed to do that. The 3B had been put atop her rack - this is not a rescindable act. See FAQ 19-AM (the "Change of Heart" FAQ).

    and said she called mah Jong in error.
    If she had only spoken and not acted, she'd be "safe," but that's not what she did! Actions speak louder than words.

    She wanted to continue playing after discarding the 3bam.
    Please forgive me, but I need to correct the terminology. She didn't "discard" it. She put it back (she was undoing her fatal move). There is no such thing as discarding a taken discard.

    I called her dead and. The other players said she was safe. ... Four against. Who is right?
    You were. Lynn McD asked the League this question in 2015 (she asked by snailmail, which is the best way to get answers from the League, as spelled out in FAQ 19-BN). You can see the response Lynn got at http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive34.htm#nmjl150302. Here it is:

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 3, 2018


    Can I call and expose with a wild tile during the goulash?

    >From: Jackie B
    >Sent: Monday, July 2, 2018 4:35 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >First of all good morning and I hope you can help me with my query.
    >When playing a goulash and someone throws down for example a 6 of circles, can I pick it up with one other 6 of circles and a wild tile (usually a 2 bamboo). Or must have I have 2 six of circles in my hand.
    >I have had conflicting advice from other players.
    >One said yes definitely.
    >The other said no, but you can if going mahjong.
    >Please help as I cannot find any rules about this in my booklets.
    >Thank you
    >Jackie

    Hi, Jackie!
    The goulash is a feature of Western/British/Australian and Wright-Patterson rules. I don't know which you play, but it doesn't matter. Wild tile rules are optional, and are not well defined in either of those rulesets. What happens, then, is that players develop their own local variations. So what you have to do is poll the players the first time you play with them and find out what local variations they use - especially all the fine points about wild tile use! Such a special tile becomes a subject of much emotional heat, necessitating universal agreement on the rules in advance. So that's the bad news. The good news is that there is a mah-jongg variant that has very well defined rules on wild tile use: American (National Mah Jongg League). Under American rules, yes - you are allowed to call and expose with a wild tile, anytime. Not that that is a guarantee of acceptance by the others in your group.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 2, 2018


    They constantly stop the Charleston

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Sunday, July 1, 2018 5:10 AM
    >Subject: Charleston Question
    >Hi Tom, One of the groups I play with has two players that are constantly stopping the Charleston after the first left. yes, I know it’s perfectly legal to do that but, being the 5th player a couple of us have noticed that in most of these cases they have perhaps 3 groups of 4 tiles for hands or not even that when they stop it. They just don’t know which tiles to keep or pass so decide to stop it.
    >One comment made the last time we played by one of these players is that she thinks she wins more games when she stops the Charleston, however others playing that day knew she stopped it 5 times and won none of those games but did win 3 others where she didn’t stop it.
    >Do you have any statistics that would indicate whether stopping the Charleston or not increases or decreases their win potential.
    >Of course I do know that there are times when you’ve got a ‘made’ hand and need to stop it as I’ve done that myself a few times but for these two players, that’s not the case.
    >Tim

    Hi, Tim! You wrote:

    being the 5th player a couple of us have noticed that in most of these cases they have perhaps 3 groups of 4 tiles for hands or not even that when they stop it. They just don’t know which tiles to keep or pass so decide to stop it.
    That's useful strategic information!

    others playing that day knew she stopped it 5 times and won none of those games but did win 3 others where she didn’t stop it.
    Again: useful information for when you play against her. This is a perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect; she thinks her strategy is great, even when it's not.

    Do you have any statistics
    See FAQ 19-ci.

    that would indicate whether stopping the Charleston or not increases or decreases their win potential.
    I can only speak from my own observations: the majority of the time, the tiles that go around in the 2nd Charleston (after the first left) usually prompt group moans about "same old stuff going around." Yes, once in a while one obtains useful tiles in the 2nd Charleston, but one really can't expect miracles. If you want to convince your party pooper of the error of her ways, collect solid data so you can derive the desired statistics yourself. You say your group has made some observations, but that data is unsupported by detailed facts, nor by a sufficiently large sample. What I'm saying is, record times and dates, and when you've collected a sufficiently large number of game outcomes, you can present your data to her. It probably won't make her like you more, but it could possibly convince her that her philosophy doesn't have a basis in the statistics you gathered.

    Just a thought. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    July 1, 2018


    I played long ago. We used to play futures all the time back then. When were futures outlawed? 

    >From: Sherry Z
    >Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2018 9:13 AM
    >Subject: When did the rule change??
    >Dear Tom,
    >I remember from when I was a young girl that we started out with 14 tiles, and threw and picked ,but couldn't rack your tile until it was your turn again.. If someone called a tile you had to pass the tile you were holding away. Now --and at least for the last 45 years or more we start with 13 tiles, East has 14 and then East throws the first leaving him/her with 13 tiles and it is pick and throw and no passing if someone calls.My friends and husband remember the 14 tiles with a throw and pick from when our parents played when we were young. --1950's
    >When did that change take place? (year??)
    >Thank you for your help.
    >Sherry Z

    Hi, Sherry!
    You've asked Frequently Asked Question #19-R. You can link to the FAQs above left. Make sure you don't stop reading until you get to FAQ 19-S (FAQ 19-R is a 2-part question, and you've asked part 2).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 28, 2018


    How does betting work, part 2 - We put quarters atop the rack

    >From: Ilene S
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 12:50 PM
    >Subject: Re: 5 players-placing a bet for a wall game
    >Hi Tom,
    >Hope this clarifies my question--We have 4 people playing for money. The fifth person rotates in & replaces East. The fifth person does not bet on anyone.
    >When there is a wall game, does the person rotating out (East, just played the wall game) or the fifth rotating in for the next game, place their $.25 on the rack??
    >I feel that the person that played the wall game (East) should put their $.25 on their rack. Yesterday, I played with a group of women that had the 5th person rotating in & replacing East, put the $.25 on the rack, even though they weren't part of the wall game. Can you help decide the proper way to handle this??
    >Ilene S

    Hi Ilene,
    Your new email confirms what I thought might be the case – you are not playing by the official way of doing things. You say your fifth player does not bet. That means you don't use the optional bettor rule outlined by the League. None of the four players at the table should be betting. I have no idea how your "put a quarter on the rack" thing works. You are using a table rule, and I have no experience with your table rule - which means I cannot help you with your question. I'm sorry, but I can only answer questions about the official way of doing things. See FAQ 14 for more about table rules – and see FAQ 19-W4 for information about how betting works per the League's rules.
    I am familiar with a "kitty" or "pishke" table rule, but I have no idea what putting a quarter atop the rack accomplishes (for the simple reason that it's not in the official rulebook, and I've never observed this practice in use, and you did not explain all its details to me). Is that a player betting that she will lose, thereby limiting possible losses? At what point in the game does a player put a quarter on the rack, and if there's a wall game, what happens?
    I'm sorry to disappoint, but I don't know your table rule.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 27, 2018


    How does betting work?

    >From: Ilene S
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 6:50 PM
    >Subject: 5 players-placing a bet for a wall game
    >Hi Tom,
    >When playing with 5 people, and there is a 'wall game', who puts the bet on the wall? The person rotating out (who just played) or the 5th who is rotating in for the next game??
    >Ilene S

    Hi, Ilene!
    I'm not sure I understand your question, but I hope FAQ 19-W4 tells you what you need to know about playing with a bettor (and how betting works). If it doesn't help you, email me with a followup question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 26, 2018


    Is she dead, or can she undo?

    >From: "sher4077
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 11:26 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: A person declares mah-jongg when it is her turn thinking that the tile played by the person before her would give her mah-jongg but then she realizes it won't and she has not picked up the tile yet is she disqualified?

    Hi, sher4077!
    The answer to your question is also the answer to a differently worded question ("can she change her mind about calling that discard"). The answer to both questions depends on whether she has placed the called tile atop her rack, or whether she has exposed any of her tiles atop her rack. You say she didn't - see FAQ 19-AM; as long as she has not done either of those things, she can change her mind about taking that tile. She can just say "never mind" and the game keeps on going.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 26, 2018


    It's NEWS to me (#11)

    >From: Jordis C
    >Sent: Monday, June 25, 2018 2:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Playing the wind-Dragon hand
    >FF DDDD NEWS DDDD (any 2 dragons), can I call for an S to expose NEWS (or does NEWS always have to be picked and not called?)

    Hi, Jordis!
    You have asked THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2018. "NEWS" is four single tiles (it is not a kong). Jokers may NEVER be used for a single tile, or for a pair. For more about NEWS, read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. And read the back of the card!
    FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers question about NMJL rules.
    There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 25, 2018


    Q about the 2018 NMJL card (FAQ 16)

    >From: Betty T
    >Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2018 1:21 PM
    >Subject: MajJongg
    >In the Quint section, the first example, do the Dragons and Quintshave to be in different suits?

    Hi, Betty!
    Questions about the NMJL card are answered in FAQ 16. If you looked there before emailing me, your question wasn't in there (but it is now!). Well, it was, but you would have had to read a related but different question. Anyway: because of the way the word "any" is used in the parenthetical ("Quint Any Wind & Any No. in Any Suit, Kong Any Dragon"), the hand can be one or two suits. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for your future reference. And check out FAQ 19, which answers the most frequently asked questions about NMJL rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 23, 2018


    How best to handle misnamed discards

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Friday, June 22, 2018 1:21 PM
    >Subject: Misnaming a tile
    >The NMJL rules state that "a tile cannot be claimed until correctly named." What is the best way to respond when a tile is misnamed--strategically speaking and harmony-wise (which may not be the same thing!)? If a player wants to call the discarded tile, she will usually correct the discarder and then call the tile. But usually no one wants to call the tile. If the discarder doesn't correct herself (which she usually doesn't), are the other players obligated to correct her? The rules don't say so, but what is most strategic and what is most harmonious? It could be to another player's advantage to leave the tile misnamed, so that if other players aren't paying attention, they may get confused, giving an advantage to the anyone who was paying attention. And if another player corrects the discarder, how should this be done? For example, a player discards a 1-Bam but names it "Flower." Another player can say, "That's a 1-bam," or "That's not a flower," or "Please correctly name your discard." What is preferable? I notice that I am often the one to correct a misnamed tile that someone else discards, and I'm getting tired! Is it okay to just let it go?
    >Thanks--
    >Lynn

    Hi, Lynn! You wrote:

    What is the best way to respond when a tile is misnamed--strategically speaking and harmony-wise (which may not be the same thing!)?
    What I always do when another player misnames a discard is correct her. I say, "that's not a crak," or "that's not a dragon," for instance. No disharmony has ever been caused by it.

    If a player wants to call the discarded tile, she will usually correct the discarder and then call the tile. But usually no one wants to call the tile. If the discarder doesn't correct herself (which she usually doesn't), are the other players obligated to correct her?
    I say every player has a duty to do her part to keep the game running according to the rules.

    The rules don't say so, but what is most strategic
    "Strategic" is a matter of opinion - it's a highly subjective area.

    and what is most harmonious?
    Great disharmony will surely erupt if a misnamed discard is a significant tile (either to one player or to all but the discarder) and it is noticed after the fact. "Harmony" doesn't mean we all wear spiritual robes while kittens and puppies play at our sandaled feet. Harmony is simply the absence of disharmony. It's most harmonious to correct any and all errors instantly. Errors that are allowed to persist have a way of compounding.

    It could be to another player's advantage to leave the tile misnamed, so that if other players aren't paying attention, they may get confused, giving an advantage to the anyone who was paying attention.
    Personally, I would take a dim view of "strategically" allowing a mistake to go uncorrected, or of employing a strategy that causes disharmony, intentionally or not.

    And if another player corrects the discarder, how should this be done? For example, a player discards a 1-Bam but names it "Flower." Another player can say, "That's a 1-bam," or "That's not a flower," or "Please correctly name your discard." What is preferable?
    The first is doing the discarder's job. Remember, it's the discarder's job to say the tile's correct name. How can that discarder ever master her job, unless she's allowed to do it? The second is prompting the discarder by pointing out the discarder's tiny error. The third is being a bit teacherly, might be perceived as bossy.

    I notice that I am often the one to correct a misnamed tile that someone else discards, and I'm getting tired!
    Hang in there, Baby!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 22, 2018


    Being observant: poor etiquette? (part 2)

    >From: Marsha C
    >Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2018 5:17 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Great, detailed answer. Thank you.

    You're welcome!


    Being observant: poor etiquette?

    >From: Marsha C
    >Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2018 1:43 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Let’s say I pass a Wind and two non-Wind tiles, placing the Wind in middle of the three. Is it poor etiquette to watch the player and see if the player puts the Wind on her rack?

    Hi, Marsha!
    Great question! It wouldn't be good etiquette to crane your neck,* but nobody can fault you for what your eyeballs focus on or pass over. If somebody sees your eyeballs watch your neighbor, then that person has a wandering eye herself! A cagey player might use her peripheral vision to observe what the neighbor does. Another cagey player might mix up the tiles after picking them up from your pass and before choosing some to keep. And yet another cagey player might assume that somebody is keeping winds if winds are rare in the Charleston. If the first pass contains no winds, the player at your left might be keeping winds. If the first across contains no winds, your across could be collecting winds. If the first left pass contains no winds, then the player at your right could be collecting them.
    *I had this fleeting image of the cartoon wolf, you know, the one from the forties and fifties, with his eyeballs flying sideways and up to see the tiles. But I decided not to mention that. Oh wait, I just did.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Summer Solstice, 2018


    Non-glare mah-jongg tiles?

    >From: Jewel U
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 9:38 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I want to buy nong are mah jongg tiles. Is there sure a thing and if so where can I purchase them?

    Hi, Jewel!
    It took me several read-throughs trying to figure out what you might be asking. Is it "non-glare" you meant to type? One of your players has an eyesight condition, and/or the light conditions where you play cause glare?
    I have not previously heard of non-glare as a thing people might look for in mah-jongg tiles, so I have no ready answer. Tiles made of bamboo and bone are not that shiny. Plastic tiles are mostly shiny, but if you look at the image in FAQ 7-C-3, you see that the plastic used in small Japanese tiles and the plastic used in some very large tiles (such as those favored by Vietnamese players) is less shiny than the plastics used in the tiles typically used by American players.

    You could try contacting the vendors listed in FAQ 4-A and asking them if they have non-glare tiles. Failing that, I suppose one could take a set of plastic tiles and then use fine sandpaper and remove the glare by hand. If you wanted to create an American set from a couple of old bone-and-bamboo sets, that wouldn't be difficult to do. FAQ 7-T describes how to make your own beautiful joker stickers.
    May the non-glare tiles be with you. And now I really hope you don't come back to me and say "no, I really want nong are tiles!" after I went through all that.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 20, 2018 6:25 PM


    I made a mistake. Did I handle it correctly afterwards?

    >From: Steve & Gerre B
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 5:16 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I erred and racked 3 dragons and a joker after calling for said dragon. Play continued. I realized that there should only be a dragon pung. I called the hand dead. my opponents traded the joker for their dragon.. Once I realized that I had erroneously racked the joker ( I only needed a dragon pung) what should I have done? Continued and kept quiet, ?
    >Thanks in advance,
    >Gerre

    Hi, Gerre!
    When you say you "racked," I assume you mean you exposed the kong atop the rack. You intended to expose a pung but you went and made a kong - and then you discarded, which sealed the mistake. (Per FAQ 19-AF.) That's a common enough mistake. But then what you did next compounded the error!
    You called your own hand dead. That's wrong in two ways. First, you're not allowed to call yourself dead and simply stop playing. You can only stop playing if someone else calls you dead. See FAQ 19-AC (click the link, or use the links above left). Secondly, you didn't have sufficient legal reason to declare a hand dead. A single exposure of a dragon kong is not grounds for calling a hand dead. A death declaration can be made only when any player at the table can see that the player cannot make a legal mah-jongg hand - it doesn't matter what is in the player's head, it only matters what tiles are showing face-up on the table. See FAQ 19-AA. So yes, you should have continued and kept quiet.
    Then an opponent redeemed your joker. If your hand had been declared dead by someone else, because you showed two exposures that cannot make a legal 2018 hand, then your erroneous exposures would have to be returned to the sloping front of the rack, as per FAQ 19-P. What I'm saying is, if you were properly dead for one or more exposures, nobody would be able to redeem a joker from the erroneous exposure(s).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 19, 2018 6:15 pm


    I know how to play American Mahjong but would like to learn Chinese Mahjong

    >From: Kim x
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 10:55 AM
    >Subject: Chinese Mahjong
    >Hi Tom
    >I know how to play America Mahjong but would like to learn Chinese Mahjong. I also would like to learn how to score Chinese Mahjong.
    >Are there any books or websites you would recommend? I also wanted to know if there are any Chinese Mahjong tournaments inside the USA?
    >I live near Buffalo, NY.
    >Kim

    Hi, Kim! You asked:

    how to score Chinese Mahjong.
    There are many regional Chinese scoring systems. You need to choose one. I created a brief questionnaire you can take, to find out which one to start with. The questionnaire is in FAQ 2A.

    Are there any books
    FAQ 3. And there's also my book; it describes Chinese Majiang Competition Rules, MCR. These rules have also been called "Chinese Official" (and other names) elsewhere on my site.

    or websites
    FAQ 4B.

    if there are any Chinese Mahjong tournaments inside the USA?
    I haven't been keeping track. People send me announcements and I post them on the Find Players bulletin board, and then I promptly forget them.

    near Buffalo, NY.
    The land of my origins! But I expect that a Chinese tournament would be more likely on the coasts, or in Las Vegas. I think your best bet is to bookmark MahjongNews as the best resource for "un-American"* mah-jongg tournaments. American-rule events are not listed there, which made me think.

    It's too bad that there's a sort of "Mah-Jongg Great Wall" between American and all the other mah-jongg variants. There are a few of us who play on both sides of the wall; I have met several. But we are a minority among players of the American variant. The play mechanics are similar, but the details and scoring are so different that players on both sides of the wall tend towards provinciality, staying with the rule set that is most prevalent among their local acquaintances or their circle of friends globally. Thing is, there are a lot fewer of "us" (players of American rules) compared to "them" (players who play other variants of mah-jongg) - we are a minority, and not many of us visit the other side. We miss out on a lot by not joining the wider mah-jongg community. So I applaud you in your goal, Kim.

    *This terminology has long been a problem for me.
    I have been chided for the unpleasant connotations of "un-American," due to that phrase's historic use and today's political environment - so forgive me if I feel compelled to elaborate on why I keep using it.
    As a writer, I need a blanket term for "mah-jongg that encompasses all variants except American/NMJL rules." You can't call it "Chinese," and you can't even call it all "Asian;" neither is accurate. But if I call it all "mah-jongg," or "normal mah-jongg," then players of American mah-jongg will think I'm talking about American mah-jongg. American mah-jongg is the oddball of the mah-jongg world, as I've said before.

    Most players in Europe, Asia, and other continents (just not North America) are aware of the existence of American mah-jongg, but many think of it as "Jewish mah-jongg," rightly or wrongly. Since this variant was created in the USA and has members in the US and Canada primarily, I think the best thing to call it is "American." But then what about Wright-Patterson rules? W-P is similar to the majority of variants (it is not similar to NMJL); it shares roots with Western/British/Australian mah-jongg (one may be a parent of the other, or they may be siblings). So W-P should not fall under the umbrella category "American," even though it originated with Americans (wives of Air Force officers, who spent time in many countries). Those on that side of the wall (the un-American* side) are often willing to try out other variants, but what little they know of American rules puts them off wanting to try it (or at least, it's hard to get four friends interested in trying it out).

    Most players of American mah-jongg become aware at some point of the existence of mah-jongg beyond American shores, and assume it's called "Chinese." But that ignores Western/British/Australian mah-jongg (which itself is a fairly significant departure from the Chinese trunk) and Japanese rules, and Filipino, and Vietnamese, and the numerous Chinese regional variants, as well as past variants not still played much. You can see the mah-jongg family tree at http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/tree.htm - note how NMJL sticks way out on the right.

    Maybe rather than a tree, I should visualize it as a planetary system. Might make it easier to see my point (that American mah-jongg differs from the rest, and there is a "Great Wall" between them). It was a lot of work to create that tree sketch! Will have to think on this planetary paradigm... But now I've digressed far too much!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 19, 2018 4:30 PM


    What is the story behind the one bird bam?

    >From: Rae T
    >Sent: Monday, June 18, 2018 1:15 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong
    >What is the story behind the one bird bam?

    Hi, Rae!
    Interesting question. I don't think there is a story, per se. The Chinese probably have legends or folklore about sparrows. If that's what you're looking for, I listed some books on Chinese lore at the bottom of FAQ 7E-F, the "Mystery Flowers" FAQ. All I can offer you is a theory as to how it came to be that there's a bird on the 1B tile...

    The suits of mah-jongg (dots, bams, craks) are actually derived from the suits of madiao cards (coins, strings of coins, and myriads of coinstrings). When Chen Yumen took the idea of those suits and had them carved on bone dominoes, the carver represented strings of coins in a way that looked like bamboo sticks. For the #1 tile, the carver had to represent a single string of coins but wanted to give it some unique treatment -- kind of the same as the way the ace of spades in a deck of Western playing cards (which are also descended from the suits of madiao cards, by the way) is drawn larger and more elaborately than the others. As I described in FAQ 11-E, an early mah-jongg set from 1873 shows a stylized string of coins for the 1B. It's not a bird. Or is it?

    Then by 1890 a set was made that shows a very birdlike string of coins for the 1B.

    That's all I can come up with as to how or why the 1B usually shows a bird. By the way, did I mention that the Chinese name for the game (when J.P. Babcock asked, around 1918-ish), 麻雀, means "sparrow." The game was named for the sound made by players shuffling the tiles between hands - from a distance, shuffled bone-and-bamboo tiles make a tinkly sound not too dissimilar from the sound made by sparrows. But I don't think that is connected with the bird on the 1B tile.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 18, 2018 6:25 PM


    The NEWS question (#10)

    >From: Rebecca D
    >Sent: Monday, June 18, 2018 12:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:can you use a joker for news

    Hi, Rebecca! Welcome to my website. Here is the ...


    Answer to THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2018: "NEWS" is four single tiles (it is not a kong). Jokers may NEVER be used for a single tile, or for a pair.

    For more about NEWS, read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers question about NMJL rules.
    There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.

    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 18, 2018 12:45 PM


    What should I sell this for, part 3

    >From: Amy M
    >Sent: Monday, June 18, 2018 7:30 AM
    >Subject: Correction to my set
    >Correction - I do have the lid to the Mingg. And the wooden divider is now in place. See new pic. Does this change the valuation?

    >From: Amy M
    >Sent: Monday, June 18, 2018 7:33 AM
    >Subject: Re: Correction to my set
    >Oops. Please disregard. I see that you mentioned seeing the Mingg lid, but that I’m missing a coffin and coffin lid. Ok.

    Right. You have the lid, and you are missing the North wind disc (you have the East, South, and West discs). The evaluation stands. $90 is the best you can hope to get for the set, since its buyer will need to do some repairs and obtain some replacement parts.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 18, 2018


    What should I sell this for, part 2

    >From: Amy M
    >Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2018 4:24 PM
    >Subject: Re: Did my pics come through?
    >Thanks Tom!


    What should I sell this for?

    >From: Amy M
    >Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2018 12:29 PM
    >Subject: Appraisal request for mahjong set
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have a 1920’s Mahjong set from my grandparents that I would like to sell on EBay, but would first like your appraisal. My grandparents were visitors to China in the early 1974 and this is something she brought back.
    >The set is Chinese Mahjong, 144 bone and bamboo tiles, 1 1/16” x 3/4” x 3/8”. There are also 4 extra blank tiles. There are 106 bone sticks. 4 wind discs and a cylindrical “Mingg”. The pair of dice appear to be modern and not bone. There is a green covered instruction booklet.
    >I would describe the set as very good with the exception of:
    >1 “1” dot, 1 “6” bam, 1 “1” flower and 1 “4” flower (4 pieces in total) have faded color so they are “good”.
    >The wooden case has a sliding front door with a dragon painted on it. The bottom says “Made in China” and there are brass decorative pieces nailed on. A portion of brass is broken off the front right top, and the bottom drawer has a brass pull that needs to be reattached.
    >I have provided pictures of everything. Please advise what you think I could sell this for.
    >Amy

    >From: Amy M
    >Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2018 12:39 PM
    >Subject: Pictures of mahjong set from Amy
    >IMG_4960.JPG
    >IMG_4961.JPG
    >IMG_4963.JPG
    >IMG_4965.JPG
    >IMG_4966.JPG
    >IMG_4968.JPG
    >IMG_4967.JPG
    >IMG_4969.JPG
    >IMG_4964.JPG
    >IMG_4971.JPG
    >IMG_4973.JPG
    >IMG_4974.JPG
    >IMG_4975.JPG
    >IMG_4962.JPG
    >IMG_4972.JPG

    I'm sorry, Amy, but the method you used to provide photos doesn't work for me. I require images be emailed directly to me - but what you sent me is links to photos on Google Drive. I don't have time to click links and download photos as part of this free service. If you can email your photos to me, then I can evaluate your set.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 17, 2018


    >From: Amy M
    >Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2018 1:51 PM
    >Subject: Re: Pictures of mahjong set from Amy

    >From: Amy M
    >Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2018 1:56 PM
    >Subject: And a few more pics from Amy

    Well, Amy,
    The booklet is of later origin than the set; it adds no value to the set. You are missing the original paper materials that came with the set. You say the tiles are VG, with some G - but I think it would be better to classify them as G but with some tiles being Fair. The tiles are missing paint, and the Haversian streaks are prominent and unattractive. You're missing the original dice and coffin and coffin lid - and one of the wind discs is missing (you have 3 discs and the mingg lid). The box has broken metal bits, and one of the dividers in the bottom drawer is loose. Is that "worn but reasonably attractive" or is it "utilitarian but not attractive," I'm not sure. I'd say the set overall is mostly Good. As such, I don't imagine many people would be happy paying over $90 for the set.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 17, 2018 3:33 PM


    Those confusing joker redemption rules!!

    >From: Star Fire
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 3:37 PM
    >Subject: RE: Mah Jongg
    >Tom -- As I understand, you cannot pick up a tile to redeem a joker even for mah jongg (1). But then I read (2). Please clarify. Is this saying that someone can call for a discard, then redeem another tile for a joker? When you pick up the discarded tile, you have to expose it (one tile only?). Then redeem another tile for a joker that gives you Mah Jongg. Is this when you expose the rest of the tiles. Or do you pick up the discarded tile, expose that grouping, redeem joker, call Mah Jongg by exposing the rest of your hand. I'm sorry, I'm finding this confusing. What am I missing?
    >Thank you!!
    >Star
    >1) A2: Once a redeemable tile has been discarded, it can only be taken for mah-jongg or to create a new set for exposure. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker.
    >2) Q: When someone calls a discard and redeems a joker and wins, which tile gave her mah-jongg?
    >A: Which domino rang the bell? The first one you pushed, or the last one that actually made the bell go ding? If only one tile can be said to have completed the hand, then it has to be the one that actually physically touched the bell -- not the one that initiated the cascade. Once you know which tile filled the last remaining place in the hand, you know who should pay double.

    Hi, Star! You wrote:

    Please clarify. Is this saying that someone can call for a discard, then redeem another tile for a joker?
    Sure. There are two ways you can put yourself in a position to redeem a joker: (a) Pick a tile from the wall so you now hold 14 tiles, or (b) Call a discard from the table (then create a complete exposure with it), so you now hold 14 tiles.

    Each time the play comes around to you, you begin your turn and voila, you are holding 14 tiles. While holding 14 tiles, you are permitted to redeem jokers. Holding 14 tiles is a prerequisite for joker redemption.

    When you pick up the discarded tile, you have to expose it (one tile only?).
    Of course not. You're allowed to call a discard only if you immediately use it to make a complete pung, kong, or quint - or a complete mah-jongg hand.

    Or do you pick up the discarded tile, expose that grouping, redeem joker, call Mah Jongg by exposing the rest of your hand.
    Yes.

    I'm sorry, I'm finding this confusing.
    I hope my explanations above have clarified this for you?

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 13, 2018 3:55 PM

    Based on this exchange, FAQ 19-BO has been re-written for greater clarity - Tom, June 15


    It's taking forever to replace my missing tile

    >From: Peter Unwin
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 11:28 AM
    >Subject: Having a hard time locating a 6 dot tile
    >Hi Tom,
    >This is Peter Unwin and you have posted a tile I would like to find. Unfortunately the tile which I would like to obtain has not been found. My question is this. Do you have any other resources that you may have? It appears this #7 tile is very hard to find one ore maybe very rare. Do you think I should have put the dimensions in metric .
    >Hoping to find this tile,
    >Sincerely
    >Peter Unwin

    Hi, Peter. You wrote:

    Unfortunately the tile which I would like to obtain has not been found.
    It's only been a week! Finding a tile in just a week would be amazingly fast in the cooler months - but this is the summer, when a lot of mah-jongg players go on vacation - things slow down a lot at this time of year.

    Do you have any other resources that you may have?
    Let's see, I'm trying to understand this idea. Here I've put a lot of work into posting a whole lot of information about mah-jongg. Yet according to this idea, I am supposedly sitting on a bunch of information that for some reason I have never put on my website?

    Why would I do that??? The whole point of this website is to share, not hoard, information about mah-jongg. No. There is no secret hoard of information that I'm sitting on.

    It appears this #7 tile is very hard to find one ore maybe very rare.
    It looks like an ordinary bone-and-bam 7D tile to me. The only challenge would be to exactly match the color of the back and the ends, and the thickness of bone versus bamboo (closely enough that a player can't easily spot it in the wall). If you are worrying about the color of the outlines on the dots, maybe you shouldn't worry that much. The tile you photographed exhibits Haversian system streaks, so it can't be that the set is such a rare collectible that it really matters so much. Ought to be easy to find a tile for your set.

    Do you think I should have put the dimensions in metric .
    Don't be silly. Anyone can easily convert inches to metric by simply asking Google. Did you contact the vendors listed at the top of the Tiles Wanted Board? Did you proactively contact Matthew Shim, Carol Harper, the NMJL? Did you look at the Tiles For Sale Board, and did you try proactively contacting the people who have posted their tiles for sale there?

    And one last idea, for what it's worth - if you can obtain one tile (any tile) that matches your tiles in color and dimensions, you could try making a sticker. See FAQ 7-T. Good luck!
    May the tile be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 13, 2018 3:40 PM


    This week's column

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2018 4:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >Column 706:
    >#9. & #10: aren't they missing the Consec #2 possibility?
    >#9 hot tiles: 4B, 5C
    >#10 hot tiles: 6C, 8D
    >Bee

    Totally, Bee! I did miss that.

    Right, since the pung and kong are two numbers apart, there is just one way Consec #2 can be made from these.

    Since the pung and kong have just one number between them and neither is a terminal (a one or nine), there are two ways Consec #2 can be made from these. Not only 7C and 8D but also 4C and 6D are hot.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 11, 2018


    Column #706 is up (Defense)

    Dear readers,
    Column #706 is now online. The topic: defense. An opponent is showing two exposures - what would you do in each case? Email me if you have comments, and we'll discuss here on this board.
    On a different note: I've been taking it easy the past few weeks, but a busy time is ahead. E3 is this week (the annual video game trade show). Next week is the start of a monthlong class I'm teaching, about video game design. You don't need to know that, so if you don't want to know it, don't read the foregoing! (^_^)
    Happy reading!
    Tom Sloper, June 10


    They have a bizarre rule about discards

    >From: Sue A
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 12:22 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I am playing at a table with a strange table rule. When you discard, you don’t just discard. You must toss it or slide it to a designated area. This way, it is not in the way when a wall is pushed out. It is hard for me to break an old habit of discarding and I also feel that the person with the pool of tiles in front of them has an advantage over the other players. I am about ready to find another table to play at? Do I need to learn to do it their way or move on.
    >Sun City Sue

    Hi, Sue! How do you do! You wrote:

    Do I need to learn to do it their way or move on.
    Of course. You don't stomp into Rome and tell the Romans to change how they do things. See FAQ 14.

    It is hard for me to break an old habit of discarding
    I suppose it is hard to change habits that have held unchanged for years. As for me, I don't have a problem with it. In Japanese and now in Chinese Official mah-jongg, players place their discards in neat orderly rows in front of them. I'm used to that practice. And when I play American mah-jongg, I note that most players tend to discard into the same area - but I'm a rebel, I sometimes discard into the area on the opposite side of the live wall. I also physically move the tiles when a wall is about to be served, so that the wall not touch any discards.

    I also feel that the person with the pool of tiles in front of them has an advantage over the other players.
    Really. I suppose this is based on it being easier to scan a haphazard mess of tiles if they are 10-20 inches closer. As for myself, I spent years playing tile-matching games on small screens, so I don't see a particular advantage in a few inches. But the pile o' tiles moves around all the time - it's not always in front of the same player, or is it? Does your group always discard before one player? Maybe she needs the help more than the others. I would expect that the pile would spend time on each side of the table over the course of a play session. If not, discuss with them, express your view, hear theirs. Do as the Romans.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 6, 2018 2:05 PM


    She says it's not OK to mark the wall's tail

    >From: lucypink
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 4:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it OK to put a tail at the end of the wall? We have 1 player who keeps removing the tail that the rest of us make. She says we should know the properation end to pick from. A few older people get confused and we just want to help them

    Hi, lucypink! Yes, it's OK - but you have someone in your group who deplores and despises what she believes to be bad beginner habits. I've played in China, Japan, India, Denmark, and the Netherlands - I've seen mah-jongg beyond the NMJL card. And all over the world, even in the land of mah-jongg's birth, it is not uncommon to mark the tail end of the wall differently from the front, so as to prevent not beginner mistakes but absent-minded picking errors. It's not at all unusual for a player to reach for the wrong end while preoccupied by the problem one's tiles present at the moment. It's too bad you have someone who doesn't see things that way. She thinks she's helping you level up your game, but she's making the game less friendly. That doesn't mean you are going to be able to convince her. Only thing I can suggest is calling a vote.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 5, 2018 4:35 PM


    How old, where made... and made of what?

    >From: Allan S
    >Sent: Monday, June 4, 2018 2:11 PM
    >Subject: Questions about Mah Jong tiles
    >Tom,
    >Thank you very much.
    >Susan S


    >From: Allan S
    >Sent: Monday, June 4, 2018 2:42 PM
    >Subject: I forgot one other question.....
    >Would you have any idea what the tiles are made of? I figure Bamboo and ?
    >Thanks again.
    >Susan

    Cowbone, Susan. See Frequently Asked Question #7c. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 4, 2018


    How old, where made?

    >From: Allan S
    >Sent: Sunday, June 3, 2018 10:50 AM
    >Subject: Questions about Mah Jong tiles
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am attaching some photos, of a recent Mah Jong set, I purchased at auction. The case is very damaged and the tiles need to be cleaned but, really, all I would like to know is an idea of the age of this set and where it would have been made. I have sold Mahjong sets, online and plan to do so and usually, prefer to let the buyer clean them, their way. Here are a few photos. I apologize if I have not followed instructions on how to send you the photos.
    >If you prefer me to do this a different way, please let me know.
    >Thank you,
    >Sincerely,
    >Susan S

    Hi, Susan!
    You sent photos in exactly the right way, as email attachments. Thanks.
    Your set was made in China. Probably in the twenties, possibly the thirties.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 3, 2018


    Do we still pay for a concealed kong?

    >From: Alfred
    >Sent: Sunday, June 3, 2018 5:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What happens when you have a concealed four of a kind ( in our game we replace the fourth tile by taking one tile from the flower end) and ran out of tiles, do we still pay for the concealed tiles ?

    Hi, Alfred!
    I'm afraid I'm going to need more information - I mean a clearer question. You play an Asian variant (which includes British/Australian, and Wright-Patterson rules) - not American mah-jongg. But a couple parts of your question are unclear to me, so I don't know what to answer.

    when you have a concealed four of a kind
    Is it melded, or is it still standing among the tiles of your hand?

    and ran out of tiles
    Do you mean the entire wall has now been depleted? Or do you mean the Flower Wall has been depleted? Are you saying a player has melded a concealed kong but there are no more replacement tiles available?

    do we still pay for the concealed tiles ?
    What scoring system do you use that requires a non-winning player to give points/chips to an opponent based on what tiles the non-winning player is holding? Or are you saying the winner is the one with the concealed kong? Tell me what variant you play, so I can look it up in a book (or even better, tell me what book you use as your bible)?

    Sorry for answering your question with more questions. Just trying to get focus on the target I'm being asked to shoot at.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 3, 2018


    Helpful site thanks

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2018 12:21 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Newsquarepa (suallan
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Newsquarepa (suallan). You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Newsquarepa
    >Message: Thank you for your helpful site.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, suallan!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 2, 2018 1:25 PM


    Is an all-jokers set legal?

    >From: "sanfru
    >Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2018 11:49 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If you need 4 9 bams (or whatever) to get maj and you can see that your opponent has them out on his rack, can you use 4 jokers instead?

    Hi, sanfru! That's Frequently Asked Question ("FAQ") #19-L. You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 2, 2018 1:30 PM


    Strategy Qs

    >From: "dmillersmall
    >Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2018 10:20 AM
    >Subject: Questions
    >Hi Tom,
    >Whenever I get into a quandary during play, I ask myself what would Tom do?
    >To exchange or not to exchange?
    >A player puts up a Joker and two flowers. It’s my turn and I have the two flowers I need for my hand, but am not set to call Maj Jongg and the Joker exchange would put me in position to call for my last needed kong. Do I exchange the flower, leaving me needing one more for the pair and the possibility that no one will throw another flower,especially knowing that the player who exposed the pung probably needs another pung? Defensively do I leave the Joker up to give my opponents the opportunity to exchange ? This happened to be near the end of the game with about a little less than a wall to go. I did do the exchange and never got another flower - -think I might have even picked in more Jokers!
    >If it was early on, I think the strategy might be looked at differently as there is more likelihood of picking another flower or someone throwing it as well. Also the consideration of not leaving a Joker up for someone to make Mah Jongg with at the later stage of a game.
    >To Throw or not?
    >A player throws out jokers twice, and I think ah she is probably going for a Singles and Pairs hand or needs a pair of flowers. A flower is thrown and it’s not her Mah Jongg. I pull in a South and think this could be it. I get set for Mah Jongg and decide to throw the South and it gives her Mah Jongg for hand number one in Singles and Pairs. What say you?
    >Thanks,
    >Donna

    Good morning, Donna! You wrote:

    I have the two flowers I need for my hand, but am not set to call Maj Jongg and the Joker exchange would put me in position to call for my last needed kong.
    Given that information only, I would redeem the joker, putting me one-away from mah-jongg. Or have I jumped to a wrong conclusion (does "my last needed kong" complete the hand, or does it just leave me waiting to replace the flower I exchanged?). If the joker redemption moves me towards mah-jongg, I'd go for it.

    Do I exchange the flower, leaving me needing one more for the pair and the possibility that no one will throw another flower,especially knowing that the player who exposed the pung probably needs another pung?
    The idea of redeeming a flower, when I'm making a hand that requires a flower pair, and I have that pair, so I would be breaking up my pair - that idea would never occur to me. I would absolutely not break up my pair. Flowers are tricky - most players hoard flowers at the beginning, and experienced players know it can be dangerous to throw flowers when the wall is short. If I could see a reasonable amount of flowers on the table, I would calculate my odds of picking one to be small. In this case, your "quandary" is that if you don't redeem a joker, someone else is bound to. Is that the problem? You don't want to permit another player to get those jokers? I wouldn't spend a lot of effort in that direction, if any. You need to prioritize moves that get you closer to mah-jongg yourself (offense), unless you perceive a threat from an opponent (defense).

    There I go again - I didn't bother to read your entire email, just jumped in and started replying point by point. I see now that you were indeed thinking about defense more than offense. I'm going to read the entire email before writing myself into a corner... Okay, I answered the first question.

    A player throws out jokers twice, and I think ah she is probably going for a Singles and Pairs hand or needs a pair of flowers. A flower is thrown and it’s not her Mah Jongg. I pull in a South and think this could be it. I get set for Mah Jongg and decide to throw the South and it gives her Mah Jongg for hand number one in Singles and Pairs. What say you?
    You "pull in a South and think this could be it," but you still discard it? Again - I don't know what else was going on (how far into the wall you were, how many wind tiles were out...), so all I can say is if you think she's doing S&P, the top hand is always suspect. If the game hasn't been a "wind fest" (with everybody discarding winds), and I suspected S&P, I'd suspect S&P #1 first (it's at the top for a reason).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 31, 2018 11:00 AM


    The NEWS question (#9)

    >From: geri s
    >Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2018 4:50 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Good morning-Can you call a tile to complete the suit “news”? and then place it on the rack. Thank you geraldine s. geri1942

    Hi, Geraldine! Welcome to my website! Here is the...


    Answer to THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2018: "NEWS" is four single tiles (it is not a kong). Jokers may NEVER be used for a single tile, or for a pair.

    For more about NEWS, read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers question about NMJL rules.
    There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.

    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 31, 2018 7:00 AM


    Using Singapore animal flowers - part 2

    >From: Wouter t
    >Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2018 4:47 AM
    >Subject: RE: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi,
    >Thanks for that. I guess I was trying to be clear about the situation and of course just asked for clarification rather than a question. So, can I ask it now?
    >Is there a limit on the time (or rounds, that is when each person has one turn in one ‘round’) you have to claim the inferior animal of a pair? If so, what is the limit, if not, do we assume it is any time until a player calls ‘Mah Jong’?
    >Many thanks,
    >Pamela

    Good morning, Pamela!
    Okay, now I see the contradictory information you're asking about:

    Our teacher told us initially that we had one round to ask for the other piece ... Now we are told that the less dominant animal can be taken at any time during the game, providing it is before a declaration of Mah Jong.  ... Is there a limit on the time[?]
    So, you have to choose, it seems, between two conflicting directives. On the one hand, what your teacher told you. Versus, on the other hand, what you are now told by some unnamed party (the wording you used does not exclude the possibility that it was your teacher, restating or changing the rule). I don't know what your second source is, so I don't know which you should rely on. Have you asked your two sources to help you reconcile these opposing rules?

    I don't have as much experience playing with animal flowers as you have. Since there is only one book that describes Singapore rules (and I don't own a copy), and only one website (where it says very little about animal tiles), you can go with either what your teacher tells you, or what the second source tells you, as decided between you and your fellow players, based on what you believe makes for a better game. (See FAQ 14.)

    In checking out SingaporeMahjong.com, I noticed that it said that a player holding an animal tile "must put that tile up to show the rest of the players."  That contradicts what I said yesterday (when I implied that it's okay to hold a concealed flower or animal in the hand). It's very possible that SingaporeMahjong.com is stating the rule correctly; perhaps it's not kosher - that is to say, perhaps it's an "unclean" practice - to keep a concealed animal in the hand (then that raises the question if it's also illegal to keep a concealed non-animal flower in the hand).

    Have you tried the possible variations on the rule? (In my profession, game design, we call this "play balance testing.") Have you observed quarrelsome episodes that could have been solved by a different variation on the rule?

    Game design analysis (from the point of view of a game designer) offers some possible ways of looking at your question:
    1. The "one go-around" time limit to capture an animal suggests that the player is indeed required to expose/meld animals/flowers at the moment received from the wall. This rule combination offers brief moments of heightened suspense and excitement whenever a player exposes an animal.
    2. On the other hand, the absence of any "one go-around" time limit (no time limit on capturing exposed animals) could suggest that when SingaporeMahjong.com says a player holding an animal tile "must" put that tile up, it's simply an unfortunate choice of words. This rule combination (no time limit, players may keep animals concealed) offers opportunities for high-level strategy and hidden tensions.

    I propose that you and your group conduct a series of experiments: for the duration of a day's play session, try it with the one go-around time limit (and players are required to expose animals when obtained). Then the next time, try it without any time limit (permitting players to hold animals concealed in the hand). You could also try it the other ways: go-around time limit, players permitted to hold animals concealed - and no time limit, players required to expose animals instantly. At least one whole play session may be needed for each rule combination, to determine what is most satisfactory to the group.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 2, 2018 8:00 AM


    All hail the Wayback Machine

    >From: tooelemountains
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 10:43 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hello again.
    >I wanted to mention the wayback machine website will often get someone to old links that no longer work.
    >For instance, I was able to always read Jim May's museum even when it was offline (but it's online just fine now and in a snappier format for 2018).
    >http://www.mahjongmuseum.com/
    >Another link example: FAQ 4 http://www.garethjmsaunders.co.uk/mj.htm (downloadable print-it-yourself mah-jongg kards by Gareth Saunders).
    >Link is no longer valid, site is gone, but the wayback machine will allow going there and even downloading the .pdf file from which you can print Mahjong Kards. (From a 2006 archived version of the Saunders site).
    >(Wayback Machine also has an advanced search page that pops up when you click the SEARCH box up at the top. With a zillion options and it's good for searching for any sites they have stored on a given subject, instead of a specific website).
    >Wayback Machine:
    >https://archive.org/web/web.php
    >Robert & Linda K.


    Great info, Robert!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 30, 2018 11:11 PM


    Can I call a discarded redeemable tile, to redeem a joker? (part 2)

    >From: Kathy F
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 5:12 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Do this link says pGe cannot be displayed.
    >Can you answer the question?
    >Thanks
    >Sent from my iPhone

    Your question confused me at first, Kathy. I don't know what "pGe" stands for. I thought you were sending me a link as a followup, but then I realized that "this link" might mean the link in the email I sent you, notifying you that your answer has been posted on my website. Or you might mean the link in the answer. Not sure which link you find suspicious, but they both work, and you will find your answer by following them. I've observed that some visitors to my site don't like my "teach a man to fish" approach. I don't usually do this, because it sets a bad precedent, but here is the answer to your question:
    No. A discarded redeemable tile may not be called for the purpose of joker redemption. See the NMJL rulebook (2018 edition), rule 5 on page 20. Or click this link.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 30, 2018

    P.S., June 1 - I'm a morning person. Re-reading this exchange in the light of morning, I figured it out: Kathy got a "page could not be displayed" error message. There was a typo in the link to FAQ 19-G. It's fixed now. - Tom


    Can I call a discarded redeemable tile, to redeem a joker?

    >From: Kathy F
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 2:29 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player has exposed 4 of a kind and one is a joker (3 —-5 cracks and one joker)
    >The next player discards a 5 crack accidentally....
    >Can the person with the 3 5 cracks pick it up and then use the joker to get Mahjong?
    >Best Wishes ??
    >Kathy

    Hello, Kathy!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). Answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions are here on this website. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-G2. You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 30, 2018 4:20 PM


    Using Singapore animal flowers

    >From: Wouter t
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 10:14 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello, I hope you can help answer the following questions:
    >1) With the animals, if a rooster or cat is played, then the corresponding centipede or mouse is ‘safe’ to play without being taken. However, if the centipede or mouse are played first, then the rooster or cat can ‘take’ their corresponding prey. Our teacher told us initially that we had one round to ask for the other piece (eg if we play the rooster we can ask for the centipede) but after that the piece is forfeit and remains with the original player.
    >Now we are told that the less dominant animal can be taken at any time during the game, providing it is before a declaration of Mah Jong. Can you please clarify this situation for us.
    >2) If you have not had the opportunity to play an animal before someone declares Mah Jong, how is the animal counted? We have been not counting it at all. But some people have said it makes your hand unclean.
    >Can you please clarify what should be done with animals which have not been played?
    >Many thanks,
    >Pamela t

    Hi, Pamela! You asked:

    Our teacher told us initially that we had one round to ask for the other piece (eg if we play the rooster we can ask for the centipede) but after that the piece is forfeit and remains with the original player.
    You didn't ask a question, but I have to define a term. A "round" is the movement of the deal around the table over the course of playing several hands. I assume your teacher meant to say that the time limit for requesting the catchable animal is one series of individual turns around the table from the time of obtaining the catcher animal. There is no established term for "each player takes a turn in order around the table" so I made up my own term; it may still be in use in mah-jongg circles in Europe. I call that a "go-around." It sounds quicker than "round." A better term is needed, maybe "turn-around" - no, sounds like a reversal such as in the game Uno. But I digress.

    If you have not had the opportunity to play an animal before someone declares Mah Jong, how is the animal counted? We have been not counting it at all.
    Depends on the scoring you use. If only the winner is paid, and non-winners get nothing at all no matter what, then there's nothing to worry about. But if the non-winners can score points for anything, then you have to abide by your scoring system. Animal flowers are just flowers, if they have no numbers on them. (If they have numbers on them, then they have seat associations, used in some scoring systems.)

    But some people have said it makes your hand unclean.
    I can't tell from that wording if that makes it a scoring issue or not. If it's a scoring issue, refer to your usual scoring system. If it just has to do with superstition or cultural backdrop, then you should dig further with those people who say it's "unclean," to promote better cross-culture understanding and harmony. He could just be saying the hand is "impure," incapable of winning, if a flower is in among the tiles of the hand. But presumably you already knew that the hand is unwinnable if the flower isn't melded. Sometimes "cleanliness" and "purity" are used as scoring terms - a hand scores higher if it's one suit, or has zero flowers, in some systems.

    Can you please clarify what should be done with animals which have not been played?
    It depends on your scoring system. If there is no points penalty for holding an unmelded flower, then hold onto catchable animals. If there is a points penalty, then compare that penalty to the consequences of giving an animal to an opponent. After comparing the consequences of both options, choose one. The choice might possibly be situation-dependent (maybe getting rid of the animal pushes you towards mah-jongg - or maybe your potential loss to the winner would be greater if you toss him the animal).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 30, 2018 11:30 AM


    1918 Rulebook in German

    >From: Marcellinus
    >Sent: Monday, May 28, 2018 9:01 AM
    >Subject: mah jongg history
    >Hello Tom Sloper,
    >i found your webpage. The webpage is very good!
    >I read the page about the history of mah jong (http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11d.htm).
    >I owned a german mah jongg rule book which is dated 1918.
    >- rules book in german from 1918 (dated on the cover), this is the earlist german rules book I owned:
    >Ma Tsüo Pai - chinesisches Pokerspiel --> Ma Tsüo Pai - chinese poker game
    >Do you know this rule book?
    >Many regards from germany
    >Marcellinus P


    Nach chinesischen Quellen bearbeitet von E. Schönwald und H. Dietrich. Mit 12 bildern.
    After Chinese sources edited by E. Schoenwald and H. Dietrich. With 12 pictures.

    Hi, Marcellinus!
    No, I don't have that book in my collection. It's interesting that it describes the rules before J.P. Babcock wrote his. I'll add the book to the FAQ 11D timeline. It sure would be nice to know what the book says - but surely it doesn't differ greatly from the books of the twenties. It's from Shanghai, not Hong Kong, so it would not be likely to support Cofa Tsui's contentions that HKOS predated Chinese Classical (as per http://sloperama.com/cctheory/cctheory.htm).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 28,, 2018 9:15 AM


    NMJL rack ID coin chips, part 2

    >From: Jamie T
    >Sent: Friday, May 25, 2018 4:30 PM
    >Subject: Fwd: Question regarding the history of national mah jongg league rack identification disk from Tamara C
    >image1.jpeg
    >Hi Tom and Tamara, this is the disk in question. Jamie
    >Joy-full day to you!!
    >
    >Begin forwarded message:
    >
    >From: Tamara
    >Date: May 24, 2018 at 8:37:03 PM PDT
    >To: Jamiejoy
    >Subject: Fwd: Question regarding the history of national mah jongg league rack identification disk from Tamara C
    >Reply-To: Tamara
    >Maybe he can answer the question for us. He certainly is an expert in his field! ;)

    Hi Jamie and Tamara,
    I already Googled and found a photo of one of these when I answered the question, below. This new photo doesn't change or add to what I wrote on Thursday. If you have a follow-up question or new information to add, you know where to reach me.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Saturday, May 26, 2018 6:45 AM


    NMJL rack ID coin chips

    >From: Tamara
    >Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:36 PM
    >Subject: Question regarding the history of national mah jongg league rack identification disk from Tamara C
    >Hi Tom,
    >I wonder if you have any ideas regarding the history of national mah jongg league rack identification disk.
    >I've always been curious as to why they were made, where they were manufactured, and specifically when
    >they came about and why.
    >Thanks in advance,
    >Kindest regards,
    >Tamara

    Hi, Tamara!
    I wish you'd sent a picture with your question. I thought I had a picture of one of those on my site, but I couldn't find anything. I Googled, and found this photo on worthpoint:

    I have "ideas" (as you asked), but I don't have many facts about those. You called it a disk, but see that hole in the center - it's the same form factor as coin chips. They fit over the prongs on the left end of racks.

    You were wondering three things:

    why they were made
    Because people had a problem when they used the coin chips for scorekeeping (rather than crudely handing cash to one another after someone won a hand), in five-player games.

    Today, because everyone crudely hands legal tender to one another, it's easy to swap bettors out of the table (when she's going to be the bettor, she just takes her purse with her). But when people were using coin chips, if you stood up from the table, you had to take your rack with you. You don't want somebody else losing coins on your behalf!

    Many sets in those days were made with five racks, of different colors. It's easy to know whose rack is which if they're all differently colored, but it wasn't unusual to have similar-looking racks on the table, necessitating a way of identifying whose rack is whose. Put your initials on the ID coin, and slip it onto a prong, and problem solved.

    where they were manufactured
    America, surely. Perhaps New York or New England. I really don't know.

    when they came about
    Back when people were using chips instead of hard cash. Maybe the League has records of past newsletters or advertising materials, or even manufacturing contracts. You could always ask them -- you should use snailmail, not the phone (nobody is going to welcome a request to go digging through dusty old files while a caller waits on hold).

    You didn't say why you asked, but I assume it's because you have one, and want information about your collectible - or because someone is offering one and you are considering buying it. [Or maybe you're a museum curator, or you're writing a book on the tchotchkes of mah-jongg.] If you tell the League the reason when you ask them your question, that could help obtain the information you seek.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 25, 2018 8:00 AM


    Get well wishes

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2018 5:38 AM
    >Subject: get well wishes
    >Hi Tom,
    >I hope you recover quickly from your recent surgery. Thanks for all your great services to the MJ community!
    >Best wishes, Linda

    Thank you, Linda. My recuperation is progressing normally.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    May 25, 2018 7:30 AM


    Am I allowed to redeem a joker? Am I allowed to win with a newly redeemed joker?

    >From: Sandra P
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 8:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player has a joker exposed on his rack in a pung or a kong, and I pick the corresponding tile on my turn, may I take the joker and replace it with the corresponding tile. May I then use the joker I received from that player to declare Mah jong.
    >Thank you
    >Sandy P

    Hi, Sandy! You asked:

    may I take the joker and replace it with the corresponding tile.
    Of course. For more details on joker redemption, see FAQ 19-M. You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19.

    May I then use the joker I received from that player to declare Mah jong.
    Of course. American mah-jongg does not have a rule that requires a player to discard a tile when she's holding a legal mah-jongg hand.* By the way: winning on joker redemption qualifies as self-picked mah-jongg, meaning all the players pay you double.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 23, 2018

    * P.S. During the Charleston, there may be some times when the player must pass three to her neighbor, as outlined in column 666. But passing in the Charleston is not the same thing as discarding a tile. - Tom


    Column 705, part 2

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Monday, May 21, 2018 6:05 AM
    >Subject: Re: Question regarding 5/20/18
    >Thanks Tom, of course I meant pair of 2B's.
    >Kathryn

    Of course. That happens to me all the time!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Column 705

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2018 4:49 PM
    >Subject: Question regarding 5/20/18
    >Tom,
    >I was wondering about # 7. I would save 1C for the possibility of the addition hand. There are 6 tiles toward that hand. I would pass 3B or 9B, 1D and maybe R (even though I don't like to pass dragons). Or maybe breakup the pair of 2D's.
    >Thank you for your attention,
    >Kathryn Z

    Twelves! I totally missed that set of friends, Kathryn. Very nice! I probably wouldn't break up the pair of 2B's (of course, that's what you meant to say). Your passers are a good choice.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 20, 2018 6:30 PM


    Column #705 is up (Charleston)

    Dear readers,
    Column #705 is now online. I'm recuperating from surgery, so please forgive any lapses (blame it on the meds, haha).
    Happy reading!
    Tom Sloper, May 20


    She won with a tile replacement, part 2

    >From: Mimi P
    >Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2018 10:56 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you!


    Is note-taking kosher?

    >From: stel
    >Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2018 5:02 PM
    >Subject: America MJ
    >Hello Tom.
    >Is it acceptable to take “notes” during play to keep track of which tiles have been discarded to facilitate hand selection?
    >Thank you
    >Stella

    I'm the wrong person to ask, Stella - I don't sit at your table! It's "acceptable" if your group accepts it.
    FWIW, I have taken notes, in my regular game and also at tournaments. I did it for a different reason than yours. I did it because I write a column about strategy. I did it quickly and only in between my turns, so as not to slow down the game one whit. Nobody ever said to me that they objected to my taking notes. If they had, I would have stopped.
    But your reason for note-taking raises a question: why can't you just look at the discard floor to see what tiles have been discarded? It requires no special equipment, and doesn't raise the possibility of raised eyebrows. If you are vision-impaired and can't see as far as the discard floor, surely your other players will take pity and permit your note-taking... as long as it doesn't impede gameplay.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 19, 2018 5:15 PM


    She won with a kong replacement tile (MCR)

    From: Mimi P
    Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2018 12:57 PM
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Question about COM #46: Out with Replacement Tile
    Last night one of us picked the discarded tile for a Kong. When she picked the replacement tile she had Mah Jong.
    We did not give her the point for self-draw, but 1 of us contends that she also doesn't get +8 added to her score and the x3. The reason he says this is
    that your book says it may not be combines with self-drawn. He said that even if she self-picked the kong tile that led to #46, she doesn't get the point or the +8, x3/
    The rest of us agreed that the comment "May not combine with Self-Drawn" refers only adding the self-drawn point.
    Please clarify. The argument became quite heated.
    I looked thru your website and didn't see this addressed. I apologize if I overlooked something.
    Thank you, Mimi P

    Hi, Mimi!
    I gather you're playing MCR (Majiang Competition Rules), and you have my book. You wrote:

    We did not give her the point for self-draw, ... your book says it may not be combines with self-drawn.
    Quite right. She can have either the 8 points for fan #46, or the 1 point for self-pick (fan #80). See FAQ 22, CMCR 10.1.5.1. (it's rule 64.a. on page 139 of my book). Of course, no fool in her right mind would choose the 1 point instead of the 8 points!

    but 1 of us contends that she also doesn't get +8 added to her score
    What? Eight "extra points" must be added, per rule 67 on page 140 (and per FAQ 22). Winning gets you an automatic 8 points added. That's the winner's due.

    and the x3.
    "The x3" confused me - there's no multiplication in MCR scoring. But I suppose you are referring to the fact that each player pays the winner when won by self-pick. See the rules: each player must pay the winner when she wins by self-pick. Fan 46 says self-pick is "implied" when winning on a kong replacement tile - that means she won by self-pick. And that means all players must pay her 16 points (plus any other allowable fan, if any).

    It's a shame that misunderstandings of the rules can become heated. Harmonious play is my profoundest wish. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 19, 2018 2:20 PM


    Who gets the discard, part 2

    >From: Marilyn S
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 1:22 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jongg Question
    >Thank you. That's how it went down, but I wanted to be sure.

    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 16, 2018 1:30 PM


    Who gets the discard?

    >From: Marilyn S
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 12:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Hi Tom:
    >Hope all is well.
    >We are stuck on a question. There were two players who called Maj at the same time on a discard. I actually called it first, grabbed the tile and exposed my hand immediately. The player opposite me was one second behind me. The winning discard was from the player to my left. I know that there is an aggressive rule if two players call the same tile for an exposure. The faster one wins. And if ONE player calls a discard for Maj and the other just for an exposure (Maj takes the tile). But I don't know what the rule is for two Maj callers at the same time.
    >Does the player whose turn it is next, take the tile, or is it who is fastest?
    >Thanks
    >Marilyn

    Hi, Marilyn!
    You wrote:

    There were two players who called Maj at the same time on a discard. ... The winning discard was from the player to my left.
    Then it's yours. The only way the other player could take it instead is if she exposed her tiles before you did. See FAQ 19-H. And see page 53 in my book.

    I know that there is an aggressive rule if two players call the same tile for an exposure. The faster one wins.
    No. Not the faster speaker - the faster exposer. But "slam exposing" is not nice; the 2018 rulebook says it's "preferable" to take the claimed discard onto the top of the rack, before exposing from the sloping front of the rack.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 16, 2018 12:40 PM


    The NEWS question (#8)

    >From: Judith S
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 8:45 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:If I have the NEW tiles in my hand, can I call the S tile when it is discarded to complete that combination for an exposed hand (2018 card) ?

    Hi, Judith!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). Answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions are here on this website. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers question about NMJL rules. There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 15, 2018 9:11 PM


    She never shuffles the tiles, part 2

    >From: kareng1
    >Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 1:04 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >She thinks its a waste if time.

    Well, it's good to know her reasoning, I guess!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 14, 2018 10:00 PM


    She never shuffles the tiles

    >From: kareng1
    >Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 10:11 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What fo you do with a player who never mixes up the tiles. She talks while we mix. She just says "pick from all over'

    Hi, kareng!
    I assume she helps build walls, at least. Has the group taken a vote on tile-mixing? Or is it just you who objects? You could always play hardball: "ladies, let's take a vote right now on whether or not we should keep her in our game." Of course, you should call for that vote in her presence, at the moment when she's refusing to shuffle.
    Seriously, though, I don't have a good answer for you. She apparently thinks shuffling tiles is a waste of time, or maybe she doesn't like her hands touching anybody else's - or maybe she is worried about damaging her pretty fingernails.
    Personally, I don't like it when players scoop them up and drop them on the table (scuffing and shortening the attractive life of the tiles). And I also don't like it when players shuffle the tiles while they're face-up (that really IS a waste of time), and then shuffle them AGAIN when they're face-down.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 14, 2018 11:00 AM


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 8:02 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Karen V
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Karen V. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Karen V
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Karen!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 14, 2018


    About today's column

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2018 10:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi again, just read your recent column where you talk about the human factor when discarding a hot tile. I have a tendency to discard a hot tile when I am one away and exposures and discards indicate my MJ tile is still out there and probably not being used in the other hands. But you are spot on when you say that others may not like it when one discards a hot tile!
    >One of my very good friends was very annoyed with me when I discarded a very obvious hot tile with only about ten tiles left in the game. While holding my breath, I discarded anyway. Another player called it for a third exposure but not MJ. My friend berated me severely asking me why in the world would I do that, before I could say anything, the player who called it said, "Because she is one away!" The game continued and I picked the last tile, for MJ, self picked, jokerless! That's when I said "That's why!"
    >Sweet! Probably won't ever happen again! The joys of MJ!
    >Bee

    Sweet indeed! (^_^)


    Shanghai: Second Dynasty, part 2

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2018 9:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom, regarding Laura G.'s question on Shanghai: Second Dynasty.
    >It has been years since I was a systems administrator and things have changed A LOT since then, but perhaps a computer tech could answer if a computer is set up to run two versions of Windows, i.e, XP and Windows 10, I think the game could still be played. I know that when Win 10 came out, a lot of printers and scanners were no longer compatible. Some people set up their computers to run an old version and Win10 so those peripherals would still work. Might be a solution for the game too?!
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee. You're suggesting that if I set up a dual-boot system with that old Windows XP, I could run that old game again. Good idea, but sounds to me like a lot of trouble. I also considered (and dismissed) the idea of setting up a second PC to run the old game.
    I appreciate your offer of a solution, but I don't have a problem - I don't have a need to run that old game. What I have instead is a desire that people not ask me for technical support with their computer games. When I tell those folks I can't get the game to run, I tell them that more to get them to leave me alone, rather than out of any sort of desperation to run that old game. Even if the game still worked, I would probably never play it. The AI was terrible!
    Anyway, thanks for the thought, and may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Mother's Day, 2018 10:15 PM


    Today's column

    >From: Beth P
    >Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2018 4:30 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hello Tom, I think in column #704, item 5 could also be consecutive #6. Hot tiles would be 5 and dragons in bams and dots. Thanks for your great helpful site. Beth

    >From: Libby S
    >Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2018 1:46 PM
    >Subject: Column #704
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper. Regarding the 5th option in column #704, I believe she could also be playing Consecutive #6, with hot tiles being 5 Bams, 5 Dots, Greens, and Soaps.
    >I love your column. Thanks for writing it for all of us mahj maniacs.
    >Best,
    >Libby S

    Quite right, ladies! I made the adjustment in the column, thanks to you!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Mother's Day, 2018, 6:20 PM


    Column #704 is online

    Dear readers,
    Column #704 is now online. Defense, with the 2018 card. And I wanted to further address the "simple math" advice I gave Paul A last week ("One away from mahj but picked another player's hot tile," Wednesday, May 9).
    Happy reading!
    Tom Sloper, Mother's Day, 2018, 9:15 AM


    Shanghai: Second Dynasty

    >From: Laura G
    >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2018 9:16 PM
    >Subject: Shanghai Second Dynasty
    >Hi Tom,
    > My outdated version of Shanghai Second Dynasty will not load properly on my new computer. Is there a new version available for Windows 10? If so, is the 2108-card available for it?
    > Thank You, Laura G

    Laura, how on earth were you able to keep that old game running until now? Was your old computer still running Windows XP? The last time I was able to run Shanghai: Second Dynasty was 2008. Windows 7 came along in 2009, and that was the end of Shanghai: Second Dynasty for me. I have not been able to run the game on my own computer for the past TEN YEARS. The last time I was able to make a NMJL card for that game was 2008! I have not received a paycheck from Activision (where I worked when I made Shanghai: Second Dynasty as an employee) since 2000 (EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO). This summer I'll teach a game design class to thirty students who were all born AFTER I left Activision. What I'm saying is, I'm not able to help you. If you want technical support for that old game, you have to contact Activision Blizzard (even the company's name changed since I worked there). See FAQ 24. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    P.S. If you manage to get Shanghai: Second Dynasty to work on your Windows 10 computer, tell me how you did it so I can play it again myself!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Mother's Day, 2018


    Is rounding up standard practice?

    >From: "rjames
    >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2018 8:33 AM
    >Subject: Rounding up the score
    >Tom,
    >We're relatively new to the game, and we're being taught by a friend who learned from other friends. My question is about scoring. At the end of the hand, a player's score for pungs, flowers, etc. is totaled, then IT IS ROUNDED UP TO THE NEXT EVEN TEN before doubles are applied. So if your score adds up to 22, you round up to 30, then apply doubles. I have not seen this rounding step in any of my readings and wonder if t is unique to this group and done just to make the math easier, or if this is a standard practice. We are teaching others to play (who will never play with the first group) and don't want to perpetuate misinformation. Thanks for your great work and for your answer.
    >Rick J

    Good morning, Rick!
    Since you score for "for pungs, flowers, etc.," you might be playing (most likely) Chinese Classical or Western (British/Australian) rules, or Wright-Patterson -- or (less likely) Japanese Classical, or Mahjong Masters Millions, or Nepalese, or Beijing style (I had to check FAQ 2B to make that list). I vaguely remember hearing about rounding up - and I remember using that rule (and feeling, like you, that rounding up to 30 from 22 seemed like taking advantage). Since I have a memory of using that rule, I assume it was standard practice in the variant I was playing at the time. I've tried several variants (certainly not all of them), and I don't remember what variant I was playing then. If you could give me more information about your variant, I could tell you if rounding up is standard practice or not (I don't want to scour through all my books on all three variants trying to figure out which one has this rule). If you check FAQ 2B, maybe you can identify your variant - then if you tell me which variant it is, I can check my library to see if rounding is documented in one or more books.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2018 8:50 AM


    I want un-American Siamese rules

    >From: Leon L
    >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2018 6:55 AM
    >Subject: Siamese and Solitaire Mah Jong
    >Hi Tom
    >Two new versions of Mah Jong.have made an appearance but cant really find easily workable rules for them
    >Both are the Proper Mah Jong Versions NOT the matching tiles version
    >There are rules for Siamese Mah Jong But those rules are for the American style
    >Want westernized style MJ Rules
    >Likewise with the solitaire version
    >Do you have the rules available for both
    >Many thanks
    >Leon
    >South Africa

    Hi, Leon!
    In writing the title for this conversation, I may have misrepresented your question. While I understand one part of your question (and there is a simple solution for that one), I don't understand the second part.

    There are rules for Siamese Mah Jong But those rules are for the American style
    >Want westernized style MJ Rules
    I don't see any reason why the "Siamese" play mechanic couldn't be used with Asian/unAmerican or "westernized" rules. Just have the 2 players sit opposite one another with 2 hands each. Chowing has to be prohibited (otherwise it would be too easy, which means it would be no fun). Any of Gladys Grad's "Siamese" (whose name is a play on "Siamese twins," presumably) rules that are obviously American (jokers, the card, etc.) can just be crossed out. You may find other places where you have to figure out your own solutions, but I think it would be fun to do that! (But then, I've had a long career as a game designer.) A reader submitted his original 2-player variant, along the lines of Gladys Grad's game, in FAQ 13-A. That one also assumes American rules, but I think the reader's slightly different approach might offer some ideas that can help you come up with your own "westernized Siamese" game.

    Likewise with the solitaire version
    I don't know what you're asking for. There are some solitaire games that are not "Shanghai" listed in FAQ 13-E. And I just realized that in column 649, I showed a photo of "Mahjong Bingo." And I never did describe it in FAQ 13-E. I ought to rectify that one of these days.
    But if you're saying there is a new solitaire version of mah-jongg that is not tile-matching or tile-sliding or tile-flipping or anything other than forming a 14-tile mah-jongg hand, then you know something I don't know, and I would appreciate your giving me a link or a clue as to where to find that information for myself.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2018 8:30 AM


    The only time a player can redeem a joker on her own rack is during the turn in which she picked the redeemable tile... correct?

    >From: Bonnie L
    >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2018 5:22 AM
    >Subject: Exchanging joker on your own display rack
    >Hello Tom,
    >A player had a 4 tile meld displayed with a joker. Several turns later she realized she had the 4th tile in her rack and wanted to replace it and take her joker back.
    >I told her it was too late and she was to have exchanged her joker when she drew the tile.
    >Who was correct?
    >Thank you for guidance.
    >Bonnie

    Good morning, Bonnie! You wrote:

    Who was correct?
    Not you, sorry to say. Look through the 2018 edition of "Mah Jongg Made Easy." You won't find anything in there that supports your contention. Read through all the yearly newsletters for the past 20 years. You won't find anything like that in those, either. Look on the back of the card. Nothing there, also. Read FAQ 19-M, "When can I redeem a joker? What's the procedure?" and "Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack?" A player can redeem any exposed joker at any time (during her turn, of course).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 12, 2018 8:30 AM


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

    >From: Linda
    >Sent: Friday, May 11, 2018 7:26 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg question
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >After the third wall was played, one of the players did not notice the fourth wall and started putting her tiles from the slanted side of the rack onto the table and declared it a wall game. The other three players pointed out her mistake and she was called dead. The dead player had previously made an exposure and it had remained intact to this point. The next player in order wanted to exchange a joker from her exposure for Mah Jongg. The table, except for the player who wanted the tile, determined the exposure was not playable. Who was right? Not playing for money.

    Hi, Linda! The exposure had been made legally, so it should remain atop the rack. See FAQ 19-P, "Can I redeem a joker from a dead player's rack?" and especially "The General Rule on Joker Validity." You can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 11, 2018 12:20 PM


    What if the window of opportunity closes just as a player calls?

    >From: Lynn M
    >Sent: Friday, May 11, 2018 7:53 AM
    >Subject: Simultaneous calling and racking
    >Hi, Tom!
    >Hedy asked a question (5/5/18) about what happens if someone calls for a discard at the same moment that the next player racks the next tile. You suggested looking at FAQ 19-H, but I didn't see this question addressed there. In our game we've usually allowed the caller to call the tile, but it would be nice to know if there's a ruling on this.
    >Thanks,
    >Lynn M.
    >Q: If I rack and a player simultaneously says wait, what is the rule?
    >A: Conflicting claims are discussed in FAQ 19-H.

    Hi, Lynn!
    Now that I think on it, racking isn't a claim, so I was wrong in my reply to Hedy last week. I went to FAQ 19 and searched for the term "simultaneous" and found the answer - in the form of a letter from the League to frequent reader Donna. Just now I added this officially to FAQ 19 - it's FAQ 19-CL.
    Sorry this hadn't been more clearly covered before! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 11, 2018 12:15 PM


    Can I chow a knitted set?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, May 11, 2018 6:46 AM
    >Subject: many thanks
    >Dear Tom,
    >Thank you for your quick response. Also, I just plain and simple did not notice the different suits in the illustration on page 183. In the book they are B&W and I just did not key in on the fact they were correctly illustrated. My apologies. As always, MJ love., Lynn

    You're welcome, Lynn!
    Tom


    Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack?

    >From: Susan L
    >Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018 3:54 PM
    >Subject: Thank you very much. I will get a new handbook....

    Highly recommended, Susan!
    Tom


    Can I chow a knitted set?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018 2:52 PM
    >Subject: Knitted straight
    >Hi Tom, another question from your Bishop fans.
    >We play Chinese Mahjong.
    >Can one chow a 147 or 258 or 369 during play or must one keep these concealed until they mahjong? (Of course we realize the 147, 258 and 369 must be in three different suits)
    >Also, the example for knitted straights on page 183 does not show a knitted straight hand.
    >Thanks as always. We will donate. Lynn

    Hi, Lynn! You know, I guess I never said in my book that knitted sets are not exposable. Guess I need to say so somewhere.
    Knitted sets are not exposable. I said so in rule 40.c. on page 134 of my book.
    And I'll add this to FAQ 20. You don't have to donate.
    As for the illustration on page 183, when I was looking into your question, I looked at that and got momentarily confused until I realized I was looking at the illustration that was above its description, rather than the reverse. I had an epiphany: I should have bunched the descriptions closer together with their illustrations, or put dividing lines in.
    The description of fan #35, Knitted Straight, on page 151 says Knitted Straight has knitted sets, 147 258 and 369, just as you said. On page 183 the illustration beneath the description of fan #35 shows the knitted sets arranged into a knitted straight (rather than showing them bunched by suit).

    It's a straight, 123 456 789 - but in knitted chows, not in single-suit chows. If you mentally separate the dots, for instance, and the other suits, you'll see that the tiles form the knitted sets you were thinking of:

    They're the same thing, since the first number in each knitted chow is the same suit, and so on. If you have the tiles described in Fan #35, then you automatically have a knitted straight. I just showed it in the book as a knitted straight (not as 147, 258, and 369).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 10, 2018 4:20 PM


    The NEWS question (#7)

    >From: Bette W
    >Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2018 1:55 PM
    >Subject: question??
    >Hi Tom….my question follows
    >When using NEWS in your hand, can you call for any letter to expose it? Is this considered a Kong? Can you use jokers??

    Hi, Bette!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). Answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions are here on this website. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers question about NMJL rules. There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 19, 2018 3:00 PM


    Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack?

    >From: Susan L
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2018 11:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question:
    >In our game, I had three of one set in my hand——(3 of #2 dots). By mistake I put down 2 of the tiles, plus one joker. I did not realize my mistake (that I was holding the third #2 dot in my hand) until after two more players had taken their turns. When it was my turn, I explained to the others what happened and asked their opinions as to whether I could exchange the joker for the #2 dot in my hand. One thought I could exchange the tile for a joker. One said, once you put the tiles down, you cannot make the change.
    >I also know if I had picked up a tile from the board, I could exchange the tile for the joker….
    >Your opinion of this matter would be greatly appreciated.
    >That you,
    >Susan

    Hi, Susan!
    FAQ 19 answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg. The very first category of frequently asked questions is jokers, because they are the most frequently asked, and so they're very easy to find in FAQ 19. "Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack" is FAQ 19-M3. Your question is also answered in rule 3 on page 20 of the 2018 revision of the official rulebook.


    This is the League's official handbook.
    It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!

    In the case you described, you were lucky another player didn't redeem the joker before you could. That is a danger that comes from exposing a joker.
    Nobody needed to be told you made a mistake; it's irrelevant information. On a subsequent turn you just pick and rack, then you can redeem your joker. Experienced sharp-eyed players will be able to observe that you must have mistakenly exposed the joker the first time if you rectify your mistake on your very next turn. But a lot of players might not notice. Not that it matters; that exposed joker is up for grabs for anyone (repeat: anyone).
    You might also want to read FAQ 19-AM, the "change of heart" rules. You can link to FAQ 19 above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 10, 2018 8:30 AM


    One away from mahj but picked another player's hot tile

    >From: Paul A
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 9, 2018 9:30 AM
    >Subject: Strategy question: One tile needed for Mahj and you draw someone else's very hot tile
    >Hi Tom,
    >Scenario:
    >You only need one tile for Mahj and you know you are likely to get it at some point. It’s apparent to you that another player is very close to winning (exposures, dropping jokers, and whatever other tells you are aware of). You draw a tile that is likely very hot for this other player.
    >What’s your move? Do you risk it and discard the hot tile? Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the only other option is to forgo any chance of winning and play defense, right?
    >Thanks,
    >Paul

    Hi, Paul.
    In this situation, there are classic lines of dialogue that apply:
    Clint Eastwood, "Dirty Harry": "Do you feel lucky, punk?"
    Tom Sloper, umpteen times: "It depends."
    Confucius: "Flip a coin."
    It all comes down to a very simple calculation that will probably not give you a useful answer: either you are going to pay 2x value (I assume you play American rules, since you used the word "mahj"), or you might win, 4x value if by discard, 6x value if by self-pick. There is also a chance that another player might win, not from your discard (in which case you pay 1x value).
    And then there's the question of what "value" is. Or maybe that doesn't matter. How about it? Do you feel lucky? By the way, I was kidding before. Confucius never said "flip a coin." But I imagine that at some time in his life, he probably said something similar (in some ancient Chinese dialect).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 9, 2018, 9:45 AM

    P.S. I had second thoughts about the advice I gave Paul - see Column #704 - Tom


    She thought she won, then she discarded

    >From: Vikki R
    >Sent: Monday, May 7, 2018 7:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player took a discarded tile & declared mahjong. She put 13 tiles out & discarded a tile, quickly realizing that she did not have 14 tiles for her declared mahjong. She immediately took back the tile she discarded. That tile did not fit into the declared mahjong. Her hand was declared dead, but what happens to the discarded & then retracted tile? She wanted to leave it on her rack; others believed it was a discard.
    >Help.
    >Thanks.

    Hi, Vikki! Let's see if I can follow this:

    A player took a discarded tile & declared mahjong. She put 13 tiles out
    A mah-jongg hand is 14 tiles.

    & discarded a tile, quickly realizing that she did not have 14 tiles for her declared mahjong. She immediately took back the tile she discarded.
    We humans can get flustered at moments of thwarted excitement! A mah-jongg declaration cannot be followed by a discard (mah-jongg is 14 tiles). And a discard cannot be taken back (see FAQ 19-A and FAQ 19-AM).

    She declared mah-jongg, AND she exposed all her tiles. At this point, either she has won or she is dead. Either way, she is not allowed to discard. The discard should be voided (the tile must remain on her rack). Since the mah-jongg was in error, all her tiles (there should be 14 tiles, unless she is holding too few tiles, which is also a death penalty) must be returned to the sloping front of her rack (see FAQ 19-P). Once declared dead, the player cannot discard.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May 8, 2018


    The change of heart rule, per Elaine Sandberg's book (part 2)

    >From: Pat P
    >Sent: Sunday, May 6, 2018 6:38 AM
    >Subject: RE: Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg
    >Thanks so much for your reply and clarification.
     

    You're welcome, Pat.
    Tom


    Of picking and racking, and cabbages and kings.

    >From: Hedy G
    >Sent: Saturday, May 5, 2018 5:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I play with a group of woman on a friendly basis. There is no money involved because we play at a community center. My question has to do with etiquette, specifically with racking a tile. I pick my tile as soon as the previous tile is discarded and I rack very quickly without looking at the tile. We are having an issue with how fast I rack. Is it wrong to rack quickly? Is there a certain amount of time that I should wait before picking and racking? Some women tend to say wait, hold it, but they rarely if ever say call. If I rack and a player simultaneously says wait, what is the rule? Also is it illegal to use two hands, ie: one hand to put the tile on the rack and another to discard. I don’t want to make any enemies, but I do play to win.
    >Also one woman just recently joined us and she immediately announced that she wants to play Atomic whenever she can, I don’t mind, because I play it sometimes, but there is a woman who very loudly has expressed her feelings about why should we allow this if some don’t want to. What is your opinion? I have also taught many women to p,at and I try to stress how important it is to pick and rack and not look at your tile in the air, on the table, on your card or any where else. The window remains open until you rack.
    >I mainly would like you opinion on the racking aspect.
    >Thank you
    >Hedy G

    Hi, Hedy! You wrote:

    I pick my tile as soon as the previous tile is discarded and I rack very quickly without looking at the tile.
    I think that's aggressive, and I said so in my book. The late president of the NMJL, Ruth Unger, agreed - she even quoted me in the 2008 bulletin.

    We are having an issue with how fast I rack. Is it wrong to rack quickly? Is there a certain amount of time that I should wait before picking and racking?
    I think that the game progresses most smoothly when it's played harmoniously, allowing each player a reasonable window of opportunity to claim a discard. I wrote about this in FAQ 19-AD.

    If I rack and a player simultaneously says wait, what is the rule?
    Conflicting claims are discussed in FAQ 19-H.

    Also is it illegal to use two hands, ie: one hand to put the tile on the rack and another to discard.
    Good question. I was warned against doing this in high-stakes Japanese games. It's best etiquette to use one hand (especially at a tournament), but few players are likely to object if you don't.

    one woman just recently joined us and she immediately announced that she wants to play Atomic whenever she can, I don’t mind, because I play it sometimes, but there is a woman who very loudly has expressed her feelings about why should we allow this if some don’t want to.
    Read FAQ 14. Table rules should be unanimous. Otherwise, official rules are reasonably expected.

    I try to stress how important it is to pick and rack and not look at your tile in the air, on the table, on your card or any where else. The window remains open until you rack.
    I do not agree. I believe other players should have a reasonable window of opportunity. There is no rule that says a player cannot discard without racking. It's standard practice for experienced players.

    May the tiles be with you, Hedy!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Cinco de Mayo, 2018 7:15 PM


    Is "pay for the party" a real rule?

    >From: Saretta K
    >Sent: Saturday, May 5, 2018 1:43 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I need to know if this is a table rule or MJ rule...
    >I was a sub in a game....A player had three exposures on her rack...I threw a tile that gave her Mahj. They told me that I had to pay for the table because there were three exposures. I questioned why they didn’t go over the table rules before we began. They said it was a MJ rule but I couldn’t find it on the card or anywhere else. I’ve been playing for over 40 years and don’t remember ever hearing this rule. Would you please clarify.
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Saretta!
    People play by all kinds of rules, and they ALWAYS say "that's the rule" (whether it is actually in print from the NMJL, or not). I have an up-to-date copy of the League's rules, and I have read it word for word. I can tell you positively that there is no "pay for the table" rule for throwing to multiple exposures. If they insist it's an official rule, you should buy a copy, and ask them to show it to you in there. Or send a letter to the NMJL.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Cinco de Mayo, 2018 7:15 PM


    The change of heart rule, per Elaine Sandberg's book

    >From: Pat P
    >Sent: Saturday, May 5, 2018 1:01 PM
    >Subject: Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg
    >Hi,
    >I am enjoying your site and the Beginner's Guide to American Mah Jongg. I am finding some conflicting information and was wondering if it is just something that has been updated, but not in my 2007/2010 copyright book.
    >On page 93, under Correct the Exposure it says – If you call a tile and place it on the rack, but do not expose the rest of the combination, you may return the called tile to the table. A few sentences later it says – There is no penalty for these missteps, but once you discard, you cannot change or correct your Exposure.
    >From what I am finding with my searches online, – If you call a tile and place it on the rack and then cannot use it, your hand is dead. Can you help clarify this, or lead me to where I can find the current answer? I am somewhat a beginner, I do my research, but the group I play with has what they call house rules because that is how they learned.
    >Thank you, and keep up the great site.
    >Pat P

    Hi, Pat!
    Your online searches are correct. As I wrote in the errata to my own book and in the "change of heart" FAQ, once you have either placed the taken discard atop the rack or exposed tiles from your hand, you have committed to making the play. The rule was changed or clarified by the League after Elaine Sandberg wrote that in her book.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Cinco de Mayo, 2018 7:15 PM


    She puts out half a wall at a time

    >From: emily m
    >Sent: Saturday, May 5, 2018 12:00 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >First of all my apologies for asking this question. I have searched as thoroughly as I can think to do and have found nothing so I don’t know if this action is against a “rule “ or not. It certainly seems irregular to me.
    >I host a weekly game at my house and have for many years. Same players. In the past week or two, one of the players when it is time to push out her wall (NOT when she is east, but just when it is her wall’s turn) divides the wall in half and places the first half in the middle of the table and the second half off to her left side. She of course does not identify the first section with an end. I objected to the division but was told it was no big deal. But there are so many rules to MJ. that I don’t think this is right. First of all if it is legal for her it is legal for all of us and if all did this it would slow the games down. To say nothing for the confusion. The way the rest of us place our walls is in the middle of the table going crosswise.
    >As you see the table is not a card table and is oversized from a card table. I have no room to set up a card table with 4 chairs in my house. the player is in the red and we always have the same seats (which I think we probably should not do)
    >Thank you Tom. You have a very interesting occupation. I hope it does not present you with too many aggravartions!
    >Sincerely, Emily M (in the green)
    [thumbnail.jpg]

    Hi, Emily! You wrote:

    when it is her wall’s turn) divides the wall in half and places the first half in the middle of the table and the second half off to her left side. She of course does not identify the first section with an end. I objected to the division but was told it was no big deal.
    It isn't standard practice to put out half a wall at a time, but I suppose a reason for doing it is that it's easier to handle half a wall, if using one's bare hands (not having "pushers" or "helping hands" for pushing out the whole wall). Of course, since tiles are removed clockwise from the great wall, the right half of a side wall would move out first, followed by the left half. Your player who does it this way should be prepared to be required to push out whole walls when playing in a tournament.

    The way the rest of us place our walls is in the middle of the table going crosswise.
    Well, that's not the usual way. The usual way is to rotate them diagonally into the table, like this:

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Cinco de Mayo, 2018 7:15 PM


    Appreciate your help

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Friday, May 4, 2018 5:10 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Betty H
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Betty H. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Betty H
    >Message: When I saw your suggested am'ts .. well, senior on fixed income. We do the best we can. Teach MJ at local senior center. Appreciate your help.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Betty! I don't recall setting up any suggested donation amounts at Paypal (maybe Paypal sets those automatically). Any amount is welcome - been eyeing fixed-income life drawing nearer myself!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May the Fourth be with you in 2018


    What is the purpose for this stupid rule, part 2

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 1, 2018 10:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I especially like your answer regarding the "stupid rule" regarding calling a joker "same". Many of us did not like that rule either, but your answer is spot on! Realizing that a player can say "same" for joker discards and that some players miscall tiles, both situations force you to look at each discard, especially in the event of a miscall. That tile could be your MJ tile, if you or other players do not look at it and correct the name, that allows a player to miscall (whether on purpose or by mistake) and you will miss your MJ tile because you did not look at it. Saying "same" for the joker forces you to look or pay the consequences (they now know what you need). But as you pointed out looking at each tile as it is discarded also helps you to remember what has been discarded so you can change your hand when necessary or to not throw a hot tile. As you said, it ups your game! So it really isn't a "stupid rule." But rather helps in deciding strategy of your play. Example: I need at least two jokers for a quint, but two of my other tiles also went out, I now need 4 jokers, but I only have 3 and I can account for 5 others that are either exposed or have been exchanged and are residing in someone else's hand. I better dog my hand or switch if at all possible.
    >Bee

    Thanks, Bee!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom
    May 2, 2018, 7:20 AM


    Can I redeem a joker after calling for exposure, or can I redeem a joker only after picking from the wall? (When can I redeem a joker? What's the procedure?)

    >From: Teri T
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 1, 2018 8:05 AM
    >Subject: Call question
    >Greetings Tom!
    >This came up in a game among friends and not encountered before. It may be answered somewhere else, but I can not find it. Can you call for a tile and before discarding can you reclaim a joker during the same play, or do you have to wait for your turn to pick from the wall?
    >I always learn a lot from your blog, thank you!
    >Teri T

    Hi, Teri! Your question is explained fully in FAQ 19-M ("When can I redeem a joker? What's the procedure?"). Please click the FAQ 19 link above left, and please bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about NMJL rules. If you ever have questions about the 2018 card, those are answered in FAQ 16.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May Day, 2018 8:10 AM


    My mystery flowers, part 3

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 1, 2018 12:41 AM
    >Subject: Rob's mystery tiles.
    >Hi Tom,
    >Rob's mystery tiles are 文明世界, meaning "civilized world".
    >In a way, you were correct in suggesting "writings bright" for the first two characters, 文明, as 文 by itself can mean writing and 明 can mean bright...but put the two characters together and the meaning is transformed to "civilised".
    >As well as the above, the EBay set has 一統山河, which means "unify the whole country".
    >Regards,
    >Ray

    Thank you, Ray! Very helpful as always.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    May Day, 2018 6:40 AM


    My mystery flowers, part 2

    >From: tions
    >Sent: Monday, April 30, 2018 5:02 PM
    >Subject: My mystery flowers.
    >Tom, I spent a couple hours or more.
    >Thanks to your suggestion I entered 'world' in English to Chinese
    >translator online and the two characters that together mean 'world' are
    >those exactly as shown on the last two tiles figure 1.
    >Your phrase 'bright world' brought up the second tile, followed again by
    >the last two for world. Also the character for 'of' which are not on the
    >tiles.
    >I had to google 'which Chinese character looks like a man walking' to get
    >the image on the first tile which means 'great'.
    >So I entered 'the great bright world' and got the last translation which
    >right to left is I think The Great Bright Bright World which sounds a lot
    >like something Mr. Rogers would say entering the club house :)

    Good work!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 30, 2018 5:50 PM


    The NEWS question (#6)

    >From: LJ Y
    >Sent: Monday, April 30, 2018 3:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:We play 2018 American Marshawn
    >Our question is can you pick up part of the letters to NEWS and put them down in your tray another words let’s say you have north east west and you want to pick up south to make news and put it in your tray and commit is that OK or not allowed
    > Our question is can you pick up part of the letters to NEWS and put them down in your tray another worthless say you have north east west and you want to pick up south to make news and put it in your tray and commit is that OK or not allowed

    Hi, LJ!
    It depends. Are you making mah-jongg, or are you just completing the N-E-W-S part of a hand? You've asked a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. Please read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. Please bookmark FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 for your future reference. FAQ 16: FAQs about the 2018 card. FAQ 19: FAQs about the NMJL rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 30, 2018 5:05 PM


    My mystery flowers

    From: tions
    Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2018 8:43 PM
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Tom, My question is on the subject of FAQ #7e "Mystery Tiles"
    Linda and I have purchased a simple bamboo wood MJ set on eBay, seller said to have been told it at least looks like an Avercrombie and Fitch set but is being sold as not necessarily true.
    My question is simply the meaning on 4 of the 8 Flowers/Seasons, figure 1.
    1) Four of them (marked X) I understand from your FAQ figure 2 are Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum.
    2) I don't know about the other 4 (marked O)in figure 1.
    3) Meanwhile figure 3 is another different eBay auction, that one was titled "ABERCROMBIE AND FITCH ANTIQUE MAHJONG SET 1923, antique". The set of 4 vertical flowers on left have the same Chinese characters for 1 and 4 as our new set.
    4) The book in fig. 4 comes with the set we're purchasing. I saw in your FAQ that it describes MJ as played in Hong Kong in the very early twenties.
    Anyways, we would sure like to know what the those 4 flowers say :).
    Rob


    Hi, Rob. Long time no see. You asked:

    My question is simply the meaning on 4 of the 8 Flowers/Seasons, figure 1.

    I needed to see them grouped the way they were intended to be grouped. With the possible exception of American sets, flowers always come in groups of four. See that in your set, one group has a large green character in the center, with a four-cornered frame and a red Arabic numeral centered at top. The other group has red Arabic numeral at upper left, and a blue character at upper right. This is the way they're to be grouped.

    As you noted, the top row seems to be the names of the usual flowers. The characters are very artistic, drawn in a way to echo elements of other characters in the row.
    I can't read Chinese, but I have a Japanese kanji book; it doesn't give me Chinese pronunciations. Based on what I can find from my kanji book, it says: "writings bright? era world." Note that there is a writing brush on the #1 tile. The thing on the #2 tile looks like a shiny/bright object of wealth. The thing on the #3 tile looks like a box? And obviously #4 depicts a building before a forested mountain range.

    The photo from eBay was not displaying the flowers properly, so I reorganized them the way they were supposed to be organized. The four with red Chinese character at the left, and the four with green character at right. Left, reading down: "one something mountain something" (I can read the first and third characters without the book - I can't make out the details in the photo of the second and fourth). Right, reading down: "writings bright? era world," as with your set.
    Perhaps another reader will be able to help fill the gaps and correct my egregious errors herein (assuming there are some). May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 29, 2018 9:45 PM


    Oopsie in column 703

    >From: Belinda -
    >Sent: Sunday, April 29, 2018 5:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >Your column for today. #5. You wrote: " Twos and eights in different suits. If you try to use both pairs, what you have is 2018 #4".
    >But 2018. #4 requires the twos and eights to be the same suit.
    >They could be used in 2018 #1 & 2, Evens 2, as you pointed out and Evens 3, and 5 too. And S&P 2.
    >I like this year's cards. There seems to be a lot of hands that can be switched to should your hand go dead early.
    >Bee

    Good eye, Bee! I did mean 2018 #1. Fixing that. 2018 #2 and Evens #3 and Evens #5 don't use as many tiles. S&P #2 does, but I don't like tackling S&P with just six tiles. Looks like the Charleston pass I chose can still stand.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 29, 2018 7:50 PM


    Column #703 is online

    Dear readers,
    Column #703 is now online. The Charleston, with the 2018 card. Get out your tiles and strategize along with me! I sometimes miss something, so let me know what you find - but make sure to carry it all the way through. Include in your email exactly what tiles you would pass instead of the tiles I said I would pass.
    Tom Sloper, April 29, 7:40 AM (the Sunday NPR puzzle with Will Shortz is about to start!)


    What is the purpose for this stupid rule? Actually, I don't care - it's stupid and it should be changed!

    >From: Ione and John
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:16 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment
    >If someone discards ie. 3 BAM, next player discards JOKER, but says 3 BAM (As indicated on the back of the card can be done)
    >I say “TAKE”, but it’s really not 3 BAM, it’s a JOKER which can’t be claimed
    >The rules is stupid.
    >Just because I’m not LOOKING at discard, but I’m LISTENING and concentrating on my tiles.....
    >What is the reasoning if any for this rule?????
    >It should be changed.

    >From: Ione & John
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:22 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >JOKERS may be discarded at any time during the game and named the same as previous discard.
    >IE. Discard 3 Bam, next player discards Joker but says 3 Bam. Just because I'm concentrating on my tiles and not looking at the tile being discarded, it's ridiculous. I call TAKE, because now it's the second 3 BAM discarded and I better not wait. Now everyone knows I want that tile, and if I've got other things exposed will figure out what I may be going for.
    >What is the reasoning for allowing this stupid discard announcement for a JOKER. Why not just say JOKER?????
    >if I'm understanding this rule correctly, it should be CHANGED.
    >Thanks

    Hi, Ione! I gather you don't like the rule that says a player may announce "same" or the name of the previous discard when discarding a joker. To reply to what you wrote:

    someone discards ie. 3 BAM, next player discards JOKER, but says 3 BAM (As indicated on the back of the card can be done)
    >I say “TAKE”
    You can't say take on a discarded joker. "Down is dead" where jokers are concerned. Don't say "take" before you look at the current discard.

    Just because I’m not LOOKING at discard, but I’m LISTENING and concentrating on my tiles...
    Why would you do that? It's like there's a "box of blindness" you have intentionally put up between you, your tiles, and the rest of the table. Sight is one of our most important weapons in the game of mah-jongg. A skilled player wants to see everything - all the discards, all the racks, all the human hands, all the human faces. Why deprive yourself of the use of one of the most important senses?

    Just because I'm concentrating on my tiles and not looking at the tile being discarded, it's ridiculous. I call TAKE, because now it's the second 3 BAM discarded and I better not wait. Now everyone knows I want that tile, and if I've got other things exposed will figure out what I may be going for.
    You brought that onto yourself (you are the one who told people "I want that tile"). Simple solution: don't blind yourself to the rest of the table. Look at the discard floor. Look at each tile as each player discards to confirm that she's saying the correct tile name.

    What is the reasoning if any for this rule????? What is the reasoning for allowing this stupid discard announcement for a JOKER. Why not just say JOKER?????
    To encourage all players to keep their eyes open, and not play with only their ears. Read FAQ 19-G-3.

    It should be changed.
    I think a better rule change would be to end the requirement to speak the name of every discard. They don't announce discards in China or Japan. People use their eyes there. It was Americans who initiated the discard vocalizations, and it has led to a lot of players unwisely not looking beyond their own tiles.

    Take this strong feeling you're experiencing as encouragement to step up your game to the next level. Look beyond your own rack.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 26, 2018 7:15 AM


    Feelings about automatic tables

    >From: Paul A
    >Sent: Monday, April 23, 2018 8:58 PM
    >Subject: Your Feelings about Automated tables
    >Hi Tom,
    >A search of your site didn't reveal any recent info on this topic. Do you have any feeling, experience, or suggestions regarding the electronic automated tables out there for American Mah Jongg? Do the folks in the retirement communities enjoy or fear these tables? Are they a hassle, requiring frequent maintenance?
    >Any and all thoughts welcome!
    >Thanks,
    >Paul

    Hi, Paul. Your questions:

    A search of your site didn't reveal any recent info on this topic.
    Right. Automatic tables are not frequently asked about. And there hasn't been a lot of new information that would justify updating FAQ 7-F.

    Do you have any feeling, ... [about automatic] tables... for American Mah Jongg?
    I deal primarily with information on this site. Feelings not so much.

    Do you have any ... experience, ... [with automatic] tables... for American Mah Jongg?
    I've seen one at one of Gladys Grad's tournaments. A vendor was there showing it off and hoping to make some sales. Most of my experience with automatic tables is from playing in Japan, or at tournaments in China.

    Do you have any ... suggestions [about automatic] tables... for American Mah Jongg?
    I don't know. Maybe. What kind of suggestions?

    Do the folks in the retirement communities enjoy or fear these tables?
    I don't know. I don't have any dealings with retirement communities, and I don't know of any retirement communities that have automatic tables that deal American walls. I can imagine enjoyment ensuing from having a table, but I don't know why anyone would fear such a table. They're pretty hard to tip over, and I've never heard of someone being electrocuted by one, or getting a hand hurt in one... Again: not sure what there is to fear.


    An automatic table from Versatile Machinery.
    Scary-looking, right?

    Are they a hassle, requiring frequent maintenance?
    I don't know. My old Japanese tables needed maintenance, but they were old, so: no surprise there.

    I think there is something else you are not asking. I think the questions you asked are circumlocuting your actual question. Are you trying to decide whether or not to buy one? Are you trying to come up with arguments against someone buying one because you don't want one in the house? Do you work in a retirement community and are trying to gather information in response to a request from one or more inhabitants of the community? I might be able to help you better if I knew where the question was coming from and what use the answer might be to you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2018


    The NEWS question (v5)

    >From: Victoria K
    >Sent: Monday, April 23, 2018 10:06 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can you call a tile to make news

    Hi, Victoria!
    It depends. Are you making mah-jongg, or are you just completing the N-E-W-S part of a hand? You've asked a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. Please read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. Please bookmark FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 for future reference.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 23, 2018 2:00 PM


    Oopsie in today's column

    >From: Janet H
    >Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2018 11:26 AM
    >Subject: Today's #3
    >Shouldn't "eights in opposite suits" be changed to dragons? The "eights in opposite suits" fits with the #2, not the #3 hand.
    >22 44 666 888 DDDD
    >Janet

    Thanks for spotting that, Janet, so I could fix it!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 22, 2018


    Column #702 is up

    Dear readers,
    Column #702 is now online. Defense against two-pung exposures with the 2018 card.
    Tom Sloper, April 22, 9:20 AM


    What the heck is it? That joker is a mystery!

    >From: rgeiman
    >Sent: Friday, April 20, 2018 8:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: What does the symbol on a joker tile represent, that resembles a comet?
    >Thanks for all your informative information, it is appreciated.

    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. Your question is answered in FAQ 7-E, the "mystery tiles" FAQ. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 20, 2018 8:45 AM


    Can I redeem more than one joker in a turn?

    >From: BarbaraAnnC
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 11:43 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player has exposed 2 8 Dots & 2 jokers. I have 2 8 Dots in my hand. Can I exchange them at the same time for the 2 jokers???

    Hi, BarbaraAnn!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-N. You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 20, 6:40 AM, 2018


    20 F and 4 J pt. 4

    >From: Mark D
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 9:26 PM
    >Subject: Re: Valuation
    >Thanks for the info!
    If at all possible, could my last name be removed from the two places it appears in the email "From" section and my email signature line? If not, no problem, I just thought to ask.
    >Cheers,
    >Mark

    Oops, fixed.
    Tom
    April 19, 10:00 PM


    She always wants to look, part 2

    >From: C████
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 9:52 PM
    >Subject: RE: Asking about another's hand
    >Thank you for the quick response! I think your right. I am trying to get the ladies I am playing with to play to a different level. My Mom was an instructor and this was a given, but in the group I am playing with it’s not probably going to happen.

    >As a side. Any chance you can change my name? Or even remove the post? I did not realize my name would be on there. I think it would hurt my friends feelings if she saw this and that wasn’t my intention. I was hoping you would point me to some old FAQ.

    Post removal is out of the question. If you went into a restaurant and ordered a steak, then ate it and afterwards realized that it was not organic-grass-fed, you can't return the steak for a refund. Just so, once I have given you an answer to the question you asked, it cannot be ungiven (I cannot extract the answer I gave you from your head) - you asked, I answered, and I am unable to un-answer the question. The Terms of Service and Privacy Policy (stated above) says, in part:

      ...I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. ... No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. ... Your last name and email address will usually be omitted...

    Even if your question had been frequently asked and there was an FAQ to point you to (it hadn't, and there isn't), your question would still be posted here. If your friend does see this exchange, then she'll have a better understanding of why you have been refusing to show her your hand, and the conversation can move on to another level. And in fact, the best way to get your group to move up a level might be to share your strategy, rather than withhold it. With them playing at your level, you'll probably find the game more challenging and interesting and fun!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 20, 2018 6:40 AM


    Can I exchange a joker for a non-joker tile? (FAQ 19-AL)

    >From: stel
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 8:38 PM
    >Subject: Joker
    >Hello Tom
    >I can’t find the answer to my question. Please forgive me if it’s in your enormous amount of information.
    >In American mahjong can a player exchange a joker for an exposed tile that is needed?
    >Thank you
    >Stella

    Hi, Stella! Sorry there's too much information on my site. You asked frequently asked question 19-AL.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 19, 2018 9:05 PM


    She always wants to look at what I didn't win on

    >From: C████
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 7:51 PM
    >Subject: Asking about another's hand
    >Hi Mah Jongg King, (Just want to show my deference!)
    >I have a friend that asks to see my hand at the conclusion of every hand, when I am not the winner. If I defer and say I was playing a “3/6/9” for example (not the correct one) she will insist I wasn’t based on one of my discards. I explained to her today that this was my way of politely telling her I did to want to show her my hand. She was undeterred. So I followed up with “it’s bad strategy to show your hand for the variety of reasons.” I think she still thinks I am being rude. Do you have a FAQ on this.
    >I thought I had seen it in the past, but have spent several hours searching with no luck. I apologize if a repeat. Thanks so much for your thoughts. C████

    Hi, C████!
    You know this is not a question of rules, but is it therefore a question of strategy? There is a third thing involved, which is etiquette. She is showing possibly questionable etiquette by asking to see your hand. And if everybody at the table shows their hands, then you are not showing good etiquette by refusing. If someone asks what I was doing, I tell them. Good relations with other players outweighs any strategic advantage they're likely to get by knowing what hand you were doing, after the fact. Besides, if you ever had a fifth player, you would have to let the bettor watch what you're doing. And the bettor always changes (all your opponents will have a chance to watch you play). I don't see harm in it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 19, 2018 8:35 PM


    Can a joker be used in a pair if it's for mah-jongg?

    >From: C Joan P
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 7:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: a person only needs two 4 cracks to complete mahjong. She has a spare joker and a 4 crack is discarded. Can she call for the 4 crack, put it with her joker and declare mahjong?
    >C Joan P

    No. Read the back of the card.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 19, 2018 8:40 PM


    Can I expose NEWS (v4)

    >From: Ellen P
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 11:15 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: are you allowed to call for a tile and expose NEWS?

    Hi, Ellen!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 19, 2018 8:20 PM


    Would like to help

    >From: Judy H
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 7:34 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I would like to make a donation but I prefer to use PayPal. Will you ever accept it?
    >I think your site is fabulous but I wish it had a search feature. Any possibility of that happening?
    >And, can you use any volunteer help? I am 75 and have been playing since childhood.
    >Judy

    Hi, Judy! to respond to your 3 questions:
    I do accept Paypal (clicking my Donate links sends you to Paypal). Thanks for the thought!
    I don't plan to try to learn how to do that. My day job keeps me plenty busy. I just use Google, like for instance, "can I expose NEWS sloperama.com," and I almost always find stuff on my site when I do that.
    Thank you kindly for the offer, but I manage well enough. (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 19, 2018 8:20 PM


    20 F and 4 J pt. 3

    >From: Mark D
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 5:23 PM
    >Subject: Valuation
    >Dear Tom,
    >I am wondering if you would mind providing a valuation of my set. If at all possible, could the photos I send of the tiles also go on the website (the one of the whole set)? The reason I ask about the photos is that I haven't really seen an identical set to mine on your site, CHarli's site, or elsewhere--I am sure there are many around, but it is good to see photos of what appears to be a complete 162 tile set.
    >If you do decide to do a valuation, here is the breakdown:
    >It is supposed to be a Cardinal set.
    >1. Tiles:
    >The 136 basic tile set with winds and dragons is complete
    >There are 20 flowers, 4 Jokers, and 2 blanks
    >The tiles are in Fine/Excellent condition
    >The material is labelled by Cardinal as Catalin and the colour is butterscotch
    >2cm x 3cm x 1cm tile size
    >162 total tiles
    >2. Racks
    >5 racks in very good condition
    >3. Chips / Counters
    >116 ( 10Y, 21W, 24G, 24B, 37R)
    >4. Case
    >Poor-fair condition. I replaced the rusted and broken hinges to make it functional. I will replace the missing handle with a leather one.
    >5. Other
    >4 NMJL 1964-64 Cards in good-vg condition.
    >Cardinal cardboard insert in good-vg condition
    >6. Date estimate based on CHarli's website and the NMJL Cards: 1960s. Sadly, it is not from the Quing Dynasty :)
    >Best,
    >Mark D
    >P4191015.JPG??
    > P4191016.JPG??
    > P4191017.JPG??
    > P4191021.JPG??
    > P4191022.JPG??
    > P4191025.JPG??
    > P4191026.JPG??
    > P4191027.JPG??
    > P4191028.JPG??
    > P4191029.JPG??
    > P4191031.JPG?

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 5:14 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mark D
    > paypal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from Mark D
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $20.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Mark D
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Hi, Mark. Okay, let's see...

    The tiles are in Fine/Excellent condition
    >5 racks in very good condition
    The tiles appear very well preserved indeed. The racks look very colorful.

    3. Chips / Counters
    >116 ( 10Y, 21W, 24G, 24B, 37R)
    It's likely that some chips have been lost. Your green and blue may be complete (divisible by 4) but your other colors have lost some. I don't know to what extent the majority of collectors might knock off points for missing chips, since they are easily if imperfectly replaced.

    4. Case
    >Poor-fair condition. I replaced the rusted and broken hinges to make it functional. I will replace the missing handle with a leather one.
    Yes, that's too bad. Those handles don't last - I've broken two on those old sets (from using them).

    5. Other
    >4 NMJL 1964-64 Cards in good-vg condition.
    Those have some value. But it's hard to pin down. (Don't throw them away.)

    Cardinal cardboard insert in good-vg condition
    Lucky thing that's still in there!

    6. Date estimate based on CHarli's website and the NMJL Cards: 1960s. Sadly, it is not from the Quing Dynasty :)
    If the set was made after 1955, I'd have to wonder why it has fewer than 24 flowers, unless the League informed Cardinal that they would never go back above 20 flowers. Manufacturers may have started including jokers before 1960, for all I know. I think "big jokers" predated "jokers" but OK, to be on the conservative side, say "1960s." The 1964-65 card requires 12F / 4J, which can be viewed as further support for that theory.

    The condition of the tiles is where the value of this set comes from. Your tiles look beautiful, the racks look good too. Having the original case doesn't enhance the value, given its condition. the other materials all seem to be in nice condition given the set's age. The solid yellow tiles (not having different colored backs) is the most common type of Cardinal set. A group I'm teaching has a set of tiles matching the quality of your tiles (or better).
    If tiles of your quality were in an equally-well-preserved case, I'm guessing the set might sell on eBay for more than $150 and less than $300. But all together, I'm thinking the set may be worth under $150, since a buyer might want to buy it a nicer case and will have to put joker stickers on four of the flowers.
    Thanks for the donation! Appreciate it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 19, 2018 8:20 PM


    Didn't mean to discard that joker

    >From: Mike H
    >Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 1:50 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I called a 3 dots but threw a joker instead by accident, can I take it back off the table

    Sorry, Mike. "Down is dead." That means once it's "down," you can't take it back. See FAQ 19-A and 19-B.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 19, 2018


    Fives, huh? How about nines?

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was just looking over the card in more detail tonight and noted that you mentioned that fives would be sought after due to the many hands where 4 fives could be used. I counted 22 hands where 4 fives could be used. But I also noticed that 4 nines could be used in 27 hands!
    >Both kongs of fives or nines may be very difficult to complete without jokers!
    >Bee

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:40 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi again,
    >I just read your column and now realize that you had an exchange with another follower on the fives and nines! Sorry to have repeated the idea that nines are also hot tiles!
    >Bee

    No prob, Bee. Always good to hear from you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 19, 2018


    20 F and 4 J pt. 2

    >From: Mark D
    >Sent: Monday, April 16, 2018 6:27 PM
    >Subject: Re: 20 Flowers 4 Jokers
    >Hello again,
    >Thank you for your response--much appreciated.
    >Mark

    You're welcome, Mark. Since your set had 20F and 4J, I think your set was made after 1947, possibly after 1949.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 16, 2018 6:35 PM


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Monday, April 16, 2018 7:45 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > paypal
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from MaryLou F
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: MaryLou F
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, MaryLou!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    20 F and 4 J

    >From: Mark D
    >Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2018 6:12 PM
    >Subject: 20 Flowers 4 Jokers
    >Dear Tom,
    >Thank you for your wonderful website and for the hours of enjoyment it has provided me. I just purchased my first mah jongg set, a vintage (for me this means 20+ yrs) set by Cardinal Industries. In trying to date the set, I looked at the NMJL cards which say 1964, 1964-65, 27th year. I also looked at your table of jokers & flowers. The included NMJL card rules are based on "12 flowers" and your chart lists 12f/4j for that year. Interestingly enough, my set comes with 20 flowers (5 of each number) and 4 jokers. Each number of flower is broken into a pair + three of a kind as regards their design.
    >All of this is a long winded way of saying that my particular configuration-if original-is not listed on your chart in case this information helps in some way.
    >Also, the rubbing alcohol worked great on the catalin, so thank you for that information.
    >Best,
    >Mark

    Hi, Mark! Thanks for writing. My F/J table (in column 509) is not there to delineate every possible F/J breakdown in manufactured American sets. It only delineates every combination of Flowers and Jokers on past NMJL cards. I theorize that the manufacturers of sets wanted to provide sufficient flowers and jokers for whatever the League might require in the uncertain future. Manufacturers wanted to be sure to include at least the numbers of Fs and Js that might appear on a future card. The table in column 509 does not precisely date the manufacture of a set; it's there to help readers arrive at an educated guess as to the set's approximate year of manufacture.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2018


    Oopsie in Column #701

    >From: Rebecca Alston Z
    >Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2018 2:57 PM
    >Subject: Column 701
    >I believe there is a “slip up” in the section of hands designated as” Two pairs, two pungs and a Kong”. The last entry on the right (FF NNNN DD SSSS) is not on the card and has insufficient tiles. The 4th hand in “2018” (22 000 NEWS 111 88) would fit this category.
    >Thanks for the 2018 card review, very helpful!
    >Rebecca Z

    Hi, Rebecca! I spotted that error right after I posted the column. Over the course of the next half hour or so, I fixed the FF hand in that image (made it into a proper FFFF hand). You must have visited the site during that time, and your browser has cached the old image so you can't see the fixed image (same filename). Although I had to figure out how to clear the image cache in my browser, I do not want to explain it for every possible browser. The easy way for you to see the updated image is to use a different browser (or google "how to clear image cache in [whatever browser you use]" - but then you might clear more things than you meant to).
    As for the 2018 NEWS hand, I did not include that in two-pairs-and-two-pungs-and-a-kong precisely because NEWS is not a kong. It's four singles, which makes it much easier (and that explains why it's concealed).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2018


    Thank you for the time you spend and for sharing your knowledge

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2018 3:11 PM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > paypal
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $50.00 USD from Charlotte I
    >You can view the details for this transaction by logging in to your PayPal account and clicking the "History" tab.View the details of this transaction online
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $50.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
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    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Charlotte I
    >Message: Thank you so much for all the time you spend and for sharing your knowledge. You are awesome. I really appreciate it.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Charlotte! I reciprocate the appreciation, like, back atcha! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2018


    My mystery flowers

    >From: Peter G
    >Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:31 PM
    >Subject: What do the pictures in the Flower tiles depict
    >Dear Tom
    >Here are the Flower and Season tiles of a Mah-Jong bone and bamboo set that was bought in Selfridges, London in 1964.
    >Previous answers in your FAQs describe the meanings of the four ‘Animal Flower’ tiles (blue numbers), but I can’t see an explanation of the characters used to depict the four Season tiles (green numbers).
    >Can you say what (or who) they are and why they are used to depict the seasons?
    >Would I be correct in assuming that the red Chinese characters (in the top left hand corners) mean 1 - Spring, 2 - Summer, 3 - Autumn and 4 - Winter?
    >Many thanks
    >Peter G

    Hi, Peter! You wrote:

    Can you say what (or who) they are and why they are used to depict the seasons?
    No, sorry! One of our readers frequently enjoys this sort of thing and might post a reply. So you should keep coming back and checking this board.

    1 - Spring, 2 - Summer, 3 - Autumn and 4 - Winter?
    Correct.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2018


    This week's column is up

    Dear readers,
    Column #701 is now online. Finishing up the 3-part analysis of the new 2018 card.
    Tom Sloper, April 15, 9:30 AM


    Called her dead but she's not. What now? (FAQ 19-AB)

    >From: Barney G
    >Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2018 2:38 PM
    >Subject: Happy Saturday
    >Player A calls Player B’s hand dead. Player B says her hand is not dead. Player A eventually gets Mah Jongg. After examining the tiles associated with the death challenge, Player A is indeed wrong as Player B’s hand was not dead. Is Player A’s Mah Jongg still valid? If Yes, I trust C and D pay her and then Player A pays B a quarter since B’s hand was not dead. True?
    >I know in a tournament the death challenge would have been immediately resolved, and Player A’s hand would be dead ( in our example here ) and hence she would never have been able to get Mah Jongg. It seems unfair to me that in home play C and D would have to play her in the scenario above.
    >Thx Tom!
    >Have a great weekend
    >Barney

    Hi, Barney. You wrote:

    Player A calls Player B’s hand dead. ... Player B’s hand was not dead. Is Player A’s Mah Jongg still valid?
    ¿Are you asking if a player is supposed to suffer death for making an erroneous death challenge? FAQ 19-AB gives the straight poop on that.

    I know in a tournament the death challenge would have been immediately resolved
    Tournament rules can indeed vary from what it says in the official rulebook. Every tournament organizer sets their own rules. I don't know offhand what universal process (if there is one) might be used to resolve both ambiguous and unambiguous exposures showing in a death challenge, on the spot - so I can't really respond to this.

    It seems unfair to me that in home play C and D would have to play her in the scenario above.
    Sorry, but I fail to see the unfairness of the official rule. I think you must have misunderstood how the rule is supposed to work.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2018 7:50 AM


    She had a "change of heart" - can she undo, or has she committed? (FAQ 19-AM)

    >From: Doris F
    >Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2018 3:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: when a player calls for a discarded tile, picks it up, and then decides she doesn't want it, is she committed to keeping it or can she put it down and draw from the wall?

    Doris, "I changed my mind, can I take it back?" is one of THE most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg. See FAQ 19-AM. Please bookmark FAQ 19 and please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 15, 2018 7:50 AM


    Exposed chows, part 2.2

    >From: Di N
    >Sent: Friday, April 13, 2018 10:11 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A - when to chow?
    >>> My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >>> (Australia - using ‘Thompson & Maloney’ book reference)
    >>> When can you chow from the left?
    >>> 1. Only in the one game of ‘Ordinary Mahjong’ Page 42 Thompson & Maloney
    >>> OR
    >>> 2. In any game that has a chow ‘meld’ included?
    >>> Thank you
    >>> Dianne

    Hi, Dianne. As you and I wrote on April 10:

    When can you chow from the left? ... in the [hand] of ‘Ordinary Mahjong’ Page 42 ? Or... In any [hand] that has a chow ‘meld’ included?
    You may make a chow if you are playing any hand that contains a chow and is not marked Concealed.

    Not exactly related but perhaps of interest: Some authors of Western/Australian mah-jongg prohibit making two chows during the formation of a hand (the only variant I can think of that has such a rule).
    Of course, you can always chow from anyone if the tile completes your mah jongg hand. You don't say "chow," you say "mah jongg."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, April, 2018 10:40 PM


    Can she redeem her own joker later?

    >From: Christine W
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:07 PM
    >Subject: have tried to find an answer to this:
    >but haven't had any luck. if I missed it, apologies in advance.
    >Mary called for a 4 dot, exposed it with 1 4 dot and 2 jokers. discarded.
    >realized that she actually had 2 4 dots on her rack, and meant to expose
    >those 2 4 dots with the called 4 dot and one joker, instead.
    >can she, on her next turn, trade that 4 dot still on her rack for one of
    >the jokers that she exposed?
    >thank you!
    >best,
    >Christine

    Hi, Christine!
    Sorry that I didn't notice your email until today. Maybe it was your subject line...

    Subject: have tried to find an answer to this:
    That didn't jump out and say "mah-jongg" to me. Noticed it when I was cleaning out my mailbox today. Again: sorry for the delay!

    can she, on her next turn, trade that 4 dot still on her rack for one of
    >the jokers that she exposed?
    Sure. See FAQ 19-M3. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg (other than questions specific to the NMJL card) are found in FAQ 19. For all questions about the 2018 card, read FAQ 16.
    For your future reference, you can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, April, 2018


    Tiles were knocked off the wall; what now?

    >From: sharon s
    >Sent: Friday, April 13, 2018 11:40 AM
    >Subject: Maj rule
    >When player accidentally knock over tiles what is done?
    >Sharon S

    Hi, Sharon!
    Welcome to my website! Since you used the word "Maj," I assume you are asking about American (NMJL) rules. The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg (other than questions specific to the NMJL card) are found in FAQ 19. Your question is FAQ 19-BX.
    For your future reference, you can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. This one is easy to find (the "jokers" questions are at the top of the FAQ).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, April, 2018


    If there's no parenthetical...

    >From: peairs
    >Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2018 8:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >RE odd hands (example 2nd down, left side in odd hand section) it does not say 'these nos only' in parenthesis so could 111 333 3333 5555 be replaced with 333 555 5555 7777? Likewise 3rd had down, could FF 1111 3333 5555 be FF 3333 5555 7777? etc
    >Thank you!
    >Emily

    No. When there's no parenthetical, the card means what it says. Read FAQ 19-AJ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Friday the 13th, April, 2018


    Tapping isn't racking, right?

    >From: Sara J. O
    >Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2018 9:57 AM
    >Subject: Pick and rack
    >Tom-Try as I did, I could not find the answer to this question. Sometime I play with a person who thinks racking is-tap the top of rack, look at it from the table, not rack and discard. I decided rather than to harp at her I would try to teach her a lesson. When we first started to play one gal mentioned to be more careful about really racking on the face of your rack. So when the offender tapped her rack with the tile then discarded it- I called for the previous tile and said that your tile was NEVER racked. The offender was surprised, but the other players agree. Now what would you have done if you were sick and tired of her quick, lazy? We are long time players as well.
    >Sara

    Hi, Sara!
    I'm sorry it is hard to find answers here; I'm constantly trying to find ways to make them easier to find. Your question is clearly about American mah-jongg (played with the annual NMJL card); most answers about American mah-jongg have been collected into one place: FAQ 19.

    Try as I did, I could not find the answer to this question.
    As of this date, there are 89 questions answered in FAQ 19. I realize 89 questions is a lot! I created a category system in FAQ 19 (this question is in the category "Picking, Racking") that I hope has made it easier to find answers.

    Sometime I play with a person who thinks racking is-tap the top of rack,
    FAQ 19-AD answers the question, "What does 'racking' mean?" This term is also defined in the latest edition of the rulebook, "Mah Jongg Made Easy."

    look at it from the table, not rack and discard.
    There is no rule that says a player MUST rack before discarding. Look in the latest edition of the rulebook - it's not there. See FAQ 19-BL.

    I decided rather than to harp at her I would try to teach her a lesson. When we first started to play one gal mentioned to be more careful about really racking on the face of your rack. So when the offender tapped her rack with the tile then discarded it- I called for the previous tile and said that your tile was NEVER racked. The offender was surprised, but the other players agree.
    That makes me smile.

    what would you have done if you were sick and tired of her quick, lazy?
    I would have recommended that she buy the 2018 revised rulebook from the League, and I would have let it roll off my back when she refused or rebuffed the suggestion.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 12, 2018 10:40 AM


    Looking for the FAQ about how to handle Mah Jong errors

    >From: Dorothy D
    >Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:00 AM
    >Subject: Errors FAQ?
    >Hi
    >I see FAQ 9, Ettiquette and Errors - but it seems to be only about Ettiquette. I know that there is a FAQ - I have used it in the past - but now I can't find it! Looking for answers to questions like these:
    >Once you call for a tile, are you permitted to change your mind? If so, at what point? If you have exposed the sequence, but the next person hasn't drawn yet, can you change your mind and put the tile back?
    >If you discard a tile, I think it's on the table as soon as you name it. Right?
    >When a hand is declared dead, tiles already exposed remain in play. (Ie jokers can still be swapped.) But other tiles that are exposed as part of an invalid Mah Jong - do they stay on the rack? Do they go back into the player's hand?
    >Thanks for pointing me to the correct FAQ for more info about errors!
    >Dorothy

    Hi, Dorothy!
    I'm sorry that the name I chose for FAQ 9 misled you. It's not only about etiquette; it also includes thoughts on table practices and bad habits, and my general mah-jongg philosophies about how mistakes should be handled (when the rules are silent), in all forms and variants of mah-jongg (not only American). I'll put on my thinking cap about what I should rename FAQ 9.

    You didn't say which mah-jongg variant you play. Most people who ask me mah-jongg questions play American mah-jongg (using the annual National Mah Jongg League card), so I am often correct in assuming that the questions are about American mah-jongg (but sometimes that assumption proves to have been wrong). Although you spelled the game's name with a single G (the way players of un-American mah-jongg usually spell it), you also mentioned jokers, so I'm assuming your questions are about American mah-jongg (although some players of Wright-Patterson rules and other forms of mah-jongg also use jokers). Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg rules are found in FAQ 19. Those questions (answered in FAQ 19) are not only about errors, they're mainly about rules and also about American table practices. You asked:

    Once you call for a tile, are you permitted to change your mind? If so, at what point? If you have exposed the sequence, but the next person hasn't drawn yet, can you change your mind and put the tile back?
    FAQ 19-AM is the American mah-jongg "Change of Heart" FAQ, listing all the most frequently asked questions about wanting "backsies" or a "do-over."

    If you discard a tile, I think it's on the table as soon as you name it. Right?
    FAQ 19-A defines when a tile is "down" and may not be taken back by the discarder.

    When a hand is declared dead, tiles already exposed remain in play. (Ie jokers can still be swapped.) But other tiles that are exposed as part of an invalid Mah Jong - do they stay on the rack? Do they go back into the player's hand?
    The frequently asked question "Can a joker be redeemed from a dead player's rack" is FAQ 19-P.

    Sorry those answers were had to find! I'm thinking maybe I'll change the name of FAQ 9 to "Etiquette and Philosophy." Think that helps?
    On the Mah-Jongg FAQs main page (http://sloperama.com/mjfaq.html), FAQ 19 is listed with the titles "American Mah Jongg," "American Rules FAQs," and "American Mah-Jongg FAQs (and beginner Q's)." Now I wonder if those names need changing. What do you think?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 12, 2018


    Can I... expose a NEWS (v3.2)

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 4:50 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Sorry....I did try to find the FAQ for that question before I emailed you. Obviously I didn’t see it.
    >Thanks for your response.
    >Donna

    No need for sorry, Donna!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 12, 2018 9:40 AM


    Can I claim a discarded tile to expose a NEWS? (v3.1)

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 4:08 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the 2018 card the hand containing NEWS and dragons...
    >Can you call for any of the NEWS tiles if it is not for Mah Jongg but to expose?
    >Thank you,
    >Donna

    Hi, Donna!
    The question you have asked has been asked many times before (most recently by Cheryl H, two days ago, below). It's a "Frequently Asked Question," or what is called an FAQ. I have written answers to all the most frequently asked questions about mah-jongg. You can link to the FAQs above left. Please always look for answers in the FAQs before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Your question is about the 2018 NMJL card. FAQ 16 answers all the most frequently asked questions about the 2018 card. FAQ 16 has the answer you seek.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 11, 2018 4:20 PM


    False hu in MCR, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 11:36 AM
    >Subject: and to continue with my question..
    >* When a person declares mahjong and displays his tiles and then finds out he doesn’t have enough points or has some other error, we understand that he continues playing and cannot win that hand, but what does he do with his displayed tiles? Does he leave them on display or return them to his undisplayed hand/rack?
    >http://www.sloperama.com/images/leta.gifThe player must return the displayed tiles to their previous upright (concealed) position. If you use racks, they must be re-racked. I guess I need to add this to the errata, for all or most of rule 84.
    >So let’s say the person declaring the incorrect mahjong already has several sets on his rack BEFORE he declares. Do all of the tiles on his rack get reracked or just the last ones he declared the hu with?
    >As always, thank YOU! Your answers are always valued and clear. My question just wasn’t completely thought all the way through yet. Lynn

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 11:29 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Lynn M P
    > paypal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Lynn M P
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Lynn M P
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Hi Lynn! Thanks for the donation.
    This is a rule that is well documented in American mah-jongg but not in MCR. So I answered it in detail in FAQ 19-P. The error was not evident prior to the player's hu declaration, which means that those prior exposures must have been proper (anyone looking at the exposures alone has insufficient cause to call the hand dead). The erroneous exposure (the remainder of the hand apart from the prior exposures) shows the hand to be dead, so the erroneous exposure must be returned to the upright (concealed) position, while the exposures made prior to the error may remain exposed. Thanks again for the donation!! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 11, 2018 3:05 PM


    Column 699

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:44 AM
    >Subject: column 699
    >Hi Tom,
    >I noted with interest your comment on the popularity of "5's" in this year's card. I counted the places that "9's" were used and I think 9's are going to be even more necessary than 5's this year. Or am I missing something? I enjoy your insights/observations.
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I did go out on a limb with that one. But look at the 13579 family. Every hand that needs nines also needs fives, but there are also hands that need fives and don't need nines. Also, there is only ONE hand in 13579 that needs fewer than three fives (#6). If you just count the fives in 13579, there are 42! Count the nines - just 27. Of course, nines are needed for 369 (and fives are not). So you may be onto something there.
    But we haven't talked about Consec yet. Consec #1 needs either four or two fives, depending on which one you do - and either zero or four nines. But each hand in Consec is a run of sequential numbers, and five occupies the central position in the overall scheme of things, so it's just statistically more likely that fives will be used a lot more than nines in Consec overall.
    But this is all just guesswork and approximation on my part.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 11, 2018 9:20 AM


    Exposed chows, part 2

    >From: Di N
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 3:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >(Australia - using ‘Thompson & Maloney’ book reference)
    >When can you chow from the left?
    >1. Only in the game of ‘Ordinary Mahjong’ Page 42 ?
    >Or
    >2. In any game that has a chow ‘meld’ included?
    >Thank you
    >Di N

    Hi, Di! I'm glad you came back with a follow-up. Apologies that I am a stickler on words - mainly, what is a "game," and what is a "hand." You and I mean different things by those words. You asked...

    When can you chow from the left? ... in the game of ‘Ordinary Mahjong’ Page 42 ?
    Now I know that your book is The Mah Jong Player's Companion, not their main book, The Game of Mah Jong, Illustrated. "Ordinary Mahjong" on page 42 of MJPC is not a "game" - it's a "hand." I was going to answer yes; in the game of plain old common ordinary run-of-the-mill mah jong, players may always chow; but that's not the game you play. See page 8 of your book; Thompson & Maloney call these "hands" and they call the game "Western" Mah Jongg. Eighteen years ago, I used to call it "Vanilla Western," and then I called it "Western/British/Australian," but that's too long. When I edited Mah Jong, Anyone? by Strauser & Evans, I changed the book's subtitle from A Manual of Modern Play to A Manual of Western Play. Sorry. Went off on a tangent there.

    Or ... In any game that has a chow ‘meld’ included?
    You may make a chow if you are playing any hand that contains a chow and is not marked Concealed. Some authors of Western/Australian mah-jongg prohibit making two chows during the formation of a hand (the only variant I can think of that has such a rule).
    Of course, you can always chow from anyone if the tile completes your mah jongg hand. You don't say "chow," you say "mah jongg."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 10, 2018 4:00 PM


    Some advice and value

    >From: billy l
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 5:15 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi I’ve got a 1920 mahjong leather case made from bone I think it’s lovel could I have some advice on it please and value

    Hi, Billy.
    I'm sorry, but you have not given me enough to go on.
    You didn't tell me exactly how many tiles are in the set. I assume there are 148; if there are fewer, you must tell me what's missing. See FAQ 7B and FAQ 7E.
    You didn't tell me what condition everything is in. The container is very beat up, meaning its condition is "Fair." The tiles themselves look to be in better condition, but maybe I'm not seeing the worst ones. See FAQ 7H. Value is extremely condition-dependent.
    You didn't show the most attractive tiles (the flowers). You didn't show the One Bams (which can be indicative of place or time of origin).
    You said the set is from the year 1920. It is not. It might be from the decade of the 1920s but I don't see any confirmation of that - could also be from the 1930s or 1940s. See column #610 for what a 1920 set would look like.
    You didn't say whether the dice coffin contains all its original dice, or whether the mingg contains all its wind discs. You didn't say how many sticks there are of each denomination (I did see that the set has a mix of bone sticks and plastic sticks, meaning some original sticks were lost and somebody replaced them with newer ones). See FAQ 7D. I also see that some of the sticks have lost paint (that paint is water-soluble, making them highly susceptible to paint loss).
    You say the tiles are bone and bamboo. But the white portion of the tiles I see is very white, shiny, and smooth - they might be plastic and bamboo. See FAQ 7C. The fact that the design of the bams I can see looks more modern than the designs typically seen on 1920s sets further make me suspect that the tiles could be plastic. And that would make the tiles of more recent origin (maybe as late as the 1990s). The set could be a Frankenstein of new tiles in an old case, for all I know. I need to see all the tiles, arranged nicely as per FAQ 7H.
    After you've given me enough information, I can help estimate your set's value.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 10, 2018 8:20 AM


    Mixed chows and exposed chows

    >From: Di N
    >Sent: Monday, April 9, 2018 10:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Mixed chow: (Thompson & Maloney)
    >1. Can you take a discarded tile from the left to make an ‘exposed’ MIXED chow or can you only take a discarded tile from the left to make a chow of all one suit?
    >2. How would you score a hand with an exposed chow? Assume a ‘half limit’ score?
    >Thank you
    >Di N

    G'day, Di! You asked:

    Can you take a discarded tile from the left to make an ‘exposed’ MIXED chow or can you only take a discarded tile from the left to make a chow of all one suit?
    Mixed chows are not generally regarded as exposable groupings. But it is common practice for players of Australian/British mah-jongg to create their own table rules. If your group wants to try permitting that, I think you'll find that the game becomes too easy, and in fact gets in the way. Like keeping the trainer wheels on your bicycle long after you've mastered staying upright.

    How would you score a hand with an exposed chow? Assume a ‘half limit’ score?
    I don't know. Which hand? You are right that many Australian/British special hands score full limit when concealed and half limit when exposed; if you're talking about one of those, then "yes." Some hands, though, must be concealed and may not be exposed. Some even score double limit. Check your Thompson & Maloney book for scoring, on a case-by-case basis.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 10, 2018 8:20 AM


    Shouldn't I get a jokerless bonus for a S&P hand?

    >From: Star Fire
    >Sent: Monday, April 9, 2018 8:46 PM
    >Subject: RE: Values on a joker less hand -- Singles & Pairs
    >Singles & Pairs -- when determining values for a Mah Jongg. Drew the winning tile so everyone paid double ($1.00); but of course, it was a joker less hand, do you get credit for that also to make it $2.00? Or would it be only $1.00 since there is no choice but to have no jokers?
    >Thanks
    >Star Fire

    Hi, Star Fire! You asked:

    Singles & Pairs ... Drew the winning tile so everyone paid double ($1.00); but of course, it was a joker less hand, do you get credit for that also to make it $2.00?
    Sorry, no.

    Or would it be only $1.00 since there is no choice but to have no jokers?
    Read the back of the card (upper left corner).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 9, 2018 9:25 PM


    2018 S&P Qs

    >From: Shula
    >Sent: Monday, April 9, 2018 7:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the new 2018 card, the singles and pairs section.
    >NN EE WW SS 11 22 33 ( any 3 consec . No’s)
    >Does this mean the numbers have to be 3 consec . No’s . BUT what suit (1) or each number can be a different suit?
    >FF 11 22 33 44 55 DD (any 5 consec, no’s)
    >What suit?.
    >Thank you for the answer.
    >Shula
    >Merrick, NY

    Hi, Shula! I neglected to foresee these questions when I updated FAQ 16, but (thanks to you) I'm getting the chance now to make the FAQ better! (^_^)

    2018 card, the singles and pairs section.
    >NN EE WW SS 11 22 33 ( any 3 consec . No’s)
    >Does this mean the numbers have to be 3 consec . No’s . BUT what suit (1)
    NN EE WW SS 11 22 33 (Any 3 Consec. Nos.)
    You get to decide which suit (or should I say it's the Mah-Jongg Goddesses who decide).

    or each number can be a different suit?
    Count the colors. On the back of the card, it says: "1 color—any 1 suit; 2 colors—any 2 suits; 3 colors—3 suits." This hand is printed in one color. That means that this hand is a one-suit hand.

    FF 11 22 33 44 55 DD (any 5 consec, no’s)
    >What suit?.
    FF 11 22 33 44 55 DD (Any 5 Consec. Nos.)
    It's one color. "1 color—any 1 suit," it says on the card. Card color does not dictate suit.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 9, 2018, 7:55 PM


    Please explain the logic of this rule

    >From: Rose B
    >Sent: Monday, April 9, 2018 2:30 PM
    >Subject: Racking tiles after a dead hand is declared
    >Mr. Sloper,
    >Re: FAQ 19 – AMERICAN MAH-JONGG FAQS – THE GENERAL RULE ON JOKER VALIDITY
    >Firstly, please know that I understand the rules of the joker – when it can be taken or not. And my question is not about the joker specifically.
    >My question is about a dead hand but I found this following text in the joker section.
    >I am not questioning the rule (a rule is a rule) but I do not understand the logic. If a player has incorrectly called and exposed a MJ, why are the erroneous tiles returned back to the rack? It seems to me that the other players are being penalized. A tile they may need will never be played/discarded. When the tiles are returned to the rack, the other remaining players will never know what tiles are unavailable and that their tile will never be available to call. Seems unfair to me.
    >Thanks in advance.
    >Rose
    >**************************
    >[text quoted from FAQ 19-P omitted ]
    >**************************

    Hi, Rose!
    I was not present at the creation of the rules, so I don't know what conversations or events may have led to the creation of this one. I am happy to discuss the pros and cons of the rule, but I cannot explain it or justify it. All I can do is share with you my point of view on it. You wrote:

    If a player has incorrectly called and exposed a MJ, why are the erroneous tiles returned back to the rack? It seems to me that the other players are being penalized.
    Your feeling is that an unfairness has been perpetrated on the surviving players, I get that. But is it the fault of the rules that players feel like they've been treated unfairly, or is it the fault of the player who made the huge error? As I wrote in FAQ 9, Philosophy 5, when an error occurs, the game's harmonic flow is disturbed (I'm paraphrasing). Larger errors incur larger penalties, which cause heightened disturbance in the game's harmony. Small errors cause small disturbances, affecting one person only a little. Huge errors cause huge disturbances, causing every player pain, not only the erring player.
    Erroneous mah-jongg is a serious error; a player has dashed ice water on the other players' hopes, and some players may even throw in their tiles. The penalty to the erring player is severe; she is no longer permitted to play. Your objection is...

    A tile they may need will never be played/discarded.
    Well, you had a chance to look at them before the hand was declared invalid.

    If it helps, I have played in China and Japan and other countries, and have an extensive library of books on numerous variants, so I can attest that this rule also exists in un-American mah-jongg.

    The error was what? She showed her hand; she thought it was a winner; she was wrong. That was an error. Should the error be allowed to continue to sit there, thumbing its nose at all the players? Or should the error be rectified as well as it can be, given the enormity of the blunder that has occurred? Put the newly exposed tiles back, then impose the penalty on the erring player.

    When the tiles are returned to the rack, the other remaining players will never know what tiles are unavailable and that their tile will never be available to call.
    Whose fault is that? The dummy who created the rule (or the dummy who kept the rule from the Chinese), or the player who said mah-jongg with an invalid hand, or the player who never bothered to look at the hand to figure out that it was erroneous (or did look, but can't remember what hand it was)? Or maybe a combination? I don't think all the blame needs to be laid at the feet of the creator of the rule.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 9, 2018, 4:10 PM


    Can I claim a discarded tile to expose a NEWS? (v2)

    >From: Cheryl H
    >Sent: Monday, April 9, 2018 10:49 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it acceptable to “take” a tile “N, E, W, or S” to forms “NEWS” on 2018 Mahjongg card when not having “mahjongg”?? In other words is “NEWS” considered 4 separate tile, therefore, each tile must be drawn or can to “take” a discarded tile to make the word?

    Hi, Cheryl!
    The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question," or what is called an FAQ. I have written answers to all the most frequently asked questions about mah-jongg. You can link to the FAQs above left. Please always look for answers in the FAQs before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Your question is about the 2018 NMJL card. FAQ 16 answers all the most frequently asked questions about the 2018 card. FAQ 16 has the answer you seek.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 9, 2018


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, April 8, 2018 1:09 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Caroline G (kelly.g
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$75.00 USD from Caroline G (kelly.g ).
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    Wow! Thank you so much, Caroline!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 8, 2018


    A "change of heart" question Can she change her exposure?

    >From: Sue A
    >Sent: Saturday, April 7, 2018 7:17 PM
    >Subject: Change mind on exposure
    >My friend called a flower, she exposes jokers and flower to form a Kong, then she realizes she needs only three flowers. She wants to put one back and then discard. I see nothing wrong with this since she has not discarded yet. But others at table objected.
    >I looked for this in your questions and answers??
    >Sue Austinson

    Hi, Sue! You wrote:

    Subject: Change mind on exposure
    Easy. See FAQ 19-AM, the "change of heart" FAQ.

    My friend called a flower, she exposes jokers and flower to form a Kong, then she realizes she needs only three flowers. She wants to put one back and then discard. I see nothing wrong with this since she has not discarded yet. But others at table objected.
    Oh, that's different. That's "Can I change my exposure if I haven't discarded yet?" (FAQ 19-AF). Sorry for jumping the gun on the subject line - but now I realize that the two are related questions. Under the category "change of heart" I was only answering the questions about deciding not to complete a move one had begun (an "undo," or "backsies"). I hadn't considered that changing course midstream could also be seen to fit into that category, since one is about changing one's mind, and the other is about undoing a mistake. So, thanks to you, I have now made it easier (hopefully) to find that question in FAQ 19. Full details on your situation, the lady who exposed a kong and wanted to change it to a pung (and had not yet discarded, as you pointed out), are in FAQ 19-AF (not FAQ 19-AM).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2018, 10:08 PM


    Typo????

    >From: D N
    >Sent: Saturday, April 7, 2018 8:04 PM
    >Subject: Typo??
    >Typo???
    >The new-pattern hands are 2014 #4, Evens #1, Quints #2, Quints #4, and Consec #7. I don't think the Twelves are all that different conceptually from last year's Thirteens.

    Hi, D N! I recognize those words as being from column #699. That means I can easily fix it. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2018 9:50 PM


    Tomorrow's column is up today - the 2018 card (part 2)

    Dear readers,
    Column #700 is now online. Analysis of the new 2018 card, part 2. I don't know exactly how many parts the series will be, but I know there will be a part 3 - probably next weekend.
    Tom Sloper, April 7


    How do you stand it?

    >From: Cyvi L
    >Sent: Friday, April 6, 2018 7:08 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: you are so patient, although I do detect some grumpiness. My question is How do you stand it? A good drink while you write? Some medications, perhaps? Thanks for hanging in there!
    >Cyvi

    Hi Cyvi!
    "A good drink"? No, that doesn't help. I just write, then re-read what I wrote, and take out anything that's unclear or isn't nice. But I appreciate the thought! (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2018


    My students refuse to play for money

    >From: barbara w
    >Sent: Friday, April 6, 2018 7:03 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mahjong question or comment is: I am teaching a class in mahjong strategies to a group of fairly new players. They feel playing for money is “gambling” and don’t want to that. I feel that many strategies are more important when you are paying. Do you have a good reason or argument to try and sway them to play for money? Thank you.

    Hi, barbara!
    You need to adapt to your players' moral preferences. The customer is always right - so they are right, and you are wrong. You should have them play for the colorful plastic coins/chips that come with all American mah-jongg sets. Each player needs chips representing 50¢, 25¢, 10¢, and 5¢ so they can make payments to one another with colorful plastic instead of real coins. Put them on those brass prongs at the left end of the racks, each player starting with the same combination of denominations for scorekeeping purposes as I described in FAQ 7-D.
    Personally, I'm happy to play for not-real-money, but the other players always insist, so I do as the Romans do. In your case, the Romans don't want to gamble.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2018


    Thank you so much for creating such a valuable website.

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Friday, April 6, 2018 6:50 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > paypal
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Ellen F
    >You can view the details for this transaction by logging in to your PayPal account and clicking the "History" tab.View the details of this transaction online
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    >Message: Thank you so much for creating such a valuable website.
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
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    Thank you very much, Ellen!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2018


    False hu in MCR

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2018 2:59 PM
    >Subject: False Mahjong Declaration
    >Hi Tom,
    >Another question has come up in our world of Chinese Mahjong in Bishop, CA. We’ve tried to find the answer in your book, but couldn’t . When a person declares mahjong and displays his tiles and then finds out he doesn’t have enough points or has some other error, we understand that he continues playing and cannot win that hand, but what does he do with his displayed tiles? Does he leave them on display or return them to his undisplayed hand/rack?
    >Likewise, if a person declares mahjong and realizes before he displays his tiles that he has made a mistake, does he leave the tiles in his hand or does he have to display them and continue the play , but with no chance of winning the round, of course?
    >Always appreciate your responses and expertise! And we always donate a bit. Lynn

    Hi, Lynn P.! Sorry these aren't in my book. You asked:

    When a person declares mahjong and displays his tiles and then finds out he doesn’t have enough points or has some other error, we understand that he continues playing and cannot win that hand, but what does he do with his displayed tiles? Does he leave them on display or return them to his undisplayed hand/rack?
    The player must return the displayed tiles to their previous upright (concealed) position. If you use racks, they must be re-racked. I guess I need to add this to the errata, for all or most of rule 84.

    Likewise, if a person declares mahjong and realizes before he displays his tiles that he has made a mistake, does he leave the tiles in his hand or does he have to display them and continue the play, but with no chance of winning the round, of course?
    "Empty hu" is penalized by "prohibition from declaring hu" for the duration of the hand (rule 84.c.). Player does not have to display tiles (that would be a different error - an error isn't penalized by being forced to commit another error) (see also rule 85.d.).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 6, 2018


    New column is up - the 2018 card (part 1)

    Dear readers,
    Column #699 is now online. Analysis of the new 2018 card. Part 2 will appear this weekend.
    Tom Sloper, April 5


    Oopsie in FAQ 16

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2018 11:08 AM
    >Subject: Typo?
    >Hi Tom, I think I’ve spotted a typo in your new answer to the 2018 card. In (2018 #1), right above the pictures where you’ve circled the ‘NOTE:’ item on the top of the card you say "(the parenthetical says "any 2 suits”)”. I believe that should be ‘any 3 suits’ since the hand being discussed requires 3 suits.
    >TimA

    Thanks, Tim. I fixed it. A lot of FAQ 16 is just copied from past years, since many of the hands are repeats. I missed that edit. Thanks again.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2018


    FAQ 16 Updated for 2018

    Dear readers,
    FAQ 16 has been updated to reflect the new 2018 card. Hope you find it helpful!
    Tom Sloper, April 5


    Looking for players tips

    >From: Lauren M
    >Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2018 9:37 AM
    >Subject: Find Players/Teachers
    >Location (city and state or zip code): Montclair NJ 07042
    >The mah-jongg variant I play is: American
    >I r to spend my time practicecently learned to play mah=jongg at the YMCA and on a cruise. I have been fortunate to find a very nice game once a week. The players are tolerant and helpful. But I want to practice and learn and speed up between weekly games. I could use lessons if that would help.
    >What to you suggest to improve my game between sessions? Lauren

    Hi, Lauren!
    I write columns about how to improve your game. Click the purple banner atop this page to get to the columns. I just got the new card a couple days ago, and I just posted a revised FAQ 16. Working on a couple of columns now.
    But the best way to come up to speed on the new card (assuming that would help you speed up in general) is to take out your mah-jongg tiles and sit with the new card, forming each hand with real tiles to make sure you understand how each hand works.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2018


    Can the numbers in Any Like Numbers be any number? Do they have to be alike?

    >From: Susan L
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 9:49 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Under any like numbers the example is:
    >FF 1111 DDDD 1111 (any 3 suites)
    >Do the ones always have to be ones? Or can they be twos, threes, fours, etc?
    >Matching numbers but different suites?
    >Thanks for taking my question.
    >Sue

    Hi, Susan!
    In past years, this section was only titled "LIKE NUMBERS." One new thing the League did this year was to add the word "ANY" to the section title. All the information you need about this hand is contained in the section name and the parenthetical (color-coding and the "suitedness" of dragons are explained on the back of the card). Since the name of the section is ANY LIKE NUMBERS, the numbers can be ANY numbers, but they have to be ALIKE one another. Since the number kongs are different colors, they have to be different suits.
    I'll be rewriting FAQ 16 in the next few days, to answer the frequently asked questions about the yearly card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 4, 2018


    Where is my card (frownyface emoji)

    >From: Lynda E
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 7:17 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Where is my card??
    >Lynda E

    Hi, Lynda!
    I am neither the NMJL nor the USPS, so I can only offer some completely useless guesses:
    Maybe it's in the mail.
    Maybe it's queued to be mailed soon.
    Maybe it got stuck behind a mail bin at the post office.
    Maybe the League lost your order.
    Maybe you forgot to order it.
    Maybe it's in the easter egg in The Oasis, and you have to find the three keys before you can unlock it.
    IOW: I have no idea where your card is. Hey, I just heard from the USPS yesterday that they have a new app for people wondering where their mail is. Seriously! I'm going to download the app - sounds like a good thing.
    May the card be with you soon.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 4, 2018


    NEWS is a kong, isn't it?

    >From: Sally C
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 3, 2018 3:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >2018 card contains two hands with NEWS. In the past NEWS has always been considered as singles. This year I can not find any information on the card that indicates it is treated as singles. Can you clarify this for me?

    Hi, Sally!
    I see what you're saying - if it isn't four singles, then it must be a kong, is that it? If you look at the back of the card, you'll see the definition of a kong. But my definition of a kong is better, if I do say so myself. That's in FAQ 19-E. (I just got the new card yesterday, so I haven't been able to update FAQ 16 yet.)
    You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Another thought: in the absence of a statement saying that a rule has been changed, perhaps one could surmise that the rule has not been changed. Anyway... May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 3, 2018


    Subscribe me

    >From: Sandy H
    >Sent: Monday, April 2, 2018 4:01 PM
    >Subject: Your email column
    >I would like to subscribe.
    >sandy h

    Sorry, Sandy! I don't know how to implement that technology. There will be some columns coming up very soon! And a new FAQ 16, as well.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom


    How should this be scored?

    >From: Jeanne W
    >Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2018 4:55 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I’m east, roll doubles, draw my own tile for mah jongg, and have no jokers. What is due from each player for a 25 cent hand?
    >I think $1, others believed more was due. We settled for $1 and agreed to ask the experts for future reference
    >Thanks in advance for your answer
    >Jeanne

    Hi, Jeanne!
    I don't do math for free! :p But I'll help you enumerate the factors.

    I’m east,
    Why mention that? You mentioned jokers and 25¢ hands, so I assume you play American mah-jongg, not Chinese. Being East can increase your score in Asian rules - not American.

    roll doubles,
    I don't know your table rules. See FAQ 14.

    draw my own tile for mah jongg,
    Okay, that doubles your score, like it says on the back of the card.

    and have no jokers.
    Like it says on the back of the card, that also doubles the score.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2018


    Can I say mah-jongg on a discard if I'm waiting to complete a pair?

    >From: Doris
    >Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2018 5:54 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can I take a tile someone threw away to go mah jongg if it makes my pair in a concealed hand?
    >I know I could if it was a pung, kong or quint? Thank you.
    >Doris

    Good morning, Doris. Please read FAQ 19-E3. You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. (This question is in the section "CLAIMING A DISCARD, and the WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY.") Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2018


    What's in a word, part 2

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 9:09 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Barney G (barneyg
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Barney G. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
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    >Contributor: Barney G
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Barney!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    What's in a word: "racked"

    >From: Barney G
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 7:42 AM
    >Subject: Racked Tile
    >Good Morning Tom.
    >Quick question. I have read everything on your site that pertains to “racking” a tile - or calling a tile “racked”. FAQ 19 AD….beautifully spells it all out. I do not see any differentiation in there between a tile picked from the wall and a tile called (the last discarded tile) from the table. Not sure there needs to be a differentiation but a nice conversation today on-line proves there is some debate. I thought if you called a discarded tile and placed it on top of your rack - the term “racked” really would not apply to that tile. That tile would simply be described as “on top of your rack”. Others feel the definition of “racking” is two-part, specifically if it’s a tile taken from the wall, it is racked when sitting on the sloping part of the rack (we all agree) and if it’s a called tile it is “racked” when either you place it on top of your rack or on the sloping part of your rack. Would love your perspective on this.
    >Thank you
    >Barney

    Hi, Barney.
    Putting a tile atop the rack is not "racking." It's "exposing."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 27, 2018


    Strategy and death

    >From: Paul A
    >Sent: Monday, March 26, 2018 8:55 PM
    >Subject: American Mahj: Making others aware of what NOT to discard; Calling players dead
    >Hi Tom,
    >Great site! I've read so much and my apologies if I missed this as I'm a new player. Three questions:
    >1) Is it illegal, frowned upon, unethical, or good strategy to make sure players know what tiles to NOT discard? Not everyone will immediately recognize that a player is working on a particular hand.
    > 2) Calling hands dead seems mean. Is it understood to just be part of the game or should I expect people to take it personally and/or argue? I could be holding a 3rd tile that a player needs for a pair, discard, then say "your dead". Sounds like fighting words!
    > 3) If the dead player denies being dead, how does she prove it in the end? After all, perhaps she wasn't dead the moment it was called but became dead later. Should the dead player take a picture of the discards?
    > Thanks in advance!
    >Paul

    Hi, Paul! You wrote:

    Is it illegal, frowned upon, unethical, or good strategy to make sure players know what tiles to NOT discard?
    Have you ever watched a poker tournament on TV? Is it normal and customary to see professional high-stakes poker players advise each other honestly on strategy, with millions of dollars at stake? As for American mah-jongg, I wrote about sharing information in column 654 and column 689.

    Since you're a new player, you might want to bookmark my column (you can always click the purple banner atop many pages of my site to get to the column). A new card is coming in the next few days, so I'll be writing a lot about it.

    Calling hands dead seems mean.
    A lot of people agree with you. I've heard from players whose groups have an "everybody stays alive" table rule. The American death rule is unique among mah-jongg variants - in un-American mah-jongg, a dead player (a player who will not be permitted to win) continues playing defensively.

    Is it understood to just be part of the game
    Well, it IS just part of the game, not that everybody "understands" it that way (which is what you asked).

    or should I expect people to take it personally and/or argue?
    You should expect that SOME people will.

    I could be holding a 3rd tile that a player needs for a pair, discard, then say "your dead".
    Yes, if her exposures demonstrably show that she needs a pair of that tile, and she didn't call mah-jongg on your discard. Not an uncommon series of events.

    Sounds like fighting words!
    Try to rise above that thought. Be the person who accepts fair penalties as just; be the person who can gently inform an opponent that her hand is unfortunately dead.

    If the dead player denies being dead, how does she prove it in the end?
    By showing her tiles at the completion of the hand, as per FAQ 19-AB (in the "YOU'RE DEAD" section of FAQ 19).

    After all, perhaps she wasn't dead the moment it was called but became dead later. Should the dead player take a picture of the discards?
    Photographs of the discard floor are probably less useful/necessary than you think. A "game" (or "hand") normally takes about 15 minutes. As per FAQ 19-AA, most of the circumstances that justify a death challenge are based on the challengee's exposures, together with other tiles on the table visible to all players. Those exposures and other tiles remain visible throughout the 15-minute hand. More tiles will be visible by the end of the hand (not fewer), so photos are probably unnecessary. After a death challenge is denied, the challenger and the challengee are going to be watching proceedings carefully and storing away any pertinent new information in short-term memory. I've never encountered a situation in which nobody could remember the reason for a death challenge and the validity of the challenge could not be proved because there was no photographic evidence.

    You can link to FAQ 19 above left. Please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 27, 2018


    Called me dead but I'm not. What now? (Frequently Asked Question 19-AB)

    >From: Marlene R
    >Sent: Monday, March 26, 2018 8:45 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What is the penalty to a player who calls another players hand dead when it isnt.

    Hi, Marlene!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a "Frequently Asked Question" (an FAQ). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. You'll find your answer in FAQ 19-AB.
    For your future reference, you can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2018


    Frequently Asked Question 19-M2: Can I redeem a joker before I take a discard?

    >From: Jeanne T
    >Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2018 9:48 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >This may be a little bit complicated but here is my question. I encountered this in today's game:
    >East had (2) 3 BAMS in her hand but needed a total of 4 BAMS to expose.
    >A 3 BAM was discarded by South.
    >She could not pick it up of course but the West player had a tile exposed with a Joker which East could exchange for an un-needed tile she was sitting on. So she wanted to take West's joker which she could use to make 3 BAMS for her hand AND then wanted to also pick up the 3 BAM that was discarded by South player.
    >So in other words she wanted to exchange and then also pick up the discard since she now had a joker to complete her exposure.
    >I don't think that would work (and she did not do it) but we agreed to ask the experts.
    >Thank you!

    Hi, Jeanne!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-M2 (in the Jokers section: "Can I redeem a joker before I take a discard?"). You can link to the FAQs above left. For your future reference: on the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 24, 2018


    The "change of heart" rules, part 6

    >From: Barney G
    >Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 4:25 PM
    >Subject: Barney's Typos
    >I think my word “typos” may have confused you. I was referring to my two typos in my original email to you this morning. That’s why I sent you back a clean copy of my original email without the two typos. But I think you worked so fast today - that my original email went up on your site and then the typo free version went up shortly thereafter. No big deal.
    >In your response to my original email you asked if removing the paragraph all together would help. I would have said Yes. I see you reworded the confusing paragraph. Personally I think it’s still unnecessary. Since you agree the “green” rule is accurate, people playing in a home game using NMJL rules should just follow that rule and forget all together the comment made about tournament play. I would not want people in their home game to think it’s appropriate (and in line with NMJL rules) to allow someone to place their discard on top of their rack and then be able to change their mind. If it were up to me I would just move that paragraph all together in Errata.
    >The great news here is what we are all in violent agreement. If you place that discarded tile on top of your rack, it’s too late to change your mind and put it back.
    >Have a great weekend Tom!
    >Barney

    Hi, Barney!
    I knew you were talking about your own typos. But you didn't tell me exactly what fixes to make - when you resent me your whole email after I'd spent 20 minutes working with your first email, I didn't want to go rooting out the differences between your two emails. But let's stop talking about typos.

    I see you reworded the confusing paragraph.
    No. I deleted it. It's not in the current errata file. But I did notice that I neglected to change the date at the top of the errata file, so I'll need to fix and upload a new errata file when I get home tonight.

    The great news here is what we are all in violent agreement.
    YES, WE ARE, GOLDURN IT!!! SO THERE! (See, I was being violent in agreeing that we're in agreement. Pretty good, huh? Since I'm allowed to shout here, I shouted. Heh.)

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2018


    The "change of heart" rules, part 5

    >From: Barney G
    >Cc: Barney G
    >Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 9:10 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: Committed to taking a discarded tile.
    >I hate typos. I just fixed some. New text appears below.
    >Begin forwarded message:
    >From: Barney G
    >Subject: Committed to taking a discarded tile.
    >Date: March 23, 2018 at 11:49:40 AM EDT
    >Cc: Barney G
    >I am very curious about this paragraph appearing on page 4 of Errata.
    >But that's just the "tournament" rule, the NMJL says. In home games, the player might be permitted to change her mind and put the discard back, even if she's put it atop her rack, as long as she has not exposed tiles from her hand. In a later bulletin, the League stated that they do not have separate home rules and tournament rules (saying they do not have tournament rules). Question: what is the correct rule?
    >The League seems clear about the rule on this and even comments in the January 2017 Bulletin Q/A section:
    >Q — When is a player committed to take a discarded tile from the table?
    >A — You are committed to a call when you have either exposed tiles from your hand, or placed the called tile on top of your rack.
    >So in a home game, using NMJL rules, we should be enforcing what appears in GREEN. No? If someone asked me what the rule is, I would state what is in GREEN without hesitation or caveat. Only reason I am asking you this is because the last part of the piece in RED says, “what is the correct rule?” I was confused by that and just wanted to make sure I was on the right page.
    >THX Tom!
    >Have a great weekend
    >Barney

    Hi, Barney.
    I just finished laboriously finding a way to use the colored text you used in your email while preserving this board's color-coding, then revising the errata, and posting the revised errata. I don't have energy to search, find, and root out the typos.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2018


    The "change of heart" rules, part 4

    >From: Barney G
    >Cc: Barney G
    >Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 8:49 AM
    >Subject: Committed to taking a discarded tile.
    >I am very curious about this paragraph appearing on page 4 of Errata.
    [red]
    >But that's just the "tournament" rule, the NMJL says. In home games, the player might be permitted to change her mind and put the discard back, even if she's put it atop her rack, as long as she has not exposed tiles from her hand. In a later bulletin, the League stated that they do not have separate home rules and tournament rules (saying they do not have tournament rules). Question: what is the correct rule?
    [/red]
    >The League seems clear about the rule on this, and even comments in the January 2017 Bulletin Q/A section.
    [green]
    >Q — When is a player committed to take a discarded tile from the table?
    >A — You are committed to a call when you have either exposed tiles from your hand, or placed the called tile on top of your rack.
    [/green]
    >So in a home game, using NMJL rules, we should be enforcing what appears in GREEN. No? If someone asked me what the rule is, I would state what is in GREEN without hesitation and caveat. Only reason I am asking you this is because the last part of the piece in RED says, “what is the correct rule?” I was confused by that and just wanted to make sure I was own the right page.
    >THX Tom!
    >Have a great weekend
    >Barney

    Hi, Barney.
    Would it help if I delete that paragraph? I don't recall exactly when or where the League said something like "that's just the tournament rule" - it might have been in a letter one of my readers scanned. If so, you'll find it if you scroll back through the last couple years' worth of Q&As (at the bottom of every page, you can click the left-pointing hand to go back farther in time). Or it might have been in a bulletin. The "[green]" rule is the correct rule, in all circumstances.
    I'm deleting the paragraph that confused you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 23, 2018


    Chinese maj, part 3

    >From: Zoe G
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 5:29 PM
    >Subject: Re: question #1
    >thanks Tom! I guess we were really just wondering what to do since the rule book doesn’t really say*. I now teach beginning and novice Maj Jongg (American) at my house. (Just to ladies in my neighborhood). At home with a friend we’ve been been studying and playing Chinese Maj Jongg like crazy! As best as we can without a real teacher and only 3 of us every Friday night, but we are having fun!
    >May the tiles be with you too!
    >Zoe G

    You go, Zoe!
    *(But the rule book does say what to do - prohibit the erring player from winning the present hand. The fact that it doesn't say anything else means there's nothing else to do.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 22, 2018


    Seat rotation

    >From: Linda A
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 3:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is it common to rotate seats after each game? I kept telling my playing mates that we should move seats when they complain if they don’t get any jokers and don’t make a single mahjong. They go home upset. This last time we played we rotated seats clockwise and everyone made one or two mahjong in the course of the afternoon and went home happy. The jokers seemed to be distributed more evenly, or it seemed so. Can you tell me if this is a common practice? Thanks for your time.
    >Linda

    Hi, Linda! You wrote:

    Is it common to rotate seats after each game?
    No. Certainly not after each hand (or "game" as players of American mah-jongg say). The rules describe rotation after each round (a round is when the deal has moved all the way around the table). A round typically takes experienced players an hour, give or take 10 minutes. A hand takes, on average, 15 minutes. If the dealer swaps seats with the player to her right once an hour, that's not too many times. It might mean there'll be only one seat swap, if the play session usually goes two hours. See FAQ 19-BB.

    I kept telling my playing mates that we should move seats
    Well, I wouldn't say "should." I would say "here's an idea."

    when they complain if they don’t get any jokers and don’t make a single mahjong. ... This last time we played we rotated seats clockwise and everyone made one or two mahjong in the course of the afternoon and went home happy. The jokers seemed to be distributed more evenly, or it seemed so.
    It's mildly coincidental that changing seats and nice joker distribution occurred at the same time, but really, seat rotation has no effect on randomness - it only effects the play order, so that a player isn't getting first-right Charleston passes (for instance) from the same person the whole evening. Seat rotation is more about enhancing strategy than about enhancing randomness.

    Can you tell me if this is a common practice?
    Rotating seats is more common among experienced players, and competitive players. Players who understand the reason for, and value of, the practice.
    I recommend it when players are playing for 2 hours or longer. A lot of players object to the minor upheaval, not understanding the reason behind it (or not caring about the advanced strategic aspect).

    They go home upset.
    I didn't follow, either they were upset about not getting jokers often enough, or they were upset at being asked to rotate seats after every hand. As hostess, you can influence some aspects of the game, but you cannot influence random chance. There's no way to improve the number of wins your guests will have or how many jokers they'll see in the course of an evening. Certainly not with seat rotation.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2018


    Chinese maj questions, part 2

    >From: Zoe G
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 9:10 PM
    >Subject: Re: question #1
    >In an email last night I posed the Question “When a player has the wrong number of tiles...say 12,14 or 15, I understand that player keeps playing. Do they somehow correct the number of tiles in their hand or do they keep playing with the incorrect number of tiles in their hand?”
    >Yes I was referring to MCR or the version you use in your book, Chinese Official Mah-Jongg.
    >I understand that the player is dead when he/she has the wrong number of tiles. However, if they have 14 or 15 tiles when they go dead, they are holding extra tiles that other players may need. In theory someone could go dead on purpose and cheat.
    >It doesn’t seem fair that they should get to hold those extra tiles. So when they continue on playing even though they may not claim a tile or win, shouldn’t they also get their hand down to the fair and correct number of tiles(13)? I don’t see anything in any rule book on how to do this. Or do they just go on with whatever number they had when they went dead.
    >Thanks again,
    >Zoe G
    >I am so happy a was able to take the American Maj Jongg classes with you at a AJU.

    Hi, Zoe! I'm so sorry for not recognizing you! You've asked...

    However, if they have 14 or 15 tiles when they go dead, they are holding extra tiles that other players may need.
    Yes.

    In theory someone could go dead on purpose and cheat.
    Took me a while to figure out what you were getting at. You're saying a player could somehow contrive to have too many or too few tiles on purpose. I don't know why anyone would do that intentionally. "I can't win, so nobody will win"? Is that the idea? There are surely many ways that kind of vindictive strategy could play out more effectively.

    It doesn’t seem fair that they should get to hold those extra tiles
    Well, not everything in mah-jongg seems fair to everyone. The player is penalized pretty harshly, after all - whether that makes up for the unfairness the player caused the other players is a separate matter. The classic real-life "eye for an eye" penalty isn't fair, either (the victim who lost an eye doesn't get the eye back when the miscreant's eye is also taken in punishment). The real-life death penalty isn't fair either - the murdered victim's life isn't restored when the murderer is executed. "Fairness" isn't always possible once an error has occurred.

    Or do they just go on with whatever number they had when they went dead.
    The rule is simply that the hand is dead. The only mechanism I can think of to remedy it is that the player doesn't pick but just discards until the player has 13 in hand. Some players (outside of a tournament) might ask the player to do that. It's possible a judge might ask the player to do that, but there's nothing in the written rules about it. The rule (rule 86 in my book) simply says the player may pick and discard but not make exposures or win. Yes, the game is "spoiled" for others - that's why the player is hit with the harsh death penalty.

    BTW, I think it's cool that you're interested in Chinese mah-jongg after taking my class in American mah-jongg. And this also explains why you referred to it as "Chinese maj" in your email. Nobody shortens "mah-jongg" to "maj" ("mahj") except players of American mah-jongg.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2018


    Chinese Maj questions

    >From: Zoe G
    >Sent: Monday, March 19, 2018 11:43 PM
    >Subject: Chinese Maj question
    >When a player has the wrong number of tiles...say 12,14 or 15, I understand that player keeps playing. Do they somehow correct the number of tiles in their hand or do they keep playing with the incorrect number of tiles in their hand?
    >Thanks Tom,
    >Zoe G

    >From: Zoe G
    >Sent: Monday, March 19, 2018 11:47 PM
    >Subject: Chinese Maj question #2
    >When a player has a false “hu” does the player keep the 14th, say that person doesn’t have 8 points, or just doesn’t have Maj Jong. Do they need to discard that that 14th tile? And after that what happens?
    >Thanks Tom,
    >Zoe G

    Niihau, Zoe! I was wondering which Chinese variant you were asking about, but then you mentioned an 8-point minimum, so I surmise you are talking about MCR. You asked:

    When a player has the wrong number of tiles... Do they somehow correct the number of tiles in their hand or do they keep playing with the incorrect number of tiles in their hand?
    The player's hand is "dead." He or she picks and discards in turn, but is not allowed to claim any discard for any reason, and will not be permitted to win.

    When a player has a false “hu” does the player keep the 14th
    The player is required to discard a tile.

    Do they need to discard that that 14th tile?
    The player is free to discard any tile he or she sees fit.

    And after that what happens?
    I don't know. Either one of the other 3 players wins, or nobody wins.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Vernal Equinox, 2018


    A phrase you used, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2018 6:11 AM
    >Subject: column 698
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for explaining about the pairs. I never really took notice of where pairs were located from year to year. I can't wait to share all this info with my MJ group. You're teaching me to be more observant!
    >Thanks, Linda

    Cool. May the tiles be with you, Linda.
    Tom


    The "change of heart" rules, part 3

    >From: Barney G
    >Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2018 7:39 PM
    >Subject: Hi Tom.....
    >Sue Davidson sent you a question tonight. Here is my post on MJTI that she commented on. I think this might be helpful in terms of understanding her question. THX
    >IMG_7964.jpg

    Doesn't change my answer, Barney. It's B, per the League's rulings in 2007 and 2013, and as I show in FAQ 19-H2. That doesn't mean there still won't be disagreements when it happens to someone.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    St. Patrick's Day, 2018


    The "change of heart" rules, part 2 (see March 1)

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2018 5:26 PM
    >Subject: Another Question about the Window of Opportunity
    >Tom, After much discussion, hopefully most other players now understand that even if the person who is next in line to the discarder wants the same tile as another player(for an exposure) that if a player who is not next in line has claimed a discard and made an exposure, then next in line is too late. Today, there has been a discussion on Mah Jongg That's It! about if next in line wants the tile for Mah Jongg. If a player who is not next in line claims a tile and exposes, is it too late for next in line to claim it even if it is for Mah Jongg?
    >Thank you,
    >Susan

    Hi, Susan! Your question has been answered by the League, in the 2007 and 2013 newsletters. I cited those answers in FAQ 19-H2.

    if next in line wants the tile for Mah Jongg. If a player who is not next in line claims a tile and exposes, is it too late for next in line to claim it even if it is for Mah Jongg?
    Probably yes (see FAQ 19-H2). But the players might perceive a highly aggressive player "slam-exposing" to shut out the other player.
    How aggressive was the punger/konger? How slow was the erstwhile winner? The players at the table can reasonably judge whether the claim for mah-jongg should trump the exposure, based on whether the mah-jongg claimant was reasonably quick to call for the win, and whether the other player was aggressively pushing out her tiles in such a way that the clear intent is to prevent anyone else from playing.
    Did the punger/konger speak the claim, then take the discard as is preferred by the new rulebook, before exposing tiles from the hand? All before the other player said "mahj?" If so, sounds to me like the erstwhile winner was indeed too slow. It's too late to speak the claim now, and in fact speaking it now (or suddenly gasping or looking upset) tells the rest of the table what she needs.
    Myself, I like the Chinese 3-second window of opportunity. But that's too simple (and un-American, to boot).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    St. Patrick's Day, 2018


    Errors in the MCR, part 2

    >From: Jeff C
    >Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2018 6:19 PM
    >Subject: Re: MCR errata
    >Thanks. I did download the 2014 version and have looked at the CEJ version (latest update). The mindMahjong.com website is regularly updated and there are recent competitions so I was hopeful I just missed a link. I suspect updating the MCR is a volunteer effort so it only happens when those in charge feel up to the task. If/when I send in my suggestions I can cc or bcc you if you like.

    Sure.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom
    St. Patrick's Day, 2018


    A phrase you used in regards to Consec #1 and Odds #1 in column 698

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2018 3:44 PM
    >Subject: learning a new card
    >Hi Tom,
    > Thanks for your column on "Learning a New Card". You brought up a lot of things that I never noticed before. Regarding alternating hand structures, what do you mean by "low pairs" (in even years) and "end pairs" (in odd years)? I don't understand what that means.
    >Thanks so much, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    You've been playing long enough to have seen red cards and blue cards, right? So you've seen Consec #1 and Odds #1 on at least 2 different cards. The structure of these hands is always "2 pairs, 2 pungs, and 1 kong." But it's specifically the placement of the pairs that I was talking about in column 698.

        
    From the 2017 card (a blue card)

    Where are the 2 pairs in the hands above, versus the hands below? Are the pairs at the low end of the hand, or at opposite ends?

        
    From the 2016 card (a red card)

    The pairs are always the hardest part of these hands; it's vital to strategy to be mindful of the pairs when trying to make these hands. That's why I talk about the pairs in these hands, not the kongs. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    St. Patrick's Day, 2018


    Need tips, part 3

    >From: Theresa B
    >Sent: Friday, March 16, 2018 2:47 PM
    >Subject: Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from theresa b
    >You are most welcome. I don’t stress about such things. And I took to heart your comment about not changing the tiles. Hopefully someone knows why some of the tiles turned. I’d love to just know why.
    >By the way I noticed you teach at USC. We used to have a home in CA and visited Exposition Park. My son still talks about Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak. They had the best cheese steaks!
    >Have a great weekend!
    >Theresa

    Heh. I don't know where Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak is, and it does sound yummy. But I have minimized my consumption of meaty-cheesy foodstuffs (and not only that, but Spring Break and Girl Scout cookies already make a fattening combination).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2018


    Need tips, part 2

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Friday, March 16, 2018 1:54 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from theresa b
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from theresa b (tb@yahoo.com ). You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: theresa b
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Theresa! I'm happy to see, by the way, that you continue to inhale and exhale. (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2018


    Need tips on how to clean discolored celluloid tiles

    >From: Theresa B
    >Sent: Friday, March 16, 2018 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Cleaning/restoring
    >Good morning,
    >First, thank you for your continued efforts in educating and sharing knowledge about Mah Jongg. Your site is invaluable and appreciated.
    >After reading the cleaning/restoring page there weren’t any tips on how to clean celluloid when the tiles are discolored.
    >Is the below just a product of age or storage conditions? The tiles have a neon orange hue to them that the picture isn’t capturing completely.
    >Any guidance is very much appreciated.
    >Thank you,
    >Theresa B

    Hi, Theresa! I'm sorry that I myself do not possess the knowledge you seek. FAQ 7-o is a "wisdom of the crowd" kind of thing, where I've collected tips from readers and shared them for future readers. And as a matter of fact, I personally would not be trying to change the color of my old tiles (those celluloid tiles will be 100 years old in just 6 or 7 years from now!). I did a lot of damage to old coins in my collection, trying to make my coin collection shine - and that experience has made me very leery of heroic restoration of old objects. Maybe a reader who has tried doing what you want to do will share her or his experiences. Stay tuned, but do keep inhaling and exhaling in the meantime.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 16, 2018


    In case you weren't aware

    >From: Brandon H
    >Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2018 7:04 PM
    >Subject: Changes to Mahjongg Made Easy
    >Hi Tom!
    >I was perusing your NMJL history pages to help prep my group for some "vintage" games where we play old cards, including using the older rules. Out of curiosity I clicked on your page comparing the old version of Mahjongg Made Easy to the 2013 revisions, and I wanted to let you know (in case you weren't aware) that 2018 looks like yet another updated version. I have not had the time to compare yet, but I make mention of it because a rule update regarding when a tile is considered racked appears to have been lifted word for word verbatim from an answer to a question that was put out with the 2018 bulletin.
    >I'm not sure if there are other changes, but it does appear that they've updated the book again.
    >Thanks for your awesome resource and your informative answers to every Mahj question imaginable!
    >Brandon H

    Hi, Brandon!
    Sounds like you found column 667 but not column 696! I realize now that I need to make them both easier to find.
    Also, something you said:

    I make mention of it because a rule update regarding when a tile is considered racked appears to have been lifted word for word verbatim from an answer to a question that was put out with the 2018 bulletin.
    I apologize, but I'm not following you. Yes, the wording in the newsletter and in the revised rulebook are the same in a couple of locations, and I saw similar wording to mine as well.
    I noted the definition of "racked tile" in column 694, when commenting on the 2018 newsletter/bulletin. I found it interesting that it had finally been officially deemed necessary to define what a "racked tile" is. Were you just commenting on this new definition... or did you have a question I can help with?

    Thanks for writing. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The Ides of March, 2018


    RDWWQ5

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2018 7:04 PM
    >Subject: RDWW Book Question
    >Hi Tom, I know your book hasn’t been updated for a bit and per a recent comment you don’t know how receptive the publisher would be to doing one.
    >Does this apply to the ebook copies as well? I see both the Kindle edition and an iBook edition are available and would think that these would be easy to update each year at little cost to them.
    >Tim

    Thanks for the thought, Tim. I appreciate your desire for an updated version of my book. I assume that the effort and cost for the publisher would be non-insignificant, whether print or digital. For the time being, I still recommend keeping a copy of the RDWW errata with the book (or with your e-reader) (or with your mah-jongg stuff).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The Ides of March, 2018


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

    >From: "bevp1230
    >Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2018 10:11 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >A player discards a tile and names it incorrectly. After 1 or 2 rounds of play, the error is discovered. If that discarded tile had been named correctly, another player would have called it for MahJongg. What is the ruling in this situation?
    >Thank you.
    >Sent from my iPhone
    >Beverly P
    >Fort Mill SC

    Hi, Beverly!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-AY. You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The Ides of March, 2018


    I need jokers!

    >From: Linda F
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 12:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I just purchased a mahjong set from someone that was selling his mother's set. It doesn't have any jokers. Is there any way I can buy the jokers separately?
    >I can send a picture of my tiles, they are much larger in thickness than the regular tiles that are two colors.
    >Hope you can help. Have a good day.
    >Linda F

    Hi, Linda!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 7R,. You can link to the FAQs above left. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about mah-jongg are found in the FAQs. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Pi Day, 3.14.2018


    Such a tiny goof. Am I dead?

    >From: Sara J. O
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 3:23 PM
    >Subject: Is this Man Jongg in error
    >Tom- I have been playing for about 5 years with the same group of gals and we never have run across this issue. I placed my tiles on the rack and declared Mah Jongg. But another person said “hey you have the tiles in the wrong order”. I had all the correct tiles for the Maj, but somehow placed them incorrectly together ( I had 2 Flowers and 4 dragons, but should have been 4 flowers and 2 dragons.. What would be the ruling on this?
    >Thanks Tom
    >Sara O

    It depends, Sara. Were you playing in a tournament, for prizes or glory? Or were you playing in a home game? Were you playing with an established group for the first time, and they didn't tell you about their strict table rules?
    In my opinion, nice folks would say "just reorganize them and tell me how much I owe you." There's nothing in the rulebook that says you can't reorganize your tiles and collect.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 13, 2018


    What the heck, part 2

    >From: Debbie P
    >Sent: Monday, March 12, 2018 7:46 AM
    >Subject: Re: American Joker Symbol
    >Thank you so much !
    >Debbie

    You're welcome, Debbie. May the tiles be with you. - Tom


    Errors in the MCR

    >From: Jeff C
    >Sent: Monday, March 12, 2018 4:54 AM
    >Subject: MCR errata
    >Hi Tom,
    >I love your website, thank you for doing all that work. I have started playing Mahjong with colleagues at work after learning while in China for a work trip. I used your link to download MCR from the official website.
    >I have noticed typos, errors and omissions in the MCR. I have looked for a way to send my findings to the World Mahjong Organization but have found none. The Postscript specifically states the MCR should improve itself constantly so presumably the WMO wants this feedback. Do you know how feedback is to be provided?
    >I did find a letter you composed May 13, 2008 regarding MCR errata but there is no To: information. I also looked through all the FAQ and didn’t find a solution.
    >Thanks again,
    >Jeff C

    Hi, Jeff.
    I understand your desire to fix typos and errors, and especially omissions, in the Majiang Competition Rules. I myself spent quite a bit of time trying to help improve the printed translation of the rules, and I have an email address I used for that purpose over a decade ago. I presume someone is still checking that address but I don't imagine there is an office with paid staff handling incoming questions and suggestions. I don't know if anyone is keeping track of desired rule improvements. I assume you downloaded the NEW IN 2014 PDF from FAQ 22, not the old 2006 "green book."
    And I should help dispel any other crossed expectations you might be harboring. When I sent over my edit to the MCR, it contained a number of questions and requests for clarifications, and I was expecting some back-and-forth so a very clear rulebook would be the result. That's not what happened. Many of my edits did make their way into the green book, but some of my questions were not answered, so there were some residual ambiguities in the 2006 green book. And there were still many typos as well. I was not involved in the 2014 revision effort. Mr. Wang Yingfu of the World Mah-Jong Championship technical committee was involved with the rule communications in the mid-2000s. I don't know if he is still active in the organization.
    So as to protect the World Mahjong Organization (or whatever organization is currently responsible for maintaining the rulebook) from having its email inbox suddenly get a flood of spam because I published the address, I'll send you the address privately. After you email your notes, I don't know what will happen.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 12, 2018


    What the heck am I looking at???

    >From: Linda S
    >Sent: Friday, March 9, 2018 4:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >What is the picture on a joker tile
    >Minutes invested in prayer will give you greater return than hours spent in ceaseless activity ??

    >From: Debbie P
    >Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2018 5:49 PM
    >Subject: American Joker Symbol
    >Your site has been very helpful to me and I appreciate your dedication. I have tried to research on my own and have checked your FAQs, but I cannot find the meaning of the symbol on my joker tiles. Can you help ? I apologize if I missed seeing this on your site. Thank you very much.
    >Sincerely,
    >Debbie P

    Hi, ladies!
    I wrote a reply to Linda on Friday, but it was on another computer and I didn't post it! I'll do my best to recreate it from memory.
    Linda asked:

    What is the picture on a joker tile
    It depends on which joker tile you're looking at. Here's a selection of joker tiles from my FAQ 7E ("Frequently Asked Question: Mystery Tiles"), and what they depict:


    Top: clowns/jesters, a mandarin or Buddha, Buddha
    Bottom: a mandarin, "thousand uses," a mandarin or Buddha, a dragon

    A lot of players of American mah-jongg ask about the one on the bottom right (in fact, Linda just sent a picture of that today):

    So as I tell them in FAQ 7E (the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ), that's probably a poorly stylized rendition of this:


    You can link to the FAQs above left

    Today, Debbie wrote:

    Subject: American Joker Symbol
    Which narrows it down (especially given the image attachment).

    I cannot find the meaning of the symbol on my joker tiles. Can you help ? I apologize if I missed seeing this on your site.
    I'm sorry the Mystery Tiles FAQ is (1) hard to find and (2) very full of a mishmash of information. I don't know how to make it easier to find, but I'm going to think about how to organize the info better.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 11, 2018


    Can I reverse-redeem my joker? Pleeeezze?

    >From: Bette W
    >Sent: Saturday, March 10, 2018 8:20 PM
    >Subject: My MahJongg question
    >I will need an 8 crack to make my doubleton for a Mahjongg. Another player has put out three 8 cracs with a joker. Can I use a joker and request one of those 8s for my mahjongg??

    Hi, Bette!
    Welcome to my website! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-AL.
    You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 11, 2018


    Column 669

    >From: Mary S
    >Sent: Saturday, March 10, 2018 6:22 AM
    >Subject: Apr 9, 2017. #669 column
    > Column #669, hand #7 It helped me to set my tiles in a rack and I decided that I would try FF 3 6 9 dots + joker, trying for a 369 hand and keep the 3 crack in case it became 3 suits. Thanks, I enjoyed playing your random deals!
    >Mary

    Hi, Mary! I'm glad you enjoy that type of column. Identifying a hand to target is just the prelude to the actual problem: what 3 tiles to pass. You wouldn't pass the same 3 tiles I said I would, so what 3 tiles would you pass?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 11, 2018


    My brows are knitted, part 3

    A followup to Howard's question earlier today.
    Curiosity got the better of me. I Googled and found that you wrote me in 2012 (http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive21.htm). At that time you said you were using the book "Rules & Guide to the Game of Mah-Jongg" by 'Jackpot' copyright by H.P.G. & S. Ltd. Googling that title and author turns up a book from 1950. Not the 20s as I surmised when you wrote me in 2012.
    Then the question remains, does "Jackpot" describe Chinese rules, or does he/she describe British rules? I can't be certain, but if this booklet describes British rules, then it must be among the very earliest such works (I had previously never heard of any book describing this variant before the sixties). This "knitted pairs" hand is the sort of hand one sees in British rules, so I stay with my more recent guess that Jackpot is describing British rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 7, 2018


    My brows are knitted, part 2

    >From: "robinson_h
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 1:25 AM
    >Subject: Re: Two Mah-Jongg questions
    >Thanks, Tom
    >Very helpful
    >Cheers
    >Howard

    >From: "robinson_h
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 3:16 AM
    >Subject: Re: Two Mah-Jongg questions
    >As I've said in another email, many thanks for your help, Tom.

    >I have one other question which two sets of our Mah-Jongging friends have raised independently and which I cannot find an answer to on your a-ma-zing website's FAQs:
    >There's a 2-point addition when 'winning with only possible tile to Mah-Jongg' as stated in our Chinese rules. Does this 'only tile possible' refer solely to the person's hand who wants to go Mah-Jongg; I.e. this person has, say: 4 x 3s and just one tile, thus all they want is just one more to make their final pair -or- that it's the last tile available of its kind from either the discard or a tile from the wall and not in any other players' hands; i.e. there are no other tiles left of the desired sort because they've all been played/declared previously (apart from just the one) ... before this player wants to go Mah-Jongg ... if you see what I mean?
    >Howard

    Hi, Howard.
    If only I knew what book you use as your rulebook, but oh well. It's tricky for rulebook writers to choose words that can't be misinterpreted.

    Does this 'only tile possible' refer solely to the person's hand who wants to go Mah-Jongg; I.e. this person has, say: 4 x 3s and just one tile, thus all they want is just one more to make their final pair
    The MCR community uses the term "single wait" for that. This is not what's meant.

    or- that it's the last tile available of its kind from either the discard or a tile from the wall and not in any other players' hands; i.e. there are no other tiles left of the desired sort because they've all been played/declared previously (apart from just the one)
    The MCR community uses the term "last tile" for that. And there's a term from card games that applies: the "case tile" is the last tile of its kind, because (as you say) the other 3 are visibly already unavailable. So in my book I called this one "Last Tile (Case Tile)." This is the thing that's meant.

    as stated in our Chinese rules.
    That "knitted pairs" hand you described to me is not a Chinese hand. (If I'm wrong, and your variant is one of the many Chinese variants, then this hand was borrowed from British/Australian/Western rules.) Sure would have been good, throughout this conversation, if I knew what author wrote your rulebook.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 7, 2018


    Column 698

    >From: Libby S
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 6, 2018 5:28 PM
    >Subject: Question about Column #698
    >Mr. Sloper, In reading your column about how to prepare for a new card, I was puzzled about one comment: "Most importantly, see how many hands in Consec and Odds use flowers."
    >Would you please explain why it’s important to look at the Odds section for this? Does it reveal a pattern or something that another section (e.g., Evens) does not? I wonder if I’ve been missing something over the years.
    >Thanks for your help,
    >Libby S

    Good question, Libby!
    The answer is: "gauge the odds" (by which I mean the probability, the chances). Flowers are more abundant than most tiles. The Consec and 13579 sections afford the most possibilities, given the preponderance of numbers and odd numbers. That's why they're in the center of the card. Of the 108 suit tiles (all of them fodder for Consec hands) in the 152-tile deck, there are 60 odd tiles and just 48 even tiles. Consec hands with flowers could, therefore, be among the easiest hands on the entire card. Odds hands with flowers could take second place. On the 2017 card, there are precious few flower hands in the meaty heart of the card. Who knows what we'll see in the 2018 card?
    May the odds be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 6, 2018


    My brows are knitted

    >From: "robinson_h
    >Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 11:55 PM
    >Subject: Two Mah-Jongg questions
    >Dear Tom
    >You very kindly answered a question of mine a couple of years back re Mah-Jongg for which "Many thanks".
    >I have been playing since with several other couples and have become a little more proficient at this amazing game, so much so that if we're lucky, we now use some of the many special limit hands.
    >Two questions:
    >1. If two people are striving for special limit hands ... amazingly enough this was about to happen when we were in actual fact both out-called by someone else with a more usual hand ... and we had both called Mah-Jongg at the same time --- we both needed the same tile to go Mah-Jongg --- who would have been the winner if the required tile had been discarded by another player? Would it have been the first person to call out "Mah-Jongg!"
    >PS. We have an unwritten (?) rule that if two people call Mah Jongg at the same time ... and its happened: one to complete a Chow & the other to complete a Pung, then the one completing the Pung takes precedence. Is this correct?
    >2. One of those special limit hands would have been 'Knitting'; i.e. 7 unmatched pairs with the same numbers.
    >My hand included a pair of different 1s; a pair of different 3s; a pair of different 5s; a pair of different 8s; a pair of different 9s plus 2 x 7s & 2 x 7s but the 7s were:
    >7circles + 7characters & 7bamboo+7circles; i.e I'd separated the 2 x 7circles to match up with two other 7 tiles to make two unmatched pairs. Is this allowable?
    >Best wishes
    >Howard
    >P.S. Thought you might like to see the attached amusing article which was written by a former British celebrity for one of our leading newspapers re playing Mah-Jongg with his father before WWII

    Hi, Howard.
    I don't recall your previous visit offhand. Glad to be of help again. Since you mention special limit hands, I presume you play Western/British/Australian rules.

    we both needed the same tile to go Mah-Jongg --- who would have been the winner if the required tile had been discarded by another player? Would it have been the first person to call out "Mah-Jongg!"
    This is Frequently Asked Question 20-J. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    if two people call Mah Jongg at the same time ... and its happened: one to complete a Chow & the other to complete a Pung, then the one completing the Pung takes precedence. Is this correct?
    Yes. Pung trumps chow. Mah-jongg trumps pung. Order of play takes precedence.

    One of those special limit hands would have been 'Knitting'; i.e. 7 unmatched pairs with the same numbers.
    >My hand included a pair of different 1s; a pair of different 3s; a pair of different 5s; a pair of different 8s; a pair of different 9s plus 2 x 7s & 2 x 7s but the 7s were:
    >7circles + 7characters & 7bamboo+7circles; i.e I'd separated the 2 x 7circles to match up with two other 7 tiles to make two unmatched pairs.

    Is this allowable?
    I'm sure some authors specifically word this in a way that would make it clear that you cannot (either 7D can be present only if not matched by any other tile in the hand). Even if there is no specific wording on this in the various books, the intent of the hand is clear: Each tile may be matched in number but not in number+suit (the hand calls for siblings and not twins).

    Thanks for the article. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 6, 2018


    Can she claim a discarded joker redeemable tile?

    >From: "tinkerbell9427
    >Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 7:02 PM
    >Subject: stealing a joker
    >Jane doesn’t notice that she has a tile that would allow her to steal Amy’s joker so she discards the tile.
    >Mary (the player whose turns it now is) notices. Is she able to pick up the discarded tile and substitute it for the joker?

    Welcome to my website, Tinkerbell! The question you have asked has been asked many times before. It's a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-G. You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 5, 2018


    RDWWQ4

    >From: stel
    >Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 1:38 PM
    >Subject: Re: THE RED DRAGON & THE WEST WIND
    >Thank you so much. I’ll do as you say. Have a great week!
    >Stella

    You're welcome, Stella!
    Tom


    RDWWQ3

    >From: stel
    >Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 12:11 PM
    >Subject: Re: THE RED DRAGON & THE WEST WIND
    >Thank you for taking the time to explain all that.
    >How do I compile all the rule refinements to add to your book; so my group of senior ladies can learn the same rules, since there are so many questions that arise during our playing? We are all beginners and would be happiest with one reference source.
    >Thank you for your patience with my questions.
    >Stella

    How to compile all the rule refinements? Print out the errata file from the "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." Then keep that printout with the book. If this doesn't answer your question, I'll need the question rephrased.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 5, 2018


    RDWWQ2

    >From: Stella W
    >Sent: Monday, March 5, 2018 7:14 AM
    >Subject: Re: THE RED DRAGON & THE WEST WIND
    >Hello. I get that your book has been PRINTED a few times, but I'm confused why it wouldn't be updated with changes every now and then since changes occur every year, and you do note those changes. So do people buy the book and search through your site for each year's update and write them in? Thank you
    >Stella

    Hi, Stella!
    The rules of American and Chinese mah-jongg stay pretty much the same year-to-year. While there have been rule refinements, those have not occurred "every year" as you say, and they don't amount to a wholesale massive do-over of the rules. If you're thinking that the American half of my book was written about one specific card, it was not. It's not a book that has to be revised every year because the NMJL issues a new card every year. If that's what you're thinking. I have been thinking to approach the publisher and ask to revise the book based on collected changes, but I don't know how receptive the publisher will be to the request.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 5, 2018


    Column 698

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2018 9:35 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >HI Tom,
    >You asked if I read your new card advice column. Yes, just now. The ladies in my group think I research things too much, but your advice is exactly what I do! Everything except making the hands with the tiles. I have always compared the new card to the old and read the back of the card. It helps to do this so that when you start playing you do not make an old card hand while playing the new card. That happened to a player just this week. She had a beautiful quint hand with six jokers - but I had to point out that it was on the 2016 card not the 2017 card! She actually discarded the two Flowers she needed to make the correct hand! Ended in a wall but had she had the correct tiles she would have had a self picked quint!
    >As always, I love your site, wonderful for all players from beginners to experienced players.
    >Bee

    Cool!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom
    March Forth, 2018


    Column 696

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2018 9:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi again,
    >Just read your new rule book differences column. Very good reference! Unless this one was in the 2013 version, which I do not have, it was missing from your list. It is on pg 19, #18: "You are committed to discarding a tile once it is FULLY named or the tile has been placed on the table." They had previously ruled that even saying part of the name meant the tile was discarded, which I thought was ridiculous! Fully named makes more sense.
    >However, I wrote to Gladys Grad to see if her rule for her tournaments would change too and she answered no it stays the same. Example: if you have a 7 Bam and you say Seven, Sev, or even Se it is considered down in her tournaments.
    >Thought you might be interested in these two things.
    >Got another question: the rules say that you must have 13 tiles on your rack at all times eliminating people from having them resting on their card or in their hands. Someone asked "then how do you move the position of the tiles on your rack?" I assume this is still allowed as common sense should prevail that to rearrange them you must take them off your rack.
    >Take care,
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee.

    pg 19, #18: "You are committed to discarding a tile once it is FULLY named or the tile has been placed on the table." They had previously ruled that even saying part of the name meant the tile was discarded, which I thought was ridiculous! Fully named makes more sense.
    You're right. I covered that in column 694 when I reviewed the 2018 newsletter. The newsletter gave me the hallelujah, and I didn't think to mention it again in the rulebook column.

    if you have a 7 Bam and you say Seven, Sev, or even Se it is considered down in [Gladys'] tournaments.
    She can set her rules.

    the rules say that you must have 13 tiles on your rack at all times eliminating people from having them resting on their card or in their hands. Someone asked "then how do you move the position of the tiles on your rack?" I assume this is still allowed as common sense should prevail that to rearrange them you must take them off your rack.
    As I wrote in the column, it just means you can't rest your tiles off the rack. It's also illegal to straddle a lane divider line on the road, but the only way to get from one lane to another is to briefly straddle a line in the course of the transition. As you say: common sense.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March Forth, 2018


    I need technical support, part 2

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2018 2:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I haven't been here in awhile, life gets in the way of my MJ!
    >Just a quick note for Ann B who asked about myjongg.net not working on her iPad. It works fine on my iPad with no issues whatsoever. She should contact Matt, the owner, by clicking on "Send Feedback" which can be found on the page after signing in, top right, next to "Help and Questions".
    >Awaiting the new card!
    >Bee

    Well, I don't suppose it's likely Ann will come back and find that. Good to see you, Bee! Have you seen today's Sloper On Mah-Jongg column? All about how to familiarize with the new card when it comes.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March Forth, 2018


    RDWWQ

    >From: Stella W
    >Sent: Sunday, March 4, 2018 12:13 PM
    >Subject: THE RED DRAGON & THE WEST WIND
    >THE RED DRAGON & THE WEST WIND
    >What is the date of the most current update to your book please?
    >How do I purchase a copy of the latest one that includes all the updates?
    >Thank you
    >Stella

    Hi, Stella.
    The book has been printed more than once, but without any updates. You can download the errata on the "The Red Dragon & The West Wind" page. I update it whenever I learn of a change from the League.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March Forth, 2018


    Somebody in our group is playing too slowly

    >From: "rfoglio
    >Sent: Friday, March 2, 2018 2:12 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >How long does a play get to take her turn?
    >Sent from my Roseann's iPad

    Hi, Roseann!
    You seem to be saying that somebody in your group is playing too slowly. I can't tell from the way you phrased your question if it's another player, or if you are taking a lot of heat from the group yourself.

    How much time is a player allowed in taking her turn?
    It depends on the group. How much time will the group allow her without complaint? A group of all novices will usually allow more time than a group of experienced players. When the group complains about how much time a player takes, she's taking too long.

    Read column 375.

    And please read Frequently Asked Question ("FAQ") 19-BA. You can link to the FAQs above left. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please bookmark FAQ 19 so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 2, 2018


    I need technical support for a computer game you didn't make

    >From: Ann B
    >To: Tom@sloperama
    >Cc: webmaster at myjongg.net
    >Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2018 6:29 PM
    >Subject: Using the I Pad as well as the I Phone
    >Sent from my iPad
    >I play my the game myjongg. Net on both my I Phone & my I Pad. For some reason I can play on the I Phone, but not on the I Pad. Can u possibly tell me why or who to contact for help. (user name Anny)
    > Thanks - Ann B

    Ann, the question you have asked is a type of question that has been asked many times before. It's called a Frequently Asked Question (an "FAQ"). I have written answers to all the most-frequently-asked questions. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 24. You can link to the FAQs above left. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Good luck, Ann.
    Tom Sloper


    The "change of heart" rules in American mah-jongg

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2018 8:51 AM
    >Subject: Some people think this rule has changed
    >Tom, I know this has been asked and answered, but there is a discussion on Mah Jongg That's It!, so I need clarification. When is it too late to change your mind? When picking from the wall, you move it (even slide it), it is yours. Correct? When calling for a tile you can change your mind as long as you have not put the tile on your rack or made an exposure. Correct?
    >Thank you,
    >Susan from Alabama

    Hi, Susan!
    The "change of heart" rules are described fully (and up-to-date) in FAQ 19-AM.
    The rule on changing your mind about taking a wall tile HAS changed. Prior to 2018, the player could not change her mind if she had "lifted" a wall tile. That left a loophole - a bottom tile could be slid without lifting, and put back. The League closed that loophole in the 2018 newsletter (see column 694).
    The "change of heart" rule about calling for a discard has not changed.
    FAQ 19-AM cites the source of those rules. The source for the "change of heart" rule as it applies to taking a wall tile is the 2018 newsletter (which simply clarifies rulings in previous newsletters by closing that loophole I mentioned). The source for the "change of heart" rule as it applies to claiming a discard is Mah Jongg Made Easy - it was not changed in the 2018 revision.
    In case you're interested, in column 696 I wrote about what changed in the 2018 revision of Mah Jongg Made Easy. I went through that thing with a fine-toothed comb!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 1, 2018


    Malaysian 3P, p2

    >From: Yong H
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 10:41 PM
    >Subject: Re: Malaysian 3-player mahjongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >Just like in 4-player mahjong, there is a prevailing wind which changes after a round, in 3-player mahjong the prevailing wind is always East.
    >So yes, it's always the East round.
    >If other players do not have fan for East PONG, then it's a bit inconsistent for the East player to get 2 fan for the PONG (like mentioned in the article).

    Great! Thanks again, Yong.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 28, 2018


    Malaysian 3P

    >From: Yong H
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 7:31 PM
    >Subject: Malaysian 3-player mahjongg
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was going through your page at http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/malaysian.html.
    >It is a very good description, thanks a lot.
    >I just want to add that to avoid confusion, in the "Counting Fan" section, you should add:
    >* PONG of East Wind for 1 fan.
    >And that is why the Dealer having PONG of East Wind has 2 fan (1 from his own Wind and 1 more because everyone has 1 fan for East Wind).

    Hi Yong, Thanks for that. Vincent Cheah wrote that article, and he did not say everyone gets a fan for having a pung of east wind. He said there are no round winds. Maybe a way of looking at it is to say instead that it's always the east round? I'll add this to that article.
    Thanks again. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 27, 2018


    How much is mine worth, part 2

    >From: Gary
    >Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2018 9:51 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg set value estimate
    >Thanks for info Tom, nice to have some history on the set, and I appreciate your expertise.
    >Gary

    You're welcome!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 26, 2018


    How much is mine worth?

    >From: Gary R U
    >Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2018 11:21 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg set value estimate
    >Tom,
    >Thanks for looking and any determination of value for the set is appreciated.
    >No history, picked it up at a church rummage sale.
    >184 tiles
    >4 racks
    >4 paper rule booklets 1945 & 1947
    >1 Wood box with tile shelf insert, solid but dusty
    >Fair to good condition, some soiling from use or haversian marks but otherwise solid, the occasional hairline crack
    >Bone tiles (176) due to what I think is haversian and some bakelites (8)
    >Tile dimensions ~ 135 mm x 12mm x 22mm
    >Bone thickness ~ 5mm
    >Gary

    Hi, Gary.
    What you have is a time capsule from the forties. The League was less than a decade old at that time, and was playing around with the number of "wildflowers" needed to play the League's game. In that 1947 card in your photo, the game may call for as many as 18 flowers. This is why players back then made Frankenstein sets like yours, collecting mismatched flowers from other sets. So now the question becomes, which value applies - the value of the "time capsule" as is, or the value to someone who would like to use it to play the League's current rules.

    You say the condition is fair to good. Let's go with fair. The value is probably around $50. It could be "rescued" and modernized by the addition of a new carrying case. Then the mismatching flowers need to be removed. Hopefully you have at least 8 tiles among all those extra flowers that closely match the tiles of the set in size, thickness, and back color. The set needs 8 flowers that match the set and 8 jokers that match the set. Joker stickers are easy to find online, or make yourself. If the set was "rescued" in that manner, its value would be between $100-120. You could sell the extra tiles and the 4 forties cards separately. I don't know what you might get for those through bidding.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 25, 2018


    The AMJA card, part 2

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2018 12:29 PM
    >Subject: Re: American Mah Jong association
    >Hi Tom, Thanks for the quick response. I did manage to find a phone number for the American Mah Jong Association and spoke with them this morning. There are still around but had an apparent major (2+ day) outage with their web page. My card is in the mail so I’ll get to see the differences shortly.
    >TimA

    I reinstated those links. Acted a bit hasty there.

    May the tiles be with you, Tim!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 26, 2018


    Us non-Americans are left out in the cold

    >From: Annette
    >Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2018 9:11 AM
    >Subject: 2017 card
    >I live in the U k but when visiting the US I get invited to play Mah Jongg.
    >In error I ordered the 2018 American MJ card not the National League. I also now realise 2017 card is still being used.
    >The National league will only accents accept payment from an American account with delivery to US.
    >Sent several emails, no replies from anyone! Can you offer any advice or assistance?
    >With thanks.

    Hi, Annette!
    I assume that the "Americans only" policy is the bigger problem, more so than having ordered the wrong card (especially since the 2017 card is going to be old hat in 5 weeks). I suppose one solution (assuming the League isn't going to change its policy) would be for some American to act as a broker for non-American players, but I don't want to do that, and I don't know of anyone doing that. Another would be for you to ask an American friend (someone you play with when visiting) to order the card for you. Or you could try telephoning the League during New York business hours.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    2/22/2018


    Need an automatic table for American mah-jongg

    >From: Will S
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 10:46 PM
    >Subject: MAHJONG Help
    >Hi Tom,
    >I live in New Jersey and I need to buy my wife a beautiful American tile Mahjong table for her birthday. She wants an automatic mahjong table. I'm finding it very hard to find a reliable company to buy this table from. I'm reaching out to people like you who are in the Mahjong world, and may be able to point me in the right direction of a great resource to buy this table.
    >Please email me any recommendations you may have as soon as you can.
    >Thank you in advance for your help.
    >Regards, Will S
    >The information contained in this e-mail may be confidential and is intended solely for the addressee. Unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, distribution or other action taken or omitted relying on the contents of this message, is prohibited and may be unlawful. If you are not the intended recipient please reply and advise the sender of the erroneous transmission and immediately delete the message.

    Hi, Will.
    All I have for you is the information in FAQ 7F and the Accessories For Sale bulletin board. If I wanted to buy a table, I'd start by checking with the companies listed there. If you have had a bad experience with one of the companies listed on my website, tell me about it so I can remove that listing. Some manufacturers were added to FAQ 7F a couple years ago, but some of the information is old and may no longer be correct. You can link to the FAQs and boards above left.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Terms of service and privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. Your email may be edited before posting.
    No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public.
    The first time someone asks a question here, I send a reply email to let you know that you should come back and see your answer.

    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 2, 2018


    The AMJA card

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 3:25 PM
    >Subject: American Mah Jong association
    >Hi Tom, A couple of quick questions for you.
    >Last week I ordered a card from the American Mah Jong Association to see what it was like compared to the one From the NMJL that I normally use.
    >Today I go to see what the status of the order is and it appears that the amja.net web site is down.
    >Can you give me a brief description of the differences in cards, if you know that is and also, do you know if they are gone or is it just a technical glitch keeping them off line.
    >Foolishly, I didn’t keep a phone number for them so can’t even call.
    >TimA

    Hi, Tim.
    I don't know if the AMJA is still in business or not. If you can read the NMJL card, you can read the alternative cards. You will need to read the AMJA card carefully (front and back) to discern what the differences are. I haven't seen one in a few years. Thanks for letting me know the site is down. I removed the links.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 20, 2018


    Conflicting info, part 2

    >From: Nancy W
    >Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2018 6:24 PM
    >Subject: Re: May Jongg sets
    >Thanks so much for your quick response!
    >I was only looking…..yes they are quite pricey but beautiful.
    >Appreciate your input. Just found your site which is interesting as well. I am new to the game and love it!
    >Nancy

    Enjoy the journey, Nancy!
    Gong xi fa cai! 恭喜发财! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 2, 2018


    Conflicting info about brown enrobed sets

    >From: Nancy W
    >Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2018 11:57 AM
    >Subject: May Jongg sets
    >I find the enrobed sets fascinating and have seen jade and burgundy. Recently a set on ebay sold as chocolate brown. Is there a chocolate brown or is it really a deep burgundy? I had someone that sells Mah Jongg sets tell me there was no such thing as chocolate brown enrobed sets.
    >Please clarify.
    >Thanks!
    >Nancy

    I'm sorry, Nancy, but I am not wealthy enough to indulge myself in buying enrobed sets. I don't know what colors the manufacturer(s) used in enrobed sets, or what colors those colors might fade to. But I do know that brown is not an unusual color for bakelite items (I used to have a brown bakelite radio, and I have one or two brown racks). Maybe if you join the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. Facebook group, you can get better answers.
    Happy year of the dog! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 17, 2018


    What's app, doc?

    >From: Cathleen E
    >Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 11:07 AM
    >Subject: Fwd: Best App
    >Hi Tom,
    >Can you please suggest your favorite App for playing American Mah Jongg?
    >Thanks,
    >Cathleen

    Hi, Cathleen.
    I'm only aware of four, not counting the several helper apps. Each one has its pluses and minuses. Different costs, player friendliness (double entendre), features. I haven't drawn up a comparison grid, and furthermore I sheepishly confess to avoiding the "favorite" question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 11, 2018


    A gap in our understanding

    >From: Manley"
    >Sent: Thursday, February 8, 2018 5:40 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I checked FAQ 19, Topic “EXPOSURES”, item Z, but I'm not sure it handles this quite completely. It does for a mahjong call, but not sure if it applies to exposures before any mahjong is called.
    >If someone is showing, say, two exposures on the top of their rack - not yet mahjong - I do not believe there is a rule saying they must separate them into two groups. So, if the exposures are each four tiles, they are allowed to put all eight tiles all in a contiguous row. (Obviously each foursome has to be together but they do not have to separate their foursomes.) However, in one of Gladys’s tournaments I attended about four years ago, she stated at the start that if anyone else at the table requested a player separates their exposures into groups, they must do so.
    >After that tournament, my group adopted that policy at our weekly games. However, a recent addition to our group has started to object saying there is nothing that prevents her from grouping all her exposures into one long line. She freely admits this is designed to confuse the opponents and is part of the game.
    >So, my question is, is it a “house-rule” or is it a mahjong rule that if anyone requests a player separate their exposures, they MUST do so? Is it just etiquette?
    >Thanks for any help you can give me on this matter.
    >All the best,
    >Manley P

    Hi, Manley! Let's see, you wrote:

    I checked FAQ 19
    Did you check FAQ 9?

    I do not believe there is a rule saying they must separate them into two groups.
    You are correct. There is no written rule. But on page 14 of the 2018 revised rulebook, it does mention separating exposures. "... it is courteous to leave a space between the exposures." In 2001, I talked about "viewer-unfriendly" hand exposure when I wrote FAQ 9.

    So, if the exposures are each four tiles, they are allowed to put all eight tiles all in a contiguous row.
    In a game not hosted by Gladys Grad, or by someone who enforces courteous playing practices: yes.

    in one of Gladys’s tournaments I attended about four years ago, she stated at the start that if anyone else at the table requested a player separates their exposures into groups, they must do so.
    I approve wholeheartedly.

    a recent addition to our group has started to object saying there is nothing that prevents her from grouping all her exposures into one long line. She freely admits this is designed to confuse the opponents and is part of the game.
    Oh, one of those. I prefer to play with people who take a less aggressive view of the game, but an aggressive opponent can add spice to the challenge of the game.

    Thanks for any help you can give me on this matter.
    You're welcome!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 8, 2018


    What's it worth, part 2

    >From: Catherine R
    >Sent: Thursday, February 8, 2018 2:22 PM
    >Subject: Re: Seeking info on value of set
    >Thank you for your prompt reply!
    >Not that it affects the value of the set, but just to clarify some of my comments, I did in fact purchase the set as a gift to a family member, who stuck it in a closet and never used it. That’s how I know where it came from (catalog) and roughly how much it cost, though it seems like my memory is off on that last point.
    >I appreciate your help.

    You're welcome, Catherine!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 8, 2018


    What's it worth?

    >From: Catherine R
    >Sent: Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:32 AM
    >Subject: Seeking info on value of set
    >Hi, Tom. Thanks for your very informative web site. I am trying to sell a mah-jongg set, and per your suggestion I referred to eBay to look at prices of comparable sets. Most of what I found there is either sets claiming to be vintage or antique, or inexpensive modern sets, neither of which really matches the one I have. I hope the information I’m sharing with you here might at least point me to the right ballpark for determining a sale price.
    >My set was purchased as a gift 25-30 years ago, probably from a catalog. It has never been used, and when I took the pieces out yesterday to photograph them it was probably the first time they’ve left the case. So condition is absolutely pristine, mint condition. I believe the original purchase price was $125 or $150, but my memory may be unreliable.
    >Following the format you specified in your FAQ 7h, my set contains 36 dots, 36 bams, 36 craks, 16 winds, 12 dragons, eight flowers, four “other”, and four blanks. In addition there are four wind discs and four very small dice, and 117 sticks. There are no racks, chip holders, or rulers. In all, the set looks very similar to the one you have pictured in FAQ 7h except that it has no jokers.
    >From what I can tell based on your website, the set is bone and bamboo; I am attaching one photo that shows the surface striations that lead me to believe it is bone. Dimensions are 3 cm X 2 cm X 1.4 cm, and the bone layer itself is about 0.4 cm thick. The sticks are irregularly shaped, which reinforces my belief that they are bone rather than man-made material.
    >The set is housed in a wooden box that is covered with fabric, possibly silk. The inner trays are also fabric-covered wood. Included is a paper instruction manual. All of these, like the set in general, are in pristine condition.
    >The craks are modern style, as I would expect from a set purchased 25 years ago.
    >I am attaching a number of pictures that I hope will give you a good idea of what the set looks like and its condition inside and out. I will appreciate any information you can give me about what a fair selling price would be for this set.
    >Thank you for your help.

    Hi, Catherine! You wrote:

    My set was purchased as a gift 25-30 years ago
    This is the same type of set I discussed with Jackie Z on December 27 (you can scroll down to December to see that discussion). As I told Jackie, I saw lots of these sets on sale in Los Angeles' Chinatown in the 1990s. So I'm inclined to say "probably closer to 25 than 30."

    probably from a catalog.
    This detail confuses me. If you received this set as a gift, I don't know how you would know it was ordered from a catalog (unless you asked the giver). And if you are the one who purchased it as a gift for someone else, I would have to assume you never gave it to that person.

    I believe the original purchase price was $125 or $150, but my memory may be unreliable.
    This just adds to my confusion expressed just above. It's unusual to ask someone how much they paid for a gift. So I guess you bought it as a gift but then didn't give it...?
    Anyway... When I saw these sets in Chinatown in the nineties, I saw them priced at $59.99 or $69.99. I have one I regularly use when planning a strategy column, and it still has its $59.99 pricetag. I can imagine that a catalog seller would jack up the price, but doubling the price seems kind of steep to me.

    four “other” ... it has no jokers.
    Those "other" tiles are, in fact, Chinese jokers. See FAQ 7E.

    From what I can tell based on your website, the set is bone and bamboo; I am attaching one photo that shows the surface striations that lead me to believe it is bone.
    Pulverized reconstituted fishbone (see FAQ 7C). The price sticker in my set says "T-bone," whatever that means.

    The set is housed in a wooden box that is covered with fabric, possibly silk. The inner trays are also fabric-covered wood.
    I don't know for a fact that the box and trays are wood. Mine do sound like they might be wood, so they might be.

    Subject: Seeking info on value of set
    As I told Jackie: I don't see why it would be worth anything less than $80 today. I don't think you should sell it for less than $90. In addition: I think $120 would be too high a price. These are pleasant sets to play with, and American players can use these (by putting 8 joker stickers on the blanks and the Chinese jokers). But American sets (complete with racks) can be bought for $90.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 8, 2018


    I wasn't thinking clearly when I called for that discard

    >From: Diane F
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 9:58 PM
    >Subject: Question about taking an unneeded discard
    >?Not thinking clearly, I called for a discard and put in on my rack. Before I exposed my tiles, I realized that my hand called for 3 of the same tiles and I had just picked up the 4th. I felt obligated to expose all four tiles which really messed up my hand. In retrospect, would it have been OK to expose the three tiles and then discard the tile I had just picked up?
    >Thanks,
    >Diane

    Hi, Diane! You caught me just as I was about to shut down for the night.
    I assume you play American mah-jongg, since you use racks. It's definitely going to raise a lot of eyebrows if you discard the tile you just punged. Eyebrows and questions and objections. Maybe even an argument. Other forms of mah-jongg are better documented, but American mah-jongg rules have never addressed this question, as far as I know. What I'm saying is, I've never seen a ruling in writing on this question.
    Of course you can just expose a pung. You exposed a kong, ruining your hand - and discarded a tile. If you exposed just the pung, would you have had nothing to discard (without ruining your hand), except for that tile you called? It's a nonsensical play, and controversial, but I don't believe the League would say you should be dead for doing it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2018


    How long does the window of opportunity stay open?

    >From: cdefalco2002
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 7:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >How much time does a player have to in order to call a tile that has been discarded

    Hi cdefalco2002, the answer depends on which mah-jongg variant you play. If you play MCR (Majiang Competition Rules, AKA Chinese Official Mahjong), then the answer is "3 seconds." If you play American (National Mah Jongg League rules), then the answer is "until the window is closed by the next player in turn (see FAQ 19-C*)." Do you play one of those two variants?
    * You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions above left. If you play American mah-jongg, then after you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2018


    Hop toi or bok choy?

    >From: Dee S
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 8:04 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg term
    >Hi Tom – Your site is very informative, but I haven’t seen a question like this:
    >When tiles are being dealt (or taken) from the wall, and a player receives the last 2 tiles from the current wall and the first 2 tiles from the new wall – what is the actual term used for those tiles (if there is one)?
    >I’ve heard it called several different things from Bok Choi to Hop Toi. I guess it depends who taught the game to you. I’m not even sure if there’s an actual term for it. Everyone says it’s supposed to be “Lucky Tiles”, which of course, they rarely are.
    >Just wanted to see if there is an actual term for it.
    >Thank you for your help.
    >(A fairly new player)
    >Dee S.

    Hi, Dee!
    It's a real term. I listed it in the glossary of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." The term is hop toi. Bok choy, of course, is a vegetable.
    Gung hei fa choi! ("Get rich in the new year!") May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 7, 2018


    She ran out of money and kept playing, and didn't have to pay when she lost! Doesn't seem fair!

    >From: marie b
    >Sent: Sunday, February 4, 2018 4:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >The limit to losing money is $4. Player 1 lost all her money and continued to play. Player 2 won a mahjongg, and player 1 couldn't pay player 2.
    >Player 1 finally wins and player 2 asks if she should just keep her money, since, in effect, player 1 owes player 2. No, player 2 still had to pay player 1.
    >Is this an official rule, or is this an optional rule set up by the individuals playing? Doesn't seem fair.

    Hi, Marie! This is the customary "pie" scoring method. Traditionally, American mah-jongg was played with chips (like poker chips, with holes in the middle), but then it became the custom to play for actual coins. That resulted in some risk-averse players wanting the ability to limit one's losses in a play session. Thus the "pie." (In your group's case: $4.*) You can read about it in FAQ 19-W (you can link to the Frequently Asked Questions above left). After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 4, 2018

    *Most groups I've heard from use a $5 pie. I've also heard of $10 pie and $3 pie. First time I heard of a $4 pie. Extra risk-averse (but not extraordinarily risk-averse) group. - Tom


    Chow limits in Western mah-jongg

    >From: Di N
    >Sent: Sunday, February 4, 2018 5:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Australian : Follow Thompson & Maloney “Mahjong Players Companion” but rules defined are not in depth enough / reader friendly for beginners.
    >1. Question: Can you chow (from the left & obviously expose the chow) in any hand other than ‘ordinary Mahjong’ ?
    >*** Many rules (incl Thompson & Maloney) refer to being able to “chow from the left if no player pungs a discard” but do not then continue with any nominated hands or scoring (limit) conditions that this rule applies to.
    >2. Is there any way that we are able to contact Thompson & Maloney to clarify some rules?
    >Thank you
    >Di N

    Hi, Di!

    It's customary in Australian/British rules to permit chowing no more than once per hand.

    I have no idea! You can always get more books on Australian/British/Western rules, and fill in some gaps in T&M that way. See FAQ 3, use key search word "Western." There are several such books listed there.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 4, 2018


    Is my set ivory, part 2

    >From: Michael F
    >Sent: Sunday, February 4, 2018 1:23 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong tiles
    > Thank you for your time!
    >Mike

    I'm sorry, Mike. The resolution of the tile image is still too low. Your camera or phone is set to create images no greater than 640 pixels in the longest dimension, and that's not good enough for what you're trying to accomplish. You need to change the resolution settings, if you can, else use a different camera or phone to get higher-resolution images. You should try to get much brighter light on the tile (just one tile) and get 2 photos of it, showing how the crosshatch effect changes with rotation. The pink paper you photographed - I can't tell if that's the cover of a booklet (which has much more writing than what's shown), or if it's a one-sided card (thus represents all the writing available to inspect - not counting the scoring card, which you have not photographed at all). I need clear images of all the writing (scans would be better than handheld photos). I can't tell anything about the sticks in that low-resolution photo. And I still want the answers to the question in FAQ 7c2 (I misspoke when I said 7c3 before).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 4, 2018


    Is my set ivory?

    >From: Michael F
    >Sent: Sunday, February 4, 2018 9:19 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong tiles
    >Was comparing your description of ivory chevron pattern with this set. Your opinion?
    >Mike

    Good morning, Mike.
    I'm sorry, but the image quality isn't good enough for me to tell whether or not your tiles are ivory (I assume that's what you're really trying to find out). It seems unlikely, given that the set is packaged in an ordinary case, and the tiles are backed with bamboo. I would need to see higher-resolution photos of the tiles under bright bright light, and the answers to the questions in FAQ 7c3 7c2. And I would want to see high-definition scans of the written materials in the set, to see if they say anything to indicate that the tiles might be ivory. I would be interested in closeups of the sticks, too (to see if those might be ivory).
    Sometimes we can see crosshatched circular saw markings or disc sander markings on the ends of tiles, left over from the manufacturing process. Your photo above was the best one you sent, and I can't tell from that what the markings are.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 4, 2018


    A tile was misnamed, causing a problem, part 3

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Thursday, February 1, 2018 12:58 PM
    >Subject: [No Subject]
    >Tom, Thank you for your quick response regarding calling a misnamed tile. I do realize that the NMJL recommends picking up a called tile before making an exposure, but as we know there are a lot of people who ignore recommendations, and then get upset when things don't go their way. I am not just talking about Mah Jongg! lol
    >Susan

    Yeppers!


    It's almost Chinese New Year...

    >From: Sandy W
    >Sent: Thursday, February 1, 2018 12:43 PM
    >Subject: Special Tom Sloper hand
    >Hi Tom,
    >Do you have a special Tom Sloper hand for this year? Our group looks forward to it each year. We like to add it to the bottom of our Mahj cards.
    >If you’ve already posted it, please direct me to the post. I looked on your site but didn’t see it.
    >Thanks,
    >Sandy W.
    >Cincinnati, Ohio

    Hi, Sandy in good old Cincinnati! Thanks for the nudge. TBH, I hadn't given it any thought. I find that Chinese New Year is on Feb. 16 this year, so I can do a column with a Year of the Dog hand either next Sunday the 4th or the following Sunday the 11th, and not be too late! I'm starting the creative cog wheels turning now.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2018


    A tile was misnamed, causing a problem, part 2

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Thursday, February 1, 2018 12:32 PM
    >Subject: A deeper look at a misnamed tile called for exposure
    >Please disregard my previous email.
    >I need clarification about a situation that occurred during play. Player #1 discards a 6 crack, but calls it an 8 crack. Player #3 calls for the tile, but before picking it up she exposes 3 eight cracks, which were her only exposure. As she is reaching for the 8, other players tell her that it is a 6. The player returns the 8’s to the sloping part of her rack. Furthermore, she tells the miscaller that if she has an 8 crack that she must discard it. (I KNOW that is incorrect.) My questions are:
    >1. What happens to the miscaller?
    >2. Isn’t it the players’ responsibility to listen and look?
    >3. Should the 8’s have been returned to the rack?
    >4. What happens to the 6 crack, which the player never picked up?
    >5. Is the player who made the exposure dead, or does she continue play and try to build a hand around the three eights?
    >6. If she is dead, is it because she played out of turn, or because she made an exposure without calling for a tile, or both? Technically the 3 8’s are not an incorrect exposure, right?
    >7. Whose turn is it, the player after the discarder or the player after the person with the incorrect exposure?
    >8. Wouldn’t it be better to pick up the tile you are calling for before making it an exposure? (Personally, I wish it was a rule). That would prevent players from making incorrect exposures.
    >Thank you,
    >Susan Davidson

    Too late to disregard. Already answered (below). Looks like the only change to your question is that you omitted the word "tournament" in the second email. It doesn't change the answer.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2018


    A tile was misnamed, causing a problem (FAQ 19-AY)

    >From: Susan D
    >Sent: Thursday, February 1, 2018 11:57 AM
    >Subject: An deeper question about a misnamed tile
    >I need a clarification about a situation that occurred during tournament play. Player #1 discards a 6 crack, but calls it an 8 crack. Player #3 calls for the tile, but before picking it up she exposes 3 eight cracks, which were her only exposure. As she is reaching for the 8, other players tell her that it is a 6. The player returns the 8’s to the sloping part of her rack. Furthermore, she tells the miscaller that if she has an 8 crack that she must discard it. (I KNOW that is incorrect.) My questions are: 1.What happens to the miscaller? 2. Isn’t it the players’ responsibility to listen and look? 3. Should the 8’s have been returned to the rack? 4. What happens to the 6 crack, which the player never picked up? 5. Is the player who made the exposure dead, or does she continue play and try to build a hand around the three eights? 6. If she is dead, is it because she played out of turn, or because she made an exposure without calling for a tile, or both? Technically the 3 8’s are not an incorrect exposure, right? 7. Whose turn is it, the player after the discarder or the player after the person with the incorrect exposure? 8. Wouldn’t it be better to pick up the tile you are calling for before making it an exposure? (Personally, I wish it was a rule). That would prevent players from making incorrect exposures.
    >Thank you,
    >Susan D

    Hi, Susan! You wrote:

    Player #3 calls for the tile, but before picking it up she exposes 3 eight cracks, which were her only exposure. As she is reaching for the 8, other players tell her that it is a 6. The player returns the 8’s to the sloping part of her rack.
    She's not allowed to do that. She's dead. She has to take the misnamed discard and put the entire illegal exposure on the sloping front of her rack, and discontinue playing for the remainder of the hand. See FAQ 19-AM and see rule 6(b) on page 18 of the 2018 revised rulebook.

    she tells the miscaller that if she has an 8 crack that she must discard it. (I KNOW that is incorrect.)
    You know the official rule, all right! (It is possible that the tournament organizer uses a different rule.)

    What happens to the miscaller?
    I assume you mean the misnamer. No penalty for her. See rule 6(b) and FAQ 19-AY.

    Isn’t it the players’ responsibility to listen and look?
    Yep.

    Questions 3, 4, and 5 have already been answered in full.

    If she is dead, is it because she played out of turn, or because she made an exposure without calling for a tile, or both?
    It's because she made an illegal exposure. Calling for the discard (speaking the request) was rescindable. Exposing from her hand was not.

    Technically the 3 8’s are not an incorrect exposure, right?
    That is an illegal exposure. She exposed eights to go with a discarded six.

    Whose turn is it, the player after the discarder or the player after the person with the incorrect exposure?
    The player to the right of the now-dead player plays next. The now-dead player made a play that resulted in her disqualification. It was a play that superseded someone else's turn. It was a turn.

    Wouldn’t it be better to pick up the tile you are calling for before making it an exposure?
    Of course. In fact, the newly revised rulebook says exactly that on page 14. I wrote about that in last Sunday's column.

    As you say: every player has a responsibility to listen and look. This game is rife with players who play with their ears, and don't bother using their eyes.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2018


    She won by joker redemption, part 2

    >From: MaciaWA
    >Sent: Thursday, February 1, 2018 6:08 AM
    >Subject: Re: Rules question, not on FAQ
    >Your response to my question on the bulletin board was correct — I had not provided enough detail. Allow me to correct that for a more on-point response!
    >
    >Player “A” has two kongs exposed, one of 5 bams and one of 5 craks, each of which contains 3 natural tiles and one joker. After making the exposures, she drew the remaining 5 bam and 5 crak, so the exposed jokers cannot be taken by opponents. Not wanting to telegraph to her opponents that she has extra jokers in her hand and so is closer to mahjongg than they might realize, “A” has not exchanged for the jokers in her exposures and has the natural tiles still in her hand. Also in her hand are two soaps and one flower.
    >
    >Her ruse worked, and an overly confident opponent discarded a flower. She called for it to complete her pair, declaring mahjongg in Like Numbers by exposing her entire hand, replacing the jokers in her exposures with the natural tiles and using them to complete her kong of soaps. We allowed her the win, reasoning that because the jokers were on her own exposure, they were already in her hand when she called for the flower so the call was legal.
    >
    >The underlying question: as the jokers were on her own exposures, and she had the only natural tiles that could replace them on the other face of her rack, were those jokers considered to be part of her hand so that she could legally call to complete a pair for mahjong? A related question: if she’d had 3 of the natural tiles in her hand when the fourth was discarded, could she have called for it, then made her exposure holding one of the natural tiles back and replacing it with a joker on her exposure in order to mislead her opponents (assuming she would not need that joker later to call for another discard)?
    >Appreciate your expertise!

    Hi, Macia!
    I told you on January 8 that the only way to legally win by joker discard is by making a legal exposure with the discard, before redeeming her jokers and displaying the hand. She didn't do that. Her win was not legal. As I said, "if she didn't do step 2 properly, then it was a bad mah-jongg." Step 2 was:

    she has to make a complete exposure of the one set that's completed by the discard. (If she can't do this, then the whole play is illegal.) 

    A player can never call a discard to complete a pair, unless it completes the hand immediately. She needed to redeem those jokers BEFORE she could legally call a discard to complete a pair. So that's the answer to your underlying question. It's discussed in full in FAQ 19-M. As for your related question:

    if she’d had 3 of the natural tiles in her hand when the fourth was discarded, could she have called for it, then made her exposure holding one of the natural tiles back and replacing it with a joker on her exposure in order to mislead her opponents (assuming she would not need that joker later to call for another discard)?
    That's the way her ploy would have worked legally. She needed to win on a kong, not on a pair. See FAQ 19-M.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2018

      P.S. Re-reading that question, I believe I misinterpreted it when I wrote the above response. If there is still an unanswered question, then I'm ready to hear it. - Tom


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