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Sloper On Mah-Jongg (Column)

The Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board


Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg, and get answers, usually within hours!
  • Before you email, please read the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Also, someone else may have already asked your question, in which case s/he was answered below, on the Q&A board! You might enjoy looking through the Q&As. I get some crazy questions sometimes.

  • 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. I don't take mah-jongg questions via telephone, snailmail, semaphore, Morse code, or smoke signal. Also don't send your question to me via carrier pigeon. What am I supposed to do with a pigeon? I'm a city apartment dweller. And you should see the rules they got here! </rant>
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  • 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 is answered there.

    The most frequently asked question about the 2019 NMJL card:

    Regarding Consec #5:

    FFF 1111 2222 DDD (Any 1 Suit) x 25

    This hand may be made with Any 2 Consecutive Numbers. See the National Mah Jongg League's FAQs page
    (nationalmahjonggleague.org/faq.html), and see FAQ 16.

    The Q&As are below.

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


    Not tax-deductible


  • I need technical support

    On Saturday, April 4, 2020, 04:53:09 PM PDT, Leslie@ wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I am playing on real mahjong.com and I was unable to discard a tile, it kept bouncing back to me, any idea why?
    Sent from Leslie's iPad

    Leslie, I do not provide technical support for computer games. See FAQ 24 for tips on getting technical support. Good luck!
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Saturday, April 4, 2020, 03:12:41 AM PDT, service@paypal. wrote:
    You received a payment
    paypal Apr 4, 2020 03:12:26 PDT
    You received a payment
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name: Evelyn H
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    Amount received: $10.00 USD
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    Sincerely,
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    Thank you, Evelyn! New Column is up today!
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. DON'T PANIC! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I want to report a bug

    On Saturday, April 4, 2020, 02:06:59 PM PDT, Barbara R wrote:
    2020 online game
    l think I just found a flaw in the 2020 game. I was doing the 1st line of Winds - Dragons. I had 2 E's and 2 W's but when a third one came up on the screen it did not let me choose it. I could have majed if I were able to get the E and then the W it did not offer to me.
    How do I report this?
    Barbara R

    Barbara, first you go to the website where you found that game. Then explore it fully. Look for Support or Help or About in the menus, if there are any. They might have an email address or a box you can type your question in. You can also try Googling to get the information. You might even find information on the game's developer in Wikipedia. I don't know which game in FAQ 5 you play. And I don't have contact information to share on any of them.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    That old slamming thing, part 3

    Debbie Barnett
    Sat, Apr 4 at 2:48 PM
    Hello again
    OK my friend...3rd time is a charm!! Attached is the jpg of page 20. 13(d) currently reads: If a player calls at the same time another player calls, and starts to expose, the tile goes to the person who is next in line to discarder.
    Since 13(a) already discussed two people calling at the same time and the one exposing first getting it whether they are next in line to picking then I believe 13(d) is missing a few words and or could have been worded differently.
    This is what I believe it is saying and should read:
    If two players call a tile at the same time, and both players start to expose at the same time, the tile goes to the person who is next in line to discarder.
    I will say a little Mah Jongg prayer that this 3rd attempt is a charm! :) Thanks Tom as always for your time and dedication to helping the Mahj community.
    Best Regards,
    Debbie the Mahj Teacher
    Author of Unlocking the Secrets of American Mah Jongg
    Creator/Owner of School of American Mah Jongg
    InkedMJME 2020 page 20_LI.jpg
    2.2MB

    Hi, Debbie. Rule 13 is about conflicting claims for a discard, in numerous possible scenarios:

      Both claimants are claiming for exposure only;
      Both are calling for mah-jongg;
      One is calling for exposure, one for mah-jongg;
      What to do if the calls are simultaneous and one has started to expose;
      One calling for exposure, one for mah-jongg, and the mah-jongg claim is erroneous;
      Both called for mah-jongg and the mah-jongg claim is erroneous;
      Both call for mah-jongg simultaneously.

    I don't see how (g) differs substantially from (b) or (d) - simultaneity has always gone to next-in-line (it's never been a race to see who speaks first), and now we have the started-to-expose thing (which means, the next-in-line was more than a little slow... unless the exposer moved aggressively). I don't think (d) or (g) add much, myself.

    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    That old slamming thing, part 2

    On Friday, April 3, 2020, 06:04:05 PM PDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Hello!
    Hi Tom...glad you are doing well! Further to my last email, on page 20 of the 2020 MJME, (a) is perfectly clear in its explanation that when two players call at the same time the one next in turn to discarder gets the tile EXCEPT when another player starts to expose their tiles.
    In (d), I believe what it is saying is, "If two players call a tile at the same time and both start to exposure at the same time, the tile goes to the person who is next in line to discarder."
    However...the first part of the sentences clearly speaks of two players yet after the comma says starts to expose...who starts to exposure, which one of the two players or...is it as I think it should read..."If two players call a tile at the same time both start to exposure at the same time, the tile goes to the person who is next in line to discarder."
    I just find the wording very unclear and...I since I am a writer I find this sentence very hard to decipher.
    Your thoughts?
    Best Regards,
    Debbie the Mahj Teacher
    Author of Unlocking the Secrets of American Mah Jongg
    Creator/Owner of School of American Mah Jongg

    Apologies for this one - it got edited after the initial posting, and things got messy!

    Hi, Debbie. So: your problem is with rule 13. (d) on page 20. You wrote what you think 13. (d) means, but without stating what 13. (d) actually says. Your interpretation (what you think it should read) sounds good to me. I mean, it's logical from a standpoint of reading the printed rules. But that has nothing to do with what I read in rule 13. (d) in my copy, which is whether the other claimant gets the tile if the prevailing claimant made false mahj. And I'm unclear on where you think the League enables/encourages aggressive slamming on page 20. Maybe your 2020MJME has different words than mine on page 20?
    I'm afraid you still haven't given me a clear enough understanding of what your wording concern is. Please type out the words you find fault with for me (not a picture).
    By the way, did you notice that 13. (a) and 13. (f) say essentially the same thing?

    Scratch that. Your MJME2020 is not the same as mine. My rule 13. (d) is your rule 13. (f), and your rule 13 (d) does not appear in my copy. I have a PDF from the League, and it looks like yours is a printed copy. If that's correct, then your copy takes precedence. My reading of your rule 13. (d) is that if somebody tries to aggressively shut out the next in line, the tile goes to the next in line. That sounds like what you said. I think the wording discourages slamming. It also indicates that if the person moving tiles is the next in line, that's okay - that's the player who gets the tile anyway. If you want to argue the semantics further, I wish you would type the full rule as it's written in your copy. You sent me a PDF, and I have to jump through a lot of hoops to convert a PDF to JPG so I can post it here (so I didn't - too much work!). Typing it out is better for online boards anyway. And that helps you call out the specific words that cause a problem. Tiny wording nuances can be read completely differently by different people.
    Next time you want to send me an image, please send me a JPG, not a PDF. Your scanner surely can produce a JPG as well as a PDF.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    After the Charleston, sometimes I have 8 or 9 (even 10) tiles towards a hand

    On Friday, April 3, 2020, 03:41:08 PM PDT, Snelly wrote:
    What's a "good" Charleston
    I saw something on your site before about the "odds" of winning a Man Jongg game based on the number of tiles you have after the Charleston for any particular hand. I have been practicing with the 2020 card and sometimes I have 8 or 9 (even 10) tiles towards a hand. I know there's no correct "odds" for winning but what do consider a "successful" Charleston. Thanks.
    Love your column.

    Hi, Snelly! You wrote:

    I saw something on your site before about the "odds" of winning a Man Jongg game based on the number of tiles you have after the Charleston for any particular hand.
    I don't think so. I'm no mathematician, I don't know combinatorics or statistics.

    sometimes I have 8 or 9 (even 10) tiles towards a hand.
    That's great when that happens, isn't it?

    What's a "good" Charleston - I know there's no correct "odds" for winning but what do consider a "successful" Charleston.
    If I have 8 or 9 or 10 tiles, I'm usually reasonably encouraged about my chances. I have done lots worse than that - and I've sometimes done better than that in the Charleston. Since a mah-jongg hand is 14 tiles, it wouldn't be unreasonable to figure that having more than 7 is good odds, and fewer than 7 is less good - more-than-halfway-there being twice as good as less-than-halfway-there.

    Love your column.
    Thanks!

    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How do you redeem a joker?

    On Friday, April 3, 2020, 01:29:04 PM PDT, Marlene D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How do you transfer a tile in order to get someone’s joker?

    Hi, Marlene!
    In normal non-pandemic times, as I wrote in FAQ 19-M, "The proper procedure for redeeming a joker is to take the tile from your hand and hold it in your hand to the person who has the joker you want (you don't put your tile on her rack, and you don't put your tile on the table in front of her), and ask her for the joker. Wait for her to put the joker in your hand and take your tile." But since we are social distancing, I think all of us would be OK with you putting it down near her instead of making contact with her hand (but then you guys are all sitting around a table without masks, and the social distancing thing ain't happening while you're mixing the tiles or anytime, so why bother).
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    That old "slamming" thing

    On Thursday, April 2, 2020, 07:25:47 PM PDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Hello
    Hey Tom, I hope this email finds you and your loved ones well and safe during this difficult time.
    I need clarification for myself and Michele Frizzel, another teacher associate friend of mind and who you might know.
    I believe we've discussed the slamming issues with exposures in the past but if you would kindly take a look at the 2020 MJME page 20, and review items a-d. It appears that (d) is a bit unclear in its message.
    Curious as to what your opinion is. I've attached both the MJME page and the previous newsletter discussing same hereto.
    Best Regards,
    Debbie the Mahj Teacher
    Author of Unlocking the Secrets of American Mah Jongg
    Creator/Owner of School of American Mah Jongg

    Hi, Debbie! So far so good with me and my loved ones - hope yours the same.
    I read MJME2020 and the 2020 newsletter, and I thought the League did a pretty good job of addressing my prior concern. You need to state your case for what's "a bit unclear." Tell me which words seem to conflict with what words exactly.
    Stay healthy. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    2020 is a special number on the card (The 2020 card, part 9)

    On Thursday, April 2, 2020, 06:39:14 AM PDT, Pam wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    This year 2020 - as it is a special number on the card. Years are generally single digits (2019) so no jokers. but now we have 2020 can I use a joker? Not a kong as all the same tiles, do I see 2 pair (the number 20)? As the 2’s & white dragons need to match – what rule declares no jokers here?

    Hi, Pam! You wrote:

    now we have 2020 can I use a joker?
    No. You may not.

    Not a kong as all the same tiles, do I see 2 pair (the number 20)?
    Well, theoretically, 2020 is the same thing as 2200 or 0022, I mean, you do need two twos and two soaps. (A pair of twos and a pair of soaps.) By the way: "20" is not a pair.

    the 2’s & white dragons need to match
    What? No! The twos in a 2020 do not have to be dots. Read the red text just above the 2020 section on the card. And read FAQ 19-BZ.

    what rule declares no jokers here?
    The rule on the back of the card where it says "NEVER" in all capital letters.

    You should read the whole card. Everything, front and back. And read FAQ 19-E.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2020 card, part 8 ("What if there's no parenthetical?")

    On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 12:40:21 PM PDT, Julie M wrote:
    Mah Jongg - Question on 2020 Card
    On the 2020 card, in the 2020 section for the 1st and 3rd hands: are the 2's - any same like number, any same even number or any same 2s only?
    The 1st hand is FF 2020 2222 2222
    The 3rd hand is FFFFF 22 222 2020
    Thanks!
    Julie M

    Hi, Julie.
    Consider the year: "2020." How many numbers are there in "2020"? - Two: "2" and "0." There is no room for any fours, sixes, or eights anywhere in the 2020 section, for two reasons:
    1. There are only twos and zeroes in "2020;"
    2. There is no parenthetical saying any other numbers may be used. Therefore only twos and zeroes may be used in the 2020 section of the card. See FAQ 19-AJ for more about how to interpret a hand in the absence of a parenthetical.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 1, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What does "Any 3 Consec. Pairs" mean? (2020 card, part 7)

    On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 09:29:04 AM PDT, Terry and Paula T wrote:
    2020 MJL card question
    Hand:
    FF 11 22 11 22 11 22 (any 3 suits, ANY 3 consecutive numbers
    Does this mean you could use something like:
    FF 22 33 55 66 44 55 in 3 suites?
    Thanks,
    Paula T
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Paula!
    You wrote "ANY 3 consecutive numbers" but the card says "Any 3 Consec. Pairs." The parenthetical on the card is written confusingly, I grant you that. In this case, I would go by the symbols rather than the parenthetical. Wherever you see ones in that hand, you must use the same number (all "ones" must be the same number, any number from 1 to 8). Wherever you see twos in that hand, you must use your first number plus one (it can only be a number from 2 to 9). You will have 3 pairs (3 suits) of one number, and 3 pairs of the next sequential number. When I create a new FAQ 16 for the 2020 card (I'll start that right away), I'll make sure to include this Q&A in there.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 1, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are my three sets made of?

    On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 03:54:08 PM PDT, leolikesbass . wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom, my name is Leo and my dad had some old sets from Japan that I was trying to find out some info on.. two sets look like they might be Bakelite but not sure and the third set looks to have a bamboo back. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction of obtaining information.

    Hi, Leo! You wrote:

    my dad had some old sets from Japan that I was trying to find out some info on..
    They're not all from Japan. One is Japanese, one is American, and the other is made in China for export to the West.

    two sets look like they might be Bakelite but not sure
    One is an American Bakelite set. The Chinese set is what collectors call "Chinese Bakelite" (not Bakelite). See FAQ 7C to learn about the materials sets are made of.

    and the third set looks to have a bamboo back.
    Yes. It does. See FAQ 7A to learn about different types of sets.

    that I was trying to find out some info on..
    I have a lot of info here. Scroll up a little and look at the info links on the left.

    If you have any other questions, you're welcome to ask. But please look for the information in my FAQs first, and please, if you have questions about multiple sets, ask about one set per email. Otherwise the conversation becomes more complicated to write and to read.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 31, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Rules inconsistency, part 3

    On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 11:20:06 AM PDT, Susan D wrote:
    Re: Rule Inconsistency
    Tom, Thank you for your revised answer. After learning to play in 2016 I have tried to learn all I can about the rules as well as play of Mah Jongg. I have often wondered if many players didn't call other player's hands "dead" in hopes of redeeming Jokers and actually wrote to you about that subject in July of 2019. You and I both agreed that it is in fact not fair play to refrain from calling a player's hand dead in order to redeem a Joker, but there is no ruling on this from the NMJL. After all, how could such a rule be enforced? Susan

    Yep. Stay safe, Susan!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 31, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Rules inconsistency, part 2

    In the morning light of a Tuesday morning, I am re-considering Susan D's question. Working-from-home job stresses yesterday; I didn't have the full mental bandwidth to focus on the question.
    As Susan said, rule 21 on page 24 of MJME2020 doesn't cleanly align with the new wording on the back of the 2020 card. My response yesterday was wrong.

      Card:
      JOKERS may be exchanged from any and all exposures that were made before the hand was declared "dead".

      Rule 21:
      No Jokers exposed prior to a Concealed hand being declared "dead" are redeemable, since they were part of an incorrect exposure. 

    The rule on the card does not acknowledge the exception for Concealed hands stated in rule 21 of MJME2020. Susan was right and I was wrong.

    Too-detailed meanderings follow. Don't read! ...

    Personally, I prefer the old rule that ambiguous exposures (exposures that do not clearly indicate a C hand) may remain atop the rack when the hand is declared dead. At least, that was the interpretation I took from printed rules at the time. It still seems most reasonable to me. The card rule is consistent with that interpretation. Rule 21 indicates that all prior exposures (including ambiguous exposures) must be returned to the sloping front of the rack at the moment of discovery that the hand is marked C on the card.

    If someone redeems a joker from another's rack and it is later discovered that that other player's hand was supposed to be Concealed, then the player who got the joker benefited from the other player's mistake. The redemption cannot be undone if the discovery of the error is not immediate. It's possible to cheat the rule. A sharp-eyed player might recognize that a player's joker exposure(s) indicate a C hand, and could conceivably redeem the joker before anyone else at the table realizes the error. Some players might be tempted to remain silent about another player's error, just so they could keep open the possibility of obtaining that erroneously-exposed joker. In a sense, Rule 21 is enforceable only if all players are honest.

    I know that the majority of players are honest, and many probably take offense at the notion that someone would cheat at mah-jongg. Many refuse to roll dice, even if they know it's possible to plant jokers in the wall. Many players even refuse to call another player dead. Such players may adopt this attitude as a way of keeping exposed jokers atop the racks as long as possible. Sorry, I don't have further points to make, and I'll stop meandering now.

    Stay safe. Don't touch your face*. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 31, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    *Hypocrisy alert: I touch my face all the time at home. When I go to the grocery store I wait until I'm home and have cleaned up after the outing. But I'm a face-toucher and I am hypocritical to advise others not to be like me! </confession> - Tom


    New column - broken link? (Part 2)

    On Monday, March 30, 2020, 09:04:09 AM PDT, Barb C wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank YOU so much for answering me so quickly and precisely!
    Stay healthy;lthy and do wash your hands!
    Warmly,
    Barb
    Barbara C

    You're welcome, Barb. - Tom


    Rules inconsistency (2020 card, part 6)

    On Monday, March 30, 2020, 07:52:29 AM PDT, Susan D wrote:
    2020 Card
    Tom, During my yearly task of analyzing the new card I realized that there has been quite a few additions or clarifications made to the back of the card. I would like to talk about one that was not made but possibly should have been. It says JOKERS may be exchanged from any and all exposures that were made BEFORE the hand was declared "dead". While I do realize the wording was changed from went "dead" to was declared "dead", that is not the part of the statement that I am referring to. I find this statement to be a contradiction to a statement that was added to the 2020 edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy. Under the heading SPECIAL RULES FOR THE USE OF JOKES on page 24, item 21 it says: No JOKES exposed prior to a Concealed hand being declared "dead" are redeemable, since they were part of an incorrect exposure. While I realize that the back of the card offers limited space for detailed statements, I find these two statements to be very confusing. I do plan to send a letter to the NMJL and ask for clarification on this. What are your thoughts?
    Thank you Susan

    Hi, Susan. The only "inconsistency" (if any) is due to the fact that the back of the card doesn't say that when a player goes dead, the erroneous exposure(s) must be returned to the sloping front of the rack. Also, the item you quoted from MJME refers only to hands marked C on the card. Once it is realized by all that the hand is a Concealed hand, all the exposures from that hand must be returned to the sloping front. If one has those rules in mind while reading the back of the card, there is no inconsistency.
    But perhaps I should make a change to FAQ 19 - I'm a bit distracted these days, I'll have to reread and recheck when I have time.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    New column - broken link?

    On Monday, March 30, 2020, 05:50:09 AM PDT, Barb C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I love your site…
    I’ve clicked on the column link for the new 2020 National Mahers Jongg League card analysis and am not directed to any new column.
    Might I be doing something wrong?
    Again thanks much for access to your site.
    Warmly,
    Barb
    Barbara C

    Hi, Barb!
    The links I posted yesterday all take you to the front page of my columns section of my website. The new analysis column is column 734 (the one at the very top of the column links on the columns front page, where it says "#734, March 29, 2020 - The 2020 NMJL Card, part 1"). The newest column is always the one at the top. If you don't see column 734 at the columns front page, try refreshing your browser.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    New column posted - analysis of the new 2020 card

    I've posted the first column of my analysis of the 2020 card. Click on the underlined column link!
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Keep calm. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 29, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Timely TV quote

    Heard on Elementary today:

          Tough times don't last.
          Tough people do.

          - Elementary S1, E11: Dirty Laundry

    Be tough. Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 29, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call a discard to expose a 202x or a NEWS?

    On Sunday, March 29, 2020, 10:25:15 AM PDT, Susan S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you pick up a discard to complete 2020 or NEWS if it IS NOT Mah Jongg? If it IS Mah Jongg?

    Hi, Susan! You asked:

    Can you pick up a discard to complete 2020 or NEWS if it IS NOT Mah Jongg?
    You can only claim a discard to complete a pung, kong, quint, or mah-jongg. read FAQ 19-E.

    If it IS Mah Jongg?
    This is answered on the back of the card. In the center pane, look for the sentence that begins, "Any tile, except a Joker..."

    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 29, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    #PlayApartTogether

    Of interest, from VentureBeat:

      The WHO is enlisting the global gaming industry to reach millions with important messages to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The games sector will launch #PlayApartTogether, an initiative to inform and encourage the vast network of users to follow the WHO’s important health guidelines, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other powerful preventive actions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

    For the purposes of helping everyone play mah-jongg safely, I thought I'd share these links from FAQ 5. Note that these links, except the first one, specifically support American mah-jongg (since the vast majority of my readers play that variant). If you play a different variant, don't panic. There are a lot more links in FAQ 5.

    Browser games:

    • MahjongTime - Playable against AI bots or live people, supports numerous variants of mahjong (not only American).
    • National Mah Jongg League (Sigma Software) - https://www.nmjl.org/game/home.html - Playable against live opponents, maybe there's an AI option these days. American mah-jongg only.
    • MyJongg.net - Playable against live opponents as well as computerized AI.
    • And there's also Real Mah Jongg Online. Details uncertain as of this writing.

    Mobile apps (iOS listed, some may also be available for Android):

    • American Mahjong Practice 2020 should be coming soon from Eight Bam LLC. (See the iTunes App Store.) Great card learning app for your Apple device, as soon as the new card can be implemented.
    • Always get lost in the Charleston? The Mah Jongg Groove is available in the iTunes App Store.
    • Want an app to keep track of who the bettor bet on? Mahj Bettor is also available in the iTunes App Store.
    • Play American mah-jongg with a variety of table rules? Mah Jongg Mojo can help you keep track. In the iTunes App Store.

    Got more sites or apps I should list in FAQ 5 that aren't already listed there? Let me know!
    Listen to the World Health Organization. Play safely, everyone. Stay healthy. Don't touch your face! DON'T PANIC!!!! Uh, wait, scratch that. I mean, "don't panic." And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 27, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When can I start playing with the 2020 card? (FAQ 19-BV)

    On Friday, March 27, 2020, 03:46:12 PM PDT, Jeff L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question is
    I have the 2020 card. When do I switch from 2019 card to play?

    As soon as everybody at your table also has the card, Jeff! Read FAQ 19-BV.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 27, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2020 card, part 5

    I got the card! I've just gone through it and identified the repeats, the variations, the new hands. Watch for an analysis in Sunday's column!
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 27, 2020


    The 2020 card, part 4

    On Thursday, March 26, 2020, 03:53:37 PM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    2020 card
    Hi Tom!
    I received my 2020 card today and boy is it interesting! There are several unusual hands which I love. Five flowers in a Like Nos hand. Lots of quirks in other sections. I've never seen multiplication in some sections (evens and odds). Can't wait for your observations!
    My friend and I love 2 handed MJ--keeps us sane during social distancing.
    Be well, Linda

    Hi Linda,
    After I saw your email, I went to my mailbox. No card. More patience I have to find from deep down inside...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2020


    Two-handed mah-jongg, part 2

    On Thursday, March 26, 2020, 04:01:50 PM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    P.S. on 2 handed MJ
    Hi Tom,
    When we play 2 handed MJ, we don't build walls. We use 2 racks, and place tiles face down on table. We place 13 tiles on 1 rack and 14 on the other.Then draw and discard as usual. Winner must have two MJ's. The strategy is a little different which makes it more fun.
    Be well, Linda

    So you're essentially playing "Siamese" style. Are you using Gladys' rules, or have you made modifications to the rules for yourselves?
    May the tiles be with you. Stay healthy!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    March 26, 2020


    How different will the 2020 card look, part 2 (The 2020 card, part 3)

    On Thursday, March 26, 2020, 02:28:34 PM PDT, Linda L wrote:
    NMJL card Traditions
    Dear Tom, on March 20th, you responded to Sue’s Q about the 2020 NMJL card, and mentioned the word “traditions” that could be counted on, like #1 Consecutive Run alternating pairs at each end or two sets of pairs at the beginning. Are there other predictable traditions that you can list for me? I have a complete NMJL Card collection, and am trying to learn as much as possible about all the cards and know traditions and/or predictable changes year-to-year. Thank you in advance for your help!
    Linda L.
    ??????????????????

    Hi, Linda! That's good that you have a complete card collection, so you can see the recurring hand patterns yourself. In my columns, I do an analysis of the new card each year, and I always note the recurring patterns. For the 2019 card, see columns 715-718. For the 2018 card, see columns 699-701. For the 2017 card, see column 668. I always point out recurring patterns (for the simple reason that they're recurring).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 26, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are my racks unusual, part 3

    On Thursday, March 26, 2020, 12:48:40 PM PDT, Outlook Express wrote:
    Re: Mahjong Racks
    Hi Tom,
    I have now seen the published photos. I had in fact previously read your FAQ “Is it ivory” and now accept your view about the material not being ivory. However, having examined the disks with a magnifying glass it doesn’t look like bone. If it is plastic or celluloid, would they have done such Image.jpegfine carvings of the letters ? I attach a photo of the letter S fot comparasion
    Thanks
    Peter A
    Obtener Outlook para iOS

    Peter, your new photo does not convince me that your wind-position insets (apparently all the racks have them, which you never showed in a photo before) are ivory. If you want to convince me that they are ivory, do the "Is It Ivory" checklist in the FAQ I sent you before, and send me the detailed findings of the checklist, point-by-point. I also require a much better photo, clearly indicating Schreger lines (pearlescent wavy grain that changes under different light). That's the only way I can be convinced that an item is ivory (an item that I cannot examine firsthand). But do you really need me to be convinced?
    If you want to seek other opinions on your racks, I recommend the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. group on Facebook. You can also check the "other excellent sites" listed at the bottom of FAQ 4A.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 26, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are my racks unusual, part 2

    On Thursday, March 26, 2020, 09:30:14 AM PDT, Outlook Express wrote:
    Re: Mahjong Racks
    Hi Tom,
    Further to my question and your answer dated 26 March 2020, I am atteching 3 photos. I hope these are useful.
    By the way, the racks are without top shelves.
    When I sad “unusual”, I meant have you seen any like them before.
    Thanks
    Peter A.

    Hi, Peter.
    Wooden racks like this were quite common in the 1920s (90+ years ago). But yours have some markings worth discussing.
    The "Mah-Jongg" sticker is of interest because "Mah-Jongg" was a trademarked name. Hamley Bros. in London may have licensed the trademark from either J.P. Babcock or Parker Bros. - the typeface looks licensed, but is possibly a ripoff. I'd assume it's licensed.
    The one with the "E" marking is intended for use by the dealer. The rack would have to be passed to the next dealer when the deal passes counterclockwise.
    You say the "E" label is made of ivory. I sincerely doubt that. You should read the "Is It Ivory" FAQ. Your E label is most likely plastic (maybe celluloid, if you see striations) or bone. NOT ivory. Genuine ivory would have raised the price above what the everyday market could bear.
    I realize that I have not answered the question that you asked. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 26, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are my racks unusual?

    On Thursday, March 26, 2020, 08:13:35 AM PDT, Outlook Express wrote:
    Mahjong Racks
    Hi Tom,
    I have 4 wooden racks which came with an antique mahjong set.
    The racks are burgundy - color and bear a white disk, which I believe is ivory, into which a Wind letter has been finely carved. The letters are black.
    In addition, the racks bear a golden colored label “Mah-Jongg Hamley Bros Ltd London”. The racks came in their original black cardboard box - no longer in good condition, which is marked “Mah-Jongg Wings”.
    In your opinion, are these racks unusual ?
    Best wishes and thanks for your marvelous website.
    Peter A.
    Obtener Outlook para iOS

    Peter, I can't comment without seeing photos. And "unusual" is too subjective. What's unusual to you might not be unusual to me, and vice versa. I need a different question (not "are they unusual"). And I need photos.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 26, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Two-handed mah-jongg

    On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 01:57:18 PM PDT, Fran Johnson wrote:
    Two-Handed Mah Jongg
    Are there rules for two-handed Mah Jongg for those of us grounded to our houses during this COVID-19 pandemic?

    Yes, there are, Fran! See FAQ 13. Then click the link that points to your brand of mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    NMJL 2020 card news (The 2020 card, part 2)

    Dear readers,
    As you know, a nasty virus is changing our world. If you haven't visited NationalMahJonggLeague.org lately, maybe you haven't heard what impact the pandemic is having on American mah-jongg and specifically the paradigm of the yearly card showing up in our mailboxes on or around April First. The League has had to close, the same as all non-essential businesses in New York City. Card orders from before March 16 will arrive at the expected time (maybe), but orders from after March 16 will be delayed. Keep an eye on the League's website for further updates.
    A lot of us will have to keep on using the 2019 card until the pandemic is lifted. C'est la vie, quelle fromage! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What does it mean if we get a lot of wall games?

    On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 02:29:15 PM PDT, Diane P wrote:
    wall games
    Hi Tom,
    Four of us played approximately 5 games last night and we only had one win Mahjong and 4 wall games. Do you think that many wall games is indicative of poor playing or good defensive playing? I was missing only one tile to Mahjong on 2 of the wall games and a couple of other players were close too.
    Thanks so much.
    Cordially,
    Diane P C

    Hi, Diane! I wrote FAQ 19-BT in response to this oft-asked question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. I hope the four of you will get through the pandemic safely. - Tom


    Future tile / 14 tiles / picking ahead - supported by software?

    On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 09:07:08 AM PDT, Iris T wrote:
    14 tile mah jong
    Can my group play 14 tile mah jong on this site.
    While I was reading your rules it said u had to pick a tile before exchanging for a joker. That is 13 tile maj can we adjust to 14 tile throwing first so that means exchanging first.
    I hope u understand my question.
    Thank you
    Iris

    Hi, Iris! You wrote:

    Can my group play 14 tile mah jong on this site.
    You can't play anything on this site. All I have here is questions & answers, FAQs, and columns. I do not have any game software to play here. You can find links to American mah-jongg games in FAQ 5.

    While I was reading your rules
    These are not my rules. I just interpret the League's rules here.

    it said u had to pick a tile before exchanging for a joker. That is 13 tile maj can we adjust to 14 tile throwing first so that means exchanging first. I hope u understand my question.
    I sincerely doubt that you can play "14 tiles" on any online game. Game developers have all seen the League's rule #1 on the card, in all capital letters: "NO PICKING OR LOOKING AHEAD." But you can try the games and find out if maybe one of them has that feature available as an option. See FAQ 5.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How different will the 2020 card look ? (The 2020 card, part 1)

    On Friday, March 20, 2020, 12:06:10 PM PDT, Sue wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:How different will the 2020 card look ?

    I have no way of knowing that, Sue. Based on past tradition, it'll be red instead of blue, and the every-other-year hands will switch to their alternate configurations. For instance, Consec #1 alternates every year (pairs at the ends, or two pairs up front). But I really have no advance knowledge of the upcoming card.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 20, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Play by play analysis, part 3

    On Friday, March 20, 2020, 10:55:38 AM PDT, Pete S wrote:
    Re: Play books
    Thank you!

    On Friday, March 20, 2020, 10:55:14 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Wesley S
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Wesley S. You can view the transaction details online .
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Wesley S
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you too, Pete! May the tiles be with you. And keep your grubby paws away from your face!
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 20, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Play by play analysis, part 2

    On Thursday, March 19, 2020, 11:52:40 PM PDT, heaton.ray wrote:
    Play by play analysis
    Hi Tom,
    "Riichi Paifu", "Paifu" or "牌譜" are other search terms Pete could use to see how Riichi gameplay is recorded. All three are really the same thing: I found the most successful search of the three is "Riichi Paifu".
    Paifu (牌譜) means "tile record" and is the term used in Riichi to mean a record of how a game has been played. They can be a challenge to read, but the search will provide links to guides in English too.
    Best wishes, and I hope you stay well during these unusual times!
    Ray

    Great info, Ray! In case Pete wants to search for riichi paifu in Japanese, the search string to use is "リーチ牌譜."
    May the tiles be with you. And don't touch your face.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 20, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Play-by-play analysis, akin to chess notation

    On Thursday, March 19, 2020, 06:31:33 PM PDT, Pete S wrote:
    Play books
    Tom: Your book is great - very interesting, well thought out and informative. I have a question about play sheets from tournaments. I know for chess you can obtain a play-by-play outline for study of strategy. Does anything like this exist for mahjong?

    Hi, Pete. To record a chess game is easy, using standard chess notation from a known starting arrangement of pieces. To record a mah-jongg game on paper would be much less simple. First you need to know what each player is holding, then what each player picks and discards. For that what you need is video. And in Japan, that's exactly what they do. Go on YouTube and input "麻雀" in YouTube's Search box and you'll see how Japanese competitions are televised. You can study any video and learn a lot about Japanese high-level strategy. That search string means "mahjong" and will show a lot more than just Japanese play-by-play videos. But after you've watched a few, YouTube's algorithms will present you with lots more. If you're interested in trying to work out a mah-jongg notation, you might want to look at how they do it pictorially in Japanese strategy books. I might have one or two listed in FAQ 3. I experimented with notation in some of my early columns.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 19, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I play online with my friends, part 3

    On Thursday, March 19, 2020, 04:57:24 PM PDT, Annabelle Y wrote:
    Chinese Online MJ to play with friends.
    Hi Tom… I am one of the lucky ones that had read your book on MJ and have been hooked playing with wonderful groups of people.
    Now that we have had this insidious virus that has brought everything to a halt… I am hoping that you can direct me in finding an app that my friends and I can use to play with each other.
    Someone had found an American MJ to play online that could include friends… As I don’t know the complexity of this game, I have no idea how it works.
    I would appreciate any avenues that you can have me hunt.
    Avid MJ player, AB

    Hi, AB! Just check FAQ 5's online links and Chinese Official links. As I explained to Ellen B yesterday (below), any good online game enables the host (the person who sets up the game) to invite friends to join the table. All of your players have to have a computer and all be a member/user on the same site. Then all of you have to be online, logged into the game at the appointed time, then the host sets up a game as a private game and invites the other 3 of you.
    Do you all have Windows computers? Or do some of you have Apple systems instead? You'll need to do some checking and coordinating with your friends, but the answer is yes. You can all play together online, if you all have computers and you find the right software/solution for the four of you. Maybe some readers will chime in with their experiences using one of those programs, and setting up online tables with their friends.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 19, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How can Fan #52 combine with Fan #19?

    On Thursday, March 19, 2020, 01:04:03 PM PDT, Glenn W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Chinese Mahjong Scoring
    Hand #52 “All Types"
    I must be overlooking something simple but how can you combine this hand (opts) with points for 7 pairs as well?
    Thanks,
    Karen

    Hi, Karen! Two of the pairs would have to be the same types as two other pairs. The hand just needs at least one pair of dots, at least one of bams, at least one of craks, at least one of winds, and at least one of dragons. If you have all five types, that's fan #52.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 19, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I play online with my friends, part 2

    On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 07:57:20 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Ellen B
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Ellen B. You can view the transaction details online .
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Ellen B
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you, Ellen! I hope you and your friends continue to enjoy playing together, online.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 18, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I play online with my friends

    On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 06:01:57 AM PDT, Ellen B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    We have canceled our weekly Mah Jongg game for the duration. We are a group of nine women from sixty to eighty. I know you can play online, but are there sites where you can play with your friends? I think many players might want to consider this option. Ellen

    Hi, Ellen. Yes, any good online game enables the host (the person who sets up the game) to invite friends to join the table. I assume your group of women plays American/NMJL rules. See FAQ 5. MahjongTime, the NMJL game, MyJongg, and Real Mah Jongg Online (the first 4 on the list) are all playable online. All of your players have to have a computer and an account on one of those 4 games (you all have to be a member/user on the same site). Then all of you have to be online, logged into the game at the appointed time, then the host sets up a game as a private game and invites the other 3 of you.
    Do you all have Windows computers? Or do some of you have Apple systems instead? You'll need to do some checking and coordinating with your friends, but the answer is yes. You can all play together online, if you all have computers and you find the right software/solution for the four of you. Maybe some readers will chime in with their experiences using those four programs, and setting up online tables with their friends.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 18, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Opinions on playing during the health emergency, part 3

    On Sunday, March 15, 2020, 02:51:01 PM PDT, 832yankee wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I have a meetup group and a Golf Club membership. I just washed my tiles
    No one pays anything. It is free..I pay.
    I brought a spray bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol
    One lady refused to have her hands sprayed
    Said FDA said it did not work for viruses years ago.
    she is in error as it did not work for all viruses
    We can't be safe but my tiles stay cleaner
    In Meetup the leader can cancel anyone
    I don't want to be unjust but really don't want her in my group. Cancel Yes? We played=dumb me...
    Because of COVID-19 I cancelled all Meetups for a month to Month= Wait n see..

    On Sunday, March 15, 2020, 02:53:24 PM PDT, 832yankee wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sorry for capitols the 19 virus is printed that way. Thanks for all you do..

    Hi, Yankee. I think we all have to make our own decisions, and our decisions need to be informed by what we hear from reliable sources. The mainstream press* is not the enemy of the people, and they are not fake news - we can believe what the mainstream press* tells us. Health officials are unlikely to give us wrong information, even if they are or have been under pressure from the administration to do so. We cannot believe anything Donald Trump says, because so much of it is self-aggrandizing, exaggerations, misunderstandings, and lies. But listen to the health officials (especially when they contradict him), as long as Trump isn't stifling them. Thanks to the mainstream press*, we are being kept informed of developing cases and numbers and local closures and all. As the danger heightens, it'll be normal to increase our social distancing. Until our local/state authorities start cracking down on people who are out and about, we get to decide for ourselves how distant to keep our socializing. We don't need to ask what the NMJL thinks. This is our health, so we need to make up our own minds.
    If we take the virus seriously, exercise due caution, don't panic, and don't touch our faces, we can get through this. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 15, 2020 (updated 3/17 and 3/18)
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Not including Fox News, which seems to operate mostly as a partisan megaphone for Trump, thus its news accuracy cannot be trusted.



    NMJL's opinion on playing, part 2

    On Thursday, March 12, 2020, 05:23:37 PM PDT, Pete S wrote:
    NMJL opinion on playing now revisited
    Hi Tom, I know nobody asked me but I'm sticking my oar in anyway. I know
    Gladys Grad just sent out a notice concerning her tournament in Vegas
    and I live in Seattle so god knows I've been hearing about large
    gatherings etc etc. But I think if one uses a little common sense you
    can survive this without barricading yourself in your bedroom. I play MJ
    with several groups and we haven't stopped playing (yet). One group is
    confined to the "retirement community" I live in. When we play, if
    someone coughs or sneezes, we all give them the evil eye and spit on the
    ground (kidding!) We're all adults who know if they have symptoms they
    should stay home.
    Same with the college kids I play Riichi with. If someone isn't feeling
    well they don't come for the game but we haven't stopped playing. Of
    course, we all could be dead soon, so what do I know.
    Tell mom I died doing something stupid.

    Thanks, Pete. I think we all just need to use reasonable precautions, given what we know about this illness.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 12, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Fifth player as bettor

    On Thursday, March 12, 2020, 03:30:43 PM PDT, Jettie M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How do you play with the better and if one chooses the winner how is she paid?

    Hi, Jettie! I hope FAQ 19-W-4 helps. See also FAQ 13-A.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 12, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Nervous about playing in my first tournament

    On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 12:29:17 PM PDT, Jan T wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android I somewhat reluctantly signed up for a local Mahjong tournament that benefits a worthwhile charity. Do you have some advice or strategy for someone experiencing their first tournament? I'm enjoying your website. Thanks,Jan

    Jan, your biggest problem is nerves. Just play your best. Listen up when the rules are announced, and read any rules handouts they give you.
    Use standard rules - no picking ahead, no "hot wall," no "double dice" or any other table rules are used in tournaments unless otherwise announced or in handouts.
    If someone challenges a move you made, and if the table agrees that the challenge is correct, accept the setback with as much equanimity as you can muster. If someone challenges you, and the table doesn't seem in full agreement with the challenge, raise your hand to get a judge's attention, and abide by the judge's finding. Good sportsmanship is a must. Be nice, but stick to your guns when you're right.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 11, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    NMJL's opinion on playing now?

    On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 12:32:58 PM PDT, Nancy K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: What does the mah-jongg league think about still playing Mahj during the coronavirus outbreak?
    Nancy I.
    San Diego
    Sent from my iPhone

    I haven't seen a statement, Nancy. You'd have to ask the League.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 11, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Oops! Changed my mind! Backsies! Do-over!

    On Monday, March 9, 2020, 08:29:09 PM PDT, Betty M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: when someone moves a tile from the wall does he have to take it or can he call the previous tile.
    Thanks, Betty M
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Betty!
    According to FAQ 19-AM, once you've moved a wall tile, you've committed to taking it. Check out FAQ 19-AM for the other frequently-asked "change of heart" questions and answers. (These come up a lot.)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are they both dead, part 2

    On Monday, March 9, 2020, 06:02:28 AM PDT, Susan wrote:
    Follow up from Feb. 20th
    Tom, on Feb. 20th I wrote asking your take on a situation concerning a player handing another player an incorrect tile during a joker exchange, because there was no written rule, that we could find, from the NMJL. Since you offered you opinion, I have written the league and asked for an official ruling. I thought I would share their response with you. A player did a Joker exchange and handed the wrong tile to the player who had an exposed Joker. The player with the exposure took the tile and added it to her exposure. She then had an invalid exposure and her hand is dead. There is no penalty for the player who handed her the wrong tile. Susan
    Sent from Xfinity Connect App

    Hi, Susan!
    I can't see the letter (your email didn't have an attachment), but you said:

    The player with the exposure took the tile and added it to her exposure. She then had an invalid exposure and her hand is dead.
    That rule was acknowledged by your Feb. 20 players, below.

    There is no penalty for the player who handed her the wrong tile.
    That's consistent with the misnamed discard rules (a misnamer is not penalized for erroneous exposures resulting from the misnaming). Players gotta keep their eyes open. Not only their ears.

    Thanks, Susan. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Seeking a particular type of set

    On Sunday, March 8, 2020, 04:35:03 PM PDT, Amy McGinnis wrote:
    I've been seeking a set like the one you show... help??
    So I wrote a few weeks ago and told you how awesome your site is. You
    very kindly took the time to say thank you.
    Now I find myself landing back at your site via a google search for a
    particular sort of set that I've been unable to locate anywhere. My
    friend has it and she got it from her jewish grandma... it is (I learned
    from your Q&A via Mr Mike) most likely of HDPE but surprisingly doing an
    internet search for "polyethylene mahjongg tiles" got me, um, exactly
    one relevant hit... your site.
    I will completely understand if you don't reply to my sad solo query...
    but if you happen to know where I could find a set that looks like the
    2nd from left tile (photo below, from your site; it is the slightly
    translucent style with the *word* JOKER) I would be ever so grateful to
    know! Playing with tiles that have a certain feel brings me a ridiculous
    degree of pleasure. Who knew!?! And I have a birthday coming up and a
    lovely husband who always appreciates gift suggestions.
    Thank you again for creating a delightful site. It's fun.
    Best, Amy

    Hi, Amy.
    That tile is from a set made by Kwong Fat Cheung. KFC is listed in FAQ 7Q but you should just contact a domestic vendor, starting with FAQ 4A, and ask if they carry KFC sets.
    May the tiles be with you... literally.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 8, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Two players called it for mah-jongg but the first one was in error

    On Saturday, March 7, 2020, 06:58:04 PM PST, Barbara L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    1. I called a tile for mahjong. Exposed my hand.
    2. Person to my right needed same tile for mahjong. She exposed her hand thinking she lost.
    3. I realized I did not have valid mahjong.
    4. Could she claim mahjong once she exposed her hand?
    Thanks!
    Sent from my iPad

    Yes, Barbara. The second declarer can have the tile since the first one was invalid. This is rule 13 (c) on page 20 of the 2020 edition of the League's official rulebook. See also FAQ 19-i-3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 7, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA



    The League's official rulebook on the left. My book on the right.
    Every table should have at least one of them at hand.


    A couple of Qs

    On Friday, March 6, 2020, 10:44:24 AM PST, Nancy D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I am a beginner. Are Flowers (FFF) in a hand considered a Pung or singles? In other words, can I use a joker to complete the three flowers set?
    Also is there ever a time that you can use all jokers in a set? For example, I need 3 Flowers. Can I use 3 jokers?
    Thank you for your help. I can’t seem to find answers to these questions.
    Nancy

    Hi, Nancy! You asked:

    Are Flowers (FFF) in a hand considered a Pung or singles?
    I assume your reason for asking is that flower tiles do not look identical. No matter what designs are on the flower tiles, they are considered identical. FF is a pair, not two singles. FFF is a pung, not three singles. FFFF is a kong, not four singles. You can use a joker in FFF or FFFF but not in FF.

    Also is there ever a time that you can use all jokers in a set? For example, I need 3 Flowers. Can I use 3 jokers?
    As I told carolh On Friday, February 28, 2020, 03:57:34 PM PST ("Do I have to have a "natural" tile (a non-joker) in a pung or kong?") - yes, you can have an all-joker pung or kong or quint. See rule 13 on page 23 of the 2020 edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the League's official rulebook. You'll also find this rule stated in the Jokers section of FAQ 19; it's FAQ 19-L.

    I can’t seem to find answers to these questions.
    FAQ 19 is broken down into categories to make finding questions a little easier. You can also use your browser's Find feature to highlight keywords relevant to your search. But sometimes even I have to use Google to search my site.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 6, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    ESWN, part 2

    On Thursday, March 5, 2020, 12:30:46 PM PST, Pete S wrote:
    the ESMN question.
    I always thought the ESWN naming convention came from the East player
    *facing* East, in which case South would be on their right hand side.
    Don't the Chinese tournaments hang a banner on the "East" wall? Your
    comment about "looking through from the other side of the planet" is
    interesting.
    -Pete-
    Tell mom I died doing something stupid.

    Hi, Pete! I like what you said:

    I always thought the ESWN naming convention came from the East player *facing* East
    Interesting. First time I heard that one. I heard it was from looking up to the sky instead of down at the ground. I made up that thing about looking through the Earth from the other side (harking back to the time I tried to dig my way to China as a kid*).

    Don't the Chinese tournaments hang a banner on the "East" wall?
    Yes, they do. At the time, I assumed that really was the East wall. And when a player sat at the East seat, s/he had her back to that wall (being the eastmost player).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 5, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    *I made a rookie mistake: I was digging in hard ground instead of soft ground. Might have gotten down 6 or 7 inches before deciding China was too far.


    ESWN is wrong, isn't it? Shouldn't it be ENWS?

    On Thursday, March 5, 2020, 08:27:01 AM PST, <shawnmartin. wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    So crazy question – on the diagrams I see, South is to the right of East – but that is not how it is geographically?? North would be to the right of East???
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Where are you seeing those diagrams, shawnmartin? Only every type of mah-jongg in the world except American mah-jongg uses ESWN for the seat order. If you're looking at diagrams for an Asian form of mah-jongg, just stop it. It was my understanding from your previous email that you play and teach American mah-jongg. Americans don't use ESWN. They use East, dealer's right, dealer's opposite, and dealer's left instead (I use E234 in my diagrams), because Americans think ESWN looks wrong (Americans think looking down on the table should be like looking down at the surface of the Earth from space instead of looking through from the other side of the planet). Crazy Americans! See FAQ 20-K for an explanation. But please don't tell your students of American mah-jongg about ESWN. It will only confuse them.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 5, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are these terms real, or are they only used in New York?

    On Thursday, March 5, 2020, 07:44:33 AM PST, <shawnmartin. wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A the terms meld and washing
    Hi Tom – I am teaching a class in Atlanta- I learned to play in New York, my teacher used the term “meld” to refer to the blocks of tiles in the hands, and the term “Washing the tiles” for when you mix them up face down on the table. My fried who is helping me reviewed the materials says she has never heard those terms before – are they common/appropriate terms to use in Ameican Mah Jongg?
    Thanks!
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Hello, shawn! You asked:

    in New York, my teacher used the term “meld” to refer to the blocks of tiles in the hands
    That's incorrect. The term "meld" can be used as a verb or a noun. When used as a verb, it means to make an exposure atop the rack. When used as a noun, it refers to an exposed pung, kong, quint, or sextet atop the rack. Not concealed in the hand. The term "meld" is defined in my book in the glossary, on page 238.

    and the term “Washing the tiles” for when you mix them up face down
    Sure, I've heard the term used that way.

    My fried who is helping me reviewed the materials says she has never heard those terms before
    This doesn't surprise or concern me. A lot of people have never heard some terms. Like "blind pass," for instance - a lot of people call that "stealing," which makes no sense (since you aren't keeping the blindly passed tile). Say "blind pass" to that person and she'll say "I never heard that term before." See column 353 for more about "stealing," and I've written several columns on misused/misunderstood "Words."

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 5, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Frequently Asked Question 19-K

    On Thursday, March 5, 2020, 06:54:45 AM PST, <kareng1 wrote:
    Calling a tile...placing it on your rack
    Is there any penalty if you call a tile and then place that tile on your rack before exposing your tile with your pung, cong or quint?

    Hi, kareng!
    Read page 14 of the official rulebook. If you don't have the official rulebook, see FAQ 19-K. The League says it's "preferable" to place the tile atop your rack before exposing tiles from the hand. No mention of any penalty.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 5, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA



    The League's official rulebook on the left. My book on the right.
    Every table should have at least one of them at hand.


    Appreciation

    On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 03:17:05 AM PST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    paypal Mar 4, 2020 03:16:49 PST
    You received a payment
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name: Evelyn H
    Profile status: Active
    Subscription details
    Amount received: $10.00 USD
    For: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you, Evelyn! A new NMJL card is coming soon, and I'm going to cover it in new columns, so keep them eyes peeled!
    May the tiles be with you. Now March Forth and play mah-jongg!
    Tom Sloper


    Is it legal to call a discarded redeemable tile in order to redeem it for a joker?

    On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 01:44:44 PM PST, Gerre B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player C discarded 9 BAM. Player B had exposed a kong with 2 9BAM and 2 jokers. (So player C missed the Opportunity to exchange her tile for one of the jokers.). I (player D) called the 9BAM for a mahjong. Is that legal?
    Thanks,
    Gerre B

    No, Gerre. It isn't legal. Read FAQ 19-G-2. This rule is in the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy. I'd cite a page and a rule number, but it keeps changing every time they issue a new version.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA



    The League's official rulebook on the left. My book on the right.
    Every table should have at least one of them at hand.


    When is a tile too late to call?

    On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 09:36:03 AM PST, Joanne R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    When is a tile too late to call?
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Joanne
    iPhone x

    Hi, Joanne! You're asking about what I call "the Window of Opportunity," one of the most important rulesets in American (NMJL) mah-jongg. Important because so many arguments can occur when someone at the table has an incomplete understanding of the Window rules. You can read all about the Window of Opportunity rules in the "Claiming" section of FAQ 19. The Window closes when next player either racks, discards, declares mah-jongg, or exchanges a joker (new, 2020: or has merely announced a joker exchange). The window is also closed by a player claiming the discard and starting to make an exposure. (See FAQ 19.H.3.) These rules are in the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy. I'd cite a page and a rule number, but it keeps changing every time they issue a new version.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA



    The League's official rulebook on the left. My book on the right.
    Every table should have at least one of them at hand.


    Can I claim a discard for a 2019?

    On Monday, March 2, 2020, 09:24:25 PM PST, beverley M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can I pick up a soap that has been discarded to make 2019 and then expose my 2019 on the rack?

    No, Beverley. The only permissible exposures (prior to mah-jongg) are pungs, kongs, quints, and (when on the card) sextets. Read FAQ 19-E.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. In the FAQ, it refers to a "202x" - I prematurely changed it from "201x" - I realized I was premature, but I haven't changed it back since the 2020 card is coming very soon. - Tom


    Can I use that joker for my exposure if it's for Mah Jongg?

    On Monday, March 2, 2020, 02:56:22 AM PST, Louise D wrote:
    MJ Question
    I know I can't exchange for a joker and use that joker for my exposure, but can I use that joker for my exposure if it's for Mah Jongg?
    Lou J.

    Hi, Lou!
    I'm sorry, but I do not understand what you are asking.

    I know I can't exchange for a joker and use that joker for my exposure
    I can't tell if you're asking FAQ 19-G or FAQ 19-M.

    but can I use that joker for my exposure if it's for Mah Jongg?
    I'm not sure, but I think FAQ 19-G-2 answers your question.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    March 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She claimed a discard, exposed a pair, then redeemed a joker

    On Saturday, February 29, 2020, 11:24:34 AM PST, Lou B wrote:
    MJ Question
    Help. I am not sure I can explain this issue last night to make sense. One of the players had exposed 3 tiles with a joker. A few turns later, after she discarded she stated she forgot to do a joker exchange ....we stated she would have to wait until it was her turn and she could do it after she drew her tile but before the discard. Then the person before her discarded a flower and now the player claimed MJ. She used the flower as a pair, exchanged her joker and put it with something else to make her MJ. One player stated it was not a legal MJ because of the sequence of events.
    Was this a legal play or not?
    Lou B

    No, Lou, it was not legal. Read Frequently Asked Question 19-M. Please always check the FAQs before asking a question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Leap Day, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Oops! Backsies! Do-over! Undo! I didn't mean to do that!

    On Saturday, February 29, 2020, 12:55:08 PM PST, Lynn wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom, playing American Mah Jongg yesterday this situation arose: Player A threw a flower; Player C called flower and said Mah Jongg and put up 3 flowers and 3 dragons; then said no she didn’t have MJ. Player D said she was dead and Player B said she had to put dragons on rack below but could leave flowers. I, at first, thought she could leave dragons and flowers and make a new hand but others said she was dead and had to put all on slanted rack. Finally she put flowers below and I don’t remember what she did with dragons. Anyway, could she have left both dragons and flowers on rack and continue playing another hand or was she dead? If she was dead could she have left either dragons or flowers on rack since neither had a joker. Since the wrong number of flowers was her mistake, should they have stayed on rack? Thanks again for answering my questions. You would think that after playing MJ for 14 years together we would all know what to do when something like this arises!! Hope you are keeping healthy and have found some medical masks. SIL was at Home Depot at 6:00am this morning and got the last box of surgical masks after truck bringing 2 boxes came in at 4:00am this morning. Many thanks for your Q&A and all help you provide to new and old (in both senses) MJ players, Lynn P. and new 8 yo Westie Rescue, Brody who has been mine for past month
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Hi, Lynn! You asked:

    said Mah Jongg and put up 3 flowers and 3 dragons; then said no she didn’t have MJ.
    This is a classic  "Oops!," "Backsies! Do-over! Undo!," "I didn't mean to do that!," and "Can I do it over?" question, Lynn. FAQ 19-AM-5.

    others said she was dead and had to put all on slanted rack.
    They're right.

    Since the wrong number of flowers was her mistake
    If that was her only mistake, she'd be allowed to fix it. (FAQ 19-AF.) But she also exposed dragons. She dead.

    Hope you are keeping healthy and have found some medical masks. SIL was at Home Depot at 6:00am this morning and got the last box of surgical masks after truck bringing 2 boxes came in at 4:00am this morning. Many thanks for your Q&A and all help you provide to new and old (in both senses) MJ players, Lynn P. and new 8 yo Westie Rescue, Brody who has been mine for past month
    I doubt masks are going to help. I'm going to wash my hands a lot and try try try to keep my hands away from my nose, mouth, and eyes. Teaching at university, with lots of international students, I've got my work cut out for me. I was avoiding shaking hands for the past month, but slipped up 2 times this week. Gotta be more careful.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Leap Day, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do I have to have a natural, part 2
    On Friday, February 28, 2020, 05:23:42 PM PST, <carolh wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you
    Sent from my iPad

    You're welcome!


    Do I have to have a "natural" tile (a non-joker) in a pung or kong?

    On Friday, February 28, 2020, 03:57:34 PM PST, <carolh wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If I need, for example, 3 seven cracks for a hand and I have 3 jokers and no sevens, can I use the 3 jokers for my sevens ?
    Or if I need 4 of something I have none of can I use 4 jokers?
    Thanks,
    Carol
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Carol!
    You asked:

    If I need, for example, 3 seven cracks for a hand and I have 3 jokers and no sevens, can I use the 3 jokers for my sevens ?
    Yes, you can use a pung of jokers. Your second question is the exact same question:

    Or if I need 4 of something I have none of can I use 4 jokers?
    Yes. You can use a kong of jokers. This is rule 13 on page 23 of the 2020 edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the League's official rulebook.


    This is the League's official rulebook. It has been revised several times recently.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    You'll also find this rule stated in the Jokers section of FAQ 19; it's FAQ 19-L. Please always check FAQ 19 before asking me a question about American rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 28, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Backsies! Do-over! Undo! (FAQ 19-AM, the "Change of Heart" questions)

    On Thursday, February 27, 2020, 07:25:38 PM PST, William H wrote:
    Discarded tile
    Player A discards and names tile, player B picks from wall but has not yet racked when Player A realizes she discarded wrong tile. Can she take back the tile and discard another?
    Thank you
    Lorrene
    Sent from my iPad

     Hi, Lorrene!
    All of the "Oops!," "Backsies! Do-over! Undo!," "I didn't mean to do that!," "I changed my mind," and "Can I do it over?" questions are answered in FAQ 19-AM  (the "Change of Heart" questions FAQ). But the narrow instance you mentioned (discarder wants to take back her unwise, instantly-regretted discard) is actually FAQ 19-B  (the second FAQ I wrote). No! She cannot take it back. Actions are commitments. Once she put it down, it was DOWN. It was now available for claiming by any player except the discarder. Players need to understand that most actions are not undoable. They're commitments to action, ending the turn, thus allowing other players to play on.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 27, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do you know the history, part 2

    On Thursday, February 27, 2020, 07:16:00 PM PST, Penny wrote:
    Re: Question
    Ok. Guess I deserved that response. I think the tiles are French Ivory and I was just trying to find out about them, I bought them from an estate sale and no one knew anything about them. I’m new to mahjong and thought it would be easier to find a match. I’m finding there are an awful lot of unique tiles out there. I bought these because I thought they were beautiful . If I want to play with them I may have to learn a new style of mahjong. I have made the two missing tiles with the help of some nice paper and a lazer printer so it will function as a set. Thanks for your input, I was just hoping I could find a little about the set and you are said to have a lot of knowledge. Thank you
    Sent from my iPhone

     Hi, Penny!
    Oh! French Ivory (celluloid)! Yes, now I understand why you bought the set. I couldn't see the celluloid lines in your tiny eBay photos. That is a beauty, but gee, those missing tiles...

     I have made the two missing tiles with the help of some nice paper and a lazer printer
     Wish you'd mentioned the first time that the photos were not showing the set's current makeup.

     so it will function as a set.
     Not for American mah-jongg, though. You have 146 tiles (at the time celluloid tiles were made, the standard set size was 148 tiles). American needs 152. So you can use the set to play any kind of mah-jongg except American or Vietnamese. See  FAQ 2.

    I thought it would be easier to find a match. I’m finding there are an awful lot of unique tiles out there.
     It's possible that a tile seller might have some of those tiles. Incomplete sets (such as yours) sometimes get broken up and sold off piecemeal. You can check my Tiles For Sale  bulletin board. And you can post on my Tiles Wanted bulletin board. Ya never know.

     I was just hoping I could find a little about the set
     Sure. I just need a good question to go from. (As I wrote in  FAQ 7-P.) I can answer most questions, but I am not an expert on set manufacturers. (As I wrote in FAQ 7-U.) So don't ask me for a manufacturer's name, date, or location. For that kind of stuff, see "Other Excellent Mah-Jongg Sites" in FAQ 4.

     you are said to have a lot of knowledge.
     Well, yes, but there are some gaps in my knowledge.

    May the tiles be with you, Penny!
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 27, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    An error occurred in our 3-player Charleston

    On Thursday, February 27, 2020, 12:00:10 PM PST, Roland Coombs wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I understand that passing a Joker isn’t allowed under any circumstances during the Charleston.
    While playing with only 3 players and building 4 walls the Charleston was started and completed.
    Once the game was in progress, a player said that she had mistakenly passed a joker to the person less wall.
    She won the game shortly after her confession of passing the joker.
    We didn’t know what to do or say to her, any recommendation?

    Hi, Roland. I'm sorry, but I can't help you. When you make up your own rules, you have to figure out what to do when an error occurs as a direct result of your made-up rules. See FAQ 13-A (the 3-player rules) and FAQ 14 (table rules). [See the PostScript below]
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 27, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. (later that evening) The above has been my standard reply to problems arising from unofficial table rules (borrowed from the NMJL's standard reply). Sometimes offering suggestions for how to deal with such problems can get one into a complicated multi-person argument. Because at that point, you're not working from established rules. And you're not engaging in game design, because at that point there are competing ideas for what is fair to all, based on different approaches to the game.
    Glad that's off my chest! But I'm going to venture a game design opinion on Roland's question. When you do a 3-player Charleston, you have to make a rule about jokers. Maybe if you obtain a joker from the Queen's wall*, you have to put it face-up on the table and pick again. Then at the end of the Charleston, those are turned face down and mixed back into the Queen's wall. Or what my group used to do was keep any jokers you obtain from the Queen's wall. I mean, as long as we were making up a 3P Charleston, we decided to have fun with it. You have to make a rule. And there will be other times you'll have to make a rule to go along with your 3P Charleston table rule.

    * (That's who you're playing with as a fourth: the ghost of the Queen of Mah-Jongg.)


    Do you know the history?

    On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 03:15:34 PM PST, Penny wrote:
    Question
    Hi Tom,
    I really enjoy your site. I recently purchased this FI set. I need tiles for jokers but am not having much luck. I think I can use two of the missing tiles and duplicate them for a complete set, but am still missing 6 tiles for jokers. It’s unusual and Ives never seen one like it.do you know the history? Thank you
    Penny P
    Sent from my

    Hi, Penny. You wrote:

    I really enjoy your site.
    Thanks! I really enjoy hearing that!

    I recently purchased this FI set.
    Cool! What does FI mean?

    I need tiles for jokers
    Then why did you buy that set? If you play American mah-jongg, you needed an American mah-jongg set with enough tiles. Also, it looks like you're missing a 9B and a 7D. You need more than jokers!

    but am not having much luck.
    Yes, that's a real problem! I recently had to throw away a set after one of my students somehow lost a 7D. I tried everything to get a matching tile so I could sticker a replacement, and nobody could help. The set was ruined, so it went into the trash. You can try the Tiles For Sale board and the Tiles Wanted board, if you haven't yet.

    It’s unusual and Ives never seen one like it.
    I assume you're saying the set is unusual. What's unusual about it? I guess that's why you bought it even though it's missing some tiles.

    do you know the history?
    I'm sorry, you've lost me. I don't know what you're asking me. All I know about the history of the set is that some of its tiles were lost, and then you bought it.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 26, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I use zero as a consecutive number?

    On Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 04:52:09 AM PST, JoAnn S wrote:
    White Dragons
    My question is can a white dragon be used as a zero in a consecutive run,
    such as 00,111, 2222, 333, 44, I say no, some of the other players are saying yes.
    Thanks
    JoAnn S

    No, you can't. JoAnn. You can read the explanation in FAQ 19-BH. Please always check FAQ 19 before emailing me a question about NMJL/American rules.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 26, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How much is paid for winning by joker redemption? Can you use a joker in a 2019?

    On Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 08:45:16 PM PST, Wendy G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: 2 questions
    Player 1 threw a flower
    Player 2 picked it up
    Player 2 then replaced a joker that was exposed on player 3’s rack
    Used the joker for mahjongg.
    Does the player that threw the flower pay double?
    Or does everyone pay double because the player stole the joker.
    In theory - both actions gave her mahjongg.
    2nd question:
    Can you pick up a 2, a soap, a 1, or a 9 if someone plays it, and then expose 2019? - NOT for mahjongg.
    Thanks
    Wendy

    Hi, Wendy! Your 2 questions:

    Does the player that threw the flower pay double?
    No. The whole thing was an illegal play. Player 2 is dead.

    In theory - both actions gave her mahjongg.
    The way I read your description, Player 2 picked up the flower and used the flower to redeem a joker. If I am understanding correctly, the answer is no, because Player 2 made an illegal act when she picked up a discarded redeemable tile and redeemed it for a joker. Read FAQ 19-G-2.

    But if I wrongly interpreted what happened (what actually happened was that Player 2 picked up the flower, and then used it to expose a flower pung or flower kong, then redeemed the joker from a tile in her hand and with the joker declared mah-jongg), then read FAQ 19-AN.

    Can you pick up a 2, a soap, a 1, or a 9 if someone plays it, and then expose 2019? - NOT for mahjongg.
    No. Read FAQ 19-E, and read the back of the card. If you can't use a joker in it, you can't call to expose it.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Was it once legal to call the "same"?

    On Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 09:23:44 AM PST, Timothy A wrote:
    Mah Jongg Question
    Hi Tom, Just a quick question that I’m hoping you can answer.
    To the best of your knowledge, has the NMJL ever had a rule where, when a player discards a Joker and calls it ’Same' a player can call for it and pick ur the previously discarded tile? ie: I discard a 4 Bam, the next player discards a Joker and names it ‘same’ and a third player calls for the discard and picks up my discarded 4 Bam.
    Now I know the rules played by today do not allow this but was wondering about in years past if this was allowed.
    Thanks
    TimA

    Yes, Tim. That was a rule long ago. See FAQ 19.G.3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Wrong number of tiles during the Charleston

    On Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 02:12:03 PM PST, Renée S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: If you don’t select all your tiles, then discover your one tile short during the Charleston, is your hand dead???
    Sent from my iPhone Reneé

    It depends, Reneé or Renée. See the official rulebook, rule 9 on page 18.

    If you are the last in order (the player sitting to the left of the dealer), and if the dealer has not discarded yet, you are allowed to pick your thirteenth tile from the wall. If you are some other player (not the dealer's lefty), then I guess your hand is dead, but if it wasn't a tournament, I would recommend everybody throw in their tiles and redeal. That's what you do if anybody has the wrong number of tiles and the Charleston hasn't happened yet (throw them in).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What's the meaning of the red paint on the high odd bams?

    On Monday, February 24, 2020, 06:31:20 AM PST, D N wrote:
    question
    Hi Tom.
    Do you know what the significance, or meaning is behind having the 5 - 7 -9 bam tiles having red painted on them?? I cannot find any explanation on this. I've included a photo showing tiles from 3 different sets I have, all showing the same.
    As always, thanks for your help!
    Debbie N.

    Sorry, Debbie. That standard was established before I was born, so I wasn't present at the meeting where it was decided. (Just kidding: I sincerely doubt there was a meeting.) All I have are some uneducated guesses:
    Maybe it's to make it easier to look at the tile and quickly see that there are 5 (or 7 or 9) bamboo sticks on the tile. Western indices (Arabic numerals and Roman letters) were added only when J.P. Babcock started importing sets 100 years ago - Chinese players just looked at the number of bam sticks - there were no indices on sets made for domestic use in China.
    Maybe it's so the tiles aren't boringly monochromatic.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. (same day) - The red sticks in the 9B make it clear that you're not looking at a 6B. - Tom


    Should I store my tiles vertically or horizontally?

    On Sunday, February 23, 2020, 09:37:09 PM PST, Ines H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How to store mah jong sets in their cases. Vertically or horizontally? Have heard both but not with plausible explanations. I have several older sets as I have become a collector. I would like to know the best way to store them to prevent damage to the cases as well as the contents ie preventing damage to tiles.
    Thank you
    Ines H

    Hi, Ines!
    How many centuries are you planning to store your tiles? I have dozens of mah-jongg sets, some 100 years old or even older. I have never seen any storage wear based on improper horizontality or verticality. In other words, "I don't see how it matters in the slightest." ... Unless you want the set to be stored for a thousand years or something.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do you have any helpful exercises on this website?

    On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 05:00:16 PM PST, gudoc42 wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    I play American mahjong at the intermediate level and would like to improve my game. Do you have any exercises on this website that would be helpful, and if so, where could I find them? Thank you.

    Hi, gudoc! Just look for the purple banner. There's one around here somewhere, I think...

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    2/22/2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


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

    Rhoda
    On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 11:54:14 AM PST, Kimela M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A Hand exposed is declared dead. There are jokers in the exposed dead hand...can other players still exchange for the jokers from the declared dead exposed hand?
    Sent from my iPhone

    That's Frequently Asked Question 19.P, Kimela! (The short answer is, "it depends.")
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    2/22/2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Much appreciate your time, energy and devotion

    On Friday, February 21, 2020, 04:43:18 PM PST, Amy M wrote:
    Sloperama.com
    I am a relatively novice Mahjongg player but adore the game. Just found
    your site and had to take a quick sec to say THANK YOU for your obvious
    labor of love in creating and maintaining it. It's super informative (I
    was looking for clarification on the 2 or 3 suit 2019 dragon hand, which
    I'm peeved to announce was decided *incorrectly* at my table) and also
    of course clever and just plain fun to read.
    Much appreciate your time, energy and devotion to delivering such a
    great resource to those of us wandering around on the interwebs in
    search of knowledge :) May the tiles you wish always come your way...
    Amy M
    Organize. Implement. Connect.

    Thanks for the kind words, Amy!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 21, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She named the tile, then declared mahj

    On Friday, February 21, 2020, 07:53:12 AM PST, Lucille wrote:
    Naming a tile prior to calling MahJongg
    Hi Tom,
    If a player in her excitement inadvertently fully names a wanted tile after picking and then calls Mah-Jongg, techncally, is that tile down and the Mah-Jong call too late, even if it is obvious the player meant to call Mah Jong and was not discarding?
    We paid the player, but when I cautioned her about the naming rule, the other two players said that I was wrong about the naming rule.
    Thanks,
    Lucille

    Hi, Lucille!
    If you were in a tournament and asked a judge to rule, the judge might rule very strictly according to the rules, just as you say.
    But if your group wants to take a friendly, forgiving stance, you should go with the flow. Nevertheless, you might want to take your copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy (the official NMJL rulebook - of course you own a copy) to your next game, and show them rule 7 on page 18, and prove to them that you were right all along: once she said its name, it was "down" (discarded).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 21, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. 2/22: I, too, would pay the winner. Since it was a mah-jongg declaration, the game's over and she won. But just as you did, I would caution her that she should not say the tile's name unless she's discarding it. - Tom


    Are they both dead?

    On Thursday, February 20, 2020, 06:57:43 AM PST, Susan D wrote:
    Are Both Players Dead?
    Tom, This situation was posted on Mah Jongg That's It. A player picks a tile from the wall and swaps a Joker from another player. In the process, she hands the wrong tile to the player, and the other player takes the tile and puts it down with her exposure. The players knew that the player who put down the wrong tile with the exposure was dead, but they are wondering if the player who made the Joker exchange was also dead. That player did eventually call Mah Jongg. The players said they threw in the game. What are your thoughts?
    Susan D

    Good morning, Susan. Just having my morning coffee.
    There's nothing in the rules about this. When the rules are silent, we have to consider 2 other things: strategy and etiquette. Make that 3 things: add common sense.
    - Strategy says, "the fewer opponents, the better. Give her the wrong tile when asking for a joker. If she doesn't notice, she'll be dead. If she notices, I'll laugh at my silliness and give her the correct tile."
    - Etiquette says: "It was my fault that Romeo killed himself so I must kill myself too." (Okay, so etiquette doesn't tell us anything useful in this case, since you can't call yourself dead.)
    - Common sense says: "The rules don't say that she who gave the wrong tile for the joker suffers any penalty, and since that's me, I'm good to keep on playing." It also says "The rules say I'm dead because she gave me a poison tile, and that's not fair! Aaaarrrggghhh!" Okay, so common sense differs depending on which side you're on. To the other two players on the table, common sense says: "Those two should both be dead so I can keep on playing." So, common sense aligns with strategy... in this case.
    Then there's
    FAQ 9, where I outline some philosophies that can govern conflicts arising out of errors not covered by the rules. Essentially, FAQ 9 talks about a 4th "thing" to consider in the absence of a rule: fairness. Fairness says both should be dead.
    So, it depends: which concept should hold sway in the absence of a rule? Strategy? Etiquette? Common sense? Or fairness?
    - Strategy - Only the one who can be called dead under the rules is dead.
    - Etiquette - Both of us should be dead.
    - Common sense - Both of them should be dead.
    - Fairness - Both should be dead.
    "Both dead" wins, 3 against 1. But this is just my opinion.
    Another opinion: The game would be so much simpler if people would just open their eyes, and stop making dumb mistakes.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 20, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do I have to verbalize a joker exchange?

    On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 09:55:10 AM PST, Maureen O wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: when you can redeem a joker from your own exposed tiles do you have to announce you are making the exchange or can you do it silently?

    Hi, Maureen!
    The rules don't say you have to make an announcement. So, since the rules are silent, we have to consider 2 other things: strategy and etiquette.
    Strategy says "a silent exchange will keep information from players who aren't paying attention." But etiquette says "it's nice to tell everybody who's listening what I'm doing."
    It's a quandary, isn't it? Be nice or be aggressive? What kind of group do you play in? Is it a cutthroat group? Might somebody get mad at you if you do something that might be perceived as sneaky? And what are the skill levels? Would you be taking advantage of the others, who never look but only listen? Or is everybody more skilled than you so you need every advantage you can get? All's fair in love and mah-jongg?
    Since there's no rule, you have to figure this one out for yourself, Maureen, based on what kind of player you are. What I do is say something, like "aha," when redeeming my own joker. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 19, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Was I rude to her?

    On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 05:00:02 PM PST, linda z wrote:
    was I rude?
    Hi Tom,
    I re-read your column on etiquette but I'm still wondering if my action last week was appropriate. .We had a relatively new player (at least she announced that when she sat down). She remarked that she was frustrated when choosing a hand when the tiles were first dealt . She took a very long time trying to decide what to pass, so on the second game I suggested in a nice way that she choose a section on the hand instead of trying to find a specific hand. She played faster after that and won a game. We encouraged her and praised her pace of play. During one game she overlooked exchanging her discard for a joker and I quietly said "oh you missed my joker." I never say that to experienced players but since she was new I thought it was a "teaching moment". Now I'm wondering if I should have kept my mouth shut! What are your thoughts? Am I obsessing too much?
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    The words have already passed your lips, so fuhgeddaboudit. She probably has. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 18, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are typical prizes for a tournament?

    On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 11:30:45 AM PST, bW wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom - thanks for your article on tournaments. I found it to be very helpful Can you tell me what the typical prizes are for 1st/2nd/3rd place winners?
    Thanks,
    Barbara

    No, I can't, Barbara. Sorry! You have to figure out what works based on the amount you're charging and the number of players you'll have, minus the costs of marketing and hosting the tournament.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 18, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I use a joker in a 2019 grouping?

    On Friday, February 14, 2020, 10:53:44 PM PST, Nancy S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you use a joker for the 2 1 or 9 in the year 2019?
    Nancy

    No. Read FAQ 19.E.2. Also: 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). In fact, you should read everything on the back of the card. You owe it to the other people you play with to know all these basic rules of the game.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 15, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


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

    On Thursday, February 13, 2020, 08:32:51 PM PST, Peggy wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you claim/exchange the jokers in an exposure if that exposure is what made the other players realize that hand is dead? (And called it dead. ) So it was the last tiles exposed. Or is that exposure put back on the rack?
    Thanks, Peggy

    Hi, Peggy! That exposure was in error. That error made the exposer dead. That's a dead exposure and it must be returned to the rack, as explained in FAQ 19.P.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 13, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How often can you blind pass?

    On Thursday, February 13, 2020, 05:54:56 PM PST, dody v wrote:
    Blind pass
    How often can u do a blind
    Pass in a game

    Hi, Dody!
    The rules say you are permitted to blind pass. That's all the rules say. The rules do not dictate how often you may do a permissible act. Theoretically, you could blind pass on every first left and every last right.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 13, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Charleston flow chart, part 2

    Bobbie, somebody on the "Mah Jongg, That's It!" Facebook group must have seen your question, and posted a diagram. So I took a closer look.

    Then I realized it's about my Four Step Charleston Strategy. Is that what you were looking for, Bobbie? Not what I imagined from your email.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom
    2/12/2020


    Charleston flow chart

    On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 08:45:03 AM PST, Bobbie L. W wrote:
    charleston flow chart
    Hello Tom,
    How are you? How many emails do you get per day about mj? Once upon a time, I came across a charleston flow chart, I believe a woman created it and I thought I saw it somewhere on your site. Do you have any idea where I can find it?
    Many thanks,
    Bobbie W

    Hi, Bobbie! You asked:

    How are you?
    Pretty good, thanks. Getting over a 2-week cold. How are you?

    How many emails do you get per day about mj?
    I have not analyzed the data. But if you're really curious, the data is below... you're welcome to analyze it if you want!

    Once upon a time, I came across a charleston flow chart, I believe a woman created it and I thought I saw it somewhere on your site. Do you have any idea where I can find it?
    I don't know. You can see if maybe it's in my downloads folder (sloperama.com/downlode/mahjongg/). And there's a diagram in my book, on pages 82 and 83. Or maybe it's in one of the books in FAQ 3.

    Cool pic, by the way. Thanks! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 12, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The window of opportunity, part 2

    On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 11:16:33 PM PST, Carol C wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you so much for your corrected information. I appreciate you emailing to let me know the correction.

    You're welcome, Carol. It was a new rule, so I had to make the correction! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 12, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She said its name and I called it for mahj

    On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 02:18:37 PM PST, Sally M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    With one tile left. It is the person's next to me turn. No one has called mah jonng. I am one tile away from mah jonng. The player picks up the tile and announces it is the tile I néed for mah Jong. She did not rack the tile just announce it. So I called mah jonng. She then said I couldn't do it because adidas not ram and discard. Please advise how this works. Thank you.
    Sam

    She said the tile's name, Sally. That means the tile was officially "down," even though she didn't touch it to the discard floor. Tell her to read rule 7 on page 18 of the official rulebook, and pay up.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 11, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2019 card, part 33 (not really)

    On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 02:39:28 PM PST, Susan H wrote:
    2019 card
    In the hand FF DDDD 2019 DDDD, the card says any 2 or 3 suits. So, as an example, could you use the 2,1, and 9 of craks and also the red dragons?

    Please see FAQ 16, Susan. All frequently asked questions about the 2019 card are answered there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 11, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When can I redeem a joker? What's the procedure?

    On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 09:31:20 AM PST, Sue A wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I think I was wrong.
    I did not exchange a 7 dot for a joker when it was my turn.
    The play continues.
    Someone discards a flower. I need four flours but I only have two.
    I call the flower, display three and claim the 7 dot joker,
    Put that joker with my exposure. Which gives me the four flowers.
    Then declare mah jongg.
    The sequence was wrong???
    Sue ?A
    Sun City

    Sue, you've asked FAQ 19M. When you claim a discard, you are required to make the complete exposure that uses the claimed discard. You can't make a partial exposure, and then redeem a joker to complete the exposure.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 11, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Which seven hands on the NMJL card are the same every year? ("The 2019 card, part 32," but not really)

    On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 06:09:52 AM PST, Marie R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A - The 2019 card, part 15
    HI Tom,
    Would you share which seven hands are the same each year. I teach and it would be good to use the hands that don’t change in my presentation.
    Thank you for your website. I find it very helpful.
    Best,
    Marie
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Hi, Marie.
    I can't find where I ever said that there are seven hands that are the same from year to year. Are you sure I said that? Or did somebody else say that? When I got your email, I checked column 715 and the pie chart I created last April:

    I didn't say there were any hands that are "the same each year." Or were you referring to a previous new card analysis (not 2019)? On the 2019 card, there were five (not seven) hands that I refer to as "biannual alternating" hands: Consec #1, Consec #2, Evens #2, Odds #2, and 369 #2. Those hands alternate their structures predictably each year. Is that what you're asking about? Note that Odds #1 used to be a biannual, but in 2019 a new twist was added (the 3-suit version). W-D #1 is an annual (it doesn't always occupy the #1 place in that section)...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 11, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We are looking for some valuation, part 2

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 03:15:15 PM PST, Sheila wrote:
    Re: Old “Manchu” set. And a note about my gratitude.
    Thanks! Since it isn’t a rare item, I can play with it! ??. It is, complete.
    Again, thank you for your response!
    Sheila

    You're welcome, Sheila!


    Mystery honor tiles, part 3

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 02:40:33 PM PST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from CarolLee K
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: CarolLee K
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you, CC!


    Mystery honor tiles, part 2

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 02:37:56 PM PST, CC wrote:
    Re: Unusual Honor tiles
    Thank you! That means this set has 16 flower tiles.
    I appreciate you're taking the time to respond!
    Thank you!
    CC

    You're welcome, CC!


    Mystery honor tiles

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 12:19:55 PM PST, CC wrote:
    Unusual Honor tiles
    Thank you Tom for taking a moment. I am looking on where to find out
    about 8 tiles I have with a set. They appear to be honor wind tiles. I
    have a set that I am assuming are two tone bakelite, butterscotch with
    black wafer backs. I have attempted to add photos to assist with your
    knowledge. I have also included the 1 bamboo and white dragon as
    reference. Any place you can direct me would help me in learning more
    about this set. As I am missing four tiles from it being complete.
    Thank you Very much for you time,
    CC K

    Those aren't honors, CC. Those are flowers. Instead of numbers 1-4, some makers put seat positions on the flowers. See the Mystery Flowers FAQ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 10, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do we pick and then discard, part 2

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 01:23:01 PM PST, Janet W wrote:
    re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    You can’t discard first, then play....logically if someone picks up your discard your turn is lost...and you didn’t get to draw and are short a tile.
    Janet

    I'm sure that's not how it works, Janet. Next time you play with a pick-ahead group, ask them to explain how their system works. (I do not explain how improper unofficial rules are "supposed" to work.) They really ought to tell newcomers how their custom rules work. See FAQ 14.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 10, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The window of opportunity let in more than usual

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 08:39:20 AM PST, Carol C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player A picks tile from the wall and sees she can do a joker exchange wih that tile. . She immediately verbalizes joker exchange and does not rack the tile. No exchange has been made yet and Player B calls for the previous discard. Does player A put back the tile because it was not racked or does she continue with the joker exchange becsuse she has verblized her intent?
    Thank you
    Carol

    Hi, Carol!
    The
    window of opportunity on a discard does not close when next in line is holding a picked wall tile and says "gimme that joker." She has to put it back on the wall.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 10, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    Update, Tuesday February 11: It has come to my attention that I was wrong in my reply to Carol above. The League has ruled that verbalizing a joker exchange does close the Window of Opportunity on the live discard. When I said Carol's friend has to put it back on the wall, I was wrong. She may make the exchange for the joker and complete her turn. The claim for the discard was too late. - Tom


    Do we pick and then discard, or discard and then pick?

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 05:47:43 AM PST, Janet W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    During play do we draw first then discard?
    Many are doing the opposite....is this a house rule?
    Janet W

    Read rule #1 on the back of the card, Janet (left pane, not center pane). And read FAQ 19-R. Picking ahead has been against the official rules since 1956. But if you play in a group where everybody picks ahead, you should probably play their way.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 10, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Calling a discard without any matching ("natural") tiles.

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 03:21:01 AM PST, Michael R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Good morning Tom…
    When a player discards tile, and another player wants to pick that discard with two jokers, but does not have that tile in their
    hand, what is the rule? I suspect that the player picking must have at least one of that discarded tile in their hand.
    Thanks,
    Mike

    Mike, read FAQ 19L. This rule was also restated in last month's newsletter from the League. You don't need any matching tiles. Jokers are fine.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 10, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We are looking for some valuation of this.

    On Monday, February 10, 2020, 06:57:48 AM PST, whansami wrote:
    Old “Manchu” set. And a note about my gratitude.
    First of all, I would like to thank you for your website. I am a new player (learned to play last April), who learned primarily because I thought the tile are incredibly beautiful (and because I am a lifelong game player!). Although I am a relative beginner, I have to admit I have become somewhat obsessed with the game. In the first months, your website was a daily source of knowledge. I have spent many hours reading about strategy and learning the rules (even correcting my teacher once or twice, based on what I read! ??). Your website has been invaluable in my process of learning to play well. Thank you.
    Secondly, I hope that you could, perhaps, give me some direction. In the process of going through some boxes in the attic, we ran across a card set based upon Mahjong. It was my husband’s grandmother’s set. I have included pics. I am glad that I knew the game, or I would not have known what it was... the name on the box is ManChu. There is a Foster’s rule book included, copyrighted in 1923. We are looking for some valuation of it. It has great sentimental value for my husband (who adored his grandmother), so the value to him far outweighs any monetary value, I am sure, but depending on its value, I might want to itemize it on the homeowner’s policy.
    Any direction you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Sheila M

    Hi, Sheila!
    It's not rare, and it's not the greatest condition. I don't know if it's complete (you didn't send a parts list and you didn't show a lid for the package). If it has no top, it's maybe worth $30. If it has a top (and the top is all in one piece), maybe it's worth $40. I would be surprised if anybody wanted to pay more than $60 for it.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    February 10, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How is win by joker redemption scored?

    On Sunday, February 9, 2020, 06:38:18 PM PST, wrote:
    Question on double points for picking your own tile from the wall
    During players turn, player picked a tile from the wall and then used that tile to redeem a joker from another players hand. She then declared mahjongg.
    The hand was worth 25 points. So does she get double that amount at 50 points? She didn't mahj technically on the tile she picked. We are playing in a tournament.
    Thanks
    Karen

    Read FAQ 19-AN, Karen. Win by joker redemption counts as self-pick ("technically," she did win on self-pick). If you were in a tournament, you should have asked a judge how to score the hand, if nobody at the table knew.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How do we play with kards? They came with no instructions!

    On Sunday, February 9, 2020, 03:04:03 PM PST, Mary Patricia E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: just bought Mah Jongg playing cards with no directions. Are we supposed to make hands from card? There are 3 cards I’m not familiar with...P. f. b. What are they? Thanks for your help....Pat

    Hi, Pat! You're supposed to do whatever you want with them. You use them the same way you use tiles. Cards are just more portable, and lower-cost. Cards are practical in some situations where tiles are not (like taking a cross-country bus ride, for example).
    As for your mystery cards, I suspect dragons or flowers, but you didn't send a picture. Take a look at the "Mystery Tiles" FAQ - you'll probably find clues there. Note: there are 3 Mystery Tiles pages: one dedicated to Mystery Flowers, one to Mystery Jokers, and the third one (the link) is "everything else that's a mystery."
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Conflicting rules about conflicting claims

    On Sunday, February 9, 2020, 02:28:09 PM PST, Larry K wrote:
    Inconsistency of two or more players claiming mahjong from discard
    Hi Tom...
    I’ve been playing simplified British Rules Mahjong for 46 years and am currently teaching in San Mateo, CA.
    Love your sloperama site and am amazed at how much ground you cover.
    I hope you’ll find this question interesting enough to throw in your two bits...
    Most sources state that the rule for two players claiming a discard for pung or chow as one of precedence, pung taking precedence over chow.
    And most sources state the rule for two (or more) players claiming a discard for mahjong as one of table position.
    Therein lies a serious inconsistency, in my opinion...it’s illogical (to quote Spock) to have two different rules to control two different forms of the same function, i.e. claiming a discard.
    Am I alone in regarding this as a serious inconsistency or are there others who feel the same about it?
    Thanks again for all the immense effort you put into sloperama.com.
    Larry K

    Hi, Larry!
    It often happens in systems of play that some rules have to outweigh or, pardon my French, trump other rules. For example, one can only claim a tile for chow from the player at one's left. But what if the player needs that tile for mah-jongg? Therefore we need a trumping rule, that a claim for mah-jongg outweighs the rule that you can only chow on your left.
    But what if that player wanting to chow a discard for mah-jongg, from a player not at his left, is thwarted by someone else (let's say the player at the discarder's right, ie. the next in turn) who claims the discard for pung?
    You wrote:

    Most sources state that the rule for two players claiming a discard for pung or chow as one of precedence, pung taking precedence over chow.
    ALL sources should state that. Because that IS a rule. A universal rule.

    And most sources state the rule for two (or more) players claiming a discard for mahjong as one of table position.
    ALL sources should so state. This is a universal rule as well.

    I don't see these as inconsistent. These rules spell out who should get a discard, in the case of conflicting claims.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old is my set?

    On Sunday, February 9, 2020, 02:55:14 PM PST, Scott H wrote:
    Trying to figure out how old my majongg set is.
    Hi Tom,
    I dug this mahjongg set out of the closet recently and am hoping you can tell me how old it is.
    Thanks!
    Scott
    1. Write a factual detailed list
    · 35, 1 dot sticks
    · 30, 2 dot sticks
    · 8, 5 dot sticks
    · 36, 10 dot sticks
    · 5 dice
    · 4 wind discs with a babcock
    2. Paper materials
    None
    3. What are the tiles made of?
    Bone, some porous areas (Haversian System?) visible on a few of the sticks.
    4. Describe what you know about when the set was made or purchased.
    Purchased about 20 years ago by my mother who used to be an antique dealer. That’s all I know about its past.
    5. What are the dimensions of the tiles?
    Tile dimensions: 1.22in L x 0.85in W x 0.44in D, bone is 0.11in thick
    6. How many tiles are there in the set?
    148 tiles
    · 16 winds, 4 each of N, E, S, W
    · 12 dragons, 4 each of red, green, white (blank tile)
    · 8 flowers & seasons
    · 36 Bamboos (bams), 4 each of 1 to 9
    · 36 characters (craks), 4 each 1 to 9
    · 36 circles (dots), 4 each 1 to 9
    · 4 spare blank tiles
    7. What kind of container does the set come in?
    Wood box with 5 drawers and a sliding front cover. The brass handles and corners are all tarnished. There are no markings on the box indicating the manufacturer, country of origin etc
    8. Which kind of craks are in this set -- the older kind or the later kind? Take a picture to provide to the appraiser.
    This set has the simpler style of crak.
    9. Provide a picture of the One Bams.
    10. Provide a picture of the dragons too.
    11. And provide a picture of the flowers/seasons.
    8 flower & season tiles
    12. How many jokers (if any) does the set have?
    None

    It's somewhere between 95 and 100 years old, Scott. See column #610 and FAQ 7a. By the way, your green dragons are upside down. \(^_~)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is it proper to say "same"?

    On Sunday, February 9, 2020, 04:58:19 AM PST, Louise D wrote:
    MJ question
    Is it proper to say "same" instead of "joker" when discarding a joker?
    Example:
    I discard a flower, the next player picks a joker from the wall, doesn't need it then discards it and says "same" instead of joker".
    Louise Jen

    Yes, Jen. It is indeed proper. You don't do that? Read rule 6 on page 21 of the official rulebook, and read FAQ 19-G3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Everybody wants that discarded redeemable tile!

    On Saturday, February 8, 2020, 09:39:35 AM PST, Elise W G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A player discards a tile. They forgot to look at exposed tiles that have jokers in them and missed trading the potential discard for the joker. Can another player grab the discard and use to trade for a joker (since they are not exposing a set)?
    Elise M

    Sorry, Elise. Nobody can claim a discarded redeemable tile for the purpose of redeeming it for a joker. Read FAQ 19G.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 8, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Penalty for misnaming?

    On Thursday, February 6, 2020, 11:44:56 AM PST, irisbaby wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In Chinese Mah Jongg--is there a penalty to a player who discards a tile and calls it wrong (ie they throw a 7 Dot but Call a 7 Bam.

    No. There isn't.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom


    My friend read this rule but we can't find where she read it

    On Thursday, February 6, 2020, 05:22:03 AM PST, Louise M. D wrote:
    mah jongg question
    My friend read that if you pick a joker and it makes mah jongg, you are paid double.
    Is this correct as she can't find where she read it and neither can I.
    Thanks
    Louise

    Hi, Louise! Try the back of the card.

    Lower left corner. Read the two sentences under the bold heading "SCORING." Picking any tile to win gets you paid double by everyone. The winning tile doesn't have to be a joker. In fact, if it's not a joker and you don't have any jokers in your winning hand, your score is doubled again (see the bottom paragraph under the bold heading "BONUS"). Also read FAQ 19-AN.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 6, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    Update, Feb. 12 - Louise, are you perhaps thinking of winning by joker redemption? Winning by redeeming a joker counts as self-pick (doubling your score). Maybe that's what your friend was trying to describe. - Tom


    I hanker for one of those "when to stop the Charleston" columns!

    On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 06:39:32 AM PST, Linda Z wrote:
    strategy column
    Hi Tom,
    Before the new card is issued, might you have time to post another column on "when to stop the Charleston?" The last one was extremely helpful.
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda! I can't make any promises, but I've put a penny on that side of the scale for next time I write a column. The most time-consuming part of those is coming up with examples. Anytime somebody runs into such problems and can take a snapshot or quickly jot down the tiles, that would be very helpful in getting me a starting point.
    In general, if I have fewer than 3 tiles to pass in the 2nd left, I might stop, depending on what my tiles are; am I playing two options? Or just one best hand? If I have one clear hand shaping up, and I have only 2 tiles to pass, I stop the Charleston, and I'll probably win the hand.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 5, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Where to get past NMJL newsletters?

    On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 08:56:27 PM PST, Diane Moberg <rdmobergⒶ gmail.com> wrote:
    National Mah Jongg League Official publications
    Where can I find the official publications for 2011, 2012 and 2013? I am really only interested in the Q&A section, but would relish the fact of getting the complete publication (newsletter/ brochure/pamphlet)?
    Thank you for your help.
    Diane

    Nobody ever asked me that before, Diane. I never thought about it before. I suppose you could ask the League if they have old newsletters. A time machine is out of the question, of course. The only other idea I have is to request old newsletters on the Accessories Wanted bulletin board. So I've already posted this there. Maybe somebody will contact you. Oh wait. You could also try the Mah Jongg Collectors Assn. Facebook group. Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Appreciation

    On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 06:22:13 AM PST, service@paypal. wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Amount received: $10.00 USD
    For: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you, Evelyn! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Book says triple score. Got any alternatives?

    On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 04:14:23 PM PST, Heather H wrote:
    All honour
    Hi there
    A question from our mahjong group. Our book tells us that in an all honour hand the score should be tripled after the hand has been calculated. One of our ladies scored 22,000 which somewhat spoiled the day for the rest of us.
    What advice can you give me about this please.
    Many thanks
    Heather

    Hi, Heather!
    I might have a copy of that book, wish I knew which book it is. What most people do when scores get too high is just set a limit.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When does the dummy wall come out?

    On Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 01:07:01 PM PST, Terryann R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing with 3 players and having built a dummy wall, when does that wall come out?
    Thanks
    Terryann

    Hi, Terryann! The walls come out in this order (dealer sits at the bottom):

    I assume by "dummy wall" you mean the wall in front of the empty seat. The walls just always come out in the same order. Tiles are removed from the wall in a clockwise manner.

    By the way, these images are from FAQ 19Q. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are her jokers redeemable after she went dead by erroneous mah-jongg?

    On Monday, February 3, 2020, 08:02:40 PM PST, kareng1 wrote:
    Erroneous mahjongg
    A player called mahjong in error and exposed all of her tiles when she declared mahjongg.She was playing an exposed hand, not a closed hand. Can we redeem any if her jokers or not?
    Thanks,
    Karen

    Read FAQ 19P, Karen. Her erroneously-exposed tiles must be taken down from atop her rack (put back on the concealed side).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    In search of four blank tiles

    On Sunday, February 2, 2020, 08:02:12 AM PST, Emma Horn <horn.emmajⒶgmail.com> wrote:
    In Search Of Four Blank Tiles
    Hello,
    I purchased this set in an antique store in Hudson NY. When I got home to Florida, I realized there were no jokers but did contain four blank tiles. If I could find four more blanks, I could use the set. I saw this first picture on your website and the tiles look the same although I cannot see the back or side.
    Pic 1 is from your website.
    Pics two three and four are mine set.
    Can you help?
    Emma Horn

    Hi, Emma! I'm helping by posting your request on the Tiles Wanted board and pointing you to the Blank Tiles FAQ.
    Good luck! May the tiles be with you. (Literally!)
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    02.02.2020 Palindromic Groundhog Day
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if somebody passes me a joker in the Charleston?

    On Sunday, February 2, 2020, 01:31:40 AM PST, Carla M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello:
    What do you do when someone passes you a joker?
    Thanks: cm

    Hi, Carla! I give it back to her and tell her about the rules, and wait for her to give me a legal tile. Read FAQ 19-BF, and see rule 9 on page 21 of the official rulebook (2018 edition).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Palindromic Groundhog Day, 0202/2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What's the diff?

    On Saturday, February 1, 2020, 02:36:01 PM PST, Fred C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A -- NMJL versus AMJA
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What’s the difference between the NMJL and the AMJA?
    Thanks,
    Fred C
    Brentwood, CA

    One's in New York. The other's in Baltimore. What's the difference between Ford and GM? What's the difference between Coca-Cola and Royal Crown? Not sure what you're trying to find out, Fred. You can explore their websites, maybe you'll find differences by reading about them. But if I knew why you're asking, if there's a decision you have to make, maybe I could be more help.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 1, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    02/02/2020 update: Fred, I'm not trying to be snarky. There's a lot I could say in response to your question but I would rather just respond to the specific question in your mind. You asked about the difference between two organizations. Are you really asking about the difference between two cards? I'd love to give you the info you're seeking, without having to write a thousand-word essay. - Tom


    Marvelous questions, part 2

    On Saturday, February 1, 2020, 12:01:32 PM PST, Ricki Rusting wrote:
    Re: meaning of "any D" and "#'s any suits, mix or match"
    Thanks very much for the fast response!
    Ricki

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


    Marvelous questions

    On Saturday, February 1, 2020, 06:05:08 AM PST, Ricki R wrote:
    meaning of "any D" and "#'s any suits, mix or match"
    Hello,
    I’m sorry, I couldn’t find the answer to the following questions in the FAQs. They relate to the 2020 Marvelous Mah Jongg card.
    In “3 Time Loser”, last row, the hand is:
    3 B LLL IN DDD MICE (any 3, B any Bam, L any U, 1 any 1, D any D; M=W, C any Crak)
    Questions:
    1. Does “D any D” mean that the dragons can be any suit but all have to come from the same suit? Or could I use dragons of different colors, say two red and one green?
    2. Likewise, does “L any 7” mean I can choose the suit, but all the 7s need to be from one suit? Or could I use 7s from a mix of suits?
    In You RASCALL!, the last hand is:
    B5 127 N39 G47 061 (B any Bam, I any 1, #’s any suits, mix or match; BINGO)
    Question:
    3. Does “#’a any suits, mix or match” mean that, say, 127 does not need to be composed of 127 from a single suit? The 1, 2, and 7 can come from a mix of suits?
    Or, does that language mean that 127 can come from any suit and 061 can come from the same or a different suit as the 127, as I please?
    Thank you for the answers and for your wonderful site.
    Ricki

    Hi, Ricki! You asked:

    I couldn’t find the answer to the following questions in the FAQs. They relate to the 2020 Marvelous Mah Jongg card.
    That's why you won't find them here. I don't get enough questions about alternative cards to warrant writing FAQs about them. But some of your questions are answered in my FAQs because they're applicable to American cards in general. Those are to be found in the "The Card" section of FAQ 19.

    Does “D any D” mean that the dragons can be any suit
    Yes. You're asking What does "Any" mean? (FAQ 19-J)

    but all have to come from the same suit?
    If they're all the same color, yes. Read How does the Color-Coding work? (FAQ 19-BY)

    Or could I use dragons of different colors, say two red and one green?
    If there are two colors (two each).

    does “L any 7” mean I can choose the suit
    "Any" means any. It has to be a 7, and that is the only requirement. Any 7.

    all the 7s need to be from one suit? Or could I use 7s from a mix of suits?
    That depends on how they're color-coded. (I know you used color and bold font in your email, but it's WAY too much work for me to convert colors and typefaces of emails into HTML (HyperText Markup Language) so the emails will show the same way on this bulletin board.) Read FAQ 19-BY, the "How does the color-coding work?" FAQ.

    Does “#’a any suits, mix or match” mean that, say, 127 does not need to be composed of 127 from a single suit? The 1, 2, and 7 can come from a mix of suits? Or, does that language mean that 127 can come from any suit and 061 can come from the same or a different suit as the 127, as I please?
    I don't know how to answer. I do not have one of these Marvelous cards. Maybe the FAQs I cited help? Maybe there's an explanation on the back of the card? Have you read the entire back of the card? Your best source of answers about that card is  info@marvelousmahjongg.com

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 1, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    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!
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      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.
        • Orange = an out-of-the-ordinary email.
        • Black = none of the above. Regular mah-jongg question or comment: one that is not an FAQ, neither happy nor unhappy.


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