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Sloper On Mah-Jongg (Column)

The Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board


Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg (but not about computer games), and get answers, usually within hours! But before you email, please check out the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Also, someone else may have already asked your question, in which case s/he was answered below, on the Q&A board! You might enjoy looking through the Q&As. I get some crazy questions sometimes. Especially the crazy questions about a computer game when the person doesn't even say which computer game they're asking about!

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  • They constantly stop the Charleston, part 3

    On Thursday, July 2, 2020, 10:13:17 AM PDT, Pete S wrote:
    stopping the charleston revisited
    Hi Tom,
    I got a chuckle out of your response yesterday to Beverly K because you
    started off saying you were too lazy today to explain it all again and
    then wrote, like, a whole page answering her questions. Today I see you
    wrote some more but I think you could add one more suggestion for people
    who don't like stopping the Charleston; play a version of Mahjong that
    doesn't use the Charleston at all. They could even continue to play NMJL
    style, just drop the whole passing tiles bit and play what you're dealt.
    I'm sure I've read it somewhere, maybe even your book, but was the
    Charleston "invented" to prolong game play? Or because someone was
    dissatisfied with their hand as it was dealt?
    -Pete-
    The words we speak are like froth on the water, actions are like drops of gold. -Tibetian Proverb-

    Hi, Pete!
    Chuckling is good! We humans are so amusing. We crack me up sometimes.
    The 3-player rules skip the Charleston, but people (we amusing humans) almost universally insist that a Charleston be had anyway. I've played 3-player without a Charleston, and it's fine. I can hear Penny (from Big Bang Theory) now: "Fine? You said it was fine?" To which Leonard replies, "Yeah, it's a perfectly good word. You put it in front of wine or dining, and you've really got something."
    The 3-player game with no Charleston is fine. Players get a lot more picks from the wall, and it balances out. I've played numerous variants that don't have a Charleston, and those were fine too. But I never tried 4-player NMJL without a Charleston. My theory is that the limitation imposed by the card (with its mere fifty-something hands) necessitates a Charleston, when there are 4 players. When we're limited to only the short list of hands on the card, the Charleston helps shape the hand before getting into the pick-and-discard phase. It was surely not designed to prolong play. No feature of mah-jongg was designed to prolong play. Nobody wants it prolonged! Just the opposite. Everybody wants to play fastfastfastfast!!! That's why I get so many complaints about slow players (not only Charleston stoppers).
    Maybe it's superstition. I've noticed that there's a lot of superstition involved in mah-jongg. "We didn't shuffle the tiles enough." "If four Wests are discarded in a row, it means somebody will die." "If someone stops the Charleston, someone is going to die!"
    So much intense emotion! Hmm, wait, what is this I'm feeling right now, in fact... [Sigh.]
    Stay safe and 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.
    July 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    They constantly stop the Charleston (a followup)

    A followup on what I wrote to Beverly K below.
    I have gotten this question numerous times - somebody stops the Charleston frequently - for whatever reason, who cares what the reason is, it's so annoying that he or she or they stop the Charleston all the time! Yadda yadda yadda.
    If I sound unsympathetic, it's because I am. A student of human nature would get a chuckle out of the Charleston-stopper's reasoning, and does he or she even realize how ticked off it makes some opponents? That student of human nature would also get a chuckle out of the complainer. Does he or she really think the second Charleston will produce a miraculous hand? The clash of [the unable-to-change] meeting head-on with [the believer in second Charleston miracles] is a human-studier's delight!
    I acknowledge that it can produce irritation when someone stops the second Charleston, but the stopper's right to do that should be respected. His/her right to stop the Charleston goes hand-in-hand with your right to do so.
    Is it a question of bad strategy? Yes. But you can take strategic advantage of her bad strategy.
    Is it a question of poor etiquette to do it a lot? That's arguable. If you know it tweaks the others' hackles, and you do it to tweak them royally, then that's not very nice, but if you do it a lot because that's the way you play, well, that's the way you play.
    When I tell complainers that they can't force another person to change and they can just stop playing with that other person, I get blowback. "Oh we couldn't kick her out, we like her! Shame on you for even suggesting it!" Okay, then! She is who she is, you like who she is except for this one thing. That's that!
    I guess my point of this followup is: I don't think frequently stopping the Charleston is that big a deal. Roll with the flow, adapt to the personalities you're playing with. Can't we all just get along? Stay safe and 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.
    July 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    They constantly stop the Charleston

    On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 01:40:21 PM PDT, Beverly K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Two players in my MahJongg group stop the Charleston very often, primarily because they have 2 hands and can not decide. There is MJ etiquette similar to golf etiquette, tennis etiquette, etc. This eliminates at least 9 passes, plus courtesy pass and somewhat penalizes the other three players. How can we tactfully try to stop this from happening about half the time when we play? Thank you.. rbk

    Hi, Beverly! You wrote:

    Two players in my MahJongg group stop the Charleston very often,
    A lot of people have asked me how to deal with this. I've written a LOT about it, and I'm feeling kind of lazy today so I'm pointing you to what I've written previously, before I delve into everything you said in detail. I answered this question ("They constantly stop the Charleston") at https://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive43.htm#stopping. I recommend you click that link and see how I answered Timothy A when he asked your question.

    You also wrote:

    primarily because they have 2 hands and can not decide.
    And you know this how? Do they volunteer that information? (Volunteering information is poor strategy on their part.)

    There is MJ etiquette similar to golf etiquette, tennis etiquette, etc.
    Yes... and? You didn't take that thought all the way to the point you're trying to make. Because in my view, etiquette applies not only to the Charleston-stopper but also to the others at the table. They have a right under the rules to stop the Charleston. Yes, it's irritating to others, and I agree it can be a bad habit, but it can be bad manners to tell them you're irritated.
    That said, you can always boot them from your game, or quit that game and go find players who share your views. Oops, did I go too far just now? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ My point is, people have annoying habits, and we cannot change their annoying habits. We either accept those people, annoyances and all, or we hang out with different people instead. (Not that many of us are hanging out with people these days...)

    This eliminates at least 9 passes, plus courtesy pass and somewhat penalizes the other three players
    There's room for debate here. So I'm debating it:
    1. Nine passes? I don't think so. Each player passes left, then across, then right. That's three passes (for four players). I think you wanted the number to be higher than three so it sounded worse than it really is. Might you be an accountant? (^_^) Sorry, maybe I went too far again.
    2. Courtesy pass? No! The courtesy pass can still happen. Even the stopper can pass as many as three tiles across.
    3. "Penalizes"? When most of the time, nothing new is gained in the second Charleston? I mean, it has happened that something new happens in the second dance, but most of the time, nothing. The most frequently heard kvetch in the Second Charleston is: "same old stuff going around." Am I wrong?

    How can we tactfully try to stop this from happening about half the time when we play?
    I don't think there's anything you can say that would be 50% effective. ... Or maybe anything you say to them would be effective half the time! (~_^)
    You can tell your Charleston-stoppers your personal Charleston strategy (what you do when you have two equal hands you can't decide between). Maybe they'll see a benefit to your strategy if you share it. And you can point your Charleston-stoppers to column 729 (where I wrote about my strategy of stopping the Charleston - or not stopping it).
    I recommend you all read FAQ 9 (about etiquette in mah-jongg), and column 494 (about the dangers of stopping the Charleston).
    I also wrote about Charleston-stopping at these:
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive47.htm#stopping
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive45.htm#stopping
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive42.htm#stopping
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive27.htm#stopping
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive20.htm#stopping
    As soon as I'm feeling less lazy, I'll collect all those into an FAQ or a column. And before I stop, I have to say, I hope you and your group are playing safely and do not get the COVID-19 virus.
    Stay safe and 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.
    July 1, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why did the computer call her dead, part 2

    On Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 06:56:47 PM PDT, Sondra R wrote:
    Re: Question on Use of Jokers
    Ahh, the 8Bs, yes, even though it was early in the game, likely I missed that there were three discards of them on the table. Thus a much simpler explanation than my complicated assumption about the jokers. Thank you again for your quick and excellent response to my query.
    Cheers

    Well, it's a theory, anyway!
    Stay safe and 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 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why did the computer call her dead?

    On Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 03:44:30 PM PDT, Sondra R wrote:
    Question on Use of Jokers
    Hello Mr. Sloper,
    > I have a question on jokers that I’m hoping you can help clarify. I’ve checked your website and some mah jongg rules book before writing you but couldn’t find an answer to this question.
    > I understand that a player may use as many jokers as they wish for any pung, kong, or quint combination. Additionally, they are allowed to create combinations using all jokers as well. When all jokers are used, they do not need an identifying tile in the combination.
    > The Question: Can a player use all jokers for a combination if that combination has already been exposed by another player with one or more natural/identifying tiles. For example, I am playing a hand that needs a pung of 6 dots. But another player exposes a pung of 6 dots. As the game progresses, I am in a position to call mah jongg and put up three jokers with no identifying tiles for my pung of 6 dots. Can I do that? Or are the 6 dots considered “off limits” to me because there is already an exposure identified for 6 dots? Along the same lines, if another player exposes a pung combination using two 6dot tiles and a joker, can I call a 6dot to expose another 6dot pung or kong using jokers.
    > Until recently, I would have said the answer to both questions is Yes, but now have begun to wonder if there is an actual rule covering this. My curiosity was heightened last evening when I was playing online MJ on the Real Mahjongg site and for the first time ever I experienced the computer calling another player‘s hand dead/locking their hand. Playing the 2020 card, the player already had an exposure of 4 flowers, and then exposed a kong of 9 bams and was immediately called dead by the computer site. In making those two exposures, that would have limited their options to two possible hands under consecutive runs. I looked around the online table, and saw a pung exposure of 7 bams, using 1 joker and two 7 bams. There was also one 7 bam in the discards, so three 7 bams were “showing” to other players. As such, that would have eliminated one of the possible options (FFFF 1 22 333 4444) that required a pair of 7 bams. However, the other option under consecutive runs (FFFF 1111 22 3333) could have been completed using a kong of 4 jokers to replace the 7 bams needed, or even 3 jokers and one 7 bam. Thus how would the computer have known that the player couldn’t complete the one option using all jokers unless the exposure of 7 bams already on the table eliminated that option (hence my question above).
    > Sorry for the very long question/explanation, and hope all this makes sense. Thank you in advance for any response.
    Please omit my email should you deem my question postable on your site. Thank you

    Hi, Sondra! You wrote:

    Can a player use all jokers for a combination if that combination has already been exposed by another player with one or more natural/identifying tiles.
    Sure. Let's use Green Dragon as our example. Since there are four Greens and eight jokers in the set, there can be as many as three kongs of Greens on the table.

    As the game progresses, I am in a position to call mah jongg and put up three jokers with no identifying tiles for my pung of 6 dots. Can I do that?
    Sure. Why not?

    Or are the 6 dots considered “off limits” to me because there is already an exposure identified for 6 dots?
    That's a unique idea! But no.

    My curiosity was heightened last evening when I was playing online MJ on the Real Mahjongg site and for the first time ever I experienced the computer calling another player‘s hand dead/locking their hand.
    Okay, now we're in a different realm. Video games are created by people, and people can have all kinds of unique ideas - ideas that have nothing to do with the National Mah Jongg League's rules. The game developers might have an imperfect understanding of the League's rules. Game developers can also write imperfect code. Bugs can happen.

    Playing the 2020 card, the player already had an exposure of 4 flowers, and then exposed a kong of 9 bams and was immediately called dead by the computer site.
    With a kong of F and a kong of 9B, there are two hands the player might be making: Consec #2 and Consec #6. If 8B is dead on the table, she cannot make Consec #2. If 6B or 7B are dead on the table, she cannot make Consec #6. If either 6B or 7B is dead and 8B is dead, her hand is dead. You say 7B was dead. But was 8B also dead? Maybe three of them had been discarded?

    Thus how would the computer have known...
    I stopped you there, because computers "know" what they're programmed to know. Mah-jongg A.I. can be programmed in such a way that the A.I. can see what tiles each player is holding, and can see what tiles are remaining in the wall. But I don't know how the A.I. was programmed, and I don't assume that what happened had anything to do with how many jokers there were in use.

    Since you didn't send me a screen shot of this situation, I can't tell you if the player was unfairly called dead or not. Going back to your assumption, that the computer called her dead out of a mistaken interpretation of the NMJL joker rules? I have no idea if there is any such mistake in the game. I don't know why the computer called the player dead. I would need a screenshot at the very least.

    Stay safe and 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 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can she redeem more than one joker in a turn?

    On Friday, June 26, 2020, 03:56:59 PM PDT, Debora M wrote:
    Joker question
    A player exposed 4 tiles ,2 three bams and 2 jokers. Another player had the other 2 three bams. When it is her turn, can she exchange her 2 tiles for the jokers all at once or can she only exchange one joker per turn?
    Thank you
    Debora M
    Get Outlook for iOS

    Hi, Debora!
    A player can redeem as many as 8 jokers in one turn. See FAQ 19-N. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference.
    I hope you're playing safely.
    Stay safe and 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 26, 2020 5:45 PM
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can he pick up that discarded redeemable tile and redeem it for a joker?

    On Friday, June 26, 2020, 01:55:18 PM PDT, Martin W wrote:
    Query
    Good afternoon. Our query is, a player had a Kong of 2 cracks, one of them being a joker. Player ahead of her discarded the 2 crack without looking, can the player displaying the 3 cracks and joker take the 2 crack from the discard and replace his joker. Thank you Wilma W

    Hi, Wilma!
    Once a redeemable tile has been discarded, it can only be taken for mah-jongg or to create a new set for exposure. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker. See FAQ 19-G. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference.
    I hope you are playing safely.
    Stay safe and 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 26, 2020 5:45 PM
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What is the story behind the one bam bird?

    On Thursday, June 25, 2020, 03:33:58 PM PDT, Sibyl W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My friends & I would be interested in knowing the history of why
    the one bam is an image of a bird when other 2 suits are not.
    Thank you
    Best wishes,
    Sibyl

    Hi, Sibyl!
    If all 3 suits had a bird as the #1 tile, how could we tell them apart? (^_^)
    I don't really know the actual reason (nobody does), but I wrote some theories in the Mystery Tiles FAQ. Look for the question "What is the story behind the one bird bam?" from Rae T.
    Stay safe and 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 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Valuation of our vintage set, part 2

    On Thursday, June 25, 2020, 03:04:51 PM PDT, <benjswart wrote:
    Re: Valuation of Our vintage Mah Jongg set
    I appreciated you unbelievably quick response to my e-mail. The only question that I have relates to my assessment about the carving of the figures. My understanding is that stamped tiles would have flat bottoms in the stampings, handcarved would have very irregular slants, which these do have. There are no flat bottoms in any of the tiles. Is there a possibility that these could be carved?

    Hi, <benjswart.
    So the only part of my response that you want to question is when I said that the tile designs are not carved. You maintain that there are only two ways designs can be put on mah-jongg tiles: carving and stamping. I maintain that molding is a third method that could produce designs on tiles. And this is borne out by what I found on Wikipedia just now: "Celluloid is very robust and easy to mold in difficult forms..."
    Stamping would have to occur when the material is not yet fully hardened, if I understand correctly. Carving (if celluloid can be carved) would not result in perfectly identical tiles. Look at your bams, like the sixes - look at how perfectly aligned all the sticks are. No irregularities such as one would expect from hand carved tiles. Look at the 1D tiles, the intricate flower petals, with a break in the outer circle at the left side, repeated on each of the others (indicated by the white lines I drew there) - it looks to me like a flaw in the stamp or mold.

    No carver would make an identical flaw in each tile. I say these are machine-made (either by stamping or, more likely, in a mold).
    Need more evidence? You say stamped tiles would always have flat bottoms and you say your tiles do not have flat bottoms in the inset designs. Your photos are blurry, but this one part of one of your photos is less blurry:

    See the thick areas in the red dragon and the West. Especially the West. Looks to me like light reflecting off the bottom of the wide inset areas (white lines point to them), indicating that it is indeed flat in there. Could be worn paint though (worn off the flat bottom of the inset area).
    I could be very wrong about the set's value, but you can't convince me that your tiles are hand carved.
    A fourth method for creating inset designs would be engraving, by the way. That would also result in a flat bottom to the inset areas. I don't see what difference any of this makes, unless you are writing a sales pitch.
    Stay safe and 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 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Valuation of our vintage set

    On Thursday, June 25, 2020, 09:54:31 AM PDT, benjswart wrote:
    Valuation of Our vintage Mah Jongg set
    Tom,
    Even though this will be against your preferred was of doing this I have no choice but to write this up as a document and then attach it to this e-mail. When I write something other than a short e-mail, when I get part way through it, it disappears from the screen and I have to start all over again. I thought doing it as a draft and saving it would solve the problem.
    So this is the way I have to do it. Also, there will be an attached folder with all of the attached photos so that all you have to do is open the folder to see them. I did this rather than paste all the pix onto the e-mail.
    IMG_0620.JPG IMG_0621.JPG IMG_0623.JPG IMG_0625 - Copy.JPG IMG_0626.JPG IMG_0627 - Copy.JPG IMG_0628 - Copy.JPG IMG_0629 - Copy.JPGIMG_0630.JPGIMG_0631.JPG IMG_0632.JPG IMG_0643.JPGSloperama.doc
    Description of Vintage Mah Jongg Set For Valuation
    This set was acquired by us 40+ years ago. It appears to have been produced in China in the early 1020’s The entire set is in excellent condition. The box has 5 drawers in it. The box is made of Teak and has one small nick in the lower left hand corner. There are brass decorative pieces on each of the top four corners of the box. All 144 tiles in excellent condition, although there is slight color differentiation between some of themThere are 8 Flowers which you will see in the photos. There 4 Red Dragons, 4 white Dragons, and 4green Dragons. Also, there is a Bamboo photo as a “1” as a bird.They are hand carved and as such have been identified as “Bakelite” I was sure that because of the striation marks, which were irregular and not uniform, that they may been bone. They measure 1 ¼” x 7/8” x 3/8”. There is a round container having 4 round “position” discs and 2 dice measuring 3/8” square
    Accompanying the set are a book copyrighted in New York in 1922and a similarly dated scoring pad that was published in Minneapolis at about the same time.
    There are 102 dotted gambling sticks in the bottom tray.
    The box measures 9 ½” x 6 ½” x 6”.
    A photo of the removable front of the box pretty clearly shows the gilted art work.
    If there is any further information you need. Let me know and I will endeavor to provide it.

    Hi, benjswart.
    I'm afraid that I have to correct you on a number of things you said:

    The entire set is in excellent condition.
    No. It is not. See FAQ 7H. Excellent means "only very minor defects which only a purist or expert would notice or care about." The defects visible in the photos are not "very minor," and anybody can notice them easily.

    The box is made of Teak
    I will have to take your word on that. I do not know how to identify a wood from a photo. Checking images online, it's possible that you are correct.

    and has one small nick in the lower left hand corner.
    That is absolutely not true. There is a lot more damage than that visible in the front view of the box. Look at the lower right corner, for example - a long chunk of wood is missing there. I can also see numerous nicks and worn edges. I can't see the box's back or bottom, where there may be yet more damage.

    It appears to have been produced in China in the early 1020’s
    My guess would be America, since the logo on the box is that of an American company, the Piroxloid Products Company. See the 1920s books page, where you'll see that emblem on a book called "The Ancient Game of the Mandarins" - oh heck, here's that picture (you don't need to click the link).

    Piroxloid could have had the box made anywhere, but I would think they would have had it made domestically. But yes, the set was made in the 1920s.

    All 144 tiles in excellent condition, although there is slight color differentiation between some of them
    The discoloration is not "slight." The condition is therefore not Excellent.

    They are hand carved
    No. They are not.

    and as such have been identified as “Bakelite” I was sure that because of the striation marks, which were irregular and not uniform, that they may been bone.
    They look to me like solid celluloid. But the photos are all blurry, so I'm not 100% positive. See FAQ 7C.

    They measure 1 ¼” x 7/8” x 3/8”.
    3/8" is thinner than usual - more evidence to support my hypothesis that your tiles are solid celluloid (a material that was normally used as a veneer). See tile dimensions in FAQ 7A.

    Accompanying the set are a book copyrighted in New York in 1922and a similarly dated scoring pad that was published in Minneapolis at about the same time.
    Babcock's "Little Red Book" (hardcover). You didn't say which edition (that information is included in every edition). You didn't say what condition it's in. The score sheet is not in Excellent condition (bent corner). The set includes the wrong book - it should have Mandovill's "Ancient Game of the Mandarins" instead of Babcock's little red book.

    Solid celluloid tiles are desirable to collectors, but the set's condition is less than ideal.

    The value of the set depends on what you plan to do with it, and why you ask. If you are going to keep the set and you want to know how much to value it for insurance purposes, I'd say call it $200. If somebody was selling the set and you were considering buying it, I would say don't spend more than $150. If you are planning to offer it for auction, I would say set a starting price of $150 and see where it goes. If you are planning to sell it outright, ask for $200 but be ready to come down as far as $120. Note that I could be way off! You should check with CHarli, Carli, and Gregg - their websites are listed at the bottom of FAQ 4A.

    My estimate is for the box and its contents. The Babcock book is worth maybe $20 (maybe more, depending on condition). The scorecard is worth maybe $15.

    Stay safe and 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 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Taoist mah-jongg, part 2

    On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 05:32:19 PM PDT, Patricia D wrote:
    Re: Taoist Mahjong rules
    Thanks for the information I requested. You made it easy to retrieve. We also play American Mahjong and were fascinated ast the thought of playing without a card. There are quite a few followers of this style of Mahjong where we gather to play and just want to make sure we are following the correct system of play.
    Have a good evening,
    Pat

    On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 05:22:48 PM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia D
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Patricia D. You can view the transaction details online .
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Patricia D
    Message: Thank you a quick response for the information I requested.
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    You're welcome, Pat. Thanks for the donation. I must say, I'm surprised that you have "quite a few" players of this obscure variant in your area; I've never seen anyone play Taoist MJ.
    And I sincerely hope nobody gets the coronavirus.
    Stay safe and 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 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Taoist mah-jongg

    On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 03:56:24 PM PDT, Patricia D wrote:
    Hi,
    My name is Pat and I am trying to learn the Taoist style of Mahjong along with 3 of my friends. we have a loose idea of how the game is played but have some questions about the order of the play, who can pick up what tile when.
    I would really appreciate seeing Jeff G's rules for play.
    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    Hi, Pat!
    I checked FAQ 2B to look up Taoist style, and that led me to sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive42.htm and found the entire conversation with Jeff G there. Then I checked sloperama.com/downlode/mahjongg/ and found Jeff's documents there.
    I have to wonder why you and your friends are studying that particular form of mah-jongg. I had forgotten that conversation with Jeff (it was two and a half years ago), and I don't know where (if anywhere) you can find more information on that particular variant. You're on your own pretty much, but my guess is that the order of the play is not different from the order of play in ALL the other variants - players take turns counterclockwise. And my guess is that a player can pick up anytime to expose a pung or kong or to declare mah-jongg, and that chowing is only permitted on one's turn (only from the player to his/her left). Same as all other variants. (Remember: that's my guess.) I think you're safe to adapt Jeff's rules to the standard way of doing things, since it's extremely unlikely that some Taoist is going to show up and tell you you're doing it all wrong. Stay safe and 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 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What did I do wrong, part 2

    On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, 09:33:20 AM PDT, Story E wrote:
    Re: what did i do wrong
    You understood my question perfectly. Sorry for the unclear explanation. But thanks to your answer I can now go to Maj this week and not feel like I totally blew it last week.
    Story

    Glad I could help, Story!
    Stay safe and 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 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Quints #2

    On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 12:19:47 PM PDT, Jessie R wrote:
    Quint#2
    Do the two pairs have to precede the two quints?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Jessie!
    Yes, the two pairs have to be lower numbers than the quints. The first pair can be any number from 1 to 7. The second pair must be the next higher consecutive number. The quints must both be the number that consecutively follows the two pairs. Since this question was not in FAQ 16 before you asked, I'm adding it now. Stay safe and 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 23, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What did I do wrong?

    On Monday, June 22, 2020, 03:53:41 PM PDT, Story E wrote:
    what did i do wrong
    Hi Tom.
    I so enjoy your column. Thank you. I begin playing a year and a half ago and love maj! I played last Friday and had one of the strangest hands. I can’t stop wondering what I should have done. I did NOT win.
    At the end of the Charleston I had
    Two 7dot, one 8dot, 2 9dot, 2 G . 1 R and 1 joker.
    I thought it was a pretty good start to the 7th CR hand. Even if it was concealed.
    I was quite lucky and drew a 7dot and 9 dot and 2 more jokers. But 2 of the 8 dots were discarded.
    My problem is that I drew 3 more jokers. When I drew the 4th joker I didn’t want to let on that I needed a pair so I discarded a 7. And the same with joker #5. By the time Idrew #6 I was quite sure I could have won with another hand.
    My question is at what point should I have decided this. Obviously I was too late. In hindsight I think I could have changed to CR# 4. And called maj when a soap was discarded.
    The 8dot that never got discarded was in a players rack. And the wall won.
    Thank you for any guidance you can give this relative newbie.
    Story

    Hi, Story!
    It's a little hard to follow what went on by reading your email. Until I get into it visually, I'm not certain that you DID do anything wrong! You wrote:

    At the end of the Charleston I had
    Two 7dot, one 8dot, 2 9dot, 2 G . 1 R and 1 joker.
    I thought it was a pretty good start to the 7th CR hand. Even if it was concealed.
    Let's see it:

    Yes, it is an obvious great start for Consec #7. There is a risk that you might not get the second 8D, but at the end of the Charleston this is a risk I would take.

    I was quite lucky and drew a 7dot and 9 dot and 2 more jokers. But 2 of the 8 dots were discarded.
    Time to get nervous! But don't let the others know they're killing you. (~_^)

    My problem is that I drew 3 more jokers.
    Face-palm time! (^_^)

    When I drew the 4th joker I didn’t want to let on that I needed a pair so I discarded a 7.
    Smart!

    And the same with joker #5. By the time Idrew #6 I was quite sure I could have won with another hand.
    Logical.

    My question is at what point should I have decided this. Obviously I was too late. In hindsight I think I could have changed to CR# 4. And called maj when a soap was discarded.
    The 8dot that never got discarded was in a players rack. And the wall won.
    I Googled sayings about hindsight. Found these:
    "Of all the words of mice and [wo]men, the saddest are, 'It might have been.'"
    "Hindsight, I think, is a useless tool."
    "I would find myself getting deeply distressed if I lived in hindsight all the time."
    None of those are very helpful (or even entertaining). The thing is, there was no way for you to know what kind of tricks the mah-jongg goddesses are playing on you. You did nothing wrong. It's a gamble, you knew it, you took it, and it didn't work out. That's why a gamble is ... you know ... a gamble.

    Stay safe and 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 22, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Stopping a player from ponging

    On Friday, June 19, 2020, 09:36:40 AM PDT, RJ D wrote:
    Stopping a player from ponging
    Is it possible to stop a player from ponging by quickly drawing a tile from the wall after previous player discarded? Can they still pong even after the player looked at the tile that was drawn from the wall? Do you have to give time for other players to pong before going next? Some people say its about speed. You lost your chance since you didnt pong right away but not even 1 second passed by and they drew from the wall already. This is confusing. It seems like cheating. Please let me know.

    Hi, RJ! You wrote:

    Is it possible to stop a player from ponging by quickly drawing a tile from the wall after previous player discarded?
    Yes, it's possible. But the specifics of the rules depend on which rules you're playing (American, Japanese, Hong Kong, Chinese Official, Taiwanese, British/Australian, Wright-Patterson...).

    Can they still pong even after the player looked at the tile that was drawn from the wall?
    Depending on (a) which mah-jongg variant you play and (b) how much time elapsed between the discard and the pick from the wall (depending on the variant).

    Do you have to give time for other players to pong before going next?
    In Chinese Official rules, you have to give them 3 seconds*. In other variants, "giving time" is a matter of etiquette, not rules.
    * To put it more succinctly: if a player calls the latest discard within 3 seconds, next-in-turn has to put the picked tile back on the wall. Nobody actually waits 3 seconds before picking.

    Some people say its about speed.
    Yes. I don't like those people. Mah-jongg should flow at a nice smooth pace, not too slow and not too fast.

    You lost your chance since you didnt pong right away but not even 1 second passed by and they drew from the wall already.
    Maybe not, depending on what rules you are using.

    This is confusing.
    Then you should buy a book that defines the rules of your mah-jongg variant. See FAQ 3 for books.

    It seems like cheating.
    I am putting on my psychic mindreader hat and guessing that:
    - You were thwarted in your attempt to make a pung (you are not the person who tried to stop somebody else from claiming a discard).
    - This happened at a physical table with live humans, not socially distanced safely (this didn't happen in a computer game). The reason for this guess is that you talked about people who "say it's about speed," and you mentioned "cheating," and cheating is a human foible, not a computer thing. If a computer doesn't give you a chance to call a discard, it's because your claim is either disallowed or superseded.

    I dislike aggressive play practices like "pickandrack." On a player's turn, he should count to at least 1 (or even 2) in his mind before reaching for the wall. That brief delay gives other players a fair chance at calling the live discard.
    Stay safe and 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, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call a discard for a 2020? Can I use a joker in a 2020?

    On Tuesday, June 16, 2020, 11:35:20 AM PDT, phyllisn wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Are all the hands that contain 2020 tiles are they considered single tiles or are there considered a Kong a four and can they be called to complete the IV also can you use a joker in those hands
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Phyllis!
    A kong is four identical tiles. A 2020 can be thought of as four singles or two pairs knitted. Either way, the NEVER rule applies. You may not call a discard for a 2020. You may not use a joker in a 2020. See FAQ 19-E.


    The NEVER rule is on the back of the card.
    Stay safe and 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 16, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Somebody called for the discard just after I racked but before I'd let go

    On Tuesday, June 16, 2020, 09:34:24 AM PDT, Linda D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Tom...
    I am new to the game of mahjong.
    My question is when a tile is laid or discarded and the next person draws their tile and they are placing it on their wall (they have actually touched the wall with the tile) but they have NOT let go of the tile....can another person call for the laid/discarded tile
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Linda!
    I believe you used the word "wall" to mean "rack." The wall is the long array of face-down tiles in stacks of two. The rack is the long plastic thing you put tiles on (and that you use to line up a wall on).
    The answer to your question is FAQ 19-C - read it to learn about the Window Of Opportunity during which a player can claim a discard, and read FAQ 19-AD to learn what the definition of "racking" is.
    Stay safe and 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 16, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call that discard, or do I have to have a non-joker in hand?

    On Monday, June 15, 2020, 12:47:07 PM PDT, Martin W wrote:
    Query
    Good afternoon, a few queries, I need 3 7,s and have 2 jokers in my hand, may I take a discarded 7? Also, if a Kong or Pung has jokers and I have one or two of the tiles may I take them both. Thanks, Wilma W

    Yes, you may, Wilma. See rule 13 on page 23 in the official rulebook (2020 edition).


    The official rulebook

    Or see FAQ 19-L. You don't have to have a natural (a non-joker) in order to call a discard.
    Added next day: Sorry, I missed your second question. You may redeem up to 8 jokers in one turn. See FAQ 19-N.
    Stay safe and 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, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How can we rotate players, part 3

    On Saturday, June 13, 2020, 10:07:29 AM PDT, Timothy A wrote:
    Lola M's question
    Hi Tom, Saw the question from Lola M about rotating players in Real MJ.
    Seat assignment is made when a person log into the game. The person that starts the game is automatically East, the second person to sign in will be to the right, or South, the third will be West and the fourth will be North.
    To change this seating after a few hands, the second player quits the game then quickly rejoin the game, player 3 and 4 would shift up to the South and West position and then player 2 would rejoin the game at the North position.
    Doing this at the end of a game, with the knowledge of all players to wait before they start the Charleston tile they return, should accomplish what Lola M want.
    Personally I don’t see the need for doing this as the system automatically moves East around the table and in most cases where I play with friends, we never log into the game in the same order so we never know who will be where at the table.
    Tim A.

    Thanks for the tip, Tim! Hopefully Lola will see it and be helped by it.
    Stay safe and 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 13, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are there rules as to a bettor's behavior?

    On Saturday, June 13, 2020, 06:24:12 AM PDT, Hedy G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: about playing with a better. Are there specific rules as to a bettor’s behavior...ie, what she can say, hint to....etc.
    We play with a bettor and there is one player who will say and or hint at inappropriate suggestions. If there are specific rules I would appreciate knowing them.
    Thank you
    Hedy G

    Hi, Hedy.
    There certainly are rules! As I wrote in FAQ 19-W4, a bettor is not allowed to say anything until after all players have made payment. If she makes ANY comment that hints at which player might win or what any player is holding - even if she just reacts with facial expressions or sounds that make any kind of hint - her bet is void.
    Someone who says or hints inappropriately while betting surely is guilty of all kinds of table talk. You might want to read the June 12, 2016 column (four years ago yesterday!) about table talk. A good player refrains from passing information to the other players. A smart player keeps a poker face. Players need to know when to, and not to, comment on the game.
    I hope your group stays healthy while we still have no vaccine against the coronavirus.
    Stay safe and 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 13, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Isn’t it true that you cannot put pairs on your rack?

    On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 05:35:20 PM PDT, Rose B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Isn’t it true that you cannot put pairs on your rack?

    Hi, Rose! A thorny question... you have to put ALL your tiles (singles, pairs, pungs, kongs, quints) on your rack - you're not allowed to have your tiles anywhere else!
    That said, I suppose you're asking if a pair can be exposed atop the rack (prior to the declaration of mah-jongg). And for that question, of course you are correct. As I wrote in FAQ 19-E1: A discard may only be taken to make a PUNG, KONG, QUINT, or SEXTET - or, of course, to make mah-jongg.
    So, I have to wonder why you asked, and why you asked in the way you did. Is somebody insisting otherwise? You're involved in a heated argument? Or a computer game allowed a pair exposure? Inquiring minds want to know!
    Stay safe and 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 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How can we rotate players, part 2

    On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 02:44:27 PM PDT, Lola M wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I apologize that my question wasn't specific. I was asking about how players can rotate on RealMahjongg.com. sorry for confusion!

    I'm the one who's sorry for the confusion, Lola. I'm sorry you think I provide tech support for any computer games, because I do not do that. But maybe another reader will know how to rotate seats in that game (if the feature is supported at all, which it might not be), or you can see FAQ 24 for information about how to contact the game's maker to ask them your tech support question.
    I am happy to learn that you are playing safely online. I do hope you all stay safe and 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, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How can we rotate players?

    On Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 04:08:02 PM PDT, Lola K M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I play each week with the same people. How can we rotate players so we're not always opposite same player? Thanks!

    Hi, Lola. You can read the seat rotation procedure for American mah-jongg in FAQ 19-BB. (I'm going out on a limb and assuming your group plays American/NMJL.) I hope you all stay healthy.
    Stay safe and 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 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I'd like to ask your opinion

    On Saturday, June 6, 2020, 10:22:17 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    No Subject
    Hi Tom,
    Sometimes you answer questions about computer games even though you've asked us not to send those questions in. I'd like to ask your opinion about something I've noticed -- just to satisfy my curiosity--I'm not specifically seeking advice. I play "Real MJ Online" and I've noticed that the bots will often call for a tile and expose 2 or 3 jokers with it pretty early in the game. This seems like poor strategy to me and I'd like your opinion/thoughts about this. Thanks for being being so patient with your readers!
    Stay well, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    I guess the AI wasn't programmed with that particular bit of joker strategy. I don't know what kind of opinion or thoughts you want from me. Can you be more specific?
    Stay safe and 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.
    6/6/2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Thursday, June 4, 2020, 03:52:51 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Notification of Donation Received
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of$10.00 USD from Evelyn H. You can view the transaction details online .
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Contributor: Evelyn H
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you again, Evelyn! I appreciate you.
    Stay safe and 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 4, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win?

    On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 08:51:34 AM PDT, Phyllis H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I needed one soap in the 2020 for a Mahjong it would replace a joker but the game did not allow me to call it for Mahjong. Why?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi again, Phyllis.
    I don't have enough information to answer your question. As I told Catherine on May 29 below, the usual reason the computer won't let you win is because you're trying to do something that's against the National Mah Jongg League's rules. There must have been something wrong with your hand. But without a screenshot or a description of all the tiles in your hand (see what Catherine sent me), I can't help you.
    Stay safe and 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 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I use a joker for a soap in a 2020

    On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 06:56:24 PM PDT, Phyllis H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:Can I use a joker for a soap in a 2020 hand
    Sent from my iPhone

    The answer is on the back of the card, Phyllis.

    A joker may NEVER be used for a single tile, or for any part of a pair. If you need more detail, see FAQ 19-E2.
    Stay safe and 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 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is reverse redemption allowed?

    On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 07:52:07 AM PDT, Cathy A wrote:
    Using a joker to redeem a tile in an exposed hand
    Playing last night someone at the table wanted to redeem a 6Bam from an exposed hand of that was a Kong of 6Bams ( 3 - 6Bams and 1 - Joker). The player wanted to use a joker to redeem a 6Bam because she needed a pair of 6Bams for her hand (she had 1-6Bam in her hand). So she couldn't use the joker and knew she would never draw another 6Bam since the three other 6Bam tiles were all exposed. We had never seen anyone use a joker to redeem a different tile from an exposed hand only the other way around. I looked through your post on jokers but didn't see anything about this situation. Just because we've never seen it done doesn't mean it's against the rules but we thought we would ask for clarification.
    Thanks for your help
    Cathy

    Hi, Cathy!
    You wrote:

    The player wanted to use a joker to redeem a 6Bam because...
    It doesn't matter why! It's illegal regardless of purpose.

    I looked through your post on jokers but didn't see anything about this situation.
    I assume you mean the Jokers section of FAQ 19. The rule you were looking for is FAQ 19-AL, "Can I exchange a joker for a non-joker tile (reverse redemption)?.

    Just because we've never seen it done doesn't mean it's against the rules
    See rule 7 on page 23 of the official rulebook, "Mah Jongg Made Easy."

    Reverse redemption is definitely against the rules.
    Stay safe and 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 2, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are my tiles made of?

    On Monday, June 1, 2020, 02:01:59 PM PDT, bswartz wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Do you authenticate tiles. I have a Mah Joingg set dating back to the early 1920’s. From one of your articles I have determined that the tiles are definitely not ivoryl A jeweler that I trust could not absolutely make the distinction between bone and man made material in spite of the striation lines that are present. I woiuld be interested to know what you would charge for the purpose of correctly identifying the material of those tiles. I send you two or three tiles for your examination. I am interested in determining only what the material that the tiles are made from. As far as a monetary idea of the value, seeing several very similar boxed sets on e-bay, I have a fairly accurate idea of the range of price. I am very aware that prices on e-bay are one thing, sales prices are another. But once I know the material of the tiles, I feel I could determine a reasonable price for the set when I decide to make a listing.

    Hi, b.
    I charge $100 to do what you want to do - and your set might be worth about that much. I think it would be better to just send me some photos of your tiles. You say there are striations - that means the tiles might be ivory, bone, or celluloid ("French ivory"). Your jeweler couldn't tell if they were manmade material or not, you say. It's easy to differentiate celluloid from ivory and bone - the hard one is differentiating bone from ivory (and you say you've already read my "Is It Ivory" page, so you know they're not ivory). Just save the money (and the time) - send me some pictures, why doncha! No charge to look at some photos.
    Stay safe and 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 1, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I do not understand the scoring after the 100th game

    On Saturday, May 30, 2020, 11:19:06 AM PDT, Pat C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I do not understand the scoring after you have played 100 games. Prior to that it was pretty much standard but now I do not understand it. Help if you can. Thanks

    Hi, Pat! Maybe if you say the title of the app you're playing, another reader of this board might have some info for you. When seeking support with any app, you need to provide:
    - The full title of the app or program;
    - The name of the game's publisher, if you can find it*
    - What platform you play the game on (iPhone? Android? Chrome? Firefox? Safari? etc.)
    Also, here we can only help with "real" mah-jongg apps - not tile-matching apps purporting to be mah-jongg but they're not.


    Above: real mah-jongg is a 4-player game

    Above: tile-matching games are solitaire games - played with mah-jongg tiles but not rightly called "mah-jongg"

    * If you don't know the name of your app's maker, see FAQ 24.
    Good luck finding the answer to your question!

    Stay safe and 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 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me, part 2

    On Friday, May 29, 2020, 05:44:57 PM PDT, catherine s via PayPal wrote:
    ccs sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $25.00 USD from ccs...
    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
    May 29, 2020 17:44:45 PDT
    Buyer information
    catherine s
    Instructions from buyer
    None provided
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama
    $25.00 USD 1 $25.00 USD
    Total: $25.00 USD
    PayPal is committed to preventing fraudulent emails. Emails from PayPal will always contain your full name. Learn to identify phishing

    Thank you very much, Catherine!
    Stay safe and 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 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win?

    On Friday, May 29, 2020, 01:55:22 PM PDT, Catherine S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: why am I not allowed to call a tile to complete a pair when it (the completion of the pair) is mahjongg???
    My hand was:
    2 of one dot
    2 of two dot
    1 of 3 dot
    4 of four crack
    4 of five crack

    Hi, Catherine.
    There are two main reasons why an app won't permit a winning move:
    1- The rules of mah-jongg prohibit the move (or would penalize you for making the move);
    2- The creator of the app made a boo-boo. In other words, "it's a bug."
    In most cases, it's number one. It's rare that it's a mistake (a "bug"), because when there's a bug this obvious, and the app has been around for a while, a serious bug would surely have already been reported to the software publisher or developer, and fixed. You didn't say which app you're playing, but if you want to contact the app publisher/developer, maybe FAQ 24 will help.
    But let's take a look at the hand you were holding:
    11 22 3 4444 5555
    It looks to me like you were attempting to make Consec #5 from the 2020 NMJL card, but you were making it with only two suits, when it's supposed to be three suits. The rules of mah-jongg would penalize you for declaring mah-jongg with the tiles you were playing, so the app simply didn't allow you to make a fatal error.

    Stay safe and 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 29, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Looking for a 5th player

    On Thursday, May 28, 2020, 04:08:03 AM PDT, susan f wrote:
    Find Players/Teachers
    The mah-jongg variant I play is: American
    We have 4 steady Monday night players, looking for a 5th steady player.

    I'm sorry, Susan, but my Find Players/Teachers/Events bulletin board is offline until the coronavirus emergency is over.
    Stay safe and 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 29, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Old Chinese 3 suited playing cards deck, probably “linear style”

    On Thursday, May 28, 2020, 02:39:43 PM PDT, Outlook Express <peter wrote:
    Old Chinese 3 suited playing cards deck, probably “linear style”
    Hi Tom. I know that you don’t like abstract quedtios, but I have no other means of ascertaing what a complete set (126 cards) might potentially be worth. My specifc question is : Are they scarce ?
    I am assuming it a precursor to Mahjong.
    If you can’t help, OK, but I need to ask you the question.
    Best regards,
    Peter A.
    Obtener Outlook para iOS

    Hi, Peter.
    So you're asking about 3-suited money cards, along the lines of these:

    Maybe your "linear style" looks different? There are three styles of money cards shown in FAQ 11-B. Is "linear style" perhaps one of those? Your cagey attitude suggests you either own such a deck or are considering purchasing one (and don't want anybody jumping in and outbidding you). That information (own versus buy) would have been helpful for me. All I can say is that the value of such things depends on:
    1. Age (not just apparent age)
    2. Condition (see FAQ 7-H)
    3. Desirability (beauty, uniqueness/rarity, usefulness...)
    That's all I can tell you, based on your email. I can't tell you the scarcity of something I can't see. Stay safe and 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 28, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Which thing happens clockwise?

    On Thursday, May 28, 2020, 06:23:57 AM PDT, Mary A wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Everything moves counter-clockwise from one player to the next except for one thing, as I recall. When does a clockwise movement occur in the game?
    Sent from my iPad

    Good morning, Mary.
    The thing that happens clockwise is wall depletion. I suppose one of these images from FAQ 19-Q explains it better than the other, but I don't know which one is more effective at communicating this answer:

    Here's another way of looking at it: those two directions in one illustration:

    I'd love to hear back from you which illustration clarifies the answer better. Stay safe and 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 28, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 739

    On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 09:43:32 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    Column 739
    Hi Tom,
    Regarding Column 739--interesting that you used 5's in each problem. Was there a hidden message? I love your quizzes!
    Be well, Linda

    Hi, Linda! Glad you enjoy the quizzes. There was no hidden message in that one. Hope there were no hidden mistakes!
    Stay safe and 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 27, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is there a way to disable Skip and Waiting?

    On Sunday, May 24, 2020, 09:31:43 PM PDT, Marcia S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I love playing on this site, but what really annoys me is the SKIP and Waiting for callers. They are such a waste of time. Is there any way my group can dismantle them?
    Marcy
    Sent from Marcy's iPad

    Hi, Marcia. Maybe if you say what mah-jongg site you play on,* another reader of this board might have secret knowledge of a way to disable those settings. Or you can ask the game's maker/publisher directly (see FAQ 24).
    * (You said "this site," but there's no playable game here.)
    Stay safe and 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 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Playing from the wrong wall, part 2

    On Friday, May 22, 2020, 06:21:37 PM PDT, Donna E wrote:
    Fwd: Playing from the wrong wall
    Tom hi,
    I always love all of your Q and A and continue to learn.
    In your answer about what happens when someone picks from the wrong wall. The answer in Mah Jongg Made Easy continues on the next page, page 22. (C) and says if someone notices, all hands are thrown in and the game starts over.
    Thank you,
    Donna

    You are quite right, Donna! I should have turned the page.
    Stay safe and 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 23, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Corrections to some part of your website

    On Friday, May 22, 2020, 10:31:00 AM PDT, Kirwan wrote:
    Corrections to Q&A
    Thank you for the great guidance and tips that you provide for playing Mahjong.
    I also enjoy reading your whimsical comments in the Q&A section. I did notice a few errors in the 2020 Q&A. You may have already heard them. If so, I apologize. I don't mean to be rude, but what else do I have to do these days.
    Here goes:
    Consecutive Run #2--the fourth Answer therein refers to "Consec #3"
    Consecutive Run #4--the illustration shows four flowers for a total of 18 tiles. There are no flowers in this hand.
    336 33669 336699 is labeled S&P #3 is really S&P #5. It also says S&P #3 in the Answer.
    None of these errors impact the correctness of your answer...thankfully.
    Stay safe.
    Carol K

    Thanks, Carol! Took me a while to figure out which part of my website you were talking about. I don't mean to be persnickety or in any way "teacherly" here - I get confused when someone refers to my FAQs as Q&A because to me, "Q&A" means this bulletin board where people ask questions and I give answers. When I started reading your email, at first I thought you were correcting one of my columns. But now I realize you're talking about FAQ 16 (which is, I suppose confusingly, written like a Q&A). And I thank you for the help in cleaning it up.
    You probably don't care but what happened is I copied a lot of those from previous FAQ 16s, since many of the hands are repeats from previous years. Again: I thank you for help in fixing copy-and-paste errors!
    Stay safe and 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 22, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Quints #1

    On Thursday, May 21, 2020, 01:43:32 PM PDT, Johanna K wrote:
    Quint question
    First line in Quints shows the numbers and dragons to be different colors, but the parenthesis says any suit, any dragon. Does that mean one can use dragons that match the number suit?
    johanna k

    Yep! See full explanation of how to interpret a hand whose color-coding seems to be contradicted by its parenthetical in FAQ 19-J.
    All the frequently asked questions about the 2020 NMJL card are answered in FAQ 16. I recommend you bookmark both.
    Stay safe and 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 21, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I see five 8 Bams.

    On Thursday, May 21, 2020, 12:48:13 PM PDT, Lee wrote:
    Check the 8 Bams.
    I see five 8 Bams. I did forward this screen shot to RealMahjong. I’m waiting for an explanation.

    I see five 8Bs too, Lee! How 'bout that, looks like you found a bug!
    Stay safe and 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 21, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 738

    On Thursday, May 21, 2020, 06:01:56 AM PDT, John H wrote:
    Column #738
    In column #738, hand #1, I agree with your discards, but I disagree with the comment you made in support of your decision: "Using the 6B and R pairs together with F and 6D, you have six tiles for Any Like #2." Any Like # 2 is a 2 suited hand; you've listed 6 tiles including all three suits, so you have at most five tiles toward that hand.
    I enjoy your site.
    Stay positive, test negative!
    John H

    You are absolutely right, John! I goofed. Positive/negative - good one!
    Stay safe and 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 21, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Not all players are female

    On Thursday, May 21, 2020, 05:31:01 AM PDT, Michael R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    May 21, 2020
    Greetings Tom,
    I have been following your great columns and commentary for several years. Especially appreciating your comments on the new card when it appears each year…
    I understand that more and more males and younger players are learning and enjoying the game, for which I am pleased, as I am a male, who has been playing for several years, and teach on occasion to male players.
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I noted in your recent Column #739 concerning ‘Defence against Two Exposures’ with the new 2020 card -
    - you provide 14 examples of hands
    - twenty (20) times in your explanations you use the words “her” or “she” - which gives me the appearance that you are only talking to women players.
    In Column #738 - no references to “her” or “she” in 7 exercises
    In Column # 737 - five hand examples, you refer to ‘she’ and ‘her’ a total of 24 times…..
    I did not take the time to look at other Columns… I think you got the ‘message’...
    I won’t belabour the point I am making - men DO play this game, with hopefully an increasing participation
    Please accept my comments gracefully, knowing that I am a great reader of your columns, quote you frequently, and study your commentaries faithfully….
    All of your columns are great and I enjoy reading and learning from your explanations and experience. Is there a more recent edition of your book from the 2007?
    Stay safe in this crazy world we are presently experiencing… good health,
    Regards,
    Michael R
    Montreal, Canada

    Greetings o fellow male in a female-dominated world!
    Comments accepted gracefully. And sorry, no - there is no newer edition as yet. My first tentative explorations at getting an update going was not met with enthusiasm. I need to give it another shot.
    Stay safe and 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 21, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Playing from the wrong wall

    On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 05:55:28 AM PDT, Ginger D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Situation: Third wall pushed out, play continues and all players picked and discarded a couple of times, Problem: it was the wrong wall and one person wanted to throw tiles in , another said no because we all played.
    Question: Does play continue or is everyone dead and all tiles thrown in and restart of game?
    Sincerely
    Ginger

    Hi, Ginger!
    According to the 2020 edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the first player who picked from the wrong wall is dead, and all others continue playing from the wrong wall (and then resume from the correct wall when the wrong wall is depleted).

    Stay safe and 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 20, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    See correction to this reply, posted on Saturday, May 23, above.


    Mystery piece

    On Monday, May 18, 2020, 06:05:43 AM PDT, Ann wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Thanks for your site! Love playing mah-jong with my family. I recently bought a set in an Asian grocery store in Australia. It came with this. Any idea what it's for? Thanks!

    Hi, Ann!
    You'll find this "mystery bit" described in FAQ 7-D. It's used to indicate "original East" for round-tracking purposes.
    Stay safe and 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 18, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I am a customer and can't get any sound

    On Sunday, May 17, 2020, 01:31:04 PM PDT, Brenda H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I am a customer and can’t get any sound while playing.My iPad does normally have sound when I play.My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Brenda.
    I'm sorry, but I did not make the game you are having a problem with. But I did write an article about how to get technical support for a computer game. I hope the article helps.

    Stay safe and healthy. And may the audio be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 17, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. - Here's another thought: maybe if you say which mah-jongg app you're playing, another reader of this board will be able to help you with your problem. - Tom


    what happens if you declare someone dead in error

    On Friday, May 8, 2020, 11:30:08 AM PDT, Rachael B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:what happens if you declare someone dead in error
    Sent from my iPhone
    Have a great day!
    Rachael B

    Hi, Rachael!
    You need to pay her. Read FAQ 19-AB for the Erroneous Death Challenge rule details.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    May 8, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I use a joker in the 2468 kong, part 2

    On Thursday, May 7, 2020, 01:16:35 PM PDT, Tanya N wrote:
    Re: Mahj Question
    Thank you!

    You're welcome!


    Can I use a joker in the 2468 kong?

    On Thursday, May 7, 2020, 10:19:43 AM PDT, Tanya N wrote:
    Mahj Question
    Regarding the 2020 national Mahj Jongg League card, under the "Singles and Pairs", the 4th combination:
    FF 2468 DD 2468 DD
    Can a joker be used for the 2, 4, 6 or 8?
    Thanks!

    Tanya, please find the answer to this question in FAQ 16.
    FAQ 16 answers all the frequently asked questions about the 2020 card.
    FAQ 19 answers all the frequently asked questions about National Mah Jongg League rules.
    Please bookmark them both!

    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    May 7, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. "2468" is not a kong. See the previous question, below. - Tom



    Can I use a joker in the "2020" kong? Can I call a discard for the "2020" kong?

    On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 06:20:05 PM PDT, Karanian <linda wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing with the new 2020 card, can you use a joker in the “2020” Kong? And can you call for a tile in the “2020” Kong?
    Thanks!

    Linda, "2020" is not a kong. Read FAQ 19-E1.
    FAQ 19 answers all the most frequently-asked questions about American mah-jongg rules, and FAQ 16 answers all the most frequently-asked questions about the NMJL card.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    May 6, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do you think these are really stone?

    On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 02:36:21 AM PDT, Stefan S wrote:
    Japanese (?) Mah-Jongg set
    Dear Mr. Sloper,
    I hope you are well and healthy. My name is Stefan S and I'm
    writing from Leipzig, Germany. About two weeks ago I bought a set as a
    gift. Unfortunately, the flower tiles are missing and although I
    understand that they are not essential, it would be great if I could
    replace them. However, I am stuck at the first step of identifying the
    material the other Tiles are made of.
    The vendor claimed that the set was made from stone. The previous owner
    said in Japan around 1940. The material is comparatively light, though.
    I estimate the density around 1.7 g/cm3 or 0.06 pound per cubic inch.
    Also, stone seems to be a very uncommon material. Yet, I can not see any
    lines indicating growth. (I have no experience whatsoever in the
    matter.) Besides, there are sticks - I guess for counting point - that
    are made from bone and they are distinctively more yellowish than the
    tiles. On a close up one can see particles and a little bit of
    structure, but everything seems homogeneous and isotropic. I will send a
    few pictures in another mail. I want to make sure that the first one
    gets through.
    The box is wood with the front sliding upwards and drawers. Compared
    with the ones on your page it appears rather primitive. There are no
    Arabic numbers or Latin letters on the tiles except on the one of dots.
    These tiles bear the letters "NSK" on the center.
    I understand that any definite statement would probably be rather
    difficult from afar. But anything you'd be willing to say would be
    appreciated.
    kind regards
    Stefan

    On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 02:54:24 AM PDT, Stefan S wrote:
    Re: Japanese (?) Mah-Jongg set
    Dear Mr. Sloper,
    here are some pictures. The ruler is in centimeters. Along the long edge
    the tiles are very close to one inch. Please let me know if there is
    anything you would like to see in greater detail.
    kind regards
    Stefan S

    Hi, Stefan. You wrote:

    Japanese (?)
    That seems likely. I have seen initials only in Japanese sets. And the "N" in NSK is likely "Nippon," in other words "Japan." The "K" probably means "Kabushiki-gaisha," or the Japanese equivalent of "Incorporated Company." NSK is probably Nippon Seiko Kabushiki-gaisha, a company that's been around since 1916 and today is primarily known for automotive bearings and automotive parts.

    The vendor claimed that the set was made from stone.
    I don't know. Stone is uncommon for mah-jongg sets (not as robust as plastic, more breakable/scuffable). Sorry I can't help you from your words and photos.

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


    She had mah-jongg at the end of the Charleston

    On Monday, May 4, 2020, 04:31:04 AM PDT, Jeffrey L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What was the quickest Man Jongg you ever saw?
    Last night, the dealer got Mah Jongg at the earliest possible point.
    When asked to discard their tile to begin the game (after all the passes were complete), they declared Mah Jongg…And with only one Joker!!
    We were using the 2020 card and their hand was a closed 35 point value of FF 1 33 555 (Dot) 5 77 99J (Crack)
    Have you ever seen that happen? What are the odds?
    Thanks

    Hi, Jeffrey! You wrote:

    What was the quickest Man Jongg you ever saw?
    [Shrug] I don't know.

    Last night, the dealer got Mah Jongg at the earliest possible point.
    No, it's possible to have mah-jongg even earlier than that (before the Charleston even begins). Column 666 describes "Heavenly Hand."

    When asked to discard their tile to begin the game (after all the passes were complete), they declared Mah Jongg…And with only one Joker!!
    Well, that isn't "Heavenly Hand," but still pretty special.

    Have you ever seen that happen?
    No.

    What are the odds?
    Forty-two. See FAQ 19-CI.

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


    Encouragement to continue operating Sloperama.com

    On Monday, May 4, 2020, 03:16:36 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You received a payment from Evelyn Henderson for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name: Evelyn H
    Amount received: $10.00 USD
    For: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Amount paid each time: $10.00 USD
    Maximum amount you can bill: $10.00 USD
    Billing cycle: Monthly
    Next payment due: Jun 4, 2020
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    May the Fourth be with you, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mystery tiles

    On Sunday, May 3, 2020, 07:58:12 PM PDT, pat harmoniqueinc.com wrote:
    What are these tiles?
    I have several mahjong sets that we purchased in dusty markets in Beijing about 15 years ago. We bought them to make jewelry, (not to play) but now I’m interested in learning to play and am trying to understand which sets are complete and have not been cannibalized beyond use for the game. Every few sets have 4 of these tiles which I can’t figure out. Any ideas what these tiles mean or how they are used? Thanks!
    Patricia B
    “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” St. Augustine

    Hi, Pat.
    The "Mystery Tiles FAQ" is FAQ 7-E (see links above left). Your tiles look like they might be jokers but I'm not sure (the writing doesn't match the usual joker "100 uses" I'm used to). They might be special "king/emperor" tiles, I'm not sure. You might enjoy browsing the Mystery Flowers FAQ too, if nothing in the Mystery Jokers FAQ comes close enough.
    If you are trying to decide which mah-jongg variant to learn, it depends on whether you want to play with an antique set (in which case you can't play American mah-jongg), or whether you have friends who play, in which case you should learn their variant. See FAQ 1.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    May 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How do I report a hack

    On Sunday, May 3, 2020, 02:30:17 AM PDT, lordy f wrote:
    Game bug
    Hey I've read you're article...it's awesome
    How do I report the game developers about the game hack by hackers and making money out of it by selling items on the game and the people who can't spend money are having bad experience in game...
    Thank you

    Hi Lordy,
    You say you have read my article, but I don't know which of my many articles you have read. In FAQ 24 I discussed how to get in contact with the makers or publishers of your game, be it a mah-jongg game or not.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    May 3, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I can't get in touch with the NMJL office - do you know of a workaround?

    On Saturday, May 2, 2020, 08:42:51 PM PDT, Leona W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Hi Tom,
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I have not received my 2020 card. I have an email receipt from National Mah Jongg League dated 12/19/19 so I had my order in quite early. There’s no way to reply to the email and the New York office is closed. Do you know of any way of contacting folks at the office to resolve my problem.
    Thanks.
    Leona W

    Hi Leona,
    New York City is going through a terrible ordeal with the COVID-19 virus, the ordeal is not over yet, and many businesses are simply not open yet. I'm afraid you'll just have to be patient a little longer. I'm sure the League staff are all anxious to get back to work, but they want to do it safely.
    Also, as I wrote in the Terms Of Service above, I don't like being asked to get someone in touch with someone else; it puts me in an awkward position. I don't share contact information, I don't connect people, and I don't relay messages - I hope you understand!
    Stay home, stay safe. And may your order be with you before too long.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are these mystery tiles, part 4

    On Friday, May 1, 2020, 10:09:30 AM PDT, Outlook Express wrote:
    Re: Mystey Tile
    Hi Tom,
    Mystery Tiles (now identified as Jokers).
    I will most likely buy the set anyway, as you hinted, if the price is reasonable. It will be my first Chinse/ Asian set. I have already learned the necesary Chinese letters and numbers for the cracks and winds.
    Kind regards,
    Peter A.

    Excellent!
    Stay home, stay safe. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 Day, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are these mystery tiles, part 3

    On Thursday, April 30, 2020, 07:35:04 PM PDT, Outlook Express wrote:
    Re: Mystey Tile
    Hi Tom,
    Further to our recent exchange of emails, I have now definitely identified the 4 mystery tiles as Jokers. This is thanks to your reference to FAQ 7 - EJ.
    Now as these tiles are Jokers, this raises a question about composition of the tiles in the set. It is clearly an old set( I don’nt know how old ) - no arabic numbers or western letters - made for the Asian market, but it only has 4 flowers, instead of 8.
    In addition, I underastand that old Chinese /Asian sets with 144 tiles did not have Jokers.
    Can you confirm this point, please ?
    ( I am asking this question as I still haven’t decided whether to buy the set in question ). It is in the hands of an antique shop, however there is no further info available about the set.
    Kind regards,
    Peter A.
    Obtener Outlook para iOS

    Hi, Peter. Your question now is:

    I underastand that old Chinese /Asian sets with 144 tiles did not have Jokers.
    Can you confirm this point, please ?
    ( I am asking this question as I still haven’t decided whether to buy the set in question ).
    Some did have jokers and some didn't. I don't know when those jokers first started appearing in Chinese-made carved bone-and-bam tiles. Maybe the 30s or 40s, I honestly don't know. A lot of sets nowadays are made new and then "aged." I can't tell you if some set in an antique shop is "old" or just made to look old. If the set interests you so much, why don't you just buy it? Assuming the price is reasonable to you.

    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Three-player Charleston

    On Thursday, April 30, 2020, 12:26:06 PM PDT, Freda K wrote:
    Three person MahJongg
    Is there a set of rules about the blind hand in the Charleston if there are only three players?

    Yes, Freda. See FAQ 13-A for the rules, and column 532 for further observations.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do Philippine rules permit this, part 2

    On Thursday, April 30, 2020, 10:04:35 AM PDT, onikscomics wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I saw your update thank you so much for your response.. stay safe

    You're welcome!


    Do Philippine rules permit this?

    On Thursday, April 30, 2020, 08:02:28 AM PDT, onikscomics 1 wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the philippine version of mah jong. If you are planning on seven pairs. You pong a 9 and later picked up a 9 from the wall. Can you conceal it and then at the other turn pick up a tile to complete your chow ha e 5 hidden pairs then put down the 4th 9 to complete your seven pairs?
    Thanks
    Kris

    Hi, Kris. You wrote:

    If you are planning on seven pairs. You pong a 9
    Right, so you would need to complete your seven pairs, for 14+3=17...

    and later picked up a 9 from the wall.
    Now you have the fourth 9, which you could not use in a pair.

    Can you conceal it
    Certainly. You can put any tile among your concealed tiles.

    and then at the other turn pick up a tile to complete your chow
    When you say "pick up," do you mean "call a discard" or "pick from the wall"? But what is this about a chow? You already exposed a pung. I am not aware that a hand with a pung and a chow can combine with any number of pairs in Filipino mah-jongg. For one thing, 17-6=11, and 11 is not an even number, so you just broke mah-jongg.

    ha e 5 hidden pairs then put down the 4th 9 to complete your seven pairs?
    Sorry, I got lost there. Five pairs is 10 tiles. So you need 7 more tiles to add up to 17, and you just broke mah-jongg. Also, when you say "put down," do you mean "discard" or "expose"? I think you broke mah-jongg when you tried to combine a pung and a chow with pairs. But if you want to ask me again, I'll need a diagram or a tile list to better understand what hand you're trying to form.

    OH, WAIT! [This is added later after initally posting.] On re-reading your question, I think you're saying you want to convert your exposed pung to two pairs? No. You cannot, post-exposure of a pung, change the pung to two pairs. It was cemented as a pung when you exposed it. You can add the 9 to the pung and convert it to a kong (which counts the same as a pung - and I assume that is permitted under Filipino rules), but you cannot convert an exposed pung to two pairs.

    Standing by if you have any follow-up questions! Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are these mystery tiles, part 2

    On Thursday, April 30, 2020, 06:23:41 AM PDT, Outlook Express wrote:
    Re: Mystey Tile
    Hi Tom,
    Many thanks for your prompt reply.
    Thanks for poining out that the four tiles are Jokers. However, as the set only has 144 tiles including these 4 Jokers, I assume that it is missing other tiles. Is this correct ?
    Peter A.

    I don't know, Peter. Maybe the set has only four flowers, in which case the jokers could be treated as flowers (albeit flowers without numbers). You would need to ask the seller to arrange the tiles in a Great Square layout, or at least arrange all the tiles by suit and type and show you exactly what tiles are present, in a viewer-friendly way.


    Two ways of organizing tiles - from FAQ 7E, the Mystery Tiles FAQ

    Only if the tiles are visually scannable all at once can you easily and quickly determine whether all tiles are accounted for. Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 30, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are these mystery tiles?

    On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 08:11:55 PM PDT, Outlook Express wrote:
    Mystey Tile
    Hi Tom,
    I have a question about a mystery tile in a set which I thinking of buying. There are four in total of this tole which form part of a Chinese/Asian set without Arabic numbers or Western letters. The tile that interests me is the one with red characters and a dark coloured border (photos are attached below). I have researched - including in your excellent website - and have deduced that they are probably either flowers or white dragons. The set comes with 144 tiles, which includes the usual 3 suits, the 4 winds, red and green dragons, 4 blank tiles and only 4 obvious flowers (see large photo). There are no spare blank tiles.
    I apologize for the quality of the photos and should be grateful for any info you can provide.
    Peter A.
    Obtener Outlook para iOS

    Hi, Peter. The mystery tiles FAQ is FAQ 7-E. Specifically, FAQ 7-EJ covers mystery jokers.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 29, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A way for two homes to play remotely

    On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 07:23:26 AM PDT, MahJongBritishRules wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A : How to play Mah-Jong remotely
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom
    You may be interested to know that there is a way for two homes to play Mah-Jong remotely.
    Here is a link to my Mah-Jong, British Rules website where I have explained how to do this for the British Mah-Jong Association (BMJA) rules.
    It works quite well.
    I wondered if it could also be applied to the NMJL and other Mah-Jongg rules.
    Peter Gregory
    Mah-Jong, British Rules
    https://mahjong-britishrules.com/the-game/playing-mah-jong-remotely

    Nice to hear from you, Peter.
    Your solution is interesting. When one player wants to claim a tile discarded by someone at the other house, I suppose you have to just claim it on paper, but with two sets in two houses, there are eight of each tile, so the problem of playing in one another's hair is changed to a different problem or set of problems. My speed-read of the page didn't fill all the gaps. Of course the concept can be applied to other variants. There was already a link to your site in FAQ 4, so today I updated it with info about your 2-household idea.
    Cheers! Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 29, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    All those questions you get about online mah-jongg

    On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 03:49:11 PM PDT, Pete S wrote:
    online game questions
    Hi Tom,
    I hope you are doing well and the virus hasn't found you. I noticed you
    are getting a lot of questions about various online Mahjong apps. Your
    readers might be able to find help at https://www.reddit.com/r/Mahjong/. I have been reading this subreddit for about a year now and it seems
    like a lot of the subscribers there play online ( a lot). It might take
    some of the pressure off you. Just a thought.
    Stay healthy,
    -Pete-
    Tell mom I died doing something stupid.

    That's a great suggestion, Pete. Thanks! I'll add this to the FAQs. I just hope nobody comes back to me and asks me how to navigate Reddit and the Mahjong subreddit and the numerous Japanese majan and Chinese majiang threads I saw there when I visited the subreddit just now! :grin:
    I don't mind questions that are generic, like "why won't the computer let me do X," because that's not app-specific (those questions are about the rules of the game). But when people ask questions that are specific to a particular app and its UI, I can't help. When those folks post their questions on Reddit, they'll need to specify what app they're playing, and what device they're playing it on. Heck, if they came here and asked a question with all that necessary info on it, I could just post the question here and maybe somebody who knows the answer will write in with the answer! Woulda coulda shoulda...
    Thanks again, Pete. Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 28, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Where do I direct the tile?

    On Sunday, April 26, 2020, 04:23:24 PM PDT, Ann F wrote:
    Maj ques
    If I want to replace an exposed joker where do I direct the tile? I’ve tried pulling it toward the joker and it kept pulling my tile back
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Ann! I can tell that you are asking a computer game tech support question. See how smart I am? But I am not a mindreader, and I do not know which game you play, and I cannot see what you see, and I probably have not played your game in the past 2 or 3 years! So I do not know the answer to your question. Perhaps FAQ 24 (the Tech Support FAQ) will help you find the answer to your question.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't ask me any more computer game questions! And may the virtual tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 26, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. If you said which mah-jongg app you're playing, and what device you're playing it on, maybe another reader could post an answer to your question!


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win, part 3

    On Saturday, April 25, 2020, 05:30:25 AM PDT, <sherlands123 wrote:
    Re: Mah jong question
    Just one other quick question. When the board suggests taking a tile-is it telling the player that it’s really best to take it?

    Sherlands, I have played a lot of mah-jongg apps, going back to 1994. But I may not have played the one you play (and you've never said which mah-jongg app you play). They all play mah-jongg, but they were all programmed by different people, and you can't assume they are all alike in every detail. But I learned one thing in all my years of playing computer/videogame mah-jongg apps: never trust the computer. A prompt letting you know that you have the ability to call for a discard is not the same thing as a helpful teacher's voice telling you the sure path to a win.
    "Do you want to call this tile?" is NOT the same thing as "You should call this tile." I don't know which thing your app is telling you, but I've never met an app yet that gave me a yellow brick road to the magical city of Oz. You have to use your own judgment as to whether or not to call a discard.

    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 25, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win, part 2

    On Friday, April 24, 2020, 08:47:42 AM PDT, <sherlands123 wrote:
    Re: Mah jong question
    Got it!
    Didn’t realize it had a C next to it. Thanks!
    Sent from my iPhone

    You're welcome, Susan. I hope the info about screenshots is helpful, too.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win?

    On Friday, April 24, 2020, 05:04:39 AM PDT, sherlands123 wrote:
    Mah jong question
    Hello, I am really baffled. Please see this board below. Why is this not a winning Mah jong for me? It looks like I should have mah jong-2020 card- last row under the consecutive run???
    Please explain. Thank you so much, Susan
    Sent from my iPhone

    Good morning, Susan.
    Computer game developers have to make choices when they create mah-jongg apps. For instance, what should a developer do when a player makes a play that would get the player called dead in a real-life game?
    Should the program let the player make that fatal error, and then call the player dead?
    Or should the program prohibit making such a move?
    Ideally, whichever choice the developer decides, the software should offer explanations to the player, but the program you're using apparently doesn't do that.
    In your case, the computer is doing what it was programmed to do - it allowed you to make two legal exposures (pungs of 7C and 8C). Those two exposures are legal because with those two pungs you could legally be making Consec #1 or Consec #3. But of course you are not permitted to make exposures when your hand is marked C on the card. If you would prefer that the computer allow you to call mah-jongg erroneously and then call you dead, maybe another app will do that.
    I'm assuming you just forgot to look and see that Consec #8 is marked C on the card. But if you are just learning the rules of American mah-jongg with the use of that app, may I recommend that you get a good rulebook to supplement your learning of the game?


    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!

    Also, I'd like to tell you of two better ways to take a snapshot of your mah-jongg screen. I see you're a Windows user.

    Microsoft's Snip & Sketch, or Microsoft's Snipping Tool. When you want to take a snapshot, click at lower left, next to the Start button, where it says "Type here to search" (you can see it in your photo) and type "snip" and then click on either the Snipping Tool or Snip & Sketch. You drag the mouse cursor diagonally across the area you want to capture. Then there are other steps to take to save the capture as an image file you can send me. I'm not going to go into depth on how to use those snip tools, because I don't use this method of making screen shots myself. Play around with this when you're not under pressure from your mah-jongg game to make a move. You might wind up preferring this technique.

    Press the PrtScr button (in the top row of your extended PC keyboard, towards the righthand side) to take a snapshot of your entire screen. Then open Microsoft Paint (to open Paint, click at lower left, next to the Start button, where it says "Type here to search," and type "paint"), and when you're in Paint, hit ctrl-V to paste. Then drag diagonally across the area of the screen you want to show me and click Crop (at left side of Paint's tool ribbon), then click File/Save As, and save the image with a logical filename, making sure you know where you're saving it. Then you can send it to me.

    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you as you play mah-jongg online.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 24, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Looking for brass handles for a 1920s set

    On Thursday, April 23, 2020, 03:49:44 PM PDT, Outlook Express <peter249200 wrote:
    Antique brass /bronze grips for Mahjong box
    I recently acquired an antique Mahjong set which came in an attractive wooden box. You will note that it has no grips.
    (photo attached). I assume it had two grips and not one, but I am not sure.
    I would like to restore the box. However, I need to obtain antique grips, perhaps from an antique box that is no longer functional.
    Do you have any contact details where I could enquire ? I live in Chile, therefor it is not an issue as to where the grips might come from (USA, Hong Kong, China or wherever).
    Many thanks for any assistance you can provide.
    Peter A.

    Hi, Peter. All I have is all the bulletin boards and FAQs on this website. Bulletin boards where sellers post what they're selling, and boards where buyers like you post what they're looking for. FAQs about sellers, FAQs about sets, FAQs about Hong Kong and China. You just have to hunt through it all yourself. Your best bet, if you are a collector, might be the Mah Jongg Collectors Association group on Facebook. If it was me, I'd check to see what can be found in the fancier hardware stores. You never know unless you search!
    Stay home, stay safe. And may the grips (but not the grippe) be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 23, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I redeem more than one joker in a turn?

    On Thursday, April 23, 2020, 03:56:28 PM PDT, Karen B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When it is your turn: can you replace more than one tile in an exposed hand for jokers? Can you exchange a tile for a joker in two different exposed hands?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Karen!
    You've asked FAQ 19-N (click link to read - and please bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference). If you have the official rulebook, your question is rule 16 on page 24 (2020 edition).


    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!

    You may exchange up to 8 jokers, on as many as 4 racks, in one turn. That limit is based on the number of jokers and racks in play.
    Stay home, stay safe. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 23, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are my chances of winning against the bots?

    On Thursday, April 23, 2020, 10:50:57 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    what are the chances?
    Hi Tom,
    I've been playing on the realmahjongg.com website during the pandemic. I'm having fun and it's helping me learn the new card. When playing against a "computer" are my chances for winning much less than when I play against live people? I've only won once but I've been 1 tile away several times. I'm patting myself on the back (haha) because the computer obviously knows the hands better than I do. Am I fooling myself by believing this? I know you're a computer game expert. :>)
    Thanks and stay well, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    In Shanghai: Dynasty and Shanghai: Second Dynasty (the mah-jongg games I designed and produced in the late nineties), there was a user selectable option for how difficult the user wanted the bots to be. You could choose an easy one, a hard one, and a medium one, or whatever combination you wanted. That was the way Hong Kong Mahjong worked, too. Most apps have a difficulty selection. Maybe Real Mah Jongg has some tweakable settings, I don't know. If RMJ doesn't offer you that option, I have no idea what difficulty its bots are at. If I was the developer, I'd tune the difficulty so that it was robust but not impossible.
    Stay safe, stay healthy. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 23, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    New NMJL clarification

    On Thursday, April 23, 2020, 10:06:23 AM PDT, Janet F wrote:
    New NMJL Clarification
    I don't see the logic behind the NMJL clarification about a conflict when calling an opponent's hand dead. Apparently, at the end of the game when it is determined which player was correct, the incorrect player owes the correct player $0.50. It seems to me that there should be a harsher penalty for the player who continued to play a hand that really was dead as called. If that player had agreed when challenged, the other three players would have had more turns and more opportunities to make Mah Jongg themselves. What do you think?
    Janet F

    On Thursday, April 23, 2020, 09:43:28 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Janet F
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
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    Janet, thank you very much for the generous donation! You wrote:

    I don't see the logic behind the NMJL clarification about a conflict when calling an opponent's hand dead.
    It's not a clarification. It's a doubling of the penalty that has been in the League's rules for decades. Up until November when the new rule was announced, it was 25¢ to whoever was correct in a one-on-one death challenge. Now it's 50¢. The only thing new about the rule is that the amount was doubled.

    It seems to me that there should be a harsher penalty for the player who continued to play a hand that really was dead as called.
    Well, 50¢ is twice as much as the penalty was for the past 20 years...

    If that player had agreed when challenged, the other three players would have had more turns and more opportunities to make Mah Jongg themselves.
    Your logic is beyond dispute!

    What do you think?
    I think the League can declare whatever penalty they think is right. You are free to write them and plead your case, try to get them to change the rule. Personally, I don't try to argue with rulemakers that they should change their rules. Others have tried over the years to enlist me to argue with the National Mah Jongg League, and others have tried to get me to argue with the Chinese Majiang Organizing Committee, too. This kind of thing is not an endeavor that interests me. But you can go for it. The address is on the card. Thank you again for the generous donation!

    Stay safe, stay healthy. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 23, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why won't the computer let me do this?

    On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 06:49:51 PM PDT, Katey D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question is:
    I’m playing with the 2020 card and I was trying to complete this hand:
    FFFFF 22 222 2020
    I attached a screenshot of what I had in my hand. Someone discarded a Soap, and I wanted to “Call” the Soap to complete my “2020”. (I had two 2 Bams and one soap). It would not let me “Call” the Soap. Do you know why?
    Thanks so much,
    Katey D

    On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 06:55:19 PM PDT, Katey D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Hello again, I have another question.
    I’m playing with the 2020 card and the hand I was going for was:
    FF DDDD NEWS DDDD
    I attached a screenshot of what I had in my hand. I “Called” a discarded West, and I intended to place my “N’, “E”, and “S” along with it to complete NEWS. It would not let me. Do you know why?
    Thanks,
    Katey D

    Yes, Katey, I do know why. It's because of the rules of mah-jongg. For the explanation of this rule, see FAQ 19-E. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference.


    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!

    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 22, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I use a joker in a 24?

    On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 08:26:03 PM PDT, Carol Brown wrote:
    Question 2020 card
    When you have multiplication such as 4 x 6 = 24, can you use a joker for either digit in the answer 24?
    Thank you!
    Carol

    You'll find the answer on the back of the card, Carol!


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

    For a more detailed explanation, see FAQ 19-E2, here on my site. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for your future reference.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 21, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Appreciation

    On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 02:45:59 PM PDT, Daron B via PayPal wrote:
    MajByDaron sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
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    Thank you, Daron!
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Typo in FAQ 16

    On Monday, April 20, 2020, 05:35:46 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    FAQ 16
    Hi Tom!
    Whew! My head is spinning after your lengthy and thorough explanation of the hands on 2020 card! I hope folks will read this before asking you a question, but I think they probably won't. Kudos for trying anyway!
    My question regards Cosec. #7-- You wrote "any 2 suits" which I find confusing. The card shows 3 colors and opp. dragons. Can you explain?
    Thanks for all you do! Be well, Linda

    Thanks for letting me know about that typo, Linda. It's fixed now. If you still see the typo, refresh your browser. (Browsers cache visited pages, so if you just go back to that page it'll show you what it saw there before.)
    I'm well aware that a lot of people don't see FAQs before asking me a question, but I have to believe that there are also people who do read them and don't ask me a question. Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 20, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are the two-player "Siamese" rules just for American mah-jongg (part 2)

    On Sunday, April 19, 2020, 01:49:23 PM PDT, Frederick A wrote:
    Re Are the two-player "Siamese" rules just for American mah-jongg, or can we use that idea with our variant?
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom,
    Thank you very much for your speedy and helpful reply.
    Stay Safe,
    Best Regards,
    Lucy

    On Sunday, April 19, 2020, 01:40:53 PM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Lucy A
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of$2.00 USD from Lucy A. You can view the transaction details online .
    Donation Details
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    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    You're welcome, Lucy! And thanks for the donation. Enjoy learning mah-jongg. I hope you have a book that explains British rules clearly (probably one of the books listed in FAQ 3), but if you run into questions about the rules, you can come back and ask anytime. When you do, please tell me the title and author of your book so I can help you best.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 19, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are the two-player "Siamese" rules just for American mah-jongg, or can we use that idea with our variant?

    On Sunday, April 19, 2020, 12:44:46 AM PDT, Frederick A wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom,
    I hope you are doing ok in these strange times.
    I am brand new to Mah Jongg - And have just received my 1st set of tiles.
    I am in Coronavirus lock down with my partner Fred and so will be playing a 2 player version of the game.
    In the process of googling the rules I came across a version called Siamese Mah Jongg - I believe this is played with American Mah-Jongg rules - Is there a version of Siamese MahJonng using British rules?
    Many Thanks for your help,
    Lucy

    Hi, Lucy!
    The Siamese idea can work with any four-player variant. Print the American Siamese rules from SiameseMahJongg.com and X out all the parts that don't apply to British rules. You have to make up your own details in some instances. For instance, the American variant doesn't have chows, and doesn't use flowers the same way, and the Charleston/Goulash is done differently. Any time you run into a rule explaining something that makes no sense for British rules, X it out.
    Just try it. You'll have fun, and you'll even have fun adapting your own rules.
    Thanks for the question. I'm adding this Q&A to FAQ 13-B.

    P.S. Should have led with this: if you're a beginner, just focus on learning the British rules with the 2-player rules in FAQ 13-B. Once you're comfortable with the rules, then you can try to filter out the American stuff in the Siamese rules. You need to know what is and isn't compatible with British rules first. Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 19, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Red stains on Catalin tiles

    On Friday, April 17, 2020, 07:12:31 AM PDT, Leslie wrote:
    Removing red stains on catalin tiles
    Good Morning, Tom ~
    I read the entire section #7o Cleaning & Restoring, but saw no mention of those pesky red stains that can appear on vintage catalin tiles. I’ve bought several sets that have these stains: oddly, they are overwhelmingly on the edges of the tiles. While I don’t mind them aesthetically, they are problematic during play. Once a player gets familiar with that particular set, she/he can identify that tile, similarly to a “marked” deck of cards. Do you have any advice on this issue? Thank you very much.
    Leslie Z

    Good morning, Leslie ~
    My recommendation is to retire such a set, stop using it or only use it sparingly. You say you have several? Each one stained differently? Rotate them in your play sessions. One week play with set A, another week play with set B, another week with set C. Or just buy an unstained set. I have no solution for removing the stains.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 17, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    2019 Consec #5, redux

    On Thursday, April 16, 2020, 09:23:13 PM PDT, Tracy B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2019 card, under consecutive runs, the 5th hand down, FFF 1111 2222 DDD, do you have to use only 1s and 2s or any 2 consecutive numbers? Thanks! Tracy B
    Sent from my iPhone

    I thought I was done with the 2019 card, but I understand that the pandemic has affected the release of 2020 cards, and that some of the online games still support the 2019 card. Tracy, please bookmark FAQ 16-2019. Your question was THE most frequently asked question of last year. Scroll down to the Consecutive section and you'll find your answer there. Actually, you can still find that answer on the NMJL's FAQs page, so please bookmark that too.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 16, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Who is correct then, part 2

    On Thursday, April 16, 2020, 08:36:13 PM PDT, Rochelle R wrote:
    Re: Use of joker for MAHJ
    Thank you so much for your quick reply. I knew it. You did remind me to check the back of the card to see if there are any changes, but the joker rules stayed the same.
    Stay healthy!
    Rochelle

    You're welcome, Rochelle! Now you know exactly where to find those rules, anytime.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 16, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Who is correct then.

    On Thursday, April 16, 2020, 03:23:00 PM PDT, Rochelle R wrote:
    Use of joker for MAHJ
    I’m positive you taught us never use a joker in a pair.
    If so, I was in a game.playing against a computer.i needed to complete a pair to call mahjongg.I didn’t. i lost to a computer who did exactly that.
    I discarded the joker to the board when a computer player called it for their own mahjongg. The owner said it can be done ONLY on your mahjongg play.
    Today i needed one green dragon. See my hand below. I called
    So I called mahjongg with the one green dragon I had in my hand , plus everything else.
    the game would not let me.
    Who is correct then. It can’t be both ways. Can I or not use the joker with the called green dragon for a final pair to call mahj?
    FF 7777 7777 DD Joker. I Called the dragon and used my joker.
    Rochelle

    Hi, Rochelle! You wrote:

    I’m positive you taught us never use a joker in a pair.
    Well, only because that rule is spelled out in bold all-capital letters on the back of the card (and in the official rulebook, joker rule 10)...


    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.

    I discarded the joker to the board when a computer player called it for their own mahjongg.
    Nobody is ever allowed to call a discarded joker. See the official rulebook, the section "Special Rulings for the Use of Jokers." Rule 11: A discarded Joker can NEVER be picked up. IT IS A "DEAD" TILE. Also see FAQ 19-G.


    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'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    The owner said it can be done ONLY on your mahjongg play.
    The owner? You talked to the creator of the game you played? And he said that? Either there was a miscommunication or he's dead wrong. You can pick up a discard for a pair for mah-jongg, but (a) you can never pick up a discarded joker and (b) you can never use a joker in a pair. See the back of the card, middle pane: Any tile, except a Joker, may be called for Mah Jongg. This includes all hands, including Concealed and Singles and Pairs hands. Note that "except a Joker" part there. You should read the back of the card every year, because sometimes there are changes, and it's also a good refresher on the basic rules.

    Can I or not use the joker with the called green dragon for a final pair to call mahj? FF 7777 7777 DD Joker.
    You can't declare mah-jongg with that. You're trying to make Any Like #2, but you need a second pair of dragons. You need to discard that joker (that's perfectly safe, since nobody can claim it for anything, per joker rule 11) and pick the first dragon, before you can call a dragon for mah-jongg. You're not there yet.

    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 16, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't my online game let me use a joker in a 2019?

    On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 09:34:32 PM PDT, Pamela S wrote:
    Question
    Dear Tom,
    Thank you for having this website.
    I am a relatively new player and was playing American MahJongg on the website Real Mah Jongg Online.
    I was going for the first hand under 2019. I had 4 flowers, 3 - 1Dots, 3 - 9 Bams, and 219 of Crac and wanted to use a Joker for the 0 and wasn't allowed to. Why not?
    Thanks so much for any explanation you can offer!
    Pam
    Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.
    Marianne Williamson

    Hi, Pam!
    You can't use a joker in a 2019. Read FAQ 19-E2 and  read the back of the 2019 card. Left pane, last sentence of the last paragraph before the numbered rules.

    Look for the word "NEVER" (in all capital letters, bold text, and underlined). In fact, you should read everything on the back of the card. You owe it to the other people and bots that you play with to know all these basic rules of the game.
    I realize that the coronavirus lockdown has affected the NMJL's processing of 2020 card orders, but hopefully you can move on to the 2020 card and stop using the 2019 card soon. When you do get a 2020 card, you will need to read the back of that too (there were a few changes). Always read the back of a new card! And I also recommend that you read the League's official rulebook, or my book.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 16, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #736, part 2

    On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 04:33:55 PM PDT, Martha M wrote:
    Column #736
    On column #736 question or comment, Susan H wrote " There are three W/D hands that use E&W kongs - #1, #5, and #7" and you didn't correct her. There are only 2 E & W kongs - #1 is not 2 kongs of EW but pungs. I think I am correct. However, there are 3 N&S kong hands.
    Martha

    Quite, right, Martha! I didn't choose to fact-check Susan's comment. Perhaps she meant to say "pungs" instead of "kongs"?
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 14, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #736

    On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 12:55:36 PM PDT, Susan H wrote:
    One more "offense" comment on 2020 card (and more)
    There are three W/D hands that use E&W kongs - #1, #5, and #7 – they will be easy to switch among. Same goes for the two consecutive hands that use Flower Kongs – easy to switch between.
    Playing on-line, I’ve had a lot of trouble learning the odds this year. One thing that is really throwing me off is 3/6/9 #2 – wasn’t there a similar hand in the odds last year or the year before? And this year, there isn’t.
    Susan H

    Very nice, Susan.
    As for the "missing" rising 3-pair Odd hands from previous cards, this year they decided to switch up and have the 3 pairs be like numbers.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 14, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old and how much, part 2

    On Monday, April 13, 2020, 08:27:16 PM PDT, Peggy O wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Addendum:
    I sent the email below today but have subsequently realized something important: my mom had made jokers out of four of the sets flowers, so in fact there are TEN flowers in the original set.

    On Monday, April 13, 2020, 08:37:31 PM PDT, Peggy O wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you! As I said before I saw this, I did realize there were more flowers. My mom had turned them into jokers, along with adding some from another set that don’t QUITE match so you can see them coming, which is annoying. And excellent condition—the tiles are pristine as far as I can tell. They show no particular signs of wear, no missing paint, nothing worn. They look pretty new, really. Maybe my grandma didn’t play much, and it spent years in my aunt’s closet before my mom rescued it. And then my parents didn’t use it long because of the joker issue. So yes, you’re probably right that it isn’t worth that much for that reason but I would never sell it regardless; I was mostly curious about when it might be from—the 30s, 40s or 50s—if there was a way to tell. Either way, it will always be a treasure to me!!

    Okay, good. Ten flowers makes more sense. You might find more information on your set at those sites I listed from FAQ 4A.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 13, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old and how much

    On Monday, April 13, 2020, 03:30:23 PM PDT, Peggy O wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi,
    I have a bakelite Mah Jongg set that first belonged to my grandmother. I am trying to figure out its date and value. I am guessing it is from the 1930s, possibly even 1937 given its particular configuration of 6 flower/no joker.

    The set is housed in a dark brown faux-alligator pattern box that looks a bit like a musical instrument case. The outside of the box is pretty banged up on the edges from years of use, but that is the only part of the set that is not in excellent shape.

    It includes five maroon bakelite racks with brass chip holders. The brass on the side of the chip holder attached to the rack sticks out a bit in back (not where you put your own tiles) so that when you build a wall you can line the edge of it up with that guide. All are in excellent shape.

    There are two red dice with white pips but I don’t know if they are original. There is a small cardboard box that fits into the set that I imagine once held chips or score cards or something.

    There are also two boxes for the tiles that stack on top of each other inside the case that match the set. The tiles themselves are dark butterscotch bakelite, all in excellent shape. There are six flowers and no jokers as I said (I am a little confused about the six flowers—I thought it would have eight? But on one site I read that in 1937 sets there were only six flowers then in 1938 they switched to 8). The tiles measure about 1 1/4” long, 7/8” across, 5/8” deep. All the basic tiles are present and complete (all the cracks, bams, dots, four of each dragon and wind tile). As I sad: no jokers, 6 flowers.

    I don’t know when the set was made or purchased nor is there indication of possible brand. I only know that it belonged to my grandmother, who died in the 1950s, before I was born. It spent many years in my aunt’s closet (and as a result smells of mothballs or cedar even all these years….). My mom took it in the 1980s because she and my dad played American mahj, and added 8 jokers and 2 flowers from another set to fill it out but they don’t quite match in color. Because of that, my parents eventually switched to a contemporary set and I got this one. I do use it to play, despite the non-matching jokers. I can’t quite let go of it because it's all I have from my grandmother, and since my mother died a few years back, it also reminds me of her.

    Below is a picture of one complete group: 1-9 of the three suits, dragons, winds and the six flowers (actually I'm not sure if those are all technically flowers, but we’ve always called them that…). The rest of the tiles are in exactly the same shape as these in terms of wear—i.e., they are not worn out at all. I’m also enclosing pictures of the inside and outside of the case.

    Hi, Peggy! You did a good job overall in describing the set for me, except for the imprecise description of the condition. We'll get to that in due course as I go through your comments and questions:

    possibly even 1937 given its particular configuration of 6 flower/no joker. ... There are six flowers and no jokers as I said (I am a little confused about the six flowers—I thought it would have eight? But on one site I read that in 1937 sets there were only six flowers then in 1938 they switched to 8). the six flowers (actually I'm not sure if those are all technically flowers, but we’ve always called them that…).
    You are right to refer them all as "flowers." But I have a hard time believing that a manufacturer would give you five racks and only six flowers. And if they were going to give you just six flowers, why would they number them 1--45 and -2-45 - if they're going to supply only six flowers, shouldn't they be numbered 123 and 123? And if there are 5 racks, I think there should be 10 flowers: 12345 and 12345. I'm not buying what you found on that "one site." And I'm curious what site that was. Was it perhaps www.themahjongtileset.co.uk, or www.charli.org, or 13 Orphans, or www.mahjonggsite.com, or www.coololdgames.com/MahJonggallery.html, or MahJongTreasures.com? I list those sites in FAQ 4A.
    Personally, I think you're missing four of the original flowers. Possibly taken to provide enough flowers for another set in a later year when the NMJL required crazy numbers of flowers.

    box that looks a bit like a musical instrument case.
    Yes. Collectors refer to them as trumpet cases.

    the only part of the set that is not in excellent shape. ... All [racks] are in excellent shape. ... the tiles are in exactly the same shape as these in terms of wear—i.e., they are not worn out at all.
    You claim that the set's contents are all in Excellent condition. Since you didn't capitalize the word or mention any minor defects or otherwise qualify what you mean by "Excellent," I need to double-check that you understand that (as I wrote in FAQ 7H) appraisers use specific language to grade or describe the condition of collectibles. "Excellent" specifically means "Item has only very minor defects which only a purist or expert would notice or care about. These defects must be described in detail." What I'm getting at is that I don't accept your word that the set truly is in Excellent condition (other than the case, which is likely in Fair condition). Condition is a tremendously important factor in determining a set's value.

    There are two red dice with white pips but I don’t know if they are original. There is a small cardboard box that fits into the set that I imagine once held chips or score cards or something. ... There are also two boxes for the tiles
    The dice might be original, but you didn't give me enough information about those, or include them in the photos. Whatever used to be in the small cardboard tray/box is missing from the set, based on your description (your photo does not show this part of the set). Those long trays containing the tiles are called "trays." The one on top does not look like it's in Excellent condition.

    nor is there indication of possible brand.
    Yes, it's very annoying that the majority of mah-jongg sets are unbranded. Nevertheless, you might find a manufacturer name on one of those sites I listed above.

    I am trying to figure out its date
    I do not know. Could be 1930s or 1940s. I think it originally had 10 flowers (maybe some or all of those were supposed to fit perfectly in that cardboard tray).

    and its value
    Hard to say, since I don't have all the information from you as outlined in FAQ 7H. To me it looks pretty ordinary, except for the One Bam. I'd place its value somewhere in the $120-150 range. The only reason it's that high is because you have the [mismatched] flower and joker replacements so that it can be played with (I wish you would have included those in your photos; my estimate could be too high). A collector intrigued by those birds might pay more for the set. But any buyer would be faced with the challenge of finding better-matching replacements, and a wind indicator, and chips, and a nice case... The set is unlikely to be fully restorable. It can be made playable and attractive, and can be played without a wind indicator or chips, but finding those tiles will take a long time.

    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 13, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How to use kongs down under, part 2

    On Sunday, April 12, 2020, 03:15:07 PM PDT, Susan H wrote:
    Re: Kong in mahjong
    Thanks so much for getting back to me Tom!
    Apologies for not providing all the relevant information.
    We have ‘The book of Mahjong. An illustrated guide’ by Amy Lo, and have been trying to learn The Cantonese Game. The book describes only Cantonese and Shanghai styles.
    I’ve now got your book on kindle and have had a quick look at how the American game is played.
    So, follow-up question, is there a type/style/game of Mahjong that you would you recommend for newbies where there will be mostly only two players, sometimes three, and occasionally four?
    All the best,
    Susan

    Hi again, Susan!

    We have ‘The book of Mahjong. An illustrated guide’ by Amy Lo
    Perfect. I like that book very much. Its descriptions are much easier to read and understand than the descriptions in other books that describe the variants in her book.

    and have been trying to learn The Cantonese Game.
    Perfect. That is the variant I always recommend for beginners.

    The book describes only Cantonese and Shanghai styles.
    No, Lo also describes Taiwanese rules and "the 12-tile game" (which I'd never heard of until I read her book).

    I’ve now got your book on kindle and have had a quick look at how the American game is played.
    Well, I wouldn't have recommended that, but thank you. The second half of the book describes Chinese Official rules, which you might want to check out after mastering Cantonese (HKOS). You can read about kongs in my book. Look up Kongs in the index in the back.

    In Amy Lo's book, take a look at the top of page 25. She gives an excellent answer to your original question right there. (The solution to the problem that making a kong screws up the tile count.)

    In case you might run into scoring questions with Cantonese (aka Hong Kong Old Style), you should bookmark FAQ 17.

    is there a type/style/game of Mahjong that you would you recommend for newbies...
    Yes. Hong Kong (Cantonese).

    where there will be mostly only two players, sometimes three, and occasionally four?
    Turn to page 51 in Amy Lo. And here on my site, FAQ 13 explains how to play with fewer than 4 players. Stay with Amy Lo. She's the best.

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


    How to use kongs down under

    On Sunday, April 12, 2020, 04:28:15 AM PDT, Susan H wrote:
    Kong in mahjong
    Hi Tom,
    Greetings from Australia where my husband and I are spending some of our covid-19 lock down time learning mahjong.
    My question concerns the situation where a hand includes a kong. Are you able to call mahjong with just 13 tiles then? Or do you have to have 2 pairs as well as the kong - i.e. 14 tiles?
    I have read your FAQ on the topic but, sadly, didn’t understand it.
    Many thanks,
    Susan

    G'day, Susan! Since you're writing from Australia and you're asking how to account for a kong because it screws up the tile count, I assume you are learning Australian/British mah-jongg. I wish you had mentioned which book you use (if it's a Thompson & Maloney book, you need to tell me its title).
    You wrote:

    where a hand includes a kong. Are you able to call mahjong with just 13 tiles then?
    No! If your hand includes one kong, then you have to have fifteen tiles. When you expose a kong, you need to take an extra tile from the back end of the wall.

    Or do you have to have 2 pairs as well as the kong - i.e. 14 tiles?
    You lost me there. I'm just gonna say "no."

    I have read your FAQ on the topic but, sadly, didn’t understand it.
    Since you didn't specify which FAQ, or cite any words from it, I need to double-check that you read FAQ 20, answer D:

      A kong is a special pung. The typical hand is "four groups and a pair" - fourteen tiles (a "group" is usually "three tiles"). So when a group is a kong (four tiles), then it messes up the tile count. If your hand has four groups, and one of the groups is four tiles, say because you just picked a fourth from the wall, you don't have a tile to discard because now you have "four groups and a single." With me so far? So to preserve the hand's integrity, a replacement tile must be taken. Usually it is taken from the back end of the wall (just as is done with flowers) - unless your rulebook defines a "kong box" separate from the "flower wall."

    Also in FAQ 20, down below the FAQ, there are several reader Q&As from this bulletin board, including some asking about kongs. Dhirajlal (George) asked in October 2018 about how it's possible to have four kongs in a hand. I told him:

      Clearly, you aren't playing American mah-jongg. When you make a kong in your mahjong rules, you have to take a replacement tile from the back end of the wall. Yes, if you count the kong as four tiles, your total goes over 14. Just count a kong as three tiles. So if you have four kongs, that's physically 16 tiles - but count it as four pungs ("special" pungs), so four kongs would be regarded as twelve tiles. 

    If these explanations don't satisfy, I can try again if you tell me which words confuse. Surely your book explains kongs? What book are you using to learn? Or are you learning from a website? I hope you're not relying solely on my website, because I do not have complete rules for Australian/British mah-jongg here. There are several books on your variant listed in FAQ 3. And I have listed some websites describing Australian/British rules in FAQ 4b.

    You are welcome to ask me more questions, but please please tell me what mah-jongg guide you are using to learn the rules. Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Easter Sunday, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are these "sticks" used for?

    On Saturday, April 11, 2020, 08:37:53 AM PDT, Oto R wrote:
    Mahjong
    Hello, My name is Oto R , I am from Czech Republic in Europe. I have question about Mahjong. This question is about Mahjong equipment I have Old set. In My set is Something What i call sticks.
    I send u Photo of that sticks.
    Please be so Kind and explain me purpose of These...
    I look on many many website and found Only Photo of this sticks. But no explanation Of their function.
    Thank you very much for your answer. With regard Oto R

    On Saturday, April 11, 2020, 08:39 AM PDT, Oto R wrote:
    Image
    Sorry i forget insert image in first mail.
    Oto R
    2020-04-11_17_20_30.jpg
    2.5MB

    I call them "sticks" too, Oto. They're used just like poker chips.

    See FAQ 7D, the mah-jongg "bits and pieces" FAQ. If FAQ 7D doesn't explain sticks/chips' use clearly enough, you can find information on how poker chips (and casino tokens) are used very easily - that explanation should clarify how mah-jongg sticks and chips are used, since the concept is identical. On Wikipedia, you can look up "casino token." And there's a nice article on the history of poker chips on cardschat.com (Google it if you think that would be interesting for you).
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 11, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Strategy advice re joker exposure

    On Friday, April 10, 2020, 06:51:17 PM PDT, Beverly M wrote:
    Question about using jokers in exposures
    Hello,
    I am trying to elevate my game to the next level. Because of the pandemic, my friends and I are playing Mahjong online. I am now playing games with friends who have been playing many more years than me. So, now I am interested more in strategy.
    I noticed today that two of the more experienced players did not seem to make exposures using jokers. I try not to use the jokers for an exposure, but when I see the tiles that I need going down and can't make a pung or kong on my own, I use them. to pick up I don't see a way around that.
    Also, do better players ever use two jokers for an exposure. I think that I made a mistake today using 2 jokers for a kong of flowers since we were in the middle of the 3rd wall. Those jokers were immediately redeemed by fellow players. So, I thought that I probably shot myself in the foot.
    Is there a generally accepted practice/rule about how and when to use jokers for exposures?
    I enjoy your column! Thank you!
    Beverly

    Beverly, you're doing the right thing. You're thinking. That is exactly how you build your strategy repertoire. In this email, you're formulating strategy for joker exposure. You'll also want to develop your own strategy for flowers - when to keep, when to discard. And when to redeem jokers, and when to call an opponent dead... There are many aspects to strategy. Anyway, you wrote:

    I try not to use the jokers for an exposure, but when I see the tiles that I need going down and can't make a pung or kong on my own, I use them. to pick up I don't see a way around that.
    There is no way around that.

    It's sometimes wise to pass up the first matching discard, if you only have one natural and jokers, in hopes of snatching the second one (by which time maybe you'll have picked another).

    Also, realize that this wasn't a total loss. Yes, your jokers were taken, but now you know that your opponents had (and were possibly holding onto) the tile you exposed. This could indicate what hands your opponents were going for - and it might mean that now somebody is switching to another hand. Jokers aren't the only thing of value in American mah-jongg. Information about your opponents' tiles is hugely valuable - for the player willing to think (like you).

    do better players ever use two jokers for an exposure. I think that I made a mistake today using 2 jokers for a kong of flowers
    Of course it's desirable to avoid exposing multiple jokers at once. But if your hand is reasonably strong and you have a shot at winning the hand, sometimes the thing to do is to go for it. It's a judgment call based on the circumstances - this isn't craps. And there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

    And it sounds like you already realize the risks of making a flower exposure with jokers (especially more than one).

    ... we were in the middle of the 3rd wall.
    Which gives me information about your opponents. They hang onto flowers too long. Flowers become increasingly dangerous to discard as the wall gets shorter. Maybe they weren't planning to discard them, maybe they were waiting for you to do what you did. More likely, they were just hesitant to discard them for fear that somebody would call them for exposure - which is counterproductive strategy when your hand can't be won with a flower in it, and the longer you wait to discard it, the more likely somebody will win on it. Or, maybe they know they can't win, and want to take those jokers out of your reach, to keep you from winning. I would have to play with your opponents over time to figure out which scenario fits.

    Is there a generally accepted practice/rule about how and when to use jokers for exposures?
    Not "rule." No strategic principles are "rules." I've already described my own thinking as to this question - and I can't really speak to what is "generally accepted."

    For more strategy tips for American mah-jongg, see FAQ 8.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 10, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    It says 3 consecutive #, part 2

    On Thursday, April 9, 2020, 01:34:55 PM PDT, Peggy A wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I guess I’m still trying to learn this game. Thought I would be further along after a year. Not giving up though. I love it! Thanks for being here. I could spend a whole day ready your Q&A!

    Peggy, if you have any questions about the 2020 NMJL card, you might find your answers in FAQ 16. Two questions about Consec #8 are answered there.
    You're welcome to ask me if the FAQ doesn't have the answers you seek.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    It says 3 consecutive #

    On Thursday, April 9, 2020, 07:02:52 AM PDT, Peggy A wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I played one game on real mahjong with computer only with 2020 card. The one that had Mahjongg was last one on consecutive run 777 888 777 888 99. I am confused because it says 3 consecutive #. Last years card says
    Any 2 like numbers which would be above. Thank you Tom!
    Peggy

    Hi, Peggy! I'm sorry but I don't know what you're asking me. I understand you were playing against 4 computer AI, and one of the bots won with Consec #8. But then you wrote:

    I am confused because it says 3 consecutive #.
    7-8-9 is three consecutive numbers, so I don't know what the problem is.

    Last years card
    I don't know why you are mentioning last year's card.

    Last years card says Any 2 like numbers which would be above.
    I don't understand what point you're making. I'm sorry.

    I assume the problem is that either you are misinterpreting Consec #8 or you think the computer is misinterpreting Consec #8. If you think the computer game is misinterpreting 2020 Consec #8, tell me what you think the computer game is doing wrong. I don't think the 2019 card needs to be in this discussion at all.
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 9, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are the percentages?

    On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 06:15:12 PM PDT, Lillian S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    1) I know my hand dictates what Mahjongg I should consider, but should I shy away from CONCEALED AND HIGH VALUED HANDS? (Obviously a beginner!)
    2) What percentage of people stay away from CONCEALED and/or 35-50 pt valued hands because of the difficulties winning w/them??
    Thank you!
    Lillian

    Hi, Lillian! You wrote:

    ...should I shy away from CONCEALED AND HIGH VALUED HANDS? (Obviously a beginner!)
    Look at you! You're starting to form your own personal strategy! Hopefully you will adjust your strategy as you gain experience and confidence. Olympic hurdle jumpers don't try for the highest bar right away; they build up to it with practice, practice, practice. Even when they're at the top of their game, they continue to jump the low hurdles for practice.

    What percentage of people stay away from CONCEALED and/or 35-50 pt valued hands because of the difficulties winning w/them??
    Forty-two. By the way, have you ever read Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy? According to Adams, the answer to everything (including Life and The Universe) is forty-two. Coincidence? I know plenty of people who say "NEVER" to the S&P hands and even the 30¢ hands because their few attempts at those hands didn't pan out. If you never try to make a hard hand, you never will. And if you really want to know about percentages or statistics, all I have on such questions are FAQ 23 and FAQ 19-ci.

    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 8, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. I was kidding when I said "forty-two."


    The online game uses rules that are strange to us

    On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 10:19:03 AM PDT, camermob wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: With the Covid 19 virus my group recently started playing virtually and a rule we are running into is we cant draw a single, double or wind (ie: NEWS) unless it is for Mah Jongg in this game to put up on our rack. Is that a standard rule? We have not been playing or regular game that way when we play with our regular tiles.
    Thanks,
    Laurie M

    Hi, Laurie! You wrote:

    a rule we are running into is we cant draw a single, double or wind (ie: NEWS) unless it is for Mah Jongg
    When you say "draw" I take it that you mean "call someone's discard." But you can call a discard to expose a pung, kong, or quint, I assume. I mean, the online game you're using permits those calls. I assume.

    Is that a standard rule?
    Absolutely. You mean your group (when you were playing together in person) was permitting players to call tiles for singles (NEWS, 2019) or pairs? If so, then your group should pitch in to buy at least one copy of the League's official rulebook. And everybody should read it.


    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'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.

    Also you can read FAQ 19-E. A discard may be taken only to expose a pung, kong, quint (or, when present on the card, a sextet) - or, of course, for mah-jongg (see FAQ 19-E3).


    There's also my book, of course!

    If you've been playing wrong before, you should adopt the official rules going forward. If you call a discard to expose a pair or a group of singles like NEWS in a tournament, you'll be declared dead so fast the whole table will spin!
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 8, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #735, part 2

    On Sunday, April 5, 2020, 09:59:01 AM PDT, service@paypal. wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Michael Y
    Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Michael Y. You can view the transaction details online .
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
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    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Michael Y
    Sincerely,
    PayPal

    Thank you very much, Michael! May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Column #735

    On Sunday, April 5, 2020, 09:50:31 AM PDT, Michael Y wrote:
    Your column #735 mentions two hands with quint flowers.Did not mention like numbers # 3.

    Doh! Okay, it's fixed now. Thanks, Michael!
    Stay safe. Don't touch your face. Don't panic! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 5, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I need technical support

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

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

    P.S. If you said which mah-jongg app you're playing, and what device you're playing it on, maybe another reader could post an answer to your question!


    Donation

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


    I want to report a bug

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

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


    That old slamming thing, part 3

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

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

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

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

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


    That old slamming thing, part 2

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Hi, Snelly! You wrote:

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

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

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

    Love your column.
    Thanks!

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


    How do you redeem a joker?

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

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

    Anybody else think maybe Marlene might have been asking about a computer game? Anybody wanna guess which one?


    That old "slamming" thing

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

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


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

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

    Hi, Pam! You wrote:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


    What are my three sets made of?

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

    Hi, Leo! You wrote:

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

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

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

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

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


    Rules inconsistency, part 3

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

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


    Rules inconsistency, part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    New column - broken link? (Part 2)

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

    You're welcome, Barb. - Tom


    Rules inconsistency (2020 card, part 6)

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

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


    New column - broken link?

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

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


    New column posted - analysis of the new 2020 card

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


    Timely TV quote

    Heard on Elementary today:

          Tough times don't last.
          Tough people do.

          - Elementary S1, E11: Dirty Laundry

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


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

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

    Hi, Susan! You asked:

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

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

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


    #PlayApartTogether

    Of interest, from VentureBeat:

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

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

    Browser games:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


    The 2020 card, part 5

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


    The 2020 card, part 4

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

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


    Two-handed mah-jongg, part 2

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

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


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

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

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


    Are my racks unusual, part 3

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

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


    Are my racks unusual, part 2

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

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


    Are my racks unusual?

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

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


    Two-handed mah-jongg

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

    Hi, Iris! You wrote:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


    Play by play analysis, part 3

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

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

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


    Play by play analysis, part 2

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

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


    Play-by-play analysis, akin to chess notation

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

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


    Can I play online with my friends, part 3

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

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


    How can Fan #52 combine with Fan #19?

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

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


    Can I play online with my friends, part 2

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

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


    Can I play online with my friends

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

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


    Opinions on playing during the health emergency, part 3

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

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

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

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



    NMJL's opinion on playing, part 2

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

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


    Fifth player as bettor

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

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


    Nervous about playing in my first tournament

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

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


    NMJL's opinion on playing now?

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

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


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

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

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


    Are they both dead, part 2

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

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

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

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

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


    Seeking a particular type of set

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

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


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

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

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



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


    A couple of Qs

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

    Hi, Nancy! You asked:

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

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

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

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


    ESWN, part 2

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

    Hi, Pete! I like what you said:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

    Hello, shawn! You asked:

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

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

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

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


    Frequently Asked Question 19-K

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

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



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


    Appreciation

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

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


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

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

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



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


    When is a tile too late to call?

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

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



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


    Can I claim a discard for a 2019?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

    Hi, Lynn! You asked:

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

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

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

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

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


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

    You're welcome!


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

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

    Hi, Carol!
    You asked:

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


    Do you know the history, part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    An error occurred in our 3-player Charleston

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

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

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

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


    Do you know the history?

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

    Hi, Penny. You wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Can I use zero as a consecutive number?

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

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


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

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

    Hi, Wendy! Your 2 questions:

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

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

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

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

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


    Was it once legal to call the "same"?

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

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


    Wrong number of tiles during the Charleston

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


    Should I store my tiles vertically or horizontally?

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

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


    Do you have any helpful exercises on this website?

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

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

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


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

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

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


    Much appreciate your time, energy and devotion

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

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


    She named the tile, then declared mahj

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

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

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

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


    Are they both dead?

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

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


    Do I have to verbalize a joker exchange?

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

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


    Was I rude to her?

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

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


    What are typical prizes for a tournament?

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

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


    Can I use a joker in a 2019 grouping?

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

    No. Read FAQ 19.E.2. Also: read the back of the card. Left pane, last sentence of the last paragraph before the numbered rules.

    Look for the word "NEVER" (in all capital letters, bold text, and underlined just like that). In fact, you should read everything on the back of the card. You owe it to the other people you play with to know all these basic rules of the game.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 15, 2020
    Los Angeles, California, USA


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

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

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


    How often can you blind pass?

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

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


    Charleston flow chart, part 2

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

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


    Charleston flow chart

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

    Hi, Bobbie! You asked:

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

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

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

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


    The window of opportunity, part 2

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

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


    She said its name and I called it for mahj

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

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


    The 2019 card, part 33 (not really)

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


    We are looking for some valuation, part 2

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

    You're welcome, Sheila!


    Mystery honor tiles, part 3

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

    Thank you, CC!


    Mystery honor tiles, part 2

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

    You're welcome, CC!


    Mystery honor tiles

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

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


    Do we pick and then discard, part 2

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

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


    The window of opportunity let in more than usual

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


    We are looking for some valuation of this.

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

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


    How is win by joker redemption scored?

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

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


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

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

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


    Conflicting rules about conflicting claims

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

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

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

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

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


    How old is my set?

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

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


    Is it proper to say "same"?

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

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


    Everybody wants that discarded redeemable tile!

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

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


    Penalty for misnaming?

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

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


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

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

    Hi, Louise! Try the back of the card.

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

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


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

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

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


    Where to get past NMJL newsletters?

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

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


    Appreciation

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

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


    Book says triple score. Got any alternatives?

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

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


    When does the dummy wall come out?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


    In search of four blank tiles

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

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


    What if somebody passes me a joker in the Charleston?

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

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


    What's the diff?

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

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

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


    Marvelous questions, part 2

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

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


    Marvelous questions

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

    Hi, Ricki! You asked:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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