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FAQ 13. Q: I'd like to find rules of Mah-jongg for 2 players or 3 players.

A: Sorry to answer a question with 5 more questions, but: which of the below most nearly resembles your question? Click the question letter to jump directly to the full answer.

 "I play American-style mah-jongg, and need to know what to do when I have less than 4 players.
(Oy, why don't you just already know what I'm asking you, you're such a schlemiel, Tom!)" (Click here to jump to Answer 13A.)

  "I play Chinese Classical mah-jongg or HKOS, or another Asian form of the game
(including British, Western, & Wright-Patterson, but excluding Japanese riichi-dora majan), and need to know how to play with less than 4 players. Ayah!" (Click here to jump to Answer 13B.)

  "I play Japanese riichi-dora majan, and need to know the rules for 3 players."
(Click here to jump to Answer 13C.)

 "American? Chinese?? HKOS??? Japanese???! I don't play any kind of mah-jongg yet.
I want to learn "true 4-player mah-jongg" but don't have 4 people to play it with, so what I want rules for 2 or 3 people to play the true game of mah-jongg so we can start learning the game." (Click here to jump to Answer 13D.)

 "I don't know anything about the stuff you said above. Isn't mah-jongg a solitaire game?"
o I'm familiar with "Shanghai" tile-matching, and I want to do that with a friend, using real tiles.
o I'm familiar with "Shanghai" tile-matching, and I want to know about other solitaire games using mah-jongg tiles.
Maybe I'll move up to true mah-jongg later. Maybe."
(Click here to jump to Answer 13E.)

Author's note: Sorry if this seems overly complicated. I want to help you learn the game you are here to learn, but because "mah-jongg" means different things to different people, many questions about mah-jongg are (by their very nature) ambiguous. Not your fault -- not my fault!   (^_^)

The 2P or 3P rules are different for American and Chinese, for example (if you play Chinese, you'll ask "huh?" when I mention the Charleston; if you play American and I don't mention the Charleston, you'll ask "but what about the Charleston?" and you'll say "huh?" when I mention Chows).

If you do not know what kind of Mah-Jongg you play (and it would not be unusual if you did not know that), you need to find out. FAQ 2 tells you how to identify your style of MJ. You would not want to buy a book about the wrong kind of Mah-Jongg! The reason I mention books is because each book describes 2P or 3P rules for the kind of MJ described in that book. There is a list of books in FAQ 3. Once you know which kind of mah-jongg you play, look in this FAQ to find the 2P or 3P rules for that kind of mah-jongg.


Copyright 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. The contents of this page and this website, including and not limited to text, graphics, and photos, may not be reproduced or published without written permission of the author.




Archive-name: mjfaq13.txt
Newsgroups: rec.games.mahjong; fj.rec.games.mahjong
Posting-frequency: n/a (it's on the web)
Last-modified: April 9, 2002
Version: 1.05

Update Log:
January 26, 2001 -- first started constructing the FAQ.
March 6, 2001 -- added an up-front questionnaire to aid the reader in selecting where to start reading the FAQ.
March 9, 2001 -- added lots more info and converted file to HTML format.
March 10, 2001 -- scattered touchups to make it look a little neater.
March 25, 2001 -- fixed a typo
June 6, 2001 -- moved "Tom's Three Rules On Table Rules" to its own FAQ.
June 30, 2001 -- fixed Shanghai URL (at least temporarily; Activision is cleaning Shanghai off its site)
January 27, 2002 -- fixed Shanghai URL again, and added lots o' pictures. Oh, and I added Shisensho too.
April 9, 2002 -- fixed the mahjongmuseum URL
All subsequent changes are logged at log.html.

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