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The Red Dragon & The West Wind

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 the same day! But before you email, please check out the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).

  • I answer questions submitted by email ONLY (I do not do telephone Q&A). The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum.
  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to MJSloperama.com.
  • After you submit your comment or question, return to this board sometime later to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions.
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  • If at first you can't see your Q&A below, you may have to Refresh your browser, or use a different browser. And scroll down; there may have been new Q&As posted since yours.
  • I do not provide technical support for computer games. See FAQ 24 for tips on getting technical support.
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  • Player wanted to claim twin of tile he just discarded

    On Thursday, September 29, 2022 at 12:01:46 PM EDT, Alan W wrote:
    Mah Jong discard
    Hi Tom,
    We had a disagreement today while playing Mah Jong.
    Player A discarded 9 circles, then after 2 other players had their turn,
    the 4th player discarded another 9 circles.
    Player A said "Chow" and was going to claim this 9 circles.
    I said "you can't claim a tile identical to the one you just threw out".
    I'm sure I read that somewhere in a set of rules, but can't find it.
    Is this true in some version of Mah Jong?
    Yours sincerely,
    Alan W

    Yes, Alan, in some version of mah-jongg, it's not permitted to call the twin of a tile you discarded within the same go-around. (There is no official term for one play around the table, each player picking and discarding. I call that a "go-around.")
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 29, 2022, 12:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Not sure if all the pieces are here

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 09:21:40 PM EDT, ejfs999 wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello I stumbled on your page after trying to research my parents old set. I know nothing about the game, how to play, or how much this set could be worth. Not sure if all the pieces are here but figured I'd see what you think.
    Appreciate the time !
    Eric

    Hi, Eric. The set has pluses and minuses.
    Minuses: it's missing the paper booklet and almost all the scoring sticks, the box is dinged up, and I can't tell if the drawers have all their drawer pulls. The tiles look dirty. It's a later-twenties set (1923 is late in the game's popularity in its heyday), so it's a bog standard set (no interesting non-standard tile designs or artful/fanciful flowers).
    Pluses: The slide front is there, all the tiles are there, all the dice and wind discs are there (even the dice coffin and disc container with lid). The box brass looks to be in decent shape.
    See column 610 for more information on this type of set.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, September 28, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What are these worth? (part 2)

    Re: Very old Mah Jong tally sticks and rulebooks
    On Monday, September 26, 2022 at 10:40:48 PM EDT, yebanks wrote:
    Thanks so much for your very detailed and prompt feedback. We will put them all on Trade Me as a group. Cheers,Julia

    YW, Julia!


    What are these worth?

    On Monday, September 26, 2022 at 09:44:34 PM EDT, Trevor & Julia B wrote:
    Very old Mah Jong tally sticks and rulebooks
    Dear Tom,
    We have a set of 120 very old Mah Jong tally sticks - bone or ivory (possibly bone, as on examination of one slightly chipped stick the material appears rather porous.)
    Also a very old copy from early 20th century of the booklet "Directions of Playing "Chinese Game of Four Winds" (no name of publisher or date, but obviously printed in China judging by the dodgy English and spelling).
    And a Second Edition of "The Game of Mah Jong" by Max Robertson, Published by Whitcomb and Tombs Price 2/6.
    We wish to sell these items but thought you might like to look at them first. Are you interested in buying any of these? What sort off price would you suggest?
    Kind regards, Julia B
    Auckland, New Zealand

    Hi, Julia!
    The most valuable item is the bone sticks, probably. But sticks are very common. Yours look to be bright and reasonably attractive overall. Thing is, they're only useful to someone who has a bone-and-bamboo set without sticks (or without enough sticks). Looking on eBay, I see them listed for exorbitant asking prices, but I can't imagine anybody paying so much. I doubt you can get more than US$10-15 for them. You might have to include a breakdown (how many 8-spots, how many 12-spots, how many 2-spots, etc.) in your sales pitch. The bone dice add a couple dollars to the value.

    The Robertson looks to be in not-great condition (spine wrinkles). If it was in better shape, it might be worth $15-20.

    The "Directions" booklet is in even worse shape, and is extremely common since manufacturers often include it in sets (even today). It's written in incomprehensible "Chinglish" that describes a mystery variant very poorly. I don't think you can find someone who would want to give you money for it.

    Sorry I couldn't give you better news!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, September 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Discard was misnamed, part 4

    Re: NMJL question
    On Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 09:34:37 AM EDT, Carol D wrote:
    I have reread the relevant rule in Mah Jongg Made Easy, rule 6a on page 19 and have changed my mind. It states, "(a) A tile cannot be claimed until correctly named. Correctly named tile may then be called for an Exposure or Mah Jongg. HOWEVER, if Mah Jongg is called with the incorrectly named tile, the game STOPS. Miscaller pays claimant four times the value of hand. Others do not pay."
    This rule does NOT say that the game continues with the miscaller off the hook if the miscaller corrects herself or others correct her. Therefore, I'd argue that the claimant gets her Mah Jongg regardless of what the miscaller or other players say after the misnaming.
    I haven't found anything addressing this issue in League documents. (I looked on your site, of course, and also looked in the Knowledge Base set up by Michelle Frizzell and Debbie Barnett.) I guess I will dig out my pen, paper, envelope and a stamp and mail my question to the League.

    On Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 09:54:43 AM EDT, Carol D wrote:
    Re: NMJL question
    Update: Jan E called the League and they said (according to her), "If the discarder corrected the name of the tile prior to the call for mahj on the incorrectly named tile, the game goes on. The person needing the tile for mahj would have had to call for it before the correction."
    Thank you for your responses. I'd like to discuss your latest one -- "...But I don't see players B & C's speaking up as intentional intervention - do you know that they knew the flower was player D's mahj tile? Did you know that's what she needed?..."
    I am not sure intention matters here. The fact is, so many players jump right in with the correct tile name willy nilly. I think they should keep silent, or at the most, as you say, "not a one bam." I think the discarder has to correctly name the tile herself before the correction closes the "window of opportunity."

    I'm with you on that, Carol!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, Autumnal Equinox, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Discard was misnamed, part 3

    On Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 10:28:10 PM EDT, Carol D wrote:
    Re: NMJL question
    I meant to say "Player D wanted the flower for Mah Jongg..." My question should have been:
    My Mah Jongg question is about misnaming a tile. For this question,
    let's assume player A discards a one bam but misnames it as a flower.
    Scenario one: players B and C immediately correct player A. I mean,
    less than 1/3 of a second goes by before they are correcting her. Player
    D wanted the flower for Mah Jongg, but was unable to get the words out
    before B and C instantly made their correction. Does player D get her Mah Jongg anyway? Or is she out of luck?
    Scenario two: same as scenario one, except that player A
    immediately realizes her mistake and corrects it herself.
    By the way I agree with your opinion, that the way the rules are written, player D is out of luck. I also think players B and C should have kept silent. Why should they be intervening to help player A? It seems unfair.

    Okay, Carol, I see that I did correctly interpret the question, despite the typo. But I don't see players B & C's speaking up as intentional intervention - do you know that they knew the flower was player D's mahj tile? Did you know that's what she needed?
    Normally, what I do when I see a misnamed discard is to (rather leisurely) point out the error. "That's not a flower," I'd say (I figure it's the discarder's job to say the tile's correct name). But if I knew player D needed a flower, or suspected as much, I might be slower to make the correction. I see no reason to hurry up with the correction (it needs to be made before the next player picks from the wall, is all).
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, September 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Discard was misnamed, part 2

    On Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 07:11:57 PM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    Carol D's question on 9/21
    Hi Tom,
    If a one bam was needed for D's MJ, why was she "out of luck" once the Flower was correctly named as one bam?
    I'm confused!
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    囧 Ohmygosh, did I misread the question? Is this what Carol described?...
    1. Player A discards 1B and says "Flower."
    2. Players B and C say "That's not a flower, that's a 1B."
    3. Player D says "I want 1B for mah-jongg."
    Now that I reread it, it looks like I did misread it. But if that's what happened, why did Carol have a question to ask? Once the tile is correctly named, it can be called by anyone except the discarder. [See parts 3 and 4 of this discussion, above.]
    Play safe out there. 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
    September 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Discard was misnamed, and then...

    On Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 02:00:46 PM EDT, Carol D wrote:
    NMJL question
    My Mah Jongg question is about misnaming a tile. For this question,
    let's assume player A discards a one bam but misnames it as a flower.
    Scenario one: players B and C immediately correct player A. I mean,
    less than 1/3 of a second goes by before they are correcting her. Player
    D wanted the one bam for Mah Jongg, but was unable to get the words out
    before B and C made their correction. Does player D get her Mah Jongg
    anyway? Or is she out of luck?
    Scenario two: same as scenario one, except that player A
    immediately realizes her mistake and corrects it herself.

    Hi, Carol!
    Player D needed to keep silent once players B and C corrected the misnaming. That applies to both of your scenarios - the rulebook only says that the tile can't be claimed "until correctly named." The rule doesn't specify who should name it correctly. Once the correction was spoken, the misnamed tile is no longer available by the wrong name - only by the corrected name. Player D is out of luck either way, since the truth is already out. [See Linda Z's follow-up post, above.]
    Note that this is my opinion. For the real ruling, I recommend asking the League (by mail, to get the rule in writing - not by phone).
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, September 21, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    When is it too late to stop the Charleston?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, September 19, 2022 at 04:07:29 PM EDT, Carol C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I read your answer :
    From Tom Slopper:
    Do you want to stop the Charleston now? You or anybody else may stop the Charleston, for any reason whatsoever (and does not have to state a reason), before anybody picks up and racks her second left. If nobody stops the dance after the first Charleston, you are going to dance with LARry. Once somebody has picked up and racked her second left pass, it's too late to stop the Charleston.**
    I called the National Mahjong league today and the woman at the league said: Once the tiles have been picked up .... too late to stop charleston. She said racking the tiles has nothing to do with it. I also meant to ask her , if you pick up tiles and did not look at those tiles, can charleston b stopped. Will call the league again.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, September 19, 2022 at 04:34:29 PM EDT, Carol C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi
    I wrote to you previously abt stopping the charleston and here is another answer from the league that I copied from "mahjong thats it " on facebook.
    I just spoke to Sandy at the League and presented her with this issue. She said, NO you do not have to rack that 2nd left to close off another person from stopping it. If someone picks up the tiles and looks at them, it's a done deal. So, again, you do not have to rack any tiles in the charleston including the second left. A player MUST give verbal indication that they might stop the passing before anyone picks up that pass.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Carol! You wrote:

    I read your answer :
    From Tom Slopper:
    My name is spelled with one P, not two.

    I called the National Mahjong league today and the woman at the league said: Once the tiles have been picked up .... too late to stop charleston. She said racking the tiles has nothing to do with it.
    Interesting. I have never seen that ruling in print, from the League.

    I also meant to ask her , if you pick up tiles and did not look at those tiles, can charleston b stopped.
    It logically follows that mere picking up must occur before looking, so yes, pursuant to what you said Sandy said, looking at the tiles would prevent stopping the second Charleston.

    here is another answer from the league that I copied from "mahjong thats it " on facebook.
    Definitive rulings can come only from the National Mah Jongg League, and I accept as gospel their rulings when committed to print on paper or on their website. I do not accept Facebook posts as definitive.

    A player MUST give verbal indication that they might stop the passing before anyone picks up that pass.
    That's reasonable.

    You make a good argument, and I'm going to amend FAQ 19-AG to remove the words "and racks."
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper <-- Note: only one P!
    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
    Monday, September 19, 2022, 6:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Called me dead but I'm not (and we don't play for money)

    On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 09:27:21 AM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    If someone calls you dead, and you know for sure that you are not, do you have to be dead, or can you dispute her claim and keep playing? (we don't play for money)

    Hi, Louise!
    Yes, you keep playing if you say you're not dead. At the end of the hand you can prove that you weren't dead at the time she issued the challenge. (The end of the hand is when death challenge disputes are resolved.)
    If you keep score, add 50 points to the score of the player who was correct, and deduct 50 points from the score of the player who was wrong.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Sunday, September 18, 2022, 10:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Royale-y messed up

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 09:45:03 AM EDT, Linda B wrote:
    When playing Royale Siamese Mah Jongg, a player calls a first Mah Jongg , the player is called dead because the player only put up two Flowers instead of three flowers
    Is the second Mahjongg hand dead because the player now has 14 tiles, to many tiles.
    Thank you
    Sent from my iPad

    囧 Hi, Linda!
    I'm not an expert on Siamese mah-jongg. I had to look at the rules page at https://siamesemahjongg.com/print-mah-jongg-rules/. It says a player can have one dead hand and still be alive with the other. I don't see how having put up a flower pair instead of a pung with one hand affects the other hand (I didn't read enough of the rules page to understand that part of your question). If I haven't helped and the rules page doesn't help, you might need to ask Gladys Grad via the Contact Us page on her website - https://siamesemahjongg.com/about-contact-us/.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Saturday, September 17, 2022, 11:25 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I've been asked to sell my mom's set, part 2

    Re: Mah-jongg set question
    On Friday, September 16, 2022 at 12:56:39 AM EDT, jennifer b wrote:
    Thank you so very much!!!!!
    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    You're welcome, Jennifer!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, September 16, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I've been asked to sell my mom's set

    On Thursday, September 15, 2022 at 08:46:46 PM EDT, jennifer b wrote:
    Re: Mah-jongg set question
    Hello!
    I’m so thankful to have a mah-jongg expert to ask my question to!
    My mom asked me if I would try to sell her mah-jongg set for her. It belonged to her parents, and they used to play it in the 50s.
    I have absolutely no idea where to start with this. I have no clue what some thing like this might be worth. It’s so beautiful, but I know nothing about mah-jongg.
    She says the pieces are not ivory, but she thinks that the dye are. The set is complete. I have written more below the photos.
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Inline image
    Thank you so much for taking the time to help me with this. I really do appreciate it.
    My name is Jennifer, and again, thank you so much.
    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Hi, Jennifer!
    The tiles are plastic, the dice are plastic, and the scoring sticks are plastic. I cannot confirm that the set was made as long ago as the 1950s. It's worth about US$50-60, assuming the outside of the case is in the same condition as the inside. It's a Japanese-style set with only 144 tiles, so it's not suitable for playing the American game. You have to make sure you don't sell it to somebody who needs a 152-tile American-style set, or you'll get a complaint and a request for a refund. Good luck!
    Play safe out there. 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
    September 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is the meaning of "Play to Win"?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 07:22:58 PM EDT, Mary O wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: what is yhe meaning of “Play to Win”

    囧 I would think the meaning is self-evident, Mary. Maybe the context will help. Can you tell me where you saw that phrase? I assume you saw it on my site somewhere. Was it FAQ 8? or was it in the April 26 exchange below with Sandra H? Or was it in my game career FAQs? Or was it in an archived bulletin board page?
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, September 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Am I dead if I put the discard in my hand? (FAQ 19-K)

    On Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 02:36:05 PM EDT, H Levy wrote:
    question
    if i call a tile either to expose or for maj jongg
    not in a tournment
    is it ok to put it in the slanted part of the rack with all your other tiles
    or only on the top part
    we are constantly questioning this
    thanks for your response
    H Levy

    Hi, H!
    This is answered on page 14 of the National Mah Jongg League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy. I strongly recommend that every table have a copy. The League says it's "preferable" to put the taken discard atop the rack, not in among one's concealed tiles on the sloping front of the rack. FAQ 19-K.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, September 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Who gets the discard, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at 09:44:42 PM EDT, Rhonda C wrote:
    Thank you! I was next in line, but the other player took it and started exposing. Oh well……!!
    Sent from my iPad

    Yep, oh well.
    Play safe out there. 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
    September 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Who gets the discard when two players want it?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at 07:45:08 PM EDT, Rhonda C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If two players call for the same discard, does the player who calls for it get it even though she isn’t the next in line? She grabbed it and started to rack while I was saying I wanted it. I was next in line. Does it matter who says “I want it” first?
    Hope I described the situation accurately!
    Thanks!
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Rhonda!
    No, it doesn't matter who speaks first. Apparently you already know that the next in line gets it... (note that I am assuming both players wanted the tile for the same purpose)... but perhaps you have not read the back of the card lately?


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

    I assume you both wanted the tile for exposure (left pane, rule 3). It doesn't matter who speaks first. You said, "She grabbed it and started to rack while I was saying I wanted it." Rule 3 says next in line gets the tile "except when other caller has begun to expose tiles."

    ...However! There is another rule on the back of the card. Center pane, above "Mah Jongg in Error": "To claim a discard, a player must verbalize their call..."

    Are you saying you spoke your claim and the other player never did? Because that's crucial. The complete "conflicting claims" question is answered in FAQ 19-H.

    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 8:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 775

    On Monday, September 12, 2022 at 03:14:26 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Column 775
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom!
    Column 775. #6.
    What about Quints #3, 6677 88888 88888? In 3 suits. You have 7 tiles, 9 if you count the Jokers. Both Bam pairs are secure. I’d keep going and pass 1B, R, and 7D. Might have to pass a Flower for across with the other R, but may be worth the risk.
    Thanks for the brain exercise.
    Sue Zoeller
    Sent from my iPad

    Brilliant, Sue! And yes, sometimes a flower has to be passed - that second across can cause some stomachaches.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, September 12, 2022, 4:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Do I have to announce I'm redeeming my own joker, part 2

    On Monday, September 12, 2022 at 11:29:10 AM EDT, judi at mahjonggfunla.com wrote:
    Replacing a joker
    Hi Tom,
    I am answering the [September 1] question from Kathy. Attached is a letter from the NMJL
    Bill & Judi Nachenberg
    Mah Jongg Fun L.A.

    Thanks, Judi. Hope things are going well back in good ol' L.A. now that the heat wave is over.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, September 12, 2022, 11:55 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information, part 5

    On Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 03:41:48 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Re: American League of Mahjong Players 1938
    Tom...
    My apologies. I missed pages 6 & 7. They are attached. Tested Hands for Mahjong Players is a pamphlet included with the manual. This is at the bottom of the index page:
    IMG_3156-8X15-72.jpg
    IMG_0005-11X15-72.jpg 1.2MB

    On Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 04:08:17 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Re: The complete Tested Hands pamphlet
    Tom...
    Attached is the complete Tested Hands pamphlet.
    ...John
    Download all attachments as a zip file
    IMG_0008-9X15-72.jpg 601.5kB
    IMG_0010-9X15-72.jpg 1.1MB
    IMG_0009-19X15-72.jpg 1.9MB

    This is excellent, John! Thank you very much!
    I have posted these scans in my mahjongg/scans folder, renamed as "BlancheArnold##.jpg," so that any interested parties can have it.
    I've printed it out, and I'm looking forward to studying it.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Saturday, September 10, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information, part 4

    On Friday, September 9, 2022 at 07:38:03 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Re: American League of Mahjong Players 1938
    Tom...
    Attached is the information you requested.
    ...John
    Download all attachments as a zip file
    IMG_0001-11X15-72.jpg 686.2kB
    IMG_0003-11X15-72.jpg 1.1MB
    IMG_0002-11X15-72.jpg 1MB
    IMG_0006-11X15-72.jpg 1.1MB
    IMG_0004-11X15-72.jpg 1.3MB
    IMG_0007-11X15-72.jpg 974.1kB
    IMG_0008-9X15-72.jpg 601.5kB
    IMG_0009-11X15-72.jpg 1.2MB
    IMG_3152_edited-1-10X15-72.jpg 1.3MB

    Hi, John!
    You're writing in regards to our last conversation on July 20, below. What you've sent me are scans of Blanche Arnold's 1938 "Approved Manual for Mahjong Players" of the American League of Mahjong Players, an alternative to the then newly formed National Mah Jongg League.

    I will gladly post these scans in my mahjongg/scans folder, renamed as BlancheArnold# files.
    There is a gap between page 5 and page 8 - you didn't send a scan of pages 6 and 7. Also, I'm not sure where the two unnumbered pages beginning with "Flowers are jokers" belong. Do those pages belong at the very back of the pamphlet?
    Thank you for sending these. It will take some time to study and compare/contrast with the 1937 NMJL rules.
    Play safe out there. 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
    September 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Where does Twenty Point Mah Jongg fit, part 2

    Re: Family tree
    On Friday, September 9, 2022 at 03:15:48 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Wow I love picking your fabulous brain! Thank you!
    First of all can you post a pic of your 20 Point Mah Jong book or is it a pamphlet? I’d kill to get my hands on one! If a pamphlet take pics and post? I think I have pages of it that taught me, but not all. I’ll send you my book after next printing.
    In the Vanity Fair archives, Foster’s articles mention the Mah Jong committee -
    Babcock
    Foster
    Hartman
    J.H. Smith
    And Milton Work
    James Cobb suggested the use of flowers in hand and
    W.F. Smith’s rule of at least 20 Points, but I didn’t see their names on the committee.
    In the Vanity Fair article from August 1924, 20 Point Mah Jong came from the year long proposed laws across the country as well as from the American Mah Jong committee.
    Foster wrote VF articles on Mah Jong for about 2&1/2 years, which I’ve read all, a lot, discussing how to simplify and codify the rules once and for all. He and Americans felt it needed to be more of a challenge like Bridge. He also wrote VF articles about bridge.
    I’ve read so many different rules and variants of Mah Jong I’m going cross eyed! I do think 20 Point (other than flowers in hand) is Chinese classical. Scoring, limit hands, paying and achieving doubles the same. We just have a 20 point rule, 3 double rule and cleared suit rule. If the game is a draw, we set up again and do a hotsie, no idea why it’s named that. A hotsie is not the Charleston, but similar.
    Trade 3 tiles across, then East & North trade 3 as well as South & West , after settling hand, 3 more tiles go in the middle and after the players pick 3 from any wall. Then fix the walls with tiles in the middle. Ever hear of that happening? We also put up a quarter for a hotsie pot.
    With the 3 double, 20 points and cleared suit rules I’d say one out of three games is a draw and goes to a hotsie. I’m thinking our rules are pretty challenging but very fun with a lot of room for growth. We also have 20 special limit hands, that I also see in Chinese Classical, that don’t change, ever.
    I was going to post your family tree today, with copyright, but now that I can’t find where I fit in I’m disheartened! Let me know if I can add a branch and where! It’s sitting in photoshop now!
    My Instagram account is theMahjongmoon , only a month old and I’m slowly getting my content out there without giving my book away! But hoping I can get some people excited for the first American Mah Jong! I have played with Asians and am fine, except seeing my poor little flowers disrespected in the corner! I can’t seem to play this NMJL way, my grandmother would roll over in her grave! I’ve read the rules a bunch. I’m glad there’s so much interest and I have more than a hundred devoted people I’ve taught 20 point to in KC and starting to grow! Ming Toi full of joy!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Let me know if I’m exhausting you!
    Sent from Liesl

    On Friday, September 9, 2022 at 03:27:21 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Better pic
    Sent from Liesl

    On Friday, September 9, 2022 at 03:44:35 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Tree
    So sorry I now see you asked me a question!
    I think the American code should come off the Chinese Classical just above Babcock or like a shoot between the two! I don’t understand how Mah Jong was waning in 1922 when they started discussing the American code of laws? Babcock’s first sets and books are copyrighted September 1920. It seems the rage was in full swing! The American Code made it to KC and thrived till the little old ladies passed on. Luckily I was taught and am passing along with an actual book! It’s really important to me to get the facts straight since it is in print or social media! Scared to death a bit about being tortured like the adorable Dallas girls!
    Sent from Liesl

    Hi, Liesl, you asked:

    First of all can you post a pic of your 20 Point Mah Jong book or is it a pamphlet?
    It's a book. The last chapters of the book describe the Official Laws.

    Foster’s [Vanity Fair] articles mention the Mah Jong committee -
    Yes. I might have some of that Vanity Fair material in my collection, but it would take more time than I care to invest to try to dig through it all. I posted scans of the Code of Laws (and Babcock's "Little Red Book") here. And just now I added this scan of where Foster discusses the origins of the Official Laws (in Twenty Point Mah Jongg).

    In the Vanity Fair article from August 1924, 20 Point Mah Jong came from the year long proposed laws across the country as well as from the American Mah Jong committee.
    Yes, see the scan I just posted, above.

    I’ve read so many different rules and variants of Mah Jong I’m going cross eyed!
    I assume you've seen FAQ 2B.

    I do think 20 Point (other than flowers in hand) is Chinese classical.
    Yes, with slight differences: 20 points, One Double, Cleared Hand not being part of the classic rules.

    If the game is a draw, we set up again and do a hotsie, no idea why it’s named that. A hotsie is not the Charleston, but similar.
    That was added later, then. Foster doesn't mention this in his book. I don't suppose he mentioned it in Vanity Fair? If you want to cross your eyes more, you could check the goulash rule used in British/Australian and in Wright-Patterson.

    I was going to post your family tree today, with copyright, but now that I can’t find where I fit in I’m disheartened! Let me know if I can add a branch and where! It’s sitting in photoshop now!
    You decide where it should be added.

    I don’t understand how Mah Jong was waning in 1922 when they started discussing the American code of laws?
    I have not done full scholarly research on this. I believe the game was at its height in 1922. But also "the mah-jongg wars" were in full swing, due to the flaws in the game (both the classical and the Babcock). My theory is that a lot of players were married couples playing together, and men had one idea of how the game should be played and women another. Competitive players objected to cheap wins, and came up with the one-double requirement and the cleared-suit requirement. Arguments and tempers, which were behind the need for the "official code." In my collection there are many books from the 1920s, and pretty much all of them before 1925. That tells me that the game's popularity pretty much died around 1924.

    Babcock’s first sets and books are copyrighted September 1920. It seems the rage was in full swing!
    The rage couldn't start until AFTER Babcock's sets and book entered the market. It wasn't "in full swing" immediately in 1920. If we assume mah-jongg's popularity took the form of a bell curve, I imagine it was something like this:

    I recommend Philip Orbanes' book, "The Game Makers," if you want to dig more into Babcock's story.

    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, 9/9/22, 6:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    That bottom 2022 hand has evaded me, part 2

    Re: [External] Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 04:32:16 PM EDT, S., Linda wrote:
    Thanks for such a prompt response!
    Get Outlook for iOS

    yw, Linda!


    Where does Twenty Point Mah Jong fit in your Mah-Jongg Family Tree?

    On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 04:30:41 PM EDT, Liesl M wrote:
    Family tree
    Would you say that 20 Point from Babcock, Hartman and Foster is Western? In the1923 Vanity Fair articles I’ve read it appears the committee just simplified and codified the original Chinese rules and added the flowers in the hand as the main change from the original Babcock rules. Would you agree? I just don’t see 20 point on your tree, so I’m wondering wear that game lands. Ming Toi full of Joy, Liesl

    Hi, Liesl!
    I have a copy of Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jongg in my collection, and I have a couple of copies of The American Code of Laws (Hartman, Work). I'm aware that Babcock and Foster were involved in codifying the American Code, but I've not heard Twenty Point attributed to anyone but Foster. Even Hoyle called it Foster's. We are talking about two different things. Twenty Point is separate from the American Laws. And I don't regard either as being "Western."
    Twenty Point didn't lead to any offspring or siblings that I'm aware of, so I didn't draw it into my family tree. It would be a tiny twig off the main trunk or off the Babcock branch, I suppose.

    In fact, now that you mention it, the American Code of Laws isn't depicted on the tree either! Should that branch off Chinese Classical, or Babcock? What do you think?

    I used the name "Western" to describe forms that include numerous special hands, like Gertie's Garter, Chow Mein, Lucky Lindy, Civil War, and Sparrow's Sanctuary, for instance. British, Australian, Mumbai, and Wright-Patterson rules all fall into that branch. National Mah Jongg League rules are "Western" in that the variant originated in the Western hemisphere, but I call it "American" or "Modern American," because that variant is very different from British/Australian. Twenty Point is just a different scoring system of Chinese Classical, with different handling of the flower tiles, a too-late attempt to revive the then-fading interest in mah-jongg.

    The Code of Laws did what you said, undoing the simplifications Babcock had made, while also rectifying the difference between the table rules that had sprung up (One Double and Cleared Hand). In a sense, then, it was a return to Chinese Classical, with spelled-out rules for the popular table rules. It, too, was too late to revive interest in mah-jongg (a fad among a plethora of fads in the early Roaring Twenties). At least, that's how I see it.

    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 8, 2022, 5:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    We are having trouble with the term 'expose' tiles.

    On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 03:17:28 PM EDT, kathleen.h wrote:
    MJ Question
    Tom, I looked through many of your MJ questions & answers and can not find an answer to this one.
    On the back of the card it states "When two players want the same tile for Exposure, player next in turn to discarder has preference, except when other caller has begun to expose tiles."
    We are having trouble with the term 'expose' tiles. Does that mean 1) a player already has an exposure up and this would be their second exposure that they are trying to get the tile for?
    Or 2) one of the players is quick like a bunny and placing the exposure up on her rack that the called tile would be going into?
    Thanks for your help
    Kathleen H

    Hi, Kathleen!
    It means #2. Exposures made prior to the play are not considered by the rule. If a claimant is "quick like a bunny," OR if another claimant is slow like a snail, and the quicker one has either put the taken discard atop the rack or moved tiles to the top of the rack, it's too late for the slower one to claim the discard. See FAQ 19-H3.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 8, 2022, 3:33 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    That bottom 2022 hand has evaded me

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 12:28:03 PM EDT, S, Linda wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I have completed all the hands on the 2022 card EXCEPT the final one under the 2022 section. Is it understandable that this has evaded me even though I have been able to accomplish all the hands on the last 3 cards? Is it impossible, very difficult? Are other members having luck with it? Any suggestions? Linda

    Hi, Linda! You asked:

    Is it understandable that this has evaded me even though I have been able to accomplish all the hands on the last 3 cards?
    Yes, it is.

    Is it impossible
    No.

    very difficult?
    Why, yes, now that you mention it! (^_^)

    Are other members having luck with it?
    I saw on Facebook that somebody bragged that she made that one.

    Any suggestions?
    Accept that the most difficult hand on the card is, in fact, difficult to make. That hand, or one very much like it, is on every year's card. Most people never manage to make that hand at all. It's impressive that you made the hardest hand on the last 3 cards. This year's hand needs 3 twos from each suit, plus three zeroes, all without the help of any jokers. So of course it's hard.

    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 8, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Hong Kong style clarifications

    On Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at 07:21:29 AM EDT, Mona Stickley wrote:
    Mahjong
    Hi Tom!
    I was just reading some of the questions about the Hong Kong style of play [in FAQ 17] and wanted to write in to explain it a bit. The Hong Kong style is poorly represented to beginners who learned how to play using the old Yahoo! based style of play. The Yahoo! game was for very seasoned players who wanted to limit a lot of lower level hands and players. In fact, I often saw beginner players kicked out of the game when they played incorrectly or if they played too slowly. The players that played the Yahoo! game wanted to concentrate on hands that required more skill to create and to play at a high rate of speed. If you are a seasoned player in the Hong Kong style of play, this is enjoyable and does not limit your skillset. However, if you are a beginner player to this style and are learning how to play using these old rules, it limits your skills and knowledge of this style of play. The Hong Kong style of play is not limited to starting at 3 Fan. There are many beginner and novice players who like to play a minimum of 3 Fan and they love it because they can make all kinds of wonderful, advanced and valuable hands. However, this is not an accurate representation of how they would fare in normal playing situations. It is a good place to learn the game because it takes less skill at times to win with 3 Fan than it does to win with 1 or 2 Fan!

    If you take these same beginner players who are now used to playing 3 Fan, and put them at a table where you begin at a minimum of 1 Fan and they are playing with experienced players, they may not win a single hand. The advanced and valuable hands they are used to being able to win with will be impossible to get now when playing with people who can win with 1 Fan and can play at faster speeds. Why is this? Players with skill can see what you are doing by how and where you pull tiles out of your hand. They can see your patterns, they can understand what you have in your hand. They will be able to stop you from playing higher level hands. It is very easy to believe that this game is the most simple to learn yet it is one of the hardest styles to learn and advance in because of the intricacies that come from the strategies that can be played and nuances that happen at the table. Ironically, if you do not learn this lower scoring part of the game, you actually do not develop your skillset high enough to play with higher players regardless of if you play minimum 1 Fan, 3 Fan, or 5 Fan.

    One of the most difficult pieces to learn in the Hong Kong style of play is the way to create multiple points that add value to your hand. If you only play a minimum of 3 Fan, you do not need to know the vast majority of these extra points. It is easy to win a hand by focusing on what will bring 3 Fan. You can spend all of your time pursuing an all pong hand and not have to learn any other type of hand. It is not easy to win a hand by focusing on what will bring 1 Fan, the possibilities are much higher, you need to use more memory and knowledge to win with 1 Fan. For players that love to learn, broaden their skillset, they would really benefit from learning the entire range of hands to play in the Hong Kong style, the scoring methods, and the nuances and differences between playing computer based games and playing in person.

    The questions that I see in your blog are coming from this intersection of 2 components - what I like to refer to as set hands versus stacking components. For instance, the question regarding Pin Woo where they are playing 3 Fan minimum and then allowing pin-woo with certain stipulations. This is not really an accurate way to play pin-woo to meet a 3 Fan minimum requirement. Pin-woo is 1 Fan, not 2 Fan. It needs an additional 2 value areas - what I like to call stacking components) in your hand if you are playing a minimum of 3 Fan.

    First, let's correct what is understood about pin-woo. Pin-woo is an all chow hand. It is worth 1 Fan. There are no other stipulations such as it has to be a no point hand in other areas or that it has to be mixed suit. Your pin-woo can absolutely have points in it, you just count the points in addition to. If the pin-woo is all in one suit that is acceptable, you get the 1 Fan for the pin-woo, you get the Fan for the pure hand, etc. If you are playing 3 Fan minimum, and you want to win with pin-woo you are trying to win with a 1 Fan hand. You need to add at least 2 Fan to your hand to win. So if they are allowing pin-woo if a player has their flower or no flowers or self-draws is not correct as that only adds 1 Fan. It would be suitable if they had their flower and a self-draw. Here are all the extra components you can add to your hand to get the minimum of 3 Fan, remember you need to get 2 of these elements, not just 1:
    1) either have your flower or no flower,
    2) you self-draw,
    3) you win off someone else's Kong / Gong (Robbing the Kong),
    4) you win off the very last tile,
    5) you obtain a flower and when you take your replacement tile you obtain your winning tile from the dead wall,
    or
    6) your hand is entirely concealed until the time you win.

    Not all of the above are accepted by everyone or by all mahjong computer games. The Yahoo! 3 Fan game did not accept the last point. They did not consider concealed hands as a Fan. Many mahjong computer games do not. However, it is generally always accepted when playing in person and is a huge part of the game.

    The remainder of the conversation regarding pin-woo was in relation to the player having a pure hand. The pin-woo would most definitely score points on top of the purity or pure hand. All defined hands, I like to refer to them as set hands, such as a pong hand, a pin-woo, a pure hand, etc can have value added by adding what I call stacking components. Some stacking components are what is in my list above of the 6 ways you can add to a pin-woo to increase the value. So if you take a set hand which is a pure hand you would get the Fan for the pure hand which is 6 points in many places, in some places they will award higher value for a pure hand. You then are adding another set hand which is pin-woo as a stacking component to your pure hand. This adds the value of the pin-woo which is 1 Fan. You now have 7 Fan. If you also had your flower that would be an additional Fan. If you self-draw for the win, that is an additional Fan plus everyone pays you double.

    As well, I think Amy Lo's book is being interpreted incorrectly in response to the question. Pin-woo by definition, does not always contain mixed suits. Pin-woo means all chow or all sheung. It doesn't matter if it is 3 suits, 2 suits, or 1 suit. Interestingly, in some variations of the game, you would actually get an additional Fan if your hand held only 2 suits. I think Amy Lo was trying to show pin-woo as all mixed suits because it is easier to explain it that way instead of the full range of possibilities. In the earlier part of her book, she shows pin-woo as being mixed suit only. She then shows a pin-woo mixed with a pure hand later in her book, just like the question that came up. This is where she correctly shows the addition of the 2 components: the pure hand for 6 Fan and 1 Fan for pin-woo. So I believe she wasn't trying to state pin-woo is only mixed suits, I think it was just an example of the range you can do with a pin-woo.

    For the comment that the all chow hand doesn't define pin-woo sufficiently because the pair must be valueless, the pair does not ever impact the value of the pin-woo. In old rules, you can play a 2-5-8 rule which is an old style of play where if you have an eye (a pair) that is of any suit and if that pair is a 2, 5, or an 8 then your eye is worth an extra Fan. If you play the 2-5-8 rule, it still does not affect your pin-woo. You would get the 1 Fan for your pin-woo, or all chow hand, and then you would get the 1 Fan for your special eye.

    I hope that clears some of the confusion. The Hong Kong version can be very confusing because many families each have their own way of playing, organizations, schools, and communities all have their own rules and may score differently. I really love that you have so many mahjong enthusiasts on your site. Thanks for being so devoted to the game and to the community!

    For any of your audience that wants to learn more aspects about the Hong Kong style of mahjong, I have an online course that would give them a bigger range of skills in the Hong Kong style. I prepared a coupon so they can obtain a 30% discount off my course - the coupon specifically created for them is SLOPER. Just type that into the apply coupon area for the 30% discount. They are already coming in with knowledge about the game so they may be able to skip through some aspects of the course quickly. For those interested, the course I recommend is our Full Course - the Fast Track version. It is 12 modules and 110 lessons in total. I teach scoring as 2 different components for the Hong Kong style, the set hands and then the stacking components, which is the main conversation we got into above. I also get into how to build speed so you can play the game quickly as this becomes a requirement when playing with many players who like to play the Hong Kong style of play. Their discount would apply to any of our courses but I think the Full Course would be the most suitable for your audience.

    Wow, that's a lot of info, Mona! Thank you for all those clarifications. I'm appending this to the Comments section of FAQ 17.
    Play safe out there. 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
    September 7, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can somebody win on the last discard?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, September 6, 2022 at 07:58:28 PM EDT, Janice L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When the last tile is discarded in a wall game, can a player call it if it makes a MahJongg hand or does the game end when the last tile is discarded?
    Thanks for the help,
    Jan

    Yes, Jan, that last discard is available for a win. The wall game is not a wall game until the last discard has been discarded without anyone winning.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, September 6, 2022, 11:00pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 774

    On Monday, September 5, 2022 at 10:35:50 AM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Column 774
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom!
    Column 774
    Julia beat be to the punch in responding to #3 and #7, but I’m going to include my thoughts anyway as she and I think alike. She’d be fun to play with!
    #3 You also have 8 tiles for year #1. Pass 3D 1C 5C although this does destroy any other option. Keep the 4C pair for Joker Bait, hope to draw another Flower and more Dragons. But, it’s late in the Charleston. It would help if I knew if the Dragons were in the hand originally or came in via passes (especially if they were from West and South). If so, I might go with the year hand. If not, your options might be better.
    #6 Also have 7 tiles for CR #3, 9 if you count the Jokers standing in for the needed 2Ds (which might be tough to get) and I’d only have to ditch 1 Flower. Joker bait the 7D. Tough choice. I’d throw a Flower first and see what comes in next. What’s on the table? If opponents throw 2D, then Odds it is.
    #7 Quints #2 is looking good to me, pair is secure, more value, both have pung of 4C. Throw the Flowers first, keeping Quints #2 and Evens #5 options. Watch the discards. If Dragons come in, go for Evens, if needed number tiles or Jokers, Quints.
    #9 Am I missing something? Jokers are useless only if I’m going for a pure hand. Am I feeling lucky? With those 2 exposures, alert opponents know what hand I’m playing and what pairs I need, only mystery is the kong. Where are we in the game? How many Flowers are accounted for? What about the 3D? For a pure hand I need 2 great picks, or 1 pick and a called discard. What are the chances of that? If I have at least 10 more picks, maybe I’ll throw a Joker. The safer and probably more successful option is to throw 3D, then I’m only waiting for a Flower. I’ll remind myself that you cannot Mah Jongg second…
    Had a brain workout with these! Thanks for keeping me on my Mah Jongg toes.
    Sue Zoeller

    Hi, Sue! A lot to chew on here...


    I count 7 tiles for 2022 #1. Passing 5C kills Consec #5 only (leaves the Any Like options intact, and Consec #5's chances are not necessarily that great, due to the absence of jokers. So your pass is eminently passable!


    Yes, Consec #3 is viable, you're right. A flower should indeed go now, since flowers get hotter as the wall shortens. Joker bait shouldn't be cast too early (not until the wall is down to about 1/3 length). And you're right to look for 2D on the table. Nice one.


    Yes, the Quints option is very good.


    I meant that the joker is useless for the flower pair. Poor choice of words. I was not suggesting going jokerless (I assume that's what you mean by pure), heaven forbid. I agree with you on throwing 3D. See my reply to Linda Z below as regards to hand number nine.

    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, September 5, 2022, noonish
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 774

    On Monday, September 5, 2022 at 10:33:42 AM EDT, lindaz... wrote:
    column 774
    Hi Tom,
    I LOVE these mixed puzzles! Problem # 9 presents a real quandary. I assume it's near the end of the game since there are 2 exposures showing and it's obvious I'm playing for 369 # 6. But no one knows which kong suit or number I am using.
    If there are 1 1/2 walls remaining, I'd discard 3D--it might throw people off the scent. If less than one wall remains I'd discard J. Players rarely discard Flowers later in the game. This was a great brain teaser! What would you do?
    Also--Why do you not like to pass Dragons in the Charleston?
    Best, Linda

    Hi, Linda!


    You're right that 3D would throw them off track. When I said in the column to check if it's safe, I overlooked the fact that I'm holding 3 of them so it probably isn't dangerous.
    If I throw J, people will know I need F. While it's unlikely anybody will throw F, I can still pick one myself. But it's better to throw 3D, so that's what I'd do.

    Good question, why I don't like passing dragons. It may be a gut thing, not wanting to give anybody ideas. Ideas can mess with your head, so why not. I guess I figure if somebody is holding dragons like I do, giving them another puts them on the path. Anyway, thanks for asking. I'll think on it some more, maybe it's time to make an adjustment.

    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, September 5, 2022, noonish
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a joker be redeemed from a dead player's rack, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 11:25:59 PM EDT, Diane H wrote:
    THANK YOU!!!!
    Sent from Diane's iPhone

    yw!


    Column 774

    On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 01:09:27 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    Column 774
    Hello Tom,
    I'm appreciating the mixed questions.
    For hand #7, with four jokers I would also be thinking about Quints #2. It's still the same discards (either R or flower), but I was surprised you didn't mention it. I'm leaning towards discarding a flower as possible joker bait.
    Hand #3 also has 7 tiles toward 2022 #1, leaving another option to kill. For this one it might depend on what's already happened in the Charleston (Did the dragons come from other players passing them or were they from original deal? If someone has been passing dragons I would be more likely to hold onto them.)
    Thanks,
    Julia

    Great, Julia!


    I smack my forehead for not even looking at Quints. We'd have to ditch not only the flowers but ALSO the R, meaning we have farther to go if we go that way (we have only 7 tiles for that option). I wouldn't want to actually go that way, but consider my forehead smacked nonetheless.


    My forehead is going to get sore! I did overlook 2022 #1. Good point on what went around in the first Charleston and the Second Left - what went around often comes around again. The single flower is a problem for that option, requiring lucky picking (same as the Any Like options).

    Really good feedback!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Sunday, September 4, 2022, 5:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


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

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 12:02:56 AM EDT, Diane H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If someone’s hand is correctly declared dead, and already has a pung or chow showing on her rack, with a joker, are the jokers available for “replacing?”
    Sent from Diane's iPhone

    It depends, Diane. At the time of exposure, did that exposure reveal that the hand was incorrect or unwinnable? If so, that exposure should have been returned to the sloping front of the rack. See FAQ 19-P for complete details.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Sunday, September 2, 2022, 8:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Ongoing support

    On Sunday, September 4, 2022 at 07:25:57 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
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    Thank you for your ongoing support, Evelyn!
    Play safe out there. 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
    September 4, 2022
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    Thanks for all you do!

    On Friday, September 2, 2022 at 08:41:49 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Shawn M
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
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    Thank YOU, Shawn!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, September 2, 2022, 9:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She won after redeeming a joker, part 2

    On Friday, September 2, 2022 at 01:04:36 AM EDT, j m wrote:
    Re: Question for You
    Wow Tom...I can't believe how quickly you responded to my email. I also just saw your book on Amazon and ordered it for a friend who is just starting to learn...maybe I better read it first though!
    I just wanted to check to be sure that you saw the part of my question where player 2 picked up a discarded tile at the start of her turn. She used this for another part of her Mahj before trading another tile she had in her rack for a joker to complete the Mahj.That's where our disagreement was...about this first tile...if player one gave her the Mahj or if she picked it herself. We will definitely be adding 'finesse' to our rule books so I want to be sure we can pick up a discarded tile too before trading for the joker and having that considered as double pay Mahj. Thanks, Joan

    Good morning, Joan! You wrote:

    I also just saw your book on Amazon and ordered it for a friend who is just starting to learn...maybe I better read it first though!
    Great! The book is several years old, and there have been some rule changes, so make sure you also download the errata. Thirteen pages of changes, updates, and corrections.

    I just wanted to check to be sure that you saw the part of my question where player 2 picked up a discarded tile at the start of her turn.
    Yes, I saw that. Nothing she did during her turn prior to redeeming the joker for the win negates, modifies, or changes the fact that she redeemed the joker for the win. The very fact that she made the exposure before redeeming the joker, demonstrably showing that the winning tile was not the tile she had just picked, is what made her play a "finesse." See FAQ 19-BO. And I just want to be sure that you read FAQ 19-AN?

    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, September 2, 2022, 8:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She won after redeeming a joker and claimed it was self-pick. We disagreed.

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 10:50:31 PM EDT, j m wrote:
    Question for You
    Hello...my friend just introduced me to your website...really great and I wished I had discovered it years ago! So much great information and I love the questions and photos of vintage games!
    I'm writing because I have a question about something that happened during our game play today.
    player 1 discarded a 9 crack tile
    player 2 picked it up and exposed it with 3 matching tiles on her rack
    player 2 then traded an 8 dot tile she had for a joker with another player who has the 8 dot tiles exposed with a joker. This gave her Mah Jongg and ended the game. She then announced that she picked her own Mah Jongg. The disagreement was that since she picked up the discarded 9 crack tile at the start of her turn, it wasn't the same as picking from the wall for the Maj and 'picking your own Maj"
    Discussion came up about players who pick a tile from the wall and then can trade it for an exposed Joker on someone's rack to use with their own tiles to the Maj....we all agreed that in this case one does 'pick his own Maj'
    We all appreciate your help and thank you for your time and expertise,
    Joan M

    Hi, Joan!
    Winning on joker redemption is indeed regarded as self-pick, earning double from everyone. What your player 2 did is called "finessing." She held onto that redeemable tile until redeeming the joker would be her final winning move, so she could earn double from everyone. She did it perfectly, and deserves double from everyone for the skillful move. See FAQ 19-AN.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 10:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Do I have to announce I'm redeeming my own joker?

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 04:10:49 PM EDT, kathy p wrote:
    Quick question ?????
    If I pick a tile from the wall and notice I can exchange it for a joker on my own rack………do I have to announce that I am replacing it?
    Thank you ??
    Kathy P

    Hi, Kathy!
    The rulebook does not say you have to do that. But I like a harmonious game. Mah-jongg players being what they are, what's likely to happen if you don't? Most players aren't looking up from their own racks, and some may totally miss that you did that, then later go, "Hey, didn't you used to have a joker there? Where'd that go?" Or some players may notice a movement of your hands, out of the corners of their eyes. Either way, players may become suspicious that you might have done some sneaky sleight of hand. Personally, I like to avoid doing anything that can raise suspicion.
    So... what words should one use to "announce" that I'm exchanging a joker, without sounding too officious?
    What I do is say something like, "Aha!" when I see that I have picked a joker replacement from the wall. That's enough to raise eyes up off racks and watch me make the exchange. Or, if I have the joker replacement in among my concealed tiles, "Aha!" isn't the right word, so I might say "Come here, you joker, you!"
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 4:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What does the term "Neutral" mean, part 2

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 02:38:59 PM EDT, Margot G wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    You responded to my question about "neutral" saying the word is suitless and the flowers and and winds can go with any suit. What is its function when it is with other suits? Margot

    Its function is to fulfill the requirements set forth by the card, and to fill the hand. You know that a one-color hand on the card can be made with any suit. So if a hand was, say, 111 222 333 444 DD, you can use any suit, but the dragon can't be just any dragon - the dragon has to match the suit you use for the numbers. But if the hand was, say, 111 222 333 444 NN, there is no restriction on what suit you use the NN with. N is a wind, it doesn't match any suit, so it can be used together with any suit. The same with flowers. FF 111 222 333 444 can be any suit, because flowers are suitless - they do not dictate suit - they can be used together with any suit.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 3:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Questions about 1920's Era set, part 5

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 11:09:44 AM EDT, Pattigramz wrote:
    Re: Questions about 1920's Era set
    Thank you, that is very interesting. I appreciate the information. Since the time I posted about my set, I've had the box that it is stored in refurbished. I was told it is made out of mahogany. It was completely sanded down, glued in places where needed, polished the brass. Since a couple of original knobs were missing I used new beads instead. I am really pleased with rhe results:
    I also purchased some joker stickers and found some matching tiles to complete a set of 8 jokers. It's ready to be played with! These are the "winter princess" stickers I purchased from Mahjongtiles.com
    Thank you,
    Patti

    Looking good, Patti!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 1:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Questions about 1920's Era set, part 4 (see August 18)

    On Thursday, September 1, 2022 at 08:09:30 AM EDT, Ray Heaton wrote:
    Questions about 1920's Era set....a clue
    Hi Tom,
    Though this doesn't help Patti know where her Grandfather obtained his set, there is perhaps a clue as to where it was manufactured. The phrase on the "green" flower tiles (萬國九州) is, according to my dictionaries, colloquial Chinese used in Shanghai and hence points to the likely manufacturing location. The dictionary translates this phrase as "all countries" (more literally, ten thousand countries, nine states).
    The "red" flower tiles say, 名揚四海, and form an idiom meaning "to become known far and wide", perhaps more simply put as meaning "famous" (literally, the four characters mean "name spreads four seas").
    Add the meaning of both sets of flowers together would get us to "famous across the world".
    I dont recall seeing these phrases used on Flowers before so potentially quite unusual.
    Regards
    Ray

    Great work, Ray! Thank you so much. I'll let Patti know.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, September 1, 2022, 9:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What does the term "Neutral" mean in American mah-jongg?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 08:26:46 PM EDT, Margot G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the to beginner's guide to American Mah Jongg it talks about neutrals: jokers; dragons; winds and flowers. I called the League and they know nothing about the word Neutral, which is defined as a tile that can be used with any other tile, regardless of the Suit or Dragon. Winds, Flowers,Jokers and Soap when used as an"0" are neutral.
    Please explain Margot

    Hi, Margot!
    Wow, what is going on here? I went 2 days without any questions at all, and suddenly I get 3 questions within the span of a few hours! Do you and Rowena and Phyllis play together? Never mind - to get to your question:
    As I explained in FAQ 19-BG, Elaine Sandberg should have used the word "suitless" instead of "neutral," and when she said "a tile that can be used with any other tile," that seems to be a typo - she should have said "with any suit." And dragons don't belong in the list of "suitless" tiles, since the dragons match with the suits.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 9:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two people call mahj on the same discard

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 07:54:57 PM EDT, Rowena H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: If two persons will mahj on the same discarded tile, who is entitled to it?
    The next person in line is playing a concealed hand so no tiles have been exposed.
    The player after the next person has exposed tiles.
    I certainly have never seen this happed prior to today and cannot find the answer online.
    Thank you.
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, Rowena!
    This is a "conflicting claims" problem, in which both people call the current live discard for mah-jongg. You added:

    next person in line is playing a concealed hand so no tiles have been exposed. The player after the next person has exposed tiles.
    None of that has any impact on the question.

    cannot find the answer online.
    My FAQ 19 answers all the most frequently asked questions about American mah-jongg. It contains an entire Claiming a Discard section, where you will find the question "Two Players want the same discard - Which player gets the tile? (Conflicting Claims)."
    The answer (from Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the National Mah Jongg League, page 20):

      "13. (c) When two players call a tile for Mah Jongg, the player next in turn to discarder is entitled to the claim, EXCEPT when the other Mah Jongg declarer has begun to expose their tiles."

    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 8:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Picking from the wrong end

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 04:39:04 PM EDT, Phyllis C S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: if you accidentally draw from the wrong end of a wall—are you dead? Out of the game??
    Sent from my iPhone

    It depends, Phyllis! If you racked it, yes, you're dead. Also, if something else happens as a result of that error, there are more consequences. If another person also picks from the wrong end, the game is over. Or if you pick from the wrong end and somebody wins on your discard, you pay for the table.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 6:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 773, part 2

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 03:44:55 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom.
    Regarding Column 773 #6. Lynn B is right about CR #2. Also consider Evens #6. With the 2 Flower pungs and kong of 2C, the hot tiles are 8B and 8D. Exposures for those double Flower pung hands can be a challenge to defend. Yes, I like your new format. Thanks for the brain exercise!
    Sue Z

    Well spotted, Sue! You are so right.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Sunday, August 28, 2022, 4:10 pm
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    Column 773

    On Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 10:00:14 PM EDT, Lynn B wrote:
    Column 773
    I like the format this week...defend and charleston and blind pass. Interesting to mix it up - thanks!
    Hand #5. How about W/D #4? North, East, West and South are all hot as well.
    Hand #6 - What about CR #2? 1's and 3's in Bams and Dots are hot as well.
    Thanks for your weekly column!
    Lynn B

    Hi, Lynn!
    I'm glad the experimental format seems to be working!
    #5 - You're right! Good job!
    #6 - Right again! Well done all around!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Saturday, August 27, 2022, 11:30 pm
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    She had a change of heart (FAQ 19-AM)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 10:34:38 AM EDT, Laurie K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A player called a tile. The player exposed 2 of her tiles but did not touch the called tile. The player changed her mind and decided not to call. She put the 2 exposed tiles back in her hand. Is this against the rules? Thank you.

    Hi, Laurie!
    She exposed tiles. That's not a rescindable act. She has committed to making the exposure, and cannot take it back. See the change of heart rules.
    Play safe out there! 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
    Saturday, August 27, 2022, 11:11 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Those confusing joker rules

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, August 26, 2022 at 08:20:12 AM EDT, compuconnie wrote:
    My mah-jongg question is:
    In American Mah Jongg, can you exchange more than one tile at a time for jokers?
    Thank you from South Florida

    Yes, you can.
    You're welcome from western New York state.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, August 26, 2022, 8:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Have you seen this before, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 24, 2022 at 05:25:01 PM EDT, Carolyn G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: thank you Tom. Reading your book right now.

    Cool!


    Have you seen this before?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 24, 2022 at 04:32:24 PM EDT, Carolyn G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom
    I recently purchased an old mj set which was advertised as bakelite. I noticed that on one of the racks there was a bottom white ring which said : national mah jongg league this rack belongs to " it was under the regular rings and bigger. Have you seen this before? It is new to me. Does it increase the value of the set? Thank you so much for looking at my email. I'm a newbie and depend on your site.
    Carolyn

    Hi, Carolyn!
    I assume you mean like this:

    Your first question: yes, I have seen pictures (FAQ 7-D, the "Bits & Pieces" FAQ). I might even have one in my bits & pieces box, wherever that is. Your second question: my guess is that yes, it has value on its own, and would therefore increase the value of the set. I assume the disc means the set was bought from the League.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 24, 2022, 5:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 772

    On Wednesday, August 24, 2022 at 09:54:06 AM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    column 772
    Hi Tom,
    On #8, column 772--Can you please explain your decision to try for CR instead of Odds? This early in the game I would keep as many options open as possible. (I agree with passing 2B, S, 8D). I just don't understand why you have determined your goals this soon--before the first pass. I must be missing something (I would try for odds with CR as second choice) and I am hoping you can clarify your thinking.
    Thanks!
    Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I see the pung of fives as more significant a beginning than the pair of nines, so my thinking centers on the fives over the nines. As I wrote in the column, there are "odd friends and high friends" for the pung and the pair. The reason I prefer Consec over Odds is that the Consec family is the most powerful family on the card, generally speaking. But looking back over the column, I don't see that I actively chose one over the other, since passing 2B and S have no impact on either option, and since I chickened out on the third passer - leaving it up to the reader to choose 3B (which favors Consec) or 8D (which favors Odds), or a dragon (which could go either way). So although I said I prefer Consec over Odds, I didn't "act" on that preference in regards to this combination of tiles. Although I generally dislike passing dragons, that may be more a quirk than a high-strategy preference. I'm sometimes too distracted by dragons, and it's probably best to ditch a dragon as the third passer, so as to preserve both Odds and Consec (without choosing a specific hand in either family).
    Always good to hear from you, Linda.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 24, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Questions about 1920's Era set, part 3

    Re: Questions about 1920's Era set
    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 06:24:54 PM EDT, Pattigramz wrote:
    I do have the blank white dragons, they were just in a different drawer, so I will use the ones marked "F" for jokers, and I've ordered a few more extra tiles for the rest of the jokers. I've ordered a few different joker stickers and some new black racks. Thank you for all of the helpful info.

    Sounds good, Patti!
    Play safe out there. 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
    August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Looking for more smart defensive moves

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 06:11:50 PM EDT, Mary Lou F wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Some tables in our group play "for money". Is there a name for this that isn’t so gauche?
    Also, aside from the obvious defensive tactics can you mention any smart moves that might help me when playing with the best players in our MJ group. We have a $5.00 maximum loss so it isn’t so bad.
    Thanks for all you do, Mary Lou F

    So your group plays for a $5 pie. Does that sound less gauche? (^_^) You can also say "we play for coins."
    Some defensive moves, hmm? Let's see...
    Don't just use your ears. Always look at every discard when it goes down. Make sure it matches what it's called. But also, looking helps you actually see (and possibly remember) what that player discarded. Look at how each player discards. Some players put all their discards right in front of them; that gives you information about what that player is NOT collecting.
    Know in advance what tiles you need and might want to call for. It's not great manners to say "hold" or "wait," and it's not good strategy, either.
    If a tile you want goes out early in the game and you have to use a joker to call it, maybe you can let the first one go, so you can call the second one (reducing the chances that another player will redeem your joker).
    When you discard the same tile another player did just before you, say "same." And say "same" when you discard a joker, too.
    Pay attention to exposures, and think a moment about what that player might be doing (or not be doing). For example, if someone exposes a kong of threes, you know that player is not working in 2022 or 2468. But especially pay attention when a player has two exposures. You can usually make good defensive decisions from two exposures.
    Joker bait. When you have a pair of tiles you don't need, don't be too quick to break it up. If you can hang onto the pair until the last long wall has started, sometimes a player will want to call, and expose a joker. Then you can try to redeem that joker with the other matching tile.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you. And thanks again for the donation!
    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
    August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Picking and racking (FAQ 19-BL)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 04:19:56 PM EDT, Kathryn R. wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    This is a question in your FAQs section on Picking and Racking:
    “We have a player who picks a tile, then discards a tile without ever putting the picked tile on her rack. Is she allowed to do that? Aren't we always required to rack the tile after picking it?”
    The fact that the question’s wording says, “discards A tile …” rather than “discards THE tile …” has our group confused. So I’m asking for some clarification: Is the player discarding the same tile they picked, or are they discarding another tile from their rack? I ask because my group is still unsure whether or not a drawn tile can be viewed and discarded without racking or does that tile need to be racked first? Thanks so much for your help.
    Kathryn

    Hi, Kathryn! You're asking about FAQ 19-BL. That question can be read either way. Either she picks, is holding the picked tile, and discards from the rack with her other hand, or she picks, then discards the picked tile without racking it. Either way the answer is the same. There is no rule that says the picked tile has to be racked. The NMJL says it is "best practice" to rack, but it's not a rule (2021 newsletter). Presumably if a hypothetical person picked and then discarded with the other hand, that hypothetical person would have hypothetically racked the picked tile shortly after discarding. And the move is not illegal.
    Play safe out there. 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
    August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation!

    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 04:56:51 PM EDT, Mary Lou F via PayPal wrote:
    ml.f sent you money
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    Thank you again, Mary Lou! So generous!
    Play safe out there. 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
    August 18, 2022
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    Questions about 1920's Era set, part 2

    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 04:18:16 PM EDT, Pattigramz wrote:
    Re: Questions about 1920's Era set
    Thank you for the timely response. I am excited about playing with this set. It is complete, and I've ordered some extra tiles on ebay to make some jokers with stickers...hoping they are a good match. I'm going to attach some photos. You will see that someone painted "F" on 4 of the tiles...I'm guess that was for extra Flowers(?) since it was pre-jokers. It took me a while and some research to figure out that the White Dragons are blank white tiles! I wouldn't have known! And such a crazy story - my dad used the tiles to give himself fake tattoos as a kid! That's got to be a first! and probably explains why the East Wind has no color left! Now I'm really wondering how to clean them. Since my grandfather was not a MJ player, I think he was given the set as a gift or as a trade for something. I just wonder when and where.


    Hi, Patti!
    Yes, the Fs are extra flowers. Looks like that NMJL card in picture 4 is from 1959? Per column 509, players needed 20 flowers that year. 12 flowers were sufficient in 1943. But with the white dragons all marked F, there are no white dragons in your set. (I'm making assumptions since your photos don't show all the tiles laid out nicely for me.)
    There are cleaning tips in FAQ 7-o.
    I have no way of knowing where your grandfather might have purchased the set. But I can tell you that the set is no older than 1920. It looks like a Babcock set to me. See column 610 and also look up 1920 in FAQ 11-h.

    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    Followup: see September 1 post by Ray Heaton, above. - Webmaster


    Questions about 1920's Era set

    On Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 10:58:29 AM EDT, Pattigramz wrote:
    Questions about 1920's Era set
    Hello Tom,
    I recently acquired a set that had belonged to my grandfather in the 1920's. It is definitely bone and bamboo. My father who is in his 90's remembers playing with the set as a toy, but never saw anyone truly play MahJongg with it. I have taken up the game in recent years. It is an American version since the kraks and winds have the English letters and numbers on them. I have a couple of questions about it.
    1. One of the East Winds is etched but not painted. Is this on purpose (and why), or did it just disappear with age and wear?
    2. If I buy joker stickers is there anything I should get that would be close to that vintage as a design?
    3. I was told my grandfather acquired this set before 1920 while he was living in Hawaii. Could that in any way be true?
    If not, what would be the best sleuthing method to find out where and when he really got it?
    4. Could baby wipes be a good tool to clean the tiles?
    Thank you,
    Patti

    Hi, Patti! Thanks for numbering your questions!
    Sounds to me like someone accidentally washed out the color. Maybe a cleaning accident. Could possibly be an oversight in manufacturing.
    I don't think so. But the set shouldn't have enough tiles to make 8 jokers, if it's a 1920s set.
    Possible but unlikely.
    As for the when: send me pictures. As for the where: no idea.
    Risky. Avoid the crevices.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Thursday, August 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How to handle the problem of a player's hand being dead.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at 01:47:44 PM EDT, Sherry S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: HI Tom
    This is my 1st time on your site. In 2 different games I played this week we faced the problem of a player's hand being dead. What is the protocol and follow up penalty (if any) for the player who called her dead? 1) she was not dead. 2)she was dead?
    Thank you
    Sherry S

    Hi, Sherry!
    In brief, the player who's proved to be wrong owes the other player 50¢. For more details, see FAQ 19-AB. (And FAQ 19-AA just above it.)
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 2:10 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if dealer has mah-jongg immediately after the Charleston?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 11:01:03 AM EDT, Delia S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can the dealer of a hand who has 14 tiles mah-jongg immediately after Charleston, but before play has commenced (i.e., the dealer has not yet discarded a tile as required to commence play) ? Thanks!

    Yes, Delia. That rare event is called "Earthly Hand." It's considered self-pick, so dealer collects double from everyone. It's on page 14 of the latest edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy, or you can read about it in FAQ 19-BJ (the second question).
    I'm guessing that this didn't happen in your game? That you're just asking because the question came up in conversation? It's extremely rare.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, August 16, 2022, 12:10 pm
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    Rules for drop in groups?

    On Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 10:22:53 AM EDT, Sybl F wrote:
    Mah Jong question
    Dear Tom,
    I recently taught a group of women (34) at the Katonah library. We are now trying to keep this going with a drop in group. I have played in drop in groups but what I am wondering are their any written rules that need to be followed? In the group I went to we waited for the next available seat, they seem to want to play as the little groups they learned to play with. Any help would be appreciated .
    Thank you,
    Sybl.
    Sent from my iPhone

    I'm not exactly sure what your question is, Sybl. Perhaps it has to do with how to play at tables that don't have 4 players? Or how to rotate people from table to table? If you are asking about 2-player, 3-player, and 5-player play, see FAQ 13. If you are asking about table rotation, see FAQ 27. If I have missed your question entirely, feel free to email me again.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, August 16, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is 6 of a kind called, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Monday, August 15, 2022 at 06:27:30 PM EDT, Libba C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom. I thank you for your rapid response to my inquiry about a mahjong-inspired word for 6 like tiles. The reason I didn’t look on the back of the NMJL card is because I don’t have one. I play strictly Marvelous Mahjong, with Quint being the highest group of like tiles.
    Thanks again,
    Laury T

    You're welcome, Laury!
    If you need a rulebook, I recommend these two:


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every player should have an up-to-date copy!
    No matter what card you use.
    Right: And then there's my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." - It's not bad, if I do say so myself.

    Play safe out there. 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
    August 15, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is 6 of a kind called?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Monday, August 15, 2022 at 05:16:52 PM EDT, Libba C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Howdy Tom.
    If a Quint is 5, what is 6 of a kind called? I’ve only come up with sextuple, however, I’m really looking for a word that’s more mahjong inspired.
    Thank you,
    Laury T

    Hi, Laury!
    Look at the back of the card, upper left corner.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card every year.

    Six of a kind is called a "sextet."
    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, August 15, 2022, 5:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    He discarded the same tile he had just claimed, part 2

    Re: Mahjong
    On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 11:29:28 PM EDT, Michael C wrote:
    Thanks so much! I'll deliver the good news to my spouse. Lol!
    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy


    He discarded the same tile he had just claimed

    On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 11:08:04 PM EDT, Michael C wrote:
    Mahjong
    Hi Tom!
    My family (white American & Filipino American) and I were playing mahjong tonight and we had a debate regarding the rules, I was hoping for some clarification, please:
    A player discarded a 7 character. Next player picked up the discarded 7 character for a chow. They laid down/exposed the chow and discarded another 7 character they had in their rack, into the discard pile. This was called out immediately as breaking the rules. I questioned whether or not it was actually against the rules, but I was unable to find anything online that says it is against the rules. In your opinion, Is the player allowed to do this?
    Best Regards,
    Mike C

    Hi, Mike!
    I know of no authoritative book or website on Filipino mah-jongg. But I know that in some variants, it's forbidden to discard the same tile you just claimed, in the same turn. My Japanese friends told me it's against their rules. I'm unclear on the logic behind the prohibition. In the absence of an authoritative "bible," I'd say go with the host's preference. At their house, it's forbidden. At your house, it's allowed. If you want. See FAQ 14.
    Play safe out there. 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
    August 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 771

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 03:53:06 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom. Regarding column 771. #1
    This hand is dead even if there were a valid hand with a same suit dragon pung and a kong of threes, the exposure shown is 3B 3B J 4B, not valid under any circumstances. Always double check you exposure before discarding.
    Sue Z
    Sent from my iPad

    囧 Oops! Yes, that was a goof when I was creating that image. I'm going to leave it as is, because you made a really good point - always double check your exposure before you discard and cement it.
    But note that there is an open matter regarding whether one can correct any incorrect exposure before discarding, or you can only change a pung to a kong or quint or sextet, or vice versa (see "Incorrect exposure" on the bulletin board, asked Friday, July 8, 2022 by Marilyn C - and see my exchange with Kathleen D on June 2, 2022).*
    Play safe out there. 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
    Sunday, August 14, 2022, 7:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Note that those links will be broken after the bulletin board is archived, but the entries can then be found by navigating to the archived page and searching for the cited names or dates. - Tom


    Can you help me explain the logic of this rule?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, August 12, 2022 at 10:52:44 PM EDT, DebbiAnn L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom!
    Can you explain why, in a 3 person game, east shouldn't take '1&3', but only take 1 (their 13th tile), let the other players take their 13th tile, and THEN east take their 14th? I cannot get through to some people I play with that east is skipping a tile in the wall and Isn't getting their proper tile (and north (?), on their first pick, as well) if east takes 1&3...they're leaving 2 bottom tiles to start the game, they've taken the 14th tile based on a 4 person game, not a 3 person game. I'm hoping you can explain it better than I have tried...
    Thank you!
    Debbi Ann L

    Hi, Debbi Ann! You're talking about the rule on page 26 of Mah Jongg Made Easy. Personally, I usually don't try to justify or explain rules. They're rules. But I know there are players who can't sleep unless they grok the reasoning behind a rule, or can justify it based on other rules, or on rules of other games.
    Your explanation is fine. If somebody can't accept your explanation, I can only offer these suggestions:
    1. Demonstrate it both ways (the 3-player rule way, and the 4-player way), and illustrate that the proper tiles are not being taken. Do these rule explanation requirers grok why the 4-player "1 and 3" rule works properly in the first place?
    2. "I've explained it as well as I know how. Let's move on. Keep mulling it over, and eventually you'll see it."
    3. "It's the rule. Just do it because it's the rule. It's logical and it makes sense, and it's the rule, but I'm sorry that I can't satisfy your thirst for a deeper explanation."
    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, August 12, 2022, 11:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 767

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 02:55:20 PM EDT, Cloud wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Column 767. #2
    You say 5B are hot - but you are using green dragons, so 5B’s cannot be used in that hand. ?? Claudette
    Sent from my iPad

    囧 Good, Claudette, you found my, ahem, "intentional" error, heh. It should also not indicate that 5C is hot, since 5C is already exposed. It should say that F and 5D are hot.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 3:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation

    On Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 12:43:59 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Adrian B H
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
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    Thank you, Adrian!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 3:05 pm
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    Column 758

    On Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 11:55:12 AM EDT, Carolyn C wrote:
    Column #758
    Tom,
    Just starting to get up to speed on the 2022 card and start playing again. I have a question on column 758 from last Mother’s Day. For hand #5, you recommend passing fives, but I see no fives in the hand.
    Best regards,
    Carolyn

    囧 You're right, Carolyn! Surprised nobody else caught that. Not sure what I meant to say there (it's been so long) - maybe I meant dragons.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 10, 2022, 3:00 pm
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    Is win by joker redemption self-pick? Or did I give it to her?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 06:03:13 PM EDT, A H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If I throw a tile for a pong exposure and that player exposes and then makes an exchange for a joker
    which results in mahjongg, is it a self picked mahjongg or did I give it to her? Does everyone pay double
    or am I the only player to pay double, since I threw the tile.
    Thank you for your assistance,
    Adrian

    Look at it this way, Adrian. The tile that gave her the win was the joker she redeemed, with a tile she got from the wall. That's self-pick. FAQ 19-AN.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, August 9, 2022, 10:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 770

    On Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 11:02:08 AM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    col. 770
    Hi Tom,
    In strategy column 770, #8--there are 8 tiles for S&P #2. I would pass any even tiles.
    I enjoy your strategy columns!
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I did overlook that hand. Let's see:

    For S&P #2, we need pairs of all odd numbers in one suit, then pairs of any like odd number in the other two suits. If suit 1 is dots, we have our pair of sevens and a single nine. We need pairs of ones, threes, and fives, plus a nine. Our other pairs then could be nines - we have it in craks, we have a single in bams.
    If suit 1 is bams, we have a pair of ones and a single nine, and for the other two suits, same thing as the "suit 1 is dots" situation: we have a pair of nines and a single nine.
    For each possibility, we have six tiles. Six tiles, two ways. A lot of luck will be needed. I'm not crazy about this, but I agree that passing evens works.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Sunday, August 7, 2022, 11:45 am
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    Can I use a joker to complete a pair to mah jongg?

    On Friday, August 5, 2022 at 05:33:32 PM EDT, Kathy M wrote:
    Mah question
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can I use a joker to complete a pair to mah jongg?
    Thanks.

    Hi, Kathy! Read the back of the card.


    Every player needs to know all these basic rules of the game.

    Left pane, the last paragraph before the numbered rules (the Jokers paragraph), second sentence.
    Look for the word "NEVER" in bold capital letters. That's the answer to your question!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, August 5, 2022, 7:00 pm
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    Donation

    On Thursday, August 4, 2022 at 07:07:49 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
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    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Play safe out there. 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
    August 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    To any readers who may be thinking of donating: you don't have to set up recurring payments like Evelyn so generously did. I gladly accept one-time donations. (^_^)
    Tom


    What if all 4 players want to blind pass 3 tiles?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at 07:56:17 AM EDT, Fran B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: not sure this has ever happened( but the question not the actual problem came up at my game yesterday. )What if all 4 plays want to blind pass all 3 tiles ? What do you do ?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Fran!
    This is a frequently-asked question. I wrote column 534 to address various multi-player blind pass scenarios, and the League adopted the I.O.U. principle I proposed, on page 13 of MJME (Mah Jongg Made Easy), the official rulebook (2020 edition). Essentially, if (hypothetically) 4 people all genuinely want to blind pass 3 tiles, you can skip it and say you did it, then if that was the first left, stop the Charleston, skip the courtesy, and let the dealer discard or declare mahj. But if the dealer can't declare mahj, and has a tile to discard, why did he/she/they say they didn't have anything to pass in the first place, but never mind, now s/he has to make a decision and discard something.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 8:30 AM
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    Mystery tiles

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at 09:57:29 PM EDT, Elaine C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I found two wooden tiles with mah Jong symbols on one side and pictures on other side that appear to be shellacked on. Have you ever seen these before? Do they belong to an old set? Thank you.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Elaine! You asked:

    Have you ever seen these before?
    No, I can't say I've seen those earrings before. (I assume they're earrings.)

    Do they belong to an old set?
    They did, before somebody converted them into jewelry.

    If you want to rephrase your questions or ask something else, I'll be here.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, August 2, 2022, 10:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A discard was misnamed

    On Monday, August 1, 2022 at 02:14:59 PM EDT, jgalligan wrote:
    question
    If someone lays down a 4 bam but calls it a 4 crack, the next person picks a tile and racks it but one of the people at the table needed the 4 bam and it was called
    incorrectly. I understand there is a 25 point penalty for miscalling the tile but can the person needing that tile still caall it? I've never seen that happen.
    My solution was that a tile racked is a tile racked and the person needing it could not call it. Is that correct? Please let me know.
    Thank you,
    Judy

    You're right, Judy, that the player who let the misnamed tile go by until it was too late is too late. But you are wrong about the penalty to the misnamer. See FAQ 19-AY.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, August 1, 2022, 2:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My mystery flowers, part 2

    On Monday, August 1, 2022 at 12:09:32 AM EDT, jnschum wrote:
    Re: Mahjong Tiles - Seasons / Scholars
    Thanks, Tom. I really appreciate the info. I'll donate in gratitude.
    I'm happy to know that the set is even more precious than I knew.
    Should I continue to watch the thread to see if anyone else posts to it? I'm not sure how it all works.
    Nancy

    You're welcome, Nancy. I was guessing, for the most part, and trying to put the four images in context. That #1 image looks a little like the board game in the Mystery Flowers FAQ (see "Another sort of flower tiles"), but the brush doesn't seem to go with a game, so I figured it might be a calligraphy brush or a makeup brush. Because of the womanly fingernail in #4, I figured the whole series might relate to a lady's items. I can be wrong. It might all be calligraphy-related instead.
    Your set most likely dates to the 1920s, but I never said it was precious or valuable. You would have to show and tell a lot more about the entire set, if that's an area of curiosity for you.
    And yes, someone might have further thoughts on your flower tiles to post here.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, August 1, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My mystery flowers

    On Sunday, July 31, 2022 at 10:04:48 PM EDT, jnschum wrote:
    Mahjong Tiles - Seasons / Scholars
    Hi Tom,
    Thank you for being such a great resource to the mahjong world. I've enjoyed perusing the wealth of information available on your website.
    I haven't been able to find anything on the season tiles in the picture. I acquired this set, bone and bamboo, smaller than average tiles, from an estate of a friend who was 90+ year old when she passed. Have you seen this set before? Do you know what the pictures on the tiles represent? Would you be able to give any 'general' indication of age.
    Thank you for your help.
    Nancy

    Hi, Nancy! You asked:

    I haven't been able to find anything on the season tiles in the picture.
    Did you scroll through all the pictures in the Mystery Flowers FAQ?

    Have you seen this set before?
    I've seen lots of such sets before, but every set's flowers are different.

    Do you know what the pictures on the tiles represent?
    I assume you mean these:

    Some of these are pictured in the Mystery Flowers FAQ. The one on the left looks like a board game but might be a makeup kit. #2 might be a bowl or mirror. #3 looks like a book. #4 seems to be a woman's hand holding what looks to me like an ink bottle; I can't read the characters written on it.

    Would you be able to give any 'general' indication of age.
    Probably 90-100 years.

    Play safe out there. 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
    Sunday, July 31, 2022, 11:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong, part 5

    On Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 11:32:57 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Fwd: 20 point Mah Jong
    Might have just sent to my new email!
    Sent from Liesl
    Begin forwarded message:
    From: Liesl Mcliney
    Date: July 27, 2022 at 6:29:39 PM CDT
    To: Liesl McLiney, Liesl McLiney
    Subject: Re: 20 point Mah Jong
    Hello Tom!
    Well it has almost been a year since my question about 20 Point Mah Jong. Your answer and pics of the books to help me has led me down the most fabulous rabbit hole perhaps in my life, maybe. I subscribed to Vanity Fair to hit the archives of R.F.Foster and soaked it all up. My Mah Jong classes i’ve been teaching 20 Point to, are also fascinated by this research. I decided to create a 20 point Mah Jong how to flip book and am very proud of it. I am still dealing with publishers, talk about slow! I am tempted to self publish since I did it all.I was a graphic designer prior to 2000, fifth child basically did me in. I did print 50 for myself and friends, and the response is amazing. I would love to share it with you because you and your site is the best rabbit hole! Again, i just printed 50, but I mention you in my vocabulary page and maybe another spot, basically as a wealth of information. I am double checking that that is okay. When I launch my instagram page, it is there, but empty to grab the name, I am hoping with your permission to quote you, promote you and use your Mah Jong family tree? Which I can’t find again. I know you own my email, but I don’t own my copyright quite yet so I am nervous to give you my book yet, but I am hopeful you will love it. I just went to your site for the first time in six months and feel like a $%#%^*( for not donating! I will now, not for approval but because you have been a wealth of valid information! You are truly a wonder! I can’t thank you enough.
    I guess if I did have a question, did the NMJL actually trademark American Mah Jong? I don’t see it in your timeline. I Know that 20 Point was coined American Mah Jong in Vanity Fair and it is bothering me a bit.
    I have to give you a sneak peek!
    6DED58EF-FED5-4642-BBF7-29690C4E29B1_1_105_c.jpeg
    Thoughts?
    Mah Jong Moon is my brand
    On Oct 13, 2021, at 12:15 PM, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    >Hi Tom,
    >thank you for your books which I’ve had some for years, and I’ve enjoyed exploring your site. My great grandmother and grandmother taught me 20 point mah-Jong almost 50 years ago. When I grew older I and my family played with her weekly, And then began subbing in her groups at the club, they were all in their 80s. I keep struggling looking for 20 point Mah Jong through sites and books. I see we are similar to British Mah Jong, although we play with 8 flowers and two jokers and we only Charleston if the hand is a draw. We call that a hotsie. We pay out small amounts of money and do not play with a mixed hand. We also need at least 3 doubles to win. I have taught around 100 people in the last 15 years, they always want to get a book which is not the same. I am now teaching a class at the country club, and using the tattered old sheets that my grandmother left behind, however I have re-written. We are in Kansas City, and every time I buy an old set at an estate sale, I always find these little old pages still in the set. I’d love to know the history of our 20 point mah-jong and hopefully I am not in trouble teaching this way.
    >Sent from Liesl

    Good morning, Liesl. OK, I got your resent email, and I found your original postings from last October, too. There are questions in your email today:

    I mention you in my vocabulary page and maybe another spot, basically as a wealth of information. I am double checking that that is okay.
    The mentions are fine.

    I am hoping with your permission to quote you, promote you and use your Mah Jong family tree?
    You may quote me with attribution. I don't know what form of promotion you're contemplating, but I decline the offer. I give you permission to use the family tree diagram, as long as you cite my copyright notice and link.

    Which I can’t find again.
    The diagram is from FAQ 2B. Direct link: https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/tree-s.gif


    https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq02b.html
    © 2002 Tom Sloper

    did the NMJL actually trademark American Mah Jong? I don’t see it in your timeline. I Know that 20 Point was coined American Mah Jong in Vanity Fair and it is bothering me a bit.
    I see now that you are worried about the title. When you hoped last year that you were "not in trouble," I thought you were concerned about Foster's heirs coming after you. The term "American Mah Jong" is not trademarked by anyone, to my knowledge. The phrase has been used in the titles of several books, and I don't think anyone would be foolhardy enough to try to fight legal battles with everyone who uses the phrase. The phrase "American mahjong/mah-jong/mah jong/mah jongg/mah-jongg/mahjongg" is a generic descriptive phrase and is probably not trademarkable. The National Mah Jongg League owns its name, not the descriptor "American." And the NMJL uses two Gs.

    But I would be careful about the cover graphic. It's obviously based on the cover art of J.P. Babcock's hardcover editions of his little red book.

    Babcock sold Mah-Jongg to Parker Brothers, so the similarity of your cover art with Parker Brothers' copyright may possibly become a problem for you.
    Good luck with your book!
    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
    Thursday, July 28, 2022, 9:30 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation, part 2 (20 Point Mah Jong, part 4)

    Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Liesl McLiney
    On Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 09:33:26 PM EDT, Liesl McLiney wrote:
    Thank you! But did you read my email? What do you think of my 20 point Mah Jong book? Do I have a chance? Or am I the only one playing that way? It’s the best in my opinion!are you okay with me mentioning you in it?

    囧 Gosh, Liesl, I haven't received an email. I checked Spam and Archive and even Trash. You're reinterpreting Foster's Twenty-Point Mah Jong for modern audiences? I'm okay with the mention. Thank you again for the generous donation!
    Play safe out there. 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
    July 27, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation! (20 Point Mah Jong, part 3)

    On Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 07:52:32 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Liesl M
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $122.00 USD from Liesl M
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $122.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Liesl M
    Message: This for the wealth of knowledge, not your stamp of approval! Hoping I earned that.

    Wow! Thank you, Liesl. You earned the stamp, all right!
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, July 27, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is it mandatory to display the tiles in card order when you win?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 12:36:38 PM EDT, Isabelle B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is
    When calling a tile for mah Jongg, is it mandatory to pick up the tile and put the hand up on your rack in correct order?
    Thanks
    Isabelle B
    Sent from my 9th generation iPad.

    Hi, Isabelle! The rulebook says "when Mah Jongg is declared, tiles should be re-arranged to show the correct order." There's a very good reason for this: the rulebook also says "All players should verify the declarer's hand." If you win, you want everybody to know it, don't you? You want everybody to pay you, don't you? Of course you do.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 12:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The manuals are unclear

    On Monday, July 25, 2022 at 11:30:02 PM EDT, Laura B wrote:
    Thank you!
    Kia ora Tom!
    I just wanted to say thank you for your site! I grew up playing a pretty bastardised version of Mah Jong that I guess my family had developed. In my teens my mum bought me my own Mah Jong set but I've barely been able to use it since the game is complicated and not that popular here. One rule that was really unclear in the three manuals I own and on various websites was when you can pick up a discard. Your clarification of that was really helpful and your website is possibly one of the most comprehensive and comprehensible guides! I will donate some day when I am not a poor student! Maybe when I get rich from Mah Jong! (just kidding I only play it for fun)
    Thanks for all the hard work you've put in to making your website!

    I do have one question. Two of the guides I have only refer to two types of Mah Jong; Chinese and Western. From looking over various guides I THINK by Chinese it means Hong Kong style. By Western do you think that is most likely to be British rules or American rules (just at a guess)? Also, what's your favourite Mah Jong variation?
    Thanks again!
    Ngā mihi nui,
    Laura

    Kia ora, Laura. I appreciate your enthusiasm. You asked:

    Two of the guides I have only refer to two types of Mah Jong; Chinese and Western. From looking over various guides I THINK by Chinese it means Hong Kong style. By Western do you think that is most likely to be British rules or American rules (just at a guess)?
    I would have to guess, too. Are your guides dated? Do they indicate the name(s) of the author(s)? If you have the authorless pamphlet that frequently came with mah-jongg sets, that is not to be bothered with; it's incomprehensible, ill-informed, and outdated. From the 1930s to the 1960s, most authors only knew one way to play, and may have been aware that there was "another" way to play on the other side of the earth. I'm aware of almost 50 variants today. See FAQ 2B.

    Also, what's your favourite Mah Jong variation?
    Of the 4 dozen-ish variants, I favor three: American (National Mah Jongg League), Japanese (riichi/dora majan), and MCR (Chinese Official tournament rules).

    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 7:40 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can you use a joker in a quint?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, July 23, 2022 at 05:54:27 PM EDT, Kay N wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you use a joker in a Quint of “N” or “W”
    As in Winds & Dragons, line 1.
    Thanks,
    K
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Kay!
    You HAVE to use a joker in a quint that isn't flowers. There's no way to make a quint without a joker (except for flowers). Read the back of the card - you can use a joker in ANY pung, kong, quint, or sextet. FAQ 19-E. But note, there's no quint in Winds - Dragons. W-D #1 is three kongs and a pair.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Saturday, July 23, 2022, 6:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I have two jokers, may I call a discard for exposure?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at 05:45:44 PM EDT, jo ann g wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have two jokers, may I pick up the discard to make a pung?

    Yes, you may, Jo Ann. FAQ 19-L.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 6:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information, part 3

    On Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at 02:09:03 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Blanche Arnold II
    Tom...
    Attached you will find the pamphlet by Blanche Arnold, second vice-president of The American League of Mahjong Players. This seems to be a mystery, since I can find no mention of her on the internet and you haven't heard of her, either.
    ...John

    Hi, John. Yes, those are the same images you sent me Monday night and that I posted Tuesday morning, below. (I'm guessing that you haven't seen it.) The actual contents of the booklet are of interest. As I wrote yesterday morning, "The American League of Mahjong Players" was apparently formed right after the National Mah Jongg League. Would be interesting to see how their rulebook differs from the 1938 NMJL rules. I’d like to see the interior of the booklet, if possible.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 20, 2022, 2:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 08:47:08 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Blanche Arnold
    Tom...
    A pamphlet by Blanche Arnold, APPROVED MANUAL FOR MAHJONG PLAYERS, was included in my late uncle's mahjong set, which appears to have been made in the 1940s by AP GAMES. I have searched for this pamphlet online and I find no mention of it, Blanche or The American League of Mahjong Players, for which she was the second Vice President. Why is that?
    Respectfully,
    John Lee H

    Hi, John.
    I think I must have forgotten to email you and let you know that I replied to your previous email. I replied at 8-ish this morning (below) that I never heard of that booklet or that organization. I guess there must not have been very many of them printed.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 10:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me claim that discard, part 3

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 04:44:50 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Mary Ann H
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from Mary Ann H
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $5.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Confirmation number: 0KX59178H0874252W
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Mary Ann H
    Message: Thanks again for your help

    Thank you, Mary Ann!


    Clusterflub in a 3-player game, 2 players went dead.

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 03:53:14 PM EDT, Charles V wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Three player game, American rules, 2022 card. The situation. Player A picks up a South which player B discarded. She then exposes 3 South’s. Player C asks Player A, “are you dead?” A says,”No.”. Player C says, “then I’m dead.” Player B plays, C. is skipped, then A says,”Yes I’m dead because I exposed part of a concealed hand.” What happens now? Should B win by default?
    I was Player B by the way. My name is Charlie. Looking forward to your decision.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Charlie!
    - Player C was wrong to ASK if player B is dead. It's bad form, a terrible way to call somebody dead. But asking if someone is dead does amount to a death challenge.
    - Player A has a right to deny being dead, but player A was wrong (Player A was exposing a concealed hand, just like the computer player who asked me about a pung of souths today, below). Player A is going to owe Player C 50¢ when it's discovered that they exposed a concealed hand and wrongly denied being dead.
    - Player C should not have called themself dead. The rulebook specifically says a player should not call themself dead. Also, what is the reason?
    - Once player A realizes they are dead, they cannot just call themself dead. See the death challenge rules in FAQ 19. Specifically, read AA ("Can a player call another player dead?") and CK ("I was called dead. Now what?") and AB ("Called me dead but I'm not") and AC ("Do I have to call myself dead? Can I call myself dead?").
    - Lastly, you asked what happens if 2 players have gone dead in a 3-player game, and should the sole survivor win by default. No. See FAQ 19-BW ("What if three players go dead?", which is the equivalent of 2 players going dead in a 3P game). In your case, a player mistakenly denied being dead and then the other player illegally called herself dead for no good reason. It's a total mess, not covered by the rules.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 4:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me claim that discard, part 2

    Re: Mahjongg Question
    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 04:00:28 PM EDT, Mary Ann H wrote:
    I am a newbie. This was so helpful and I am most appreciative. You are right about the concealed hand and I didn’t even notice that. I’ll donate some money in appreciation.

    Hi, Mary Ann!
    It's fine to claim a discard for mah-jongg on a concealed hand. As I said, since you were claiming the discard for mah-jongg, there must have been some other problem with the hand.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 4:07 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me claim that discard?

    On Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 03:01:35 PM EDT, Mary Ann H wrote:
    Mahjongg Question
    Hi,
    I hope you can help. I am playing on line and want to call a discarded tile. Third chance but this is my turn and the others were not. The computer won’t let me call S when I have one and a joker. It now would be for Mahjongg but the other times were not. Can jokers not be used with Winds? Thanks.

    Hi, Mary Ann!
    Most computer mah-jongg games won't allow you to make an illegal move. W-D #7 is a concealed hand, but you say it was for mah-jongg, in which case the computer ought to allow you to claim that S. So there must be some other problem with the hand. Or the computer is playing a different card.
    I don't generally offer help with computer games, but if you ever want to ask me again, a screen shot would be very helpful.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 3:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Seeking more information

    On Monday, July 18, 2022 at 11:58:17 PM EDT, John H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg
    Hi, Tom...
    I inherited my uncle's Mah-Jongg set when he passed away. I'm hoping that you can furnish me with more information on this set than what I have below.
    1. Detailed Contents: 145 tiles, including one blank; Dots - 36ea, Bams - 36ea, Craks - 36ea, Winds - 16ea, Dragons - 12ea, Flowers - 8ea; Black Metal Chips - 24ea, White Metal Chips - 36ea, Red Metal Chips - 40ea, Gold Metal Chips - 46ea; Four Racks, light stained - 2ea, dark stained - 2ea, all with chip holder on left; Dice - 2ea
    2. Paper Materials: Booklet by Blanche Arnold, APPROVED MANUAL FOR MAHJONG PLAYERS, copyright 1938
    3. Tiles made of Butterscotch Bakelite.
    4. This set belonged to my late uncle who probably bought it in the late 1940s or early 1950s.
    5. Tiles are 11mm high, 20mm wide, 30mm long. Chips are metal, 21mm diameter, 1mm thick, round hole is 5mm in diameter.
    6. There are 145 tiles total, including a blank w/ same dimensions but darker color: 36 Dots, 36 Bams, 36 Craks, 16 Winds, 12 Dragons, 8 Flowers
    7. The set came in an attaché type case with a handle. It was made out of a faux leatherette, possibly alligator. It was so moldy I tossed it. I should have taken a photo. It smelled like the glues used in the manufacture were off gassing. It smelled bad!
    8. Craks are the later kind.
    9. Picture provided
    10. Picture provided
    11. Picture provided
    12. No Jokers
    Thank you for any help you can give me.
    John Lee H



    Hi, John. I don't have much information to tell you. The brass "chip" is a Japanese 5-yen coin, and that one is dated 1974. That booklet is rare. I never heard of "The American League of Mahjong Players," but it's interesting that it was apparently formed right after the National Mah Jongg League. Would be interesting to see how it differs from the 1938 NMJL rules. Thanks for sharing the pictures.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 19, 2022, 8-ish in the morning
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation

    On Monday, July 18, 2022 at 06:17:39 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Norton S
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Norton S
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $20.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Norton S
    Message: Thanks for your factual and entertaining tips!

    Gosh, thanks, Norton! So glad you enjoy my work here.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, July 18, 2022, 8:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is tile racking mandatory?

    On Monday, July 18, 2022 at 04:26:54 PM EDT, Katherine B wrote:
    MJ Rule
    Is tile racking mandatory?
    Thank you

    No, it isn't, Katherine. See FAQ 19-BL for details.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Monday, July 18, 2022, 4:44 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I had to write and tell you

    On Saturday, July 16, 2022 at 05:03:21 AM EDT, Alexandra G wrote:
    Re: Tom Sloper's Philosophies of Mah-Jongg
    Hello Tim
    I had to write and tell you how much I love reading your website.
    I play and teach HK Taiwanese style mahjong and I constantly have to address questions from new players ie those who play bridge or rummy or other card games. And what continues to astound me are the questions asked and the questioning of why certain points are allowed, etc.
    Mahjong exposes player’s thought processes and how we can all
    look at the same thing but see it very differently.
    Mahjong has so many layers and you are constantly learning something new the more you play and the more you reach out to other groups.
    So thank you for so succinctly explaining aspects of the game and your wonderful terminology that can be applied to any style of mahjong.
    Warmest regards,
    Alexandra
    Hong Kong

    Do je, Alexandra. Thank you.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Saturday, July 16, 2022, 7:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 28

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Friday, July 15, 2022 at 01:41:02 PM EDT, A Stroms wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: the first hand under QUINTS ... do dragons and numbers have to be same suit? Thank you.

    Hi, A! As I wrote in FAQ 16, the answer is in the parenthetical. The parenthetical says "any dragon," which means the dragon does not have to match the number quint.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, July 15, 2022, 1:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She denied being dead and exposed her tiles to prove it

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 11:51:08 PM EDT, Sunny H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the middle of the game, Player A called Player B “dead.” Player B denied being dead and exposed her tiles to prove it.
    Should Player B have waited until the game was over before proving she’s not dead? What are the consequences to Player A for being wrong?
    Please explain this rule. Thank you.

    Hi, Sunny,
    Yes, player B should have waited. The player who was wrong in a death challenge owes the other player 50¢. See the full proper procedure for a death challenge in FAQ 19-AB.
    All the death challenge rules are at mjfaq19.html#dead.
    Play safe out there. 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
    Friday, July 15, 2022, 7:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is that joker still available, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 06:36:08 PM EDT, barbara w wrote:
    Thank you so much for your quick response. I am vindicated! Didn’t know the part about putting the part of the hand that made you dead back in your rack. Makes a lot of sense.

    You're welcome, Barbara!
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Thursday, Le 14 Juillet, 2022, 6:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is that joker still available for redemption?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 04:22:08 PM EDT, barbara w wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: If you have a second exposure with a joker and no one notices until 2 rounds of play, can they take the joker from the exposure that caused the hand to be dead since it wasn’t declared dead right away?

    Hi, Barbara!
    When it's discovered that the hand is dead due to a second exposure, that exposure should be returned to the sloping front of the rack. Any joker within that exposure is therefore unavailable for redemption. FAQ 19-P.
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Thursday, Bastille Day, 2022, 5:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    If you play with a hot wall...

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 12:33:04 PM EDT, phlaxy r wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you play with a hot wall, what end do you take the tiles for the hot wall from? From the beginning or do you count the last number of tiles from the end of the rack?
    Many thanks. Phlaxy Rosenman

    Sorry, Phlaxy, but I have no idea how your hot wall rules work. See FAQ 14. I assume tiles are taken from the wall the same way they were before (clockwise), but that's just an assumption on my part.

    And that applies even if you're serving the walls diagonally. (I assume.)

    Stay safe out there. 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
    Thursday, quatorze Juillet, 2022, 1:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is the purpose of the numbers on the flower tiles, part 2

    On Thursday, July 14, 2022 at 09:39:21 AM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    Thanks for your answer about numbers and seasons on flower tiles. My head was spinning trying to understand your answer.
    I then laughed when I saw your comment that said "aren't you glad you asked!" I was thinking that myself!
    Louise D

    You're welcome, Louise!
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Thursday, July 14, 2022, 10:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A player exposed six flowers at once

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, July 12, 2022 at 11:42:25 PM EDT, Kathryn R. wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: A player calls for a flower tile and exposes all six flowers called for in a hand with two flower pungs. This error is discovered later when that player calls Mah Jongg and is found to have mistakenly exposed more tiles than necessary during the earlier call. Is it against the rules to expose more tiles than necessary after calling for a tile? Thanks for your help.

    Hi, Kathryn!
    I discussed this question in FAQ 16. Your question is not covered by any printed rule per se. But the way you asked makes me reply with a question: did your player expose the six flowers as two separate pungs? Or as one group, a sextet? Because there's no printed rule saying one can't expose two pungs at once (although it's clearly incorrect, no printed rule specifies what to do in such a case), but if she exposed the six tiles as a sextet, that's clearly illegal since there is no sextet on the 2022 card, and there is a penalty for an illegal exposure - she's dead. The mah-jongg is void, and she stops playing but the game continues.
    I'm adding this to FAQ 16.
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 7:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if three players go dead, part 3

    On Monday, July 11, 2022 at 11:51:05 PM EDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Don't update yet.
    Hi Tim, please publish this email. I just wanted to let you know that our Article ID56 was put in draft because I had called the League to confirm and the actual updated answer is page 17 of MJME #4b. We have not updated the article. If you correct your answer please use the updated rule in the Rule book as stated above.
    Jeannie at the League said the new rule in MJME updated the 2006 bulletin. Sorry for there confusion.
    Thanks!
    KIND Regards,
    Debbie Barnett

    Not to worry, Debbie. The update I made to FAQ 19-BW last night was based on MJME 2020. In fact, I cited rule 4 b, c, d, and e. I always want to use the latest word from the League. And rule 4 is more comprehensive than the 2006 bulletin entry.
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 7:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if three players go dead, part 2

    On Monday, July 11, 2022 at 05:30:20 PM EDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Dead Hand Scenario
    Hi Tom,
    As you can imagine while running an Instructor Certification Program we have to be up-to-date with the rules and be sure to keep our knowledge database https://americanmahjonggventures.com/knowledge-base/ up to date. I am always baffled at the League's Dead Hand Rules but they have told me on more than one occasion they will be looking to make them easier to understand...let's hope. So when one of our Certified Instructors brought your [July 7] answer [to +1201280...] to my attention she asked that I take a look at our Article #ID 56 and said, if our database is correct then yours is incorrect or visa-versa. Because I started to question myself on our answer, I decided to call the League. I spoke with Jean and explained the question as posed to you:
    Player A, declares mah jongg in error and stops playing
    Player B,C,D continue to play
    Player B declare mah jongg in error
    Player C,D should have continued to play, however Player C exposed their tiles leaving Player D the only intact hand
    Player C who stopped the game from continuing pays Player D, double the value of the hand Player C was attempting to make.
    Source: MJME page 17, 4 (b).
    Also, according to MJME page 17, (e) the only scenario in which no one gets paid is if all 3 hands go dead for reasons other than mah jongg in error.
    I'll await your response on your forum. Thank you.
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie Barnett
    [Portions omitted for brevity]

    Hi, Debbie!
    I see that your article 56 cited the 2006 bulletin, so I checked that. The League is, of course, the final arbiter of the rules. The 2006 bulletin says what you said. In your email, you cited rule 4.(b) which also disproves what I wrote to +1201280 on July 7. I need to rewrite FAQ 19-BW*, which clearly doesn't go into enough detail. Thanks for keeping me honest! btw, you didn't mention what Jeanne said when you asked her. Inquiring minds...?
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Monday 7/11/22
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * FAQ 19-BW has been updated. - Tom


    What is the purpose of the numbers on the flower tiles?

    On Monday, July 11, 2022 at 04:56:57 PM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    Why do the flower tiles on Mah Jongg sets have numbers and abbreviated seasons of the year?
    (My mother's old set doesn't have either)
    Louise D.

    Hi, Louise!
    In all forms of mah-jongg EXCEPT American mah-jongg, flowers are bonus tiles that give you extra points if you have YOUR flower or season tile. Flowers are not used in the hand in un-American mah-jongg (instead, they're exposed and replaced from the back end of the wall). This is explained in FAQ 7E-F and FAQ 19-CB, but...
    Each player has a seat wind. Dealer is East, then (going counterclockwise around the table), South, West, North. East's flower is flower #1. South's flower is flower #2. West's flower is flower #3. North's flower is flower #4. The seasons also correspond to the seat winds. The seasons are Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. East's season is Spring, South's is Summer, West's is Autumn, and North's is Winter.
    So if you're South, say, and at the end of the hand you're holding flower #2 and Summer, you get extra points twice.
    Aren't you glad you asked?
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Monday, 7/11/22, 5:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old, how much, part 3

    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 03:08:33 PM EDT, Rogier V wrote:
    Re: Mah jong set
    Thanks for the indication
    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone

    Graag gedaan.


    Column 767

    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 02:54:04 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    Column #767
    Hello Tom,
    For hand #4 in today's column
    You say "Pungs of dragons and same-suit fives. Could be Consec #7 or Odds #5."
    But Odds #5 is either 1111 333 5555 DDD or 5555 777 9999 DDD. Either way it needs a kong of fives, not a pung.
    Am I missing something?
    Thanks,
    Julia

    You are right, Julia. I goofed. It was a test, to see if anybody would spot it, heh! No, jk. (-_~) (:p)
    So since it's Consec #7, those key tiles are even more critical. If either 3D or 4D is dead on the table, that player's hand is dead; if you have the last 3D or 4D, it's safe to discard.
    Thanks, Julia!
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Sunday, July 10, 2022, 3:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old, how much, part 2

    Re: Mah jong set
    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 02:27:06 PM EDT, Rogier V wrote:
    Thanks for your answer. Wanted to reply, but dont know where.
    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone

    Re: Mah jong set
    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 02:28:06 PM EDT, Rogier V wrote:
    The secondary color is glued on. all but one are still on. But is still with it.
    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone


    Okay, Rogier. Since you didn't tell me any of the condition information I asked for, I can only give you a low estimate of the set's value. I have to assume the worst on all counts. If you try to sell it online without providing the necessary information to potential buyers, they are unlikely to be willing to bid much above my estimate.
    It looks to me like that case IS original. Those tiles are commonly called "applejuice Bakelite" and were probably made between the 1940s and 1970s, probably in China. Another expert might have a narrower timeframe and country of origin. One tile is separated from its back, and the wooden racks look battered. The tiles look dark and dirty, not bright and colorful. I estimate the set's value at around $40.
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Zondag, July 10, 2022, 2:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much?

    On Sunday, July 10, 2022 at 01:38:26 PM EDT, Rogier V wrote:
    Mah jong set
    Hi Tom
    Rogier here from the Netherlands. I came across this set, it belonged to my family as long as I remember , that is around 35 years now.
    But I believe it is in the family much longer.
    Do you have any estimate on year/type etc. Also what would be the worth of it? Due to the fact it comes from an inheritance I’m looking to sell it.
    It comes with 156 stones, butterscotch and in two tone color. Also with the Max Robertson booklet. The case seems to be non original.
    Looking forward to your reply
    Regarda
    Rogier
    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone

    Goededag, Rogier! You wrote:

    Do you have any estimate on year/...
    I can't give that precise an estimate. I can maybe suggest most likely decade. See FAQ 7g.

    on .../type
    Please see FAQ 7a. But you then said:

    It comes with 156 stones, butterscotch
    It sounds like an American-made set, Bakelite or Catalin. See FAQ 7c. Those sets were probably made between the 1930s and 1960s.

    and in two tone color.
    You should look and see if the two layers are glued together (you'll see a line of separation between them) or if they are solid (one piece of plastic, one color poured into the mold atop the other). If they're glued, and if any of them have become separated, the value is reduced.

    Also what would be the worth of it? Due to the fact it comes from an inheritance I’m looking to sell it.
    I would need to see photos of all the tiles and pieces, organized by suit and number, as shown in FAQ 7h. And I would need you to tell me the condition of all the tiles and pieces, using the condition terminology defined in that FAQ.

    Also with the Max Robertson booklet. The case seems to be non original.
    The booklet probably did not come with the set from the manufacturer. The case being missing greatly reduces the value.

    Stay safe out there. 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
    Zondag, July 10, 2022, 2:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sloperama support-a-rama

    On Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 06:13:42 PM EDT, Joanne O via PayPal wrote:
    j_o sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $20.00 USD from j_o
    To see all the transaction details, please log into your PayPal account. It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
    Transaction date
    Jul 9, 2022 15:13:20 PDT
    Buyer information
    Joanne O
    Instructions from buyer
    None provided
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $20.00 USD 1 $20.00 USD
    Total: $20.00 USD
    PayPal

    Thank you very much, Joanne!
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Saturday, July 9, 2022, 10:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Those confusing joker rules

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 05:46:38 PM EDT, ph wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing a concealed hand can you swap a tile for a joker?
    Thank you
    Phyllis

    Hi, Phyllis!
    As I wrote in FAQ 19o: Redeeming a joker is not the same as claiming a discard - you are not required to make an exposure when redeeming a joker. So of course you can redeem a joker if your hand is marked "C" (concealed) on the card.
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Saturday, July 9, 2022, 6:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Incorrect exposure

    On Friday, July 8, 2022 at 05:20:37 PM EDT, Marilyn C wrote:
    Mah jongg question
    Getting different answers to the following situation:
    Player discards a three dot. Another players calls it but exposes three eight dots and then reaches for the discarded tile that she misheard. What happens now?
    Does she have to use the eight dots or the discarded correctly named tile.
    Thank you.
    Hoping for the correct answer.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Marilyn!
    This question has been much discussed recently. I spoke with the League, but I don't have a firm answer at the moment. The way I interpret the rule cited in
    FAQ 19-AF*, a player can make corrections to an exposure if she has not discarded yet. But in my conversation with the League, it sounded like that rule should only cover the size of the exposure (whether it's supposed to be a pung versus a kong, for instance) - that if the exposed tiles are incorrect (in that they do not match the taken discard), then the player is not permitted to make the correction.
    If that's how the League will rule on this question, what happens now (in answer to your question) is: the player must take the discarded three dot, and put it along with the eight dots and wait for someone to call her dead. She keeps playing until someone calls her dead for an incorrect exposure. When called dead, that incorrect exposure goes to the sloping front of her rack. And it may be that this is the rule that the League will espouse. I'm sorry that I can't be more definitive, since the League has not yet ruled on this question.
    * The cited rule is on page 15 of MJME: "A player may add to or take away from the exposure during this turn, as long as player has not discarded." Note that the answer I gave Kathleen D on June 2 (below) is the way I interpret the rule.
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Friday, July 8, 2022, 6:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Broken link in FAQ 4a

    On Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 07:29:28 PM EDT, William F wrote:
    dead link at sloperama
    This is the result when one clicks on the dead link discussed below.
    Said another way, this is what you get https://www.davincigames.it/giocarea_eng/13/cover.htm
    When one clicks on it here. https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq04.html You can do a find to see where on this page.
    the Base site, https://www.davincigames.it/ is fine...just when the giocarea_eng/13/cover.htm .....is included in the link that one gets
    https://www.davincigames.it/giocarea_eng/13/cover.htm
    I hope this helps. I've been going to sloperama for many many years...been playing the game for decades and love it and teaching.
    Thanks for all you do!!!
    Bill F

    Thanks for the heads-up, Bill. When I looked at davincigames.it, I couldn't find those mah-jongg articles, so I had to delete the link from FAQ 4. Looks like davincigames is devoted to Korean music now.
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Thursday, July 7, 2022, 7:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if three players go dead? *

    On Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 02:51:58 PM EDT, <+1201280.... wrote:
    (No Subject)
    If a person declares margin error and exposes the hand they're dead . Of the remaining people, 1 declares in error, and the other exposes... what happens to the one remaining person does that 1 remaining person get paid
    If a person declares margin error and exposes the hand they're dead . Of the remaining people, 1 declares in error, and the other exposes... what happens to the one remaining person does that 1 remaining person get paid

    Hello +1201280,
    See FAQ 19-BW. If one player erroneously declared mah-jongg, which caused a cascading lemminglike leap to death (in which two other players throw their hands in before it's realized that the mah-jongg was improper), that's a situation in which the sole survivor gets paid. But that's not what you described. After a second person also declared in error, there's no more payment for the sole survivor. The survivor throws in their hand too (nobody gets paid). Shuffle, deal (next dealer takes over), and play another hand.*
    Stay safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    +1310344...
    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
    Thursday, July 7, 2022, 5:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * See 7/11/22 email from Debbie Barnett above. And see FAQ 19-BW, updated 7/11/22. - Tom


    I won by joker redemption, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 02:01:21 PM EDT, Arlene R wrote:
    Thank you !

    You're welcome, Arlene!


    I won by joker redemption. How much am I paid?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at 11:19:06 PM EDT, Arlene R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I had the following exposed: 2 6cracks with a joker and 3 7 cracks. I called a thrown 9 bam and now expose 4 9 bams. It is now my turn to throw. I have in my hand 3 8 bams and a 6 crack. I exchange the 6 crack for my exposed joker and now call mahjongg. My tablemates say that I did not make mahjongg on my own. I think I did. Who is right?
    Thank you in advance

    Win by joker redemption is considered self-pick, Arlene. FAQ 19-AN: nobody "gave" you that joker (nobody discarded it - you TOOK it, with a tile you picked yourself). So everybody pays you double card score.
    Stay safe out there. 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
    Wednesday, July 6, 2022, 11:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Recurring donation

    On Monday, July 4, 2022 at 06:32:44 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    PayPal
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    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Stay safe out 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
    Fourth of July, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 766

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, July 3, 2022 at 09:55:52 AM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom -- regarding Column 766
    #3 I agree about keeping 11C 22D and I’d add 3B but the Flower pair is a gap for CR#3. Or maybe Flowers and Jokers show up and go for CR#2. These two options overlap. I’d also keep 78C 78B for CR#4. The White dragons are a gap but you can use Jokers. Maybe the 7 pairs will show up. Unfortunately this option has no overlap with the others. I’d pass 3C 9D and West.
    #8 With 2 Jokers, I’d keep 4556B for either W/D #5 with N S (no gaps) or for CR #7 with the Green (Flower gap but there are Jokers); passing 5C 9C 6D. This would keep both possibilities as there is overlap. I’d grit my teeth and probably eventually pass the White.
    Thanks so much for the mental exercise!
    Sue Z

    Nice, Sue!

    Yes, the flower pair is a problem, all right. But because flowers are twice as numerous as other tiles, the chances aren't too terrible. Not as bad as getting the needed 1D pair for Consec #4. I'd rather keep the threes than the sevens myself, but to each her own.

    You're wise to hang onto the winds, since those frequently go around in the Charleston. I like your choice. Thanks for playing!

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, July 3, 2022, 11:35 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is there a mahj exception to the "down is dead" rule? Am I out of luck?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, July 1, 2022 at 06:57:22 PM EDT, Twyla G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I know that you cannot pick up a pair unless it is for Mahjong. So what is the rule on quints? I have four 8’s but need a fifth. There isn’t another 8 so a joker is the only option. I did not draw a joker but several jokers were thrown out. Can I pick up that joker for a mahjong in a quint? I know that jokers cannot be picked up other times, but a fifth 8 does not exist. Am I out of luck unless I draw that joker myself?
    Twyla

    You're out of luck, Twyla. There is no exception to the "down is dead" rule. Nobody can claim a discarded joker. Period. End of story. Too bad you didn't get the needed joker sooner, before getting the fourth 8.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, July 1, 2022, 7:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Where do I sign up?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, July 1, 2022 at 08:31:48 AM EDT, Donna C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: just discovered your site and its amazing. I’m a new player, started in nov 2021. I am trying to find on your site where to sign up for your email strategy suggestions, helpful tips, etc. Can you please advise how to do so?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Donna!
    So glad you're enjoying my site and my weekly column. Sorry to tell you, but I do not have a mailing list. Maybe someday I'll learn that technology, but for the present, all I can say is I'm planning to write a column every Sunday (now that I'm no longer teaching, I have a bit more bandwidth).
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, July 1, 2022, 8:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claim, without one player vocalizing the claim first

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at 02:37:33 PM EDT, Ginger H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is there a penalty for non-verbalizing a pick up? Example: player #1 discarded her tile; Player #2 picked up tile without vocalizing; Player #3 vocalized she wanted it for mahjong. Player #2 then said she needed it for mahjong also and she was the next legitimate player in line to pick up.
    Who gets the tile?
    Ginger

    Hi, Ginger! You asked:

    Is there a penalty for non-verbalizing a pick up?
    This question is a red herring - it has nothing to do with what you're really asking. But so as not to be nonresponsive: no. There is no penalty stated in the rulebook or on the back of the card.

    player #1 discarded her tile; Player #2 picked up tile without vocalizing; Player #3 vocalized she wanted it for mahjong. Player #2 then said she needed it for mahjong also and she was the next legitimate player in line to pick up.
    Who gets the tile?
    I'm assuming that player #2 is holding the tile in the air. She has not yet racked, and she has not exposed any tiles. I'm further assuming that player #3 had not exposed any tiles. It says on the back of the card that a caller must verbalize their call." Player #2 has verbalized her claim, albeit after player #3 has (no matter). At this point, it is as simple as who is next in turn after the discarder. Player #2 gets the tile and the win. Hopefully she will learn her lesson from the disagreement, and verbalize every call thereafter.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, June 29, 2022, 2:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Non-boring question about those convoluted joker rules

    On Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at 12:38:21 PM EDT, Kala P wrote:
    Joker
    Hi Tom,
    Sorry to bore you with another joker question
    1. “Cat” threw her tile down and said flower when it was a joker. “Pat” needed a flower to Maj and it was obvious from her exposed hands to everyone. “June”said it is a joker not a flower. Pat then said “Maj”,I need a flower and since she called it wrong I can Maj on it! I know if someone called it wrong you can Maj on it and that you pay four times to the person who called maj. But does it apply if the tile is still on the table and another person pointed out that it was not a “flower”. Or is it a race to see who called “maj” and the person who corrected the call of the discarded?
    Hope my question is not as confusing as it sounds to me
    2. When you are playing for money can a person throw a tile to allow the person to win because she felt “guilty” that she had called the tile wrong.
    Thank you
    Kala
    Sent from my iPhone

    Not boring at all, Kala! In fact, you present an interesting scenario I'd not thought of before! You asked:

    “Cat” threw her tile down and said flower when it was a joker. “Pat” needed a flower to Maj and it was obvious from her exposed hands to everyone. “June”said it is a joker not a flower. Pat then said “Maj”,I need a flower and since she called it wrong I can Maj on it!
    Whoa, hold on. What tile was discarded BEFORE Cat threw her joker? If it was a flower, then the joker WASN'T misnamed. It's legal to say name of previous discard when discarding a joker (joker rule 3, page 22).
    And if Pat missed the flower discard and wanted the joker when it was named "flower," Pat can't have it, because the flower was covered by the joker, and Pat cannot take the joker or the flower (rule 6 atop page 19). Very interesting question!
    Of course, if the discard prior to the joker was not a flower, then Cat calling it a joker IS misnaming, and Pat can win (again, rule 6 atop page 19). Note that she does not take the joker - she's not winning on the discard. She's winning on the misnaming rule. This was recently discussed on Facebook (not sure if it was MJTI or MC).

    I know if someone called it wrong you can Maj on it and that you pay four times to the person who called maj. But does it apply if the tile is still on the table and another person pointed out that it was not a “flower”.
    What difference does that make? Of course the tile is still on the table, and of course a sharp-eyed player should call out the misnamer on the error. The live discard (in this case, a dead joker) must be correctly named before the game can continue (rule 6 atop page 19).

    Or is it a race to see who called “maj” and the person who corrected the call of the discarded?
    So you're asking if the misnamer can correct her error before somebody can claim a win on the misnamed tile? Interesting. I suppose if the mahj claimant is too slow to react, then yes, perhaps it is possible to correct the error in time.

    When you are playing for money can a person throw a tile to allow the person to win because she felt “guilty” that she had called the tile wrong.
    There's no rule against knowingly throwing someone's winning tile. As for motivation, how could that be proved or known, unless the discarder says "here ya go honey, I felt guilty"?

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, June 29, 2022, 1:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Am I underselling these?

    On Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 01:16:01 PM EDT, carrie c wrote:
    help
    Hi Tom,
    First off, thank you for all the information you have supplied. I am amazed by the game, but sure I will never learn, unfortunately.
    Anyway I came across 2 games and can’t figure out the tiles hoping they didn’t get mixed up (kids).. I need to sell to help pay my daughters tuition (twins both off to college). I put them out on fb marketplace for $100 each and had a ton of people interested. Just not sure if I am under selling. Have been looking for a place to take them but haven’t been able to find one, I am in Plymouth MA. I organized the tile best I could, this is the cardinal one in a white case. I will send photos of the other one in a few minutes. Any info will help.
    Thank you so so much for your time and energy you put into the Mah Jongg world after I sell I will definitely donate so you may continue to help dummies like me!
    Carrie C
    Ps most tiles ate 4 high except the ones to the right. One is 3 high others only 1
    Sent from my iPad


    On Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 01:44:29 PM EDT, carrie c wrote:
    2nd one
    Me again, Hi!
    Here’s the other one, case is older looking, obviously, well used. Not sure if the bettor chip goes with this one or other one. Took photo from above and side.
    The three lines are stacked 4 high others are 2 high or 1
    Thank you again for you time. Hoping I can get something for them.
    Thank you
    Carrie C
    Sent from my iPad


    On Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 01:53:05 PM EDT, carrie c wrote:
    The pain
    Me again this is last one, I found this in blanket, so there are 4 of them in the cardinal set.
    Thank you
    Carrie
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Carrie!
    I can't tell anything from those tiny photos. But since you are in Plymouth, MA, I'm going out on a limb and saying you are not underselling them. You're not going to get enough money from two mah-jongg sets (whether or not they're fully complete) to buy more than a handful of books for your college-bound daughters. Good luck!
    P.S. You can offer them for $100 each as a starting point, see if you get higher bids. I can't tell if your sets are missing any parts, or what their quality is (that's why I say you're not underselling). American mah-jongg sets can go for $100 or up, depending on condition, attractiveness, and completeness.

    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
    Tuesday, June 28, 2022, 3:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 764, part 2
    On Monday, June 27, 2022 at 05:49:03 PM EDT, lindaz... wrote:
    thanks
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for sharing your insights! You've been very helpful :)
    Linda

    My pleasure, Linda.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, June 27, 2022, 6:22 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 764

    On Monday, June 27, 2022 at 11:19:59 AM EDT, lindaz... wrote:
    decisions????
    Hi Tom,
    Column 764 "Juneteenth" shows me how different my thinking and decision making are from yours. You are more experienced and able to make decisions more quickly; I still have a lot to learn. Like you, I always look at pairs first, but because it's the first pass I try to think "which options are immediately OBVIOUS to me"? I need to be quick so as to not make other players wait on me. So here is what I determined to be the best options for me and please point out any errors:
    1. Pass 9B, both winds --not acceptable strategy but it keeps my other options open. I would keep 2C and 2B AND 9B and 9D for possible Like Nos. The 5's and 6's are still available for CR. So maybe a mistake to pass 2 winds, but it's only the first pass.
    2. Pass 5C, E, 7D. Leaves 6 tiles each for W/D #4 and # 7. These hands only need one East. Also keeps dragons and Flowers for Like Numbers.
    4. Keep Evens; pass 1D, 7C, W. My immediate thinking for first pass. I would not even approach your complicated (to me) decision for CR.
    5. Pass 7C, 3B, W. leaving 1's, F's, and 9's available for LN #1. (7 tiles for each).
    I hope I didn't make any typos. This is a loooong email but I appreciate any suggestions you have to offer!
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda! Let's see...
    Okay, so you wouldn't pass a 2 here. Keeping the 2s for Any Like #2 gives you 4 tiles to start with. Keeping them for Any Like #3 gives you at most 4 tiles (since the Rs can't be used with the 2C). The 5s and 6s are the best bet here; I don't see any use for the 2s. There is no 9D - that's a 6D (count the dots). But otherwise your plan to pass both winds and 9B is very wise.
    I see that I didn't specify what I'd pass here, but I agree 5C and 7D can go. I wouldn't break up any winds just yet - I'd ditch a dragon (R before soap).
    I see I have a typo there. It should say "Six highs vs. two lows." You'd go for Evens, okay - that's fine. Twos could well come around. I think there might be a tendency among players, looking at all those 1s and 2s and 3s in Consec to overlook the usefulness of 7s and 8s and 9s - in one of my former groups, I noticed that 8s were frequently passed, way more than 2s. I just see Consec as a much more flexible (therefore powerful) family.
    Good idea, to hang onto the 9s for Any Like Numbers.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas, Linda! Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, June 27, 2022, 12:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 765

    On Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 07:20:53 PM EDT, Bette M wrote:
    6/26/22 #4
    Hi, if you are using the 2022 card I am confused about #4.
    I thought it could be 369 #1 3333 666/ 6666 9999 also
    I see where it could be Consec # 5 (111 222 3333 4444) in the correct sequence of 3-6 and the other 3,6,9 you called #6.
    Did you just not mention 369 #1 as being obvious?
    Thanks,
    Bette M

    My hat's off to you, Bette! You spotted a goof. I didn't double-check my work, guess I was in a hurry.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, June 25, 2022, 7:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Player called mah-jongg and exposed, then next in line called for exposure. Somebody doesn't understand the conflicting claim rules!

    On Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 06:13:42 PM EDT, Michael D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player draws doesn’t rack …says mahjong and exposes tiles.
    Player behind says wait I want that tile and you didn’t rack. Does she get the tile and player who just started exposing who called mahjong need to give her that tile and hand now dead.

    Mah-jongg was declared and tiles were exposed, Michael. Second caller was too late, and besides, in an exposure call vs. a mahj call, mahj takes priority. Rule 13(c) on page 20 of the official rulebook. You oughta get yourself a copy!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, June 25, 2022, 6:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is the value of these tiles, part 2

    Re: Tiles
    On Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 03:45:14 PM EDT, ellen h wrote:
    Thank you Tom! Do you happen to know of an organization that would appreciate the tiles as a donation?

    囧 ?? You're the one who brought up the idea of donating the tiles. What did you have in mind?
    I can only tell you that the Strong National Museum of Play (here in Rochester) doesn't want them (they didn't want very many of my complete sets).
    Maybe the neighborhood thrift shop? Salvation Army? Goodwill? ... I should have stopped at "what did you have in mind?"...
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, June 26, 2022, 4:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is the value of these tiles?

    On Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 12:49:34 PM EDT, ellen h wrote:
    Tiles
    Hi Tom. I believe that this is Bakelite set from the 60’s since there are jokers. I only have the tiles as the case disintegrated years ago! It belonged to my grandma and I have not been able to part with it yet but am ready to since my kids will toss it once I am dead. There are the 136 tiles plus 12 flowers and 2 jokers. The tiles measure 1.25 x .75 x.40. They are in very good condition.
    My question is what is the value of these tiles? If I donate this I want to make sure it’s not valuable. Thanks!
    Ellen

    Hi, Ellen! I agree that the set was made in the late 50s or early 60s. See column 509. As for their value, there's a problem. The set doesn't have enough tiles to be used to play modern American rules, so anyone who might buy the set today would also have to buy not only a case and racks and dice, but also two matching tiles (assuming the purchaser would sticker some of the flowers and the two new tiles for jokers). And for the past few years, even before the pandemic, it's been extremely difficult to get matching tiles.
    Value is largely a measure of not only completeness but condition. You said the tiles are in "very good" condition. I don't know if you used that phrase in full knowledge of what that phrase means. As can be seen in 7-H, "Very Good" means "Item has a few defects that any normal person would notice upon close examination." You didn't say what defects might be present. I'm assuming the tiles are reasonably attractive, reasonably shiny, not too scuffed, and mostly not missing paint (although I see that one of your 9Bs and one 6D look like some of the paint is worn off a little).
    I would say these tiles could be worth anywhere from $50-90 (considerably less than a complete playable set). I didn't quite understand your closing sentence - I don't know to whom you might donate these, but I imagine it would be nice of you to donate these tiles to a worthy organization for resale or auction.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, June 25, 2022, 2:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Could this be a pre 1920s Chinese set?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, June 24, 2022 at 06:17:58 PM EDT, Darran S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi
    I have a MahJong set which has no western numbers or letters. There are no flower or season tiles.
    The set is Bone dovetailed with bamboo. The bone is creamy/warmer than a early 1920’s Mah Jong set I have.
    Also the colours are very muted when compared to the 1920’s set. The set didn’t come with any other bits at all. It was in an old canvas bag.
    My question is could it be a pre 1920’s Chinese set?
    Sent from my iPad

    It's possible, Darran. But I don't think it is. The color could be explained by the canvas bag it was stored in. The carving looks very much like typical 1920s tiles.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, June 24, 2022, 7:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Penalty for calling yourself dead

    On Friday, June 24, 2022 at 03:45:03 PM EDT, joann f wrote:
    American Mah Jongg - Penalty for calling yourself Dead
    Hi Tom,
    I know that the NMJL Rule Book and your FAQ19s under Calling yourself Dead explains that a player should not call themselves Dead but is there any penalty for doing that? I understand that I am only Dead if one of the other players call me Dead, but what if the other players don't agree to call me Dead?
    thanks
    Joann F

    Hi, Joann. There's no penalty for calling yourself dead. If nobody calls you dead, the best thing is to continue playing, defensively.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, June 24, 2022, 4:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a set be made of all jokers?

    On Friday, June 24, 2022 at 08:49:54 AM EDT, Leslie H wrote:
    Question regarding Joker use
    Hi Tom,
    I have not found a rule that addresses this question? If you are doing any combination of tiles except singles or pairs(no jokers) can ALL the tiles be jokers? For instance, it you need four 7 cracks, can you use four jokers instead?
    Thanks!
    Leigh H
    Leigh D H sent from my iphone

    Yes, Leigh, you can use all jokers to form a pung, kong, quint, or sextet. See FAQ 19-L2.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, June 24, 2022, 9:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What if I'm East and my hand is complete after the Charleston?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, June 23, 2022, 06:47:41 PM EDT, Penny M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you claim a win, if you are East, as soon as the Charleston is completed?
    What is the payout?
    Thanks!
    PM
    Sent from my iPad

    Yes, you can, Penny. It's called "Earthly Hand," and it's treated as self-pick. Everyone pays you double score. See MJME 2020, page 14, and FAQ 19-BJ.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, June 23, 2022, 10:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She put up too many tiles.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, June 23, 2022, 12:26:42 AM EDT, Sunny H wrote:
    A player calls a tile and exposes three additional identical tiles on her rack. She then realizes that she only needs a pung, not a kong.
    What happens?

    She's allowed under the official rules to fix the exposure, if she hasn't discarded yet. Page 15 of MJME, page 53 rule 60f of RDWW.

    Also FAQ 19-AF.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, June 23, 2022, 7:25 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 27

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 10:47:14 PM EDT, anafu K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In 2022 card, there is a hand: 1111 NN E W SS 1111(a different suit- any like numbers)
    Can I use a joker to fill for missing E OR W at Mah Jongg? I know I can’t use a joker for either NN or SS because a joker cannot be used as a pair.
    Thank you for responding. Best, Anafu
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Anafu!
    It's not only pairs where you can't use jokers. It says on the back of the card that jokers "may NEVER be used in place of a single tile or any part of a pair."

    This is also stated in FAQ 19-E2 (answers to questions about NMJL rules) and at the top of FAQ 16 (answers to questions about the 2022 card). Jokers may only be used in groups of 3 or more Like tiles, and only groups of 3 or more Like tiles may be exposed prior to mah-jongg. Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    6/22/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Thank you from this newbie.

    On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 10:22:24 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Kiersten T
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Kiersten T
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Kiersten T
    Message: Thank you from this newbie.

    You're welcome, and thank you, Kiersten!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    6/22/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Where can I buy BIG American tiles?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 06:25:59 PM EDT, Harry wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Where’s other sites/options for buying American Mahjong tiles/sets that are larger than the typical new set dimensions: 1 3/16” x 7/8” x 1/2” (30mm x 23mm x 13mm).
    [i.e., height x width x thickness).
    Mah Jong Maven (Canada) has “Extra Large” tiles 1 3/8” x 15/16” x 1/2” (35mm x 24mm x 13mm)
    Where The Wind Blows (TX) has “Jumbo Tiles” 1 3/8” x 1” x 3/4” (35mm x 25mm x 19mm)
    And, Amazon & E-bay searches don’t reveal any choices for Larger Tile or, easy read sets for American Mah-Jonah play. There are no complete sets I.e., larger tiles with longer racks & associated trays to go into bigger cases or larger bags. Seems that to be able to play more easily requires building one’s own set from numerous suppliers.
    It’s been 2 days of searches, phone calls of out of stock options and discouragement that only well-sighted individuals can play Mah-Jonah!
    You’re a great resource with fantastic info on game sets and clarifying play. Thank you.
    Here’s a void in the marketplace. Please help.
    Harry R
    Sent from my iPad

    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Harry R
    On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 06:29:58 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Harry R
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Harry R
    Message: Thank you for a GREAT Bulletin Board. As a beginner plater your info has been a blessing.

    Hi, Harry!
    Thank you for the donation. All I know about your question I've put in FAQ 7-S, which is a few years old now.
    Those Mah Jongg Maven and Where The Wind Blows sets are not quite as big as Hong Kong tiles or Vietnamese tiles.

    Type or source Height (mm) Width (mm) Depth (mm)
    Typical American tiles 30 21 13
    Mah Jongg Maven 35 24 13
    Where The Winds Blow 35 25 19
    Hong Kong tiles 37 28 22
    Vietnam tiles 36 27 23

    By the way, Mah Jongg Maven is in Georgia, not Canada. And Hong Kong tiles are very heavy, and don't come with racks, and don't come with jokers. They often do not have corner indices. Vietnamese tiles are even heavier, don't come with racks, and don't have corner indices; their jokers are marked with Chinese characters shown in FAQ 7-EJ.

    It's unclear from your email, but I gather that the MJM and WTWB tiles are not big enough for your needs? If you buy Hong Kong tiles, get two sets and steal some tiles from one to sticker as jokers. Hong Kong players just stand the tiles on end and don't use racks. I don't know if there is anywhere you can get big racks (I would just stand the tiles on end, and place exposures face-up between my standing tiles and the wall).

    See if FAQ 7-S is of any use to you; it discusses ways to sticker tiles to make them easier to read. Good luck with your quest!

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    6/22/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What happens if I click this thing here?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 05:42:46 PM EDT, Darran S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Darran! Feel free to ask a mah-jongg question. Standing by...
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    6/22/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Do these look Bakelite?

    On Sunday, June 19, 2022, 04:36:05 PM EDT, Sally S wrote:
    saw this on online auction
    Do these look bakelite?
    https://auctions.ejsauction.com/auction-lot/antique-chinese-mahjong-bakelite-tile-set_E354F3FA88

    Hi, Sally,
    You can see some pictures of Bakelite tiles (actually, Catalin, but close enough) in FAQ 7-c. Online sellers frequently misrepresent what their tiles are made of. Sets from China are usually not Bakelite but so-called "Chinese Bakelite," which is not Bakelite at all. There's more about mah-jongg plastics in FAQ 7-c3.
    If you want me to look at pictures, send me the pictures. Like it says in the boilerplate above, I do not follow links to retrieve pictures. (Too much work to get them and repost.)
    囧 Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Juneteenth, 2022 (Sunday), 6:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why can't I pung that North?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, June 17, 2022, 10:01:46 PM EDT, Olga wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: if I need 3 north tiles and have one in my hand and 1 joker why can’t i call a north tile from the board?

    Hi, Olga!
    The only hand on the 2022 card with a pung of Norths is a Concealed hand. I assume you're playing a computer game that's set to prevent you from making illegal plays.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, June 17, 2022, 10:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Someone separated my racked exposures

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, June 17, 2022, 07:38:15 AM EDT, Jeanne L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: do exposed tiles on the rack need to have a space between them? While playing someone in my game reached over and separated my exposed tiles so they where not touching ….is that allowed?
    Is touching someone else’s tiles while in play allowed?
    Jeanne
    Sent from my iPad

    Good morning, Jeanne!
    You're asking if there's a rule. Actually, your email contains two questions about rules. But rules are just one aspect of your question. In mah-jongg, there are:
    1. Rules
    2. Etiquette
    3. Strategy
    There is no "rule" against touching someone else's tiles. It's bad etiquette to do so, and the rulebook "recommends" that "a player never touch another player's tiles."
    Maybe you see it as "strategy" to display exposures without gaps between, so as to make it harder for opponents to understand what you're doing. But that's bad etiquette. The price of making exposures (which you're required to do when using someone's discard) is that you give information to your opponents. You have to be nice about it. It was your choice to take that discard, advancing your hand - no need to begrudge and try to obscure the information it provides your opponents.
    Your opponent's rudeness in separating your exposures was their way of shaming you for your rudeness in not separating them. Problem is, two rudenesses don't make a harmony. It would have been better if they had merely asked you to please kindly separate your exposures. It would have been better if you had kept them separate in the first place.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, June 17, 2022, 8:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile for the purpose of redeeming a joker?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, June 16, 2022, 06:32:03 PM EDT, Fran B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can you pick up a discarded tile and use it to replace a joker in your own meld ? Ex. I have a kong - 3 cracks and 1 joker . It’s my turn snd the person before me discards a 3 crack can I pick it up and replace my joker.
    Sent from my iPhone

    No, Fran. Nobody can claim that discarded redeemable tile unless they can use it to make a new exposure or to complete a mah-jongg hand - NOT to use it for joker redemption. FAQ 19-G2.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, June 16, 2022, 7:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Joker redemption rule when "playing with 14 tiles"

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 09:13:53 AM EDT, Fran R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: (My group plays with 14 tiles.) If you want to exchange a tile with someone for their joker, is there a rule as to whether to have to do it before you take a tile or can it also be done after you pick a tile?
    Thank you!
    Fran R
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Fran!
    The official rule for when a player can redeem a joker is explained fully in FAQ 19-M. Before you can redeem a joker, you have to be holding 14 tiles (in other words: during your turn). Those 14 tiles have to be facing the player on the sloping front of the rack, perhaps with some of them lying face-up atop the rack. I don't know if that works with your group's "14 tiles" rules or not (I don't know how turns work at your table). Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    June 15, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. I always awkwardly have trouble discussing how rules should work when people pick ahead, because those rules are not documented. As I wrote in column 751, I'd appreciate any pick-ahead players who can share details about their rules so I can try to figure out if there is a "standard" approach to this particular table rule. - Tom


    My set seems to be missing tiles, part 2

    On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 06:13:45 PM EDT, Dina R F wrote:
    Re: A 76 tile mah jong set?
    Thank you for your quick and kind reply. I feel pretty stupid, but my husband came home, picked up the section that the tiles were in and lo and behold underneath were more tiles lol. I am attaching a picture because in total I now have 162 tiles, so I’m hoping you can tell me what might be amiss.
    Thank you very much!!

    Okay, so you're not missing any tiles after all. If you ever use the set to play, make sure you use only 8 of the flowers.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 7:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    After exposing mahj in error, does the incorrect portion have to go back in your rack?

    On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 05:32:06 PM EDT, Sheila S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you declare MJ in error, and expose the tiles, does the incorrect portion have to go back in your rack?

    Why, yes, Sheila! How did you know? See FAQ 19-P.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, June 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My set seems to be missing tiles??

    On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 04:00:56 PM EDT, Dina R F wrote:
    A 76 tile mah jong set?
    Hi :)
    I have my mom’s mah jong set from the 1950’s and 60’s. It has 76 butterscotch tiles. It has a faux alligator skin case that is worn, but the latches, although they have some corrosion, work perfectly. It is a weighty set and is lined in green felt. There are 5 racks, dice and a counter. The dimensions are L19.5", D9", H3.5". But there’s a problem- people are telling me it’s half a set? The place for the tiles is filled to capacity with 2 rows of 19 tiles, 2 deep. You couldn’t fit more tiles in the space provided.
    I hope you can shed some light on this for me.
    Thank you so much for your time and expertise.
    Randy F

    Hi, Randy,
    Back in the 1950s, the NMJL required a lot of flowers, and it became common practice to cannibalize sets to provide extra tiles to sticker into flowers for other sets. That's probably what happened to your set. I'll bet your set has no flowers. But I also wonder what other tiles are missing. You didn't send me a picture, so here's your chance. Try to lay out your tiles in a "Great Square" like this:

    Then send me the picture. The location of the gaps in your set can be revealing as to why your set is missing tiles.
    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
    Tuesday June 14, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 26.2

    On Monday, June 13, 2022, 10:01:26 PM EDT, rita a wrote:
    Thank you!
    Sent from my iPad

    You're welcome, Rita! - Tom


    The 2022 card, part 26.1

    On Monday, June 13, 2022, 08:41:42 PM EDT, rita a wrote:
    2022
    Can you pick up a two for 2022?
    Sent from my iPad

    Not unless that two gives you mah-jongg, Rita. See FAQ 16.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, June 13, 2022, 9:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is there a specific amount of time?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, June 9, 2022, 06:48:46 PM EDT, R, Edna E. wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    Is there a specific amount of time for a player to decide their hand; stop play to possibly call a tile; stop play just to ‘think’.

    No, Edna. The rules are silent on this. In the absence of a rule, that player can have as much time as the rest of you at the table let them have.
    Sorry I didn't respond sooner - I just now found your email when I decided to check my spam folder. I check it every day, and there's no telling how your email got there.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    June 10, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How to score this, part 5

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, June 10, 2022, 12:53:43 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom, I think so.
    Thanks, Sue Z

    You're welcome, Sue! If there's something I can do to make it clearer, come on back anytime. - Tom


    How to score this, part 4

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, June 10, 2022, 12:28:45 PM EDT, sue z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    MCR scoring again.
    Again, sorry for the confusion. For the repetitive use - use once rule- I’m trying to isolate the fans like All Simples and All Chows (they define the hand as a whole, but are ambiguous as to specific tiles used) from the specific pattern fans like Mixed double chow and Short straight (they use a specific set of tiles within the fan). Am I making sense?
    Thanks again.
    Sue Z

    I think this part of FAQ 22 covers what you're asking:

      Note that this rule, in practice, appears to apply primarily (or only) to two- or three-set sequential-number-based scoring patterns, such as straights or "shifted" scoring patterns.

    So, All Simples and All Chows are absolutely not subject to the prohibition. The real problem is the mixed double chows and the short straights. You can claim mixed double chows for the 123s and also for the 567s. Then you can claim short straight for the 234-567s (once in bams and again for craks). What you can't do is say "Now I want to do that again, claim short straight again for the 567s because they extend the 234s," because that's trying to re-use stuff that's already been used for the same thing.

    All good now? - Tom


    How to score this, parts 2 & 3

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, June 10, 2022, 12:12:22 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom,
    The repetitive sets rule, sorry.
    Sue Z
    Sent from my iPad

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, June 10, 2022, 12:16:09 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sorry again, my original MCR question is more likely the use once rule, I think.
    Any clarification would help immensely. Thanks.
    Sue Z
    Sent from my iPad

    Yeah, that's what I figured. Didn't see these emails until after I'd already written my reply below! - Tom :p


    How to score this, in light of the exclusionary rule in MCR?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, June 10, 2022, 11:24:09 AM EDT, sue z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How to score this in MCR
    Tom-
    I am learning MCR and trying to wrap my head around the exclusionary rule. How about this example?
    234B 567B 234C 567C 88C
    All Simples 2 pts
    All chows 2 pts
    Voided suit 1 pt
    Mixed double chow 234B 234C 1 pt
    Mixed double chow 567B 567C 1 pt
    Short straight 234B 567B 1 pt
    Short straight 234C 567C 1 pt nope exclusionary rule?
    Single wait 8C 1 pt
    Hand total 9 pts
    If above is correct, instead could I score for both short straights and only 1 mixed double chow? No score difference but for my understanding.
    Thanks,
    Sue Z

    Hi, Sue! There are four exclusionary rules. You didn't say which one you're thinking of. From FAQ 22:

      10.1.5.1. Prohibition against implied inclusions
      10.1.5.2. Prohibition against separation
      10.1.5.3. Prohibition against identical patterns
      10.1.5.5. Prohibition against repetitive set usage ("combine-just-once")

    Those come straight from the original "green book" from the Chinese organizing committee. They correspond to rules 64(a), (b), (c), and (e) in my book.

    At a glance, it appears you're concerned about 10.1.5.5, repetitive set usage, because you're claiming both two short straights and two mixed double chows. Let's dig in. Here's the hand you described:

    FAQ 22 says this about the combine-just-once rule:

      Once some sets have been combined for a scoring pattern, any other remaining sets in the hand may be combined only once with an already-scored set, when creating additional scoring patterns.
      Sometimes referred to as the "assessment-once principle."
      Note that this rule, in practice, appears to apply primarily (or only) to two- or three-set sequential-number-based scoring patterns, such as straights or "shifted" scoring patterns.

    So, although you've combined 234B once with 567B for a short straight, you CAN also combine 234B with 234C for a mixed double chow. And the same for the 567B. So yes, you can score it 9 points, as you asked.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, June 10, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 25

    On Friday, June 10, 2022, 03:32:06 AM EDT, Jo-Anne Y wrote:
    Question
    On the 2022 card, last category under Consecutive Run (111 2 333 111 2 333), must the second consecutive run be the same numbers as in the first consecutive run? For example can you have 111 2 333 444 5 6666
    Thank you in advance.
    Jo-Anne

    No, you can't, Jo-Anne. Read the parenthetical. It says "any 3 consec. nos." - not six. It must be the same three-number run, twice.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, June 10, 2022, 8:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A player wanted the discard but the next player already picked.

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Thursday, June 9, 2022, 09:41:37 AM EDT, sheila s wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    East throws a 4 bam. The next player picks. Another player wants to call the 4 bam. What happens? Is it too late?

    Hi, Sheila. If the next player had not racked yet, the caller gets the discard. The window of opportunity on a discard doesn't close until the next player racks, discards, or calls mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, June 9, 2022, 10:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claim - both for mahj, part 2 (was "Conflicting claim - one for exposure, the other for mahj")

    On Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 11:19:41 AM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Conflicting claim - one for exposure, the other for mahj
    Hi Tom,
    Need your help please.
    I'm confused about the most recent post and answer. Your heading says, "Conflicting claim - one for exposure, the other for mahj" however the person asking the question, asked, "If player calls for MahJongg, places it on rack before the player to the left also calls MahJongg but not at the same time even though she was next. Who wins? The Conflicting claim was both for mah jongg...correct?
    In this event, the answer is in MJME, page 20 (b). Since the player who was NOT next in turn to pick started to expose and therefore would get the tile and mah jongg.
    Had the situation been one for exposure and the other for mahj, the answer is also in MJME, page 20 (C). I believe the publication of MJME supersedes the bulletin.
    Looking forward to your clarification. Thanks!
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie,
    Once again, I misread the question and gave the wrong answer. Please don't be afraid to say so, in so many words. You don't need to pretend you're "confused" when it's clear to you that I made a mistake. I mean, just look at the subject line I wrote for Georgia's June 6 question - it was clearly at odds with her question. It's obvious that it's not YOU who is "confused."
    As you say, this is rule 13(b) on page 20 of MJME. I've stated the rule in FAQ 19-H3: "When two players want the same tile for Mah Jongg, player next in turn to discarder has preference, EXCEPT when other caller has started to expose tiles."
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    June 7, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She racked her taken Mahj tile before exposing the hand.

    On Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 10:59:51 AM EDT, JoAnn S wrote:
    Mah Jongg
    I recently attended a tournament where one of the players called Mah Jong and immediately put up her exposers then picked up her called tile for Mah Jong, I was always taught your turn starts when you pick up a tile, should
    she have picked up her called tile first or if you call Mah Jong it doesn't matter.
    I plan on attending another tournament by this group, and would like to know if this happens again, should I say something.
    Thanks.
    JoAnn S

    Hi, JoAnn, please see page 14 of MJME, where it says "When exposing, it is preferable to place the called tile on top of your rack before taking the tiles in your rack to make the exposure." Since this is stated as a preference rather than a rule, there is no penalty. Since it's permitted for exposures, I'm willing to bet that this sentence also applies to displaying the winning hand.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    June 7, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Please add my tile-matching game to FAQ 12

    On Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 04:33:49 AM EDT, Artjom Vinnikov wrote:
    FAQ 12. broken links and game submission
    Hi Tom!
    My name is Artjom and I run a website dedicated to Shanghai game clone that I designed and developed https://classic-mahjong.com/ It's made with TypeScript and PixiJS rendering library which makes it playable on all modern devices that have a browser, including Smart TVs!
    My version offers 100 different layouts to play through, and some cool features like dimming blocked tiles, customizable backgrounds and tiles.
    I thought it'd be a great addition to the FAQ 12. page and would appreciate if could link to it :)
    I also noticed that some links are now broken unfortunately:
    - http://www.moraff.com/downloads.htm
    - http://www.heuse.com/taipei.html
    - https://www.oopdreams.com/mahjongg/
    Maybe some of these are still available in the Web Archive?
    Hope you will have a spare minute to try my game, and let me know if you have any feedback!
    Best,
    Artjom

    Okay, Artjom, I added your game. Thanks for letting me know about the broken links. I deleted one, and I fixed the other two (everything after the / had changed, so I just listed the main page of those sites). Good luck with your game.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    June 7, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Donation

    On Monday, June 6, 2022, 06:49:00 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Notification of Donation Received
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Julia S
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Julia S

    Thank you, Julia!
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom


    Column 762

    On Monday, June 6, 2022, 06:47:26 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    Column 762
    Hello Tom,
    There were a few hands in this column where I was thinking about different possible hands than the ones you mentioned.
    #1 - Having the ones and nines made me think of Odds #4 or Odds #1, rather than high Odds. I would probably have passed 2C, 4D and 6B, which is close to what you said.
    #3 - Since winds tend to get passed a lot in the Charleston (at least in my group) I would look at W-D #6 and not pass winds at first. I wouldn't want to get rid of E W in case someone passed more of them to me. I would probably have passed Red, 5C, and 8D. (Keeping 5D, 6D for possible Consec #5 if the one-suit hands don't work out)
    Thank you for doing the columns again!
    Julia

    I like those solutions, Julia!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    June 6, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claim - one for exposure, the other for mahj *

    On Monday, June 6, 2022, 04:28:12 PM EDT, Georgia S wrote:
    Call for MahJongg
    If player calls for MahJongg, places it on rack before the player to the left also calls MahJongg but not at the same time even though she was next. Who win?
    Sent from my iPhone

    It's not a race to see who calls first, Georgia. And it's not a race to see who moves first, either. In the 2020 bulletin, the League stated that the mah-jongg caller gets the tile, even if the exposure caller had already exposed tiles. See FAQ 19-i.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    June 6, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. This is another of those times when "mah-jongg trumps everything," as discussed last month. - Tom
    * See 6/7 email from Debbie B, above. I misread the question and gave the wrong answer. - Tom


    Column 762

    On Monday, June 6, 2022, 01:41:47 PM EDT, lindaz... wrote:
    strategy #762
    Hi Tom,
    In your strategy column # 762, please point out which Consecutive Run hands you are considering in problem #9. I see 5 tiles toward like numbers; 5 tiles toward W/D, and 5 for CR. Maybe I'm missing something obvious. All 3 choices look pretty weak.
    Thanks, Linda

    Yes, all choices are weak, Linda. It's not a great deal. I did not target any hand. I only target a specific hand when I get an unusual number of tiles pinpointing one hand. All I did was eliminate consideration of 2468 hands, in favor of Consec. You're right about Any Like and W-D as other equal options. By the way, you didn't say what tiles you would pass for that problem.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    June 6, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Newby, pls forgive, part 3

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, June 5, 2022, 01:17:16 PM EDT, Liz J wrote:
    To: Paula W, webmaster@sloperama
    My guess is that the dragons have to match a suit you haven’t used. But that’s just a guess, since the dragons match only 1suit.
    Liz

    Well, hello, Liz! I guess Paula must have BCC'd you on her initial question, so you have not been party to my responses. This is fun!
    If you scroll down, you can see our previous information exchange. I recommend you read the back of the card and bookmark my FAQs. I also recommend you both get a copy of the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy. If anybody else was BCC'd on the initial question, I hope you'll let them know the question has been answered.
    Standing by for more questions...
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, June 5, 2022, 2:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Newby, pls forgive, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, June 4, 2022, 11:51:01 PM EDT, Paula W wrote:
    Tom, thank you for the answers! Just to be clear….they are saying “any 3 suits” because the dragons have to be a different “suit/ed” from the other two suits?
    Example scenario:
    The 1st pair & pung could=bams
    The 2nd pair & pung could=Dots
    The dragon kong could=cracks (red dragons suited to cracks)
    2022 card
    Consecutive Run #4
    11 222 11 222 DDDD
    Thx so much for the help,
    ~Paula W

    You're on the right track, Paula.
    The DDDD has to be a different suit from the pairs and pungs because it's shown as a 3rd color on the card. The phrase "any 3 suits" is unnecessary and superfluous, in my opinion.
    In addition to the back of the card and those FAQs, you can also check out my strategy columns.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, June 5, 2022, 6:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Newby, pls forgive

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, June 4, 2022, 08:53:12 PM EDT, Paula W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: (newby, pls forgive if nonsensical)
    2022 card
    Consecutive Run #4
    11 222 11 222 DDDD
    I don’t understand “Any 3 suits” in #4 hand
    (as opposed to #2 hand “Any 2 suits” which I do understand)
    Are dragons considered a “suit” (#4 hand), but Flowers are not considered a “suit” (#2 hand)
    Thank for help,
    ~Paula W

    On Saturday, June 4, 2022, 09:11:34 PM EDT, Paula W wrote:
    Tom, do you have an email address for the MJ nat’l league?
    I would like to send them a suggestion…
    …to shade every other line of the card “hands” to make it easier to read.
    Thank you,
    ~Paula W

    Hi, Paula! Welcome. You asked:

    I don’t understand “Any 3 suits” in [Consec] #4 hand
    I agree that the phrase "any 3 suits" makes no sense when a hand is shown in 3 colors and there are only 3 suits in mah-jongg, but that's a phrase the League uses to indicate that the 3 suits can be assigned any way you want. Red does not mean you must use craks, for instance. See FAQ 19-AK

    Are dragons considered a “suit”
    Not exactly. Dragons are "suited" - as explained on the back of the NMJL card. Red goes with craks, for instance. But there is no "dragon suit." Since you are new to the game, you should start by reading every word on the card. Then, here on my website, FAQ 19 answers the most frequently asked questions about NMJL rules, and FAQ 16 answers the most frequently asked questions about the NMJL card. If you have trouble with my explanations in the FAQs, you're welcome to email me again.

    but Flowers are not considered a “suit”
    Flowers do not belong to any of the 3 suits in mah-jongg. Winds, also, are not suited.

    do you have an email address for the MJ nat’l league?
    I would like to send them a suggestion…
    If the League wanted to receive emails, they would have printed an address on the card. My suggestion is that you send them your suggestions by snailmail. Their mailing address is on the card. I'm sure they'd love to hear from a new player.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, June 4, 2022, 10:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sloperama support-a-rama

    On Saturday, June 4, 2022, 08:33:58 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
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    Thank you so much for your ongoing support, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, June 4, 2022, 9:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Fixing an exposure before discarding

    On Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 08:23:27 AM EDT, Kathleen D wrote:
    Fixing an exposure before discarding
    Dear Mr. Sloper,
    The following scenario has caused much debate, I was hoping that you might share your insights into how the rules should apply.
    In a game being played by National Mah Jongg League rules:
    A 5crack is discarded. Player A calls the 5crack. Before picking up the 5crack from the discard pool, Player A exposes two tiles from her hand, but, in her haste, she puts up two 5-bams. Player A collects the discarded 5crack from the discard pool and adds it to the exposed 5bams on her rack, but does not yet discard a tile. She recognizes that she has put up the 5bams by mistake and, since she has not yet discarded, she returns the 5bams to her rack and replaces them with two 5cracks in her hand, thus forming a pung of 5cracks with the claimed tile. Player A now discards completing her turn.
    Is this a legal move - is Player A allowed to return the 5bams to her rack and correct her exposure? Does the fact that she exposed the tiles before picking up the active discard from the pool affect the answer in any way? If she didn't have any 5cracks in her hand and used two jokers to complete the 5crack pung change the answer in any way?
    Thank you for sharing your expertise.
    Warmly,
    Kathleen

    Hi, Kathleen! You asked:

    Is this a legal move - is Player A allowed to return the 5bams to her rack and correct her exposure?
    Yes, it's legal. Page 15 of MJME (the official rulebook from the League). Also
    FAQ 19-AF.
    NOTE: This answer may not agree with the League's stance. See my conversation with Marilyn C, dated July 8, 2022, above. - Tom

    If she didn't have any 5cracks in her hand and used two jokers to complete the 5crack pung change the answer in any way?
    No. FAQ 19-L.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, June 2, 2022, 12:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Three players went dead. What now?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 05:02:48 PM EDT, aol wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:Three players were declared dead in succession in our game today. Each incident was separate and apart.
    There were 10 tiles remaining in the wall.
    Can the fourth remaining player then pick each tile until there are no more tiles to pick. If she picks her mah jong tile, can she declare mah jong and win the game? How does the game end.?
    Can the last player pick each tile one at a time to see if she can declare mah jong?
    This actually happened today. We can not wait for the official answer! Thank you very much.
    Sincerely,
    Carole M

    Hi, Carole. Okay, so you can't wait for the official answer, so you've come to me instead. Okay, I get that! (~_^) It so happens that I have an up-to-date copy of the official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, and I collect and archive the annual bulletins, so this ought to be a close approximation. The survivor throws in her hand (nobody gets paid). Shuffle, deal (next dealer takes over), and play another hand. (FAQ 19-BW)
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 8:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She exposed but it was a Concealed hand! About those jokers...

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, May 29, 2022, 08:16:00 PM EDT, judith g wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    what happens if a player calls tiles, then calls mahj and exposes her whole hand. you realize that she had called tiles and... her hand is closed. Can the jokers be available?

    Hi, Judith!
    What happens is she's dead, and all her tiles go back onto the sloping front of the rack. So, as for the jokers... that's a no! See FAQ 19-P and MJME 2020, page 24 rule 21.


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

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, May 29, 2022, 9:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Took discard but didn't expose

    On Friday, May 27, 2022, 07:31:21 AM EDT, Valerie H wrote:
    Exposure issue
    Hi Tom. One of our players called for a tile, placed it on her rack, and discarded a tile. She forgot to expose it. No one noticed before she discarded. Is there a penalty for not exposing the tile she called?
    Thanks,
    Val H

    Hi, Val!
    The rulebook doesn't spell out the specific penalty for this specific situation, but the player clearly made an illegal play. I'm inclined to say that the player should be declared dead (and I'm sure that's how a tournament judge would rule), but in a home game among friends, the player could be allowed to put up the exposure (with a warning that the next time won't go so well). Then, as long as the exposure is valid, she could be permitted to continue playing.
    I'd like to delve deeper here. There is a handful of infractions that explicitly incur a death penalty. Your player's infraction could arguably fall under the category of "Incorrect Exposure" (rule 14, page 20, MJME). The rulebook says (p. 15) that after calling a discard, the taken tile and the exposure it completes "must" be placed on top of the rack for all to see. I argue that it's incorrect to not expose when you're required to expose, and that the hand is dead if the exposure is not made before discarding and ending the turn.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, May 27, 2022, 9:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Coin purse, not too feminine, part 2

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, May 26, 2022, 10:44:12 AM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom-
    Toni asked a question about a coin purse for guys. I don’t know if you pass along such information but the guys might check out zoesbagboutique.com . Her item, the Raven, is a coin purse and will be custom made in whatever fabric you might choose from her selection. Freight is additional so might not be cost effective for just the one item. But who knows what else you might find? I buy all by Mah Jongg bags from her. She also sells on Etsy and Amazon but you can save the sales tax by ordering direct.
    Sue Z

    Thanks for the tip, Sue!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, May 26, 2022, 11:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 24

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 02:49:40 PM EDT, Annette K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you use a joker in the grouping 336699 in the last closed sequence under “singles and pairs” on the 2022 card? I know you can’t use a joker with a pair but didn’t know if the 336699 classifies as a pair since it is a group of the three pairs.
    Thanks
    Annette
    Sent from my iPhone.

    No, Annette. It says on the back of the card that the only things you can use a joker in are pungs, kongs, quints, and sextets. Those terms are defined on the back of the card. Three pairs bunched together do not make a sextet.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 3:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 670, part 3

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 04:20:55 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom. Duh. #3
    Again, sorry, I did not understand what you meant about the 7.
    Sue
    Sent from my iPad

    Okay! Now we're cooking.

    I said, "Focus on 369 and the G. Pass E 8D and a seven."
    You're saying pass E 5D 7B to preserve not only 369 but also Consec #4. That sounds good, too! I have my doubts that flowers make better joker bait this year, but I'll keep an eye on that.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 4:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 670, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A Charleston 5/22 Column 670
    On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 02:16:57 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom-
    My bad, typing on iPad not my strong suit. Let’s try again.
    For Charleston on 5/22 to have 2 possible hands—
    In addition to 369, there is a weak hand possibility for consec run #4 in three suits. 6C 7C 6D 7D G, but at some point you’d have to dump a pair of Flowers. Not my first choice.
    To keep both options for the moment, pass E 5D (rather than 8D) 7B keeping the higher numbers, and see what comes in. If one of the 6s (cracks or dots) shows up, then I’d likely break up the 3B pair and save the Flowers for Joker Bait if possible. Flowers work better for Joker Bait this year, I think.
    Does this make more sense?
    Thanks,
    Sue Z

    Hi, Sue. I still don't know which of the 7 problems you're talking about...

    There are 7 deals there. It would be a lot easier for me to discuss one of them with you if I knew which one. They're numbered, so you can just tell me "#1" or "#3," for instance.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 1:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 23

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 01:32:28 PM EDT, Barbara M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2022 card under singles and pairs 4th line, it says any consecutive number but does not say if it has to be in any one suit. Please clarify if you can use multiple suits or just one
    Sent from my iPhone
    Barbara M

    Hi, Barbara.
    The card's color-coding is explained on the back of the card.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card.

    It says right up top that 1 color means any 1 suit. So you have to make this hand in one suit only. You might want to bookmark FAQ 16 for any future questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 1:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column 670

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 01:19:20 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Tom—My mah-jongg question or comment is: regarding the Charleston for 5/22. There is also the weak possibility of 6C 7C 6B 7B G for consecutive run #4, but you might have to dump a pair of Flowers. I’d pass E 7B 5D to keep mostly the high numbers. What I do with the pair of 3B would depend on what came around next. If one of those 6s…
    Sue Z
    On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 01:33:43 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Oops, make that 6C 7C. 6D 7D G. Sorry.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Sue. It would help if I knew which of the 7 problems you're talking about...
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 1:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Do I have to have gaps between my exposed sets?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 11:49:42 AM EDT, Judi C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When exposing tiles, do they need to be seaparated on the rack? I realize they can be out of order or turned either way (facing player or opponents) but does there need to be a space in between exposures?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Judi!
    Absolutely yes, you should have gaps between your exposed sets. Note that this is not a rule but rather a matter of etiquette. It would be extremely "unfriendly" not to have gaps atop the rack.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 12:00 noon
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 22

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, May 23, 2022, 09:30:34 AM EDT, Tarri L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If someone mahj's on FF 2022 2022 2022
    do they get double from each player because it's a pure hand?
    -It is not in the Singles and Pairs section yet by design is a Singles and Pairs hand; pure hand: jokerless. I am assuming the answer is 'no' based on the winning value but I can't find the answer on the NML site.
    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Tarri L

    Hi, Tarri! You wrote:

    I can't find the answer on the NML site.
    Yes, I see that their FAQs page has not yet been written. But your question is answered in my FAQ 16. (You should bookmark both sites.) The value of the hand takes the jokerless value into account. No double.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, May 23, 2022, 9:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much? (Part 2)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, May 22, 2022, 10:01:19 PM EDT, Wendy R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the bamboo set you just discussed:
    I think four of the blanks are White Dragons
    Those sets often came with four blanks for
    Replacements and four blank White Dragons
    There are always Red Green and White Dragons in Mah Jongg.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Yes, you're quite right, Wendy! "What is the deal with these blank tiles?" Rob said he had read FAQ 7e.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, 5/22/22, 10:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much?

    On Saturday, May 21, 2022, 10:03:59 PM EDT, Rob E wrote:
    Age of bamboo Mah Jong set
    Hello Tom,
    I have carefully read many of the pages on your website (and all of 7a-g). This bamboo set with bone counters belonged to one of my grandfathers but not sure which -- one lived in California, the other in Canada, both were immigrants in the late 1800s. Based on your info, the set's age is between 1920 and 1937 (simple kraks, no jokers, NSWE letters). There are 147 all bamboo tiles (36 each of dots, bams, craks, 16 winds, 8 dragons, 8 flowers, 7 blanks), 3 round winds and a mingg, and 102 counters. The tiles are 1" tall x 3/4" wide x 3/8" thick. The counters range from 2 - 2 3/4" long. These items were in a random unlabeled cardboard box with a single small plastic dice and nothing else.
    Do you see anything in the photo that might further identify either the date or the location? I know a bamboo set is mostly a "collector" item and one tile is missing (it looks as if a blank was made into a 7 krak) but does it have any value? I'm looking to donate it somewhere appropriate. Thanks! Rob

    Hi, Rob.
    I would date it to 1921-1925 (so, 97-101 years old). These all-bamboo sets were made to sell cheaply, to those who wanted in on the craze but didn't want to spend as much as a bone-bamboo set cost. I'm guessing that once the craze died in 1924-25, there was no more need for these cheapo sets. I have no idea what part of China they would have been produced in.
    You said these are 'mostly a "collector" item' - the reason for that is that they're not as pretty as bone-bam sets, and not as pleasant to play with as bone-bam or plastic sets. They don't stack very well, and they're lightweight. Collectors might have one or two of these just as type fillers more than anything else.
    Your set is missing a blank and a wind disc and some sticks and the original dice - and the original container, so it's not worth more than $10. And your missing blank was used to replace a 7-dot, not a 7-crak.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you. Oh, I guess they already are.
    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
    Saturday, May 21, 2022, 11:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Coin purse, not too feminine

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, May 21, 2022, 08:18:45 AM EDT, Toni G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I’m teaching a mahjongg class for beginners and have a man in the class. What would you suggest for a coin purse for a man? Image would be appreciated.
    Toni G

    Hi, Toni! I used to get nice coin purses in Los Angeles' Chinatown, made of embroidery. I thought those were not unsuitable for a man. But I suppose if you can find a purse made of camo or denim, a man might not object to using such a thing in the company of women. Good luck, and have fun!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, May 21, 2022, 9:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can she change her mind about making that discard?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, May 19, 2022, 10:28:04 PM EDT, Alexandra W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: A player names a tile and discards it but doesn’t take her hand off if it on the table. Another player calls the tile after it is named but not released from the original players hand. The original player says she is not discarding that tile because she hasn’t taken her hand off the tile. Can original player choose to discard a different tile?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Alexandra.
    Wow, is that player thinking she'd rather keep a tile she doesn't need, intentionally throw her hand away just to keep another player from making an exposure? Not great strategy.
    The rule is that the discard is "down" when she says its name OR it touches the table, whichever comes first. She can't just keep her hand on it. Tell her to turn to page 19 in the rulebook and read rule 7. (FAQ 19-AM)
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, May 19, 2022, 11:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption, part 7

    On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 12:09:16 PM EDT, Henrietta G wrote:
    Mah Jhongg question
    Playing mah jhongg last night, this play came up and I do not think it is correct:
    One player showing three tiles and a joker,
    A second player picks up the tile to steal the joker,
    .It was toward the end of the game and the player with the tile to do the exchange decides not to take the joker, so, the tile is
    discarded.
    The player with the joker showing calls the tile, replaces it with her joker and declares mah jhongg with it.
    Is this allowed???
    Thank you for your response
    Henrietta G

    Henrietta, nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever. See the rulebook, page 23, rule 5. Or see FAQ 19-G.


    This is the League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 1:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA



    Donation

    On Friday, May 13, 2022, 10:43:52 AM EDT, Mary Lou F via PayPal wrote:
    ml.f sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $25.00 USD from ml.f
    To see all the transaction details, please log into your PayPal account. It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
    Transaction date
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    Wow, thank you, Mary Lou!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday the 13th, May 2022 11:05 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I redeem a joker before picking from the wall, part 2

    On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 07:02:46 PM EDT, Debbie P wrote:
    mahjong question
    I have a mahjong question if you can answer it.
    Today I had two 8 cracks in my rack. I needed 4 to lay out.
    The person ahead of me discarded an 8 crack.
    Before I picked up her discarded 8 crack, I swapped a tile that I had for a joker on someone else’s rack.
    THEN I picked up the discarded 8 crack, and layed down my two 8 cracks, the discarded one I picked up, and the joker I had just swapped.
    Is that allowed? We weren’t sure. Since it was all done during my “turn”, we wondered if it was all ok.
    And if it’s ok, is there a certain order you have to do that in?

    No, that's not allowed, Debbie. See rules 4 and 8 on page 23 of the official rulebook. (Or see FAQ 19-M.)


    This is the League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    A player can redeem a joker only after first obtaining a 14th tile in the hand, either by picking from the wall or taking a discard and making a complete exposure. Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 7:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claims, part 4

    On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 03:40:29 PM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Conflicting Claim part #3
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for responding to my previous email. I know you added several scenarios but I'm most interested in the scenario given in the original person's post which is your Scenario #1 in Conflicting Claim part #3.
    Regarding my use of the word "wait", I was continuing with this choice of words since this was the original word used by the original poster. So to clarify MJME does not use this word but rather it would be included in the definition of their word, "etc."
    I was so confused about the posting that I decided to call the League. Sandy said that according to page 14 of MJME, "wait" is acceptable as far as "etc." goes in this sentence, "They may say, call, take, I want that, etc. Anything indication a player wants the discard stops everything else.
    She also said that if someone is deciding they want a tile and verbalize it, any wall pick must be put back, regardless of whether it is the person's mah jongg tile. She said, this would be no different than someone picking the wall tile and seeing that it is a joker.
    In this case, mah jongg does not supersede everything else and that player needs to put the tile back in the wall. She said this is the way it is even though it is not in writing. She even put me on hold to confirm with who she called the Guru of the office, whoever that maybe. She said there should be no heated arguments about this since a verbal call or mention of considering a discarded stops the game.
    Anyway, hoping you can clear this confusion up upon your next post.
    Thanks so much!
    P.S. I'm sure you have this readily available but just want to be sure nothing is missed. I am attaching the page from MJME with the sentence referenced above underlined.
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie,
    I have to concede the League's ruling on the question. But I disagree with the League that "wait" is a call for a discard. It is not. Rather than "I want that," the speaker is saying "maybe I might want that."
    Maybe I was just feeling sick and tired of "wait" calls and wanting to lash out.
    Maybe I'm still in the frame of mind I was in when I responded to Kathy ("I was wronged!") on May 6, below. The player who said "call" to a misnamed tile loses out, while a player who says "mahj" on a misnamed tile wins. I know, not same situation. But still.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 7:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claims, part 3

    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 09:18:00 PM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Conflicting claims, "wait" versus "mah-jongg"
    Hi Tom,
    I've been following the recent post "wait." I am not sure if I understand your statement 2. Mah-jongg supersedes everything else. So, if someone says, "wait," clearly permitted according MJME, pg. 14, and another player lifts a tile from the wall either simultaneously or a seconds later, has that tile in the air and notices it's their mah jongg tile, the person who said "wait" loses out on the discarded tile.
    I might be seeing this in the wrong light but under normal circumstances when a player says "wait" or any other chosen word(s), if a player picks a wall tile they have to put it back until the player that said "wait" decides they are taking the tile or letting it go. I didn't realize that if someone says "wait" and a player lifts the tile and notices it is their mah jongg tile, the player that said wait loses out. In a similar situation if the same player picked the wall tile and saw it was not their mah jongg tile but instead a joker, don't we always have to put the tile back in the wall?
    Is this what you meant by mah jongg supersedes everything else? Can you verify this for me?
    Appreciate your help Tom.
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie! When disputes arise, somebody has to make a ruling, and it can be controversial, and it can be wrong. You wrote:

    I am not sure if I understand your statement 2. Mah-jongg supersedes everything else
    It's a principle derived from various rules:
    - A call for mah-jongg supersedes a call for exposure (p. 20, rule 13.c.).
    - A misnamer has to pay for the table when the misnamed tile is called for mah-jongg, even though the caller was clearly not paying attention. (Discussed in the thread, "I was wronged!", below, and p. 21, rule 16.)
    - If someone picks out of turn and their discard is called for mah-jongg, the call is honored even though the discarder erred.
    - If someone pushes out the wrong wall and a win results, the win is honored even though the game should have been thrown in. (2007 bulletin)
    - Normally, a player who loses a conflicting claim cannot ever get the disputed discard, except in cases where both said mah-jongg and the winning claimant turns out to have been in error (p. 20, rule 13.e.).
    There may be yet other rules that incorporate the "mah-jongg trumps everything" principle. It's a derived principle, not a standalone rule. When the printed rules don't cover a situation, sometimes a judge has to derive a ruling based on principles embodied in related rules. And there is another important principle: "There is an exception to every rule. Even this one."

    if someone says, "wait," clearly permitted according MJME, pg. 14, and another player lifts a tile from the wall either simultaneously or a seconds later, has that tile in the air and notices it's their mah jongg tile, the person who said "wait" loses out on the discarded tile.
    Is there a newer edition of the rulebook? I don't see anything like that on page 14 of my 2020 edition. I haven't found any rules about "wait" requests anywhere in the rulebook.

    under normal circumstances when a player says "wait" or any other chosen word(s), if a player picks a wall tile they have to put it back until the player that said "wait" decides they are taking the tile or letting it go
    Yes, of course. But things happen. Let's look at a couple of scenarios, but note that I do not know if J████ defines North as "the player to the left of East" as per the global (un-American) mah-jongg tradition, or "the player to the right of East" as per American tournament organizer practice. I will assume the latter (since most American players are unaware of the global standard), but I might be wrong. It doesn't matter for scenario A, but it matters for scenarios B and C.

    Scenario A:
    1. The game was moving along right smartly, a rhythm had been established, when a discard went out.
    2. Somebody said "wait," with an uncertain clarity or volume, while the next player in turn, still in the flow of things, picked and saw their mah-jongg tile. So the table hears: "Wait." "Mahj!"
    3. A huge argument erupts. Tempers are high, voices are raised. There's no printed rule governing this situation. A judgment call has to be made to calm things down.

    Scenario B:
    1. The game was moving along right smartly, a rhythm had been established, when a discard went out (from the North player).
    2. Somebody (the player at the discarder's left) said "wait," with an uncertain clarity or volume, and another player (the player to discarder's right), still in the flow of things, picked and saw their mah-jongg tile. The picker belatedly hears the "wait" request and, sighing, puts the tile back on the wall.
    3. The caller decides to take the discard, and makes an exposure.
    4. North plays again and picks the next tile on the wall, doesn't want it, and discards it.
    5. The next player calls "mahj!" on the discard.

    Scenario C:
    1-3. Same as scenario B.
    4. North picks the next tile on the wall and doesn't discard it, discards something else.
    5. The player who wanted that tile for mah-jongg may eventually get it, or might not.

    Scenario D:
    1. The game was moving along right smartly, a rhythm had been established, when a discard went out (from the North player).
    2. Somebody (the player at the discarder's left) said "wait," with an uncertain clarity or volume, and another player (the player to discarder's right), still in the flow of things, picked and saw their mah-jongg tile. The picker belatedly hears the "wait" request and, sighing, puts the tile back on the wall.
    3. The "wait" caller says "Sorry, everybody. No, let it go."
    4. The player at the discarder's right picks the next wall tile and says "mahj!"

    Scenarios B, C, and D all go the way things should go. But Scenario A happens too often. You say the rulebook does define a "wait" rule, but I haven't seen it. So in the face of a huge fight, I judged that the most expedient thing was to use the "mahj call supersedes exposure call" rule since there is no printed rule about "wait" calls.

    I didn't realize that if someone says "wait" and a player lifts the tile and notices it is their mah jongg tile, the player that said wait loses out.
    Don't put it that way. I didn't state an established rule. I am not the League. I derived my judgment from a principle. We all know from recent events (beyond mah-jongg) that judges can issue incorrect rulings.

    don't we always have to put the tile back in the wall?
    That's the polite thing to do, but that's not what happened. It happens all the time that one player doesn't hear what another player said and makes a move anyway. It happens all the time that tempers flare up. FAQ 9 discusses ways harmony can be restored in non-standard situations.

    Can you verify this for me?
    No, I can't. I am not the National Mah Jongg League. The League governs the rules. I can be wrong.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 10:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I send you some photos of my set?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 12:48:09 AM EDT, Juan P L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I bought a mah-jongg set in an auction and I cannot find what year or where it is from. I researched and I cannot find any set similar to what I have.
    Can I email you some photos of the set I have?
    Best regards,
    JP

    Hi, JP.
    You don't have to ask if you can send some photos. But whether you do or not, I cannot give you a year of manufacture. Maybe a decade (FAQ 7-G). And maybe what country it was made in, or what mah-jongg variant it was made for (FAQ 7-A). Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 8:35 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Column #758

    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 06:39:10 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    Column #758
    Hello Tom,
    In #6, you say "Twos and eights go together for the Evens family, but there aren't any fours, and it would be foolhardy to go that way." I was thinking about Evens #6 (flowers, twos and eights). I probably would have passed 5B, 6B and 6D, hoping that the next pass would help for either Consec #4 or Evens #6 before breaking up a pair.
    (Just noting that on the 2022 card, not all Evens hands require a four.)
    Julia

    Good call, Julia! Yes, I did ignore that hand. It is indeed a hand without fours, and my old habitual thinking met its match with the 2022 card.
    Let's take it a step further, having identified a non-Consec hand.
    1. The dealt tiles we're talking about: 3 pairs, 2C 7B 8D
    2. The 2468 hand I missed: 5 tiles.
    3. Consec #1: also 5 tiles.
    4. Consec #2: also 5.
    5. Consec #5: 5 again, two ways.
    6. Consec #4: 7 tiles.
    7. Consec #8 (the concealed hand): 8 tiles.

    And one step further yet: which tiles we can pass in the Charleston. We should preserve the two best hands (Consec #4 and #8). Every number below 6 is expendable, as is the flower. It's best not to pass a pair, and it's less than optimal to pass a flower. Break up the twos, pass F 2C 5B. So, I change my mind about passing 6D as I previously said.
    In the past, I've called Consec #5 the most powerful hand on the card. Look at those two ways of making the hand. That flexibility in one hand gives you wiggle room during play. If you want to preserve this hand as well, then you'd have to pass F 2C 2C now. It's not unthinkable to break a strategic principle now and then. But aren't two options enough?

    Thanks for giving us more insights into that problem, Julia! Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 9:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    I've added this to the Comments section in that column! - Tom


    Conflicting claims, part 2

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 12:27:36 PM EDT, Anita M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    As to your response to the question of May 10 regarding the use of the term “Wait” to call for a discard I am quoting here from Mah Jongg Made Easy p14 “The Play” — “To claim a discard the player must verbalize their call by letting the other players know that they are claiming that discard. They may say “call”, “take”, “I want that”, etc.”.
    So having said that it would be interesting to know if the claimant in the question had verbalized the intent loud enough for others to hear.
    Regards,
    Anita M

    I hear you, Anita! There are two things to add, then, to my earlier reply:
    1. When speaking a claim OR requesting a pause, the verbalization must be made loudly enough so that everyone can hear.
    2. When requesting a hold, it's customary to be apologetic about it: "Sorry, everybody. No, let it go" would be better than just "No, let it go."
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 1:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Conflicting claims, "wait" versus "mah-jongg"

    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 08:32:22 AM EDT, <j████ wrote:
    Mah Jongg Question
    Tom,
    Please don't use my email or full name in your reply.
    The four players at the table are experienced and play rather fast.
    During the play:
    North discarded a tile.
    East said "Wait" because they want to think about the tile, but did not say "Call".
    At the same time, or very, very shortly thereafter the "Wait" was said, West lifted the next tile from the wall and realized that this was their mah jongg tile.
    There was much disagreement.
    What should have happened?
    J████

    A couple of things:
    1. "Wait" requests have no weight under the rules of mah-jongg (more on this below).
    2. Mah-jongg supersedes everything else.
    East should not have said "wait" (they should have said "call" or kept silent). West should not have picked once East said "wait." But once both missteps compounded one another, the solution is simple. You can ask if East would have mah-jongg on the current live discard. If not, West wins. You can ask East another question: would they like a slightly slower pace? You can also ask West to listen more attentively.
    "Wait" requests are strictly a matter of etiquette, with a double edge. It's polite for others to honor the request, but it's somewhat impolite to make such requests, since it interrupts the flow of play and adds uncertainty. When someone says "wait," the speaker should make the decision within 1 or 2 seconds: "I'll take it," or "no, let it go." The time to think is between one's turns - one should know what tiles one needs. "Wait" requests are a frequent source of disharmony in American mah-jongg.
    Then there's the strategic import; saying "wait" gives the others clues about what one is doing.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 10, 2022 9:20 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 21 - and - Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption, part 6

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, May 9, 2022, 10:13:59 PM EDT, Tricia L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2022 card under 2468 last line.
    FF 246 888 246 888 (any two suits)
    Can you use a joker for the 2,4,or 6?
    Also if someone discards a tile you have exposed with a joker, can you pick up the tile and exchange it for the joker?
    Tricia L

    Hi, Tricia! You asked:

    under 2468 last line.
    FF 246 888 246 888 (any two suits)
    Can you use a joker for the 2,4,or 6?
    No. Read the back of the card. And see FAQ 16. Jokers may only be used in pungs, kongs, quints, or sextets. Those terms are defined on the back of the card.


    Every player should read everything on the NMJL card. Turn it over and look at the back.
    Left pane, the last paragraph before the numbered rules (the Jokers paragraph), second sentence.
    Look for the word "NEVER" in bold capital letters.

    Also if someone discards a tile you have exposed with a joker, can you pick up the tile and exchange it for the joker?
    Nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever. See the rulebook, page 23, rule 5. Or see FAQ 19-G.


    This is the League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, May 9, 2022, 10:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    New Strategy Column is up for Mother's Day!

    Enjoy!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    I was wronged! (Part 2)

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, May 6, 2022, 11:29:45 PM EDT, Kathy B wrote:
    Just read your response. Thanks for your well thought answer and input. I see it in an entirely different light now and feel much better! Kathy
    Sent from my iPhone

    You are welcome, Kathy!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, May 7, 2022, 8:20 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I was wronged! Do you agree?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, May 6, 2022, 06:56:39 PM EDT, Kathy B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I’m aware that Mah Jongg is a game of eyes and ears… but this situation recently occurred and I felt Icwas wronged… do you feel the same?
    (American version)Near the end of a game, I heard the discard “2 Bam” before I even saw it, and yelled “call”, as the tile hit the table, it was actually a 2 Dot. Being so near the end of the game, everyone now knew the tile I needed. I felt this was a miscall, and as the back of the card states, she should have paid me… but one person said, because I used the word “call” initially, instead of “mah Jongg” I didn’t deserve to be paid. Obviously, no one proceeded to discard the tile I needed for Mah Jong. What is your perspective on this? Thank you for your time…Kathy
    Palm Desert, Ca
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Kathy!
    I'm going to run through it the way you described it, and comment along the way.

    K: I heard the discard “2 Bam” before I even saw it, and yelled “call”, as the tile hit the table,
    T: Shouldn't have done that.

    K: I’m aware that Mah Jongg is a game of eyes and ears
    T: Right. You should have laid eyes on it first, rather than speaking or giving any outward sign of interest in that tile.

    K: it was actually a 2 Dot.
    T: No penalty for the discarder. You didn't say "mahj," and you didn't expose any tiles. All she has to do is say "Sorry, 2 dot." You cannot take the tile until it's named correctly. If you don't want the 2 dot, the game moves on.

    K: Being so near the end of the game, everyone now knew the tile I needed.
    T: That's your own fault. You needed a poker faced reaction until you laid eyes on the tile.

    K: I felt this was a miscall
    T: Yes. I prefer "misname," but yes. I would have told her deadpan, "no, that's not a 2 bam." I don't tell her the tile's correct name - that's her job.

    K: and as the back of the card states, she should have paid me…
    T: It does not say that. It says "if Mah Jongg is called," then she would have to pay for the table. But you said "call." "Call" means "I want that tile to expose a set." If you'd said "mah jongg!," she would have to pay and you win and it's all her fault. In other words, I'm in agreement with the other player at your table who said the same thing. You made two mistakes: you spoke without looking, and you compounded it by saying the wrong thing. Sorry! But now you know.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, May 6, 2022, 7:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 20

    On Friday, May 6, 2022, 01:45:31 PM EDT, Vickie P wrote:
    Question 2022 card
    1111 NN E W SS 1111 (Any Like Odd or Even Nos.)
    (Winds - Dragons #4
    Is this really any like number? Unsure why the card bothers describing it as odd or even. For example, can the numbers be 1111 and 3333 for odds?

    Hi, Vickie! You asked:

    Is this really any like number?
    Yes. Since it says "odd or even," it's truly ANY like number.

    Unsure why the card bothers describing it as odd or even.
    Surely so that it doesn't have to be listed twice, like
    1111 NN E W SS 1111 (any odd) and
    2222 NN E W SS 2222 (any even). Saves space on the card, doncha see.

    can the numbers be 1111 and 3333 for odds?
    No, those aren't like numbers. Can be 3333 and 3333 or 8888 and 8888... For an odd and even example.

    I'm adding this to the list of questions about the 2022 card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, May 6, 2022, 2:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Want to see some photos?

    On Thursday, May 5, 2022, 06:54:08 AM EDT, Chris C wrote:
    MahJong set
    Hello Tom,
    I found your website today and found it very interesting.
    Two days ago I bought a mahjong set from junk store in Lampang, Thailand
    For the moment I won't send attached photos.
    My set has no English or numbers on any of the tiles, they are obviously not made for export and I suspect that my set has never seen the light of day in the West.
    Each tile weighs 10g and definitely bamboo-backed, though whether cow bone or anything else I am not sure.
    The set is complete with what at first I thought was 8 white dragons then realised there were four and either the other 4 were spares or could be considered wild (jokers)
    The set is displayed in four boxes with what seems like internal red velvet and all four boxes are in a beautiful black velvet box that I have already provisionally cleaned up
    Inside the box there is a one-sheet (set of rules?) in Chinese and it looks quite old.
    I paid $15 for it.
    Would you like to see some photos?
    Thank you and regards from Chris in warm and sunny Thailand

    Hi, Chris, regards from sunny and cool Rochester. You can learn about the purpose of blank tiles in the Mystery Tiles FAQ. It would be unusual for bone tiles to be anything but cow bone or pulverized fishbone; maybe you already read "What's It Made Of?". If you have any questions I can help you with, I'll need to see photos. Otherwise, I don't need to see them.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, 5/5/22, 9:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption? (part 5)

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 05:36:43 PM EDT, Carmen S wrote:
    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    Carmen

    You are welcome!


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption? (part 4)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 05:06:49 PM EDT, Carmen S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: To clarify, can a discarded tile be "called” to replace a joker in an exposed unit if a hand?
    Carmen S

    No, Carmen. Nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever. See the rulebook, page 23, rule 5.
    Or see FAQ 19-G.
    May the Fourth 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
    Wednesday, May the Fourth, 2022, 5:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption? (part 3)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 02:42:52 PM EDT, Doug D wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have an exposure with six cracks and a joker. Someone throws a 6 crack can I call it put it in my exposure and put the Joker from the exposure back in my hand

    No, Doug. Nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever. See the rulebook, page 23, rule 5.


    This is the League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    Or see FAQ 19-G.
    May the Fourth 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
    Wednesday, May the Fourth, 2022, 3:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody called pung and seconds later another called mah-jongg

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 11:53:00 AM EDT, bigdoged13 (null) wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing mahjong, if a person calls a pong and seconds later another person calls mahjong, which person gets the call. To me the mahjong is late and therefore negated. If they called them at the same time, the mahjong would get it. Can you help
    Sent from my iPhone

    There are two principles to consider, bigdoged:
    1. There is such a thing as too late, but "seconds" is a very short time.
    2. Mah-jongg trumps everything else.
    You didn't say how many seconds passed between the pung call and the mah-jongg call, but what's really important is whether or not the punger discarded before the mah-jongger spoke. There is such a thing as too late, and that would be too late.
    You didn't say which mah-jongg variant you play, which might possibly matter. It might be a variant with one or more definitive books, which might possibly include a rule on conflicting claims that I could look up for you. But if somebody claimed mah-jongg before the punger discarded, "mah-jongg trumps everything else."
    May the Fourth 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
    May the Fourth, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers

    On Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 08:31:49 AM EDT, 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
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    PayPal

    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    May The Fourth 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
    May the 4th, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 19

    On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 05:01:31 PM EDT, rosemary f wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the singles and pair category, there is 7 pairs (with consecutive numbers behind it)
    and also is printed with all same color. Do they have to be same color(even though not stated) or can they just be consecutive ? Of different colors
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Rosemary!
    The card's color-coding is explained on the back of the card.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. There may be changes, and many frequently
    asked questions are answered on the card.
    Every player owes it to the other players to know
    all these basic rules of the game.

    It says right up top that 1 color means any 1 suit. So for the S&P #4 hand, you have to use seven consecutive number pairs in one suit. I'll add this to FAQ 16, which answers all the most frequently asked questions about the 2022 NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 5:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can she redeem a joker before picking from the wall?

    On Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 12:26:07 PM EDT, <jakret wrote:
    Mah Jongg Play
    Must a player draw a tile from the wall before stealing a joker from another players exposures? Recently a player stole the joker, then used it to call a discarded tile and make an exposure. Is this allowed? Never in 25 years has this situation arose.
    Judy K
    Myrtle Beach, SC

    No, that's not allowed, Judy. See rules 4 and 8 on page 23 of the official rulebook. (Or see FAQ 19-M.)


    This is the League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    A player can redeem a joker only after first obtaining a 14th tile in the hand, either by picking from the wall (as you said) or taking a discard and making a complete exposure. Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 1:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I can't declare Mahj

    On Monday, May 2, 2022, 11:21:47 PM EDT, Harriet S wrote:
    question re not being to declare Mahj
    i have had this happen several times NEW 2022 card.
    hand i was just playing: two flowers, 579, in different suits. I had two flowers, 5 bams, 7dots, 9 cracks. had one joker with 9 cracks, one joker with 7 dots. kept saying must throw a tile. well doing that prevented me from Mahj, played a few more rounds, found two more jokers, still would not let me make Mahj. What is happening.
    thank you so much for doing this. i am very disappointed, i have asthma and twice a day have to take 20-30 of a medication that i have to inhale. this sure makes the time go faster, and i find if i am tired, this actually perks me up.
    i did look at the card and previous questions, but did not find this question addressed.
    harriet s

    Harriet, it sounds like you are playing a computer game. And while you are using the 2022 card, maybe the game is using the 2021 card. You should look to see if there is a way to tell the computer which card to use. I can't tell you how to do that because (1) you didn't say which computer game you are playing, and they all work differently, and (2) I didn't work on that game and I don't provide technical support for any computer game. If you can't figure out how to select the 2022 card in the game, you should contact the game's maker and ask them for help. FAQ 24 might help you with how to get tech support for your game. Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 7:25 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I hope you'll write lots of strategy columns, part 2

    On Monday, May 2, 2022, 01:05:24 PM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    thanks
    Hi Tom,
    Wow, you've had a busy year! (I have several friends who moved out of CA because of expenses and politics.) I wish you the best in your new home. I did NOT see your recent strategy columns and I thank you for reminding me where to look. I'll be spending the rest of today trying to solve your puzzles.
    Thank you, Linda


    I hope you'll write lots of strategy columns this year

    On Monday, May 2, 2022, 10:48:31 AM EDT, lindaz wrote:
    Quizzes for 2022
    Hi Tom,
    I hope you find time this year to post lots of your MJ "quizzes" -- showing sample hands and how to analyze them and decide which tiles to discard and which sections of the card to select. Sometimes you pick something which I never even considered! Your quizzes have really helped my critical thinking--I even learn from your -"ahem"- mistakes! (^_^)
    Thanks for your time,
    Linda

    Hi, Linda! Always great to hear from you. I've posted some columns since the new card came out. Maybe you haven't seen those?
    Last year I taught one last university semester, then spent months downsizing so I could move out of California to be near family and reduce my cost of living. That was my excuse for last year. This year I'm working as a consultant, paying off the moving expense, readjusting to the climate I grew up in, and relearning my way around the city where I learned to drive before I drove west to find a career. I'd like to promise you I'll write columns every week, but the future is unknowable. I'll try my best. Hope you enjoy the ones I do manage to produce.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, May 2, 2022, 11:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 18

    On Sunday, May 1, 2022, 08:24:01 PM EDT, Jane S wrote:
    2022 Card, of course
    #2 under any like numbers.
    Only says ( 3 different suits. Doesn’t mention dragons)
    Is the hand to be played exactly as shown, with different like numbers or i.e. pung of 1’s are dots, dragons should be white, etc.
    Thanks for your help.
    Love reading your FAQ sheet and what some people have to say,
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Jane! You wrote:

    Only says ( 3 different suits. Doesn’t mention dragons)
    It doesn't need to. Dragons are suited, as explained on the back of the card.

    Is the hand to be played exactly as shown, with different like numbers or i.e. pung of 1’s are dots, dragons should be white, etc.
    You can use any number. Not just ones. If your first pung is a pung of, say, 6 dots, then yes, you match that up with a pair of white dragons. Then if your other pung is 6 craks, you match that up with a pair of reds, and finish the hand with a kong of 6 bams.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, May 1, 2022, 8:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She doesn't verbalize her calls.

    On Sunday, May 1, 2022, 04:22:40 PM EDT, Phyllis B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    One of the members in our group has a habit of just picking up a discarded tile (when she is next to pick up from the wall)without calling it and exposes it. Is this just poor etiquette? Sometimes we don’t notice that she has exposed. I guess this is our problem but it seems she is trying to go unnoticed.
    Thanks,
    Phyllis
    Sent from my iPad

    It's not just a matter of etiquette, Phyllis. It's a rule. Read the back of the card.


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card
    every year. There may be changes, and many frequently
    asked questions are answered on the card.
    Every player owes it to the other players to know
    all these basic rules of the game.

    It says a player "must verbalize their call." See also FAQ 19-CJ. But yes, it's extremely poor strategy to play using one's ears and not also one's eyes.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    May 2, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Mystery die from 2016

    On Sunday, May 1, 2022, 03:15:01 AM EDT, Avis Rara wrote:
    About a picture included in someone's query, a long time ago, on your bulletin board...
    Hello, Tom:
    I wanted to clarify something about the piece in the photo I have attached to this message. Something which, if you haven't already learnt, I am sure you will appreciate.

    On an exchange you had with oldschoollee b in July, 2016, you mentioned that the die in the picture might be a wind indicator (and I see clearly why you would have thought that). It occurred to me that you might want to know (although much time has passed) the true nature of the object. The die in question is one of a set of two, usually sold as Paccoro, (also Paccolo, due to the Japanese language's phonetic ambiguity). I've also heard them referred to as Piccolo (mistakenly) in the West. In Japanese, the name is all in Katakana: パッコロ, or "Pakkoro". The name in Japanese in my previous sentence also contains a link to the Sasaki shop which sells them for ¥400 a set. You can also find them on Yahoo Japan for ¥1 more, although they are sold by the same vendor. Ichikawaya also sells them, but for ¥2000 each pair (!?). I bought mine, together with a bunch of other riichi mahjong stuff, with the help of White Rabbit Express (a shopping proxy system in Japan), since neither Sasaki nor Yahoo ship to the USA (Ichikawaya does, but they will get even more money out of you for the favor). I include those links because I know you like mahjong paraphernalia.

    I own a few of these, and they are very popular with my riichi pals. If you are interested in finding out more, you can see them (and read more about them) here (in an Imgur post I uploaded for a Reddit discussion, a while back). The Paccoro are basically substitutes for the typical 6-sided dice. The one in oldschoollee b's set is thrown to get the side of the wall to be breached, the other one, a black twin, has the numerals 1 to 12 in Sino-Japanese numerals.

    I am not going to allow myself to conclude this email without mentioning how much I have mentally profited from your writing and from your amazing website over many years. I am a big fan (and greatly identify with your mahjong passion/obsession). A big hug of thanks for allowing so many of us to wallow in the delight of this great trove of information over the years. And, by the way, thanks for your great book, from which I learnt to play CO mahjong, and which actually introduced me to the fun and challenge of NMJL Mah-Jongg, a game I underestimated for most of my life (before TRD&TWW, I had only played riichi (mainly), HKO, and British MJ). One more thing: Were you ever to come to NYC, where I live, and if you were to find yourself so inclined, send me an electronic holler, it would be my pleasure to buy you a drink or two.
    Fondly,
    Avis Rara
    (Please, if you ever publish any of this email, do so crediting me as Avis Rara, a nom de plume.)

    Avis Rara, thank you so much for clarifying the use of that mystery die. I'll add this to FAQ 7d, the "Bits and Pieces" FAQ.
    And thanks also for the kind words about my work, and the offer of liquid refreshment. I may just take you up on that.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, May Day, 2022, 9:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Confused about chowing down, do-over
    Tom here. Re-reading yesterday's Q&A with Stanley, I see that I did it wrong. This is a do-over. The original Q&A is just below, since these are all in reverse chronological order.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 29, 2022, 09:56:42 AM EDT, Stanley S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the many versions of “chinese rules” of MahJongg, is there any consensus
    about chows. Specifically how many are allowed.
    I have seen
    1. none
    2. Only one
    3. four is ok

    Hi, Stanley!
    There's mostly consensus, but there are outliers.
    No chows (your #1) sounds like Shenzhen style. Pungs and kongs only.
    The limit of one chow (your #2) is specific to Australian/British mah-jongg.
    Four chows (your #3) is allowable in most variants, depending on what numbers are included, and whether there is a minimum score requirement. For instance, depending on what tiles you have for the pair, you might have what's called "pin woo" or "chicken hand." Most Chinese variants, including Hong Kong rules, award some points for that. If your four chows include a "snake", 123-456-789, you can have a fourth chow to complete the hand. If your four chows are all in the same suit, and the pair is too, you've got "pure".
    Sorry for the missed-target answer yesterday.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, April 30, 2022, 7:20 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Confused about chowing down

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 29, 2022, 09:56:42 AM EDT, Stanley S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the many versions of “chinese rules” of MahJongg, is there any consensus
    about chows. Specifically how many are allowed.
    I have seen
    1. none
    2. Only one
    3. four is ok

    Hi, Stanley!
    You didn't say which Chinese variant you play.

    The limit of one chow (your #2) is specific to Australian/British mah-jongg.
    Four chows (your #3) is perfectly fine - depending on what tiles you have for the pair, you might have what's called "pin woo" or "chicken hand." Most Chinese variants, including Hong Kong rules. Edit: 4 chows might not give you enough points if you're playing a variant with a minimum points requirement, like MCR - depending on what the numbers are.
    No chows (your #1) sounds like Shenzhen style.
    So: which Chinese variant do you play? Can you tell me the title of a book you use as your guide? Or a website URL? Edit: if you are reading numerous books/websites, you are probably reading books/sites about different variants. Pick one variant.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, April 29, 2022, 10:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How to play with just 3 players?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 29, 2022, 08:04:42 AM EDT, Doris C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is the correct way to play MJ to have 4 people playing do East can move for another player to keep the game going with 4
    When is it ok to play with 3 players
    If players want to only play with 3 dors that change the game.
    Sent from my iPhone

    It's actually pretty simple to play with just 3, Doris. Build 4 walls as usual. Deal to the 3 players (do not deal to the empty seat). Skip the Charleston and play as usual. FAQ 13-A.
    It's OK to play with 3, anytime you don't have 4.
    It doesn't change the game very much - you get more picks from the wall, so you may have fewer wall games.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, April 29, 2022, 8:35 am
    Rochester, New York, USA



    Looking for a cute article from a few years ago

    On Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 01:03:27 PM EDT, Sherry M wrote:
    Things that are heard while playing Mah Jongg
    Hi Tom,
    Several years ago there was a cute article circulating which listed all the things people say while playing Maj. Like, who's turn is it, are there any jokers in this set... I remember this list having at least 50 things.
    I've been looking for this article, but can't find it. Please send a copy of this to me if you do have it.
    Thank you,
    Sherry

    囧 Sorry, Sherry, I don't recall seeing that or collecting it. Maybe another reader will have a lead for us.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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 27, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Slow players and the problems they cause

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 06:58:06 PM EDT, Sandra H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    1. Is there a time limit during play for a player to take up time trying to decide if or not to call a tile or rearrange her her game strategy while 3 other players are waiting..
    Its definitely bad manners- does any rule address this slow-down of play?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 07:06:01 PM EDT, Sandra H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player 1, calls a tile for a MahJongg
    Player 2, is slower studying their hand and then call the tile for MahJongg after #1’s call.
    Winner is:?? first one to call or
    the next person in turn -regardless of time between 1-2 of who called first?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Sandra!

    No, there's no rule. I wrote about slow players in column 375. Maybe that will help. But probably not.

    The player next in line "is entitled to" the claim, except when another player has begun to expose their tiles. Rule 13.b. on page 20 of the official rulebook. Look it up!


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, 2018, and again in 2020.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important for every player to have and read.

    (If you don't have the rulebook, you can read FAQ 19-H.)
    I'd love to hear how this transpired with your slow player. How did it go? One person said "mahj," then waited while the slow player did nothing? Or she put up some tiles, and then the other said, "No, I'm next in line, you gotta give me time to decide"? Or one person said "mahj," then the slow player said "wait"? Because if the latter, I'd be like, "no, I don't have to wait," and I'd put my tiles up, ending the impasse. There is no "wait" rule in mah-jongg. When it's your turn, I have to wait for you to make your play, but I don't have to wait for you to make my own play to win. Put up or shut up, right now.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 8pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Frequently-Asked Question 19-BU

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 12:40:15 PM EDT, joann f wrote:
    Hi Mr. Sloper,
    Do you know why the April 1st date is used for issuing the National Mah Jongg League card every year?
    Thanks
    Joann F

    囧 No, I don't, Joann. Sorry!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 12:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She thought she was East when she discarded.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 25, 2022, 07:30:06 PM EDT, crzymom2000 wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If a player mistakenly throws out a tile thinking they are East. Then picks her tile back up so east can throw. Is the first player dead?
    Thank you!
    Andrea
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Andrea! Once a player has discarded, the discard cannot be taken back. "Down is dead." Words to live by, I mean not live by. It's rule 7 on page 19 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the National Mah Jongg League.


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, 2018, and again in 2020.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    (Actually, the League says "down is down," but I was taught "dead".) Since the player was not the dealer, she was holding only 13 tiles when she discarded, so she now has too few tiles, and you know what that means.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday April 25, 2022 8:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 17

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, April 24, 2022, 11:30:28 AM EDT, michael f wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2022 card, in the consecutive column, second hand down it says :
    FFF 1111 FFF 2222
    Regarding the flowers there are a total of 6, but they’re separated for the hand. Do you put down 3 flowers at one time and another 3 at another turn? Or do you put all 6 down at one time?
    Thank you
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Michael!
    The League clearly intends those to be two separate pungs of flowers, not a sextet, since they are separated by a kong of numbers. I'll add this to FAQ 16, the list of frequently asked questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, April 24, 2022, 12:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption? (redux)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 22, 2022, 07:55:36 PM EDT, Kala P wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    There were 7 tiles left in the hot wall. There were four exposed 6 cracks with a joker for the 4th tile. The person on the left laughingly threw a 6 crack as she thought the game was over. Can the person on her right who had the exposed 6 cracks redeem the 6 crack and replace it for the joker for “Maj”? I hope my question is understandable.
    Thank you
    Kala
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Kala!
    I don't know your hot wall rules, but your question has nothing to do with wall length. As I told james on April 14 (below), a discarded redeemable tile is a dead tile, for the purposes of redemption. Nobody is allowed to call a discard and then use it to redeem a joker, ever (no matter the length of the wall, and no matter what table rules hold sway). See FAQ 19-G.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    4/22/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 5

    On Friday, April 22, 2022, 12:25:21 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 3 (FAQ 19-P)
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom.
    Regarding Donna’s great catch on exchanging Jokers from an erroneous exposure for a concealed hand. The back middle pane of the 2020 card says “JOKERS may be exchanged from any and all exposures that were made before the hand was declared “dead”." This is true, except for the concealed hand exposure. I have made a notation on the back of my card to remind me of this, others may want to do the same, especially if they do not have easy access to Mah Jongg Made Easy. Thanks as always for your informative columns.
    Sue Z

    Good idea, Sue!

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    4/22/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 4 (FAQ 19-P)
    On Wednesday, April 20, 2022, 08:39:24 AM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    OK tks. Good to know


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 3 (FAQ 19-P)

    On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 10:07:23 PM EDT, Donna E wrote:
    Redeeming Jokers
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom hi!
    In your recent question about redeeming jokers -
    Mah Jongg Made Easy p. 24 #21
    'No jokers exposed prior to a Concealed hand being declared “dead” are redeemable, since they were part of an incorrect exposure.'
    However, I’m sure many people have redeemed those jokers from the exposures since they 'might not have known' it was a concealed hand or they did it 'on purpose' and then said the hand was dead on a further turn.
    Thank you for all of your great columns and info!
    Donna E

    Good catch, Donna! I've amended FAQ 19-P and the RDWW errata accordingly. And I'll let Lou know of the correction.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, April 20, 2022, 8:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a player who's called dead for too many/few tiles deny the challenge?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 07:36:13 PM EDT, Randy L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom, the answer to this question seems a no-brainer to me but one player in our group (American/western mahjongg) was quite adamant that your explanation in your book regarding being called dead and continuing to play despite being dead due to tile count, still allows that player to continue till the end of the game, refusing to accept the death. I understand this denial is allowed with death calls over someone claiming you don’t have a proper hand due to your exposures etc, but when you have too few or too many tiles, it seems to me its game over for that person and they do not get to deny the challenge and hang in till the end of the game. They are dead with no way for this hand to be valid at the end. But the argument is that you state in your book on page 64, “she may deny her hand is dead, and continue playing, no explanation need be provided”. And she claims you make no exception in your list to the obvious tile count being a reason for not continuing till the end. This player is a very good player and was adamant she could choose to argue she’s entitled to play till the end even with too few or too many tiles. Please settle this. Thanks.

    Very interesting question, Randy!
    It comes down to a reasonable interpretation of the intent of the rule versus exacting interpretation of the way one author states the rule. And also majority rule comes into play.
    The rule clearly is intended to govern situations in which it can be argued that the hand can be won. In the case of too many or too few tiles, it cannot be so argued. It's clear to everyone at the table that the hand cannot be won, and since there is a challenge on the table, the shorthanded/longhanded player must stop playing. It's not like the player can say "it's worth it to me to pay you 50¢ if I can keep playing." (The challengee who denies the challenge wrongly pays 50¢ to the challenger at the end of the hand.) That's not a reasonable option once it's clear to the three others that the hand is too short or too long.

    That rule is stated, albeit in not so many words, in Mah Jongg Made Easy, but I didn't state it clearly enough in The Red Dragon & The West Wind. Do you have the RDWW errata? I'll amend rule 103 on p. 64, changing it to: "If challenged for incorrect exposure, No Such Hand, Unwinnable, or Exposed Concealed Hand, the challenged player (challengee) has two possible choices of action:"

    I'll also add bullet c. "If challenged for wrong tile count or rule violation, the challenge may not be refuted."

    On page 101, I'm changing the third paragraph to: "If challenged for incorrect exposure, No Such Hand, Unwinnable, or Exposed Concealed Hand, the challengee must respond, either accepting or refuting the challenge. The challengee who denies the challenge does so without explaining what hand they are making. Then the game continues, either with or without that player, depending on the response to the challenge. If challenged for wrong tile count or rule violation, the challenge may not be refuted." I'll upload a new errata after posting this to the bulletin board.

    I can see how your friend strictly interpreted the rule, if she was basing her reasoning on the wording in my book. This new language should fix it. Tell your friend I'm sorry for making her wrong by my unclear wording.

    Let's see what they say in the official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy, just for the fun of it. Page 20, rule 14: "If an incorrect exposure is made, the hand may be declared "dead" by any of the other three players. Bettor must remain silent. If the exposure goes unnoticed, the erring player should not announce it and continues to play. Of course, Mah Jongg cannot be made." This statement of the rule specifies "incorrect exposure," so does not apply to wrong tile counts. The rules about the challengee refuting the challenge (FAQ 19-AB) are not stated in the rulebook, but were rather issued in yearly bulletins in 2001, 2005, and 2008 (and possibly others later, not listed because nothing new was stated subsequent to 2008). That's one reason to use my book (together with the errata); all the rules are in one place.

    If your friend wants to question the rule with the League, she should send it in writing, and be patient - this is their busiest time of year.

    By the way, American rules come from the NMJL, but Western rules are an Asian variant, played in other English-speaking countries; England, Australia, India... But anyway. I hope this clears up the matter. The League's rulebook takes precedence, and I'm fixing my book in the errata.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 10:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands, part 2 (FAQ 19-P)

    On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 12:57:58 PM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    CLARIFYING MY MJ QUESTION
    I hope this helps to clarify my earlier question about redeeming a joker:
    A player had one exposure with a joker. Nobody called her dead - we didn't realize she was playing a concealed hand until she made a second exposure. We then realized she was playing a concealed hand. Can the joker from the first exposure be redeemed now that we realize it was a closed hand?

    Yes, that clarifies it, Lou. The first exposure was ambiguous, therefore a legal exposure. The second exposure unambiguously made the hand dead. That second exposure needed to be returned to the sloping front of the rack. The remaining exposure stays atop the rack, where its jokers are still available for redemption.* This is explained in FAQ 19-P.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 1:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * See 4/20 email from Donna E, above. The rule is that both exposures must be withdrawn. - Tom


    Redeeming jokers from dead hands

    On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 10:38:54 AM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    I know that exposed jokers are redeemable before the hand was declared dead. But can they be redeemed before the hand was declared dead if it was a concealed hand?
    Lou

    I'm gonna need more information, Lou. Are we talking about an ambiguous exposure? One that nobody can tell until later (after another exposure is made) that the hand is supposed to be concealed? Or an unambiguous exposure - one that is discernible to be from a hand that's supposed to be concealed, but nobody has yet said anything? Can you paint a clearer example for me?
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 11:20 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Where the are my cards??

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 18, 2022, 11:48:14 AM EDT, Suzie and Chip T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I ordered 8 cards on Feb 8. They haven't arrived. My member number is . My order no. Is . My cell is . I tried calling but no one picked up the phone and there's no way to leave a message. Suzanne T

    囧 I can't help you, Suzanne. I'm not the League. I suppose you'll have to keep trying, and/or have a bit more patience.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the cards be with you soon.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is it legal to make a set with all jokers?

    On Saturday, April 16, 2022, 12:28:12 PM EDT, Doris F wrote:
    Question
    Dear Tom,
    I was going for a hand of all one suit and 4 matching dragons. I was close with most of the dots and 3 jokers. An opponent called for a discarded soap and displayed all four soaps. Play continued. If I had drawn another joker, could I have called Mah Jong using 4 jokers for the soaps? Thanks in advance for your help.
    Doris F

    Hi, Doris. Yes, that's perfectly legal. FAQ 19-L.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, April 16, 2022, 1:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a discarded redeemable tile be called for redemption?

    On Thursday, April 14, 2022, 02:16:49 PM EDT, <james wrote:
    Mah Jongg Question
    A player has 2 7 bams and 2 Jokers exposed on his tray.
    Another player discards a 7 bam rather than do the Joker exchange.
    The person with the exposed bams called the 7 bam, replaced her joker, used it in another set on his rack and called Mah Jongg.
    Is this legal?
    Jim

    Jim, You know a discarded joker is a dead joker. And a discarded redeemable tile is a dead tile, for the purposes of redemption. If someone can claim the discarded redeemable tile to make a set, that's different. See FAQ 19-G.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, April 14, 2022, 2:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Rule 4

    On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 08:46:30 PM EDT, dnussear wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Rule 4 on back of card addresses a tile being called for mahj by 2 players,
    I was next in line but other person hurrying took tile and exposed her tiles.
    I have been playingng 8 yrs and we always let next person have the mahj.
    Help
    Sent from my Galaxy

    囧 Hi, Deanna. I'm sorry, but I don't know what I can help you with. Maybe you ought to contact the League? Their contact information is on the card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, April 14, 2022, 12:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Approximate age and value of my set

    On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 04:36:20 PM EDT, peggyja wrote:
    approximate age and value of my mah jongg set
    I hope I have met all of your criteria to have my mah jongg set aged and valued. From your column it seems my set may be circa 1946, as it has 16 Flowers and no Jokers.
    I bought the set used from a woman about my age (74) and the set was her mother’s. That is all I know of its history, other than the case is very well marked “Metro” on the inside of the back. The case is missing one latch but is in otherwise good condition.
    There are 152 tiles, 18 Flowers, no Jokers, a Wind Indicator, chips, dice and 5 burgundy Bakelite racks.
    All suit sets are complete, with 4 of each of numbers 1-9 in each suit, 4 of each red, green and white dragons and 4 of each North, East, West and South winds. It does look like one of the 2 Dots may have been replaced, as it is a bit lighter than the rest of the set. Also, there are 5 #1 Flowers and only 3 #3 Flowers, so that, too, must have been a replacement. The paint is in good condition, as you can see. The case is in fairly good condition as well, though it is missing a latch.
    The dimensions of one tile is as follows: 1.5” tall, 7/8” wide, ½” thick. Sharp edges, not rounded.
    Thank you in advance…
    Peggy A
    “Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”
    …Edward Abbey

    Hi, Peggy!
    As for its age, it could be anytime in the 40s or 50s. Just so you know, I am not an expert on manufacturers - I know nothing about Metro.
    As for its value, this will be a very rough guess, since I have to judge condition by the photos alone. You used the word "good" in the ordinary sense, not the grading sense as outlined in FAQ 7-H. That off-color 2D tile is a real shame - it affects the playability/utility of the set. Anybody can tell that that off-color tile in the wall is a 2D. The case is in "poor" to "fair" condition (definitely not "fairly good"), since it's missing a latch, the metal fittings are all oxidized, and it has other exterior condition issues I could see in your photos. I don't know what condition the racks are in (if the brass is shiny or what). Someone who buys your set would have to buy a new case, and would want to try to find a color-matched tile to replace the off-color 2D, so its value is reduced. Probably less than $100, but your mileage might vary, especially if you replace the case or fix its flaws.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 11:59 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My wife and I are debating how many fan, part 4

    On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 11:18:07 AM EDT, Ray Heaton wrote:
    My wife and I are debating how many fan, parts 1 and 2 [April 6, below]
    Hi Tom, it's been a long time since corresponding, hope all is well!
    I was just reading Bob's messages and your response regarding ...how many fan... I think there is a fan missing from the calculation.
    The hand is a 3 fan hand as you said, doubled for being East, doubled for self draw, doubled again for drawing the last tile from the wall, so 6 fan really.
    Depending on how this is interpreted into scoring points, it could be 8 base points for the 3 fan hand, doubled three times making 64 points from each player.
    Regards,
    Ray

    Thanks, Ray. You put together what Bob had written in his first post with what he wrote in his second. I wasn't trying to add up his wife's entire score for him - I was just helping him understand that her hand was nowhere near KFC, since he was unclear on the "clean" concept.
    Confession: I've not mastered Hong Kong scoring. 3 fan for clean, 1 fan for self-pick, Amy Lo says 2 fan for last tile (FAQ 17 was based on the Yahoo game, which is gone now; it says 1 fan for last tile, which agrees with Perlmen & Chan). Adding them, that's either 5 or 6 fan. As I understood it, there are several different payment schemes (Amy Lo, page 44; P&C, page 56). I have heard of "dealer collects double" rules in some variants, but Amy Lo has no such rule I could find, and Perlmen & Chan is hard to follow (maybe it's in there somewhere), and it's not in FAQ 17 (do I need to fix that?). Anyway, as I said before, all I was trying to do was clear up the "chicken vs. clean" question for Bob. Thanks again. It's great to hear from you!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 12:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 16

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 11, 2022, 05:26:33 PM EDT, Thomas L wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    On the 2022 card, Winds and Dragons -2nd one- , do the 4 green, 3 red have to be those colors exact colors or could it be 3 green and 4 red (or soaps too) ? More importantly do the Dragon colors never matter except if it is explicitly stated as it was on one hand on the '21 card. As a one year "newbie" , I've always assumed the colors for dragons (unlike the number colors) were specific.

    Regarding to your response to the 2022 46-without-a-space question, I've been wondering that, since there is no space if it is some sort of "pair" and would have to follow those rules. My question would be, how do you handle that combination? If I had a 4, could I call a 6 and then, would I have to expose or could I only do that for a MJ? Or could I leave it on my rack?
    Thanks!
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Thomas! You wrote:

    On the 2022 card, Winds and Dragons -2nd one- , do the 4 green, 3 red have to be those colors exact colors or could it be 3 green and 4 red (or soaps too) ?
    As I told Sue on April 4 (below), green and red do NOT mean bams and craks. Think of red as "suit 1," green as "suit 2," and navy blue as "suit 3 and suitless." It's explained on the back of the card and in FAQ 19-BY.

    Regarding to your response to the 2022 46-without-a-space question, I've been wondering that, since there is no space if it is some sort of "pair" and would have to follow those rules.
    You know that jokers may only be used in sets of like tiles of three or more, NEVER in singles or pairs. Just the same, you can only call a discard for sets of like tiles of three or more. Read FAQ 19-E.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, April 11, 2022, 10:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 3-person Charleston

    On Sunday, April 10, 2022, 01:08:54 PM EDT, Erika G wrote:
    3 person mahjongg
    when i play a 3 person mahjongg with friends, one friend always makes an extra row of 3 tiles for each charleston so that on each charleston a person can pick up unused tiles. I sY THIS IS UNFAIR BC IT GIVES THE "ACROSS" PERSON AND EXTRA 3 UNPASSED TILES, POSSIBLY INCLUDING A JOKER. WHAT SAY YOU?

    I say read these:

  • FAQ 13-A describes the League's rules on 3-person play.
  • Column 532 describes various ways 3 people do a Charleston.
  • FAQ 14 describes the three rules on table rules.

    It's actually fine to play without a Charleston with 3 players, but if the other 2 players want to do it their way, you don't have much choice. You're outnumbered; better go with the flow.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, April 10, 2022, 2:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 15

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, April 10, 2022, 09:33:28 AM EDT, Jessie R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Quints #3. 11 22, or 1122( as on card)
    Sent from my iPad

    What difference does it make, Jessie? It's two pairs, whether there's a space between them or not. Spaces on the card have no significance whatsoever.
    If you have any more questions about the 2022 card, please check FAQ 16 first, before you email me.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, April 10, 2022 10:05 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    British rules questions

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, April 9, 2022, 04:38:42 PM EDT, Stanley S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The version I am referring to is Chinese (British rules)
    My question is about kongs.
    Can a winning hand consist of 1,2,3 or 4 kongs, with the rest pungs or chows (and of course a pair)
    Clearly, 4 kongs and a pair consists of 18 tiles,
    But aren’t hands restricted to 13 titles?
    Or is it that a (4 tile) kong is only counted as 3 tiles.
    The other alternative it would seem is that you can win with either 3 Kongs or 4 pungs/chows.

    Hi, Stanley! You wrote:

    Can a winning hand consist of 1,2,3 or 4 kongs, with the rest pungs or chows (and of course a pair)
    Yes. But as for chows, most British players permit no more than one chow in an ordinary hand.

    Clearly, 4 kongs and a pair consists of 18 tiles,
    Yes, well, when you glorify a pung to a kong, you have to take a replacement tile from the back end of the wall, because now you've messed up the tile count in your hand. You really have 15 but you can just think of it as 14. A kong is equivalent to a pung, for tile count purposes.

    But aren’t hands restricted to 13 titles?
    Fourteen, actually. Every time it's your turn you bring a 14th tile into the hand. There's no way to win with only 13 tiles, so you can only win when you're holding 14.

    Or is it that a (4 tile) kong is only counted as 3 tiles.
    It's probably best if you regard them that way. This is all explained in FAQ 20-D. Also in FAQ 20, down below the FAQ, there are several reader Q&As from this bulletin board, including some asking about kongs. Those should help you (different folks asked the same question in different ways, and got the answer in different ways).

    The other alternative it would seem is that you can win with either 3 Kongs or 4 pungs/chows.
    Yeah, well, kongs do mess that idea up. What book do you use? I recommend Thompson & Maloney's The Game of Mah Jong Illustrated, or Mah Jong, Anyone? by Strauser & Evans & me

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, April 9, 2022, 5:15 pm Eastern
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 14

    On Saturday, April 9, 2022, 03:52:53 PM EDT, Myra D wrote:
    Question about Quint Hand
    The first hand under Quints is all one color. Do the dragons have to be in the same suit as the numbers used in the hand?
    The hand is:
    DDDD NNNN 11111
    Thanks

    Hi, Myra!
    That hand can be made in one or two suits. I confirmed that with the League. If you have any more questions about the 2022 card, please check FAQ 16 first, before you email me. And make sure when you make that hand that you use five dragons. Dragon quints are rarely seen on the card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday April 9, 2022, 4:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    NMJL card history question, part 2

    Re: Hello
    On Saturday, April 9, 2022, 02:03:35 PM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Thanks Tom!
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    You're welcome, Debbie!


    NMJL card history question

    On Saturday, April 9, 2022, 09:46:52 AM EDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Hello
    Hi Tom!
    I hope this email finds you well. We haven't touched base in a while so I hope everything is going well on your end. If I remember correctly, are you caring for your elderly mom?
    I did check your page to see if I could find this fact but could not so I'm going to ask away. If it is already answered please point me to the page. What year did the Singles and Pairs Category of all Concealed hands change from the previous Category name of No Joker Hands where there were actually some Exposed hands in that Category.
    Thanks for letting me know. I've scoured google and couldn't find this fact!
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie. I'm not surprised this info wasn't findable via Google. I doubt that much info on the NMJL card history is findable online.
    Checking my files, I have a black-and-white photocopy of the 1993 card and the 1995 card ("1993-1994" and "1995-1996" respectively). So there's a gap - I don't have any info on the 1994 card. This is significant only because that bottom-right section is called "NO JOKER HANDS" on the 1993 card, and it's called "*SINGLES & PAIRS - NO BONUS" on the 1995 card. So it's possible that the change could have happened on the 1994 card.
    However, on the 1995 card, at upper left corner, is this printed note:

      IMPORTANT CHANGE: WHEN A PLAYER DECLARES MAH JONGG ON ANY HAND, CONCEALED OR EXPOSED, AND NO JOKERS ARE PART OF THE HAND, (EXCHANGED JOKERS FROM AN EXPOSURE CAN MAKE THE HAND JOKERLESS), A BONUS IS GIVEN. See Back of Card.

    On the back of the card, after the description of who pays double, we find:

      BONUS: WHEN A PLAYER DECLARES MAH JONGG AND NO JOKERS ARE PART OF THE HAND A BONUS IS GIVEN: DOUBLE VALUE.
      *EXCEPTION: SINGLES & PAIRS GROUP - NO BONUS.

    It seems likely that the change you're asking about occurred on the 1995 card, then. But it's possible that something changed on the 1994 card and the wording could have been carried over for another year. Most likely, the change occurred on the 1995 card. If a reader has a copy of the 1994 card, maybe they can offer additional insight.

    Edit, 11:20 am: Found this from a document shared by James on March 3:

      1994-95: Modern version of game begins: A hand made without Jokers pays double, except for Singles and Pairs category. Rules clarifies that there can be 4X paid by discarder of final MJ tile in jokerless hand
      (Info from mahjonggmentor.com)

    Oh. And I live near my mom but I don't know if that qualifies as "caring for" exactly.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, April 9, 2022, 11:00 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Some of us are going nuclear about the atomic hand

    On Friday, April 8, 2022, 09:00:43 PM EDT, Gay P wrote:
    Atomic hand in Mah-Jongg
    We have been playing an atomic hand in which is all pairs (any suites) , no jokers can be used and you can not call a tile unless it is to Mah-Jongg. I know this type of hand is not shown on any of the play cards. It it still an acceptable hand to play otherwise? Some people are protesting this hand & want to discontinue playing the atomic hand. However, i love the option the atomic hand gives. Please advise!
    Regards,
    Gay P

    Hi, Gay!
    I'm curious about the numbers involved. You say "some people" are protesting the use of the atomic hand. That makes me wonder if you are talking about a 4-player table, or a multi-table scenario like a country club or senior center environment. You've tried taking a vote, and you can't reach a majority one way or the other? I mean, if it's a 4-player table, and 2 people don't want to play Atomic, then that's a problem*. If it's a 5-player table and 2 people don't want to play Atomic, that's just too bad for those two (majority rules). Maybe the rules on table rules will help you figure out your problem? Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, April 8, 2022, 9:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * One way of looking at it is, if you don't have a majority supporting the use of the Atomic table rule, then the official rules are probaly the better way to go. - Tom


    Subscribe me

    On Friday, April 8, 2022, 09:56:28 AM EDT, Vicki S wrote:
    Subscribe
    Hi Tom,
    Your column is so fun. Would you be so kind as to make me a subscriber?
    Thanks so much,
    Vicki in Lyme NH

    囧 Maybe someday, Vicki, if and when I set up for subscriptions. At present I have not researched how to do that. Sorry! 囧
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, April 8, 2022, 11:10 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I use a joker in a GGGG or RRRR?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 8, 2022, 08:00:51 AM EDT, Anne R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the 2022 sec can a joker be used in the dragon section for. R or G dragon
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Anne! The back of the card states that jokers may be used in any pung, kong, quint, or sextet.
    The terms "pung" and "kong" and "quint" and "sextet" are also defined on the back of the card as 3 like tiles, 4 like tiles, 5 like tiles, and 6 like tiles respectively.

    For future questions about the 2022 card, please check the back of the card and FAQ 16 first, before emailing me.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, April 8, 2022, 8:45 am
    Rochester, New York, USA

    The 2022 card, part 13


    Am I dead if I put the discard in my hand? (FAQ 19-K)

    On Thursday, April 7, 2022, 12:25:43 PM EDT, Lori S wrote:
    American Mah Jongg Racking Question
    Dear Tom,
    I love your site and have made many trips to visit it to help our Mah Jongg group learn more. Three of us recently attended our first tournament at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas hosted by Mah Jongg Fever. This came up at the tournament with different outcomes and only after going home comparing stories are we realizing we have a question of which outcome is correct. I have not seen the question on your site so if I have missed it please forgive me. It has to do with calling exposures and racking them.

    In one game I was in a player called for a discard and put it in her rack. East called her dead. A few more turns later another player did the same thing and also dead. We continued with the two of us until the end. Both players called exposures were for Mah Jongg and they had nothing exposed when they went dead. A few tables later this happened again and the player was dead. In that case, I don't know if it was the winning Mah Jongg tile as it was thrown in and we played another game.

    My friend also had this happen at another table. A player called that player dead. The dead player said it was allowed since it was for Mah Jongg and another player agreed so they moved on with that assumption that it was correct.

    So the question is: No exposures called can ever be placed IN your rack and must be ON your rack, but this rule is not valid if it is for Mah Jongg? In any case, it seems like a bad practice to rack an exposure on occasion, and best to keep the same method so you don't mess it up for yourself.

    Thanks for your time and I will wait to see your answer posted to your site.
    Lori

    Hi, Lori!
    League rules and tournament rules don't always agree. See FAQ 19-K. Personally, I would never put any discard into the hand rather than atop the rack, since I've played internationally and that's a strict no-no in Asian variants. But the League takes a more lenient stance.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, April 7, 2022, 12:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My wife and I are debating how many fan, part 3

    On Thursday, April 7, 2022, 10:42:10 AM EDT, bob m wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thanks Tom,
    I’m new to the game, obviously. My wife grew up in HK so she’s my only “book” for now.

    Which book do you recommend?
    Thanks
    Sent from my iPhone

    Perlmen & Chan is good, but Amy Lo is an easier read. See FAQ 3. But you need to realize that there can be differences between the way your wife played and the books (and differences between the books). You should make note of any differences and document them (write in the margins). There's also my FAQ 17. In the end you'll probably need to just accept your wife's rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, April 7, 2022, 10:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My wife and I are debating how many fan, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 10:53:33 AM EDT, bob m wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My wife, Alice claimed 3 fan for having all one suit except the eyes plus 1 fan for self draw. Her claim was 32 points.
    My argument was that the 1 pong within the single suit was not an honor suit so regardless that she had all one suit plus the eyes of wind she was only entitled to 1 fan for self draw and zero for the chicken having 1 wrong flower.

    Bob, it sounds like you're asking about Hong Kong rules, not MCR as I originally assumed.
    Your wife is right. The hand is all bams (just one suit), with some winds included, so it's "semipure" or "clean," which is 3 fan all by itself. See FAQ 17 for explanations of the various fan in HKOS.
    Just curious: what book or website are you using as your scoring guide?
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, April 2, 2022, 11:30 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I call a discard if I'm waiting for a single or a pair for mah-jongg?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 09:13:50 AM EDT, barbara b wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the new 2022 card on 246 888 246 888 can I pick up discard 2, 4 or 6 to make mahjongg?
    Virus-free. www.avast.com

    Yes, Barbara. For mah-jongg, the only discard you cannot call is a joker. See FAQ 19-E3.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 9:30 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA

    The 2022 card, part 12


    My wife and I are debating how many fan.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 01:17:41 AM EDT, bob m wrote:
    Hi,
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My wife and I are debating how many fan. She had this mahjong from east seat south round. She self drew the last tile from the wall.
    She claims
    Thanks

    What does she claim, Bob? I'd love to hear what debate I'm to judge. Good morning, by the way.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 7:25 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why did the computer call me dead, part 3

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 05:20:47 PM EDT, Allyn L wrote:
    I love it when other people besides me have brain farts.
    Allyn

    :o)


    Why did the computer call me dead, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 01:21:45 PM EDT, Wendy R wrote:
    Thank you.

    You're welcome, Wendy!
    Tom


    Why did the computer call me dead?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 12:42:59 PM EDT, Wendy R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was playing online with the 2022 card - 5th one down under consecutive #’s. I called for and exposed (3)1 bams but when I called the 3rd 2 bam it said my hand was dead because it was a concealed hand. What am I missing?
    Thank you.
    Wendy R

    Hi, Wendy!
    You were using the 2022 card, but was the computer? When I go to RMJ, I see that it's still set to 2021.

    If you're sure you had the game set on 2022, and you still have a question about Real Mah Jongg, I suggest you ask the owners of Real Mah Jongg your support question. Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 1:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 11

    On Monday, April 4, 2022, 07:04:09 PM EDT, Sue G wrote:
    2022 Mahj Card Question
    Hand #4 under Winds and Dragons.... it states "any like odd or even
    number" and shows the numbers as bams and craks. It is bams and craks
    ONLY... or should the card have said "any like odd or even number, any 2
    suits)? Most other hands will state the number of suits needed. I think
    it's every confusing when you look at a hand (E.g. the concealed hand
    under Consecutive Run -- which states any two suits), but similar
    wording is NOT used for hand #4 under Winds and Dragons. I am assuming
    it's ANY TWO SUITS for the like numbers in the Winds hand... but I'm
    sure other people will have other opinions and say "it's bams and craks
    ONLY." Please clarify!
    Sue G
    Wausau WI

    Hi, Sue! You wrote:

    Hand #4 under Winds and Dragons.... it states "any like odd or even
    number" and shows the numbers as bams and craks.
    No, it doesn't! It shows the numbers in green and red, but that does NOT mean bams and craks. Read the back of the card and FAQ 19-BY.

    I am assuming
    it's ANY TWO SUITS for the like numbers in the Winds hand... but I'm
    sure other people will have other opinions and say "it's bams and craks
    ONLY." Please clarify!
    You assume correctly. I'm adding this to FAQ 16 by way of clarifying.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 10

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 4, 2022, 10:21:34 AM EDT, Marikay H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2022 card under quints, third row, there is no space between the 1122. Does that mean it is not two pairs and you can use a joker?
    Thanks,
    Marikay
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Marikay! The back of the card states that jokers may be used only in a pung, kong, quint, or sextet.
    The terms "pung" and "kong" and "quint" and "sextet" are also defined on the back of the card. "1122" is not four like tiles, so it is not a kong. (It's also not a pung, quint, or sextet.) Look for the word "NEVER" in big bold capital letters on the back of the card (circled).

    For future questions about the 2022 card, please check the back of the card and FAQ 16 (new) before emailing me.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, April 4, 2022, 12:50 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Support for Sloperama.com

    On Monday, April 4, 2022, 08:43:58 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Apr 4, 2022 05:43:47 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Profile status
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    Thank you so much, Evelyn! I really appreciate the ongoing support.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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, 2022, 12:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 9

    On Sunday, April 3, 2022, 02:46:44 PM EDT, Doris F wrote:
    2022 card
    On the new card, under 2022, the last hand, do the losers pay double even though no jokers are allowed be used?

    No. It's clearly impossible to use jokers. There's no bonus for not doing something you can't do anyway. The points are already built into the hand's score.
    For future questions about the 2022 card, please check FAQ 16 (new) before emailing me.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, April 3, 2022, 5:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Picked and looked but someone called for the live discard...

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, April 3, 2022, 12:37:48 PM EDT, Lynn K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When a tile has been looked at but not racked and another player calls for the previous discard, the tile goes back on the wall. (From FAQ, Tuesday, March 15, 2002, 9:11:25). Does it go to its previous position as the next tile to be picked by the next player? We have one player who sticks it in a random place in the wall when it has to go back.
    Your help is greatly appreciated. You must get exasperated or have extreme patience with our questions.
    Thanks,
    Lynn K.

    It goes right back where it came from, Lynn. See FAQ 19-AT. Nobody messes with the arrangement of tiles in the wall.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, April 3, 2022, 1:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 8

    2022 National Mah Jongg League Card - Quint Hand
    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 09:28:09 PM EDT, Modern Mahjong wrote:
    Hello Tom,
    We appreciate your new Frequently Asked Questions for the 2022 Card on Sloperama.com.
    We had a question posed in our group, Facebook.com/groups/MahjongCommunity, about your explanation of one of the quint hands.
    For the Quint with Any Wind, Any Number and Any Dragon, we see that the hand is in one color. We understand that without a parenthesis, it would mean that the suit and dragon would have to match. However, with parentheses including any number and any dragon, doesn't the use of the word any three times override the single color of the hand?
    You had a similar discussion on Sloperama.com about a hand in two colors but we didn't see one discussing a hand in one color.
    For the 2004 FAQ and in other areas of Sloperama, you explained:
    The color-coding on the card cannot say it all in every case. So when the color-coding isn't sufficient to explain the requirements of a particular hand, the card designer writes a parenthetical to give more information. Sometimes some folks might think that there is a conflict between the parenthetical and the color-coding (that the color-coding conflicts with what it says in the parentheses). In such cases, you have to consider the parenthetical as being the final word. Therefore "Any suit" means just that: "ANY SUIT."
    We are looking forward to your reply.
    Peace Love Mahjong,
    Dara and Donna

    Yes, Dara and Donna, I needed that reminder of what I'd written previously! This principle is stated in FAQ 19-J as well as 2004's FAQ 16. So I'm changing 2022's FAQ 16 to go along with precedent. Note, though, that that's precedent as stated by me, not by the League. I'll check with the League to be sure.
    Update: the League confirms. Quints #1 can be made in one or two suits.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Strongest A.I.

    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 06:46:30 PM EDT, Jerry wrote:
    mahjongg ai
    Hi Tom. Thanks so much for your website. I can understand it is a
    labor of love to collect so much information about mahjongg.
    I have played some computer mahjongg games over the years since about 25
    years ago, and my recollection was that the computer AIs are decent but
    never overwhelming. Considering your extensive history with mahjongg
    and as a computer game developer, I would guess that you have tried a
    wide variety of mahjongg software, and I am curious to hear your opinion
    about the relative strengths of various software. I guess ultimately,
    which software had the strongest level of play?

    Hi, Jerry!
    I'm not the greatest player around (I have not won any tournaments), but I have not found any A.I. to be "overwhelming." I don't think I'd enjoy that. I like the different bots' play styles in the Nintendo Switch version of Japanese Mah-jongg. I found the A.I. opponents in Hong Kong Mahjong to be pretty daunting, but I was just learning mah-jongg back then. Which game do you think has the strongest A.I.?
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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, 2022, 6:54 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    FAQ 16

    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 06:20:10 PM EDT, Jeanne in NC wrote:
    MJ FAQ 16
    Hi Tom
    Thank you for posting https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/2022.html so quickly!!! It’s very helpful.
    For this particular hand (2022 #4), did you mean (2022 #3)?
    FF 2022 2022 2022 (Any 3 Suits)
    (2022 #4)
    Best always, Jeanne

    Thanks, Jeanne! I fixed the label. Now it says "2022 #5" as it ought to.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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, 2022, 6:37 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 7

    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 05:09:34 PM EDT, Sally C wrote:
    question on 2022 card
    On the first line of Quints does the Dragons have to be
    the same suit as the number? Print is all black which
    means one suit however it does say Any Dragon, Any No.
    and does not say matching
    Sally C
    Mah Jongg Instructor

    Hi, Sally. As I wrote in FAQ 16, I believe it is indeed supposed to be matching, since as it says on the back of the card, one color = one suit.*
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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, 2022, 6:27 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * See email from Dara and Donna, above. - Tom


    The 2022 card, part 6

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 05:16:11 PM EDT, L S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Someone wrote in to ask about this hand:
    FFF 2222 FFF 2222 (Any 2 Suits - These Nos. Only). (2468 #6)
    On my card the hand is :
    FFF 2222 FFF 8888 (Any 2 Suits - These Nos. Only)
    (2468 #6)
    I think the person made a mistake.
    I scrolled through the questions but I did not see a reference to that.
    Maybe most of us just took it for granted that it was a mistake and moved on.
    Hopefully no one is looking for:
    FFF 2222 FFF 2222 (Any 2 Suits - These Nos. Only)
    (2468 #6) on their card.
    Love your website.
    Thanks,
    Leslie S

    The person has fixed it now, Leslie. Thanks.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    The Person
    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, 2022, 6:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 5

    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 05:00:37 PM EDT, Bruce D K wrote:
    Typo in 2022 NMJL FAQ?
    2468 #6
    Pattern should be FFF 222 FFF 8888 ?
    FAQ has a second Kong of 2’s, which would be redundant with Like Numbers #1
    Thanks so much for your amazing website.
    Bruce

    Thanks, Bruce! It's fixed now, thanks to you.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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, 2022, 6:24 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Exposable dragon pung

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, April 2, 2022, 02:40:51 PM EDT, Cloud wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I think there is a dragon ping that is not a concealed hand — odds #5
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Cloud!
    In fact, there are five hands with exposable dragon pungs on the 2022 card: 2022 #2, Consec #7, Odds #5 as you say, W-D #2, and 369 #4.
    I think you are writing in reference to this week's column about the new 2022 card. I wanted to check on what you were responding to, so I checked the column. The last sentence of the Dragon Pungs paragraph did say that you could call an opponent dead if (in addition to a dragon pung) there was a dragon pung exposed. Just now I amended that sentence to clarify that if you see "a wind pung or another dragon pung," then you can call them dead.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, April 2, 2022, 4:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 3

    2022 Mahjong card
    On Friday, April 1, 2022, 04:35:21 PM EDT, Anne M C wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    In the 2468 category on the 2022 card they have a hand with a set of 246. Can you use a joker in this set?
    Anne
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Anne! The back of the card states that jokers may be used only in a pung, kong, quint, or sextet.

    The terms "pung" and "kong" and "quint" and "sextet" are also defined on the back of the card. "246" is three non-identical tiles, so it is not a pung. (It's also not a kong, quint, or sextet.) Look for the word "NEVER" in big bold capital letters on the back of the card (circled above).
    For future questions about the 2022 card, please check the back of the card and FAQ 16 (new today) before emailing me.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, April 1, 2022, 5:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Is 7 pairs accepted in the Chinese variant?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, April 1, 2022, 09:39:12 AM EDT, Henry P wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is 7-pairs considered a mahjong in the Chinese variant? Thanks.

    Which Chinese variant, Henry? Hong Kong Old Style? New Style? Shanghai? Taiwanese? Hunan? Sichuan? MCR? Zung Jung? Fuzhou? Shenzhen? Beijing? Nanjing? Macau? See FAQ 2B if you're not sure. Some variants do and some variants don't. But then no matter which Chinese variant you play, it might be a house rule. You'll have to ask the players at the table. You really need to check the table rules when you first sit down at the table.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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 1st, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much? Part 3

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 09:16:47 PM EDT, Phil K wrote:
    Re: How old is my Maj Jong set
    Hi Tom,
    I see people selling similar Enrobed Bakelite Tile for Replacement Mahjong Jong Jongg 1940s at $15 per tile.
    Probably not an easy sale, however.
    The bone sticks are also collectible.
    Even as a Frankenstein, this entire value is greater than $15.
    The box might be old.
    Best Regards,
    Phil

    Your tiles are not enrobed. See the FAQ. The primary problem is condition. You never told me the condition of the set's pieces, so I could only base my valuation on the photos you sent. Look closely at your tiles (the closeup of the 8 bams, 1 dots, and 2 dots). Some are smudged, some have surface erosion or something. The box looks mud-washed, which is a common thing we see on modern imports, to make things look older than they are. I don't know how the tiles fit into the box. I don't see the tiles arranged in a valuation-friendly arrangement to know that they're all there. So my valuation is not guaranteed to be perfect. I don't mind if you prove me wrong by getting more than $15 for it. Maybe you can get your whole $25 back. Maybe you'll find someone willing to buy it all, or maybe you'll get offers on the box only. Like I said, good luck with your sale.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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, 2022, 9:31 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much? Part 2.

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 08:56:11 PM EDT, Phil K wrote:
    Re: How old is my Maj Jong set
    Hi Tom,
    The $15 valuation is less than I paid for it.
    I paid $25 for it at an estate sale.
    Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
    Thanks for the information and details.
    The tiny white drawer knob was found in one of the drawers but needs a pin to reconnect it.
    Frankenstein might appeal to some collectors for "parts"
    Especially the older bone sticks. You mentioned that it might date to the 1920's.
    I would have the box date also evaluated by another Maj Jong expert.
    it is possibly very old. They could test the wood through physical analysis.
    I think it might appeal to someone for that reason.
    After I get another appraisal, I will just put it on Ebay as "As Is"
    Let any potential buyer make their own determinations.
    Thanks again for your input.
    Greatly appreciated.
    Very Best Regards,
    Phil

    You're welcome, Phil.

    Frankenstein might appeal to some collectors for "parts"
    Yes. That's who would buy it. Ask for more than $15 and you might get $15 for it. Or more, depending on how many collectors or resellers need that type of parts. You may as well throw out the buttons.

    Especially the older bone sticks. You mentioned that it might date to the 1920's.
    But those are common, yours are common, you have just a few anyway. They're nothing special.

    I would have the box date also evaluated by another Maj Jong expert.
    it is possibly very old. They could test the wood through physical analysis.
    I'll bet that wouldn't be cheap! Good luck with your sale.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, March 31, 2022, 9:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2022 card, part 2 (re: "Can I use a joker in a 2022?")

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 05:36:38 PM EDT, Julia S wrote:
    2022 card
    Hello Tom,
    In response to the person who asked about jokers in a hand in the 2022 section of the new card, the top of the FRONT of the card (directly above 2022) says "JOKERS MAY NOT BE USED IN A 2022 GROUPING".
    Your answer about the general rule on the back of the card is certainly accurate, but this year the League included specific language for the 2022 section.
    (I got my new card today.)
    Julia S

    That's hilarious, Julia! Thanks for letting me know. Still watching my mailbox...
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, March 31, 2022, 7:01 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why doesn't the new card come out in January?

    Mah-Jongg Q A
    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 04:40:06 PM EDT, Ira G. S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Why aren't the new mah jongg cards available in January of any given new year.
    Why does it take to April to receive new cards?

    Ah, frequently-asked question #19-BU!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, March 31, 2022, 7:03 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    How old? How much?

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 12:41:56 PM EDT, Phil K wrote:
    how old is my Maj Jong set?
    Hello,
    I would like to know age and approximate value of my vintage maj jong set.
    Here are the details:
    There are 148 tiles or small block pieces. (Older style with embedded characters and images)
    There are 36 sticks, that appear to be bone.
    There are 25 green buttons, 20 red buttons, 10 brown buttons.
    There is one large green button with maj jong center window.
    I have attached several photos.
    Thanks in advance for any information or help.
    Kind Regards,
    Phil

    On Thursday, March 31, 2022, 12:46:17 PM EDT, Phil K wrote:
    How old is my Maj Jong set
    Hello Tom,
    Here are some more pictures of my Maj Jong set.
    Thanks again for any information or help.
    Best Regards,
    Phil

    Hi, Phil! You asked:

    how old is my Maj Jong set?
    It appears to be a Frankenstein, so its various parts are of different ages. The so-called "Chinese Bakelite" tiles may have been made anytime from the 1950s to the 1990s. The box may have been made anytime from the 1920s to the 2000s. The bone scoring sticks look 1920s.

    and approximate value of my vintage maj jong set.
    Not very much. It looks like it's in lousy condition, and it's missing parts. The box was not made for those tiles, and in fact it might be of recent manufacture, artificially aged by soaking in mud like a thousand-year egg. Even if the box is 100 years old, it's dirty and missing a front panel and a drawer pull. Then there are the buttons, which function as a poor substitute for scoring sticks or chips. I doubt you can get $15 for the whole thing.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, March 31, 2022, 8:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I use a joker in a 2022?

    On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 05:40:36 PM EDT, Myra D wrote:
    2022 card question
    Hello. In the 2022 section, can jokers be used in the hand: 2022 2022. 2022, 3 different suits?
    I said no jokers because the hand consists of singles and pairs. Am I correct?
    Thanks

    Myra, it says on the back of the card that a joker may be used only in a pung, kong, quint, or sextet. Those terms and this rule are explained more fully in FAQ 19-E2.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, March 30, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    I suppose this counts as the first question about the 2022 card, but on the other hand, this is the same question that's been asked every year since 2001. But [sigh], okay. Alternate title: "The 2022 card, part 1." - Tom


    Sportsmanship or strategy, part 3
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 08:31:36 AM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom-
    RE: Moral dilemma part 2
    Thank you for your response.
    As I said, it was an experiment, and provided, as I had hoped , a teachable moment. We had an interesting discussion and valuable lessons were learned by all.
    Sue Z

    May the tiles be with you, Sue!
    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
    Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 9:50 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The scoring seems quite confusing.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, March 28, 2022, 06:48:56 PM EDT, Story E wrote:
    Hi Mr Sloper,
    We’ve been playing for 3 years now and have never kept score. Unless you count the “I won the most games today” as scoring. Our teacher never really stressed defensive play and so the goal was just to win not keep others from winning. Throwing a flower at the end of the game happens even if a player has exposures and it’s obvious she might mahj. We have gotten better but I believe keeping score is really the only way to change the mindset. I’m going to try persuading my group. ??
    My question is actually about scoring. Scoring is based on the assumption that you are playing for money. (Real or chips). The card says “ pays winner double”. “others pay single”. Does the winner get 25 for winning plus 50 from each player? (She picked winning tile.). Or just 50 from other players.
    I would love to see a real score sheet. It seems quite confusing.
    Thanks for your help.
    Story

    It's not that difficult, Story. It's all explained on the card, and there's more in my FAQs. You wrote:

    [We] have never kept score.
    That's fine. I enjoy playing that way myself.

    Our teacher never really stressed defensive play and so the goal was just to win not keep others from winning.
    That's a nice way to play.

    I believe keeping score is really the only way to change the mindset.
    I didn't know there was a mindset needing changing, but anyway...

    I’m going to try persuading my group.
    You can do that. I recommend using chips instead of coins, if there's resistance to using money. I describe how chips are used in FAQ 7d. "I think it would be fun to try keeping score. We can use these colorful plastic coins, wanna try it?"

    The card says “ pays winner double”. “others pay single”. Does the winner get 25 for winning plus 50 from each player? ... I would love to see a real score sheet. It seems quite confusing.
    I describe how payment works in FAQ 19w.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, March 28, 2022, 8:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sportsmanship or strategy, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, March 27, 2022, 05:38:30 PM EDT, sue z wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom-
    Thanks for your response to my first moral dilemma question. I prefer a friendly game as well but sometimes I think you learn better from your mistakes, as long as the error is pointed out in a caring manner.
    Which brings me to Moral dilemma. Etiquette/courtesy/sportsmanship vs strategy? Part 2

    I am not sure if you are familiar with Royale Siamese Mah Jongg— 4 players, 2 sets of tiles, everyone plays 2 hands simultaneously and tiles can be exchanged between racks. Anyway, playing Royale Siamese using NMJL 2021 card and I am going for 3-6-9 #2 3333 666 9999 DDD. I call for discard and inadvertently make an invalid exposure of 2 6 Cracks and a 9 Crack. I discard too fast before noticing my error so I know that I am dead and am waiting for someone to call me on it. Nobody says a thing. Play continues and I call and correctly expose the Dragons and 3s, all pure. Nobody says a thing. I Mah Jongg my 2nd hand. Nobody says a thing. Then I draw a 9 Crack to complete the pure “dead” hand and decide to conduct an experiment and see if this will be a teachable moment. I call for Mah Jongg on the hand I know is dead. Am I correct is assuming that the reason you cannot win on a dead hand is because the other players are going to notice and call you dead? But, nobody says a thing. This is my winning hand, and pure, so in Royale Siamese you get double double hand value.

    Here’s my dilemma, I have a DEAD hand that nobody calls dead or verifies for Mah Jongg. NMJL says NEVER call your own hand dead. National Mah Jongg League Bulletin 2021. And your hand is not officially dead until another player calls it dead. Is it not the responsibility of opponents to verify Mah Jongg and call the declarer dead if the Mah Jongg is in error? Mah Jongg Made Easy 2020 page 16, #1. Assuming that I had gone forward with the win, who had the greater responsibility here, me or the three other players?
    Something similar happened to a friend and she called the National Mah Jongg League and their phone response to her was that since it is the responsibility of players to verify Mah Jongg, she wins and gets paid. What do you think?
    Thanks in advance.
    Sue Z

    Hi, Sue.
    Just because you didn't get caught doesn't mean you didn't break the law. You broke the law if you declared mah-jongg with an invalid exposure. But the League ruling is correct - it is too bad for your opponents if they never noticed that you were in error. Just the same, I would not have declared mahj with a bad hand. If you feel bad about it now, you can fess up to the others, and they can learn a valuable lesson. But don't you give back the quarters you won. Those are yours, unfair and square.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, March 27, 2022, 7:00 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sportsmanship or strategy? Thanks in advance.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, March 27, 2022, 12:29:39 PM EDT, sue z wrote:
    Tom-
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A moral dilemma. Etiquette/courtesy/sportsmanship vs strategy? Part 1 (more to follow later)
    A player called 6 Crack and exposed it with a Joker and a 3 Crack. The player then immediately discarded ending their turn. At this point I noticed that they had an invalid exposure and called them dead. My question is, if I had noticed -- prior to them discarding, do I tell them and give them the opportunity to correct their exposure if they have the correct tile(s)? Or keep my mouth shut, wait for discard and then call them dead? I was not going to exchange the Joker.
    I notice that this type of exposure error occurs most frequently with Cracks. I think because we are not that familiar enough with the number symbols and often only see the large red Character symbol.
    Thanks. Sue Z

    On Sunday, March 27, 2022, 12:56:24 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from sue z
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from sue z
    You can view the transaction details online.
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    Hi, Sue. Firstly, thanks very much for the donation!
    Certainly, it can be advantageous to oneself for another player to go dead, but it's unkind to knowingly allow an opponent to make a fatal error when you can be a nice person and warn them in time.
    I like players who are nice.
    But I suppose if you're playing at a table that enjoys a more in-your-face competitive style, if they're always looking for excuses to call each other dead, then I suppose you could give them a taste of their own medicine.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, March 27, 2022, 4:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2021 card, part 47* (Consecutive Run #5)

    Mahjong question
    On Friday, March 25, 2022, 05:11:19 PM EDT, Christa M wrote:
    Hi Tom! On the 2021 card,does the fifth line under consecutive run require you to play 1,2,3 or can it be any consecutive number?
    Thanks,
    Christa M

    Hi, Christa! It can be any consecutive numbers. See FAQ 16 (answers to all the most frequently-asked questions about the 2021 card, here on this website), and this question is also answered on the NMJL's FAQs page
    I recommend you bookmark both for your future reference.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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 25, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Part 3 x 18


    What if a player calls for the discard and the next player has already started their turn?

    On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, 09:11:25 PM EDT, <pm... wrote:
    chinese mahjong question
    Hi
    This is regarding a friendly game of mahjong, we're not ace players or anything like that. My question is, if someone discards a tile that someone else wants for lets say a pong (pung?) but before they say it the next person has picked up their tile. The tile is in their hand but not racked, if the person then says pung/pong, is it too late or does the other player have to put their tile back and the person that called it out gets to take it.
    Thanks, Pati M

    Hi, Pati. I recommend you use the official Chinese tournament 3-second rule. As long as the request for that discard is spoken within 3 seconds, any intervening action is undone. So if somebody says, "oh wait, I want that discard," then the player who started picking has to put the tile back on the wall. All you have to do is poll the table. "That was under 3 seconds, wasn't it?" If the majority thinks it was more than 3 seconds, then the caller is too late.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    The ides of March, 2022, 9:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA



    Can I score "Case Tile" if my pung hadn't yet been exposed?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, March 13, 2022, 08:26:03 PM EDT, Glenn W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Again,
    Thank you for your answer to our previous question. We have another scoring question about Chinese Mahjong.
    I declared Mahjong by calling the 4th, 5 bam from another player’s discard. I already had an exposed chow of 4-5-6 bams. I had two other concealed 5 bams and called the last one to expose a pung for Mahjong.
    I used all four of the 5 bams. Do I get the 4 points for winning on the “Last Tile” or “Case Tile”? Your book states “Winning on the “case tile” (the last or fourth tile of its particular kind) when all players can plainly see that it’s so.
    I know I get the 2 points for “Tile Hog”, but we’re not sure what the statement in red means. Is it referring to the other 5’s having already being discarded or exposed?
    Thanks again,
    Karen W

    Karen, the other three tiles have to already have been visible to the other players before you won on it. Sorry, no 4 points.
    But thanks again for the donation! :p
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, March 13, 2022, 8:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. You should download the latest errata for my book, if you haven't already. - Tom


    Donation

    On Sunday, March 13, 2022, 07:53:51 PM EDT, Karen W via PayPal wrote:
    ka... sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $10.00 USD from ka...
    Mar 13, 2022 16:53:38 PDT
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $10.00 USD 1 $10.00 USD
    Total: $10.00 USD

    Thank you, Karen!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, March 13, 2022, 8:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two players wanted the discard, part 2

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, March 13, 2022, 12:37:27 PM EDT, Sue Z wrote:
    Tom-
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Regarding your answer to Lou—

      >>On Saturday, March 12, 2022, 03:43:15 PM EST, Louise D wrote:
      >>Mah jongg question
      >>If a player picks and discards a 5 bam, and another player calls it and racks her tiles, but another player then says Mah Jongg with that 5 bam, does the Mah Jongg caller get it even though the first player already racked her tiles?
      >>Lou D

      >See rule 13(c) on page 20 of the official rulebook. "[T]he mah-jongg declarer always gets preference", the rulebook says (I added the underline).

    What if the player who originally called the tile was to the right of the discarder? Rule 11 page 19 MJME 2020 says “A player shall not be permitted to call a tile for an exposure or Mah Jongg after the player to the right of the discarder has drawn a tile and racked or discarded”? What if the player to the right of the discarder was the one who called and racked (rather than drawn a tile and racked as stated in rule 11) the discarded tile in the scenario above?
    Thanks.
    Sue Z

    Interesting, Sue. I have to say, I had misgivings about citing rule 13(c) yesterday. Because as I was looking through the rulebook, I was looking for the rule that says once someone has placed tiles atop the rack, it was too late for anyone else to lay claim to the live discard. (The rule that sparked the whole "slam-exposing" controversy.) I was prepared to say "you snooze, you lose." Rules 13(a) and 13(b) say that, but those rules address calls for the same tile for the same purpose (both for exposure, or both for mah-jongg). The rule I cited to Lou, rule 13(c), addresses claims for the same tile but for different purposes (one for exposure, the other for mah-jongg). It says that in this case, snoozing isn't necessarily fatal. This rule was also stated in the 2020 newsletter (Q&A #13: "the Mah Jongg declarer gets preference even if the other player has begun to expose their tiles"). So despite my misgivings, I stated the rule correctly. A mah-jongg claimant takes precedence over an exposure claimant, even if the exposure has been made.
    Sorry about all the background. I needed to verify the ruling I gave yesterday first, before addressing your question. You asked, essentially, whether rule 11 provides an exception or contradiction to rule 13(c). It does not. Rule 11 specifies a situation in which the next player picks and racks. There's no conflicting claim for the discard under rule 11: one player wants the wall tile, and another player wants the most recent discard. Rule 11 says that if the player after the discarder picks and racks, a claimant for the discard is too late (even if that claimant wants the discard for mah-jongg). You're asking if that rule should apply to a situation where the two players want the same tile but for different purposes. No. That rule is stated in rule 13(c). The player claiming mah-jongg gets the discard even though the other claimant (the one who also wants the same discard, but for simple exposure) sits to the right of the discarder. It says "always".
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, March 13, 2022, 4:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She was called dead.

    On Saturday, March 12, 2022, 03:46:19 PM EST, Louise D wrote:
    Mah jongg question
    A friend of mine was playing in a tournament. Her arm was in a cast. So she was using one hand to pick a tile, and another time she would use her other hand to pick. One tournament player said she was dead because she couldn't use two hands to play! Is that actually a Mah Jongg rule?
    Lou D.

    No, it isn't. See the rulebook.


    This is the League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    The offenses punishable by "death" are listed on pages 21 through 23. No rule like this exists.
    But you say this was a tournament. Some tournament organizers may have their own rules. You can always request a judge to rule on a disagreement at a table. But no tournament I've attended ever had a "one hand only" rule. Not in their rule handouts, and not in the rule announcements.
    One time I was playing Japanese mah-jongg in Little Tokyo, and used one hand to pick and the other hand to discard. I was admonished not to use two hands like that. I was using two hands in one play. Your friend was using one hand for one play, then when her cast made it difficult to use that hand because of the wall's position on the table, she used the other hand for a separate play. Assuming her right hand was the one in the cast (and that she is right-handed), no reasonable person would object to her using the other hand when the cast made it difficult to use that hand.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, March 12, 2022, 4:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two players wanted the discard. One player acted before the other spoke.

    On Saturday, March 12, 2022, 03:43:15 PM EST, Louise D wrote:
    Mah jongg question
    If a player picks and discards a 5 bam, and another player calls it and racks her tiles, but another player then says Mah Jongg with that 5 bam, does the Mah Jongg caller get it even though the first player already racked her tiles?
    Lou D

    See rule 13(c) on page 20 of the official rulebook.


    This is the League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this.
    Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    "[T]he mah-jongg declarer always gets preference", the rulebook says (I added the underline).
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, March 12, 2022, 4:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can I rob my own kong?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 05:03:46 PM EST, Glenn W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In Chinese Mahjong, a player can take a tile from another’s kong to Mahjong. But can you take from your own kong to Mahj?
    The logical answer seems to be “no”, because you wouldn’t have the required 15 tiles to Mahj and you’d be “demoting” your kong.
    Just checking.
    Thanks,
    Karen
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Karen. I assume you're referring to the "robbing a kong" rule, right? A player whose hand is ready or waiting can rob the needed tile from an opponent, at the moment that that opponent promotes a kong. Opponent says "kong," then immediately you say "I'll take that! I win!" That's how robbing the kong works. It's treated as win by discard.
    So, let's examine your question logically. First, I have to have an exposed pung, and an incomplete chow that could be completed (for mah-jongg) if only I had a fourth of the same tile used in my exposed pung. Now I pick that fourth tile from the wall. It completes my chow and gives me mah-jongg, but I decide first I'll promote my pung to a kong, then steal it back from the kong to complete the final chow to win? That doesn't make sense. The tile gives me mah-jongg, without having to do any fancy shenanigans.
    So the answer is no. You can't rob your own kong.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 5:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Newby here

    On Monday, March 7, 2022, 04:32:25 PM EST, Comcast wrote:
    Newby here
    Hi Tom!
    I played my first in-person game last week, and actually got a MJ…with help of course.
    I’ve downloaded Real MahJongg (American). and play it as much as I can.
    Ugh. The cards! I’m getting the hang of it, but when I play online and I want to call a tile,
    I can only then display it as a group of 3. What if I’m going for a hand that only has 2 tiles,
    one of which I want to call?!
    What’s the easiest way to learn the rules of calling? I see tiles discarded by a player across from me,
    but I'm not given the option.
    Thanks for your help!
    Valerie
    Seattle

    Hi, Valerie! You wrote:

    when I play online and I want to call a tile,
    I can only then display it as a group of 3.
    The computer will also let you call a discard to expose a kong or a quint. Not only pungs. These terms are defined on the back of the card.

    What if I’m going for a hand that only has 2 tiles,
    one of which I want to call?!
    The computer will not allow you to make a move that's against the rules. It's illegal to call a discard to expose a pair, just as you cannot use a joker in a pair.

    What’s the easiest way to learn the rules of calling?
    It's pretty easy to read a book.


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every online player should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.
    Right: And then there's my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." - It's not bad, if I do say so myself.
    The bots are depending on you to know the rules!

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, March 7, 2022, 5:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me make that play?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, March 7, 2022, 12:56:08 PM EST, Maureen K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was playing against the computer and had the combination of 2021 when the second 2 came up so I called it but the computer would not let me display it. What did I do wrong?
    I am a beginner…
    I was going for NNN EE 2021 WW SSS and I had most of the tiles.
    Thank you
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Maureen, would that tile have given you mah-jongg? Or just complete a 2021? Read these two links, in this order:
    1. FAQ 19-CT ("Why won't the computer let me expose a 202x or NEWS?")
    2. FAQ 19-E1 ("Can I claim a discard for a 2021/2022/202x?")
    Also, next time you have a question about your computer game, I'm not the person to ask. FAQ 24 describes how to get customer support for computer games.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, March 7, 2022, 1:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Marching forth in support of Sloperama

    On Friday, March 4, 2022, 07:14:32 AM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Mar 4, 2022 04:14:16 PST
    You received a payment from Evelyn Henderson for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Profile status
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Outstanding balance
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    Maximum amount you can bill $10.00 USD
    Next payment due Apr 4, 2022

    Thank you, Evelyn. I appreciate the ongoing support. Let us March Forth! Or, as they say here in New York: excelsior!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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 Forth, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I have learned some new things

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 08:02:04 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Carol W
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Carol W
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Carol W
    Message: Tom - thanks for your work helping all of us enjoy the game of Mahjong. Although I have played for over 20 years I have learned some new things and am sure I will continue to do so. May the tiles be with you.

    Thank you, Carol!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, 3/3/2022, 8:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Using the 1950 NMJL card, part 4

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 05:30:29 PM EST, james wrote:
    1950 Charleston Completely Eliminated photo
    Tom,
    Here you go.
    James

    That's better. Thanks.


    Using the 1950 NMJL card, part 3

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 01:25:15 PM EST, james wrote:
    1950 card
    Tom,
    Here is the info.
    At the top of the card it says the Charleston eliminated.
    James
    Att: 1950 card info.pdf
    582.1kB

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 01:26:32 PM EST, james wrote:
    Passing Flowers
    Tom,
    Since you cannot pass a joker in today's world, we just concluded that you could not pass a flower in 1947 or 1950.
    Is that incorrect?

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 01:29:34 PM EST, james wrote:
    List of changes over time.
    Tom,
    This list came from a site that we thought was yours.
    Mah Jongg Through the Years - MahJonggMentor
    Mah Jongg Changes Through the Years.pdf
    60.3kB

    James, you wrote:

    At the top of the card it says the Charleston eliminated.
    Att: 1950 card info.pdf
    582.1kB
    I see. I wish you had sent that as a picture rather than a PDF. I could easily share a picture with my readers. Not so with a PDF.

    we just concluded that you could not pass a flower in 1947 or 1950.
    I see.

    Is that incorrect?
    It was incorrect to assume that based solely on what it says on the 1947 card. As for the 1950 removal of the Charleston, there was no passing, so no rule against what could not be passed (everything could not be passed). There must have been a time when flowers could not be passed, since later wording specifically said that they could. I used to get asked about that.*

    This list came from a site that we thought was yours.
    Aha. Thanks, very useful link. I'm merging that information with the information I'd already collected.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, 3/3/2022, 3:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. I found a discrepancy in that list - it says octettes were introduced in 1951, but I have a photocopy of the 1949 card, which includes octettes. - Tom
    * The rule that flowers could not be passed in the Charleston was first stated on the 1958 card; that rule was dropped in the nineties. - Tom


    Using the 1950 NMJL card, part 2

    On Thursday, March 3, 2022, 08:26:32 AM EST, james wrote:
    1947 to 1950
    Tom,
    According to the information on the 1947 card, flower tiles could not be passed or discarded.
    When did this rule change?
    James

    Hi, James.
    I don't think you really need to know when a rule change occurred, so much as what were the rules in use as of the 1950 card (which is the card you said you plan to use in your tournament). But I checked my files...
    I have a black-and-white photocopy of the 1947 card, and I see the rule that flowers can never be discarded (rule 10). I do not see a prohibition against passing flowers in the Charleston on the 1947 card. Where do you see that rule?
    I have the 1948 card, and a black-and-white photocopy of the 1949 card. Rule 10 remains the same on those cards.
    I do not have a copy of the 1950 card. If you do not see the same rule 10 on the 1950 card, then the answer to your question is "on the 1950 card." If you would like to send me a scan of the 1950 card, I will be better able to answer any further questions.
    Also, in yesterday's email, you said I have a list that says "Charleston eliminated" in 1950. Can you tell me where that list is? I could not find it. The Charleston is not missing from any card I have. As far as I know, the Charleston was a feature of NMJL rules all along, without interruption.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, 3/3/2022, 9:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Using the 1950 NMJL card

    On Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 09:49:59 AM EST, <james wrote:
    Question about the 1950 Mah Jongg Card
    Tom,
    Please do not use my email address in the post. Just James will be okay.
    We played the 1947 card and it worked great once the surprise was over.
    I want to use the 1950 Mah Jongg card in our next tournament.
    Have a few questions:
    The card says 24 flowers.
    No Jokers.
    Flowers can be used for anything, even singles and pairs.
    Your list for 1950 says "Charleston eliminated."
    Both are ok with me.
    Were any tiles removed from the set to accommodate the 24 flowers?
    Were there any other things that we need to add for that time?
    James

    Hi, James. Where is this list you mentioned? You asked:

    Were any tiles removed from the set to accommodate the 24 flowers?
    No.

    Were there any other things that we need to add for that time?
    You mean tiles, or other physical items? No.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 10:10 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She doesn't do that

    On Tuesday, March 1, 2022, 06:02:36 PM EST, Carol N wrote:
    Courtesy Pass
    I played with someone today who said "I don't do one" at the courtesy pass. Is there any particular reason why one would not do just one?

    There's no harm in asking her this question, you know. I can only guess at her reasoning.
    There are two main reasons for any strategy: (a) To benefit one's own hand (offense); (b) To NOT benefit an opponent's hand (defense). I do not think she refuses because she thinks refusing helps her hand (because that clearly can't be the case). So the only reason I can think of is that she thinks the courtesy never nets her anything good, and she doesn't want to risk giving an opponent something good. Which is silly, since she's right that there's rarely anything good in the courtesy, so what's the harm in doing the exchange? The possible benefit to oneself is surely balanced by the possible advantage to the opponent.
    As for me, when I encounter someone who has a strange strategy, I accept that strangeness. If you think there might be value in her strategy, you can just try it for a while and see how it works for you.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, March 1, 2022, 7:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Got article for ya, part 2

    Re: Mahjong interview on the web
    On Saturday, February 26, 2022, 03:34:28 PM EST, Pete S wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    Yes, I found it hard to read as well. You have to wonder what some webmasters are thinking when they choose the colors ??.
    -Pete-
    "If Russia lays down it’s weapons, there is no war. If Ukraine lays down it’s weapons, there is no Ukraine.”

    May the tiles be with you, Pete.
    Tom

    P.S. The interview Pete referenced in the first email turns out to be an overly verbose (almost 6,800 words, practically a novelette!) explanation of Ms. Stickley's kickstarter campaign to fund her online course to teach Hong Kong style mah-jongg.


    Got NEWS for ya.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, February 26, 2022, 01:44:11 PM EST, Sharon B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    When utilizing the 2020 card can you pick from the discard tiles a wind to complete NEWS? (FF DDDD NEWS DDDD).
    Also, can you use a joker in this sequence for the winds??
    THANK YOU,
    Sharon
    That's two questions, Sharon.
    1. Not unless it's for mah-jongg (not with the 2020 card, the 2021 card, or any card). Read FAQ 19-E.
    2. Never. Not with the 2020 card, not with the 2021 card, and not with any card. Read the back of the card and FAQ 19-E.
    And see FAQ 16-2020 for questions about the 2020 card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, February 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Got article for ya.

    On Saturday, February 26, 2022, 12:14:44 PM EST, Pete S wrote:
    Mahjong interview on the web
    Hi Tom,
    I was perusing the Mahjong subreddit and came across a link to this article. I thought I would send it along to you in case any of your website readers might be interested in something new. Text link in case the BB doesn’t allow hypertext: http://thatentertains.com/interview-mona-remedios-stickley-and-the-mahjong-party/
    -Pete-
    "If Russia lays down it’s weapons, there is no war. If Ukraine lays down it’s weapons, there is no Ukraine.”

    Well, thanks, I guess, Pete. My poor eyes can't read that article since it's light-gray text on white (I've colored this exchange the same way to illustrate the point). And the article is really long, too. When I tried to read part of it, it was explaining stuff I already know, at some length. Can you tell me what the main gist is? Anything I need to know that I don't already? Something to do with themahjongparty.com, which is white text on pink background (so also hard to read)?
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, February 26, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Our slow player did not say she needed it until I had already racked the tile

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 10:48:15 PM EST, Dianne O wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The person to my right threw out a one dot, that tile gave me mahjong! I called mahjong immediately picked up the tile and racked it. The player to her right was actually the next person to play and needed the same tile for mahjong, however she is a very slow player and was thinking about whether she needed it or not. She did not say she needed it until I had already racked the tile. Should the mahjong go to that person?
    It is my thinking that you should know what you need and be watching for that tile. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out. She said that it was her turn and and I should have waited till she decided if she needed it? Who is right. I hate slow players..
    Ugh, I am quitting this game people are to slow.
    Regards,
    Dianne O

    Hi, Dianne!
    There is such a thing as too slow. Your slow player was too slow for her own good. During the interval between the discard touching the table or its name being spoken (whichever occurred first) and your placing the tile atop your rack, she needed to speak her definitive claim for the tile. There is no "hold" or "wait" rule in mah-jongg. Once the tile was on the top of your rack, her window of opportunity was firmly closed shut. Show your slow player rule 13(b) on page 20 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL. Also see FAQ 19-H3.

    You also wrote:

    Ugh, I am quitting this game people are to slow.
    Well, I'm glad I had a chance to hear from you this first-and-last time. Hope you enjoy whatever alternate activity you take up!

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    February 24, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2021 card, part 46* (Consecutive Run #5)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, February 20, 2022, 08:40:37 AM EST, Claire R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    2021 card consecutive run line 5 - FF 1111 2222 3333- My question is- Can you use any consecutive numbers or must the numbers be the same as shown on the card? For example can I use FF 5555 6666 7777?
    Thank you,
    Claire R

    Hi, Claire!
    You'll find your answer in these two places:
    FAQ 16 (answers to all the most frequently-asked questions about the 2021 card, here on this website)
    The NMJL's FAQs page
    I recommend you bookmark both for your future reference.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, 2/20/2022, 9:00 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Part 3 x 17


    Can I use zero in Consecutive Runs?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, February 18, 2022, 03:36:45 PM EST, Kathleen G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: The mah jonggcard simply states that the white dragon is used as a zero with any suit. We know it can be used in the date solution, I.e., 2021. However can it also be used in consecutive runs where any consecutive numbers are needed?
    Sent from my iPhone

    No, Kathleen. You may not come up with other creative ways to use zero, other than zeroes that you see printed on the card. See page 30 of the official rulebook:

    Or see FAQ 19-BH here on my site.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, February 18, 2022, 5:35 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Frequently asked question 19-P, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 08:49:30 PM EST, Barbara J wrote:
    Thanks so much!

    You're welcome, Barbara!!
    Tom
    8:55 pm


    Frequently asked question 19-P

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 07:55:51 PM EST, Barbara J wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can a joker be replaced from a dead, exposed hand?

    Hi, Barbara! Yes, depending on how the player went dead. Please scroll down and read the answer I gave Fern H yesterday.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 8:40 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A Q prompted by the latest newsletter (tangentially related to Q&A #1), continued

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 09:34:59 AM EST, Fern H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Okay, I realize my question wasn’t precise enough, so here goes with a better attempt, using context. In the course of playing the current league card, I make a kong exposure of 3 3 bams and 1 joker. Later I make a pong exposure of 2 4 bams and 1 joker. I discard a tile and my turn is over. Another player then says my hand is dead because there are 3 1 bams on the table and the only hand I could be playing requires 2 1 bams. Are both the jokers I have in my exposures eligible for redemption by others? This question arises because of the first question in the January 2022 league newsletter.
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Good morning, Fern!
    Yesterday I cited rule 3b on page 16 of the official rulebook, which addresses your question. You probably don't have the rulebook, but you can click this link to FAQ 19-P, which spells out in great detail what happens to exposed jokers when a player goes dead. Ambiguous exposures remain atop the rack when a player is called dead, but exposures that show the hand to be dead must be returned to the sloping front of the rack, making any jokers contained therein unavailable for redemption. (See FAQ 19-P for the complete details.) So in the case of valid exposures, when the hand goes dead, valid exposures remain atop the rack. You couldn't make your pair, but your exposures were valid. Your exposed jokers remain valid for redemption. The same for the asker of Q&A #1 - her death was not the result of invalid exposures, and neither was yours.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 10:20 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A Q prompted by the latest newsletter from the League (Q&A #1)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, February 14, 2022, 10:56:25 AM EST, Fern H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    The new 2022 league newsletter, Question 1 regarding redemption of jokers from a dead hand: one group member reads the league answer “that Joker which was exposed prior to the hand being call ‘dead’ is eligible to be replaced throughout the balance of the game” as meaning that even the joker in an exposure which caused the hand to be called dead is eligible to be replaced, because it was exposed PRIOR to the hand being called dead. Well, yeah, if that particular exposure is what resulted in the hand being called dead, of course it was exposed PRIOR to the hand being called dead. But does that mean it’s also eligible to be replaced? To me that indicates a VERY close reading of the word “prior.” Your thoughts would be appreciated.
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, Fern!
    The asker of question #1 was talking about a single exposure only, one that does not by itself suggest a dead hand (since the question specifically says "an exposure" - and one exposure is usually ambiguous). The asker didn't ask about "an exposure which caused the hand to be called dead." In her question, the hand was called dead for a reason unrelated to any exposure(s). Rule 3b on page 16 of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL, does not apply to the question, and that rule is not contradicted by this ruling. Context matters.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, St. Valentine's Day, 2022, 11:15 am
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Siamese questions

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, February 13, 2022, 11:06:10 AM EST, Dorothy T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: On the 2022 Siamese Card we do not understand the “Atomic” choice. I the goal 7 consecutive pairs in the same suit. When are you required to announce your intention? Can you change your mind? And also, it says you may not throw jokers or flowers - does that mean that you must use those tiles in your second hand?
    Also, what is the significance of the underlined singles and doubles? Ex. In 13579 the first hand has 2 pairs that are underlined. In consecutive the first hand that 2 pairs that are not underlined. What is the difference?
    Thanks

    Sorry, Dorothy, but I have not seen this Siamese card. Surely you can ask Gladys Grad your questions? I assume she's the creator of the card, since she's the creator of Siamese Mah Jongg. Surely the card has the website information, and on the website you can click the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the site to ask any questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, February 13, 2022, 2:22 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Which player can redeem that joker?

    Re: MahJongg Question
    On Friday, February 11, 2022, 07:52:15 PM EST, Wendy S wrote:
    Thank you
    Sent from my iPad

    You're welcome, Wendy!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    2/11/22, 7:55 pm


    Which player can redeem that joker?

    MahJongg Question
    On Friday, February 11, 2022, 06:45:28 PM EST, Wendy S wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    I have a question concerning claiming a joker from another player’s rack.
    If two players have the same replacement tile who gets to claim the joker?
    Thank you.
    Wendy S
    Sent from my iPad

    That's easy, Wendy. The one who's holding 14 tiles in the hand is the one who can redeem that joker. See the back of the card.

    Left pane, the paragraph that starts with the word "Jokers." Last line. You can redeem a joker only when it's your turn (when you are holding 14 tiles in the hand). Nobody else can redeem it during your turn.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, 2/11/22, 7:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Claiming a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand (part 2)

    Re: Claiming a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand.
    On Thursday, February 10, 2022, 08:36:08 PM EST, Donna Grossman wrote:
    Thank you for the clarification.

    You're welcome, Donna!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, February 10, 2022, 9:20 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Dispute involving the Charleston

    On Thursday, February 10, 2022, 04:58:16 PM EST, <johnh wrote:
    Stopping the Charleston after 1st left
    We had a dispute at a recent game. The player at my right was more deliberate (slower) than the rest of us at the table. At one point in the game the player across the table from me discarded her first left; picked up her tiles from the first left; discarded her second left; picked up her tiles from the second left; all before the person on my right had chosen her discards for her first left. I wished to stop the Charleston after the first left but was told I could not do so because the player across from me had already racked tiles from the second left. I insisted I had a right to stop the Charleston; she insisted I lost that right once she racked the tiles from the second left. Who was correct?
    Thanks for any help you can give as to how this should have been resolved.

    Sorry, John, but once a player has picked up the second left pass, it is too late to stop the Charleston. This is why I teach my students to verbalize every pass, and why I also teach my students to not get ahead in the passing. Each player in turn should say, loud enough for the others to hear, "first right," "first across," and "first left." I teach my students that nobody should pass first-across until everyone has picked up first-right, and so on. I teach my students to arrange the second left in a pyramid (some like to call it "putting a hat on it") and very clearly announce, "second left." You could have said then, "please don't pick up second left. I haven't received my second left yet."
    I do not teach my students to ask if everybody is okay going on to the second left, but if they are using best-practice verbalizations all along, then the thing that happened to you shouldn't happen.
    The problem here wasn't necessarily your "more deliberate" player, so much as the player who jumped the gun and picked up the second left pass without considering the possibility that you (the player sitting at the left of the slower player) might want to stop the Charleston. The problem is that even though one of your players takes a little more time to think, everybody just rushes on ahead regardless. It's a sure recipe for exactly the situation you encountered. It would be just desserts for your jump-the-gun player if she had to sit at the left of the more-deliberate player! Makes me wonder if your group uses seat rotation, or if you always sit in the same seats...
    By the way, your use of the term "discard" threw me off at first. As someone who writes about mah-jongg and who writes game designs and game instructions, I strive for clarity, and I try to avoid using words to mean multiple things unless it can't be avoided. To me, players are not discarding during the Charleston - they're passing tiles. But that's just me, so ignore this paragraph!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, February 10, 2022, 5:30 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA

    P.S. The governor of New York has ended the mask mandate in the state, so I'm not wearing my mask here. But as an at-risk person, when I go out in the real world, I'm mostly still wearing it. Besides, it keeps my face warm in the Upstate New York climate! - Tom
    P.P.S. Don't bother reading the P.S. above, and don't read this P.P.S. either. - Tom


    Claiming a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand.

    On Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 05:16:12 PM EST, Donna G wrote:
    Claiming a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand.
    Hi Tom,
    I know you can’t claim a discard with a concealed hand during play but can you claim a discard for Mahjongg with a concealed hand? We have always thought no but because someone questioned this we would like to know for sure. I have used your book a lot but couldn’t find the answer to this question.
    Donna

    Yes, Donna, you can win on a discard with a concealed hand. Nobody sees any exposures from you until the moment you win, when you have to show the whole thing. You said you couldn't find it in my book? Let's see FAQ 19 first: this is answered in FAQ 19-E3, where it says to see my book on page 54, rule 64(ii). But actually, when I checked, it's not in the book on that page - I need to update the errata. Answers are probably easier to find in FAQ 19 than the book anyway (since you can search a web page easily).
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, February 9, 2022 9:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two questions kind of smooshed together

    On Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 11:18:32 AM EST, tanddb wrote:
    American Mahjongg question.
    If you need only 1 tile to win and someone throws down the tile you need, can you call for that tile no matter what tile it is (Joker included) I know you can't use a joker for a pair.
    Thank you

    No, tandd. When a joker is discarded, it is dead and cannot be picked up by anyone. Read FAQ 19-G. I think you also asked FAQ 19-E. If you need a discarded non-joker to make a pair for mah-jongg, you can call it.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednewsday, February 9, 2022, 4:30 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Totally enjoy what you do

    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Steven P
    On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 11:54:58 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
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    Aw, thanks, Steven!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 7:30 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Called her dead but she wasn't. Is there a penalty?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 05:31:18 PM EST, Sandy K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If player A calls player B dead and player B is not dead is player A penalized
    Sent from my iPhone

    Yes, Sandy. See FAQ 19-AB for details.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, February 8, 2022, 6:50 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Learning how to read the card

    On Monday, February 7, 2022, 01:25:46 PM EST, Virginia S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is the following consecutive run eligible for Mah Jongg?
    11 3333 555 77 999
    On the card it is stated as (These No’s. Only)
    11 333 5555 777 99. My hand was consecutive, but quantities varied from the card.
    I’m just learning, and find that reading the card appropriately is one of the more difficult lessons.
    Thank you for your help.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Virginia!
    No, you can never mess with the size of the tile groupings on the card. The suits are flexible, and in Consecutive Runs the numbers are mostly flexible, but the tile grouping sizes are set in stone. Kongs shown on the card must always be kongs, pungs must always be pungs, pairs must most definitely always be pairs. 13579 #1 must be played as a pair of ones, a pung of threes, a kong of fives, a pung of sevens, and a pair of nines.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, February 7, 2022, 1:45 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A Q prompted by the latest newsletter from the League (Q&A #13)

    On Saturday, February 5, 2022, 09:53:11 AM EST, <jamescaboose wrote:
    Start of turn
    Tom,
    In the most recent booklet from the National League, the Q&A section had the following:
    Q. When does a player's turn actually begin?
    A. A player's turn begins when they have picked a tile from the wall.
    Does this mean that I cannot call a discarded tile until the next player in line draws a tile from the wall?
    I was always taught that the next player's turn starts as soon as the previous player correctly names the tile he/she is discarding.
    And, that a discarded tile can be called as soon as it is properly named, which has nothing to do with picking a tile from the wall.
    Jim M.

    Hi Jim, you asked about Q&A #13 in the 2022 newsletter/bulletin:

    Does this mean that I cannot call a discarded tile until the next player in line draws a tile from the wall?
    No. There is no rule that you have to wait for a player to start their turn before you can call a discard. You can call a discard as soon as its name has been spoken. You don't have to wait for the next player to start taking their turn so you can interrupt them.

    I was always taught that the next player's turn starts as soon as the previous player correctly names the tile he/she is discarding.
    For reasons unknown, a lot of people have been asking recently "when does my turn begin" or "what constitutes the start of a player's turn," and the League has seen it fit to answer the question officially in the January 2022 bulletin. Until the League specifically worded this fine point of the rules, those who have taught others have worded the concept their own way. The League sets the rule, no matter what you were taught by someone who's not a League official.

    And, that a discarded tile can be called as soon as it is properly named,
    You were taught correctly, but there's more to it. The discard is "down" when it touches the table or is completely named, whichever happens first. Once it's down, the discarder cannot take it back - and a lot of players experience a sudden "change of heart" and try to undo what they've done. Think of it as "discarder's remorse," which happens if somebody looks like they want the tile. That's the "no backsies" part of when a player's turn ends. But as it says on the back of the card, you have to wait for the discard to be named before calling it.

    which has nothing to do with picking a tile from the wall.
    Yes, nothing to do with that. The question "when does a turn officially begin" is indeed a separate question from "when does a player's turn officially end." (Technically speaking.)

    Your teacher was saying "when one player's turn ends, another player's turn begins," and I may have said that myself. But "when a turn begins" (under that definition) doesn't necessarily equate with "when a player starts to take their turn." That's a fine distinction based on how the question is worded.

    P.S. Picking from the wall is not the only way to begin one's turn. Calling the most recent discard also begins a turn (whether taken "in turn" or not).

    [Added Feb. 9] We've all heard or said, "Hey Susie, it's your turn." The player before Susie discarded, and nobody called for the tile. It's Susie's turn but she hasn't started her turn. So you see, there's a difference between when the turn can rightfully begin (or "begins") and when the player starts to actually take their turn. I don't know which rule has been prompting people to ask "when does the turn begin" but I'll bet the hinging factor is the player whose turn it is actually taking action himself or herself. Context matters.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, February 5, 2022, 10:35 am (modified several times up to 11:12)
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Only Two Suits and Five Families disconnect

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, February 4, 2022, 07:43:27 PM EST, Liz B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    In Asian Mah Jongg, points are awarded for “only two suits” – does a hand qualify for those points if there is one suit and just the pair is a second suit? The issue arises that in the “five Families Hand” – all suits have to have 3 of a kind and then of course the pair will match one of those suits. Some are saying that in “Only Two Suits” if only the pair is a different suit, it should not qualify – that there would need to be at least 3 of that second suit in the hand (a pung or a chow).
    Thank you

    Hi, Liz!
    It sounds like you're talking about Chinese Majiang Competition Rules (CMCR), but you're using different names for the scoring combinations than I'm accustomed to. If I'm wrong, and my reply doesn't make sense, please tell me the name of the author of the book you and your friends use, so I can rectify your book with mine.


    (My book)


    In my book, "only two suits" is called "One Voided Suit" (I didn't come up with the name, I kind of like yours better). And "five families" is called "All Types." You said:

    Some are saying that in “Only Two Suits” if only the pair is a different suit, it should not qualify – that there would need to be at least 3 of that second suit in the hand (a pung or a chow).
    Some are wrong, unless some can show it in print.

    You drew a parallel between the Only Two Suits hand ("One Voided Suit") and Five Families ("All Types") but I don't understand the parallel. The "All Types" hand just has to have bams, dots, craks, winds, and dragons - it doesn't matter if any or all of them are pairs (my book says the hand can be seven pairs). The "One Voided Suit" hand cannot have all three suits in it; one suit has to be missing. It doesn't matter if one of the suits is a pair or not. No CMCR rule book that I have seen says anything like what "some" are saying. This hand below would qualify as "One Voided Suit," because it fits the hand description:

    This hand would score for Dragon Pung (and Seat Wind or Prevalent Wind if applicable), and One Voided Suit - because there are no bams in the hand. It doesn't matter if the dots are just a pair. There are no bams, thus one suit is "voided" - thus it's "Only Two Suits."

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, February 4, 2022, 9:20 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Support for the Q&A board and the FAQs

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    Thank you for your continuing support, Evelyn! Hat's off to you. Brrr, putting it back on, it's cold out there!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, February 4, 2022, 7:30 AM
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    Can I call a discarded redeemable tile and redeem it? (Frequently Asked Question 19-G)

    On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 09:27:58 PM EST, Buddy H wrote:
    Mahjong question
    Tom-My question is: If you have three, fours and a joker exposed on your rack, and someone lays the other four instead of taking your joker, can you call for it and use your joker to Mahjong? Thank you for your answer!!! Janice.
    Sent from my iPad

    This is answered in the Jokers section of FAQ 19, Janice. A discarded redeemable tile cannot be claimed and redeemed. Down is dead. Read FAQ 19-G2. It's rule 5 on page 23 of the National Mah Jongg League's official rulebook. Every table should have the official rulebook on hand. In the absence of the rulebook, you can bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference; it answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg rules. And there's also my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." It's also a useful reference, and handy to have.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Thursday, February 3, 2022, 8:12 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can a kong be considered 2 pairs?

    On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 07:48:41 PM EST, Angelique W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can a 7 pairs be: a Kong (4 identical tiles) and 5 pairs ? I would say No, but I need to get the expert like you to tell me.
    We have people in our group argued that they can split the Kong to be 2 pairs, thus making 7 pairs. I disagreed with the group but I have nothing to show to them in writing. My common sense would say that that’s not 2 pairs, it’s 4 identical tiles!
    Thank you for pointing me to the right direction. Thank you.
    Angélique W
    The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Tao Te Ching

    囧 Hi, Angélique. I'm afraid my answer will be based on what-ifs, because I don't know the details of the situation your group is arguing about. I don't know if you play a Chinese or Japanese variant or American (National Mah Jongg League) rules, and I don't know if the kong is an exposed kong (a kong that has been melded) or just 4 identical tiles within the concealed hand.
    If you're playing Chinese or Japanese rules (or any other "un-American" rule set), then it depends on whether the four tiles are melded or not. Most Asian rule sets permit two identical pairs (and why not?), as long as they have not been melded as a kong. Once melded as a kong, those two pairs may not be separated - it's not legal in any variant to meld a pair (or two pairs) prior to declaring mah-jongg.
    There is no "any old seven pairs" hand in American rules. If you're using a table rule, then your group can set whatever rule the majority decides (and it's not up to me to decide your rule for you). And of course, jokers may not be used in a pair (the kong would have to be all-natural).
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, February 3, 2022, 8:10 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    The 2021 card, part 45*

    On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 06:17:16 PM EST, Mary Nell M wrote:
    FF 1111 2222 3333
    FF 1111 2222 3333 (Any 1 or 3 Suits)
    Can this be played with any 3 Consecutive Numbers? It only states "any 1 or 3 suits" and does not say "consecutive numbers." Confusing.
    Mary Nell M

    It can be any three consecutive numbers, Mary Nell. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card (by the way, this question is also answered on the NMJL's own FAQs page). And I've written answers to the most frequently asked questions about the NMJL rules in FAQ 19.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, February 3, 2022, 8:05 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * Part 3 the 16th


    What is it, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 31, 2022, 05:25:48 PM EST, engschaeffer wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello and thank you for replying. I continued searching on line and found out what the mystery item is. It is a Nepalese long dice. 3 of them would be used to play a game called chaupur. A very similar game to the game pachisi, or parcheesi. You would use these long dice or 7 cowrey seashells to determine how many places that your game pieces would move on the board.
    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    Very cool, Richard. Thanks for sharing.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, January 31, 2022, 5:45 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    What is it??

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 31, 2022, 11:24:27 AM EST, engschaeffer wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello. I have a pirce that i am trying to identify. I have had no luck and would like to attach a xouple photos and see if you recognize it. Thank you, Richard
    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    That's a mystery, Richard! It's not a mah-jongg piece, but it does look like a game piece of some sort. As part of your search, I recommend you check Pagat.com, the Domino Games section and try also the link to "other tile games" there. Thanks for asking, and I hope you'll let me know if you find something.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, January 31, 2022, 12:20 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can you call a discard to expose a single or pair or 2021 or NEWS? (part 2)

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, January 28, 2022, 09:31:55 PM EST, Raquel K wrote:
    Not seeing the answer.?? only have my phone at this location

    All I can tell you is that the answer is up there. If you can Refresh the browser, or use a different browser, you'll see it. I can't tell you how to do those things on a phone.
    Here's what it says on the website:

      Hi, Raquel!
      It's pretty much the same rule for calling a discard as it is for using a joker. You can't use a joker in a single or pair, and you can't call a discard for a single or a pair either. Read FAQ 19-E.* The main difference is, as you noted, for mah-jongg. You can call a discard for a single or pair to make mah-jongg, but you still can't use a joker in a single or pair, no matter what (as you noted).
      You might want to bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about National Mah Jongg League rules.
      Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, January 28, 2022, 9:40 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Can you call a discard to expose a single or pair or 2021 or NEWS?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, January 28, 2022, 08:11:06 PM EST, Raquel K wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Uding theamerican mahjobg card,,I know a joker can never be used in a single. i.e. pairs, 2022, and News hands. Can a card be taken from the table for 2022 or News IF it is not for a mahjong? We have quite the debate down South where so many are coming to play from all over the the country?
    Help
    Raquel

    Hi, Raquel!
    It's pretty much the same rule for calling a discard as it is for using a joker. You can't use a joker in a single or pair, and you can't call a discard for a single or a pair either. Read FAQ 19-E.* The main difference is, as you noted, for mah-jongg. You can call a discard for a single or pair to make mah-jongg, but you still can't use a joker in a single or pair, no matter what (as you noted).
    You might want to bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about National Mah Jongg League rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Friday, January 28, 2022, 8:20 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA

    * The rule is stated on page 12 of the 2020 edition of the official rulebook, "Mah Jongg Made Easy." Every table needs to have a copy. - Tom


    Have the rules changed in the last 60 years?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 08:43:00 AM EST, June V wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I was a player from 1954 until 1961 when my second child was born and switched to bridge when my children were grown.
    Returning to Mah Jong I do not recall certain rules about Jokers and wonder if Jokers were added or rules were changed during this interval.
    Specifically, the rule that doubletons cannot include a joker. Thank you in advance for your response.
    June V
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, June!
    Yes, jokers were added, and rules have been changed, since 1961. The up-to-date rules are written on the back of the card, but not all of them. I recommend you get a copy of the League's official rulebook. Or you could get my book to get up to date on the current rules.


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every player should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.
    Right: And then there's my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." - It's not bad, if I do say so myself.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 8:50 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two questions, part 2

    On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 04:03:50 PM EST, Mary D wrote:
    Re: hello
    PS I have never heard that you can take a tile unless it is your turn IE East disgards 2 crack only South (next player) can pick that tile up .....
    TY

    Hi again, Mary.

    It's a rule in Asian variants that a discard may be claimed for a chow (a run of 3 sequential numbers in one suit, like 3-4-5) only if it's your turn (thus the tile was discarded by the player at your left). I'm beginning to wonder if you really play American rules or not... or maybe I'm starting to see now why you asked if "local rules" exist. Still curious to know the story behind these questions...

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, January 2, 2022, 4:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two questions

    On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 03:58:22 PM EST, Mary D wrote:
    hello
    I have provided your site to many people, I find it to be the most helpful. I am now in year two and have two questions;
    1. Have you ever heard of creating local rules for playing?
    2. If I have in my hand NEW and pick up an S can I display NEWS? I was told only if I am declaring Mahjong?
    Thank you for your time and expertise...
    M

    Hi, Mary!

    Sure. Table rules are rules played at one household, or by all the players of one group. There can be clubs (like a country club, or a senior center) where everybody uses club rules. In the 1930s, American players all played their local neighborhood rules, creating problems when players moved or played around; the National Mah Jongg League was founded in 1937 to solve the problem of "no national rules." So, yes, I have heard of local rules. Curious why you ask...

    You were told correctly. See FAQ 19-E-1.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 4:15 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Confused, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 12:49:58 PM EST, Bonnie Z wrote:
    Thanks for the info.

    You're welcome, Bonnie.
    Tom


    Confused by NMJL scoring

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 07:31:12 AM EST, Bonnie Z wrote:
    How much is a closed hand mahjong worth without jokers?
    Also how much is a closed hand mahjong worth if you pick it yourself?
    Is there a website that deals with the rules and payouts for closed hands?
    Thank you.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Bonnie! You wrote:

    How much is a closed hand mahjong worth without jokers?
    See the back of the card, lower left corner. See headline "BONUS:".


    Scoring is explained at the lower left corner

    If the hand is not in the "Singles & Pairs" section, its score is doubled if the hand is made without jokers.

    Also how much is a closed hand mahjong worth if you pick it yourself?
    Also on the back of the card, lower left corner (above the jokerless section), see headline "SCORING:". You earn double value from everyone if you pick it yourself.

    Is there a website that deals with the rules and payouts for closed hands?
    I'm not sure what you're looking for, but the "Winning, Scoring, Paying" section of my FAQ 19 answers all the usual questions about NMJL scoring. Especially FAQ 19-AN and FAQ 19-W.

    Come on back if you still have questions about mah-jongg. Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, January 25, 2022, 8:55 AM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Ivory towers, part 2

    On Monday, January 24, 2022, 09:02:03 PM EST, service@paypalwrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Eric S
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Eric S.
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Eric S
    Message: Hi Tom - This is Amy from Florida - the person with no walls or Charleston :) Thanks for your answer.
    PayPal

    Thank you, Amy!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, January 24, 2022, 9:10 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    My mah-jongg story

    Mah Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 24, 2022, 10:57:27 AM EST, Mollie T wrote:
    I have my grandmother's (bamboo and bone) set and have played for decades. Started out with a friend in Chaco Canyon who knew the rules (sort of), and used to play with the pieces (her grandmother's) when she was little. When we moved from Albuquerque to Santa Fe 30+ years ago, we lit upon mahjong as a way of keeping in touch with some other good Chaco friends: we'd go down there, they'd come up here, we'd play into the wee hours and spend the night. We still play with Peter and Janet, maybe three or four times a year. We've never figured out a satisfying way to play with five, or I'm sure we'd get together with Marcia as well.
    We taught our younger son Spencer and his girlfriend to play (they are fierce card sharks) and it took them about one wind to become more wiley than us. We're rather casual.
    Our next door neighbor, on the brink of 90 and a real pistol, was very serious about mahjong for years. We'd see the cars outside Margaret's house and think, oh right it's Tuesday: mahjong. She plays by elaborate rules, and money. We've never dared play with her. However, Margaret is the source of a second set which she gave us when my grandmother's set just disappeared for a year or two (?). This is a set one of her grandchildren brought her from San Francisco, and which I now know (from reading your site) is pulverized and reconstituted fishbone, if that isn't the craziest thing ever.
    I encountered your site when trying to figure out something truly strange (won't seem strange at all to you). A friend at work died recently, and I ended up involved with breaking apart her house and dispersing her possessions. Her sister said "here what's this??" and when I answered that it was a mahjong set in its little suitcase, she said "it's yours". Cheeto orange, like nothing I'd ever seen or heard of. So I went looking and found your website, and more information than I ever imagined.
    I always suspected that my grandmother's set was bone, not ivory, but now I know what to look for to confirm that. I have pieces from all three sets, plus some random ones from other sets that were rattling around in the Cheeto suitcase, packed up to take to work this morning. I want to look at them through my very nice microscope there, and consult with the osteologist (next door down from my lab). That should entertain us for awhile. Ann Stodder (the osteologist) is frequently called upon to identify historic artifacts suspected of being bone (buttons, toothbrushes, razor handles) but I don't know if she's ever come across mahjong pieces.

    Hi, Mollie!
    Thanks for sharing your mah-jongg story. It'll be interesting to hear what you and your osteologist neighbor find out.
    I wasn't sure if you had any questions for me. Some old plastic tiles can yellow with age, depending on the storage conditions, even turning "Cheeto orange."
    As for five-player rules, it depends on which mah-jongg variant you play. From your mention of "it took them about one wind," I assume you play an Asian variant. I haven't heard of a good five-player method for Asian mah-jongg.
    Write me again if you have any questions, or to share your microscopic/osteologic findings.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    January 24, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Unusual set, part 4

    Re: Mahjong question - unusual material combination?
    On Sunday, January 23, 2022, 11:13:17 AM EST, Andrew wrote:
    Hello, I'm sending new pics and with better quality of focus. About the plastic sticks what I meant was, I thought all the 50s~60s games came with sticks made from natural materials only, I did not knew that they originaly could have plastic sticks in such old games.

    Hi, Andrew.
    These photos are better, but I still don't know what your tiles are made of. The shiny backs look like plastic. The white part might also be plastic, if not pulverized fishbone. That type of set, in cloth-covered trays in a cloth-covered "briefcase" type box, is commonly from the 90s. My 1990s cloth briefcase sets are pulverized fishbone, with bone sticks.
    I have a set from the 20s or 30s with plastic sticks. Your plastic sticks are unique but I don't have an age estimate for them.
    An odd thing about your set is the wooden bar that replaces 4 tiles (which is why you have only 140 tiles, not the usual 144). I wonder if that is original or added post-market. And I wonder why the set was made with no flowers - made in China, for sale in Japan? If the bar is movable, it should separate out just 4 blank tiles, not 8 (four of them are the set's white dragons).
    I don't know that your set is complete as it was originally sold, and I don't know that your set is really from the 50s or 60s.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday,January 23, 2022, 6:40 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Unusual set, part 3
    On Saturday, January 22, 2022, 08:08:27 PM EST, Andrew wrote:
    Re: Mahjong question - unusual material combination?
    I'm sorry, I've forgot to attach the pictures before and have sent a reply, but I think it was not delivered, so I'm sending them once more below.
    About the betting sticks, what I meant was, is it right they being made out of plastic? I mean, my friend have said the game was from 50s or 60s, was there games with the sticks made out of plastic back then?

    Plastic sticks are not unusual, Andrew.


    Unusual set, part 2

    Re: Mahjong question - unusual material combination?
    On Saturday, January 22, 2022, 03:03:11 PM EST, Andrew wrote:
    Sorry, I've forgot to attach the pics, here.

    Hi, Andrew. That helps a little. You asked:

    What do you think the tiles are made of?
    Hard to tell from those small photos. Might be bone, might be pulverized fishbone. Could even be plastic. Have you read FAQ 7c: "What Are They Made Of?"? Can't tell what the backs are made of, either.

    Do you think the tiles are incomplete?
    It's got enough tiles to play Japanese mah-jongg, or an Asian version that doesn't require flowers.

    The sticks are made from plastic, is that right?
    So it appears, but the photos are too small and unfocused. Couldn't you take bigger, sharper photos?

    Why the carving looks so simple and very few colors?
    Two possible reasons:
    - The maker believed that bright colors are too garish, or made the set for players who prefer a more sedate game;
    - The tiles might have been soaked in clay to make them look older than they really are, or to make them more uniform;
    - Or both (the colors weren't "garish," and then the tiles were bathed in clay to make them seem "antique"). If the tiles feel dry, kind of dusty, then it's an old set that somebody tried to "improve."

    How much do you think it's worth?
    I can't tell, without proper condition descriptions of all the set's components. See FAQ 7h: How Much Is It Worth?". Make sure you use proper condition language as outlined in the FAQ.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, 1/22/22, 8:00 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Unusual set

    On Saturday, January 22, 2022, 02:33:22 PM EST, Andrew wrote:
    Mahjong question - unusual material combination?
    Dear Tom,
    Recently I've received this mahjong set from a friend, he said that he has inherited it from his father a few years ago and he claimed that he father bought it new brand new back then (around 50's or 60's. I've a few questions about it. The set appear to be made from bone or horn + ebony on the back, but I'm not 100% sure of that.
    The set is missing the papers with the rules and aparently missing 2 from the original dices.
    The game has:
    140 tiles
    87 sticks
    5 dices (only 2 from original game)
    Tiles are around 24mm * 18mm * 12mm
    There're unusual things found in this game:
    There is 140 tiles in the set, there is no flower nor season tiles nor AKA DORA
    There is no wind dealer
    The betting sticks are all made from plastic with handmade markings and all are coloured (blue, white, yellow, green, brown and wine)
    The painting of the tiles are dull, only black and red.
    My questions about the game are:
    - What do you think the tiles are made of?
    - Do you think the tiles are incomplete?
    - The sticks are made from plastic, is that right? I thought all the sticks from old games were made from bone or some sort of ivory only.
    - Why the carving looks so simple and very few colors?
    - Do you think the set is legit, maybe pieces changed over time or fake?
    - How much do you think it's worth?
    Regards,
    Andrew

    Hi, Andrew. You asked:

    What do you think the tiles are made of?
    I have no way of knowing that without seeing it. Have you read FAQ 7c: "What Are They Made Of?"?

    Do you think the tiles are incomplete?
    I would need to see the set laid out as shown in FAQ 7b: "Do I Have All the Tiles I'm Supposed To?".

    The sticks are made from plastic, is that right?
    You already said they were made of plastic.

    Why the carving looks so simple and very few colors?
    I don't know.

    How much do you think it's worth?
    I can't even guess without proper pictures and proper condition descriptions of all the set's components. See FAQ 7h: How Much Is It Worth?". Make sure you use proper condition language as outlined in the FAQ.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, 1/22/22, 4:50 PM
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Ivory towers

    Mah-Jongg Question
    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 10:23:51 PM EST, <onslow wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    I learned to play Mah-Jongg about a year ago. The group I play with do not do a Charleston or use walls. They use ‘towers’. We start the game by drawing 13 face down tiles from the center. We also choose 6 stacks (towers) of 3 and place them in front of our racks. We place the 13 tiles in our rack and analyze them. From there we can discard 3 of those tiles and replace them with a tower. This goes on until the end of the towers. There are various options as to if you do not want to continue looking at towers and beginning the towers at all. I have searched for written rules on this variation of the game and have not found any mention of it. My group learned this method from one of our neighbors and it actually kept some of the players interested in the game because they felt that the Charleston thing was boring and a waste of time. They prefer to get on with playing. It’s difficult for me to have an opinion because I have never played any other way.
    Are you familiar with what I described? Can you direct me to more information about this method? What is your opinion about this method?
    Thank you,
    Amy - Florida

    Interesting, Amy! People come up with all kinds of table rules. I never heard of that one before. So they don't like the Charleston, and I guess they don't like walls either. See the three rules on table rules; your group can do whatever they want. Hopefully, you will be able to adapt to the traditional walls and Charleston when you play with another group!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022 10:55 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I think his price is kinda high, part 3

    Re: Old mahjong set question / avaliation
    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 09:37:12 PM EST, Marshall L wrote:
    I saw in just right now, thank you very much. And btw yeah I've forgot to tell the tile measures, they're 24 * 16 * 12 mm.

    Hi Marshall,
    Yes, as I thought. Smaller than the usual bone and bamboo tiles of the early 1920s. That type of set is genuine (late 1920s to 1930s or 40s) but priced much too high.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 10:05 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I think his price is kinda high, part 2

    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 04:55:59 PM EST, Marshall L wrote:
    Re: Old mahjong set question / avaliation
    Hello,
    Sorry for delay on reply, I don't know why but the message was in the spam folder.
    I've sent the pics but they were around 1.2MB to 2.1MB each, I'm making them smaller so they can go through inline on the message
    Sorry once more for the trouble, thank you.

    Hi Marshall,
    I wish I knew the dimensions of the tiles. Usually, tiles that come in that type of box are smaller than the traditional size. Those big plastic wind discs definitely do not belong with the set, and it has only one die (it's missing dice), and the seller has not provided a picture of the booklet. That box is original, but it's not in great condition and has no carving on the lid. The carving on the One Bam tiles and the animal flower tiles is very nice, so this set may be worth more than similar sets, but it is definitely not worth over $400. And I see condition issues on the closeups of the tiles (Haversian system lines or dirt). I can't tell you how much you ought to pay for it because I don't have enough information. My recommendation is to pass this one.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 6:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I inherited a set, part 2

    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 03:22:25 PM EST, Sue M wrote:
    valuation for mahjongg set
    Hi Tom,
    Thank you for the answer to my question about the Flowers in my set a couple days ago. As followup, I have attempted to put together the information you suggested in your set description checklist and hope that you can give me an estimate of the valuation of the set.
    The attached photo shows the 162 tiles included in this set. These tiles are in what I would consider mint or near mint condition… no scratches or damage. The tiles are 1 and 3/16 inches high.
    This set was bought by my Mother in the late 50’s or early 60’s and played occasionally during that time but has been in dry storage since about 1965. There is no mildew.
    As you identified in my earlier email question, this set has two different flower varieties.. one appears to be occupations/jobs and there are 12 of these. The other appears to be Royalty and there are also 12 of these but they are missing several 2’s. They are both pictured above in entirety. A few larger samples are shown below.
    The set contains :
    - 2 jokers, but as you indicated joker stickers could be bought and added to the extra flower tiles in the set
    - a set of dice and a rotatable wind disk that has numbers rather than Chinese characters in it.
    - and a book in good condition titled “That’s It, How to Play MahJongg” by Dorothy S. Meyerson, Fifteenth Revised Edition, dated 1955/1956.
    The set is in a leather look case in decent condition with an E.S.Lowe NY , Exclusive LOWE Creation tag in the top left hand corner of the lid. It has a few white paint marks on the top of case. It has brass latches with locks but there is no key to the case.
    Hopefully I’ve provided the information you need to value this set.
    Thank you
    Sue

    Sue, the evaluation I'm giving you is unreliable because you did not use standard condition terms. You say the book (not pictured) is in "good" condition, and the case is in "decent" condition and the tiles are "mint or near mint" condition. From the photo of the outside of the case, it looks like there are flaws or abrasions. You didn't say what condition the wind indicator, dice, chips, and racks are, or how many chips there are. I'm going to guess that the set is in Very Fine condition: "Item may have chips, dings, dents, cracks or scratches and maintains 80 to 85% of new condition." And I'm going to guess that you could get between $150 to $250 for the set. Good luck with the sale!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 5:25 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    She always plays the same hand!

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 01:36:16 PM EST, Anna A wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I play with someone who is always playing the same hand. I told her that she should look at other hands to play so she could learn the card. She said she can’t help it if she continues to get the same tiles. I see that she throws tiles out that she could indeed make other hands. And of course she keeps getting mahjong. Am I wrong?
    Sent from my iPad

    Anna, why does this bother you? You say she "keeps getting mahjong," and she keeps playing, so she must be enjoying the game. If you know she always makes the same hand, you know how to defend (how not to give her her winning tile). But what I want to know is, what hand is she always making? Must be a good hand if she wins on it so much!
    This reminds me of the man I played with many years ago. He always played Consec #2. The two ladies we played with used to yell at him for not playing other hands on the card, but I didn't see his habit as a problem. He still won now and then, and he seemed to be enjoying the game. He never won off a discard from me if he had two exposures, because with two exposures I knew what his hot tiles were, better than with one exposure. Consec #2 is the easiest hand to make, and I wonder if that's what hand your friend makes.
    I think you and your friend would enjoy the game more if you would just let her play the way she wants to play.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 2:10 pm
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I think his price is kinda high

    On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 02:30:09 PM EST, Marshall L wrote:
    Old mahjong set question / avaliation
    Hello OOO, how have you been?
    I'm kinda new into mahjong world and I've bought a few sets until now. Recently I've found in my country a set claimed to be
    made of bone & bamboo. The seller said it has around 100 years and he is asking around US$445 for it, I don't know well, but
    I think his price is kinda higher than what it worths. I know it's kinda nonsense of my part to ask that, but could you
    please take a look on the pics of his set and tell me how much do you think its worth? Supposing to have all pieces in a
    very good condition, none broken nor missing nor damaged or heavy dirt somehow.
    Also I've noticed his set has 152 pieces, would be 144 from a normal chinese + 4 extra blank + 4 ducks, which they would be
    jokers?
    And instead 4 seasons and 4 flowers, it has 4 animals and 4 other pieces with people, I don't know, what would be that?
    Notes about the set:
    - 152 pieces (standard chinese game 144 + 4 extra blank + 4 ducks [jokers?] )
    - 8 wind disks (4 medium, 4 small)
    - No score sticks
    - Pretty sure the wooden box it's just an ordinary wooden box, I don't believe the box from the pic is the original from the
    game
    - He said he has a rule booklet but no pics of it so far so I don't know
    I'm planning to buy it, but first I'd like to know what you think, how much do you think it's worth on that condition I've
    said? Does the game look complete?
    I'm attaching the pics I've of it, thanks in advance.
    001.png
    002.png
    003.png
    004.png
    005.png
    006.png
    007.png
    008.png
    009.png
    010.png

    It sounds too high to me, Marshall. You didn't send me photos I can see and use (those are links to Google Drive, and this email address doesn't match my Google account). It's too much work for me to follow links and download photos, even if the links work. If you send me the actual photos rather than links to the photos, I can look at them and use them here. But for now, I do not recommend you pay that asking price.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    January 18, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    I inherited a set

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 17, 2022, 05:00:16 PM EST, Sue M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question is:
    I inherited a Mah-Jong set from my Mother who I believe purchased and played with this set in the 1940’s. I do not play Mah-Jong myself so I thought I would try to sell it. However, I can’t figure out the tiles. It doesn’t have any of the Flowers Tiles but has a couple groups of tiles I can’t find in any of the sets online. These are the ones on the top right of picture. Can you tell me what these other tiles are and is this a full set of tiles that someone could play with? Is there a name for these tiles? Any idea if I could sell this set? It comes in a nice case with the 5 Bakelite racks.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Sue

    Hi, Sue! You asked:

    I can’t figure out the tiles. It doesn’t have any of the Flowers Tiles
    Yes, it does. It has 24 flowers (those "mystery" tiles at upper right). See the Mystery Flowers FAQ.

    is this a full set of tiles that someone could play with?
    Yes. It was intended for American-style play in the early 1960s, since it has 2 jokers (see Column 509). Today's American rules require 8 flowers and 8 jokers, so the buyer of your set would need to sticker some of the flowers to make more jokers. See FAQ 7B.

    Is there a name for these tiles?
    You can just call it a Mah-Lowe Bakelite set (the name is printed on the jokers).

    Any idea if I could sell this set?
    Sure. See Tips For Sellers.

    Good luck! Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2022. Monday, January 17, 6:45 PM.
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody called for a discard, part 2

    On Saturday, January 15, 2022, 05:21:22 PM EST, Sally L wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you!
    ................................
    Sally L

    You're welcome, Sally!
    Tom


    Somebody called for a discard, interrupting the order of play...

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, January 15, 2022, 12:40:42 PM EST, sally l wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    It is my turn to play, I pick a tile from the wall, and before I have racked it another player calls for the last discarded tile. Do I keep the tile I have picked? Whose turn is it after the other player takes the discarded tile and discards another tile?

    Hi, Sally! You asked:

    before I have racked it another player calls for the last discarded tile. Do I keep the tile I have picked?
    No. You put it back on the wall.

    Whose turn is it after the other player takes the discarded tile and discards another tile?
    Play always progresses to the right (counterclockwise) from the last player to make a play. Your turn was skipped by the caller. Don't be mad about that - it's normal, it happens to everybody, and caused by everybody at some point.

    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, January 15, 2022, 1:30 Eastern
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody discarded a redeemable tile! Part 3

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, January 14, 2022, 11:59:04 PM EST, Glenda R wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    A player had an exposure of 2 – 8 Craks and 1 Joker. Later she drew an 8 Crak and discarded it rather than replacing her Joker with it. Can any other player pick up the 8 Crak and replace her Joker with it.

    No, Glenda. A discarded redeemable tile cannot be claimed and redeemed. Down is dead. Read FAQ 19-G2. It's rule 5 on page 23 of the National Mah Jongg League's official rulebook. Every table should have the official rulebook on hand. In the absence of the rulebook, you can bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference; it answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, January 15, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Which way to: Deal, play, pass dice, walls come out?

    On Thursday, January 13, 2022, 05:49:05 PM EST, Sandy W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Which way to:
    Deal, play, pass dice, walls come out?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Sandy!
    I think this is what you're asking?


    ● Dealing is explained in the Dealing section of FAQ 19.
    ● Play order and walls order is explained in FAQ 19-Q ("Counterclockwise, clockwise? I'm so confused!").
    ● Where the dice go after a hand is completed is explained in FAQ 19-DD.

    More questions? If you can't find them in FAQ 19, ask and ye shall get answers!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, January 13, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Stumped on how to clean dirty tiles

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 11:49:15 PM EST, Laury T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I just added a 1960’s? set of aqua tiles for American play to my collection. They are plastic and have a nice shine to them. Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of dirt on the faces of each tile. I’ve never seen tile faces that look this way. It almost looks the residue that a sticker might leave behind, but it’s smooth. I thought perhaps they’re decals. I used a q-tip and alcohol which easily removed the dirt, but also took paint off. Next I used a q-tip with Scrubbing Bubbles. It was more difficult to clean the face dirt and still took off paint. The sides and back are easily cleaned. This is terribly frustrating and I’m stumped. What do you recommend I use and how should I do it?
    Thank you so very much!
    Laury T.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Laury,
    All the tips I have are those I've collected from other readers and from Sandy Beach, who created the foundation of the bulletin boards on this site. See FAQ 7-o. You have learned that alcohol dissolves the paint. If I was using cotton swab sticks, I would be careful not to swab alcohol in the painted grooves. If the painted grooves are dirty, maybe dampen a swab with water? Maybe water with a tiny amount of dish detergent? You could test that on a tile that has already lost some of its paint. FAQ 7-o also includes some tips on painting. Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Thursday, January 13, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    When two players both call the same discard

    On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 08:35:59 PM EST, Anne L wrote:
    Rule Change Question
    I cannot find the answer to this question the National Mah Jongg League website:
    A player said there was a recent rule change such that the first player to call and rack a discarded tile gets it regardless of whether a player next in turn wants it. Is this correct? It's now a question of speed?
    Anne L

    The rule is on the back of the card, Anne. See rule #2.

    The player next in turn from the discarder gets the tile, unless another player has already exposed. That does not mean that it's a race. And it does not mean it's cool to "slam-expose" to get the jump on the next in turn. If you want more information on this, read FAQ 19-H - all of it (H1, H2, H3... and, of course, rules 2-4 on the back of the card).
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, 1/11/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Two people called the same tile for mahj

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 05:30:09 PM EST, Jill B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A tile is thrown by the person in the east seat. The player to the right whose turn is next quickly declares she has maj in her hand (without the thrown tile) and basically at the same time, perhaps a split second later, the player to the left of east calls the thrown tile for maj.
    Who gets the maj?
    We play with 14 tiles, fyi.
    Thanks.
    Jill B
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Jill,
    Like it says in rule 4 on the back of the card, player next in turn after the discarder takes precedence.

    But wait... when you said "We play with 14 tiles," does that mean you pick ahead (in violation of rule 1 on the back of the card)? If somebody picked ahead, then I don't know what effect that might have on the answer to your question.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, 1/11/22
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win? (FAQ 19-CV)

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, January 9, 2022, 08:40:38 PM EST, ralna wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    I was not allowed to Maj with 2 flowers , 3 one bams, 3 two bams, 3 red dragons and 1 soap with 2 jokers.
    What am I missing? I’m happy to send you a screen shot, if necessary.
    Ralnabelle77

    Ralnabelle, what are the chances that the screenshot will show that you had one or more exposures? Consec #8 is a Concealed hand. Apparently, your game does not allow you to make a fatal move.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, January 9, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody discarded a redeemable tile! Part 2

    On Sunday, January 9, 2022, 10:39:00 AM EST, Judi K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: My husband and I have recently learned the game, and often play Mah Jongg together, just the two of us. Last night I was waiting for a tile to complete a pair, which would then give me a Mah Jongg. Instead of the tile I needed, I drew a 7 Bam. My husband had an Exposed Kong of 7 Bams, one was a joker. He called the 7-Bam tile I discarded, replaced his Joker in the Exposed Kong, and then used that Joker to complete his Mah Jongg. Was that a legal move?
    I look forward to your thoughts.
    Cheers,
    Judi

    Hi, Judi!
    A redeemable tile can be claimed only to create a new set for exposure or mah-jongg. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker. See FAQ 19-G2.
    I suggest you bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference; it answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, January 9, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Countin' flowers on the wall

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, 09:53:30 PM EST, Bob W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: in the opening of Chinese mah jong, if a player has two flowers in his initial drawn hand and then proceeds to pick two cards from the dead or kong wall(one of which is flower) , does he immediately draw another card from dead or kong wall, or does he wait till other players after him draw their replacement cards for having also drawn flowers.
    Thanks,
    Bob W

    Hi, Bob! Flower replacements are drawn immediately. I was in a tournament in China. I exposed my flower and announced, "hua" (pronounced "hwa," not "hoo-ah") and took a tile from the back end of the wall. It was a flower so I put it down and said, "hua" and took another from the back end. It was also a flower. "Hua." A little chuckle went up around the table, because that happens sometimes, due to the number of flower tiles and the vagaries of chance. Finally I picked a non-flower. I gestured to the player on my right that they could now take their flower replacements, if any. The game has to wait until each player, in turn, is done replacing flowers. That don't bother me at all.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Sunday, January 9, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    This game's UI is so annoying!

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, January 8, 2022, 11:33:36 AM EST, ralna wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    Why do I have to hit skip each time instead of just passing?
    Thanks for your help
    Rb

    Two possible reasons, ralna:
    1. That game defaults to auto-pass (auto-skip) Off, or;
    2. That's how that game was programmed (there is no auto-skip option).
    Maybe a reader of this board can help, if you tell us which game you play. (There are seven that I know of, assuming you play American mah-jongg. Most of them do not have an auto-pass feature.)
    Next time you have a question about a computer game, I wrote an article on how to get technical support for a computer game. I hope the article helps. I do not provide customer support for any computer game.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Saturday, January 8, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Sloperama supportarama

    On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, 06:07:49 AM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
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    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    Thank you for your continuing support, Evelyn. Happy new year!
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Tuesday, January 4, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Happy New Year!

    On Monday, January 3, 2022, 06:49:12 PM EST, <lindaz... wrote:
    Happy New Year!
    Hi Tom,
    I just wanted to wish you Happy 2022! I hope this year is more healthy for everyone and we can soon return to "normal". Thanks for all you do to keep the MJ community happy and on track. We have felt pretty discouraged the past 2 years but you have been a breath of fresh air with your efforts to encourage us to continue this wonderful game. Some in my group have dropped out, either from fear of contagion or other reasons. Thanks for all you do to keep us sane:>) Hope next year is better--
    With gratitude, Linda

    Thank you, Linda. It's good to hear from you. I hope this year will be better for all of us.
    Play safely and stay healthy. 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
    Monday, January 3, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Somebody discarded a redeemable tile! Can I grab it?

    On Saturday, January 1, 2022, 11:37:58 AM EST, Ruth D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    If I am showing a pong of 5 cracks, using a joker, and a another player does not see the joker, and throws a 5 crack on the table...can I pick it up?

    It depends, Ruth. Are you going to claim it to make a second pung of 5 craks? See FAQ 19-G.2 - a redeemable tile can be claimed only to create a new set for exposure or mah-jongg. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker.
    You might want to bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference; it answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you in the new year.
    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
    Saturday, January 1, 2022
    Rochester, New York, USA


    Looking for an older post? Just click the link below! When the board grows too large, 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 less-than-happy email from a reader with a complaint.
        • 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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