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By Tom Sloper
April Fool's Day, 2012

Column #513

American Mah-Jongg. Know what I love? What I love is when somebody's using a custom rule, then runs into a situation, and asks me how to solve the situation. The most common ones I get are based on Hot Wall or Cold Wall rules.

A hot wall!

This one is representative (several people have asked variations on this):

"What is the purpose of the 'final' it treated differently in terms of play? I've heard that when the game reaches the 'final' wall, it's been referred to as a 'hot' wall and a 'cold' wall, that no one is allowed to call discards from that point forward. Likewise, I've also heard that you can call a tile, but only to claim Mah Jongg."

A cold wall

And I love the first twelve words of this one:

"I know 'hot wall' is not part of the official rules, but my group has decided to start playing that if we're in a hot wall and someone discards a tile that gives someone mah jongg and the discarding player cannot account for 3 of those tiles, she pays for the entire table. My question is, what if the discarded tile is a Flower? Since there are 8 Flowers, it seems she should have to account for more Flowers to avoid the penalty, maybe 7 Flowers?"

Under the official rules, the last wall does not have any "temperature." The rules do not change just because the wall is short. Read FAQ 14!

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Question or comment about this column? I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.

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Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book in existence about the American game. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3). Linda Fisher's website is the only website that describes American rules:

© 2012 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.