SITE LINKS  

The Mah-Jongg FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)

19. American Mah-Jongg
16. The NMJL Card

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

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

Sloper On Mah-Jongg (Column)

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

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.
    Please don't ask me to click links to get more information about your question. Give me all the information in your email. Photos are okay as emailed attachments (JPG or PNG format, not PDF format).
    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.
    Terms of service and privacy policy: The free service that I offer is limited to what you see here on this website. I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A), and I never give free private answers. "When you email me, I own it." The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum. Your email may be edited before posting.
    No information you provide through this website shall be deemed confidential. Emailing me with a question or comment on this topic constitutes your permission for your words to be made public. (Business inquiries and scholar/journalist queries are of course treated with all due confidentiality.) Your last name and email address will usually be omitted (exceptions: Find Players/Teachers posts, buyer/seller posts, and event organizer posts).
    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.


    Custom Search

    Share

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

    Keep scrolling - the Q&A is below.


    homechef.com is a spammer ringcentral.com is a spammer safecrm.com is a spammer hotelangeleno.com is a spammer Anastasiia Moskovets is a spammer


  • Regarding the 2017 NMJL card, and the "Like Numbers" section:
    You may use "ANY like number."
    The League says so in their FAQ.
    Note that the section is called "Like Numbers," not "Ones."
     
    For all questions about the 2017 card, read FAQ 16.

    Anybody notice a lot more wall games, part 5

    >From: Rhoda J
    >Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 6:58 AM
    >Subject: wall games
    >Hi Tom,
    > Since we’ve been using the new card (2017), we’ve had many, many more wall games. Any ideas about why this is happening?

    Hi, Rhoda!
    TBH, I have "ideas," but they're vague and unconfirmed. As I told Cathy C last month (see June 29, below), there may be a design imbalance in the card. But I don't have an idea what kind of imbalance it might be. In FAQ 19-BT I quoted Ruth Unger, the late President of the League, who opined that wall games are caused by players "dogging" (discarding needed tiles out of a conviction that another player was about to win) too early in the game. She wrote in 1997, "If a player has exposed part of their hand very early in the game, it is not always a fact that the player is set for Mah Jongg."
    If players are dogging more with the 2017 card, then it might mean that opponents' exposures are convincing players that they'd better play safe. Or it might mean that exposures can go too many ways. I don't know yet exactly what it might be.
    Again I ask readers to send in their theories! I'll keep exploring the issue in future defense and WWYD columns - perhaps I should focus more on defense.
    And now that the issue has come up 5 times, it's time it became an FAQ.
    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, 2017


    A couple of frequently asked Qs, with some new twists

    >From: Louise B
    >Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:45 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >The hand FF 1111 DDDD 1111 does say ANY three suits. We’ve had conflicts at our table on this. Do the dragons have to be opposing dragons to the like numbers since they are in different colors?
    > Lou

    >From: Louise B
    >Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:53 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    > If a person calls for a tile and starts to put her exposure on her rack and it touches the rack but she doesn’t take her hands off the tiles, can she change her mind and not take the called tile and make the exposure? And what if her tiles don’t touch the rack, can she change her mind?
    > Lou

    Hi, Lou! You asked:

    The hand FF 1111 DDDD 1111 does say ANY three suits. We’ve had conflicts at our table on this. Do the dragons have to be opposing dragons to the like numbers since they are in different colors?
    Take a look at the answer I gave to Susan when she asked the same question >Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2017. You can scroll down to see that conversation. Also read Frequently Asked Question 16 and FAQs 19-BY and FAQ 19-J. You can link to the FAQs above left. Consider this: if you have dots and bams showing, and you put up a kong of greens, IS THAT THREE SUITS? (Hint: no, that's two suits.) I'll add this to FAQ 16.

    can she change her mind?
    Read the frequently asked "Change of Heart" question (FAQ 19-AM). 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!

    >> If a person calls for a tile and starts to put her exposure on her rack and it touches the rack but she doesn’t take her hands off the tiles, can she change her mind and not take the called tile and make the exposure?
    The action was a commitment. She can't put the tiles back.

    And what if her tiles don’t touch the rack, can she change her mind?
    Wow, you're coming up with all kinds of questions not explicitly covered by the official rules! IN MY OPINION (and* I am NOT an official of the National Mah Jongg League), as long as she has not taken the discard and as long as her tiles didn't touch, she should be permitted to put them back. I would allow it, if it happened in my game. But to get an official ruling, you should mail your question to the League (don't phone; see FAQ 19-BN). Their address is on 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.
    Rochester International Airport, New York, USA
    July 27, 2017

    * Now that I'm back home, for some reason the fog cleared and I'm certain that as long as the exposure hasn't touched the rack (provided that the other conditions above are met), she may take it back. - Tom


    Can I use jokers in hands that must be concealed? 

    >From: Doris
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 6:08 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: can I use jokers for all closed hands?

    Hi, Doris! 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-AR. 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. 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 25, 2017


    I inherited my father's mahjong set

    >From: Gijs S
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 12:44 PM
    >Subject: Info about Mahjong game
    >Hi Tom,
    >It was very interesting to read your site, and it seems you are quit an expert.
    >Out of my fathers inheritance I have received a mahjong game. I might sell it but first I would like to know more about it.
    >I have answered as much of your questions in the attached excel file, and added some photo's. I read about the lady who send you only 16kb pictures, but I did need to reduce the file size to be able to email it. So I hope the pictures are ok.
    >Based on this data can you help me with the following questions:
    >1: where is this game from?
    >2: how old is it?
    >3: Is it a special version, or a very common one?
    >4: how much would it be worth?
    >Thank you for your website, which already gave me a lot of info.
    >And thanks in advance for your reply.
    >WBR,
    >Gilbert S
    >Haarlem, The Netherlands
    >1 Write a factual detailed list "151 tiles
    >2 x tiny bone dice
    >2 x wooden dice
    >2 x wind indicators
    >Wooden box"
    >2 Condition "Looks good, some have small brown stains
    >no damage on any tiles"
    >3 What are the tiles made of. "My best indication is Bone with a fishtail connection to bamboo.
    >On the pictures you can see the Haversian system."
    >4 History of the set. This set came out of the inhertance of my father. I do not know where he purchased it, but I know he was in China a couple of times in 1965. So my best guess is he got it there.
    >5 Dimensions "Height x width x depth = 27 x 19 x 14 mm
    >Bamboo: 6 mm
    >Bone: 8 mm"
    >6 Tiles in the set "151 pieces in total
    >36 Dots, 36 Craks, 36 Bams, 16 Winds, 12 dragons, 8 flowers, 7 plain whites."
    >7 Other tiles No other tiles in the set
    >8 Container Wood flat box with a sliding top.
    >9 Condition of the container Container is in ok condition, nothing special.
    >10 Paper materials There are no paper materials or lables.


    Hallo, Gilbert!
    It was made in China.
    Could be 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s. Hard to say for sure. Probably more recent (probably not too old). You say he was in China in 1965. Probable age: 52 years or a bit more.
    It is not rare. The interesting thing is the Chinese "100 uses" jokers (they are not white dragons – four of your blank tiles are your white dragons) and the flowers.
    Value is a function of rarity, beauty, and condition. I see staining on your tiles, you're missing 2 of the wind discs and 1 blank (which reduces the value for a potential American customer), and you say the box is "nothing special." With the pluses and minuses of the set, I'd say around US$50, give or take.
    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 25, 2017


    I can't see the reply you gave me last month

    >From: "jaytoni25
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I asked if you can mark your Mahjongg card and you answer me. I can't find your answer and no one believed me when I said you could. Help me please.
    >Toni B

    Hi, Toni!
    You wrote me on June 19th, and I replied on June 19th. That conversation is still visible at http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd.htm. Go on the internet and go to that address. Then there are several ways you can find and see our previous conversation:
    You can use "control-F" (if you are on a Windows PC) or "command-F" (if you are on a Mac PC) and type "jaytoni" in the search box. It'll find this conversation first, and you can also then click down to the next instance, and the next, until you get to our June 19th conversation.
    Or you can use control-F (or command-F) to find "June 19," then click down to the next, and the next, until you get to our June 19th conversation.
    Or you can just scroll down and scroll down past all the July and late-June conversations until you get to our previous conversation.
    It's very odd that your group is giving you so much grief about marking up your card. It's your card, not theirs! It's no skin off their noses and none of their business.
    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 25, 2017


    Why not just say "joker" when discarding a joker? Nobody can claim it anyway!(FAQ 19G3)

    >From: James O
    >Sent: Monday, July 24, 2017 4:18 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg puzzler
    >On the back of the card there is a sentence I can't figure what it means. It says " Jokers may be discarded at any time during the game and named the same as previous discard". Why do you name it something instead of just saying joker when discarding? I've been taught that you can never pick up a discarded joker.
    >Sincerely,
    >Jim O

    Hi, Jim!
    Your point is perfectly reasonable, but there's a real benefit to saying something other than "joker" when discarding a joker. Read Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 19G3. (It's listed under Discarding, or you can scroll down past 19E and 19F to get to it.) 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. 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.
    Rochester, New York, USA
    July 24, 2017


    Do you have to verbalize a joker exchange?

    >From: Chuck & Marsha S
    >Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2017 9:12 PM
    >Subject: Exchanging Jokers
    >The 2017 card says "To claim a discard, the player must verbalize their call....."
    >My question is whether you must verbalize when you exchange a joker or can you just exchange it without saying anything? Thanks, Marsha

    Hi, Marsha!
    I don't have the official rulebook (or my library of yearly newsletters) with me, but as far as I recall, there is nothing in there about verbalizing a joker exchange. So, in the absence of an official rule, we have to fall back on 2 things: common sense, and strategy, and courteous behavior (okay, so that's 3 things). While it makes strategic sense to make a ninja-stealthy exchange so as to pull one over on anyone not paying attention, it is clearly courteous to verbalize the exchange. Common sense tells us that since discarding and taking must be verbalized, it is reasonable to verbalize an exchange. If exchanging from someone else's rack, it's rude to just reach over and take her tile and put yours there – you should hold out your natural and ask her for the joker. If exchanging from your own rack, it's good practice to let others know what you're doing.
    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, 2017


    Is this mahjong or not? (Part 2)

    >From: Ola S
    >Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2017 12:37 PM
    >Subject: Mystery domino tiles
    >Hello Tom Sloper,
    >Back in 7 July, Peter Y posted a set of dominoes shaped like mahjong
    >tiles. I believe this is a set for the game Digging Flowers (挖花). I
    >tried to glean what I could from the Chinese Wikipedia page on the
    >game[1], but I don't know Chinese and Google Translate isn't very good
    >with East Asian languages.
    >From what I can tell, it seems to be a draw-and-discard game similar to
    >Rummy and Mahjong, played with 126 or 136 tiles (six copies of each
    >domino from 1-1 to 6-6, optionally with eight flowers and two blanks; of
    >the six copies of a domino, three have no border, two have a double
    >border, and one is doubled with a single border).
    >It would be nice to know more about the game, but I think you'd have to
    >ask a Chinese speaker for that.
    >Best regards,
    >Ola S
    >[1] https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%8C%96%E8%8A%B1

    Nice detective work, Ola! Maybe someone who can read Chinese will come along and follow your lead!
    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, 2017


    British Mah Jongg scoring

    >From: william w
    >Sent: Friday, July 21, 2017 12:17 AM
    >Subject: BMJA question
    >Hi Tom
    >I cannot get the BMJA website to accept emails but there was a note referrring to your expert website for queries
    >BMJA rules
    >Mah Jong Query. 1
    >1) After calculating the individual scores for a completed hand and then calculating the settling up scores are these two added together to achieve a running total score for the game and thus progress onto the next hand with this total score.
    >Or
    >Is the settling up almost a side event and separate from the running score for the game. I.e. The running score being the running total of individual scores only for each completed hand with the settling up element ignored for this purpose?
    >2) when East Wind deals out the tiles - after 12 tiles is it then one tile to East and then one to other winds in turn with and a final one to him/herself in standard rotation or is it (as I am sure I have seen somewhere but cannot now find) -after 12 tiles the first and third tile from the top row on the live end of the wall are dealt to him/herself and the the other winds get their last tiles from live end in normal sequence?
    >Thanks
    >Regards
    >Willie

    Hi, Willie!
    I don't have my BMJA book with me today, but I'll try my best.

    After calculating the individual scores for a completed hand and then calculating the settling up scores are these two added together to achieve a running total score
    If I recall correctly that British scoring works the same as classic Chinese scoring, when the winner's score is calculated, the other players "pay" the winner immediately (handing over chips or sticks), adding to the winner's purse. Then the non-winners calculate their own scores, and settle up with one another accordingly. After all that, the tiles are shuffled and dealt for the next hand.

    after 12 tiles is it then one tile to East and then one to other [players] in turn with and a final one to him/herself in standard rotation
    No.

    or is it (as I am sure I have seen somewhere but cannot now find) -after 12 tiles the first and third tile from the top row on the live end of the wall are dealt to him/herself and the the other [player]s get their last tiles from live end in normal sequence?
    Yes.

    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, 2017


    My mahj friends don't want to use this particular rule. Please give me a convincing argument!

    >From: Lois R
    >Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:54 PM
    >Subject: question
    >Hi Tom -
    >If a person exposes incorrectly and their hand is dead, the incorrectly exposed tiles are supposed to be put back on the sloping part of the rack, allowing previous good exposures to stay on top. My mahj friends argue this with me. They want to keep the "dead" tiles up on top, also. Please give me a good reason to tell them why they should follow the rule. For me, it is just easier - no confusion. That isn't a good enough reason for them.
    >Thank you!!!
    >Lois

    Good morning, Lois! I can't give you a convincing argument. I'm sure the reason they like their rule is that that way, jokers stay atop the rack, available for redemption. You could argue that that's against the rules, but I don't think they'll care. I suggest you read FAQ 14. 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.
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    July 20, 2017


    Column 682

    >From: Suzanne L
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 6:05 PM
    >Subject: Column #682
    >Hi Tom
    >So glad I discovered you!
    >On hand #4 you say to get rid of the green. I would go for Like numbers #1, for which I would need the 9 craks and 9 dots, the flower and the green. I would get rid of a 7.
    >You had me fooled in hand #2, coloring the craks green, so your answer confused me at first. Teaches me to pay attention!
    >Suzanne L
    >Santa Maria, CA

    Hi, Suzanne!
    So glad you discovered me too! But oh my gosh, I did color craks green, didn't I?! I guess I was either in a hurry or sleep-deprived when I did that. And I may have fooled not only you, but myself as well. Since I don't have my 2017 card with me, I don't know if my answer was any good. I'll need to look at it when I get home. Kudos 2 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.
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    July 19, 2017


    Column 683

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, July 17, 2017 3:59 PM
    >Subject: Column #683
    >For hand #10, 6C and 6D are hot tiles if the opponent is playing 3-6-9 #2, however, 6C, 3B and 6B are the hot tiles if the opponent is playing 3-6-9 #4.
    >John

    Hi, John!
    You know how it is when you travel – you always forget something. Looks like the thing I forgot this time is my 2017 card! I'll take a look at this when I get home.
    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.
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    July 19, 2017


    I'm dead. Is my exposure also dead?

    >From: Lois R
    >Sent: Monday, July 17, 2017 2:35 PM
    >Subject: question
    >Hi -
    >I've been uncle to find the answer to this:
    >I call for exposure, do it correctly, using 2 jokers. I look down, and have 2 "down" tiles in front of me. I had been passed one when I called, apparently hadn't passed mine to the person next to me, but she claimed that I did. That gives me too many ties, so I am dead. Is my exposure also dead?
    >Thank you!
    >Lois

    Hi, Lois!
    If you discover that you have too many tiles in the course of making an exposure, that exposure is invalid and must be placed on the sloping front of your rack... and you can go get a nosh while the others continue 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.
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    July 19, 2017


    What was the price for a typical Catalin set from the 1940s?

    >From: Hinda G
    >Sent: Saturday, July 15, 2017 12:34 PM
    >Subject: American made mj sets
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am a dedicated vintage mah jongg set eBay watcher. I've seen many American made mj sets circa 1940-1960's prices of all kinds.
    >My questions is: Do you know what the price for a typical (Bakelite,Catalina)1940's plus mj set cost at the time?
    >For example: Rottgames, Royal Depth Control,Cardinal, Tyl, MahLowe etc.
    >Very curious, can not find the answer anywhere.
    >Thank you,
    >Hinda G

    Hi, Hinda!
    I’m afraid that I’m not expert on that topic. I have two ideas for you, though:
    1. You could look through magazines from the forties (especially women's magazines from New York or the east coast). I bet libraries have microfilm of a lot of old magazines – and/or may have digitized them. And sometimes you can find old magazines still available for sale (bookstores, flea markets, etc.).
    2. You could join the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. group on Facebook, and ask the group.
    Good luck!
    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.
    Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA
    July 15, 2017


    I was told it's illegal to move discards when a wall is pushed out

    >From: Shirley M
    >Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 5:53 PM
    >Subject: Touching Tiles
    >Your website is wonderful!
    >I have read through your FAQs and could not find any reference to the following: A player moved several discarded tiles out of the way so she could push out her wall. She was informed touching the discarded tiles when pushing out a wall was not allowed. True or False?
    >I just purchased your book on Amazon. Can’t wait to get it!
    >Shirley M

    Hi, Shirley!
    I teach my students that they SHOULD move discards out of the way before a wall is pushed out. I hate it when discards are all bunched up against the wall. When I move discards, I do it with the back of my hand - that way, nobody can accuse me of taking any.
    I'm delighted you bought my book. Make sure you supplement it with the errata. But you should know that my book is not official. What you need, for those times when somebody says "X is not allowed," is the official rulebook from the League.


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

    (You won't find anything in there that says nobody is permitted to touch the discards. And you won't find anything about that in my book, either. Because there's no such rule.) If you play with a hand-slapper, you can suggest using some sort of object to move tiles away from the wall - and you can ask the hand-slapper what she suggests might be legal to use for the purpose. Chinese players don't use racks; they use straight plastic "rulers" (which are not ruled with any inch or centimeter markings - they're just shaped like rulers). Chinese "rulers" are good for moving tiles, when one is for some reason not permitted to use the back of one's hand. But those are Chinese; that means they're "un-American," thus not exactly a common accessory for American players.
    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 11, 2017


    I don't have a question

    >From: Marilyn S
    >Sent: Monday, July 10, 2017 8:20 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from my iPad

    Then I don't have an answer! (^_~)


    Alite

    >From: Lenore C
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 10:09 AM
    >Subject: 1970-1971 A & L Manufacturing Mah Jong Set
    >Hi Tom,
    >My mom recently gave me a Mah Jong Set made of Alite. Some of the tiles have transferred paint on the back side of the tile. I would like to know how I can remove the unwanted paint without ruining the tile.
    >I am also curious about Alite. Is it bakelite? The sticker reads non-fading. I was also wondering about its value.
    >Thank you for your knowledge.
    >Lenore

    Lenore! Your email fell through the cracks! I was cleaning out my inbox today and found your email from 10 days ago. I'm so sorry for not responding earlier to your questions, which are…

    I would like to know how I can remove the unwanted paint without ruining the tile.
    That's a tricky one! I recommend you check out the cleaning tips in FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) 7-o (seven oh). You can link to the FAQs above left.

    I am also curious about Alite. Is it bakelite?
    Alite is not Bakelite. You can read all I have about Alite in FAQ 7c3.

    I was also wondering about its value.
    I can help you with that if you give me more information. Read FAQ 7H.

    May the tiles be with you. Standing by…! And I'll let your emails fall through the cracks nevermore!
    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
    7/7/2017


    Is this mahjong or not?

    >From: Peter Y
    >Sent: Friday, July 7, 2017 3:51 AM
    >Subject: Question on a Set - Mahjong or not?
    >Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    >I've found a game set in an Internet shop, and I cannot understand what it is. The title is "mahjong", but it's more likely to be Chinese dominoes. With various colors and frames. Please tell, do you know anything about this set and how it is played?
    >(I found it in a catalogue of one of Taobao resellers, but I cannot find it on Taobao itself so far, or I'd give you a link.)
    >With best regards,
    >Peter

    >From: Peter Y
    >Sent: Friday, July 7, 2017 5:37 AM
    >Subject: Curious Game Set (from my prev letter)
    >Hello again, Mr. Sloper,
    >I found that game set ("mahjong" a-la Chinese dominoes) on Taobao, please, take a look: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=2013.1.20141003.10.2e538ffeyb5afI&scm=1007.10011.70203.
    >100200300000001&id=532077508065&pvid=53fbaa2e-88e3-4697-84b8-a19b537d49e4 .
    >With best regards,
    >Peter

    Hi, Peter. Those are dominoes (not mah-jongg)*. Rules for dominoes are easy to find with a Google search. And I'll bet you'll find rules on pagat.com too (maybe even how to use those flower dominoes). Have fun!
    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
    7/7/2017

    * Dominoes with a mah-jongg theme. The flowers suggest that the game has a mah-jongg twist to it, but I didn't find anything on pagat.com with a quick cursory look. - Tom


    Just want to know how old it is. And where it was made. And what it's worth.

    >From: Jo K
    >To: tomster@sloperama.com
    >Sent: Thursday, July 6, 2017 8:54 PM
    >Subject: Date a maj set
    >Hello! I was hoping to know the age and possible place of origin of my set. I'm not planning on selling, but I'd also be curious about a monetary value if you're able to provide that. I understand that the pics are yours once I send them over! Please let me know if there are any additional pictures or information you need. Thank you!
    >-Jo K
    >Hello, I would like to know the age of my set, possibly area of origin if you’re able. I’m not interested in selling, but would be curious about a price if you’d like to give one.
    >1) I have a bamboo set with bone sticks. It contains: 36 craks, 36 bams, 36 dots. 4 green and 4 red dragons. No white dragons. 8 blank tiles, one of which was cracked so I replaced it (although I still have the original). There are 8 flowers (4 red, 4 green, warning for one containing a swastika). Aside from the 1 cracked tile, they are all in good condition. The set contains no jokers. 16 winds.
    >There are 4 bone dice which are somewhat irregularly shaped, but generally are 6x6x6mm.
    >There are also 4 bamboo tokens which I believe indicate direction (they have the same characters as the winds). They are painted/carved green on black. They are 1.1 cm across and come in a small cylindrical bamboo box.
    >I have in total 121 bone sticks: 37 that have 10 dots on them, 8 with 5 dots, 40 with 2 dots, 36 with 1 dot. The 10s and 2s have black ink on them, and the 5s and 1s have red ink. The ink smudges easily, especially the black. Many of the sticks have their ink rubbed off, some completely.
    >It came with some wooden racks, but I doubt they originate together because the racks say they were made in San Francisco.
    >2) It comes with an instruction leaflet which has been ripped in two, but there’s no indication of a date or author.
    >3) Bamboo
    >4) I have literally no idea about the history of the set. I bought it at an antique store in Salem, Oregon a few years back for $20.
    >5) Tile dimensions: 1.1cm deep, 1.9 cm wide, 2.7 cm long
    >6) 148 tiles (better breakdown in q 1)
    >7) It came in a red tin with a pattern of bugs (I think?) and flowers on it. Much of the design is rubbing off. Inside the tin is a divider between the tiles and the sticks. On the bottom is a stamp that says “Made in China.” The tin is lined with parchment paper and some other sort of paper. I have no clue if either is original to the set.
    >8) The older kind.
    >12) no jokers
    > (I’m sorry I put the dragons with their suits! I used another layout for reference and didn’t see your example layout)

    Hi, Jo! You asked (in essence):

    How old is it?
    It was made in the early 1920s. So, it's approximately 95 years old.

    Where was it made?
    China.

    How much is it worth?
    Somewhere between $40 and $80*, depending on how attractive the tin box is.

    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
    7/7/2017

    *On second thought, considering the cracked tile and damaged scoring sheet, I'm going to say "$20" (what you paid for it). - Tom


    Can I add points for honors to a Knitted Straight hand?

    >From: Jerry P
    >Sent: Monday, July 3, 2017 4:08 PM
    >Subject: Scoring Question about a specific hand
    >Tom,
    >How many points are scored with a knitted straight with 5 honors. We are confused if you can add other points other than the 12 to that hand besides having flower tiles.
    >Thanks for your time.
    >Jerry

    Hi, Jerry.
    Take a look at FAQ 22 (you can link to the FAQs above left). Step 1: your main scoring element is the knitted straight. Step 2: then combine any other scoring elements which are not inevitably included in that main scoring element. That means you can add points for honors.
    Now then: look at fan #35, Knitted Straight. The description in my book, on page 183, specifically says you can combine (add) fan #34, Lesser Honors and Knitted Tiles. Fan #35 requires all 9 knitted tiles, and does not by necessity or definition include any honors. Fan #34 requires 5 or 6 single (unpaired) honors, and 8 or 9 knitted tiles. The descriptions of both hands specifically say that combining the two hands is permissible. So right there you can see that you can claim 12 points for fan #34 and add 12 points for fan #34.
    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, 2017


    Can I call a discard to expose a pair?

    >From: Laurie J
    >Sent: Monday, July 3, 2017 8:27 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg.....? about pairs
    >Hi Tom,
    >When playing a hand using pairs, can a player call (take?) a discarded tile and use it to complete the pair? I'm new to the game and was told no. This didn't make sense because how else would you get the missing tile for the pair unless you picked it from the wall?
    >Laurie J

    Hi, Laurie!
    Read FAQ 19-E. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. 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!
    Every player owes it to those with whom she plays to know the rules of the game. Every player really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (or my book).


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

    On page 14 of the official rulebook there's a list of the exposures you're allowed to make prior to declaring mah-jongg... the lowly pair isn't in that list. The list of exposures one is permitted to make is a mirror of the list of exposures in which one is permitted to use jokers. See the back of the card.

    And yes, it's hard to make pairs since one can't expose a pair or use a joker in a pair. That's why hands with pairs are more valuable - they're harder to make, since they have to be self-picked (unless the pairmaker is also one's mah-jongg tile, in which case you can call it). Like it says in FAQ 19-E.
    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 3rd of July, 2017


    Knock, knock, knocking

    >From: Shayna S
    >Sent: Saturday, July 1, 2017 11:50 AM
    >Subject: knocking
    >Hi Tom
    >I have memories of my Mom playing Mah-Jongg and I believe when a player was one tile away from getting Mah-Jongg they would say "knocking" or something to that effect - is this a real thing? I have been playing Mahj for about 3 years but always with the same group so none of us knows the answer.
    >Thanks for any help you can offer.
    >Shayna

    Hi, Shayna!
    Welcome to my website! In my book, this term is referred to as "calling" or "on call," or "fishing," or "ready." In some forms of mah-jongg, one's score can be increased by declaring that one is ready for a winning tile, followed by winning. In Japanese mah-jongg, the term is "riichi" ("reach"), and one has to place a bet along with the riichi declaration. If your mom played American mah-jongg, then her group was using a table rule. You can learn about table rules by reading FAQ 14.
    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 First of July, 2017


    Proper procedure for exposing, part 2

    >From: Bobbie S
    >Sent: Saturday, July 1, 2017 10:40 AM
    >Subject: Re: exposing a picked tile (discard of another player)
    >THANK-YOU

    You're-welcome. (^_^)


    Is left right?

    >From: Carolyn S
    >Sent: Saturday, July 1, 2017 9:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: do players play to the right and put their racks out to the left or vice versa or does it matter

    Hi, Carolyn!
    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-Q, "Counterclockwise, clockwise? I'm so confused!" 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. 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. Come back anytime with mah-jongg questions, but please always check the FAQs first, before asking me. 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 2, 2017


    Proper procedure for exposing a taken discard?

    >From: Bobbie S
    >Sent: Friday, June 30, 2017 3:41 PM
    >Subject: exposing a picked tile (discard of another player)
    >Tom, Is there a proper procedure for exposing a picked tile that someone discarded. If you set it in your rack and align it with the rest of the tiles to be exposed and then put it on the top of your rack, are you then dead? I sure got told off yesterday .
    > If you lay it in front of your rack while you get the rest of the exposure , are you dead? Exactly how must you do it? Thanks. I did read faq19 but didn't find it.

    Hi, Bobbie! Welcome to my website. You wrote:

    Is there a proper procedure for exposing a picked tile that someone discarded.
    When you take a discarded tile, that's not "picking." That's "taking."

    If you set it in your rack and align it with the rest of the tiles to be exposed and then put it on the top of your rack, are you then dead?
    You're asking FAQ 19K, "Am I dead if I put the taken discard in my hand?"

    If you lay it in front of your rack
    Sorry, but I don't follow. Do you mean on the discard floor? That wouldn't make any sense - you picked it up and you put it back down again? Or do you mean on top of the rack? Or do you mean on your card? I don't know what you mean by "front of your rack."

    I did read faq19 but didn't find it.
    This falls under the category of "Claiming A Discard."

    After you read FAQ 19K, if you have a follow-up question, you know how 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
    June 30, 2017


    My 100-year-old set, part 2

    >From: Sgt WildCard
    >Sent: Friday, June 30, 2017 2:36 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jongg set
    >Thanks for the response Tom. I will get a picture off to you. I am aware of relation traveling the Orient during WWI and near Korea during the war. But I have reason to believe It was pre-Korean War. I will take a picture shortly. Thanks again! Dave

    Okay. Standing by.
    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 30, 2017


    My 100-year-old set

    >From: Sgt WildCard
    >Sent: Monday, June 19, 2017 7:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg set
    >Tom -
    >I have a very old Mah Jongg set. I believe it is 100? years old and I do see it is dovetailed with wood/bamboo?. I did see your comments on Ebays site.
    >Let me know if this is still an accurate email and if you'd be interested in seeing a picture.
    >Thanks!
    >Dave

    Sergeant Dave, I'm so sorry that your email fell through the cracks. Your email arrived on an insane busy week, and I didn't have time to reply then and only now found it again. My apologies!
    So you think your set is from 1917? That would be quite a collectible, for sure. But I have to say that I'm skeptical. Of course I'd like to see some pictures. And I can try to answer a question, if you have one.
    As you were!
    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 30, 2017


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games, part 4

    Got another email about wall games and the 2017 National Mah Jongg League card.

      >From: Cathy C
      >Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2017 5:58 AM
      >Subject: Wall Games - 2017 Card
      >I am wondering just how many groups are experiencing high numbers of wall games with the 2017 card. I have contact with 4 local groups and they all comment on high numbers of wall games. I live in a tourist area where we get summer residents from all over the US and they also say that as soon as they started playing at home with the new card they were experiencing the same thing. Just wondering why. Frustrated in Colorado.

    As I wrote on June 14, I haven't seen a connection between card design and wall game frequency, myself. If the card is causing more wall games, there may be an imbalance in the card's design. If an imbalance exists, I haven't yet pinpointed its cause in the card. Readers are welcome to offer specific theories or findings. I'll look for signs of imbalance as I write upcoming Defense and WWYD columns.
    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 29, 2017


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Monday, June 26, 2017 2:35 PM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $100.00 USD from JAN H
    >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
    >Total amount: $100.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: JAN H
    >Message: THANK YOU FOR KEEPING YOUR COLUMN GOING. I ALWAYS ENJOY SEEING WHAT IS HAPPENING IN MAJ!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Wow! Thank you very much, Jan! Now I feel really bad about not having written one this past weekend! A lot going on. I promise to write one next weekend for 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
    June 26, 2017


    It says "3 suits," but it doesn't say "3 different suits"

    >From: Susan
    >Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2017 4:05 AM
    >Subject: 2017 Like Number Question
    >Hello,
    >The like numbers hand with the dragons states any 3 suites but not the word different. 3 colors are used to show hand. Can dragons used match one of the suites used for numbers? For instance, 4 bams of #6, 4 green dragons and 4 cracks of #6.
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Susan

    Hi, Susan! You wrote:

    The like numbers hand with the dragons states any 3 suites but not the word different.
    This argument doesn't make sense. It's 3 colors and it says "3 suits," which means you have to use 3 suits. "3" always means "3."

    Can dragons used match one of the suites used for numbers?
    That wouldn't be 3 suits. That would be 2 suits. If it says "3 suits," you can't use just 2 suits. "3" never means "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 24, 2017


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games, part 3

    >From: Madeleine H
    >Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 11:52 AM
    >Subject: 2017 CARD
    >As a follow up to my earlier query regarding the 2017 card and wall games, here are some personal conclusions.
    >· Hands seem easier to identify (sometimes with only one exposure) causing defensive play
    >· 7’s are a dominant tile in a number of areas which means more players competing for them
    >· Seemingly more difficult to change hands when play dictates a move in a different direction
    >And as to Linda’s comment regarding players becoming more defensive as they gain in experience. I respectfully disagree that that is what is occurring here. The number of wall games we play increased dramatically with the introduction of this card. I can’t imagine that the groups I play with all suddenly started playing more defensively because of the experience factor. There also seems to be a fair numbers of players who express a dislike for the card without putting a finger on exactly the reason.
    >On the up side, there is always a new card to look forward to.
    >Cheers,
    >Madeleine

    Well said, Madeleine. What you said about sevens is interesting, especially in light of the fact that the change-up section at bottom left isn't Sevens but rather Thirteens.
    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, 2017


    Typo in latest column

    >From: Barbara Marshall
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 5:29 AM
    >Subject: Column #679
    >Hi Tom,
    >Small correction: #10, I'm sure you meant to say "2017", not "2016".
    >Love your column!
    >Thanks!

    Quite right, Barbara! I fixed it, 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
    Summer Solstice, 2017


    Can I mark up my NMJL card?

    >From: "jaytoni
    >Sent: Monday, June 19, 2017 8:02 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can I highlight my Mah Jong card?
    >Toni B

    Hi, Toni! Welcome to my website.
    You can do whatever you want to your NMJL card, except make a copy of it. You can write on it, you can color on it, you can even cut it up and paste it back together differently. Scroll down to April and read the posts titled "I want to rearrange my card," parts 1 through 4. Even the League says so: It's your card. The only thing you can't do with it is copy it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Juneteenth, 2017


    Column 677

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2017 2:44 PM
    >Subject: column # 677
    >Hi Tom,
    >For problem #2, I would try for Consec. Run #7 (7 tiles). You've got your pair, and maybe you'll get some more dragons and jokers to help! I would d/c 2D, G, 3C.
    >Linda

    That's good, Linda!
    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, 2017


    Column 676

    >From: Fran K
    >Sent: Friday, June 16, 2017 10:38 AM
    >Subject: #676 Defense
    >Hi Tom..I was catching up on your past columns and think there may have been an oversight on your column from May 28th. Hand #11 on your defense column can only be Quints #1 and #2 as the hand #3 needs consecutive tiles and the 2's can only be a pair not a quint. take care, Fran

    >From: Fran K
    >Sent: Friday, June 16, 2017 3:54 PM
    >Subject: oops
    >Hi TOm..momentary mahjong brain burp..realize my error..ty , Fran

    No problemo, Fran!
    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 16, 2017


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games, part 2

    >From: "lindaz…
    >Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2017 7:52 AM
    >Subject: 2017 card and wall games
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have some thoughts about Madeline's question (of 6/14) regarding the frequency of wall games. My opinion is that as players become more experienced, they become more skilled in playing defensively. It becomes easier to discern what other players are doing. So I don't think the 2017 card is a factor in the number of wall games. I disagree that wall games take the fun out of playing--I think it becomes more of a challenge to win!
    >IMHO, Linda

    Sounds eminently reasonable to me, Linda!
    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 15, 2017


    Do I have to have a non-joker to call a discard?

    >From: Nancy N
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 8:47 PM
    >Subject: Jokers
    >If i need 3 flowers and i have 2 jokers in my hand when a flower is thrown, can i call it?
    >Thanks,
    >Nancy

    Hi, Nancy!
    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-L, "Do I have to have a non-joker?" 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. 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
    June 14, 2017


    Anybody notice a lot more wall games with the 2017 card?

    >From: Madeleine H
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 1:49 PM
    >Subject: 2017 card
    >Just a comment regarding the 2017 card.
    >I have been playing Mah Jongg for about 8 years and would consider myself an advanced player. The new card is difficult on some levels, but the number of games I play which result in wall games seems to be remarkably high. I play three times a week with different groups of women and it is the same at every venue.
    >I’m wondering if you have received any similar comments, or have experienced this yourself.
    >Rather takes some of the fun out of playing.
    >Regards,
    >Madeleine H
    >La Quinta, CA

    Hi, Madeleine!
    I haven't experienced an increase in wall games. I've been teaching and writing columns, but not playing (except online once in a while).
    What about this card do you suppose causes more wall games? Or what about any card might cause wall games? Too hard to figure out what an opponent is doing? Too easy? Or too hard to switch to another hand? Or something else? I haven't been able to deduce a connection between card design and wall game frequency, myself. What's your theory, Madeleine? And maybe some other readers will have some ideas.
    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 14, 2017


    Column 678

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Monday, June 12, 2017 5:09 AM
    >Subject: #678 question
    >Tom,
    >You say that Conc 7 is considerably better than LN 1. It is concealed and you can't use any of the Greens as you need opposite dragons. So I see 7 tiles toward Conc #7 and 6 tiles toward LN #1, W/D # 6 and Conc #5. It may be tough to get the pair of F needed for all of those. I might pass 7B or G since neither involves needing a pair. Tough call.
    >Thank you,
    >Kathryn

    Hi Kathryn!
    I gather that you're referring to problem #4. You're right - I goofed in regards to Consec #7 since the greens aren't an opposite dragon. Those darn flowers. They're always getting up in your face, except when you need them.
    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 12, 2017


    Thank you so much for your columns

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2017 8:37 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary Ann C
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Mary Ann C. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Mary Ann C
    >Message: Thank you so much for your columns. I love Mah Jongg and I think your columns have made me a better player.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Mary Ann!
    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 12, 2017


    How much is it worth, part 3

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Thursday, June 8, 2017 1:39 PM
    >Subject: Beth's set
    >Hi Tom,
    >I just saw Beth's wonderful set, I thought I'd add a little to your comments.
    >Though I don't buy sets, I agree that this set would sell for over $1000, if Beth uses Ebay then please be aware that there are some buyers who would try a low offer to temp Beth to sell quickly.
    >You may have noticed that the Chinese numerals on the Wan tiles are the rather more complex "bankers" numerals, such as 玖 rather than 九 for the number 9, or 柒 rather than 七 for number 7. This is rather less commonly found on sets, and itself may well be sought after.
    >The flower tiles are quite exquisite. There are two Chinese phrases within the flowers...these are not uncommon in themselves, (I've seen these phrases many times, but then I do get to see the rarer sets I suppose), but here are particularly beautifully rendered. The phrases are 嫦娥奔月, cháng é bēn yuè, Chang'e flies to the moon and 天女散花, tiān nǚ sàn huā, the heavenly maiden scatters flowers. Both stories can be found on the Internet easily enough, but descriptions are also to be found on mahjongtreasures.com.
    >Prior to selling, it may be worthwhile Beth contacting Johni Levene who may well advise value more accurately (via for example the Facebook group shown in FAQ 4a), Johni may be able to suggest the best way to sell to maximise value.
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Thank you, Ray. I'll let Beth know she should come see what you wrote. Very helpful as always!
    May the tiles be with you. Cheers,
    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 8, 2017


    Isn't the discard "down"? (FAQ 19-A) Can she change her mind like that? (FAQ 19-AM)

    >From: Cyndi M
    >Sent: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 5:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I was playing American mahjongg today. One player named a her discard, 2 crack. I was looking at my hand and called the discard.
    >She said she hadn’t placed the tile on the table yet so I couldn’t have it. The tile was still in her hand, she was holding it in the air.
    >What is the rule on this? I insisted it couldn’t be legal to do this. Who was right and, more importantly, what is the rule on this?
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Cyndi! Welcome to my website. But wow, your opponent is a bit competitive, hmm? What was she going to do, put it back and discard something else (and never discard the 2C just so you couldn't have it)? Read FAQs 19-A and 19-AM. 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. 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
    June 7, 2017


    What if there's no parenthetical? (FAQ 19-AJ)

    >From: Sheila W
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 4:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My Mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >Card 2017, Under Consecutive Run,
    >1st Line.
    >Says any 1 suit, is it also these Nos. Only? As it does not specify
    >11 222 3333 444 55 or 55 666 7777 888 99
    >Thank you
    >Sheila

    Hi, Sheila! 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-AJ. 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. You can search the page for keywords, or you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer. 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 5, 2017


    How much is it worth, parts 2-60 (+/-)

    >From: bvail05
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 11:08 AM
    >Subject: Re: value my mahjong set?
    >Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S8, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    Hi, Beth.
    I hope you can figure out why your phone keeps sending me these images multiple times every minute. As of this writing, I estimate that I have received about 60 copies of that email. I had to create an email filter to send your emails to my trash folder, because these emails are flooding my email inbox. So I regret to say that you can no longer send emails to me, since I never check my email trash folder (I only check the spam folder, because sometimes real emails accidentally go there).
    And that's truly a shame, especially since
    * I have incredible news for you.

    Your set is a unique, highly desirable collector's item. The carving on the tiles is exquisite, ornate, and rare. I can't tell you a precise value, since your set is so unusual. It's worth hundreds of dollars, but I can't tell you how many hundreds. It's conceivable that its value might possibly cross the thousand-dollar threshold, but I don't know. That said, the set does have flaws. And if you decide to offer your set for sale, you must describe these flaws to any potential buyer.

    1. You said the case is in poor condition (I don't know; you didn't send a photo of it)
    2. As you mentioned, the set includes two foreign dice: a regular plastic die and a plastic poker die. You should take those dice out of the case (they do not belong in it).
    3. Your wind disc container is sadly empty - the wind discs themselves are lost.
    4. You mentioned a broken stick. You gave me counts of your sticks, and they're not divisible by 4, so some sticks have been lost.
    5. I can see by your photos that your tiles are made of bone, not ivory. There is Haversian system streaking on the tiles, but it looks odd - like the streaks were painted white, or whitewashed, or bleached or something.
    6. I can see by your photos that the paint has worn out or flaked off in some places. Your bottom green dragon, for instance.
    7. You say the tile count is 148. That's four short of the number that would be needed to play modern American rules - but I imagine that a collector who might buy your set would want it for show, not for play. Finding extra tiles to match would likely be difficult, since the bone portion of your tiles is quite a bit thicker than the norm.

    Those flaws decrease the value of the set (compared to a perfect set of similar carving and beauty). But still, it's a highly desirable set. Note that I do NOT give you permission to use my name in any sales pitches.
    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, 2017

    * P.S. The emails stopped, so I removed the filter. - Tom


    How much is it worth? (FAQ 7-H)

    >From: Beth V
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 7:12 AM
    >Subject: value my mahjong set?
    >Hi I am looking to possibly sell my mahjong set but I do not know what it is worth. I was hoping you could help me get a realistic valuation on this item. I acquired it from a client of whom I remodeled her home built in the 1920’s. It had been in her attic. It’s tiles are dovetailed bamboo with bone or ivory? The carvings seem to be quite intricate and I believe them to be hand carved as there are small variations from tile to tile. There are 36 dots, 36 bams, 36 craks, 16 winds, 12 dragons, 8 flowers, and 8 blanks for a total of 148 tiles. Additionally, there are 19 “sticks” with two black dots, ( one of these is broke in half) 19 sticks with 1 red dot, 40 sticks with 10 black dots, and 8 sticks with 5 red dots. Lastly there are 4 very small dice kept in a small wooden or bamboo box with sliding lid, one medium regular die and one slightly larger die with a black spade symbol on one side, 9 black spades on a side, 10 red spades on aside and a Queen on a side, a Jack and a King on each of two other sides. Then there is a small round container with a lid. When I say small the container measures 16 mm tall and the lid is 3 mm with about a diameter of about 23mm that fits on the container. This whole set is kept in a brown leather case that has locking hardware. The case is in poor shape but inside it houses the trrays for the tiles that are lined in a royal blue lining. I can send pictures if you need. I look forward to your response.
    >Sincerely,
    >Beth V

    Hi, Beth!
    Poker dice are not part of mah-jongg. If your set has just one poker die, you can remove it from your set and toss it in the trash (it's useless by itself, and poker dice are not rare). And the single die that doesn't fit into your dice coffin also can be removed. As for your set's value, please read FAQ 7h. You have more work to do; you have to tell me the condition of not just the case and one scoring stick and the trays, and yes of course I need to see it. You can link to the FAQs above left.
    Standing by...
    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, 2017


    Column 677

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 5:25 AM
    >Subject: June 4
    >Tom,
    >On June 4 #2 hand, you have Consecutive 2 as a choice using threes and sixes and 4B. Should it not be 5B? for a total of 5 tiles.
    >Thank you,
    >Kathryn Z

    Hi, Kathryn!
    As for what I said about Consec #2 in problem 2 of column 677, I did indeed make a typo. Yes, I meant 5B not 4B. It's fixed now, 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
    June 5, 2017


    Want to know about those 440 combos

    >From: Pietro G
    >Sent: Monday, June 5, 2017 4:57 AM
    >Subject: All Combinations for MCR?
    >Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    >in various sources on MCR I've read that for original MCR rules more than 440 winning combinations were gathered for examination. Only 81 remained, which are used now. Could you please tell, where I can find all these 440+ combinations? Just curious to see all of them. I thought that while you know so much about mahjong, you might see this list. Thank you.
    >With best regards,
    >Peter

    Hi, Peter!
    Very interesting question. I was not part of the Chinese group that formulated Majiang Competition Rules in 1989. If you want to see all of the scoring combinations that the group threw into the pot to boil down to their final list, you can just gather the rules of all the variants. Start with Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Shanghai New Style, Chinese Classical, and Japanese Riichi/Dora Majan. You'll see some duplicate fan, like for instance Thirteen Orphans and Nine Gates - but you will see some variance in how those must be obtained and/or scored. Then check FAQ 2b for more variants, like Vietnamese, Hunan, Malaysian, and Singapore style. For all I know, the committee may have even considered British/Australian, Wright-Patterson, and National Mah Jongg League hands. I can offer you another resource you can use to compile this list - FAQ 4b has links to sources of rules, FAQ 3 lists books you can use, and you can even find mah-jongg software by using FAQ 5. Note that multiple authors may have differing lists of winning hands, even for the same variant.
    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, 2017


    Can she change her exposure if she hasn't discarded yet? (FAQ 19-AF)

    >From: Lois R
    >Sent: Sunday, June 4, 2017 3:40 PM
    >Subject: exposure question
    > I tried to find the answer to this question, was unable to do so.
    >If a player calls a tile and incorrectly adds a wrong tile to the exposure, but has not discarded yet, can she remove the incorrect tile and replace it with the correct one? In other words, she calls a 3 crack, puts up 3 cracks with a 6 crack. Can she put the 6 back on her rack and replace with the 3 or joker she meant to put up? Or - is her hand dead?
    >Thank you!!
    >Lois

    Hi, Lois! Welcome. You wrote:

    I tried to find the answer to this question, was unable to do so.
    Sorry it wasn't easy to find. I recently redesigned FAQ 19 to make it easier to find answers. Still not easy enough, I guess. You want FAQ 19-AF. ("Can I change my exposure if I haven't discarded yet?") It's in the Exposures section. You can link to FAQ 19 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. You can search the page for keywords, or you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer. 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! Hopefully, finding your answers will get easier after you've used FAQ 19 another time or two.

    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, 2017


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile? (Frequently asked question 19-G2)

    >From: Linda B
    >Sent: Saturday, June 3, 2017 6:58 AM
    >Subject: rules question
    >Hello Tom and thank you for answering my question.
    >If I have a display with a kong of 2 cracks with a joker.
    >The person to my left discards a 2 crack in error, may I pick up that 2 crack for my display in order to keep the joker myself?

    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 19-G2. 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. You can search the page for keywords, or you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer. 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 3, 2017


    Nine Gates confusion, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >To: 'Tom Sloper'
    >Sent: Friday, June 2, 2017 1:36 PM
    >Subject: RE: nine gates confusion
    >Thanks!! Tom,
    >I final am seeing this clearly now. whew! And to make sure, sure. The hand must be entirely concealed. Bet we won’t see another 9 gates in eons! LOL Lynn

    >From: "service@paypal.com" >Sent: Friday, June 2, 2017 1:46 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Lynn M P
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Lynn M P. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Lynn M Peterson
    >Message: THanks as always! LynnP
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Lynn, you wrote:

    And to make sure, sure. The hand must be entirely concealed.
    No. See what I wrote (note: this is in regards to the Majiang Competition Rules, to qualify for 88 points): the terminal pungs and one of each simples must be concealed.

    The final tile, which must be a duplicate of any other tile in the hand, may be gotten by either picking it yourself (that would be "entirely concealed") or by claiming a discard.

    Donation
    Thank 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 2, 2017


    Nine Gates confusion

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, June 2, 2017 10:56 AM
    >Subject: nine gates confusion
    >Hi Tom. I have searched everywhere for a “real” clarification on Nine Gates. In my confused mind on your bulletin board and errata and book I have found lots, but am still confused. We play Chinese Official and have had two nine gates happen in the last 2 weeks.(Pretty amazing) We are still unsure if we did it right. Your errata has us perplexed in that we don’t understand what really has to be concealed. And what actually has to be the winning tile?
    >On a similar note, The Wiki nine gates gives great examples, but I don’t see how there can be (regarding your errata) a pure straight and 2 Two Concealed Pungs
    >11 123 456 789 999 see what I mean?
    >The Wiki Nine Gates (from the “search” on your site) does not mention concealment.
    >example
    >c1.gifc1.gifc1.gifc1.gifc2.gifc3.gifc4.gifc5.gifc6.gifc7.gifc8.gifc9.gifc9.gifc9.gif
    >pung chow chow chow pair
    >- - Nine Gates Possibilities - -
    >Out On - - - - - Hand - - - - -
    >1   111 123 456 789 99
    >2   111 22 345 678 999
    >3   11 123 345 678 999
    >4   111 234 456 789 99
    >5   111 234 55 678 999
    >6   11 123 456 678 999
    >7   111 234 567 789 99
    >8   111 234 567 88 999
    >9   11 123 456 789 999
    >Impure Nine Gates
    >A hand that is similar in structure to Nine Gates, but without the nine possible waits, is considered an Impure Nine Gates. An example would be having the pair in hand and going out on the last tile. Holding: 111 22 345 67 999 and going out on an 8 (pair of 2's already matched).
    >I hope this is clear enough and that you can help us out. We are happy to continue donating. I thought this was too big to put on the bulletin board. Enthusiastic and Appreciative Lynn in Bishop, CA

    Hi, Lynn P #2! I re-checked what I wrote in my book and the errata, and I honestly think that's less confusing than what you found in those other places. To qualify for Nine Gates and earn the 88 points, you have to have this (concealed) BEFORE you get the winning tile:

    That isn't two terminal pungs and a pure straight - it's either two terminal PAIRS and a pure straight, or two terminal pungs and one of each simple (which is how I described it on page 177 in my book). Your winning tile can be ANY dot tile. You can pick it or somebody can discard it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    June 2, 2017


    What does "neutral" mean? What does "NN" mean if there's no parenthetical?

    >From: Jill B
    >Cc: "vicki.w; Sue S; Lorri P; Cindy N
    >Sent: Thursday, June 1, 2017 4:42 PM
    >Subject: a question about the winds
    >Hello Tom: I have recently begun to play the American version of Mah Jongg with friends and we are using the 2016 card. We note that the 'winds' and the 'flowers' are neutral. We assume that this means that they are wild cards and can be used as though they are whatever else we might need for our hand. 1) is this correct? Also, for some of the 2016 hands NN or SS are shown as part of the winning hands. 2) does this mean that we need two North or two South tiles to make a winning hand or does the winning hand only require two winds of any type to complete the hand? Thank you for your help. Jill Bernstein

    Hi, ladies! Jill wrote:

    we are using the 2016 card.
    Why?

    We note that the 'winds' and the 'flowers' are neutral.
    Where did you read that word ("neutral")?

    We assume that this means that they are wild cards
    No. "Neutral" does not mean "wild" - it means "not belonging to any suit." Read FAQ 19-BG.

    for some of the 2016 hands NN or SS... does the winning hand only require two winds of any type to complete the hand?
    No. Read FAQ 19-AJ. 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. You can search the page for keywords, or you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19, and FAQ 16 lists the most frequently asked questions about the card (you can go to FAQ 16 and scroll down and click the ancient moldy dusty outdated 2016 link). 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 1, 2017


    My aunt's flower cards, part 2

    >From: Kenneth G
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 12:49 PM
    >Subject: Re: flower cards
    >Yes my cards are plastic
    >I hope this works

    Hi, Kenneth. Okay, so:
    - You say your cards are plastic.
    - The writing on the cards is Korean.
    - Therefore your cards are definitely Korean.
    But as I said earlier, I can't age them. But if your aunt gave them to you in 1960, then they were made before she gave them to you, which means they're over 57 years old. And thanks to you, now I know that Korean hwa-tu were made of plastic since at least 1960.
    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, 2017


    Piles instead of walls

    >From: Facebook
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 8:34 AM
    >Subject: Sharry F tagged you in Mah Jongg, That's It!
    >Facebook
    >Sharry F tagged you in Mah Jongg, That's It!
    >Sharry F
    >May 31 at 8:34am
    >Walls vs Tile Piles:
    >I would love to hear from Karen Gooen, Tom Sloper and others about the idea of not building tile walls. I am concerned that the randomness of the game is altered when piles of tiles are used. Is the opportunity for cheating increased with piles? Many sets have certain tiles that are "distinctive" and could be picked/placed with intention. My 6 yo granddaughter even knows not to pick the card with a crease in it (it is the old maid).
    >Compare to the gambling game of blackjack.....cards are placed in a shoe - not a pile on the table. No one wants to think friends would cheat, but I have seen some lovely ladies that "couldn't help themselves".
    >(sad)
    >Remember I teach and want to be certain of concepts I communicate to students. Thanks for your thoughts????
    > Like
    > Comment
    > Share
    >View on Facebook
    >Edit Email Settings
    >This message was sent to tomster@sloperama. If you don't want to receive these emails from Facebook in the future, please unsubscribe.
    >Facebook, Inc., Attention: Community Support, 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025

    Hi, Sharry! Why would anybody want piles instead of walls? I don't understand why anybody would want to do that. Is it that one of your students asked you a question and you want to give a good answer?
    Personally, I only use a pile for certain short teaching exercises when I want to get right to the matter being taught, without having to take the extra time to build walls.
    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, 2017


    My aunt's flower cards

    >From: Kenneth G
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 10:43 AM
    >Subject: flower cards
    >Tom I have a deck of flower cards ( Korean ) I think. I would like to know if you could tell me the year that they were made? I got these cards from my Korean Aunt Head-cha around the year 1960. I'm sure that she had them for years. I've been looking at the flower cards on net but there alittle different. Like the rain card, mine has a hat with a dog, not an umbrella, and there all a little different like that. I'm sending you a picture of my deck and if you zoom in you'll see the little differences. I hope you will know the answer or point me in the right direction to find the answer. The reason, I would just like to know about this deck from my Aunt.
    >Thank You !!!

    Hi, Kenneth. I can't tell you when those cards were made, based on that low-resolution photo. But if you send me better photos of the two cards highlighted below, I might be able to glean some information.

    The way I usually distinguish Korean from Japanese flower cards is by the manufacturing. Japanese cards (especially those made by Nintendo) are made of high-quality paper materials, with an outer paper skin that folds over from the back (resulting in square corners). Korean cards are usually solid plastic, sharply cut at the edges, with rounded corners. And another distinguishing factor is the printing. If all the writing is Korean, then yes, made in Korea. The left card above looks like it might be written in Korean, but because of the low resolution, I can't be certain. I'd really need to see the writing on both cards. If the writing on the right card is Japanese, then the deck was likely made in Japan.

    If your cards are made of paper instead of plastic and have Korean writing, then they would be exemplars of an earlier phase of flower cards in Korea. And that would tell us that the switch to plastic likely occurred sometime after 1960. So please send me closeups of those two cards!
    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, 2017


    Is something missing?

    >From: Marsha W
    >Sent: Monday, May 29, 2017 6:24 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >My husband got a mahjong set while he was in the Navy in the far east in 1959. All the tiles are there and there are about 6 tiny dice. The case has a section in the center with nothing in it. Is something missing – I saw some betting sticks online and wondered if they are necessary. I think the set is Bakelite. Thank you. Marsha W, Chapel Hill, NC

    Hi, Marsha!
    I can't tell you what's missing because I can't see the set. I don't know if you have a Chinese set or a Japanese set or, as you say, a Bakelite set. Not knowing what kind of set you have, I don't know what was originally supposed to be in the empty compartment of your set. You can read about types of sets in FAQ 7A. You can read about the bits and pieces that come with sets in FAQ 7D. And/or you can send me photos of 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
    May 29, 2017


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, May 28, 2017 5:55 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from GIL E
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $30.00 USD from GIL E. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Total amount: $30.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: GIL E
    >Message: Always enjoy your column and find it very helpful. Thank you for doing this.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    I'm so glad you find my column helpful, Gil! Thank you very much for the donation!
    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 29, 2017


    Found your "intentional" miss (column 676)

    >From: Rebecca Z.
    >Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2017 9:31 PM
    >Subject: May 28 blog
    >In the Defense blog of 5/28, I believe the number 10 exposures could be Odds #4.
    >Thanks so much for your column - very helpful!
    >Rebecca Z

    >From: Libby S
    >Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2017 9:54 PM
    >Subject: Column #676
    >Hi, Mr. Sloper. In reading your column #676, I think I found one of your “Intentional” misses. In no. 10, I believe that the hand can be found in Odds, with Flowers (key) and 5 Bams being hot tiles, right?
    >Thanks for your column,
    >Libby Shipp

    Doh! I mean, good for you two! I'm posting the comments in the column 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
    May 28, 2017


    Frequently asked question 19-Y

    >From: Jackie S
    >Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2017 2:36 PM
    >Subject: Table vs Official Rule
    >Is it an official rule or table rule when: You are down to the last remaining tiles in East's wall that you can only pick up
    >a discarded tile for Mah Jongg.
    >I hope I made that questions somewhat understandable.
    >Thanks
    >Best Regards
    >Jackie S

    Your question is perfectly understandable, Jackie. Lots and lots of people have asked the same question (or related questions about that type of rule). Please read FAQ 19-Y and FAQ 14. You can link to the Frequently Asked Questions 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 27, 2017


    Broken Hanafuda link mended

    >From: Ola S
    >Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 2:48 PM
    >Subject: Managed to find Hanafubuki
    >Hello,
    >After some searching I managed to find an available archived copy of the
    >hanafuda site Hanafubuki.
    >https://web.archive.org/web/20050723234333/http://hana.kirisame.org/
    >Best regards,
    >Ola S

    Good detective work, Ola! Thanks very much for the link. I've put it in the Hanafuda links page. And I looked at your Hachi-Hachi description; I have never played Hachi-Hachi but your description of it looks very thorough and understandable. Nice work.
    May the little cards 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 26, 2017


    Erroneous death challenge followed by erroneous mahj

    >from: otilia s
    >Sent: Monday, May 22, 2017 11:06 AM
    >Subject: Dead Hand Walking
    >Player 1 makes a kong exposure of 9 Bams. A while later later he makes an additional kong exposure of white dragons. Player 2 at this time questions whether this is a dead hand. Player 1 responds that his hand is not dead. It is apparent that he is playing the number 1 hand of like numbers, and indeed there is no technical reason for his hand to be dead at this time. He merely has to accumulate two flowers and a kong of 9 Craks for mah-jongg. Play continues. Eventually player 1 declares mah-jongg and now exposes a pair of flowers and a kong of 9 Dots. Because his hand has only two suits and the hand calls for three suits, his hand is now dead. When the determination of who pays whom for the dead challenge penalty, is the determination based on 1) the 8 tiles exposed at the time of the challenge (hand is not dead) or 2) the 14 tiles exposed at the end of the game (hand is now dead because of erroneous play after the challenge)?

    Hi, Otilia! You wrote:

    Player 2 at this time questions whether this is a dead hand. Player 1 responds that his hand is not dead. It is apparent that he is playing the number 1 hand of like numbers, and indeed there is no technical reason for his hand to be dead at this time. ... Play continues.
    Player 2 issued an erroneous death challenge, so she has to pay him. See FAQ 19-AB.

    Eventually player 1 declares mah-jongg and now exposes a pair of flowers and a kong of 9 Dots. Because his hand has only two suits and the hand calls for three suits, his hand is now dead.
    Play continues without him. He will have to pay the winner, assuming someone else wins.

    When the determination of who pays whom for the dead challenge penalty, is the determination based on 1) the 8 tiles exposed at the time of the challenge (hand is not dead) or 2) the 14 tiles exposed at the end of the game (hand is now dead because of erroneous play after the challenge)?
    In the case of a correct denial such as you describe, it's determined by what could be observed by 3 players at the time the death challenge was issued. When a player denies being dead and is wrong, play has to continue to the end to make the determination. In your case, it was determined at the time of the challenge that he was not dead, so she owes him.
    He killed himself later on, so he's going to have to pay the winner. The two incidents are unrelated; the death challenge had nothing to do with the actual outcome.

    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 22, 2017


    Hachi-Hachi (hanafuda)

    >From: Ola S
    >Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2017 7:22 AM
    >Subject: Hachi-Hachi rules
    >Hello again,
    >I haven't gotten an answer from the owner of Hanafubuki yet. In the
    >meantime, though, I decided to do my own write-up of the rules of the
    >hanafuda game Hachi-Hachi[1], based on the HTML5 game Shiragiku
    >Hanafuda[2]. It's mostly complete, save for some specifics regarding
    >recording scores at the end of a game. If you see anything I've
    >overlooked, please let me know.
    >Best regards,
    >Ola S
    > [1] https://vingel8.neocities.org/hachihachi.html
    >[2] https://www.marguerite.jp/Nihongo/Games/%E3%81%97%E3%82%89%E3%81%8E%E3%81%8F
    %E8%8A%B1%E6%9C%AD/index.html

    Hi, Ola!
    I'm interested in learning about Hachi-Hachi, but I'm entering into a busy time (I'm starting classes for the summer this week). I'll look at those two links when I can.
    May the small flower cards 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 22, 2017


    Consec #4 (NMJL 2017 card)

    >From: Susan M
    >Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:24 AM
    >Subject: Consecutive Run #4
    >The care reads: 1122 111222 3333. I assumed it meant that the consecutive number after the run was a number HIGHER than the run as it appears on the card. But the card says any 3 consecutive numbers.
    >The following had was played and I don't think it's correct. Can you advise.
    >Thanks
    > 2233 222333 1111
    >What do you think?
    >Sue M

    Hi, Sue! You wrote:

    I assumed it meant that the consecutive number after the run...
    I don't know what the word "run" means to you in this context (are the sequential pairs a "run"? Are the sequential pungs a "run"? Are there in fact two "runs" in this hand?). I know the section is called "Consecutive Runs" but I don't know how to define the term "run" exactly, especially to use it in a sentence as you have done. I assume you are referring to the kong when you say "the consecutive number after the run." Sorry to get into semantics, but I have to be careful with my words when I answer questions here.

    ...was a number HIGHER than the run as it appears on the card.
    Yes, of course, you are correct. The kong must be the subsequent number following after the sequential numbered pairs and the sequential numbered pungs. You correctly interpret the hand as it's shown on the card. I'm adding this answer to 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 21, 2017


    The League changed the rule, part 2

    >From: Otilia S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2017 3:53 PM
    >Subject: Dead Hand Question 2
    >I personally do not have any written documentation over-riding the 2005 or 2011 newsletters. This information was given by one of the NMJL experts in a telephone conversation.

    Thanks, Otilia.
    As I wrote in FAQ 19-BN, I do not recommend getting answers over the phone. In this instance, it's possible that one of several things may have happened:

    1. You might have worded your question in a way that caused the expert to misunderstand what you were asking;
    2. You may have worded your question perfectly but the expert might have misheard you;
    3. The expert may have worded the answer imperfectly;
    4. The expert may have stated the rule for a second claimant who wanted the discard for exposure but you had asked about a second claimant who wanted it for mah-jongg (the two of you may have been talking at cross purposes);
    5. The expert may be someone who was unaware of the 2005 and 2011 newsletter ruling (the League has had several personnel changes not long ago). The expert may have extrapolated from the rule about a second claimant who wants the discard for exposure;
    6. Or it is possible that the League has decided to void the 2005 and 2011 ruling.

    The chances are very low that #6 is what happened. I think #5 is what happened, and #4 is definitely possible.

    Without seeing a written retraction of the previous written rule from the League, I have to regard the 2005/2011 ruling as holding sway. If you scroll down and go into the archive, you'll see examples of letters that have clarified or changed 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
    May 18, 2017


    The League changed the rule, and you're behind the times

    >from: Otilia S
    >Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:37 AM
    >Subject: Dead Hand Question
    >You have answered this question before and I have used your answer to settle a dispute. The NMJL is now saying that your answer is incorrect. The situation is that two people claim a tile for mah-jongg. The first claimants hand is dead. The NMJL is now saying that the claimed tile stays in the dead hand and does not go to the second claimant. This essentially makes the 2nd claimants hand dead also. What changed?

    Hi, Otilia!
    Can you show me the source of this reversal of the League's 2005 rule? When and where did the League more recently say the wanted mahj tile stays in the dead hand?
    The "incorrect" answer I gave in FAQ 19-I is from the 2005 newsletter:

      If that tile was called for Mah Jongg by two players, and the player next in turn has declared Mah Jongg in error, that tile is given to the second player who declared M.J. at the same time. Our reason for this is that we do not think a Mah Jongg hand should be penalized for an incorrect declaration.

    The 2011 newsletter repeats the ruling (but without the reasoning). You say the League has changed its ruling on this. The League leadership is at liberty to change rules at any time. When they change rules, they normally tell the members about it in a newsletter (or in a revised rulebook). I haven't seen this rule change. Where and when was it published?
    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 18, 2017


    Our 3P Charleston

    >From: Cindi G
    >Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2017 5:10 AM
    >Subject: Three player
    >
    >Tom, in Florida I play a variation when there are three players. We build a 3x7 tier so that we can use that as another hand when we do the charleston. Our argument came up in Illinois when I suggested this. We allow person to keep the joker in the charleston. It just makes it a little more fun. Otherwise ,to me, playing with three and no charleston is no fun! What's wrong with this version? Popular in Florida ! Thank you for input . Cindi gober

    Hi, Cindi! You asked:

    What's wrong with this version?
    It took me a while to figure out what you mean by "what's wrong with it?" Rereading your email, I surmise that you're having an argument about 3P Charleston methods, and you're looking to me to take sides in your argument. LOL!
    I wrote about 3P Charleston methods in column 532, and I include several folks' 3P Charleston methods in FAQ 13A. The only unique feature of your method is the 21-tile short tall wall. Although the few times I've played 3P without a Charleston have been perfectly fine, the vast majority of times I've played 3P, the other players have adamantly insisted that we have a Charleston of some kind. In most kinds, jokers are a possibility.

    Let's talk game design for a moment (that's my profession, after all). When 3 players decide that they want to make up a rule for having a 3P Charleston, they have to make decisions.

    • Should we deal to the dummy chair, and permit players to take tiles from the dummy's deal?
    • Should we instead take tiles from the dummy's wall?
    • Should we require that Charleston tiles be taken in a particular order, or allow taking any tiles at the player's whim?
    • Should a player be allowed (or required) to take back tiles that she had put on the dummy's side of the table, or take tiles put there by other players?
    • Should a player be permitted to keep a joker taken from the dummy's side of the table?
    • Lastly but most important: what is the goal of having a 3P Charleston in the first place? For example:

    If the goal is "to increase the fun," then do whatever you think adds to the fun (like the bonus surprise of picking an extra joker).
    If the goal is "to enhance a player's chance of building a hand in the Charleston," then do whatever you think accomplishes that goal.
    If the goal is "to keep the playing field level, to increase fairness to all," then figure out what might accomplish that goal.
    If the goal is "to right a wrong in the League's rules," then you'd probably have to come up with a rule requiring players to put jokers back.

    Read FAQ 14; there's nothing "wrong" with table rules - table rules are normal. But you can't expect anybody to tell you how to do them "the right way," since they're your made-up rules. I don't take sides in arguments about table 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
    May 18, 2017


    Frequently Asked Question 19-Y

    >From: Louise D
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:25 PM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >someone told me today that if you have three exposures and someone throws your MJ tile for the win, they have to pay for the whole table.
    >Is that a Nat'l MJ League rule or is that a table rule?
    >Louise

    Hi, Louise!
    Please read FAQ 19-Y. Link to FAQ 19 above left, then click the "WINNING, SCORING, PAYING" link, then click the first link where it says "Is there a penalty for throwing the winning 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
    May 17, 2017

    *Wow, it's a lot more work (for me) directing people to their answers with the reorganized FAQ 19. Easier for you to find, but harder for me to direct. - Whew! Who knew?
    - Tom


    Discrepancies, part 2

    >From: Linda L
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:50 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Rules Question #1
    >Morning, Tom! Linda here in San Luis Obispo, CA again. I'm still a little confused about Q1. " And, you said you are just waiting for my Qs! LOL
    >I understand your "atop the rack", but the Leagues "expose on the rack" seemed to me to refer to the tiles that would be added to the called tile, not the called tile itself. NMJL doesn't say the called tile must immediately be placed on the "top". Can you help me understand, please. Like you said, "The League's rules are written more loosely then I would like-and, I'm guessing, then you would like." Right on!
    >Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recall reading that putting the tile in the rack is okay if it's for a mah jongg. Maybe that was an exception announced at a tournament?!
    >As i'm sure you have already surmised I'm a real novice at this, but find it very intriguing and lots of fun! Thanks for your patience and your help.
    >Linda

    Good morning, Linda! You asked:

    Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recall reading that putting the tile in the rack is okay if it's for a mah jongg. Maybe that was an exception announced at a tournament?!
    Yesterday I referred to the recent conversation called "Taking a called discard." Please scroll down and read that conversation. And/or please go to FAQ 19 and click "CLAIMING A DISCARD, AND THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY." Then read FAQ 19-K, "Am I dead if I put the taken discard in my hand?"
    For your future reference, 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.

    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 17, 2017


    Discrepancies

    >From: Linda L
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 5:33 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Rules Questions
    >Thanks, Tom! I'm fairly new to playing mah jongg and am just finding my way around your website. Its fascinating and informative. And, I get easily confused trying figure "things" out. Can you help, please?
    >Question #1 Placement of a called tile.
    >Sloper, RDWW, 2007, p. 52, #60, says, "put it atop her rack."
    >NMJL 2013 Rule Book, p. 14, 1st paragraph says, "player wanting that tile for exposure has the right to claim it,...The claimant must then expose on the rack...which has been completed by the discarded tile." There is nothing about "on top of" that I can read/see.
    >So, it would seem a called tile can be put in the rack...unless there is a ruling from NMJL that isn't in the Rule Book, but NMJL ruled...or, I'm missing something you may have said somewhere else.
    >I did find one other source, Gladys' Tournament Rules, that says "place on top of rack."
    >So, what is the rule and what is the source? Who is right and who is wrong? Was there a correction in Errata that I did not find? Or, is there some other explanation of the conflict I'm reading between sources?
    >Question #2 Death Penalty - Peeking at the Blind Pass.
    >Sloper, RDDWW, 2007, p. 63, #101g "A player may be declared dead for several reasons, as follows:...Peeking at the blind pass."
    >NMJL Rules - no penalty indicated for peeking at a blind pass.
    >Again, what is the rule and what is the source?
    >Look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks so much for your help!
    >Linda L.

    Hi, Linda! Welcome to my website, and I'm delighted that you own a copy of my book. You asked:

    There is nothing about "on top of" that I can read/see.
    Where the official rulebook says, "The claimant must then expose on the rack," the word "on" means "on top of." The League's rules are written more loosely than I would like -- and, I'm guessing, than you would like. If you see a huge discrepancy between my "atop her rack" and the League's "expose on the rack," then where else on the rack could she expose the completed set? Or am I missing the question?

    Or are you asking about the recent conversation ("Taking a called discard") regarding taking the called discard into the concealed tiles on the sloping front of the rack, on the way to placing the completed exposure atop the rack? If that's what you're asking about, is it to suggest a correction to my book? What I wrote on page 60 is in agreement with the League's recently stated preferred procedure.

    Sloper, RDDWW, 2007, p. 63, #101g "A player may be declared dead for several reasons, as follows:...Peeking at the blind pass."
    Yeah, I would have called someone dead for that, until I learned just recently that the League doesn't deem that a death penalty offense. I'll add that to the errata.

    Standing by for more questions anytime, Linda! 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, 2017


    Hanafuda

    >From: Ola S
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 9:47 AM
    >Subject: Hanafuda correction
    >Hello,
    >I spotted a minor error on the page
    >http://www.sloperama.com/hanafuda/variants.htm . Under the "B" column in
    >the yaku table, which lists Nintendo's Japanese scoring rules, Rainy
    >Four Bright is not listed as having any value. However, in the rules on
    >Nintendo's official website[1], there is a small note under "Four
    >Bright", reading "Four Bright with Rain is worth 7 points".
    >Also, Nintendo's rules has the note "+1 point for each additional card"
    >on ALL ribbon and animal yaku. It's unclear how this would work in
    >practice (for instance, six ribbons, three of which are blue: 8 or 10
    >points?) so I'd recommend not noting this (or at least waiting until I
    >do some investigation, with a copy of the Nintendo-published Clubhouse
    >Games).
    >Best regards,
    >Ola Sassersson
    >[1] https://www.nintendo.co.jp/n09/hana-kabu_games/index.html
    >
    >P.S. The site hanafubuki.org, once the internet's best Hanafuda
    >resource, has gone offline. The domain is now owned by a cybersquatter
    >who has blocked the site from appearing on archive.org, and archive.is
    >only has a few pages. Do you have any archived copies of the whole site?
    >If not, I'll try contacting the original author. Thank you in advance.

    Hallå, Ola! Nice to hear from another hanafuda fan! To reply to what you wrote:

    I spotted a minor error on the page
    >http://www.sloperama.com/hanafuda/variants.htm . Under the "B" column in
    >the yaku table, which lists Nintendo's Japanese scoring rules, Rainy
    >Four Bright is not listed as having any value. However, in the rules on
    >Nintendo's official website[1], there is a small note under "Four
    >Bright", reading "Four Bright with Rain is worth 7 points".
    I let Google Chrome translate that Nintendo page for me and the Chrome translation isn't as good as yours. Chrome translates it as "Rain contains four lights with seven points." So yes, add 2 points for the Rainman card, but add 3 points if it's any other Bright (what I called "Biggies" when I made the table). I'm adding a note on the page. And thanks for the link. I added it to the Links page.

    Also, Nintendo's rules has the note "+1 point for each additional card"
    >on ALL ribbon and animal yaku. It's unclear how this would work in
    >practice (for instance, six ribbons, three of which are blue: 8 or 10
    >points?) so I'd recommend not noting this (or at least waiting until I
    >do some investigation, with a copy of the Nintendo-published Clubhouse
    >Games).
    Yes, I have "+1" for those cards in the chart too. Not sure what the problem is; I've always added the point when playing with real cards. Thanks for telling me about Clubhouse Games, too - I just ordered a copy for myself.

    P.S. The site hanafubuki.org, once the internet's best Hanafuda
    >resource, has gone offline. ... Do you have any archived copies of the whole site?
    >If not, I'll try contacting the original author. Thank you in advance.
    Sorry, no. I did not make a copy. Good luck!
    May the cards 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, 2017


    Can't find this computer mah-jongg game

    >From: Kristin O
    >Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 6:32 PM
    >Subject: Myjongg for the iPad
    >A friend of mine showed me Myjongg on her iPad, but I can't find it either in the App store or on your page. Is it available?
    >Thanks,
    >Kristin

    Hi, Kristin!
    When you said you couldn't find it on my site, I opened FAQ 5 and searched for the title. It's right there! And you don't need an App Store, since the game is played through the browser.
    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, 2017


    Try the new, improved FAQ 19 - part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:01 AM
    >Subject: FAQ # 19 update
    >Hi Tom,
    >I like your new/improved format--and thanks for taking the time to do this! I think folks with questions will find answers more quickly.
    >Best Regards, Linda

    Thanks for the feedback, Linda!
    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, 2017


    Try the new, improved FAQ 19!

    I finally figured out something that I think will help folks find the answers to their questions about American mah-jongg in FAQ 19. I hope this solution helps! Check it out! And let me know what you think.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom
    May 15, 2017


    Taking a called discard, part 3

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2017 9:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Regarding the question on placing a called discard IN your rack rather than ON your rack that the recent NMJL letter answers: I agree that it doesn't make sense and can cause problems. I believe the NMJL included this in a recent newsletter, but of course, I cannot find my newsletters that I usually keep in my mah jongg wallet! Perhaps someone who has them can find which one it appeared in.
    >Bee

    Good evening, Bee! Try the 2013 newsletter (as per FAQ 19-K and the exchange with Donna, below). 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, 2017


    When can a joker be redeemed? What's the procedure?

    >From: "acw
    >Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2017 1:06 PM
    >Subject: Taking a joker and using it as part of exposure
    >Tom,
    >Thank you for an extremely good website. I teach mah jongg to seniors as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Galveston, Texas. Your site has been very helpful in developing class materials. I also play mah jongg several times a week with different groups.The situation below arose in one of the groups. We couldn't really figure out the correct procedure. I'm hoping that you can shed some light.
    >
    >Player A discarded a four bam. Player B wanted to pick up the four bam, but she needed a kong to expose for the hand she was pursuing. She had only two four bam tiles in her hand and no jokers. Player C had an exposure that included a joker. Player B had a tile that she exchanged for that joker and then used the exchanged joker to pick up the discarded four bam, which completed the needed kong. Was this "legal"?
    >
    >Although the group discussed the action and Player B agreed to abide by their decision (that the action was okay), Player A then called Player B a cheater when she went on to win the hand. I admit that this was said in a sort of joking way, but it still caused a bit of unpleasantness in an otherwise enjoyable game.
    >
    >I'm sorry if I missed this in the the FAQs on your site. I did look for it before I emailed you.
    >Thanks,
    >Alice W

    Hi, Alice! You wrote:

    Player B wanted to pick up the four bam, but she needed a kong to expose for the hand she was pursuing. She had only two four bam tiles in her hand and no jokers. Player C had an exposure that included a joker. Player B had a tile that she exchanged for that joker and then used the exchanged joker to pick up the discarded four bam, which completed the needed kong. Was this "legal"? ... I'm sorry if I missed this in the the FAQs on your site. I did look for it before I emailed you.
    Thanks for looking for it! Sorry you couldn't find it, and wish I knew how to organize the FAQs better. I just use Google to find stuff, even on my own site - works every time, but then I know what words I use! Just now I went to FAQ 19 and searched for the words "when can" and FAQ 19-M came up right away (but then, I happened to know that the way I worded the question was "when can I redeem a joker?").

    FAQ 19-M looks like this in the index atop the FAQ:

    So you see, your situation is FAQ 19-M2. A frequently asked question for sure. And clicking the "M2" will take you right straight to the answer.

    Player A then called Player B a cheater when she went on to win the hand. I admit that this was said in a sort of joking way, but it still caused a bit of unpleasantness in an otherwise enjoyable game.
    A lot of jokes are not funny. Especially when the jokester has to add, "it was a joke."

    But in this case, you'll see that player B's play was not legal. She can't take a discard in the middle of her turn. That's not how things work. See the official rulebook p. 20 (rule 7), and also see the yearly newsletters of 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2016.


    The official rulebook, and a newsletter/bulletin.
    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    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, 2017


    Column #274 posted: WWYP

    You have the new 2017 card, and a random deal of 13 or 14 tiles. And you also know about the four steps strategy - but does that strategy always work? Check out this week's strategy column!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom
    May 14, 2017


    Taking a called discard, part 2

    >From: "Puffins@
    >Cc: kkgoff1967
    >Sent: Saturday, May 13, 2017 8:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Tom,
    >I am a friend of Karlene Goff's and she asked you the question last week about putting a called tile IN your rack, not ON your rack.
    >She got a response back from the NMJL recently and as we talked about it we still have some questions that perhaps you might be able to clarify for us.
    >
    >1. Many of our friends who are really "old timers - 50 years of playing" have always put the called tile ON the rack. Where did they learn this if it's "not a rule"?
    >2. Since it's not a rule to put it "ON" the rack, why did NMJL in 2013 in their bulletin say, "when you call a tile for MJ, you are allowed to put it IN your rack'? It seems according to what the attached letter says, you have always been able to do that.
    >3. We are also wondering if in the 1984 Mah Jongg Made Easy book could this have been a rule then and it just got omitted in the 2013 edition?
    >
    >I agree with you, putting a called tile IN your rack makes no sense for all of the reasons you gave in your reply. But if we are following NMJL rules, if someone does this no one can tell them they are going against the rules.
    >I do realize tournament play has their own set of rules.
    >Thank you very much,
    >Donna E
    >PS I have no problem writing to NMJL for any further clarification.

    Good morning, Donna!

    That letter puts to rest the question about putting a taken discard into the hand. I'll change my teaching on that point. You wrote:

    Where did they learn this if it's "not a rule"?
    The same way they learned other unwritten rules and not-exactly-rules: based on etiquette or common sense or standard practices, including standard practices borrowed from other mah-jongg forms or other games.

    why did NMJL in 2013 in their bulletin say, "when you call a tile for MJ, you are allowed to put it IN your rack'?
    Because people asked. And don't forget that the 2013 ruling covered only taking a discard to win.

    It seems according to what the attached letter says, you have always been able to do that.
    I don't reach that conclusion from that letter.

    I've said before and I'll say again, "if it's not in writing, it's not a rule." (How is the playership supposed to know it's a rule if it's not in writing?) It wasn't a rule until it was in writing. Now it's in writing, but not in a way that all players are reasonably guaranteed of seeing it, and that's a shame.

    We are also wondering if in the 1984 Mah Jongg Made Easy book could this have been a rule then and it just got omitted in the 2013 edition?
    That didn't happen.

    I agree with you, putting a called tile IN your rack makes no sense for all of the reasons you gave in your reply. But if we are following NMJL rules, if someone does this no one can tell them they are going against the rules.
    Someone who puts the taken discard into the hand is not going against the rules. I've seen the rule now (you just showed it to me).

    I have no problem writing to NMJL for any further clarification.
    I have no problem with that, either. I don't see a reason to do so at the present time.

    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, 2017


    Do the rules change when we're picking from the last short wall?

    >From: Renee G
    >Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2017 7:29 PM
    >Subject: Last wall
    >I called the NMJL and got two answers so now I am confused...
    >For the last wall, can you only call for a tile if it is for mah jongg?
    >Can you call for an exposure as well?
    >Renee G

    Hi, Renee! You wrote:

    I called the NMJL and got two answers so now I am confused...
    That's why I wrote in FAQ 19-BN that you should request a ruling in writing. Would you believe, there are six ways a phoned-in question can go awry!

    For the last wall, can you only call for a tile if it is for mah jongg?
    >Can you call for an exposure as well?
    See FAQ 19-Y. The rules governing calling for a discard do not suddenly change when the wall crosses some magic line. The League has addressed this in the yearly newsletter several times.


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    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, 2017


    Can I exchange a joker for a non-joker? ("Reverse redemption")

    >From: K M
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 2:04 PM
    >Subject: Joker use question
    >I read the faq' s and did not find an answer so here we go:
    >If I have a joker in my hand but cannot use it because all I need Is a pair to make Mahjong can I use the joker to take an exposed tile from another player in order to make Mahjong?
    >Thank you,
    >Kerrie

    Hi, Kerrie!
    Sorry it was hard to find that FAQ. I think it's because I used the word "natural" for "non-joker," but nobody knows that a non-joker is called a "natural." This is the second time in 4 days that someone couldn't find an FAQ because I used the term "natural." So I've changed the wording of the FAQ; now I refer to non-jokers as "non-jokers" rather than "naturals." You want to read FAQ 19-AL for the answer to your question. Or read rule 7 on page 20 of the rulebook.


    This is the League's official rulebook.
    It was revised in 2013. 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
    May 9, 2017


    Column 669

    >From: Tom and Jane
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 3:49 PM
    >Subject: column 669, hand #5
    >Hi Tom, fun site and helpful! I donate, so not a freeloader, here is my question:
    >Why would you not save the 5B to try for Consecutive Run #3 which would have 6 tiles toward it? Then pass 1C & both winds? I know it would mean passing two winds to save the 1 bam for the LN hand, but the CR #3 hand seems a worthy goal.
    >Thanks, Jane

    That's a good suggestion, Jane! Adding this to column 669.
    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, 2017


    What material they're made from

    >From: Adele B
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 11:29 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong Set
    >I was wondering if you could help me identify the material that tiles are made from. The set weights a little over 8 pounds. At first I was thinking marble, when when held up to the light they do have a translucent appearance, so then I was thinking catalin, but with the varies in color I wasn’t sure that correct either. The pieces are just barely over 1” wide, and just under 3/4” thick. The pieces appear to be carved. No jokers but there is one blank tile, which I assume is to be used for missing 2 crak. Any assistance would be appreciated. I purchased the set at an Estate Sale, 144 pieces that is the original box, which contains four card board trays.

    Hi, Adele.
    Your tiles look like plastic to me. But not Catalin (those tiles are always yellow, not bright white -- and your tiles have sharp edges and corners, unlike the rounded corners and edges of Catalin tiles).
    Also, it looks like your tiles have a manufacturing flaw similar to the ones reported by Pat A on November 2, 2016 ("My tiles are peeling"). You can see Pat's question at http://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive39.htm (copy and paste that address, then search the page for the word "manufacturing" or "peeling").

    I don't know what plastic your tiles are. Try reading FAQ 7C and FAQ 7C3.
    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, 2017


    Thanks!

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Monday, May 8, 2017 10:49 AM
    >Subject: Notification of donation received
    > paypal
    > You've Got Cash!
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from JANE R
    >The number above is the donor's receipt ID for this transaction. Please retain it for your records so that you will be able to reference this transaction for customer service.
    >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
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: JANE ROBINSON
    >Message: Thanks!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Jane! May the tiles be with you.


    Early NMJL cards

    >From: "bkj
    >To: Webmaster
    >Sent: Sunday, May 7, 2017 4:08 PM
    >Subject: seeking scanned image of 1946 nmjl scorecard
    >I am trying to locate both front and back scanned images of the 1946 NMJL scorecard. Can you please post this on the accessories wanted page. Hopefully some kind Samaritan will be able to assist me with the images. I have collected every year from 1940 to 2017, except 1946.
    >Also, do you know if there were cards made by the NMJL pre- 1940? I have not been able to find any information about rule cards and hands pre-40’s.
    >Thanks.
    >Barb j

    Hi, Barb.
    I'm sorry, but I cannot host your scan request due to copyright law. Copyright takes a long time to expire. Google it. "For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first." For a work by a known author: "life plus 70 years or 95 or 120 years, depending on the nature of authorship." I cannot facilitate the infringement of the League's right to decide who may copy its intellectual property.
    Your collection is more complete than mine. As far as I can tell, there were no standalone cards prior to 1940; the "card" was contained in the booklets the League published in those early years. If you have those booklets, you essentially have the "cards" for those early years of the late 1930s.
    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, 2017


    She throws without regard for obvious exposures

    >From: "carynb
    >Sent: Sunday, May 7, 2017 8:30 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >First, is it a formal rule that a player cannot throw a tile to a definite exposure?
    >Second, if this isn’t a formal rule, what suggestions do you have (aside from discussion, etc.) to stop a player from constantly doing this because she simply will not break up her hand? Other than kicking her out, any suggestions?
    >Many thanks; love your site.

    Hi, Caryn! Thanks for numbering your questions for me.
    Please read FAQ 19-Y.
    Reading between the lines here, it sounds like you're a smart cookie, and your group is mostly smart cookies who prefer to play defensively in the face of obvious exposures. Sounds like it's not that you don't like taking Player D's money, but that you'd enjoy the game more if everybody would play at the same high level. Since mah-jongg is not a partners game, I don't see why you can't simply take her money. I know, you have to pay a quarter whenever Player D throws an opponent's hot tile, but you collect a dollar whenever she throws your hot tile. I suppose there are fewer wall games when she plays, which improves your odds of winning somewhat.
    If you've discussed this with Player D, and she's aware of the danger of throwing hot tiles in the face of exposures, then perhaps she simply has a higher tolerance for risk-taking, coupled with a higher spirit of competitiveness. If she comments while discarding (something like "this is risky but I gotta do it"), then she clearly does know what she's doing.
    The alternative is that she doesn't know, because she simply doesn't pay attention. If that's the case, then the question is whether she can improve her playing skill. Some can, and some can't. And those who can improve have to be motivated to try to improve — and not all who are capable of improving can become motivated to do so (and some become embarrassed or even upset to have it pointed out that there is room for improvement).
    But in the end, playing defensively is a choice. A player has a right to take a risk if she chooses.
    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 7, 2017


    American mah-jongg program to add to FAQ 5

    >From: Sheila W
    >Sent: Saturday, May 6, 2017 10:09 AM
    >Subject: New mah jongg game missing from your site
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have been on your website looking up different rules and mahj history… it’s a great resource for mah jongg players! I’m also a part of the Mah Jongg That’s It Facebook group where your name comes up every now and then. I wanted to let you know that there is a new Mah Jongg game that I’ve been playing and it’s amazing, realmahjongg.com. You should list this site to keep your listings up-to-date as all my friends are playing on this new site. I just thought you aught to know about this.
    >Thanks
    >Sheila

    I'll add it to FAQ 5, thanks. I should have added it after Mary T wrote me (below) a question about it last week. I have to wonder what's so amazing about the program. Six dollars a month, that's $72 a year* (every year). That's more than the NMJL/Sigma game! At that price, it had better be amazing. I'll check out the two-week trial and see for myself. Thanks for letting me know, Sheila!
    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 6, 2017

    *P.S. I found out on May 9 that there is a yearly option: $60 minus a penny. - Tom


    Very interesting.

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Friday, May 5, 2017 6:04 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Agnes J
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Agnes J
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Agnes J
    >Message: I find your site very, very interesting. Thanks for the work.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Agnes! 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 6, 2017


    A link and a think

    >From: Johni Levene
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 8:00 PM
    >Subject: Various Mahj stuff
    >Hi Tom, someone pointed out that you don't have the Facebook page "Mah Jongg That's It" on sloperama under web links. I would be honored if you would include us :)
    >https://m.facebook.com/groups/857265604318287?ref=bookmarks
    >
    >I also peeked in on your strategy column #669. I only looked at example one, but it's fun so I'm going to do each exercise. I did it without looking at your answer first, and I came up with a completely different scenario!
    >Key tiles for me were WSS, all three bam dot crak 4's, the bam 5 and crak 6, joker of course. I would pass the dot 69 and crak 9.
    >This would allow me to play 6 hands:
    >1) WSS J (w&d 1) four tiles, safe hand, I have my pair. This is my main safe hand until my pairs fall into place below. Since winds get passed a lot in the Charleston I can anticipate picking up several tiles towards this.
    >2) W, SS, 4 crak, 4 bam, 4 dot (s&p 1) - six tiles towards it. Don't ask, don't get right?
    >3) F, 4 bam, white, 4 crak, J (LN1), five tiles towards it.
    >4) F, 4 bam, 4 crak, 4 dot, J (LN2), five tiles toward it.
    >5) F, 4 dot, 5 bam, 6 crak. (consec 3) four tiles
    >6) 4 bam, 4 crak, 4 dot, 5 bam, J. (Consec 6) five tiles towards it.
    >It would pretty quickly winnow down depending on the passes I get, but there are lots of options here.

    Hi, Johni!
    I wasn't sure you would want the hordes of people who'd join your group as a result of my adding a link. I've now added a link to FAQ 4A. And I'll include a link in future columns about American mah-jongg.

    Your strategy for problem #1 in column #669 is very interesting. Makes me wonder if I'm coddling my readers when I limit the number of hands to consider, and when I discount hands that have only four tiles when there are five- and six-tile hands. And although I'd follow the high-count hands, you're right that you don't know what's going to come in. I like your thinking re the S&P hand, and your "safe hand" strategy.
    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 4, 2017


    Everybody's telling me I don't need a natural to call a discard for exposure

    >From: Ruthless777
    >Sent: Thursday, May 4, 2017 11:06 AM
    >Subject: Crazy question
    >It must be there, so I am blind.
    >At a game yesterday, all players said one could call a discard even if they did not have that tile in their hand...just sufficient jokers, as jokers can be anything. ( I.e. Call 6 dot, expose two jokers from your hand and add called 6 dot to make a pung).
    >Maybe that is why I am soooo bad. I thought you had to have at least one of called tile, plus joker ( I know pairs cannot be called nor jokers used) to expose a pung.
    >Leslie

    Hi, Leslie!
    I didn't see a question in your email. You wouldn't be asking "is everybody but me wrong," would you? Perhaps the problem is that it's difficult to word the question for a search of FAQ 19. The key to that search is the word "natural" - that's what mah-jongg writers call a tile that is not a joker. Anyway, see FAQ 19-L, that should answer your question. As always, 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 4, 2017


    Taking a called discard into the hand

    >From: "kkgoff1967
    >Sent: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 9:13 PM
    >Subject: Placement of a called tile
    >Is it a rule that a called tile must be placed on the rack, rather than in the rack? In other words, may a player call a tile, put it in their rack, and then make an exposure from their rack? I always understood that if a called tile is placed in the rack, NMJL rules say you are dead, but I cannot find that anywhere in your webpage.
    >Thank you.
    >Karlene

    Hi, Karlene!
    As noted in FAQ 19K, the 2013 NMJL newsletter included a written rule about putting a taken discard into the hand when declaring mah-jongg. But I have never seen a written rule specifically permitting or prohibiting putting a taken discard into the hand when calling for exposure.

    The official rules are written loosely. I suppose the reason for that is to keep the rules accessible (perhaps it was thought that highly detailed rules would be too daunting for most players to read). The rulebook was revised in 2013 (the first time in 29 years), but while some rules were expressed more clearly, most were still left loose. Here's what the rulebook says about your question:

      To claim a discard the player must verbalize their call ... The claimant must then expose on the rack the Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet which has been completed by the discarded tile. ... When an exposure is called, the Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet is placed on the rack in front of the player for all to see.
      - Mah Jongg Made Easy, National Mah Jongg League, page 14

    You see that the rules are silent on precise movements or acts. It does not say that the claimed discard may not be brought into the hand in the course of placing the completed set atop the rack, but reading that rule on page 14 makes it sound like the taken discard should go straight to the top of the rack.

    Now let's consider other forms of mah-jongg, and common sense, and tournament rules. In Japanese mah-jongg, which is used for high stakes gambling, it's strictly forbidden to place a called discard in the hand prior to showing the completed exposure. Why? Because it's possible to cheat that way. We've all seen so-called magicians performing amazing feats with cards, and handkerchiefs, and coins. How do they do that? With sleight of hand and misdirection. Standard magician tricks can be used to cheat. In an American tournament, there's a ritual that happens at the start before beginning the first round of play: the tournament master announces the rules that apply to that tournament. It's at the same time boring and contentious; players sometimes start calling out questions for rule clarifications, based on conflicts they'd had in home games or in previous tournaments. This is the time to raise your own question: "are you dead if you put a taken discard into the hand before making your exposure?" Whatever the judge says is the rule for that tournament.

    One more word on this: when I'm teaching newbies how to play, I tell them rather sharply, and repeatedly, that they must never put the taken discard into the hand in the course of making the exposure, else they'll be called dead. (And I'll be the one calling them dead.)

    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 3, 2017


    Column 672 oopsie

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, May 1, 2017 7:54 AM
    >Subject: Column #672, Hand #4
    >I think you have a typo in your discussion of #4; where you have "sixes", I think you mean "5D".
    >John

    You're right, John. I did indeed mean 5D! Fixing 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
    May Day, 2017


    Those confusing joker rules!

    >From: Lauren S
    >Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2017 12:32 PM
    >Subject: Joker questions
    >Hi Tom!
    >Hi!
    >I came across your mahj jongg website online and have a couple of questions regarding jokers:
    >1. Can a joker be used to complete a year (for example: 2-JOKER-1-7)?
    >2. Can a joker be used to complete a pair?
    >Thank you for your time and expertise!
    >Lauren S

    Hi, Lauren! Welcome to my website! Your questions:

    Can a joker be used to complete a year (for example: 2-JOKER-1-7)?
    That'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 Frequently Asked Question 19-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the index of FAQs and click a link to jump to your answer. 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!

    Can a joker be used to complete a pair?
    Read the back of the card. Left pane, last sentence of the last paragraph before the numbered rules. Look for the word "NEVER" (in all capital letters, bold text, and underlined just like that).


    Every player should read everything on the NMJL card every year. In 2016, some wording was changed and some new wording was added. And many frequently asked questions are answered right there on the card. Every player owes it to the other players to understand these basic rules of the game.
    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, 2017


    The computer wouldn't let me win

    >From: Mary T
    >Sent: Saturday, April 29, 2017 3:08 PM
    >Subject: Joker exchange to win hand
    >Hi Tom, I can't seem to find the answer to this. If I pick a discarded tile (a 6 dot) and expose it with my 6dot,6dot, joker, for a 4tile exposure of 3-6dots & a joker, can I then take a tile from my rack (in this case it was a 4 dot) and exchange it for the joker in another players exposed tiles of 4 dots & joker, to then win my mah jongg hand, which was in this case ... a previous exposure of three 7 dot & 1 joker tiles, the now exposed 6 dot & joker tiles and the 1 dot 3 dot & flower, flower, flower & joker from my rack, to win the hand? I was playing against computer players in the Real Mahjongg.com website and the computer wouldn't let me win, I had to discard a tile, which I discarded the joker. I was lucky to actually pick up a flower on my next turn to win. Was I wrong or was the computer wrong.
    >thanks for any input
    >Mary

    Hi, Mary!
    For the sake of my readers, I'll reword your scenario. You were playing a computer game. An opponent discards a six dot. You call it (you don't "pick" a discard; it's less confusing if the word "pick" applies exclusively to wall tiles) and expose a kong of 6D with a joker.

    Then in the same turn you redeem a joker from another player's rack, and as a result you have a complete hand (Thirteen #3).

    You try to claim the win but can't. I don't know this particular mah-jongg program; I don't know if there is a Win button but it was grayed out, or if the program did not even provide a Win button at that moment, or what. In any case, the program didn't let you claim the win.

    The program was wrong. You should contact the maker of the game, and report the bug. He needs to 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 29, 2017


    Someone misnamed a discard...

    >From: pat l
    >Sent: Friday, April 28, 2017 1:35 PM
    >Subject: #19 Q,A4
    >I am running a tournament soon and just want to clarify this point.
    >If I understand correctly, you state that if a person discards a tile someone needs for MJ and miscalls it and the next person draws and discards before the mistake is noticed, the game ends because the person needed the tile for MJ and once a player has revealed what tile she needs, the game cannot continue. I thought if another person had drawn and discarded it was not possible to rectify a miscalled tile. Can you explain this to me how it wouldn't be noticed that the miscalled tile was needed for MJ. Did the person say after the other person had drawn that they needed the miscalled tile. I want to be sure of rulings before the tournament. Thanks,
    >Pat L

    Hi, Pat! You wrote:

    #19 Q,A4
    You're asking about misnamed discards, and that's FAQ 19-AY. And specifically FAQ 19-AY.4.

    If I understand correctly, you state that if a person discards a tile someone needs for MJ and miscalls it and the next person draws and discards before the mistake is noticed, the game ends…
    Well, that is what I had written in FAQ 19-AY.4, but it doesn't seem right as I read it now. As you can see there, the source cited for that is the NMJL rulebook, p. 17 (rule 6). I just checked, and this specific situation is not covered in the rulebook. Thinking back on it, I recall having my own doubts as I wrote that. Now I'm pretty sure I gave an incorrect ruling in FAQ 19-AY.4, and I am correcting it.

    I thought if another person had drawn and discarded it was not possible to rectify a [misnamed] tile.
    Yes. Once the game has moved on, there's no going back.

    Can you explain this to me how it wouldn't be noticed that the miscalled tile was needed for MJ.
    I wish I could! It boggles my mind how so many people play with their ears only, and never raise their eyes above the tiles on their racks!

    Did the person say after the other person had drawn that they needed the miscalled tile.
    We're talking about a hypothetical situation. You're the one posing a question, so you're the one who defines the hypothetical situation. I inferred from what you wrote that the sequence went as follows:
    - Player A discards a tile and says the wrong name of the tile. Let's say she discards 2B and says "2 dot."
    - Player B picks from the wall and makes a discard.
    - Player C realizes that there is a 2B on the table, not a 2D. She says, "hey wait, you said 2 dot, but that's a 2 bam!"
    Here is where it could go a couple of ways - and I don't know what you were positing in the situation mentioned in your email. If some player at the table wanted 2B for mah-jongg, she should not speak. Since she cannot have the 2B because she missed her chance, she should not reveal to the table that 2B is her mahj tile. But it's natural to feel frustration, and to express it, so I imagine many players would express it and reveal "that was my mahj tile." Where I got it wrong in FAQ 19-AY.4 was assuming that her speaking changes anything. It doesn't. Now everybody knows that's her mahj tile, but only because she let the cat out of the bag herself.

    Once the misnamed discard has been covered by a subsequent discard, it is too late for another player to claim it, and it is too late to rectify the error. In FAQ 9 I discussed errors that ruin the game. Has the game been "ruined" by the misnaming incident? Only for the player who never bothered to open her eyes and look at the discard when it was discarded! And it's her own fault (she should play with her eyes open)!

    I have fixed FAQ 19-AY.4 accordingly. You'll probably have to reload the page to see the change.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 28, 2017


    I called her dead but she denies it. What now? (FAQ 19-AB)

    >From: Renee G
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:06 PM
    >Subject: Dead hand
    >Dear Mr Sloper,
    >There has been some discussion regarding declaring a hand dead.
    >When I declare a persons hand dead, and the other player agrees, then that other player stops playing...
    >However, if I declare a person's hand dead and that other players disagrees and continues to play to the end and I am right, does the other player need to pay a penalty amount to me? If the player is correct and the games ends and I was wrong, do I, likewise, have to pay a penalty to them?
    >Your answer will be greatly appreciated.
    >Sincerely,
    >Renee G

    Hi, Renee!
    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 Frequently Asked Question 19-AB. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the index of FAQs and click a link to jump to your answer. 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 26, 2017


    Column 671 (#5)

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 10:21 PM
    >Subject: #671, April 23, 2017 - WWYP (NMJL 2017)
    >#671, April 23, 2017 - WWYP (NMJL 2017)
    >Hi TOm,
    >For hand #5 I would keep the 2 5s and the 2 9s, hoping I get some more 5s or 9s in passing and can go for the like numbers with 6 flowers with one of these numbers. I would have passed the Red, 2d, and 6d!
    >Enjoy your column very much!
    >Elise

    Fair enough, Elise. You'd focus on Like Numbers. You're probably right that Consec. #5 is too far away. Would you kick yourself if a soap came your way? Probably not, with two Like Numbers options. Thanks for the kind words about the column! (^_^)
    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 25, 2017


    Column 671 (#8)

    >From: Fran S
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 7:25 PM
    >Subject: Comment for Mahjongg Column #671
    >Hi Tom--
    >Looking at #8 of Column #671, I see a good start for one of the Lucky "13 " hands (#2 with mixed suits) using the F, pair of 5C, the 8D, and especially the 1B and 3B. That's six tiles that includes the sometimes hard-to-get 13, and jokers can be used to fill in any of the tiles needed for the hand. Therefore, I wouldn't toss the 8D as you suggest.
    >Love your column!
    >Fran Shay

    Very nice, Fran! So what would you pass? Looks like there are plenty of options (of tiles to get rid of) - but which ones, or does it matter? Thanks for the kind words about the column! (^_^)
    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 25, 2017


    What do the letters on dragon tiles mean? It's a mystery!

    >From: Jackie P
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 4:38 PM
    >Subject: question?
    >I don’t really know anything about online bulletin boards so I’m not sure if I post a question if everyone who sees it will answer me or if only you answer me
    >and then just post it for people to comment on. I’m sorry if I did this in the wrong order. I wasn’t sure if I’m supposed to let a bunch of people answer me and
    >then wonder if they are giving me correct information. My question is: What is the significance of the letter P inside the white dragons; a C on the red dragons; and
    >an F on the green dragons?
    >Jackie

    Hi, Jackie!
    Welcome to my website. It's not exactly a standard bulletin board (I don't have the time or technical chops to turn this into a standard bulletin board), so the procedure here is a bit different from the way things are done on standard bulletin boards. Anyway, you asked about the "mysterious" letters on the dragon tiles on some mah-jongg sets. Like these, for instance…

    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. The "mystery tiles" question you asked is FAQ 7-E. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've read that FAQ, you can always email me again with any other questions. But please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 25, 2017


    Like Numbers #1

    >From: Snelly
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 1:07 PM
    >Subject: 2017 Card - Like Numbers
    >I had a discussion about the FF 1111 DDDD 1111 (Any 3 Suits) hand. I insisted that since it says 3 Suits that the Dragons could not match either Kong. My opponent (who happened to be my wife) said that since it does not say opposing Dragons... that any Dragons can be used.
    >Thanks Don

    Hi, Don.
    This probably won't work, but you might as well try. Get out your mah-jongg set and do this: make a pair of flowers, and then make like kongs of any number in any two suits. Then ask her to say what the third suit is (thus what the dragon must be). If you made kongs of, say, 7 bams and 7 dots, and she says "green," then tell her "that's 2 suits; the hand is shown in 3 colors, and the card even says, in English, that the hand has to be 3 suits." She can't make 3 suits without using opposing dragons, and the card clearly says the hand has to be 3 suits (it does not say "2 or 3 suits").
    If she still doesn't want to listen to her husband, you can call the National Mah Jongg League during east coast weekday business hours and hand the phone to her. If there's a woman on the other end, maybe she'll believe what she hears. Normally I say not to phone the League, but this is the second time this week I made an exception to that. But like I always say: "there's an exception to every rule, even this one." (But there's no exception to Like Numbers #1 - it has to be 3 suits.)
    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 25, 2017


    The "change of heart" rule - part 6

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 2:09 AM
    >Subject: Re: picking a tile from the wall, sliding it, changing their mind, legal...
    >Hi Tom...I did indeed send you this letter, copied from a discussion on a mahjongg fb group page. I was wondering what the four NMJL rulings you cited in the footnotes pertain to, with regard to your original post in your column as to commitment about removing a tile, sliding it from the wall, touch it, it's fine; move it, it is yours. Thank you.
    >Debbi Ann L

    Good morning, Debbi Ann!
    I believe you're referring to the sources for FAQ 19-AM.1. Those four newsletters (2005, 2006, 2007, 2012) all refer to lifting the wall tile. As I told Donna yesterday, I don't recall where or when I got the idea that the League equated any movement with "lifting." Last night I altered FAQ 19-AM.1 by removing any references to non-lifting movement. And I also edited the RDWW erratum about that. Any one who owns a copy of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind" can download the up-to-date errata at http://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/rdww.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
    April 25, 2017


    The "change of heart" rule - part 5

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 7:07 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from donna e
    > paypal
    > Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from donna e). You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: donna e
    >Message: Thank you for always willing to help with all things MJ. You are the best!
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Donna!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀

    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 24, 2017


    The "change of heart" rule about taking a tile from the wall - part 4

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 6:02 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I'm not Debbie. I'm guessing she took that off of MJTI Fb but I had already sent it to you.
    >I just wish the NMJL would go,with the tournament rule - you touch it, it's yours , and that would solve all of these issues. I'm assuming you can only slide the bottom tile, I understand what you said.
    >Donna

    Sorry, Donna. I was going off your comment about an email being sent unfinished (I never received that one). And getting a Donna letter from Debbie Ann was confusing (I had to double-check that I had actually downloaded the same image from two different emails).
    I think there's a strictness differential between the League's rulings on (1) saying the name of a discard and (2) sliding a wall tile.
    Merely taking a breath and letting a little air go through your vocal cords "commits" you to discarding a tile, but sliding a wall tile all over the place doesn't commit you to taking it. In my opinion, the first is overly strict, and the latter is overly lenient.
    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, 2017


    I want to rearrange my card, part 4

    >From: C Sandy
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 5:47 PM
    >Subject: Re: Rearranging the Card - Definitive answer from NMJL
    >Tom - My "sent" copy included the following attachment. Hope it arrives with this note. - Sandy

    Sure enough, Sandy. I missed it the first time. My bad. Thanks for sharing!
    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, 2017


    Column 671 (#4)

    >From: "johnh
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 5:15 PM
    >Subject: Column #671, Hand #4
    >I've been playing Mah Jongg for about a year and will be playing with a new card for the first time tomorrow. Your exercises and explanations are a good assist for adjusting my thinking to the new hands prior to playing. Thank you.
    >For most of your examples I understand your logic, but for hand #4 your explanation says, in part: "not enough friends for Odds". The best option I see is Odds #1 with one of the two pairs already completed and 3 other friends plus a Joker. You suggested both the 5C and 9C as tiles that could be passed; I think I'd hold on to them and pass the 4C, N and 4B to play for Odds #1 and, like you suggest, also keeping the dragons for the possibility of 2017 #2.
    >John

    Hi, John! I have to say that your thinking is very good. I was looking at those high odds and thinking that most Odds hands are either high or low when I wrote that. But you're right, they do make a good start for Odds #1. Very good!
    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, 2017


    The "change of heart" rule about taking a tile from the wall - part 2?

    >From: DebbiAnn L
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 3:19 PM
    >Subject: Re: picking a tile from the wall, sliding it, changing their mind, legal...
    >Hi Tom...thought you may be interested in this response from nmjl...
    >Best Regards, Debbi Ann L

    Thanks, Debbi Ann. I guess you're actually Donna, using someone else's email account. Anyway, I'll change my answer to this question in the future (and in any FAQ, and if necessary in the RDWW errata). More below.
    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, 2017

    The "change of heart" rule about taking a tile from the wall - part 3?

    >From: Donna <puffins
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 3:06 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Tom, so sorry that last email sent prior to me finishing it.
    >Ok...a few weeks ago we talked about the fact that that both 'lifting a tile from the wall' and 'sliding the tile' from the wall (both on row really) committed you to taking the tile. Out of curiosity, I wrote to the NMJL and their answer is below. I just wanted to see what they would have to say.
    >I so wish the NMJL would put these rules on their website or be sure to include them in the yearly bulletin. That's why I love tournament rules as everything is very clear.
    >Thank you,
    >Donna

    Donna, I assume you mean the email from Debbi Ann. Because she also sent me a photo of your letter. And I also assume that the time stamps on those two emails must be a fluke of email handling. As I wrote above, I will change my answer to this question in the future. I don't recall where or when I got the idea that the League equated any movement with "lifting."

    I'm not thrilled by this rule; the purpose of the rule was to discourage indecisiveness and annoying "changes of heart" after a move was committed to. I think sliding a tile to your side of the table is a commitment, but consider this: sliding only works with a bottom wall tile. A top wall tile, if slid off the bottom tile without any upward movement, cannot be slid back into place without lifting (and once lifted, must be taken into the hand). But imagine someone sliding a wall tile that's already touching the tablecloth; she slides it all the way to her side of the table, then says, "Um, you know what, I think I want that last discard instead." She can slide it all the way back. A little bit of time was wasted, but perhaps it's not that big a deal, if it applies only to half the tiles on the wall (i.e. the bottom tiles).

    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, 2017


    I want to rearrange my card, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 2:52 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Matthew C (sandy)
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$20.00 USD from Matthew C (sandy@ ). You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $20.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Matthew C
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    >From: C Sandy
    >Sent: Monday, April 24, 2017 2:43 PM
    >Subject: Re: Rearranging the Card - Definitive answer from NMJL
    >On Apr 11, 2017, at 10:31 AM, C Sandy wrote:
    >Thanks!

    Thank you very much, Sandy!
    Your email includes a mysterious phrase in the subject line: "Definitive answer from NMJL." If you contacted the League with your question, I'd love to hear what they said!
    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, 2017


    Set query

    >From: John W
    >Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2017 6:15 PM
    >Subject: age and country mahjong set query and possible worth
    >Hi Tom
    >I have an old Mahjong set of my father’s most likely purchased while he was in the Navy during the Korean War – possibly from either Japan or Hong Kong.
    >Photos attached.
    >Condition of playing tiles – very good. 6 have the backings loose. 1 tile missing backing Backing is green in colour
    >Case is made of cardboard and is fair to poor. Closes with a two simple press stud closers.144 playing tiles (three blank extra) = 147, 33 blue tokens, 12 green tokens, 3 red tokens, 3 small original dice, 1 round ‘chooser’ with 4 characters.
    >Made most likely from info from your web site – Bakelite? The material that the tiles is made is semi translucent – like amber. The most interesting feature that I am most interested in is that what I thought at first to be cracks or flaws on the surface are in fact it seems that most of the tiles contain within them an additional character embedded within the tile?? If you can explain further on this feature/flaw. Photos have tried to show the feature within the tiles – mah6, mah7, mah8 are all different views of the same tile. Only the blanks do not have some feature within the tile.
    >Dimensions – 28mm x 20mm x (11mm depth of tile + 4mm backing=15mm)
    >No paper material included, no trade markings
    >I hope this is all the information that you require
    >Regards
    >Michaela W

    Hi, Michaela. It appears you have four questions: Age? Country? Worth? Bakelite?

    Not sure. Could be anytime from the 1950s to the 1980s, based on the cheap style of case.

    Your guess that your sailor father might have gotten it in Hong Kong during the Korean War seems feasible and perhaps even likely. The set doesn't appear to be from Japan.

    It's not particularly valuable. I disagree with your assessment of the set's condition. You called it "Very Good," but then you say, "6 have the backings loose. 1 tile missing backing." Since it needs repair and even a replacement part, it is less than utilitarian (it cannot be played with if a tile is missing its back and several tile backs are separated), so I'd call the overall condition Poor. Additionally, the set cannot be used to play American-style mah-jongg as is (not enough tiles), which reduces the sellability. I'd say the value is in the tens of dollars - probably under $50 as a set. It might have more value for replacement parts than as a set.

    That type of set is often called "applejuice Bakelite" because of its resemblance to apple juice. It's interesting that the blanks do not exhibit any interior cracking. That tells me that the interior cracks may have been introduced in the manufacturing process (perhaps the designs were made with pressure). It's not uncommon to see this sort of tiles with interior cracking.

    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, 2017


    Questionable ruling, part 2

    >From: Belinda
    >Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 9:47 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >The rule I was trying to remember that the NMJL changed then rescinded was the one Donna E posted. Your memory is better than mine!
    >Thank you for your site, I have learned a great deal from reading postings, your strategy column and FAQ 19.
    >Bee

    I did see that on Facebook, Bee. That's where I learned about the 2013 revision to the rulebook, from a Tony R posting on Feb. 24. (See "Heavenly Hand rule change, part 4," below.)
    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 21, 2017


    She had a change of heart

    >From: Margaret M
    >Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 3:05 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player identifies a discard but has not placed it face up on the table, May that player withdraw that discard and replace it with another?

    Hi, Margaret!
    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 Frequently Asked Questions 19-A & 19-B. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. 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 21, 2017


    The mysteries of space

    >From: "cherylt
    >Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 6:31 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Why is 336 33669 336699 without spaces and FF 22 4 6 88 22 4 6 88 with spaces? Typo?

    I have no idea, Cheryl. Why don't you ask the League? Their phone number is on 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 21, 2017


    2017 #3

    >From: Lanelle B
    >Sent: Friday, April 21, 2017 5:05 AM
    >Subject: Mahj hand
    >Good morning,
    >Love the info on 2017 card. Question? Hand FF 2017 7777 7777
    >Three suits. Can for instance...2017 be cracks, 7777 cracks, 7777 bams?
    >Thanks,
    >Lanelle B

    Hi, Lanelle!
    Craks, craks, and bams, hmm? How do you figure that's three suits? Craks are the same suit as craks. You need to use dots somewhere in there. Craks, dots, bams. Or dots, craks, bams. Or bams, dots, craks. You can't have a kong of sevens that's the same suit as the 2017. And you can't have two kongs of sevens in the same suit.

    Re-read the red text above the 2017 hands on 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 21, 2017


    Questionable ruling

    >From: Belinda -
    >Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2017 10:26 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Hi Tom,
    >I haven't posted in a while but wanted to run this by you.
    >Barney's
    message of 3/29 mentioned a player that called a discard and exposed 3 flowers, then put up another 3 flowers. Barney recently posted in the Facebook group that he had written to the NMJL and they ruled that there is no penalty and the hand would not be dead. I think this is a very poor ruling from the NMJL. This should be considered an incorrect exposure as she only needed to expose 3 flowers. This would be no different than if she exposed the 3 flowers than also exposed a kong of any number or a kong of a wind. Both should be incorrect as you expose tiles when picking a matching discard or adding joker(s) to complete the exposure.
    >Here is another scenario - we have a player that never says Mah Jongg, she simply takes the discard or one from the wall and places her MJ on her rack. This ruling would allow her to place some tiles on her rack, half way through realize she does not have MJ, leave the true exposure and whatever else she exposed on her rack and continue playing. That is not how this game is intended to be played. I think their ruling should be rescinded. Do you agree?
    >PS: They recently answered a written question, then rescinded it, but I do not remember what rule that was, but it was posted on Mah Jongg That's It.
    >Bee

    Hi, Bee! Good to hear from you:

    Barney recently posted in the Facebook group that he had written to the NMJL and they ruled that there is no penalty and the hand would not be dead. I think this is a very poor ruling from the NMJL. This should be considered an incorrect exposure as she only needed to expose 3 flowers. This would be no different than if she exposed the 3 flowers than also exposed a kong of any number or a kong of a wind. Both should be incorrect as you expose tiles when picking a matching discard or adding joker(s) to complete the exposure.
    I'm with you completely, Bee.

    we have a player that never says Mah Jongg, she simply takes the discard or one from the wall and places her MJ on her rack. This ruling would allow her to place some tiles on her rack, half way through realize she does not have MJ, leave the true exposure and whatever else she exposed on her rack and continue playing. That is not how this game is intended to be played. I think their ruling should be rescinded. Do you agree?
    Yes. It's incorrect to expose willy-nilly; doing so should be punishable by "death." But that's just my opinion, and people shouldn't play by my opinion (they should play by what the League says).

    PS: They recently answered a written question, then rescinded it, but I do not remember what rule that was, but it was posted on Mah Jongg That's It.
    I don't read Facebook regularly, so I don't know. We did have an example of a rescinded ruling here on this board; the League had told Donna E that they had erred when previously telling her that the Charleston must happen even if East has a complete hand on the initial deal (a direct contradiction of the rule in the 2013 revision of the official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy). I published that correspondence on March 13, below.

    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, 2017


    What if three players go dead?

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2017 6:29 AM
    >Subject: existing player when MJ was declared in error.
    >If a player declares Mah Jonggg in error, I know that the other three players continue playing, if all walls are intact. If, later in the game, two of the other players become "dead" for some reasons, what happens to the sole remaining player? Does that player get paid, and from whom?
    >Thanks in advance for your help.

    FAQ 19-BW. It's not that hard to find an answer in FAQ 19. If you don't want to visually scan through the index, you can search the page for key words. (If you use an iPad, tap the Search box in the upper right corner. If you are on a Windows desktop or laptop computer, hit Control-F. If you are on a Mac desktop or laptop, that's Command-F.) Then type key words into the search box. It may be necessary to try different key words to find your desired topic.
    I myself don't remember the precise location of each answer, so I use the search myself. For your question, Jeanne, I typed "what if" in the search box and then hit "Enter" (on my PC keyboard) to jump from one "What if" to another, and within a few presses, there was the answer.
    Just to see what would happen, I also tried searching for the phrase "three players," and got the answer much quicker that way. That's what I mean by trying "multiple key words" (also called "search strings" in computer jargonese).
    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, 2017


    Oopsie in column 470

    >From: Rebecca Z.
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 3:06 PM
    >Subject: Column 670
    >I'm a Mah Jongg newbie but love the game and appreciate your columns.
    >In today's column 670, exposure #5, could it not be Odds#6?
    >Thanks for all your helpful info!
    >Rebecca

    >From: Beth P
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 3:36 PM
    >Subject: strategy column #670
    >Hello Tom. In Strategy column #670, Don’t call her dead yet! Fifth one : What about odds # 6 for your defense.. 1’s and 3’s in the same suit would work there. Love your web site. Beth P.

    >From: Elisegk
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 6:15 PM
    >Subject: April 16, 2017 - Defense (NMJL 2017)
    >Hand # 5 could be 1133 111333 5555, so it is not dead and hot tiles are 135 in both other suits!!
    >love your column!
    >Elise

    >From: Charter <johnh
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 6:44 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A Column #670
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I found your "Easter Egg" in column #670: you called Exposure #5 a dead hand, however, exposure #5 could be played to Odds #6, which is not a closed hand and can't be called dead based only on the exposed tiles.
    >John

    Very good, all of you! I'm heading to the column to unleash the "oopsie."
    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, 2017


    When were futures outlawed?

    >From: Jeanne P
    >Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2017 8:07 AM
    >Subject: Picking ahead
    >Do you know if it was ever a mah jongg rule that made picking ahead (futures)
    > a part of the game. If so, when did this rule end?

    Welcome back, Jeanne! I discussed this question in FAQ 19-R. 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 16, 2017


    New strategy column posted: Defense

    You have the new 2017 card, and an opponent is showing exposures. What would you do? Check out this week's strategy column! Maybe I goofed somewhere - spot the goof(s) and get a tip o' the Sloperama hat! (Not saying I goofed on purpose - but I nevertheless reserve the right to say later, "yeah, that was, cough, intentional. Good4U, U found the Easter egg!")
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    The "change of heart" rule about taking a tile from the wall

    >From: "Puffins
    >Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 9:16 PM
    >Subject: Re: MJ question please follow up
    >Thank you Tom for your clarification on my question below. You are the best!
    >I agree with you that if you "move the tile" from the wall, you are committed to it, but where in the rules (I have MJ Made Easy) does it actually state this so I can show people when the question arises. I can't find it in the NMJL rule book.
    >Thanks, so much!
    >Donna

    Hi, Donna.
    To find the answer to your question, I looked at the "For further reading" references at the bottom of FAQ 19-AM. The sources of that rule are the yearly newsletters of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2012 (and possibly other earlier yearly newsletters as well).


    Every year, the League issues rule clarifications
    in its newsletter. Every person who buys the card
    directly from the League receives a subscription to
    the newsletter, which is mailed every January.

    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, 2017


    Speaking the discard's name

    >From: "Puffins
    >Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 2:23 PM
    >Subject: MJ question please
    >Tom,
    >I love your website and I refer to it often and I know you update when there is an adjustment to a rule.
    >I'm noticing in the column below it says "not yet spoken the tile's name in full", my response from the NMJL dated 10/6/2016 says "even if the tile is partially named, it is considered verbalized and you can't change your mind. The tile is considered down once you have verbalized". Of course, I think it's much fairer to say "fully named" but I don't make the rules.
    >Thank you,
    >Donna E
    >Column 499
    >Discarding a tile: you may change your mind if you have not yet spoken the tile's name in full; you may change your mind if the tile has not yet touched the table. But once you have done either of those things, you have committed to the action.

    Hi, Donna!
    I'm with you; the League is too strict on this point. If I say "S..." you have no idea what I was about to say. If my thumb is obscuring the tile's design, you can't know if I'm holding a six dot or seven dot or six bam or seven bam or six crak or seven crak or south or soap. If I suddenly spy a redeemable joker on somebody's rack, I can easily say, "Say, Mabel, may I have that joker, please?" It sounds like I just stuttered a bit.
    If I had said, "Sou..." you know I was discarding south, and it's too late to take it back. That's fair. I suppose now I have to backtrack on what I said in column 499, hmm?
    FAQ 19-A already has a disclaimer about this rule. Tell you what: I'll append this conversation to the column. That should cover 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 15, 2017


    Didn't they say, part 3

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 10:17 AM
    >Subject: blind passing part 3
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for looking this up. It seems to me that if there is a rule, there should be a penalty for breaking it. Like having to keep whatever tiles you "peeked" at. Or being called dead. I think I would say in a loud voice "hey that's cheating!" Sometimes eye-daggers are not enough to make the point!
    >Thanks, Linda

    I get your point, Linda.
    I agree that prohibitions should be enforceable by penalties. One unenforceable rule is "you shouldn't call yourself dead." There's no penalty for that, either.
    The Majiang Competition Rules are very tightly codified, and in that rule set, there are levels of penalties. First offense is a verbal warning. Points are deducted after repeat offenses, and a player who continually breaks rules can be eliminated from a tournament.
    The American penalties, by comparison, range from "dead" to "pay a quarter" or "pay for everyone" to "no harm done, move along." The 2013 rulebook is only slightly tighter than the 1984 rulebook. Both are nowhere near as tightly written as the MCR rules, or the modern Japanese 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 15, 2017


    Column 668

    >From: Ruthless
    >Sent: Saturday, April 15, 2017 6:23 AM
    >Subject: This is what happens when I "study"
    >New mj card - column 668 - am I getting too neurotic, since chances are I will never get these anyway!
    >Comment "s & p #3 - "singles"
    >Why isn't 336 a pair of 3's and a single 6 (same suit)
    >Why isn't 33669 a pair of 3's, a pair of 6's, and a single 9? (Same suit)
    >Etc. why are they all referred to as singles?
    >Leslie

    You're absolutely right, Leslie. In the cold light of morning, it's obvious to me I used misleading words there, so I've edited it to read: "336 is not a pung; it's a pair and a single. 33669 is not a quint; it's two pairs and a single. 336699 is not a sextet; it's three pairs. This section is called 'Singles and Pairs,' after all."
    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, 2017


    Didn't they say there's no penalty for peeking at the blind pass? (part 2)

    Linda, I'm home now and I have the 2017 newsletter. It says, "The League does not recommend a penalty for looking at a blind pass. We do suggest that you remind others that [they] may not do this, that the reason that this is referred to as a 'blind pass' is that it is not to be looked at, but merely passed."
    And of course, shoot her dagger looks every now and then too! (~_^) And watch that cheater like a hawk (pointedly) during the first left and the last right of every Charleston for the rest of the play session.
    Tom

    April 14, 2017


    Didn't they say there's no penalty for peeking at the blind pass?

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 1:45 PM
    >Subject: the blind pass
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have misplaced my 2017 NMJL bulletin/letter that came with the new card, but I think I read that there is no penalty for looking at the tiles you are "blind passing." Is that correct? What is your opinion of this?
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I don't have my newsletter handy right now, but I'm pretty sure it's correct that there's no penalty (the rulebook doesn't say you can't shoot daggers at a cheater with your eyes, though).
    When I get home, I'll check the 2017 newsletter. I'll report back on what it does say about peek-passing, if it says anything.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 14, 2017


    What's the highest possible score in Chinese Official MJ?

    >From: Lynn P#2
    >Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 12:12 PM
    >Subject: curious to know
    >Hi Tom, Bishop ,CA here again. We play Chinese. Yesterday Kay scored 121 points with 4 big winds and all terminal/honor pungs , plus a flower, and we were curious about what is the highest score recorded or possible. I tried googling this to no avail. Thanks as always, Lynn

    I have no idea, Lynn. From your March 17 email, I guess you're still talking about Majiang Competition Rules, not Chinese Classical, for instance (the specific Chinese variant matters a lot when talking about max score). I think some of the international mah-jongg thinkers from the early 2000s might have discussed this on the old mahjong newsgroup, but I don't remember for sure. One measly flower? There are eight, you know. So you could certainly add another 7 points. And what about single wait by self-pick (add 2 more). And what if the winning tile was the last tile on the wall? And what if the pair was dragons instead of terminals? And what if the wind pungs are actually all kongs? I don't do math on request, so you're welcome to give it a try!
    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 14, 2017


    Thank you and another question

    >From: Ruthless
    >Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 5:24 AM
    >Subject: Thank you and another question
    >Thank you for your kind and friendly reply.
    >In reviewing practice, I see
    >Hand #7-two pairs: flowers and Souths. The Souths are weak (no friends), so count highs vs. lows: three highs, five lows. Highs can go; pass S 7C 9B.
    >Aren't flowers and souths friends? (W-D #5)? Or the idea is to narrow down options. Since this is a concealed hand, might not be worth the trouble. I admit, on first pass I like to see if more winds will come my way. I have much to learn!
    >Leslie

    >From: "service@paypal
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Friday, April 14, 2017 5:26 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from WatchingHour
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from WatchingHour
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: WatchingHour
    >Message: From leslie. Thank,you for all your work.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks for the donation, Leslie!
    As for puzzle 7 in column 669, certainly the Fs and Ss are friends, but they amount to just four tiles. Each player has to come up with her own "strategy rules" (in quotes because they're not really rules, per se). For example, I played with a player who said that she had a "rule" to never go for a W-D hand unless she had at least four flowers in hand. I haven't adopted that strategy myself, but I generally don't target a hand for which I have just four tiles total (as in this case), unless there's absolutely nothing else to go on with my latest collection of lousy tiles.

    W-D is a fickle family, especially the winds branch; because there are only four winds, one's main opportunity to net some is during the Charleston, when they're commonly let loose. But it's common knowledge among experienced players that winds get passed around, and that sometimes when they get passed, they don't come back (meaning somebody's collecting them). An experienced player who notices that somebody's grabbing up winds will make an effort to stop passing winds* in the second Charleston, if she can help it. And some players who have two winds might hold onto them to see if more come in, or to just thwart wind collection (especially if it's known that one of the other players habitually collects winds).

    With a flower pair and a wind pair, one could try to pass non-winds and see if any winds come in, but a fallback plan is needed. One could try to observe what's going around while winds aren't, and then pivot to what's trending in the second Charleston--but what if somebody decides to stop? All in all, I prefer Consecutive Runs.

    *Sorry for the double entendre, but (1) I haven't found a better way of saying it, and (2) it never stops tickling my funny bone.
    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 14, 2017


    "Siamese" tile count

    >From: Laury T
    >Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2017 8:45 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mahjong question or comment is: I'm a recent player of Siamese Mah Jong. Upon following the directions, East dealt herself 28 tiles and then dealt me, the opposite player, 27 tiles. The object is for each person to work on building 2 Mah Jong hands at the same time. Each of us used a special "double-rack". We used American rules and real tiles. The first player to Mahj both hands successfully is the winner. I was the winner today. Unfortunately, there was 1 tile left. The opposite player has encountered the same thing when she played with her husband at their home. I'm wondering if, instead of dealing 28 and 27 tiles, it should be 27 tiles and 26 tiles?
    >Thanks for your input!
    >Laury

    Hi, Laury.
    I haven't played that new variant, but I can tell you that in order to make two mah-jongg hands, you need 28 tiles. If you made two valid mah-jongg hands but had a 29th tile, then somewhere along the way you must have forgotten to discard. A player who has too many tiles should be called dead by her opponent.
    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 13, 2017


    I want more!

    >From: Ruthless
    >Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2017 10:00 AM
    >Subject: Hope I'm doing this right
    >Hello, love your site, especially American Mah Jongg which is what I am learning. I've been playing infrequently for about one year.
    >Right now, I am in Philly area, will be in So. Cal. Area later on in year, so maybe then I can ask about classes or (nice) groups.
    >This is my request: Your "What would you do" practice hands are fabulous. For me, they are the best way to learn the new card and Charleston. I am following your 4 steps. I realize sometimes one goes on a hunch, but having some general direction is wonderful.
    >How can I obtain (and I will pay) additional practice hands with your comments? I would do a raft of them, as they help me with the card and hands as well. But without your suggestions, it isn't nearly as good. Or fun.
    >I hope I have not been out of line by emailing you. I greatly respect privacy and hope to be a kind and considerate person and player.
    >Sincerely,
    >Leslie

    Hi, Leslie!
    You weren't out of line at all. I'm flattered that you find my columns so helpful. But turning out one column every week is sometimes more than I can manage, what with my duties at the university where I teach. I really can't produce more than a column a week.
    Practicing with your own tiles is excellent practice. But I appreciate what you said, that my commentary helps. I'll try not to miss a week, especially now when the card is still fresh.
    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 13, 2017


    Column 669

    >From: Deborah A
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 6:13 PM
    >Subject: Question about Column #669
    >Hi Tom:
    >I just looked at your column and at the Q&A Bulletin Board but I haven’t seen a comment yet about Question #3. I am wondering why you did not mention the “2017” section as a possibility, #2 in particular (6 tiles) or less likely #3 (5 tiles). I know those hands are missing flowers, but shouldn’t 2017 #2 be considered? To “pass highs” as you suggest could be interpreted as passing the 7D, which would break up 2017. Or is the 2017 section too unlikely because of the missing pair of flowers? What do you think?
    >Deborah

    Deborah, you are so right! I totally overlooked 2017. And you are also right that the absence of flowers is a problem. If only there was one, I wouldn't see it as that much of a problem. But without any, we'll have to pick lucky to get that flower pair. So let's take it the next step: what would you pass instead of just "highs"?
    "Highs but not 7D"?
    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 11, 2017


    I want to rearrange my card, part 2

    >From: C
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:31 AM
    >Subject: Re: Rearranging the NMLA Card
    >Thanks!

    You're welcome.


    I want to rearrange my card, part 1

    >From: C
    >Sent: Monday, April 10, 2017 7:54 AM
    >Subject: Rearranging the NMLA Card
    >Tom - I find the layout of the NMLA cards (of any year) as presented doesn't "suit my eye" and makes it difficult for me to identify patterns/opportunities, as compared to other sequencing/presentations. For example, in section 2468 (and others), I would prefer to see the three (Any 1 Suit) solutions at the top of the list, followed by (Any 2 Suit) solutions, then (Any 3 Suit) solutions.
    >Similarly, I prefer to reorder the card sections as well, e.g. "369" followed by "13579" followed by "2468", etc.
    >I well understand the copyright laws which prohibit reproducing the card. However, is there any reason that I can't deconstruct the card into its individual lines and then reconstruct those lines in whatever order suits me? The solutions all remain the same, of course.
    >I look forward to your response. Regards - Sandy C

    Hi, Sandy!
    First off, it needs to be said that I am not a lawyer, and my answer is not to be taken as legal advice.
    It sounds like what you want to do is cut up your card and tape it back together in a different order. I don't see how the National Mah Jongg League, Inc. (assuming that's who you mean by "NMLA") could have a legal objection to that. But the players at your table may look askance at your card. And I foresee a couple problems with having a card that's organized differently from everyone else's:
    - When you tell everybody what hand you won on, it's customary to help them find it on the card, by identifying which card section it's in, and how far down to count to find it. If you've got them organized differently, you've got a challenge in helping others identify and recognize your winning hand so you can collect winnings. Similarly, when someone else wins, you want to check that player's hand against the card, and you're going to have to use a different search technique than what she tells you.
    - If you cut up your card and reorganize it, you won't have the rules on the back anymore. And if you make a photocopy of your card (to cut that up instead), you are infringing on the League's right to dictate how, whether, and for what benefit their work is to be copied. Maybe you need to buy two cards - one to cut up and one to refer to when someone wins, and when checking 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
    April 10, 2017


    Frequently Asked Question 19-G2, part III

    >From: Ssnyder494
    >Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 10:51 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jongg Question
    >Thank you.

    You're welcome.


    Frequently Asked Question 19-G2, part II

    >From: Ssnyder494
    >Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 10:03 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah Jongg Question
    >Dear Sloper - in the interest of humor, I am not amused by your site that obviously only wants to sell his books. Your answer is not shown, Furthermore, I reloaded to no avail. Your system stinks

    Ssnyder, I'm sorry you couldn't get my bulletin board to work. And I'm sorry you think poorly of me. Since you can't get my website to work, I'm emailing you the answer to the question you asked on March 31st: "Can Player A pick up that discarded green dragon tile and replace a joker (thereby putting joker back in the hand)?" 
    The answer is: 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.
    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, 2017


    Can I claim a discard to expose a 2017, part 2

    >From: Therese
    >Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 1:57 PM
    >Subject: Re: MahJ. questiion
    >MANY (tiles full of) THANKS, TOM. I see ---I understand -- I believe ---- Therese


    Can I claim a discard to expose a 2017?

    >From: Therese
    >Sent: Sunday, April 9, 2017 11:31 AM
    >Subject: MahJ. questiion
    >I checked the question list but did not find an answer for my question.
    >I have been playing with an experienced, long time group. They say that when when you are attempting a year - example 2016- you may not pick up a white dragon to complete your set of four (example 2016) unless it is for a Mah Jongg win. I can not find this rule written in guides.
    >Thank you for answering this question.
    >Therese

    Hi, Therese!
    Somehow you missed FAQ 19-E and FAQ 16. You can link to those 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 9, 2017


    New strategy column posted: WWYP

    You have the new 2017 card, and a random assortment of tiles. What would you pass? Check out this week's strategy column!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Mah-jongg is now a Mind Sport

    Big mah-jongg news this week!
    The International Mind Sports Association has recognized mah-jongg as an official mind sport, and has welcomed the Mahjong International League into its fold! Read all about it on MahjongNews.com!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    P.S. Most people outside of the USA spell the game's name as "mahjong" (as one word, not hyphenated, with one G). The NMJL spells it "mah jongg" (as two words, not hyphenated, with two Gs), but out of respect for Joseph P. Babcock and what he did to bring the game to the West, I use his spelling, "mah-jongg" (with the hyphen and two Gs). But what's in a name? Heck, the Chinese (when using our alphabet) spell it "majiang." The game is fun, no matter how you spell it. - Tom


    Heavenly Hand

    >From: Lynn P#1
    >Sent: Friday, April 7, 2017 7:53 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing American Mah Jongg, today we were discussing special hands and I said a “Heavenly Hand” was when the dealer had Mah Jongg at the end of the Charleston. I just looked up definition and Wikipedia says, “Dealer draws winning hand at the beginning of the game.” Am I having a lapse in memory since the end of the Charleston the dealer does not draw. She is passed the last right or optional tiles. Please refresh my memory. Also I remember your mentioning another special hand but it escaped me. Thanks again for all your help, the 1st Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn P#1!
    Heavenly Hand is described in FAQ 19-BJ and in column 666. You didn't think to check the FAQs?
    The League recognizes Heavenly Hand (albeit not by that name, necessarily*) - but it does not recognize either The Hand of Earth (a non-dealer wins on dealer's first discard) or The Hand of Man (a non-dealer wins by discard before his/her first wall pick, provided that no one has made any exposures yet). Those are recognized only in some Asian forms of mah-jongg. "Hand of Earth" is sometimes called "Earthly Hand," and I suppose one could say "Manly Hand" rather than "Hand of Man," but it sounds weird to Western ears! But anyway, as I said, neither of those two situations is recognized in American mahj.

    *I'm the one who brought the term "Heavenly Hand" (or "Hand of Heaven") into the American game (it's not called that in the official rulebook) - it's a common term in other forms of mah-jongg, and when I learned that it is recognized by the National Mah Jongg League, I applied the traditional name from those other mah-jongg forms.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2017


    How do you score… never mind, I found it!

    >From: Elizabeth K
    >Sent: Friday, April 7, 2017 2:20 PM
    >Subject: paying double in mah jongg joker less hands
    >Last night someone played singles and pairs, line 6 on 2017 card. was she entitled to receive double pay since it was a no joker hand? Thanks Tom, Betty Kane, Sea Isle City NJ
    >ps I looked for answer in FAQ but didn’t find it. (sorry)

    >From: Elizabeth K
    >Sent: Friday, April 7, 2017 2:22 PM
    >Subject: oops, sorry found answer on back of 2017 card, exception: singles and pairs group no bonus sorry to have bothered you. but enjoy your website:-)

    No worries, Elizabeth! I love it when folks find their own answers! \(^_^)/
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 7, 2017

    P.S. That question isn't answered in my FAQs, since it's right there on the card where you found it! - Tom


    Why say "same," part 3

    >From: ttomasky
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 6:56 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Ok. I'm a player who pays attention and i have no tolerance for those who don't. Thanks for the discussion.??

    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, 2017


    Why say "same," part 2

    >From: "ttomasky
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 6:11 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Sorry, not logical, just a lot of jibberish. ??

    >From: "ttomasky
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 6:15 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >I don't think you read my question thoroughly.

    Hi, ttomasky.
    I'm sorry you found my FAQ unsatisfactory. I did read your question thoroughly - the FAQ answer is simply worded so as to answer questions about the reason for saying "same" or the name of the previous discard. Whether someone says "same" or says the name of the previous discard, it's all the same. (Saying "soap" is exactly the same as saying "same" if one is throwing a second soap in a row, or throwing a joker after a soap.)
    And it doesn't matter how many of that tile have been discarded, since the practice is not to try to fool the players who are paying attention -- but is rather to lull the players who aren't paying attention (not alerting them to the fact that what you discarded is 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
    April 2, 2017


    Sandwiching jokers in an exposure

    >From: Bev S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 11:12 AM
    >Subject: Exposing your jokers and proper separation
    >Hi Tom.
    >I looked and didnt find a rule on this in my book,
    >I was taught by a good player, who was into player etiquette.
    >When putting up your exposed hand we were told to enclose when possible the joker between the nbrs
    >And not to run it into an earlier exposure, so that it was clear just where the joker belonged.
    >Is this a rule or just a table rule.
    >I always do it. And have taught a lot of players, that it's the correct, and fair way to lay out the tiles.
    >If I'm playing in competition, what can I expect, or can I expect this as a stratagie to confuse me in a quick playing game to not know just where the joker belongs?
    >Sorry if missed this in the list.
    >Bev

    Hello, Bev!
    Interesting question! You asked:

    we were told to enclose when possible the joker between the nbrs
    >And not to run it into an earlier exposure, so that it was clear just where the joker belonged.
    Yes, I teach my students to always "sandwich the joker" for just this reason.

    Is this a rule or just a table rule.
    It's not a "rule" at all. It's just common sense. You want the other players to pay you when you win, so you have to let them see your winning hand -- with no confusing tile placement to get in their way of recognizing it. I'm very glad that you teach your students that, too.

    If I'm playing in competition, what can I expect
    At a tournament, you can expect to find nice people who play intelligently and courteously. You can expect to find terrified newbies who shudder at the thought of making any kind of mistake. You can expect nasty competitive players, you can expect poker faces, and you can expect cheaters.

    or can I expect this as a stratagie to confuse me in a quick playing game to not know just where the joker belongs?
    What an interesting idea. That thought never occurred to me, and I never saw anyone who was deliberately not sandwiching her jokers so as to screw with the other players. If someone does that, it's easily remedied: just ask her, after every exposure, "please sandwich your jokers."

    Sorry if missed this in the list.
    I don't know which list you're thinking of. If you're thinking of FAQ 19, since sandwiching the jokers is not a rule, it's not listed there. If you're thinking of FAQ 9, you've raised a good point - that this belongs in there. What I'll do is append this Q&A to the FAQ. 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 6, 2017


    Why say "same"?

    >From: "ttomasky
    >Cc: Arlene K
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 5:34 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: when discarding a joker, the nmjl card says to call it the same as previous discard.
    >That doesn't make sense! What if the other three have already been discarded or someone is holding the other three? Just say joker!

    Hi, ttomasky!
    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. Please read FAQ 19-G3. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. 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 6, 2017


    2017 #2

    >From: Jim H.
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 12:58 PM
    >Subject: 2017 Card
    >Howdy Tom,
    >Under 2017, hand #2, wouldn't this meet the 2 suit requirement?
    >FF JJGG 2017 JJGG with 2, 1 & 7 in dots or craks
    >It may not be in the spirit of Mah Jongg but it seems to meet the requirement.
    >Thanks (and I love your website),
    >Jim H.

    Hi, Jim.
    As I demonstrated in FAQ 16 already, the hand can be made in 2 suits if the 2017 and one of the dragon kongs are the same suit. I hadn't really considered the two dragon kongs being the same suit. I agree with you that technically, that seems to fit the "2 suits" description. I think you would get arguments if you did this at the table, though, so I would advise against it. Don't forget, you could also reorganize the tiles as FF GGGG 2017 JJJJ, thus avoiding all controversy (unless you have people at the table who wrongly think you shouldn't or can't make a kong that's all jokers).
    I suppose I'll add this to 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
    April 6, 2017


    Redemption with the wrong tile

    >From: James S
    >Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 12:29 PM
    >Subject: Error in exchanging a suit tile for a joker.
    >Tom,
    >My question is this: East exposed 2 six bams with two jokers. Player across from her called for one of the jokers giving what she thought was a six bam. Play continued two rounds when I drew a six bam and asked for the other joker. It then was realized that the first exchange was a nine bam (not a six). Is the player with the exposure responsible for her rack, i.e.making sure the exchange was proper? If so, would her hand be considered "dead" at the point when we saw the nine bam? Does the player who erred in the exchange (claiming a joker) have any penalty? Thanking you in advance for your answer.
    >Carole S

    Hi, Carole!
    The player who has an illegal exposure atop her rack is definitely dead. And she cannot put the blame solely on the person who gave her the wrong tile - she herself neglected to examine the tile before relinquishing the joker.
    And as for she who handed over the wrong tile - I imagine the majority of players (or at least, those who are willing to express honest opinions) would agree that she, too, deserves the death penalty. After all, she has an illegally-acquired joker in her hand. I further imagine that if this happened at a tournament and a judge's opinion was sought, the judge would rule that both are dead.
    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, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v6.0  

    >From: Cheryl M
    >Sent: Wednesday, April 5, 2017 11:01 AM
    >Subject: Dear Mister Mah Jongg!!!
    >Good afternoon! We just gathered today to play our new 2017 Mah Jongg card and we are confused about the two hands under LIKE NUMBERS. In the 2016 card under LIKE NUMBERS it distinctly says: "Any Like Number." But in the 2017 card it does not stipulate that. Can you only use "1's" in those two hands? Or, can it be ANY like numbers?
    >Thank you so much! We are awaiting your answer!!!
    >Cheryl M

    Hi, Cheryl!
    Welcome to my website! You wrote:

    we are confused about the two hands under LIKE NUMBERS.
    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. 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 2017 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!

    Thank you so much!
    You are so welcome!

    We are awaiting your answer!!!
    I am awaiting you finding your answer!!!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    April 5, 2017


    Frequently Asked Question #16

    >from: "jfmpool
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 7:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Under the 2017 section; in both lines #1 and #4 are the 0s (zeros) considered singles, or can Jokers be used in place of the 0s (White Dragons) due to being Kongs and Pungs?
    >Thank you,
    >J. P.

    >from: "jfmpool
    >Sent: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 7:24 PM
    >Subject: 2017-Line 1 & 4
    >Hello Tom,
    >Under the 2017 section; in both lines #1 and #4 are the 0s (zeros) considered singles, or can Jokers be used in place of the 0s (White Dragons) due to being Kongs and Pungs?
    >Thank you,
    >J. P.

    Hi, J. P.!
    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. For all questions about the 2017 card, read FAQ 16. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg (other than card-specific questions) are found in FAQ 19.
    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
    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 4, 2017


    FAQ 16, part 2

    >From: Kenneth H
    >Sent: Monday, April 3, 2017 6:20 AM
    >Subject: Not a question but an answer
    >Tom,
    >Do I read you closely? Yes! “Just put your lips together . . . ” is not from “Casablanca” (which I almost know by heart). It’s from “To Have and Have Not”, Bacall’s first movie
    >I may be a seasoned classic movie buff, but I’m a new Mah Jongg player and visit your blog often. Thanks!
    >Sharon

    Duh, of course. Lauren Bacall, not Ingrid Bergman! Thanks, Sharon!
    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, 2017


    2017 card: dragon pungs

    >From: Fran S
    >Sent: Sunday, April 2, 2017 8:53 PM
    >Subject: New NMJL Card
    >Hi Tom!
    >I'd like to add to your observations about the 2017 NMJL card. Another "dead" giveaway is if a player exposes a pung of dragons. Unlike last year's card, even a pung of soaps (white dragons) is a "dead" giveaway. The only hand on the 2017 card that uses pungs of dragons is Consecutive Run #7, which is a concealed hand.
    >As always, love your website!
    >Fran S

    Very good, Fran!
    Pungs of red or green are used only in Consec. #7, and a pung of soaps could be used in Consec. #7 or 2017 #4, and those are both concealed hands. So yes indeed, a dragon pung is another "dead" giveaway on this card. I'm appending this to column 668.
    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 2, 2017


    My two jade tiles

    >From: Cynthia M█████
    >Sent: Sunday, April 2, 2017 3:58 PM
    >Subject: Jade tile
    >I have what I believe to be a Jade tile. My grandfather brought it back with him around 1943. Its a dark jade tile about 1/2 inch X almost an inch and maybe a 1/4 inch thick with a carved symbol. (███) ███-████ is my cell phone number. My name is S█████ Thanks

    >From: Cynthia M█████
    >Sent: Sunday, April 2, 2017 4:15 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have a Jade tile with a hand carved symbol. My grandfather brought them home with him in 1943 after he left Okanawa. I would like to know how much they are worth. I have two. My name is S█████ (███) ███-████ Florida cell number

    Hi, Cynthia.
    I'm sorry, but I don't give free appraisals by telephone, and I would not be able to appraise your two jade tiles anyway since I have no idea what jade is worth. I cannot help you. I suggest you try someone who appraises antique jewelry. Good luck!
    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 2, 2017


    Commitment issues

    >From: Doris F
    >Sent: Saturday, April 1, 2017 5:10 PM
    >Subject: Drawing a tile
    >The National Mah Jongg newsletter answered a question about when is a player committed to picking a tile. Answer was when a player starts to pick the tile. Does that mean starting to 'lift' the tile or when she touches it? Also, many of our players will slide a tile from the wall before they pick it up. Are they committed to that tile even though they have not lifted it? Thank you for any clarification you can give me.
    >Doris F

    Hi, Doris!
    The English language is a wonderful thing; there are many many ways to express a concept or to ask a question. In Frequently Asked Question #19, I refer to this question as a matter of "a change of heart," and it can also be phrased, "when is it too late to change my mind?" I wrote about four different commitment issues ("change of heart" issues) in FAQ 19-AM. As to your question, the FAQ says: "After you've lifted or moved the tile off the wall, you may not change your mind and put it back. (You can reach for it and change your mind. You can even touch it and change your mind. But if you lift it or move it, it's yours and you have committed to taking it.)"
    For your future reference, 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 list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your 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
    April Fool's Day, 2017


    2017 card: 2017 #1

    >From: bklynirene
    >Sent: Saturday, April 1, 2017 3:21 PM
    >Subject: Question about 2017 card
    >Dear Tom:
    > My question concerns the first hand under "2017".
    > The hand shows the set of 222 in blue and the sets of 1111 and 7777 in red. The parenthetical states "two suits". Without that parenthetical, a player knows that the ones and sevens could be only one suit and the twos another suit. You have written many times that the parenthetical "trumps" all other information. So the question is, "Can the 222 and the 111 match in suit? Can the 222 and 7777 match in suit? OR shall we match the 111 and 7777 as the same suit as indicated by the red color on the card? IMHO, the parenthetical should state: "Any 2 suits; ones and sevens the same suit" -- for clarity.
    >As always, thank you for your thoughtful response.
    >Sincerely,
    >Irene

    Hi, Irene! You wrote:

    You have written many times that the parenthetical "trumps" all other information.
    I've been meaning to do a find-and-replace, changing all instances of "trump" to "overrule." ...Not that that has anything to do with the substance of your email:

    "Can the 222 and the 111 match in suit? Can the 222 and 7777 match in suit? OR shall we match the 111 and 7777 as the same suit as indicated by the red color on the card? IMHO, the parenthetical should state: "Any 2 suits; ones and sevens the same suit" -- for clarity.
    I don't think that wording is necessary. I believe that the color-coding provides sufficient clarity on that point. Look at the other places where the color-coding clearly indicates that two or more groupings must be the same suit. Evens #2, #4, #5. Consec. #2, #4, #6, #7. Odds #2, #3, #5, #6, #7. 369 #2, #4, #5, #6. S&P #4, #5, #6, #7. In one hand, all groupings indicated in green must be of the same suit. The color-coding has sufficed on that point for decades.

    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 Fool's Day, 2017


    2017 card: S&P #6

    >From: Laura M
    >Sent: Saturday, April 1, 2017 1:01 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Okay: I know the answer to this, but it seems you were inviting questions that others may ask...and I looks like you get some doozies, so here goes (I don't have the ability to change font color on my phone so just imagine it in 3 colors"
    >FF 11 22 11 22 11 22 (Any 2 Consecutive Nos. In 3 Suits)
    >(S&P #6)
    > [There's probably a question there somewhere]
    > [There will be an answer when somebody asks me a question]
    >I can see that someone might say "can it be "33 44 55 66 77 88". (imagine it in 3 colors)
    >No - they obviously need to be 3 groups of the same 2 consecutive numbers, but players are always looking for wiggle room....

    Very nice, Laura! I'll add that to FAQ 16. And I'll remove the wiggly text I'd had in there in square brackets.
    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 Fool's Day, 2017


    2017 card: S&P #7

    >From: Barbara K
    >Sent: Saturday, April 1, 2017 8:05 AM
    >Subject: 2017 question
    >Tom:
    >Thank you for your answers. Yours was the first site I went to for the like numbers issue on the 2017 card. Now another question please:
    >I was on the NMJL practice site and this was a Mah Jongg:
    >FF 2017 (craks) RR 2017 (in craks again) RR
    >The card says BAMS and CRAKS and shows two colors. Since it is two colors and says AND i assumed two suits for the 2017 and the matching dragons. I realize that dots and white dragons wont work but wonder about the one suited Mah Jongg. Can you help please>
    >Many thanks!
    >Barb
    >(A new player in 2016 so this is my first card transition!!)

    Hi, Barb!
    You're one sharp cookie, which can't be said for the player who thought she could make a one-suit hand out of a two-color card listing (two colors, since the colors of flowers and winds don't count). It's clearly a two-suit hand. Besides, the parenthetical says bams AND craks, not bams OR craks. She goofed. I still say the League should have printed GG and RR with this one rather than the DDs.
    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 Fool's Day, 2017


    Frequently Asked Question 19-G2 - Can she claim a redeemable tile?

    >From: Ssnyder494
    >Sent: Friday, March 31, 2017 8:54 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg Question
    >Can you please give me answer to the following situation:
    >Player A has 2 jokers and 2 green dragons exposed.
    >Player B, after drawing from wall, discards 1 green dragon.
    >Question: Can Player A pick up that discarded green dragon tile and replace a joker (thereby putting joker back in the hand)?
    >Would appreciate an answer - my group plays every Friday and Tuesday.
    >Thank you,
    >S Snyder

    Hi, S! Welcome to my website. You wrote:

    Can Player A pick up that discarded green dragon tile...
    Only if she's going to use it to expose a pung or kong of Green Dragons!

    ...and replace a joker (thereby putting joker back in the hand)?
    That'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 Frequently Asked Question 19-G2. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. 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!

    Would appreciate an answer -
    And I appreciate your question!

    - my group plays every Friday and Tuesday.
    Great!

    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 31, 2017


    FAQ 16 now covers the 2017 National Mah Jongg League Card!

    FAQ 16 has been updated to answer questions about the 2017 card!

    You know how to get to the FAQs, don't you? - Just put your lips together and... oh wait, no, that's a line from Casablanca To Have And Have Not*. Ahem. ... You just click the FAQ links 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
    March 31, 2017

    *A tip o' the Sloperama hat to Sharon H, who noticed my faux pas on April 3! - Tom


    But there are three colors, v2.0

    >From: Susan B
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is about the 2017 card. The first one under the Quints. Do the numbers and the dragons have to be different suits? It is unclear because the colors are different. Some are saying you can do any wind and then, for example, bamms and green dragons. I think the color coding tells us that it can be any dragon and any number but much be different suit.
    >Thank you!

    Hi, Susan!
    As I told Lisa yesterday (scroll down to see that conversation):
    As I wrote in FAQ 16 and FAQ 19-J, the words in parentheses overrule the color-coding. If it seems to you that the color-coded symbols say one thing but the parenthetical says something different, then you have to trust the parenthetical. 
    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, 2017


    Can she expose herself willy-nilly?

    >From: Barney G
    >Cc: Barney G
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:25 AM
    >Subject: Hello Tom.....Hope you are well!!
    > Is there anything in the rules (I certainly can’t find it) that says you are not allowed to put up on your rack a completed Pung or Kong that is not associated with the a tile that was just discarded? In other words. You throw a 3 bam, I call for it and expose a Pung of 3 bams. But I also put on top of my rack a Kong of 4 craks. I know nobody in their right mind would do this - but is there a rule that says you cannot? Only reason I thought about this is because yesterday a woman called a flower and them exposed all 6 flowers. We all let it go… I believe the hands using 6 flowers this year are truly hands calling for two Pungs of flowers as opposed to a sextet of flowers. Assuming that is the case, is there any problem with showing all 6 flowers at once? If there is no problem with doing so, why is that different for the 3Bam 4Crack scenario i spelled out above?
    >Thanks!
    >Barney G
    >Old Tappan, NJ

    Hi, Barney!
    As you say, "nobody in their right mind would do this." Read page 14 of the 2013 revised rulebook. It talks about the exposure process. There is no mention saying someone can't just expose herself willy-nilly, probably because the writers didn't think they needed to make an enormous list of all the things that one may NOT do. Nobody should make an exposure except when calling a discard, and when making that exposure, she should only expose the set that's completed by the taken discard. It's insane and unwise to make an exposure that doesn't have to be made. This is a matter of common sense more than what is or isn't expressly forbidden by the written rules.


    This is the League's official rulebook.
    It was revised in 2013. 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
    March 29, 2017

    P.S. a follow-up to this topic occurred on April 20, above. - Tom


    2017 Like Numbers, v5.0 

    >From: AandE M
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:23 AM
    >Subject: 2017 Like Numbers
    >REALLY... Do they have to be "ones"??? No notation either way! Thanks

    Hello, AandE!
    As I wrote to the last four folks who asked this (scroll down to see those exchanges),
    It's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers."
     (I'm not shouting at you, my dear; I'm just trying to make this answer easy for people to find. I know I'm going to be asked this one a lot more times.)
    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, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v4.0

    >From: Rebecca L
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:12 AM
    >Subject: 2017 NMJL Card
    >Hooray just received our new 2017cards and guess what - a question already. Under "Like Numbers" it does not say "ANY Like Number" like it does on the 2016 card. My gals are wondering does it mean that the only number that can be played is a "1"? Or can you still play "ANY Like Number"?
    >Thanks for your wisdom. I don't know what we'd do without you.

    Hi, Rebecca!
    As I wrote to the last three ladies who asked this - see below,
    I firmly believe it's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers."
     (I'm not shouting at you, my dear; I'm just trying to make this answer easy for people to find. I know I'm going to be asked this one a lot more times.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 29, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v3.1

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 7:09 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from David J
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from David J. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: David J
    >Message: Thank You for answers.

    You're welcome, and thanks back atcha!


    2017 Like Numbers, v3.0

    >From: Paula J
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 5:39 PM
    >Subject: 2017 Card
    >The new card says any three suits for like numbers. It has said in the past any like number. Is it still any number?
    >Thank You,
    >Paula J

    Hi, Paula!
    As I wrote in reply to the emails
    >From: Grace D 
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 (yesterday)
    And the one
    >From: Mary Margaret C
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 2:42 PM (which I replied to not five minutes ago - see below),
    I firmly believe it's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers." (I'm not shouting at you, my dear; I'm just trying to make this answer easy for people to find. I know I'm going to be asked this one a lot.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2017


    But there are three colors?!

    >From: Lisa K
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 4:10 PM
    >Subject: New 2017 Card
    >Hi Tom,
    >Quick question:
    >In the quints section of the 2017 card (the first NNNNN DDDD 11111) - it says in the narrative "...Kong any Dragon." How can that be when the DDDD are green and the 11111 are red? Wouldn't they have to be opposite?
    >Thank you!!!
    >Lisa K

    Hi, Lisa!
    As I wrote in FAQ 16 and FAQ 19-J, the words in parentheses overrule the color-coding. If it seems to you that the color-coded symbols say one thing but the parenthetical says something different, then you have to trust the parenthetical.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2017


    2017 Like Numbers, v2.0

    >From: Mary Margaret C
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 2:42 PM
    >Subject: Like Numbers 2017
    >My group and I are wondering if we can use any like number on the new card or do we have to use only 1's. Previous cards has indicated that any number is OK but this is not on this card.
    >Please help.
    >Mary Margaret C

    Hi, Mary Margaret!
    As I wrote in reply to the email
    >From: Grace D 
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 (yesterday - see below),
    I firmly believe it's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers." 
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2017


    I've received some questionable communications

    >From: Kathleen H
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 2:57 PM
    >Subject: Please delete my announcement to Find Players/Teachers
    >Tom, thanks for all you do! Please delete my prior announcement that I posted asking for players in my area as I have received some questionable communications.
    >I appreciate you help,
    >Kathleen H
    >Location (city and state or zip code):
    >The mah-jongg variant I play is:

    Kathleen,
    The post is removed. I don't assume that the questionable communications resulted directly from the post. I don't know if bots have gotten smart enough to get around the trickery I use.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 28, 2017


    Space - the final frontier in 2017

    >From: "thetomers
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 4:38 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >2017 card- Singles and Pairs - fourth hand - Why is there a space between the 4 and 6 in both suits?
    >Thank you
    >Arlene

    Hi, Arlene!
    I can't tell you why they decided to put a space between unlike single numbers. Although, to me, it would be odder if they didn't put a space there (then it would say "46," rather than 4 and 6 - and suit tiles only go up to 9!). If you think it's an important question, you can ask the League.
    By the way (guess I need to mention this): in case you didn't know, I don't work for the League, and I was not involved with the design of the card (note that I referred to the League as "they" rather than "we").
    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, 2017


    The new 2017 card - Like Numbers

    >From: Grace D
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 2:10 PM
    >Subject: 2017 Mah Jonng Card
    >Hi,
    >I have a question under the Like Numbers section in the 2017 card. I noticed it just says (any 3 suits) and (any 2 suits) but it doesn't say you can have any number. Do these two sequences have to be 1's or can it be like last year's card and be any number you want as long as they are all the same number but different suits. I think the latter is correct but wanted to confirm.

    Hi, Grace!
    In case you weren't aware, I don't work for the League. I wasn't present when they were designing the card, and all I can "confirm" is my opinion, based on having been a player of this game since before 1999. If you want a hard-and-fast confirmation of what I'm about to say, you can ask the League.
    That said...
    I firmly believe it's safe to assume that the Like Numbers section, as it has been for years and years, is a flexible section in which you may use "ANY like number." If it was supposed to be just ones, the section name would probably be "Ones" rather than "Like Numbers."
    The League leadership changed since the last card was designed, and it looks to me like this is just an oversight (in other words, that it should say "any like number" in parentheses, as it has in previous years).
    I'll probably get this question a lot in the next few weeks. Time to update FAQ 16! :p
    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, 2017


    From Lynn P #1

    >From: Lynn P <flwesties
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 12:53 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I received my new Mah Jongg card today. Looking forward to your column about changes on card from 2016 and on rules on back of card. Hope you have some hints on remember the card and playing these hands. I think I will start playing some games using the 2017 card to get familiar with it. I am not a memorizer! Looks like number “13” will be our “lucky” number! Thanks for all your help, Q&A and columns on Mah Jongg over the past years. Lynn P from FL (I see you had another email from a Lynn P who was not me.)

    Hi Lynn,
    On the train coming home from work, I saw that people were emailing me about the 2017 card. I crossed my fingers and hoped I would have one in my mailbox so I could answer questions! And I did. So now I can refer to the new card. Haven't looked at it yet, but the next 2 emails are about it so I will!
    And yeah, my poor readers can't tell the difference between you and that new upstart Lynn P. You should change your name! Just kidding. She should change hers, since you were here first. Am I right? Huh?
    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, 2017


    Can she claim a redeemable tile?

    >From: Cathey P
    >Sent: Monday, March 27, 2017 8:10 AM
    >Subject: Exchange for Joker
    >A player discarded a tile which another player had displayed with jokers, the player who had the tiles displayed wanted to pick up the tile , display and take one of the jokers to use in her hand, even though it wasn't her turn. Would this be ok ? Thanks for thought.

    Hi, Cathey!
    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 Frequently Asked Question 19-G2. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. 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, 2017


    My fishy mystery, part 3

    >From: Jenny N
    >Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:58 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mahjong
    >Thanks for the response to my questions. It seems I didn't look close enough as you said .....So I can see the set of jokers now but I still can't be sure which seasons the flowers are. What do you think....Summer Autumn Winter Spring (left to right in photo) ?
    >Jenny

    No. Those are flowers, not seasons. This photo from FAQ 7E is the one I refer to for flower/season characters:

    I believe yours are Chrysanthemum, Plum, Bamboo, Orchid. 菊 梅 竹 蘭 - I'm more certain of the middle two than the ones on the ends.
    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, 2017


    May the two-tone 1930s tiles be with me

    >From: Marlene S
    >Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:09 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hello, and thank you for such an informative site! It’s truly a labor of love :).
    >Although I grew up to the sound of clicking tiles, I never learned to play… until now. I anxiously awaited the old family set my cousin was shipping to me. When it arrived, I learned there were no jokers. She had counted the tiles but six of them were not from the set.
    >I’ve been reading your pages and visited mahjong mahjong.com. He displays a set identical to this one and says it’s a late 1930’s Piroxloid, Two Tone with Burgandy.
    >I phoned the NMJL to ask about orphan tiles and they said to call back in May. I also emailed mahjong mahjong.com asking the same.
    >My question for you (unless of course you know where I can find tiles) is what years Piroxloid was in business? Other than what is already on your site, can you tell me anything more about the company and their catalin mahjong sets?
    >Thank you so very much for your time and the sharing of information,
    >Marlene S

    Hi, Marlene! Welcome to my Q&A board. You wrote:

    I never learned to play… until now. I anxiously awaited the old family set ...
    When it arrived, I learned there were no jokers.
    ...it’s a late 1930’s Piroxloid, Two Tone with Burgandy.
    >I phoned the NMJL to ask about orphan tiles...
    So, I take it that the variant you want to play with that old set is American (National Mah Jongg League) rules.
    And I take it that you are intent on finding matching tiles for that old set so it'll be NMJL-compatible.
    I believe that's going to take a while. In the meantime, if you want a set you can use for play, you might want to consider buying one that has all the necessary parts.

    they said to call back in May.
    Yes. I assume you understand why. Right now is the League's busiest time of the year, preparing to ship "the card" to hundreds of thousands of members, and to vendors, next week.

    My question for you (unless of course you know where I can find tiles)
    I believe it's going to be hard to find two-tone burgundy tiles, but of course you should contact Matthew Shim and Carol Harper (whose contact information is atop the Tiles Wanted bulletin board) and the sellers who've posted on the Tiles For Sale bulletin board. You can link to those boards above left.

    what years Piroxloid was in business? Other than what is already on your site, can you tell me anything more about the company and their catalin mahjong sets?
    I don't see how those questions (which I cannot answer, since I am not an expert on manufacturers past or present) helps you with your quest. MahjongMahjong and Carol Harper (CHarli) are experts on manufacturers, and you can also try joining or contacting the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. Facebook group. But if you want to obtain tiles, I don't see the benefit in also spending time researching the corporate history of a defunct manufacturer.

    Good luck! May the tiles literally 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, 2017


    My fishy mystery, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:22 PM
    >Subject: Jenny's joker tiles
    >Hi Tom,
    >Hope you are well. I thought Jenny may like to know her "100 uses" tiles (also known as joker tiles and in Chinese pronounced as "baida", written as 百搭) show the possessions of the Eight Immortals in the corners of the tiles. Perhaps the easiest one to spot is the gourd and crutch belonging to Li Tieguai...but they can all be found easily enough on Wikipedia.
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Very interesting, Ray! Many thanks.
    Tom


    My fishy mystery tiles

    >From: Jenny N
    >Sent: 22 March 2017 10:05
    >Subject: Mahjong
    >Hi there,
    >I saw your website and wondered if you recognize the attached. I just bought this Mahjong set online but being that I'm a novice I'm not sure of some of the tiles. I've only played a little British rules but with numbers written on the tiles on seasons and with no use of jokers. I did recognize the Rich man Pot of Gold Fisherman fish sequence you show on your site but that's all (are these seasons?). Also is it fish bone or can you tell what the tile is made of. The box the set is in is silk and the rule sheet says "Village Games Hampstead London". If you want more pictures of the other tiles please let me know.
    >Thanks
    >Jenny N

    Hi, Jenny!
    Welcome to my website. You asked:

    wondered if you recognize the attached... I'm not sure of some of the tiles. I've only played a little British rules but with numbers written on the tiles on seasons and with no use of jokers. I did recognize the Rich man Pot of Gold Fisherman fish sequence you show on your site but that's all (are these seasons?).
    Indeed I do recognize them. You found the Singapore flowers in FAQ 7-E (the mystery tiles FAQ), but you didn't look hard enough in FAQ 7-E - the rest of the tiles are there too. Flower names and "100 uses" are all explained in the mystery tiles FAQ.

    Also is it fish bone or can you tell what the tile is made of.
    The tiles are too shiny for reconstituted fishbone. Probably regular old cow bone, but good quality bone (no Haversian lines). See FAQ 7-C.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 22, 2017


    Are some of my tiles from another set?

    >From: eliane512 .
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:12 AM
    >Subject: Is game complete
    >I love your website a lot of information that you have put out there. Thank you for all your work. Unfortunately I'm still confused, I bought a set and I am not sure if all these pieces belong to the set I'm sending a picture and hope that you can help. I am just not sure which tiles that are on the right of the picture belong to the set. Thanks in advance

    Hi, Eliane.
    I'm not sure, either. Try this: turn them all face-down. Look for tiles that are not the same color as the majority, and pull those out. Look for tiles that are not the same thickness, and pull those out. Look for tiles that have sharper corners, and pull those out. What you're doing is finding tiles that would be easily spotted as different if the tiles were all stacked in a wall. Then turn everything back face-up again and see what you have. I assume you've looked at the different types of sets in FAQ 7A, and you've also read FAQ 7B.
    Standing by if there are follow-up questions.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 21, 2017


    Confused about a pick, part 2

    >From: Ruth B
    >Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 4:32 PM
    >Subject: Re: [mah-jongg question]
    >Thank you so much. You answered my question.

    You're welcome.


    Confused about a pick interrupted by a call

    >From: Ruth B
    >Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 2:37 PM
    >Subject: [no subject]
    >I am confused about calling a tile that was thrown. If the person opposite me throws a tile I want and I call it I pick the tile up and throw a tile from my hand. The instructions say if the discarder already has picked her next tile she puts it back on the wall but doesn't that leave her with 12 tiles because she passed me the one she threw without picking

    Hi, Ruth. Let's take this step by step.

    Player A is holding 14 tiles. She discards one, saying its name. Now Player A holds 13 tiles.
    Player B (holding 13 tiles) starts to pick a tile from the wall, but...
    Player C (that's you) says, "I want that."
    Player B (holding 13 tiles on the rack and one in the flesh-and-bone hand) puts her tile back on the wall. She now has 13 tiles.
    Player C takes the live discard and puts it atop her rack.
    She (player C, in other words "you") then completes the exposure by moving tiles from the sloping front of the rack.
    Player C is holding 14 tiles (mostly concealed, some now exposed). She discards one, saying its name. Now she has 13 tiles. (Now everybody has 13 tiles.)

    Did I miss something? I think you were confused about who has to put a tile back on the wall. Not sure what instructions you were reading. If you tell me what you read exactly and where, maybe I can look it up to see where you were led astray.

    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 19, 2017


    When is the window closed for MJ, part 2

    >From: judith o
    >Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 8:45 AM
    >Subject: Re: Question about tile for MJ
    >Thank you for your reply.As we have a tournament coming up, I shall do as you suggest and run it by the NMJL. However, a section of your reply to my question confuses me. I agree that my friend ought not to have spoken as it caused some tension at the table; I have no idea why she waited. In her defense, she was also calling the tile for MJ; she was certain that her position to the right of East allowed her to have the tile even though I had already taken the tile and exposed most of my MJ. (And, yes, I found the original text both on your site and in your book.) Here is the original post from your web site with what confused me in italics:
    >>Now everybody knows what your friend needs, and it's her own fault for speaking after you made your exposure.
    >Judith

    Hi, Judith. You wrote:

    I shall do as you suggest and run it by the NMJL.
    Good idea. I would like to quote to you from the League's 2013 newsletter:

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

    I acknowledge that this Q&A is about exposure, not mah-jongg. But surely the exact same rule applies to two claims for mah-jongg as well. I think you ought to mention that 2013 ruling in your letter to the current leadership of the League. It's unfortunate that this rule is not included in the 2013 revision of the League's official rulebook.

    I have no idea why she waited. In her defense, she was also calling the tile for MJ;
    Yes, you said it before. Two people calling the tile for the same thing. One acted and exposed before the other spoke.

    she was certain that her position to the right of East allowed her to have the tile even though I had already taken the tile and exposed most of my MJ.
    She was wrong. Here on my website, read FAQ 19-H (read the whole thing). In my book, see page 53, rule 63.ii. And see the quote (above) from the 2013 newsletter.

    Here is the original post from your web site with what confused me in italics:
    >>Now everybody knows what your friend needs, and it's her own fault for speaking after you made your exposure.
    Sorry about that! I misspoke there; it's not important what tile she needed, since the hand has ended with you winning. Please disregard 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
    March 19, 2017

    * Actually, now I remember what I was thinking when I said that. What if the first claimant had made a mistake? What if the first claimant's mah-jongg was erroneous, or if she had called based on a misnamed discard? The second claimant can have the discard if the first one went dead (for mah-jongg only - this rule does not apply to calls for mere exposure). It might be that the first claimant is dead, and the second claimant decides not to take the tile after all - but because she's spoken, people now have information about her hand. (Okay, so now that I explained all that, it was still a goof when I said that the first time, because while crafting the reply I forgot that both were claiming for mah-jongg.) - Tom


    How to deal with frustration over a losing streak?

    >From: Jean G
    >Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 10:44 AM
    >Subject: a run of bad luck
    >Hi Tom,
    >I know that Mah Jongg is a game of luck and skill - and have been fortunate enough to win any number of games I had no business getting a mah jongg on - just blind good luck. But a run of bad luck is discouraging, and I wonder if you have any suggestions about how to weather the storm, any strategies for how to play when lady luck seems to have deserted you for what seems like weeks at a time. Thanks!
    >Jean

    I don't have any soothing advice for you, Jean. Just "be patient," I guess. And this from Wikipedia: "'Good things come to those who wait' is an English phrase extolling the virtue of patience. The related phrase 'all things come to those who wait' was used by Violet Fane in 1892." On the other side of the coin, Abraham Lincoln is quoted as having said, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." Not that that one helps much, but it's a Lincoln quote I hadn't heard 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
    March 19, 2017


    Two questions

    >From: joi L
    >Cc: Joi L; Joi L
    >Sent: Saturday, March 18, 2017 12:51 AM
    >Subject: Being East
    >Is there an advantage to being first-besides getting an extra tile to start?
    >Do you rotate when playing with 3 players?
    > I love your site!!! Thank you for all your help.

    Hi, Joi! Your Qs:

    Is there an advantage to being first-besides getting an extra tile to start?
    None that I have ever seen.

    Do you rotate when playing with 3 players?
    The official rulebook's description of the three-player game is just one three-line paragraph, setting forth the one difference between the three-player game and the four-player game. What that should tell you is that (other than this one difference) ALL the rules of the four-player game apply to the three-player game.
    The one difference between them is that there's no Charleston in the three-player game. And the absence of the Charleston does have an impact on the desirability of altering the seating arrangement at the table. Since there is no courtesy pass, you aren't subject to the possibly annoying habits of a particular player who might sit opposite you. But sometimes the player at your left can have an annoying habit too (namely, picking so quickly that it's difficult to ever call the discard of the player at your right). So rotating the seating with three players could still have a purpose.

    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 18, 2017


    When is the window closed for mah-jongg?

    >From: judith o
    >Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 4:38 PM
    >Subject: Question about tile for MJ
    >Is the following (color emphasis mine) as a reference only to discarded tiles during a game: “One could say that someone claiming the discard is a fifth way to close the window - but actually, if that someone was not next in turn, the window is still not necessarily closed! The next in line from the discarder can still claim the discard (as long as the first claimant has not yet racked it). “ In other words, does the same apply to calling a tile for MJ?
    >Here is the situation: East discarded a tile. I called it for MJ, immediately placing it on my rack and added 3 of my 4 exposures...at which time my friend ~ sitting to the right of East~ says,”I’ll take it for MJ.
    >Who gets the tile? The second claimant, sitting to the right of East or the first claimant, who has placed the tile and additional exposures on her rack before the second claimant speaks up???? Is the window open *forever* for MJ????
    >I looked through FAQ and couldn’t find an answer. I apologize if I missed it. 
    >Judith T. O

    Hi, Judith! Welcome to my website. Your question:

    East discarded a tile. I called it for MJ, immediately placing it on my rack and added 3 of my 4 exposures...at which time my friend ~ sitting to the right of East~ says,”I’ll take it for MJ.
    >Who gets the tile?
    Your friend should not have spoken. You had exposed your tiles. Now everybody knows what your friend needs, and it's her own fault for speaking after you made your exposure.**

    Is the window open *forever* for MJ????
    No. In the text you quoted (I assume you found it either here on my website*** or in my book), it's stated that the window to claim mah-jongg is still open if the claimant has merely spoken the claim, without sealing the deal with action. If that doesn't clarify sufficiently, rephrase the question or ask a new question, and I will do my best to clarify.

    Also: this answer is just my interpretation of the official rules. If you want a more authoritative answer, you should snailmail your question to the League. Their snailmail address is on the card. Don't telephone the question (see FAQ 19-BN).

    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 17, 2017

    ** See follow-up Q&A dated Sunday, March 19, higher up on this board. - Tom
    *** Thanks to Google, I found the quote, in column 639. Appending this exchange to that column. - Tom


    Shifted chows, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.com"
    >Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 2:21 PM
    >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. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Lynn M P
    >Message: Thank you for your quick and clear response. Lynn P from Bishop, CA
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Lynn!
    Tom


    Shifted chows, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 2:07 PM
    >Subject: RE: Chinese fan rule?
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >I did not see a way to reply on the site. Oh yes, the way you “reworded” our query is definitely clearer. Thank you. Yes, we use your book exclusively! A donation will be forthcoming. Lynn P from Bishop, CA

    Hi, Lynn. You wrote:

    I did not see a way to reply on the site.
    There isn't one. Email is the method here. The site used to have a way, but spammers were a problem, and I don't have the technical chops to fix that. Email is less work for me, and it works fine for my purposes.

    Oh yes, the way you “reworded” our query is definitely clearer. Thank you. Yes, we use your book exclusively!
    Good, I'm glad!

    A donation will be forthcoming.
    That would be nice, 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
    St. Patrick's Day, 2017


    Shifted chows

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 10:59 AM
    >Subject: Chinese fan rule?
    >Dear Mr. Sloper, I looked through the FAQ’s and did not see anything about our question, but did find out many other useful things! Thank you for your most informative help!
    >We play Chinese. We are wondering about the issue of “shifting up one number” in chows. If you read Rules 30 and 51 they appear to say or illustrate two different things.
    >30.Pure Shifted Chows
    > Three Chows in one suit, each shifted up one number from the last, or each shifted up two numbers from the last. Illustrated with :
    > 0ne,two, three dots; three, four, five dots; and five, six, seven dots (to me this is one number shifted up)
    >51.Mixed Shifted Chows
    > Three Chows in three suits, in which the first tile of each chow is “shifted” up one number from the previous chow. Illustrated with:
    > One, two, three bam; two, three, four dot; three, four, five crack (to me this is shifted up 2 numbers if in fact the illustration from rule 30 is what I think.)
    >Grateful for your advice!
    >Lynn P in Bishop, CA

    Niihau, Lynn!
    I apologize in advance for having to make a number of assumptions, which could well be totally incorrect. I assume you are talking about MCR (Majiang Competition Rules, aka Chinese Official mah-jongg), as opposed to any of the umpteen other Chinese variants, and further I assume you are using my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." I take it you have one, possibly two, questions about Pure Shifted Chows versus Mixed Shifted Chows.


    Pure Shifted Chows. Note that all three chows shown
    are in the same suit, and the first number of each
    chow is two numbers higher than the first number of
    the previous chow ("shifted up two").


    Mixed Shifted Chows. Note that there is one chow in
    each suit, and the first number of each chow is one
    number higher than the first number of the previous
    chow ("shifted up one").

    Note that Pure Shifted Chows may be shifted up one or shifted up two - there are two ways the player is permitted to make this hand. Note that in the example on page 182 of my book (and shown above), the chows are shifted up two (the first number of each chow is two numbers above the first number of the previous chow). And the three chows must all be in the same suit. The first (lowest) chow does not have to be 1-2-3, but the third (highest) chow cannot be higher than 7-8-9.

    Note that Mixed Shifted Chows may be shifted up one only. And there must be a chow from each suit. Again, the first (lowest) chow does not have to be 1-2-3, but the third (highest) chow cannot be higher than 7-8-9.

    Perhaps your confusion is due to the ambiguous wording "shifted up one number from the last." Note the new wording I use above: "the first number... is X number(s) higher than the first number of the previous chow." Hope this helps!
    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 17, 2017

    P.S. The RDWW errata file has been updated accordingly. Every reader of RDWW is urged to download the errata and keep it near the book.


    She was just trying... (part 2)

    >From: "service@paypal.com"
    >Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:44 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from danny l
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from danny l. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: danny l
    >Message: Thanks Tom!
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    No... thank YOU, danny!
    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, 2017


    Is she required to put a tile in the rack?

    >From: JoAnn S
    >Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 1:22 PM
    >Subject: Racking
    >Hi Tom, our question is:
    >Player A discarded a 4 bam
    >Player B drew a tile, did not rack it and discarded and called a 6 dot
    >Player C called the 4 bam for exposer
    >Player B said Player C was to late in calling and she did not have to rack her tile and once she named her discard her turn was over
    >We said Player C should have been able to pick up the 4 bam being
    >Player B did not rack her tile.
    >What would be the ruling.
    >Thanks

    Hi, JoAnn.
    Please read Frequently Asked Question 19-BL. 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
    March 16, 2017


    She was just trying to prevent flower collecting

    >From: Jennifer T L
    >Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:45 PM
    >Subject: Mahj question
    >Hi Tom!!
    >Thanks for taking the time to answer this question.
    >I place a tile down (Flower). Player across from me says “I’ll take it”. After a beat or 2, the player to my left says “I want it”.
    >Rules on the card state that the next player in line gets first choice (unless 2nd player is Mahjing). We get that…..
    >BUT - the player to my right was really only taking it because she Then realized that the player to her right was collecting Flowers and it might be harder to get the 4 she needed.
    >BUT - going along with the rules on the card - this is unfair to the player who called it first - since we now all know what she needs. Right??
    >We decided that the person that wants it, has to rack it, and then she gets to keep it if the “next in line” doesn’t call it first.
    >What say you??
    >Thanks again.
    >Jennifer

    Jennifer, your questions (emphasis added by me):

    I place a tile down (Flower). Player across from me says “I’ll take it”. After a beat or 2, the player to my left says “I want it”. ...
    >BUT - the player to my right was really only taking it because she Then realized that the player to her right was collecting Flowers and it might be harder to get the 4 she needed.
    >BUT - going along with the rules on the card - this is unfair to the player who called it first - since we now all know what she needs. Right??
    Motivation is not covered by the rules. The player across from you is sooner in line than the player to your left, so the player across from you gets the tile. If you misspoke, though, and the second player who spoke a claim is to your right instead of your left, then her claim takes precedence over your opposite. See Frequently Asked Question 19-H. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    We decided that the person that wants it, has to rack it
    Technically, that is in keeping with the rules. Read FAQ 19-H (read the whole thing). Racking does trump verbalizing, but I would hate to see the game degenerate into showdowns to see who has the faster hands. The Wild West is long gone!

    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, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 6

    >From: Donna
    >Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 2:59 PM
    >Subject: Final follow up
    >Tom,
    >I sent an email to David Unger showing the discrepancy between what their answer was and what the rule book said and got this today.
    >Thank you!
    >Donna

    Nice, Donna! So the rule hasn't changed. Thanks for sharing.
    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, 2017


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: Bette W
    >Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 2:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: When playing a closed hand, can the player call a discarded tile if it will result in a Mah Jongg?

    Hi, Bette!
    Welcome to my website. This question 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, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-BD. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 10, 2017


    Antique/vintage, part 2

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 11:20 AM
    >Subject: Kristen's flowers
    >Hi Tom,
    >The photos of Kristen's flowers are not really good enough for me to read the Chinese characters with full confidence, but I don't see anything unusual, I'm assuming the first #1 of the 5 is Summer, 夏, #2 Spring, 春 and #3 is very hard to read, but Autumn (Fall), 秋, makes obvious sense.
    >The set of 2 separated slightly from the other 3 tiles of the 5, are I think #1, plum 梅, and #2, orchid 蘭 (written in a simplified manner) or perhaps, chrysanthemum, 菊.
    >Sorry I can't be more certain!
    >Ray

    Maybe so, Ray! Valiant effort.
    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 10, 2017


    Antique/vintage Royal Depth Control set

    >From: Kristen H
    >Sent: Thursday, March 9, 2017 8:53 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom I was hoping to use your vast knowledge to narrow down the age of my first antique/vintage set—it’s not exotic but it’s special to me J and my start as a collector. Several similar sets on ebay age this set from anywhere between the 40’s and the 60’s. Given your chart of flowers and Charli’s guide to case handles, I’m thinking this set is ‘50-’55 and would appreciate it if you took a look and gave me your idea of the year this set was manufactured and an approximate value (once I fill in the missing flowers). I have, hopefully, provided the information you require for these requests below.
    >Thank you so very, very much!
    >Kristen H
    >
    >Manufacturer: Royal Depth Control (a Double Happiness set?)
    >1. Detail list of contents, including dice, chips, racks, etc.
    >Bams, Cracks and Dots: 1-9(x4) in excellent condition (very light/shallow scratches from use, no chips or flea bites, clean and shiny).
    >Red, Green, White dragons: x4 in similar condition.
    >NEWS x4 in similar condition.
    >Flowers: 9 flowers in vase (appears incomplete, should be 16?), 5 Flower blossoms (appears incomplete should be 8?)
    >Jokers: None, 4 flowers had sticky, soft sticker residue on them that I was able to scrape off with a popsicle stick but the residue “melted” the paint a bit (thanks for the tip about cleaning with alcohol, the remnants came right off) .
    >Other tiles: #1 and #2 Occupation/worker/geisha (?) tiles. (Incomplete? I see 4 in other sets). Can you tell me the story told by these tiles?
    >Accessories: 4 Catalin racks (yellow, green, blue and red). Plastic red, white, blue, yellow, and green betting chips. No dice.
    >2. Paper materials: None
    >3. What are the tiles made of: Catalin (translucent quality, passes simichrome test).
    >4. What you know about the set/its history: Not much, this particular set came from an estate sale in Chicago and was resold on ebay.
    >5. Dimensions of the tiles: 1 1/8” x 7/8” x 1/2”
    >6. How many tiles: 152 (I believe it’s missing flowers and occupation tiles—when you fill in the gaps to make 16 vase flowers, 8 blossoms and 4 occupation/workers the set would have 164 tiles, but the tile holders hold 160). If you can, please tell me the correct number of flowers for this set and which ones I need to make it complete? I would like to make this set whole again.
    >7. What kind of containers does it come in? Faux alligator in green with a (50’s style?) white plastic handle. Very good condition, a little wear on the corners.
    >8. What kind of craks are in the set early/late? Late
    >9-11. Provide a picture of 1 Bams, 1 Dot, Dragons, and flowers: see attached
    >12. How many Jokers: 0 all jokers were created with stickers on existing flower and worker tiles

    Hi, Kristen. Your questions:

    Other tiles: #1 and #2 Occupation/worker/geisha (?) tiles. (Incomplete? I see 4 in other sets). Can you tell me the story told by these tiles?
    No, I can't. The first set pictured here is just the names of the usual 4 flowers: Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, Bamboo.

       

    The other 5 tiles, though: I don't know. Several people have sent photos of their flower tiles and other people have interpreted stories. You can see FAQ 7-E (the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ). And I can't promise anything, but maybe frequent reader Ray H. will offer an interpretation.

    I believe it’s missing flowers and occupation tiles—when you fill in the gaps to make 16 vase flowers, 8 blossoms and 4 occupation/workers the set would have 164 tiles, but the tile holders hold 160).  If you can, please tell me the correct number of flowers for this set and which ones I need to make it complete?
    I have never been able to discern whether these sets actually came with complete 1-2-3-4 groupings of flower tiles. Because American mah-jongg does not use the flowers' numbers for anything (and hasn't since before 1937), my best guess is that RDC and other American manufacturers just threw in random flowers into their sets. Your set has 16 flowers, and for all I know, it always had those exact 16 flowers. You would need to check with an expert on American sets, like Carol Harper (CHarli - you can find a link to her website in FAQ 4A).

    I’m thinking this set is ‘50-’55 ... your idea of the year this set was manufactured
    Based on 16 flowers and no jokers, it could have been made in 1946. It's also possible that it had more flowers originally but some were given to another player so the other player could have enough flowers. The condition looks wonderful in your photos (very colorful, very bright), and if they're from 1946, it's fairly remarkable. I don't know if 1946 makes it "antique" or not. And I don't know if 1946 makes it "vintage" or not. You're the one using those words, so, hopefully, you know what those words mean! (^_^)

    and an approximate value (once I fill in the missing flowers)
    It's all about condition. You say the tiles are "in excellent condition (very light/shallow scratches from use, no chips or flea bites, clean and shiny)." I said they are "bright and colorful." I trust that your "Excellent" is correct. And I trust your statement that the case is "Very Good." Since it has 16 flowers, 8 of which could be stickered as jokers, the set is playable with today's NMJL card, which is a plus. You did not say what condition the racks are in. You did not say how many chips there are (nor whether the colors are divisible by 4, which is more important than the total number - not that anybody today actually uses the chips, but their presence on the racks adds a color accent). You're missing dice, but those can be easily purchased at the corner drugstore.

    Prices are crazy now, it seems. I'm guessing that it might sell for $200, maybe more. If the racks are worn or broken or not attractive, below $200, maybe $150. CHarli might tell you something completely different. You can look at similar sets on Ebay and see what prices they're asking or getting.

    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 9, 2017


    Aloha from Hawaii

    >From: Michele G
    >Sent: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 10:19 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Aloha!
    >I acquired this set this past weekend from a Temple sale. Hmmmm, let me explain. I live in Hawaii, Big Island, and a large % of our population is Japanese and Chinese. They came to work the Sugar and zPineapple fields. Anyway, pretty much every town here has a Hongwanji (Buddhist Temple/church) and they are known for their annual Temple sales to raise money for the Temple. Patrons donate, it's like a big rummage sale, only everything is very good quality or very old.
    >
    >So I picked up this set, it was marked as incomplete, which it is, but one of the older ladies (70-80's) mentioned it had belonged to a friend's Grandfather. I know on the mainland that is just a story, but here that is good as gold provenance. Our communities are small and everyone knows everyone, so fibbing won't serve you well here.
    >
    >When I got it home and started counting tiles I was surprised to see some unfamiliar ones. I think this set is old enough that it has green, red, and white dragons. I think the flowers/seasons are the heavily decorated tiles - I'm hoping you have some thoughts about them.
    >
    >The basics are:
    >Cow bone and bamboo tiles with a slight convex curve on top - not flat
    >Two tiles missing- a red dragon and the 6 bamboo
    >Two bone dice
    >One wind chip?
    >Some black and white glass pieces - never saw those before
    >4 blanks that have had various markings pit on them
    >A slew bone betting sticks from several different sets
    >No chips
    >No racks
    >No traditional box - we have termites here in Hawaii and this set was in a wonderfully old tin box. At first I had thought it was made at a sugar plantation mill shop (they commonly made items for home use) but looking closer I see a pattern on the tin. But I can not see any words on it, so it could have been a good tin and the insert made later. Anyway, hope you enjoy the photos and have some thoughts to share. It's being added to my local culture display here at my Bed and Breakfast. Lastly, since I only paid $2 for it don't feel like you might hurt my feelings with any comments. I love it, so I'm already a winner. BTW, everyone thought $2 was too much for a set missing pieces. LOL. I love living in Hawaii. Have a great day! I look forward to seeing what you might have to say.
    >-Michele

    Aloha, Michele.
    Sorry for the delay in responding. Busy couple days at work. Your questions:

    When I got it home and started counting tiles I was surprised to see some unfamiliar ones. I think this set is old enough that it has green, red, and white dragons.
    I don't understand, Michele. You seem to be saying that more recent sets do NOT have green, red, and white dragons?

    I think the flowers/seasons are the heavily decorated tiles - I'm hoping you have some thoughts about them.
    They're unique, and desirable to a collector of old sets. If you want to try to figure out what the writing on them says, you can compare your tiles to the flower tile pictures in FAQ 7E, the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ.

    One wind chip?
    If you're wondering what terminology to use, see FAQ 7D. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    Some black and white glass pieces - never saw those before
    Those do not belong in the set.

    hope you enjoy the photos and have some thoughts to share. ... I look forward to seeing what you might have to say.
    I am sorry to disappoint, but I don't, as a rule, share random thoughts. Mostly what I do here is answer questions. To my mind, a request for random thoughts is like handing me a shotgun and inviting me to fire it into an open field, whereas a focused question is like handing me a bow and arrow and presenting me with a target on a stack of hay bales. I much prefer the latter. So, if you have questions, by all means ask them, and I'll do my best to answer them! Now I think I'll add this explanation to FAQ 7P!

    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 9, 2017


    I could not find the answer in your FAQs....

    >From: Irene H
    >Sent: Thursday, March 9, 2017 9:00 AM
    >Subject: Mahjongg question
    >Tom, I could not find the answer in your FAQs....
    >I was playing with 4 other players and while it was my turn to be the bettor, I noticed that a player had only 12 tiles. I called her dead and then immediately thought that I should not have done so, since I was the bettor and not actually playing. One of the other players said, Yes I should because I was still part of the game. Another player said it did not make any difference either way, because the National Mahjongg League has no rule for 5 players. They do for 3 or 4 players, but not 5. What is your opinion?
    >Thank you....
    >Irene H

    Hi, Irene. The answer is in FAQ 19-W. Sorry you had a hard time finding that! I found it by searching FAQ 19 for the word "bettor."
    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 9, 2017


    Down Under, we treat our dead with more respect

    >From: Leonie M
    >Sent: Monday, March 6, 2017 3:45 PM
    >Subject: Retrieving jokers
    >I read with some amusement someone's question about retrieving a joker from a dead player's hand.
    >Surely it would be in good taste to let the Funeral people do their thing before one raided the hand of the dead player?
    >Words are funny things when taken out of context don't you think?
    >I have a set of American tiles now and am closing in on a game a lot closer to home, thank you for your advice and patience.
    >Kind regards,
    >Terry from Down Under where the tiles whistle through the gum trees.

    Yes, mah-jongg sounds funny to the ears of those who aren't familiar.
    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, 2017


    Down Under, part 2

    >From: Leonie M
    >Sent: Monday, March 6, 2017 10:53 AM
    >Subject: How can I?
    >Hello from Down Under,
    >How can I dislike something that I don't know anything about? I can't!
    >I've read your book and blogs, I have joined the AMJA, I've got some cards, even some basic knowledge! (No, I'm not a Jewish lady)
    >Alas my small village of some 500 people has no Mahjong players, research has shown that the nearest Mahjongg centre is some 50 miles away. A small obstacle for someone of my advancing years. Thanks for opening a whole new world for me.
    >Kind regards and the tiles are singing!
    >Terry M from down under.

    G'day, Terry! Well, I still say you should buy an American set, if you want to play American. Once you have the equipment and have practiced with it, recruit players from your village. You will surely have to become a teacher of sorts.
    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, 2017


    Looking back at picking a future head

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Saturday, March 4, 2017 6:17 AM
    >Subject: FAQ 19 R
    >Hi Tom,
    >In browsing through FAQ's I had a question about 19-R. How did "playing with a future" work? I cannot imagine "picking or looking ahead." Can you explain what players did back then? It must have been a common table rule for the NMJL card to mention it in on the back of the card. Thanks,
    >Linda

    Linda, I never saw anybody play that way, I never played that way myself, and I never will. I can only tell you how I think it worked. Each player is holding 14 tiles, so you start your turn by discarding a tile, and you do that right after the previous player discarded. After you discard, you pick a tile from the wall. That's "picking ahead." If you look at it right away, that's "looking ahead." I gather that the picking moves pretty quickly that way, so you have to be REAL fast to claim a discard. When somebody calls for a discard, everybody has to put her 14th tile back on the wall, in reverse picking order. Or so I hear. I think that style of play is very beginner-unfriendly, and I imagine the League outlawed it because it caused a lot of confusion and disharmony. Just guessing.
    May the tiles be with you, in the standard non-picking-ahead manner.
    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, 2017

    P.S. Some players call this style of play "playing with 14 tiles." So, be aware that when someone invites you to play with 14 tiles, you have to ask "is that like playing with a future tile, picking ahead?" - Tom, March 9th.


    The Jan. 8 column

    >From: Kathryn Z
    >Sent: Friday, March 3, 2017 5:53 AM
    >Subject: January 8th.
    >Dear Tom,
    >My question is about 2.5 on Jan 8. You state that with the Dragon pair, Consecutive 4 is a possibility. Why would you then pass 3D? You would need that for 3D 4B 5D and Green. I would pass a Flower, as you do not need them for either hand mentioned. Pass F, 7B and 9B.
    >Thank you,
    >Kathryn Z

    I like your answer better than mine, Kathryn! Your reasoning is spot on; keep those 3 spots! Although the official NMJL rulebook and Elaine Sandberg advise against passing a flower in the Charleston, sometimes that is the solution to a problem. I'm posting this exchange in column #664 as an "oopsie."
    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 3, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 5

    Dear readers,
    In only a week since discovering that there was a revised edition of "Mah Jongg Made Easy," the official National Mah Jongg League rulebook, I ordered and received my own copy. I see that yes, indeed, page 12 does describe the Charleston exception that other forms of mah-jongg call "Heavenly Hand." The first right pass of the Charleston is mandatory, with an "Exception: If East ... draws a Mah Jongg hand, the Charleston is waived."
    So the rule I was given in my 2010 letter was officially codified in a rulebook. I'm still waiting to hear from the League president if that rule has been changed (or if Donna's 2017 letter was mistaken).


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

    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 3, 2017


    Down Under, and can't get an NMJL card

    >From: Leonie M
    >Sent: Thursday, March 2, 2017 12:56 PM
    >Subject: American Mah-Jongg
    >Hello from Down Under,
    >Try as I may, trying to tell myself that the American game has little to do with traditional Mahjong, I fail miserably, I am 76 years old, therefore a conservative who resists change, that said I have read your book and am a loyal follower of your blogs and Q&A, I am hooked, fascinated, bewitched, call it what you like. The whole concept is something that occupies my waking thoughts. The availability of beautiful sets keeps me looking at YMI's website and others for hours.
    >Alas, I live in Australia where little is known of the game so I'm tossing the coin as to purchasing a set. Who to play with? Here's the biggy, where and how do I get hold of a card. all of my previous efforts to procure a card (any card!) has been rebuffed.
    >Any advice as to how I may succeed?
    >Kind regards, the tiles do talk and I love them.
    >Terry M
    >Australia

    G'day, Terry! You asked:

    where and how do I get hold of a card. all of my previous efforts to procure a card (any card!) has been rebuffed.
    You are not the first Aussie who's asked me how to get a National Mah Jongg League card (unless that was you before, too!). I don't know what you have tried, and I don't know what happened on each of those many attempts, so I can only make suggestions that you may have tried already. If none of these work, let me know what happened in each case and what the reason is. I want to get to the bottom of this. I could swear that Ruth Unger, the former president of the League, told me that there were members in Australia.
    1. Try buying directly from NationalMahJonggLeague.org, with a credit card. If the purchase is rejected, mail US dollars in the form of a check that a US bank won't balk at, and include a letter about how much Australians enjoy NMJL rules. I don't know, just try stuff.
    2. There are numerous vendors who sell mah-jongg merchandise, including NMJL cards. Try them all. Try emailing them to ask if Australia is a problem, and if so, what the problem is. Then look for ways to get around the problem.
    3. Try buying old (pre-2017) cards on Ebay. Pay by credit card. All you need is enough identical cards for your group (at least four cards, all identical).

    I'm tossing the coin as to purchasing a set.
    Go ahead, buy one. Almost all forms of mah-jongg can be played with an American set (the only two you might have trouble with are Japanese riichi and Vietnamese.

    Who to play with?
    Once you have the equipment, recruit friends and make new ones. Same as everybody else. You may have to become a teacher of sorts.

    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, 2017


    Column oopsie from last May

    >From: Joanne
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:55 PM
    >Subject: Column #653
    >Hi Tom,
    >I know this column is old, but I haven’t had a chance to check your articles for a while (hospitals having had something to do with it). Having said that, in Column #653 I looked at #5 (2D 4D 8D8D 2B 4B4B 6B6B 8C8C JJJ) and thought immediately of Evens #3. Get rid of the 2D and 4D and you’re golden.
    >Anyway, thanks for all the food for thought and help in sticky situations. I truly enjoyed your book as well. You can never learn too much about this game!
    >Wishing you many jokers,
    >Joanne C

    >From: Joanne
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:56 PM
    >Subject: Previous email
    >Please disregard my earlier message. I just saw the comment. Sorry!

    No problem, Joanne. I guess the and the helped you see it, eh? (~_^)
    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 28, 2017


    Can I redeem a joker from a dead player's rack?

    >From: kathleen d
    >Sent: Monday, February 27, 2017 1:15 PM
    >Subject: MajJongg question
    >Tried to find the answer but couldn’t…
    >A player has a legal exposure with a joker in it.
    >The next round she makes an illegal exposure, also with a joker in it. She is called dead. Is the joker in the first exposure (before she was called dead) available for exchange?
    >Love your columns and looking forward to the 2017 card.
    >Kathleen D

    Hi, Kathleen! You said you...

    Tried to find the answer but couldn’t…
    Sorry it was so hard to find! It's Frequently Asked Question 19-P. You can link to the FAQs above left, but you probably already knew that.

    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 27, 2017


    Peculiar box

    >From: Calliste de M
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2017 11:37 PM
    >Subject: Peculiar Mah-Jongg box without front slide door
    >Hello Tom,
    >Thank you for your very useful website on Mah-Jongg.
    >I purchased an old box of the game, which was supposed to be complete. However I noticed some strange things that I hope you might help me with:
    >- The box and pieces looks like it is from the early 1900's and has been used a lot. I imagine it is a Chinese game made for export. However the pieces do not fit in the drawer as with other boxes on your website. I cannot do complete rows of the same piece northern vertically nor horizontally. Could it suggest the box is not the original?
    >- The slide front door is missing and had been replace by an old port box slide door. Would you know of any website selling broken boxes where I could find a new door?
    >- Some of the paint slightly drooled on the bone (probably due to previous cleaning). What would be the best way to clean that drool? I am afraid paint disolver might make it worst and alcohol won't dissolve it...
    >- I purchased the box around 250 euro (270 USD) do you think the set was worth this price? The antique shope promised it was complete but the dices are missing.
    >I attach some pictures of the game.
    >Best regards and thanks a lot for your help!
    >Calliste

    Bonjour, Calliste! You wrote:

    the pieces do not fit in the drawer as with other boxes on your website. I cannot do complete rows of the same piece northern vertically nor horizontally. Could it suggest the box is not the original?
    It could. But that is not an absolute indication. The tiles do fit, using the technique you used, and perhaps the maker of the box thought that was good enough since it was more economical as to wood usage. The wind indicator is not typical of 1920s sets, and is likely of later origin.

    Would you know of any website selling broken boxes where I could find a new door?
    If I were you, I would contact sellers (those who sell lots of sets, and those who sell spare tiles, not just someone who has sold one set) and inquire. Check my Sets For Sale and Tiles Wanted boards, for instance - try mahjongmahjong.com and Matthew Shim and CHarli (Carol Harper) and Pat Mead. And you could try joining the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. on Facebook.

    Some of the paint slightly drooled on the bone (probably due to previous cleaning). What would be the best way to clean that drool? I am afraid paint disolver might make it worst and alcohol won't dissolve it...
    The only paint smears I see are on a few of your craks (6 crak mainly) and red dragons and a wind tile. It might not be from a cleaning - it might be from the original painting. The paint might be water-soluble, for all I know (I have not tried doing what you want to do). There are cleaning/restoration tips from readers in FAQ seven oh. You can link to the boards and FAQs above left.

    I purchased the box around 250 euro (270 USD) do you think the set was worth this price?
    I wouldn't have paid that much myself, but I know prices for sets tend higher in Europe.

    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, 2017


    Best wishes

    >From: Cyndi
    >Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2017 5:01 PM
    >Subject: Best Wishes
    >Hi Tom,
    >I am getting ready to teach a few American Mah Jongg classes and was visiting your site for some new ideas. I saw in one of your columns that you were having cancer surgery. I just want to wish you the very best outcome. I was diagnosed just over two years ago, had treatment, and am doing well. It stinks, but let’s hope all is well and you will be throwing out those tiles with great fervor soon!
    >Best wishes,
    >Cyndi
    >‘May the Jokers be ever in your favor’

    Thanks, Cyndi. The surgery was almost 10 weeks ago. I've been back to work for 7 weeks (I know, I'm crazy, I went back to work 3 weeks after). Recovering well, thanks. Taught a mah-jongg group about 10 days ago. Glad you're doing well too. Waiting for the new card in about a month so I can write strategy columns about 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 25, 2017


    If I'm playing a concealed hand...

    >From: Laura F
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 5:51 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:if a person is working on a concealed hand, can he or she pick up a tile to make mah jongg?

    Hi, Laura!
    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 Frequently Asked Question 19-BD. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. 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 24, 2017


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

    >From: Tina B
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 11:40 AM
    >Subject: MahJongg Question
    >Please respond to this question regarding calling a MahJongg.
    >1. Player 1 needs a pair, example a 3 dot for the pair, but also needs a Joker to complete her MahJongg
    >2. Player 2 to her left has her turn and calls for a three bam from the discard from the player to her left.
    >3. Player 2 places her called three bam on her rack showing 2 bams and a Joker and then discards a a three dot.
    >5. Player 1, who needs the Joker to win along with the 3 dot that was discarded to make her pair does the following, Player 1 takes the Joker from Player 2 rack and then takes the 3 dot from the discarded pile for her win to complete her pattern and call for a MahJongg.
    >Should Player 1 have been able to retrieve the Joker first and then call for the discarded 3 dot for her pair to win. Or, do you always draw first and then take any Jokers available. She could not call for the 3 dot because she could not MahJongg with taking the Joker first before.
    >Have never seen this happen before and was just curious if this procedure is acceptable.
    >Thanks for your time……
    >Tina

    Hi, Tina! Welcome to my website. It may surprise you to know that your question has been asked frequently. It's Frequently Asked Question 19-M. You can link to FAQ 19 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks! And of course, if the answer in FAQ 19-M doesn't answer your question satisfactorily, let me know how I can make it clearer.
    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 24, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 4

    >From: "Puffins
    >Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 9:34 AM
    >Subject: and again.. "Heavenly hand.."
    >Tom,
    >P. 12 of the NMJL book middle of the page under "The Charleston".. last sentence: (which I overlooked in my initial trying to find the answer) but it was noted on MJTI last night..
    >"Exception: If East, who was 14 tiles draws a MJ, the Charleston is waived." It should continue to say and "East wins and collects double (?) for self drawn.. or whatever NMJL would decide.....
    >So, the answer I got in writing from NMJL is incorrect. (?)
    >Interesting rulings...
    >Thanks a lot for your help.
    >Donna

    Hi, Donna. I'm not home as I write this response, so I don't have "Mah Jongg Made Easy" to check page 12 right now. But, if it does say that on page 12, then obviously you did get an incorrect answer from the League.
    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 24, 2017

    P.S. Wait! I just checked Mah Jongg, That's It! on Facebook, and Tony R mentioned a 2013 revision to the rulebook? I bought a rulebook every few years to see if there were revisions, and I don't recall seeing any. I need to look further into that when I get home... TS
    P.P.S. The latest "Mah Jongg Made Easy" I have is from 2010. It does not have that Exception wording. Ordering a new copy now... TS
    P.P.P.S. See the March 3 update (scroll up to March 3). The League did update the rulebook, in 2013. I didn't know! - TS


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 3

    >From: "service@paypal.com"
    >To: Thomas Sloper
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 5:08 PM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from donna e (puffins
    > paypal
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from donna e (puffins@). You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $10.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: donna e
    >Message: Thank you! Looking forward to the reply from Larry U.
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal
    >Copyright © 1999-2017 PayPal. All rights reserved.

    Thank you, Donna!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Donations appreciated!
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 23, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change, part 2

    >From: "Puffins
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:34 PM
    >Subject: folow up on Heavenly Hand
    >Tom,
    >Thank you for posting your letter from the NMJL about the Heavenly Hand. As I had not seen your letter and couldn't locate where it was in writing, I wrote to them.
    >So, we have two different rulings now. I wish NMJL would put these "rulings" in their bulletin. Was the info that you got in 2010 in their bulletin that year?
    >Many thanks,
    >Donna E

    Hi, Donna. You wrote:

    Thank you for posting your letter from the NMJL about the Heavenly Hand. As I had not seen your letter and couldn't locate where it was in writing...
    I cited it (without directly quoting it or using a photo of it) in FAQ 19-BJ.

    I wish NMJL would put these "rulings" in their bulletin.
    I wish the League would document all its rules and revise the official rulebook! *

    Was the info that you got in 2010 in their bulletin that year?
    I don't want to dig it out and check. I imagine if they had, I would have cited that instead of the letter I got from Ruth, since newsletters are available to all members but I was the only one who got that letter.

    I've written to Larry Unger about the contradictory rulings. Will post the reply I get. 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 23, 2017

    *See the March 3 update (scroll up to March 3). The League did update the rulebook, in 2013. I didn't know! - Tom


    Why rotate seats, part 2

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:12 PM
    >Subject: rotating seats (pt 2)
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for your prompt response to my question about FAQ 19-BB. I am still somewhat ignorant about the strategy of sitting next to different players at the same table. The only time I want to change my seat would be to move to a different table where the players are more fun, courteous, or faster. But that would be rude! Can you offer some examples of when a seat change at the same table would be beneficial? I must be really dense to not understand this concept!
    >Thanks for your patience,
    >Linda

    An example: the player at your left is a VERY defensive Charleston passer. She always passes you useless tiles in the first left. Another example: the player opposite you NEVER wants to exchange tiles in the courtesy. Or how about this: the player who plays just before you has a bad habit: she takes a tile from her hand and places it on the table with her fingers obscuring it, and takes an inordinately long time saying its name and letting go so you can reach for the wall.
    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 23, 2017


    Heavenly Hand rule change

    >From: Donna <puffins
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 10:53 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom,
    >You always say 'get it in writing' from the NMJL so I wrote to them asking about the 'heavenly hand' because I wanted to know where that information was 'in writing'. I saw it in your info but I wanted to know exactly where to find it.
    >This is the current answer, makes little sense to me.
    >What do you think?
    >Many thanks,
    >Donna E

    Hi, Donna.
    The ruling in your letter contradicts the ruling I got in writing from Ruth Unger over six years ago. I thought I had posted a picture of the letter I got from Ms. Unger, but perhaps I never did. I've taken a new photo of it today:

    The League has a new president now. The current president has a right to change the rule, but there is no certainty here that the current president was aware of what Ms. Unger wrote me years ago, nor that the intent is to change the rule. I'm saying perhaps the writer of your letter simply made a decision without knowledge of precedent or how Heavenly Hand is recognized in all other forms of mah-jongg.
    Another concern I have about your letter is the use of the word "stolen" as opposed to the official phrase "blind pass." But that's a nitpick on my part (you know what a stickler I am for terminology).
    I'm going to write to the current president and ask if the Heavenly rule is now changed, and what the previous president told me is no longer true.
    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 23, 2017


    Can she still do the courtesy if she stopped the Charleston?

    >From: Karen G
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 8:26 AM
    >Subject: stopping the charleston
    >How many tiles can the player who stops the Charleston trade on the optional pass?
    >Thanks,
    >Kajinburger

    Hi, Karen!
    Like it says on the back of the card, she (like anybody) can trade up to 3. Please also read FAQ 19-AH. You can link to the FAQs above left.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. Many frequently asked questions are
    answered on 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
    February 23, 2017


    Why rotate seats after a round?

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 7:09 AM
    >Subject: FAQ 19- BB
    >Hi Tom,
    >I don't understand the NMJL's 2017 ruling about seat rotation. Why do it? Our group rolls the dice to determine who should be the first East. After each game ends, East passes the dice to the player on her right. We don't actually change seats. Is there an advantage to getting up and moving to a different chair? I'm not understanding the concept of the "pivot".
    >Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda. As I wrote in FAQ 19-BB, seat rotation mixes up the order of play. Yes, of course the dice get passed to the right after each hand ("game"). But every hour or so, that means the dice come back to the first East again. And if you don't rotate every hour or so, then you will always receive the first right from the same player. You will always exchange the Courtesy pass with the exact same player. Your turn will always come after the exact same player. If you don't want to mix up the order of play, you don't have to rotate. But if you ever find yourself thinking, "I wish once in a while my turn would follow after someone else," then think about rotating. Before last month, the League rule/guideline on rotation was to rotate every 2 rounds. Now, in a more sensible rule/guideline, rotation is every round. (As I wrote in FAQ 19-BB, a round is when the deal moves all around the table, coming back to the first East again.) That's the way my group did it - rotating every round means that in an evening's play (or a full session of play, which normally encompasses 3 or even 4 rounds), you really mix up the order of play more than you would by rotating every 2 rounds.
    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 23, 2017


    What's the benefit of blind passing?

    >From: "R, Martha H."
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:50 AM
    >Subject: blind passing
    >Dear Tom:
    >I am a very new but already obsessed player. Please forgive me if you’ve already addressed this, but I am unclear as to the advantage of the blind pass. Under what circumstances would this be beneficial? Thank you so much- Martha R

    Hi, Martha.
    I could just say "when the circumstances happen to you, you'll know." But that wouldn't satisfy your curiosity now!
    I guess every time you've had to pass 3 tiles, you always had 3 tiles you could pass. On the first left (the last pass of the first Charleston) and on the last right (the last pass of the second Charleston) it's not unusual to have collected some good tiles. Doesn't happen all the time, but not unusual - sometimes you get to that point and you're thinking, "dangit! I don't have three tiles I want to pass! I have to break up my hand! Stupid Charleston!" When that happens to you, you'll understand the benefit of the blind pass.
    I'd say more but I have to go now. Hope that helps!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 21, 2017


    LAPOM, part 2

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:07 AM
    >Subject: Question on Column 665
    >Hi Tom,
    >Can you tell me if any recordings of the event describe in Column 665 are to be made publicly available, perhaps on YouTube?
    >I have been watching some advanced Japanese play via YouTube on the Mondo TV channel...quite informative. This weekend I started playing on Tenhou, which you may know is a on-line game but in Japanese (the interface is reasonably easy to work through), the players on this site are rather good and very fast! I've managed to advance through some of the Kyu ranks (the minor ranks) but now my defensive play and strategies we discussef a few days ago need practice to get further.
    >Regards
    >Ray

    Hi, Ray.
    Ryan said that someone would be using an iPhone or something to make a video off the TV screen. I don't know how that worked out, or if it will be made available anywhere. You could try joining the PML's Facebook group and asking 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 21, 2017


    Los Angeles Pride Of Mahjong

    This week's column tells the story of the Pacific Mahjong League's tournament at LA Pride Of Mahjong, in Gardena, California.

    Wonder what's the deal with the yellow circles in this photo? Check it out!
    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 20, 2017


    How do we handle a slow player, part 2

    >From: Donata M
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 5:56 PM
    >Subject: Re: Player Timing
    >Thank you, Tom. You have lots of great information on your site. Maybe this is the time for a redesign so the user experience is more efficient. A revamp of the search function, left rail, and info presentation (overall design) could really benefit your great cause, bring more people to your site, and incite them to stay there.
    >Thanks!

    You're welcome, Donata. I'll take your suggestion into consideration. Oh, wait. It's already in consideration.
    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
    V.D., 2017

    P.S. Yes, there's a lot of content on my site. And yes, finding it can be a challenge. But you know what I do? The way I find content on my own site is by using Google to find it for me. Ya just gotta have good Google-fu. When I think of a way to redesign the site to make it easier for others to find information on it, I'll take action. - Tom


    Noten, part 2

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 12:21 AM
    >Subject: Noten in Japanese games II
    >Hi Tom,
    >Further to my "noten penalty" question, I just read this on an internet site (where ryuukyoku is the exhaustive draw)...
    >"Sometimes, the ryuukyoku point exchange is enough to determine the final position in games, especially in the last hand. Dealers in tight point races need to take particular note about the need to attain tenpai or allow the game to end. It may be desirable to pass on a small winning hand in order to collect the payment from noten players instead."
    >This reflects my point that the payment may be worth more than the win would be, and your reply of trying to be in Tenpai. I'll try to think of this as an advantage in developing my strategy than be too concerned over the negative aspects of being one who pays out.
    >The same website suggests that 40% of professional games go to an exhaustive draw, so I'm in good company!
    >I'm trying the "pray to the Mah-Jongg Gods" approach too, seemed to work last night...two games won, two losses. Some drawn hands in each game, but no real impact on final position.
    >I think my Riichi questions are drying up, thanks for helping me out over the last few weeks!
    >Regards
    >Ray

    40%?? Wow, that's more than I would have thought. Thanks for the statistic, Ray!
    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
    V.D., 2017

    P.S. I like what you said: "I'll try to think of this as an advantage in developing my strategy than be too concerned over the negative aspects of being one who pays out." And the same for the point spread. Don't think of them as penalties but rather a way of making the game more exciting. - Tom


    How do we handle a slow player?

    >From: Donata M
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 5:25 PM
    >Subject: Player Timing
    >Hello, Tom -
    >Is there a rule that dictates how much time a player can have before discarding a tile? To wit, a player takes a tile, puts it on her rack, and then takes what seems like an inordinate amount of time to decide which tile to discard. Often, this time seems prolonged. I want to be polite but this does not seem fair.
    >In tennis, for example, a player has a designated amount of time to serve. If he/she does not serve within that allotted time they are first warned and then penalized.
    >Thank you!
    >Ciao, Donata

    Bon giorno, Donata!
    Welcome to my website. This question 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, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-BA. Also read column 375.
    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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Every player really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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
    V.D., 2017


    Mah-jongg divination

    >From: adel salem <zzxxdodo at gmail
    >Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 12:44 AM
    >Subject: MAHJONG DIVINE
    >>>Hi dear-i have mahjong fortune tellers cards 144 by derek walters and I Practice BY my SELF-and i have used for one issue concern me.
    >>>Appreciate your response if you wish charge me is OK by paypal-- this what i receive -the below:
    >>># CENTER = SEVEN STARS
    >>>#EAST 1-2-3 = SOUTH --- - 2 CIRCLE(PINE) ----- 4 CIRCLE(JADE)
    >>>#SOUTH 4-5-6 = NORTH---- 1 WAN(ENTER) ---- 5 WAN(HOUSE)
    >>>#WEST 7-8-9 = 6 CIRCLE(PEACH) -- 5 CIRCLE(DRAGON) ---- 6CIRCLE(PEACH)
    >>>#NORTH 10-11-12 = WEST -- 9 CIRCLE with CHRYSANTHEMUM -- 6 BAMBOO

    Hi Adel,
    You wrote me the same question on November 3, 2016. I answered you then. If you scroll down, you will find your question and my response from that time. If the page ends before you get down as far as last November, then click the left-pointing hand to go back in time and see what I told you last time. I'm sending you again my first-time-poster instructions about how to return to this board to find answers to questions asked. And you are always welcome to send me money by Paypal. Just click the "donations appreciated" link below. But you are probably a spammer.
    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 13, 2017


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile?

    >From: Pam's Email
    >Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 8:06 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have an exposure that includes a joker. The person on my left accidentally discards the tile that could replace my joker. Since it is now my turn, may I take the discarded tile and use it in my exposed tiles. Then return the joker to my hand to complete another segment?
    >Thank you.
    >Pam Q

    Hi, Pam!
    Welcome to my website. This question 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, and you can link to them above left. In regards to your question: Please read FAQ 19-G2. 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. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the list of FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    Every player really should have a copy of the official NMJL rulebook (and/or my book). For information about where to obtain mah-jongg books, see FAQ 3.
    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 13, 2017


    Noten in Japanese games

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Sunday, February 12, 2017 11:57 PM
    >Subject: Fwd: Senpai Kohai!
    >Hi Tom,
    >Following on from my last email (copied below), an area I have a problem with is the "exhaustive draw", where in a drawn game (riichi) players in "noten" pay a penalty to those in "tenpai" (a 3000 point penalty total paid by the noten players equally).
    >So, having successfully defended against a riichi declaration there's a good chance of being punished anyway...and the 3000 point penalty may be more than one would have lost dealing in to the winning hand. I've now played many times where there's been such a draw, and only once had to pay the full 3000 myself...it hurt a bit as it was obvious that my three opponents were all in tenpai...two had declared riichi and one wasn't defending at all; my pleasure at not throwing the winning tile somewhat tempered by this noten penalty!
    >Do you have advice on how to avoid the noten penalty yet still defend successfully?
    >Regards
    >Ray Heaton

    I'm sorry, Ray. I don't have any advice except the obvious and unhelpful: try for tenpai, and, failing that, hope and pray to the mah-jongg gods/goddesses that someone else wins on someone else's 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
    February 13, 2017


    Honne-tatemae in Japanese games

    >From: Ray
    >Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 8:39 AM
    >Subject: Senpai Kohai!
    >Hi Tom,
    >Interesting question from Akira! To some extent Honne and Tatemae (Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person's true feelings and their opinions displayed publicly) may be more usual in Mahjong than senpai/kohai!
    >For example, me feeling "...Why on earth did you discard that tile after East just declared Riichi" as East calls Ron and reveals a mega hand, but instead I message, "..Good win, well done" to East and I send a "...bad luck" message to the player that just lost an awful lot of points. (This is me playing on-line.)
    >But, then realising that's exactly what others had to put up with when I first started too, and feel a little ashamed!
    >Over the last few weeks my win rate at Riichi Mahjong has improved, but (perhaps as important) my losses are decreasing too (I come third and fourth less often as my defensive play improves).
    >I feel that I can improve knowing when to fold a hand (that is, no longer trying to win but rather ensure I don't deal into the winning hand), do you have any advice on how and when to decide to fold, Tom-senpai?
    >Tactics I have used to consider folding...
    > (1) When an opponent declares Riichi and I am two away or more
    > (2) When an opponent declares Riichi and I am one away and one (or more) of my tiles are already on the table
    > (3) When I have only a low scoring hand
    > (4) I have a bad wait (such as a closed wait)
    > (5) When an opponent is close to being ready (for example, if they have 2 or 3 sets exposed)
    > (6) When an opponent is on a flush hand and is discarding tiles of the collected suit (always assuming I've worked that out)
    >If I have more than one of the above situations, then I most definitely fold. At least I try to, but I still get carried away with wanting to win!
    >I'd be very interested if you think the above approach is valid, and if you could suggest others to consider?
    >Regards
    >Ray Heaton

    Hi, Ray. You wrote:

    To some extent Honne and Tatemae (Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person's true feelings and their opinions displayed publicly) may be more usual in Mahjong than senpai/kohai!
    Absolutely. A "poker face" is a must in any flavor of mah-jongg.

    do you have any advice on how and when to decide to fold, Tom-senpai? ... I'd be very interested if you think the above approach is valid, and if you could suggest others to consider?
    You mentioned some that I hadn't considered, Ray. The only other I can think of is what Steve Sera used to say - "when you don't feel the luck, don't try to win."

    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 12, 2017


    Thanks. Someday...!

    >From: valerie m
    >Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 7:37 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Thank you for your response, Tom. Someday I may learn to read those dots accurately!
    >Valerie M

    You're welcome, Valerie. Not sure which response you're thanking me for, but (dot dot dot) it's all good! (^_~)
    Tom


    Senpai-kohai behavior in Japanese games?

    >From: Akira S
    >Sent: Thursday, February 9, 2017 5:06 PM
    >Subject: Japanese mahjong and etiquette
    >In many japanese Arts and games there is senpai kohai pattern in use. Meaning like advanced and beginner. In that case way of talking or doing stuff, or even behavior is different between them. Respecting people of more experience is important. Does it work like that with this game?
    >Sorry, its difficult to explain
    >Akira

    Konbanwa, Akira-san! Your question:

    In many japanese Arts and games there is senpai kohai ... way of talking ... or even behavior is different between them. Respecting people of more experience is important. Does it work like that with this game?
    I have not observed anything like that, but my Nihongo skills are not good enough to know if players are speaking more respectfully to one another. I imagine that if a student and teacher are playing together, one might hear senpai/kohai speech, but I would not be able to recognize it. I have played mostly in America (with Japanese players) and usually I am the kohai! I played once in Japan with a business manager and his subordinate, and I did not observe any senpai/kohai behavior - but I might not be able to recognize it.

    Sorry, its difficult to explain
    いいえ、わかりました! But I'm sorry that I don't know enough to be able to give you a definitive answer. I think the answer is no, but I cannot be certain.    m(-_-)m

    May the 牌 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 9, 2017


    I have an old card that requires 20 flowers, part 2

    >From: Maryanne T
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 11:01 AM
    >Subject: Re: Questions regarding older cards
    >Thank you for your answer and help.
    >MA

    You're welcome, MA! (^_^)


    Who pays double if dealer makes mah-jongg on the last pass of the Charleston?

    >From: Pam S
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 10:52 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >On the last pass to the right, East passes one tile, steals two. The one tile now in East's possession completes her hand for Mahj. For purposes of payment, did East pick her own tile and therefore gets double from everyone, or did the player to East"s left "give it to her", and she alone pays double.
    >Looking forward to your reply.

    I confess that I don't know, Pam. I would guess that the dealer gets double from everyone, because it CAN be tricky to determine who gave her mah-jongg, since blind passing is permitted on that pass, as happened in your case. I mean, what if the dealer blind passed three? I think any dealer wins during the Charleston would be scored as self-pick. But you'll have to ask the League. And I do not recommend you do it by phone. If it's not in writing, it's not an official rule. So get it in 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
    February 7, 2017


    2016 #3

    >From: Corinne P
    >Sent: Tuesday, February 7, 2017 9:13 AM
    >Subject: Mahj Member
    >Interpretation of 2016
    >222 000 1111 6666 (any three suites)
    >Soaps go with any suite But to me can also then be interpreted as
    >Any three suites
    >222 000 as bams or dots green
    >1111 any cracks red
    >6666 bams or dots off setting what is used with the 222
    >Corinne P
    >Mahj member 5 years

    Hi, Corinne.
    You wrote:

    222 000 as bams or dots green
    I'm not sure what you're saying there, but the pung of twos can be any suit (bams, craks, or dots). And the zeroes have to be soaps (white dragon), period. Like it says on the card:

    1111 any cracks red
    No, that kong has to be ones (not any number), and not only craks but rather in any suit you didn't use for the twos (can be craks but doesn't have to be). And the sixes have to be the third suit (whatever suit you didn't use for the twos and ones). I recommend you look up 2016 #3 in FAQ 16 - you can link to the FAQs above left. Please bookmark the FAQs so you can check them anytime you have a question, and please always check the FAQs before asking me your question (but of course I'm always available to clarify answers to any and all questions).

    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, 2017


    I have an old card that requires 20 flowers! What's up with that?

    >From: Maryanne T
    >Sent: Monday, February 6, 2017 3:52 PM
    >Subject: Questions regarding older cards
    >Our group has been buying older Mah Jongg cards to give us some variety of play. In one group it mentions "Big Jokers" and we weren't sure what that means.
    >Also I have a card from 1949 and when looking at the hands it appears today's set would not work because of the number of flowers and jokers required. Where would I find the tiles needed for that timeframe as well as any rules that might be different.
    >Thank you for your help with these questions.
    >Maryanne

    Hi, Maryanne.
    You should read column 509. And I described in FAQ 7E how players used to have to do what you're going to have to do to play with that card. In the forties, fifties, and sixties, many players had to add in mismatched flower tiles. It would then be no secret that some of the tiles in the wall were flowers, since those tiles (even though stacked face-down) did not match the other tiles, either in color or material or size or any combination thereof.  And "big jokers" are just jokers. Until about 1961, flowers were "wild flowers" (they served the same purpose today's jokers serve). And because there were mismatched tiles in the set, they sometimes "planted flowers" in each wall. Players would know those tiles were coming up in the order of play, and there surely emerged some subtle aspects, like players counting how many plays until their next turn, to see if they'd get a planted flower, and then being upset if a player called a discard and upset the picking order. (I'm just conjecturing about the emergent gameplay impact of the wild flowers, since I'm a game designer.)
    So, today people sometimes buy old sets that have mismatched tiles in them, or that don't have enough flowers, all because the League varied the number of flowers before 1971.
    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 6, 2017


    Shifting the dealer wall left

    >From: Sibyl W
    >Sent: Monday, February 6, 2017 4:14 PM
    >Subject: Moving East Wall?
    >Dear Mr. Sloper,
    >Is it okay for East to move her wall to the far left of her rack after the deal is complete?
    >I maintain that it sometimes makes it confusing as to which wall needs to push out next
    >when East moves her wall out of its original position.
    >Thank you
    >Sibyl
    >sibylw

    Sibyl, I'm so glad you asked this! NO, it's not okay - for exactly the reason you state. In the early days when I was a new player, I was on a mah-jongg cruise. The dealer did exactly what you said, and then after the last long wall was over, the dealer threw her own hand in -- because she thought the game was over! She hadn't noticed that the dealer wall was there at the left end of her own rack! The hand was voided, and for no good reason. It had to be replayed. What a pain!
    People often underappreciate the importance of subtle visual cues on the table - like the position of the dealer wall, the position of the dice after a hand is over, the spacing of exposures atop racks. I could go on, but no; I'm lying, I can't go on.
    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 6, 2017


    Can my husband use a joker in Singles & Pairs?

    >From: Joann S
    >Cc: ds
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 7:20 PM
    >Subject: Singles and pairs
    >Hi... I know this answer but I cannot convince my husband....
    >Can a joker be used in 2016 card, singles and pairs #5, 2nd and 3rd grouping of tiles.
    >Please help me explain it well.

    Hi, Joann.
    Your husband should read the back of the card. He should read it ALL, but especially he should read the last sentence before the numbered rules (zero in on the word "NEVER," which appears there in bold, all caps, and underlined).


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. Every player owes it to the other players
    to understand these most basic rules of the game.

    He should also read FAQ 16 (where this specific hand is discussed) and also FAQ 19E-2. After he's landed at the FAQ 19 page, I'd appreciate it if he would bookmark it so he can easily return to it anytime he (or 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. And all the most frequently-asked questions about the current card are found in FAQ 16. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    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, 2017


    Can soap (white dragon) be used with any suit when it's used as zero?

    >From: Barbara R
    >Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 1:37 PM
    >Subject: mahjong question
    >Is the soap tile neutral (can belong to any suit) when it acts as a zero? For example in the last hand on card 2016.

    Hi, Barbara.
    You're asking about the bottom right corner of the card. You'll find your answer at the top left corner of the card.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    February 1, 2017


    Looking for an older post? Just click the link below! Several times a year, older postings are archived so as to keep this bulletin board lean and quicker to load. The archive goes back several years, and it's real easy to access older questions and answers!

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


      Color key


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


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

    © 2017 Tom Sloper. No part of this website may be re-published without written permission of the author.