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The 2021 NMJL Card (FAQ 16-2021)
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Why wouldn't the computer let me win?
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How Much Is My Set Worth? (FAQ 7-H)
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The Mah-Jongg FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What Is Mah-Jongg?
2a. Which MJ Rules To Learn?
2b. Which MJ Rules Do I Play?
3. Books on Mah-Jongg
  3b. 1920s Books
4a Teachers, and Selected Links
4b Lots O' Links!
5. Computer MJ
6. "Rosetta Stone"
7.
  7a. Types of Sets
  7b. Is It Complete?
  7c. What's It Made Of?
  -   7c2. Is It Ivory?
  -   7c3. One Word: Plastics
  7d. Bits And Pieces
  7e. "Mystery Tiles"
  7f. Playing Tables
  7g. How Old Is It?
  7h. How Much Is It Worth?
  7i. Cards... and Kards
  7j. Tips For Buyers
  7k. Where To Buy (US/Eur.)
  7m. Where To Buy (Asia)
  7n. Tips For Sellers
  7o. Cleaning & Restoring
  7p. "Tell Me Anything"
  7q. "I Need Blank Tiles!"
  7r. "I Need Jokers!"
  7s. Tiles For The Sight-Impaired
  7t. DIY Joker Stickers
  7u. Manufacturers
8. Strategy
9. Philosophy of Etiquette, Errors, & Harmony
10. MJ For Dummies
11. History of Mah-Jongg
   11a. Definitions, sources
  11b. Precursor games
  11c. Who created MJ
  11d. Earliest MJ writings
  11e. Earliest MJ sets
  11f. Proto-MJ & CC
  11h. History timeline
12. "Mah-Jongg Solitaire" Tile-Matching games
13. Fewer Than 4 Players?
  13a. 3P/2P/5P/6P American MJ
  13b. 3P/2P Asian Forms
  13c. 3P/2P Japanese MJ
  13d. I Dunno, I'm Just Starting
  13e. Solitaire Tile-Matching
14. Table Rules
15. Finding Players & Teachers
16. The NMJL Card
17. Hong Kong/Cantonese Scoring
18. MJ Symbolism
19. American Mah-Jongg
20. Misunderstood Asian Rules
21. How To Run A Tournament
22. Chinese Official Scoring
23. Mah-Jongg Demographics
24. How To Get Technical Support
25. Why won't the computer let me win Japanese Majan?
26. Teaching Tips
27. Table Rotation
28. Charleston-Stoppers

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The Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board


Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg and get answers, usually the same day! But before you email, please check out the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). 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 send a screenshot or doesn't even say which computer game they're asking about!

  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only. I don't take mah-jongg questions via telephone, snailmail, semaphore, Morse code, or smoke signal. Also don't send your question to me via carrier pigeon. What am I supposed to do with a pigeon? I'm a city apartment dweller. And you should see the rules they got here! </rant>
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  • The first time someone asks a question here, I send a reply email to let you know that you should come back and see your answer. If your email address is protected by a service that wants me to click a link and prove myself to be human, I don't click the link. You'll need to check back here to find your answer.
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    The Q&As are below.


  • Appreciation and support

    On Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 04:22:45 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Aug 4, 2021 04:22:32 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 30 (part 3 for the 9th time)

    On Tuesday, August 3, 2021, 05:28:53 AM PDT, Pepper B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My Mah-Jongg Question is:
    On the 2021 card, under Consecutive Run, Line 5.
    This line does not say "These Nos. Only" nor does it say "Any 2, 3, or 4 Consec Nos.
    This leaves the question: Can I use numbers other than 1, 2 and 3?
    It does not say either way.
    Diane

    Hi, Diane! This and other frequently asked questions about the 2021 NMJL card are answered in FAQ 16. Please bookmark it for your future reference. You can use any 3 consecutive numbers for Consec #5.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 1966 NMJL card, part 3

    On Monday, August 2, 2021, 04:14:57 AM PDT, jamescaboose wrote:
    Re: 1966 card and set question
    Tom,
    Thanks for the response.
    I also found a card from 1947 that sold for 10 cents.
    Jim M


    The 1966 NMJL card, part 2

    But wait! I think I know what that new rule was. I looked at the 1965 card and the 1967 card, and the difference is that the 1967 card also shows a "new" rule: jokerless hands earn double.
    Pretty sure that's what they were talking about on the front of your card, Jim.

    Tom


    The 1966 NMJL card

    On Sunday, August 1, 2021, 10:10:46 AM PDT, jamescaboose wrote:
    1966 card and set question
    Tom,
    We are planning a local Mah Jongg tournament and want to use the card from 1966.
    The card says that the "Standard Based on 8 Flowers and 6 Big Jokers", but that does not add up to 16.
    What do we use for "Big Jokers" or can we use the regular joker tiles?
    Was the game played with 2 less tiles then, rather than now?
    We only have the "hand" side of the card. The language on this side says that we (See Additional New Ruling on back of card). Any idea what that meant?
    Thanks for your help on this.
    Jim M

    Hi, Jim! You asked:

    The card says that the "Standard Based on 8 Flowers and 6 Big Jokers", but that does not add up to 16.
    I don't understand. What does the number 16 have to do with anything?

    What do we use for "Big Jokers" or can we use the regular joker tiles?
    "Big Jokers" are called "Jokers" today. The terms are interchangeable.

    Was the game played with 2 less tiles then, rather than now?
    Rather than me trying to do any difficult mathematics (just kidding), maybe you should take a look at the F/J chart in column 509. The number of flowers and jokers was in constant flux from 1937 to 1971.

    The language on this side says that we (See Additional New Ruling on back of card). Any idea what that meant?
    That means you need to see the back of the card. I'm sorry, but I can't help you figure out what this "new ruling" was, since I do not have that card in my collection.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    August 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Bovine bone? Looks like Bakelite to me.

    On Saturday, July 31, 2021, 09:19:50 AM PDT, madeleineh wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom<
    I have been monitoring a Mah Jongg set for sale on EBay. It is available for $4,679.00. The seller claims it is high quality bovine bone and bamboo. I am curious as to what you think regarding the “bone”. It looks like Bakelite to me, but I’ve never come across a set using Bakelite and bone.
    Image 21 - Beautiful Antique Mahjong Set
    To clarify, I’m not interested in purchasing the set. A little rich for my blood. Just curious as to what your educated guess might be regarding the material.
    Cheers,
    Madeleine H

    Hi, Madeleine!
    Hard to tell from the photo. But I don't see why these tiles couldn't be cow bone. Bakelite (actually Catalin) tiles are usually yellow. Looks like there might be Haversian system on the 9D tile.
    Funny that you're more concerned with what the HUGELY overpriced set is made of than its asking price. Almost five grand??? For an ivory set, MAYBE. But for a bone-and-bamboo set to sell for that much, it must be of insane quality and beauty.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if two players say "you're dead" simultaneously?

    On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 02:00:52 PM PDT, Michael R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom
    Thanks for your never ending information and advice.
    My question - what is the rule when two players call another player ‘dead’, at the identical time?
    i) if both callers are correct in their calls
    ii if both callers are wrong in their calls
    Thank you,
    Michael

    Hi, Michael,
    I never heard of two people saying "you're dead" in perfect unison, so that the other two people cannot determine which one spoke first. The official rules only discuss one person calling another dead. If you have a situation where it's not possible to identify which one person spoke first, AND the challenged player denies being dead (whether rightly or wrongly) then I can think of two ways you could resolve it:
    1. Split the 50¢ - either (A) each erroneous death-declarer pays 25¢ or (B) each death-declarer gets 25¢ from the erroneous death-denier.
    2. Flip a coin to determine which death-declarer is to be considered to have started speaking first (winner of the coin flip takes the whole 50¢, or loser of the coin flip pays the whole 50¢).
    I lean towards #1, but I suppose the League would have an opinion on the matter. I recommend snailmail over phone for getting answers from the League (see FAQ 19-BN).

    If you haven't read FAQ 19-AB, please do. The FAQ explains what to do if the death declaration is wrongly denied or erroneously made. (There is no payment involved if the challenged player just says "yes, you're right, I'm dead.")
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Turning the last stack sideways, part 2

    On Monday, July 26, 2021, 10:46:23 PM PDT, Regina P wrote:
    National Mah Jongg Rules question
    Hi,
    I know you really hate it when people ask the same question - over and over, and for good reason. It's annoying. I hope this question has not been asked before, especially recently.

    I have done extensive research on this matter (I re-read your book, which I own, I read the League's Mah Jongg Made Easy booklet, and I re-read most of your FAQ site, especially those sections which I thought might be relevant) and yet I cannot find any reference to this question. The question is this : Is it a table rule that a player may turn the last 2 stack of tiles in the wall at right angles to the wall to "mark" the end of the wall? I don't teach this as a solution to "where is the end of the wall" versus the front, but so many people insist on doing it in any case. I don't "correct" them because I really don't know what the rule is, or if there is one. We had a discussion tonight at our weekly game regarding this matter and since I can't find it written as a "rule" in any documentation, I am assuming it is a "table rule". Will you comment? Thank you for your time.

    Incidentally, I really, really wish you would offer an American Mah Jongg Teacher's class - even a virtual one would be great, and yes, I would pay for the privilege of taking your class. I have been teaching American MJ for about 10 years now (and playing for 20) but I would really like to have the benefit of having been officially trained by you. I know some gal has recently offered a "certification" program but her credentials for doing so were not apparent. Your credentials are well known and highly respected. Yours would be a class I would take in a heartbeat!
    Thank you for your time.
    Gina P
    Dayton, OH

    Hi, Gina! The hat tip is because you have my book and you're a teacher and you researched before asking. You wrote:

    Is it a table rule that a player may turn the last 2 stack of tiles in the wall at right angles to the wall to "mark" the end of the wall? ... I don't teach this as a solution to "where is the end of the wall" versus the front, but so many people insist on doing it in any case.
    It's not a "rule." It's a harmless, optional, undocumented table practice. Even experienced players sometimes accidentally reach for the back end of the wall, and seeing that sideways last stack says "uh-uh-UHH!" I've seen it done at national and international tournaments. It is not a NMJL-specific thing; it's global. Nobody reasonable objects to the practice.

    I hope this question has not been asked before, especially recently.
    March 23. Joann F (below). No biggie. It's not a frequently asked question.

    wish you would offer an American Mah Jongg Teacher's class
    I have no objection to teaching teachers, but not while the Delta variant is killing people every day. And not until my life has settled down into a new routine (a lot of changes going on now). But, that other thing you said, actually those two things you said.
    1, you're in Ohio and no way am I going to be teaching in Ohio.
    2, you suggested online, and after having to teach Introduction to Business Information Technologies and Video Game Quality Assurance online when the pandemic lockdown hit, I am very aware of how much work is involved in just planning a course and preparing a syllabus, much less figuring out the technology for sharing a table with tiles. Mah-jongg is a very in-person kind of topic, hands-on-tiles. I do not know where to begin to teach mah-jongg online. I cannot at this time commit to teaching mah-jongg online, either for beginners or for teachers.
    And a 3rd thing:
    3, I would have to market it and figure out a universally acceptable monetization system and provide technical support for the teacherstudents. No, thanks! Is that 5 things in all?

    P.S. I appreciate the compliments. I took a good look at that online teacher course you mentioned. Assuming we're both talking about the same one, it's a well-prepared program that ensures that its graduates know the actual rules. The course doesn't teach how to teach. It doesn't teach how to teach strategy or etiquette, but it doesn't condone teaching table rules like picking ahead or hot/cold wall. [Added 7/27]
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A vote against dark mode, part 4

    On Sunday, July 25, 2021, 02:00:55 PM PDT, joan e wrote:
    Mah Jongg column
    Dear Tom,
    I enjoy reading your column and doing the exercises you give us but the last two columns have been almost impossible to read and printing it uses too much ink. The black background is the problem. Could you please go back to using the white background. It would be so helpful.
    Thank you.
    JoaniE
    Life is Good

    Yes, JoaniE. I already promised Susan H (July 19, below) and Linda Z (July 21) that I would do just that. I never figured on people printing the column. Nobody told me so many people print it - I was assuming people were mainly reading it on tablets or big smartphones. No new columns will use dark mode ever again, I swear.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 25, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 29 (part 5 for the 5th time)

    On Thursday, July 22, 2021, 08:31:38 PM PDT, Leslie F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    on the 2021 card, for the N-S and E-W hands,
    are NS only odd numbers,
    and EW only even numbers?
    Thank you

    Yes. Just remember "East=Even."
    Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card, and FAQ 19 for rules questions.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 23, 2021
    Rochester, New York, USA


    A vote against dark mode, part 3

    On Wednesday, July 21, 2021, 06:42:39 AM PDT, lindaz wrote: a vote against dark mode
    Hi Tom--
    I have some vision challenges and I find the dark mode difficult to read.
    Thanks, Linda

    Message received, Linda. No more dark mode.


    A vote against dark mode, part 2

    On Sunday, July 18, 2021, 03:48:16 PM PDT, Susan H wrote:
    Dark Mode
    Hi Tom!
    Been following you and reading your columns for many years and really appreciate them - thank you!
    Regarding dark mode, I don’t like it. I print your columns and do them in the morning with my coffee. I have also printed them to give new players a taste of your columns and they are now also avid followers.
    They don’t print well at all in dark mode!
    Thank you,
    Susan

    Printing! I had not considered printing. Thanks, Susan. No more dark mode (the votes are 2 to 1).
    By the way, I'm in a very busy time, a lot going on right now - could not write a column this past weekend and won't be able to write one next weekend.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is the courtesy voided if someone stops the Charleston?

    On Saturday, July 17, 2021, 10:33:29 AM PDT, Jane S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If someone stops game after the first left , do you still do the optional exchange.
    Sent from my iPhone

    The courtesy is not voided just because someone stopped the Charleston. See FAQ 19-AH. You can also check page 13 of the official rulebook.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is it okay to win on a discard if I'm playing a concealed hand?

    On Saturday, July 17, 2021, 10:28:37 AM PDT, Jane S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing a concealed hand can you pick up to Mahjong?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Yes, Jane. You can claim a discard for mah-jongg on a concealed hand. See FAQ 19-BD. The rule is on page 15 of the official rulebook, if you have a copy (most people do not). Please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions, and FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Three players wanted to blind pass 3 tiles.

    On Saturday, July 17, 2021, 08:01:11 AM PDT, Jamshid R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Good Morning Tom,
    We were playing MJ last night. When we reached the “Final Right Pass” of the Charleston, 3 of the players wanted to blind pass all 3 tiles (I will designate them as N, W, and S plater). Only one of the 4 players (the E player) wanted to do get rid of 2 of her tiles by blind passing 1 of the tiles received from the person to her left (S player). We didn’t know how to resolve this dilemma. It seemed to us that the “S player” would be the only one unable to blind pass 3 tiles. Is that just tough luck or is there a fair way to proceed.
    Thanks for your help.
    Jam

    Hi, Jam!
    The solution is the I.O.U. method. In 2012 I proposed this solution in column 534. Since then, the League has adopted it and it's in the official rulebook on page 13.
    You can have your East pass one of her tiles and say "I.O.U.", and that tile can be passed blind around the table 3 times. It's silly but it gets the deed done. Note that nobody's hand was changed. OR... since nobody's hand changes at all, you can just say "okay, we all blind-passed" and skip the last right pass altogether, which amounts to the same thing.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Heavenly Hand, part 2

    On Thursday, July 15, 2021, 12:26:15 PM PDT, <lindaz wrote:
    (No Subject)
    Thanks Tom! I'll pass along your info which was very thorough!
    Best wishes, Linda

    You're welcome, Linda!
    Tom


    Heavenly Hand

    On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 02:15:37 PM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    i thought heavenly hand was common knowledge!
    Hi Tom,
    Today a new player asked "what happens if you're dealt MJ before the Charleston begins?" I started to describe "Heavenly Hand" and was corrected by the other 3 players. They referred me to the back of the card which states Charleston is compulsory--you must play the Charleston. (First sentence under CHARLESTON.) Of course I did not have a rule book with me. Nor is there anything on the back of the card describing Heavenly Hand. I thought it used to be mentioned on there but I guess not. I double checked the rules and I am correct. Do you think this should be mentioned on the NMJL card? It does not seem to be common knowledge among the experienced players I was with today, which surprised me. Would you advise me to write the League to have this included on the card, or is it too insignificant? I respect your opinion.
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda - long time no see! You wrote:

    i thought heavenly hand was common knowledge!
    Au contraire, ma cher!

    Of course I did not have a rule book with me.
    There should be a rule book present at every table. But I guess that's just me.

    Nor is there anything on the back of the card describing Heavenly Hand. I thought it used to be mentioned on there but I guess not.
    No. It was never on the card, to the best of my knowledge.

    Do you think this should be mentioned on the NMJL card?
    The thought never occurred to me.

    Would you advise me to write the League to have this included on the card, or is it too insignificant?
    I would not. The rule covers an extremely rare circumstance. The only reason people ask about it is out of curiosity. They ask what your new player asked. It does not surprise me that experienced players don't know about the rule.

    In 2010, someone asked me this question, the same way your new player did. I knew about Heavenly Hand in Chinese and Japanese and Western mah-jongg, but I couldn't find anything on it in NMJL rulebooks or newsletters. I wrote column 476, inspired by the question. Then I wrote to Ruth Unger, who was the president of the League, to ask her about Heavenly Hand. Her letter back to me is the first written ruling I have seen from the League on this question. A few years later, the question was asked and answered in a January newsletter. And only in the most recent editions of Mah Jongg Made Easy can you find the ruling (in the 2020 edition, it's the 6th bullet on p. 14).

    Column 476 is not the latest info I have on Heavenly Hand - best to refer to column 666, which I wrote in 2017. To get back to your question, I just noticed that the link to column 666 is way down near the bottom of the frequently-referenced columns page. I put it there, and I didn't put it high up on the page. It's not higher up on the page because it's a very obscure rule. To answer your quetion, I do not think the rule is so important that it needs to edge out something else on the card, or to make the text on the back of the card even smaller.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    14 Juillet, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if all players go dead except one?

    On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 10:48:46 AM PDT, Roberta D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If three people play with a dummy hand as a fourth. Two of the three players realize they have incorrect amount of tiles halfway through game does the last player with the correct amount of tiles automatically win?

    Hi, Roberta, you wrote:

    Two of the three players realize they have incorrect amount of tiles halfway through game does the last player with the correct amount of tiles automatically win?
    No. See FAQ 19-BW. Four players or three, if only one player is left standing, the hand is voided. Throw in all tiles and start a new deal with the next dealer. If you play NMJL rules, please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions, and FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    14 juillet, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you claim a discard to expose a knitted set?

    On Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 09:53:34 AM PDT, Karen W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Tom,
    In Chinese Mahjong when building a knitted straight of 147-258-369, can you call a tile to make a sequence complete, before you’re ready to Mahjong? As you can in a “chow” or “pung”?
    I know the answer is “no” but can’t find it in writing in your book.
    It stands to reason because you get to claim concealed points if you draw your last tile.
    Thank you in advance.
    Karen W

    Hi, Karen! You are correct that the answer is "no." See rule 40 (c) in the section on "Claiming a discard for a melded set."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Bastille day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Please evaluate, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 09:19:04 PM PDT, James H wrote:
    Re: please evaluate
    Hello Tom, thanks for your help.

    You're welcome, James.


    Your forward in Sandberg's book, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 08:00:07 PM PDT, Carole D wrote:
    Re: Forward in Elaine Sandbergs' Beginners book
    Thank you!

    I'm glad you came back. Our exchange kept rolling around in my head, and I realized I hadn't put the proper seal on my response. I should have ended my diatribe against bad teachers with my appreciation for Elaine Sandberg's book, for its clear and accurate description of how to play mah-jongg the right way. (I probably said that in the foreword, but maybe I laid it on a little thick about bad teachers so much that the good words got lost.)
    Play safely and stay healthy, Sandra. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    July 13, 2021


    Please evaluate, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 07:01:45 AM PDT, James H wrote:
    Re: please evaluate
    Hello Tom
    Thanks for your response.
    I found this information on your website link.
    Since I don't have Animal Flowers, would my set be Taoist?
    Best regards, James H
    https://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq02b.html#Details
    There are 2 games that use 148 tiles.
    SINGAPORE STYLE
    Uses 148 tiles (basic set plus 4 animal flowers).
    TAOIST MAHJONG
    Uses 148 tiles (including "gold dragons" which may be represented by blanks or jokers).

    James, your set is a standard 1920s Westernized Chinese set. It's normal for standard sets to come with not only the required 144 tiles but also 4 blanks that can be used to replace lost tiles. For more about standard 1920s Chinese sets, see FAQ 7B and column 610.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 13, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The original blue Dragon Joker

    On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 05:53:06 AM PDT, Ashley s wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Which sets had the original blue Dragon Joker

    I have no idea, Ashley. I assume you are referring to this:

    I've never seen one of those tiles in real life, much less in an identifiable set.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 13, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Your forward in Sandberg's book

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 11:11:01 PM PDT, Carole D wrote:
    Forward in Elaine Sandbergs' Beginners book
    Mr. Sloper I was given this book and I am a beginner. My name is Sandra M.
    I love this game from the first day I was introduced to it.
    Your forward I personally found to be VERY INSULTING to all the teachers out there. Your ego must be getting in your way of living that you had to slam the teachers. I have met 3 teachers, all are certified Mah Jongg by the International committee. The teachers for the most part take very little in money to teach the game that they love. Most teachers have 4-5 classes , unless you are in San Francisco or Los Angeles ( who charge more than anyone else) They spend their own time, and make copies of everything for each student, they bring all the materials that is necessary and most supply refreshments at no additional cost. The teacher I had cost only $45 for 4 days of classes, provided all the copies of everything, provided snacks and drinks(not alcohol) Was open to answering all questions either on the phone or email any time of the day or nite.
    Your forward, I am quoting "The rare player who was willing to teach a novice rarely explained, or even knew the details of the official rules." "These mentors often used unofficial table rules, which were than propagated as the way it's done." How stupid you must be. I can only imagine that you were taught by someone who saw you as an egomania and thought you would argue with them on every point thinking you know more than anybody. The teachers I know can quote all the official international rules word by word. They stress the rules and any of the unofficial table rules were quickly noted as one and we were told if you want to play that way it is not taught here. Maybe some house rules apply in private homes with regular players that add a little things to make them feel better. If I was the author of this book, which I am not, I would demand an apology from you in writing and publish it in all the newspaper's world wide. If you ever are given the chance to write a forward again, I would suggest that you recognize it as an opportunity and honor and treat it as such. The major thing I took away from your forward is that I am grateful that I am not married to you, or even a friend or acquaintance. But if you want me to write a forward for your next book, it would look something like the above.
    From:
    Sandra M, a New Mah Jongg player who is grateful for the teacher and other mentors who want everyone to enjoy this wonderful game.

    囧 Sorry you feel that way, Sandra. At the time I wrote that forward for Elaine, I had been answering questions about the rules of American mah-jongg for only a few years (it's now been over two decades), but I was already shocked by how many players had been taught unofficial table rules as if they were official. Hot wall, cold wall, picking ahead... as people play with new groups and encounter different rules, questions turn into arguments because some were taught made-up rules as gospel. I also encountered players at tournaments who were declared dead because they picked out of turn or made other forbidden moves, unaware of the real rules. And when I've taught classes, I sometimes had students who had been taught incorrectly. I believe it's fine to know table rules but all players need to at least know what the official rules are, because knowledge of the official rules gives one a firm footing when joining a new group or a tournament. In case you thought otherwise: I am grateful for my own teacher and mentors who helped me gain a perfect understanding of the rules. I want my students and readers to understand the correct rules, because I, as do you, "want everyone to enjoy this wonderful game."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    July 13, 2021


    Rules for Taoist mah-jongg, part 2

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 07:42:32 PM PDT, Sydney P wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you very much.
    Syd

    You're welcome, Syd!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Please evaluate

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 07:41:54 PM PDT, James H wrote:
    Please evaluate
    Hello Tom.
    I bought this 20 yrs ago at an estate sale.
    I have no history. I was told it was Teak and Ivory. After reading your webpage, most likely it's not.
    The 5 drawer box needs some work, 2 drawer pulls are missing, fixing the poor glueing of the front panel and glueing a piece that broke off the front of the box.
    Perhaps the items glued on the top, 3/16 thick, and sliding front panel, 1/8 thick, make it more unique
    All I have is the 148 tiles, no accessories.
    Tile dimensions are:
    (1.242) 1 and 1 /4 long
    (.860) 55/64 wide
    (.600) 19/32 thick
    (.280) 9/32 bone thickness
    (.320) 5/16 wood with a curved bottom.
    I also have what I was told is 128 Ivory scoring pieces.
    I understand the Flowers tell a story, perhaps there was a battle these Warriors fought in. Thanks for your help.
    Best Regards, James H

    Hi, James. You wrote:

    I was told it was Teak and Ivory. After reading your webpage, most likely it's not.
    The tiles are bone and bamboo, not ivory. I can see Haversian streaks. I don't know if the box is teak or not.

    The 5 drawer box needs some work, 2 drawer pulls are missing, fixing the poor glueing of the front panel and glueing a piece that broke off the front of the box.
    Perhaps the items glued on the top, 3/16 thick, and sliding front panel, 1/8 thick, make it more unique
    The box is indeed fancy. But it's in very bad condition. I wonder what the front-and-top carvings are made of - might they be white jade?

    All I have is the 148 tiles, no accessories.
    I also have what I was told is 128 Ivory scoring pieces.
    So somebody counted the sticks for you, and somebody told you they were ivory. 128 is a good even number divisible by four, but I wonder if the denominations are all divisible by four. It's very unlikely that the sticks are made of ivory - such a valuable material would be used for the sticks only if the tiles are also made of ivory. I do not believe your sticks are ivory (note that I can't see them, so all I have to go by on that is what you've told me).

    I understand the Flowers tell a story, perhaps there was a battle these Warriors fought in.
    You can take a look at the "Mystery Flowers" FAQ - maybe you'll find some info there. FAQ 7E-F.

    You asked me one question, James:

    Please evaluate
    That's a tough one. I know that the box is in very bad condition. You never mentioned the condition of the tiles. Value is all about condition. By zooming in on your photo, I can see stains on a few of the tiles, and a lot of Haversian streaking. I have no idea what condition the sticks are in. Using the grading definitions in FAQ 7h, I'm going to be generous and say the box is in Fair condition - utilitarian but not attractive. (I assume the drawers contain the tiles and the front slides into place to keep the drawers from sliding out, and the handle can be used to carry the box. If I'm wrong on any of those, then its condition is Poor.) And without anything else to go on, I'm just going to say the entire set is in Fair condition (utilitarian but unattractive due to its flaws). The tile carving is nice, and the flowers are interesting, but not enough to overcome the deficiencies of their container. If the set was complete and in at least Good condition, it could be worth over $200, but it's not Good. Anyone who buys the set would have to do so with the intent of fixing it up. It's maybe worth $100 max, but I'm not comfortable with that because it needs a lot of work and parts. If those box carvings are white jade, $100 is a safer bet (note that I have no idea what jade is worth).

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I change my mind?

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 06:14:10 PM PDT, Joanne R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If I call a tile and expose the matching tiles can I change my mind and put the called tile back on the table and put my tiles back in my rack?
    Joanne
    iPhone X

    You exposed tiles, Joanne. You committed to making that play. No backsies. See all the "change of heart" rules at FAQ 19-AM (one of the MOST frequently asked questions about American/NMJL rules).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Rules for Taoist mah-jongg

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 05:05:30 PM PDT, Sydney P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you please send rules to Taoist MahJongg?
    Thank you.
    Syd

    Hi, Syd. All I know about Taoist mah-jongg I learned from Jeff G when he emailed me on January 1st, 2018.
    See the conversation at https://www.sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive42.htm#Taoist. Do read especially our back-and-forth correspondence on January 2nd, about the 4 files he sent me. Those files are available for you to download at sloperama.com/downlode/mahjongg/.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mahj with too few tiles

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 04:06:45 PM PDT, Nightingale wrote:
    Slope question
    Re:NMJL
    Player makes an exposure of a kong.
    Play continues.
    Player picks a tile from the wall, calls mahj and puts their tiles on the top of the rack. There are only 13 tiles.
    Do the nine tiles just put up stay on the top of the rack or get moved back to the sloped part of the rack.
    Thanks.

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 04:14:45 PM PDT, Nightingale wrote:
    Re: Slope question
    Clarification- hand is dead and that player is out. Question is only about what happens to the nine tiles.
    Thanks.

    Hello, Nightingal! You wrote:

    There are only 13 tiles.
    Doh!

    Do the nine tiles just put up stay on the top of the rack
    So you're saying the player already had an exposed kong atop the rack?

    or get moved back to the sloped part of the rack.
    This. Erroneously-exposed tiles must be put back on the sloping front of the rack. This is stated in 3 places in FAQ 19:
    FAQ 19-P (second bullet)
    FAQ 19-AA (first paragraph after the bullets)
    FAQ 19-CK (third Q)
    The previously-exposed kong should stay atop the rack.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If you have a mahjong mid Charleston

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 12:34:07 PM PDT, Nancy C wrote:
    Charleston
    If you have a mahjong mid Charleston do you declare it and stop the game or do you have to continue the Charleston?

    Hi, Nancy. You didn't say which mah-jongg rules you play. I assume you play NMJL rules, not Wright-Patterson rules. The thing is, it depends on which Charleston pass you're on when you obtain the winning tile(s). See column 666 for full details.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I picked up a discarded tile and used that tile to redeem a joker

    On Monday, July 12, 2021, 09:22:19 AM PDT, vogue13 wrote:
    question
    I picked up a discarded tile and used that tile to free up MY joker in my exposed Pung and then used that joker to Mahjong. Did i do the right thing?
    Thanks

    Hi, vogue.
    It is illegal to claim a discarded tile for the purpose of joker redemption. See FAQ 19-G. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about National Mah Jongg League rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The Red Dragon & The West Wind, part 2

    On Saturday, July 10, 2021, 06:25:18 PM PDT, Stella W wrote:
    re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I bought the ebook from Amazon and will try to decipher which pages I need to update. Thank you
    Stella

    Sounds like a plan!


    The Red Dragon & The West Wind

    On Saturday, July 10, 2021, 01:15:49 PM PDT, Stella W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What is the latest publication date for your book the red dragon & west wind please
    Stella

    Thanks for asking, Stella. It was published in 2007. There haven't been any new editions. I couldn't say whether there have been additional printings. The book was not written to accompany a particular NMJL card. Because there have been some rule changes since 2007, I always recommend the errata as a free-to-download companion to the book.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    July 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Filling the only place

    On Friday, July 9, 2021, 09:45:45 PM PDT, Dawn B wrote:
    To:Mahjong Guru Tom Slope
    Filling the only place in going Mahjong
    Hi Tom,
    I have perused your site extensively and could not find my
    question being answered. I read FAQ 22 where you explain
    and show hands in regards to "Combine-Just-Once ("exclusionary") rule.
    So here I go: Can you please explain and show examples of filling the only place. ?
    See how I am interpreting and correct me if I am wrong...and/or show me other examples.
    ie: I am thinking that if one mj with a closed sequence of 123...having had the 1&2 already
    in same suit..that obtaining the 3 would be the only place. But ie: if one has a 23 and obtains a 1 in this closed
    sequence that the 1 is not the only place ...as they could of played a 234. correct?
    If waiting for the center # of a sequence and it is obtained that these middle #'s are the only place...correct?
    And having 2 pair in hand...and then obtaining the 3rd tile to make a pong and ability to go out with 4 sets and a pair
    that this is NOT the only place ...as getting the 3rd tile could be obtained for either pair. correct?
    Thank You..Tom I hope I haven't complicated things.
    I’m Believing G-d,
    DawnB

    Hi, Dawn! You wrote:

    Can you please explain and show examples of filling the only place. ? ... I am thinking that if one mj with a closed sequence of 123...having had the 1&2 already
    Yes, that's one ("Edge Wait")...

    if one has a 23 and obtains a 1 in this closed
    sequence that the 1 is not the only place ...as they could of played a 234. correct?
    Correct.

    If waiting for the center # of a sequence and it is obtained that these middle #'s are the only place...correct?
    Yes, that's another "only place"("Closed Wait")...

    And having 2 pair in hand...and then obtaining the 3rd tile to make a pong and ability to go out with 4 sets and a pair
    that this is NOT the only place ...as getting the 3rd tile could be obtained for either pair. correct?
    Correct.

    I hope I haven't complicated things.
    Actually, you haven't complicated it quite enough. You covered the Edge Wait and the Closed Wait but you didn't mention the Single Wait (when you have one lone single tile and you're waiting for its twin for mah-jongg). Those are fans 77, 78, and 79 on page 191 in my book. (My book defines NMJL and Majiang Competition Rules. I don't remember which variant you play.)

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 28

    On Friday, July 9, 2021, 06:15:27 PM PDT, Kim H wrote:
    American MJ 2021 question
    National MJ League American MJ 2021 question :
    Consecutive Run #1
    These No.s only
    Is it only dots since it doesn’t say any suit or did they run out of room?
    Thanks
    Kim

    Hi, Kim!
    You'll find the answer on the back of the card.

    You don't even have to read very much of it to find your answer (but it's recommended to read the whole thing). The first line of the first paragraph explains that 1 color means any 1 suit. Blue on the card doesn't mean Dots. Green doesn't mean Bams, and Red doesn't mean Craks.
    Please bookmark FAQ 16 for further questions about the NMJL card.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My new set has only 2 jokers

    On Wednesday, July 7, 2021, 06:44:32 PM PDT, jenny m wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I just bought a set. I have all the pieces but 6 of the jokers are missing.so I can't do 2 rows of 19 for each wall. Can the wall be shortened?

    Sorry, jenny, but no. You bought the wrong set. You need one with 8 jokers. The game will not be fun with only 2 jokers - players will be frustrated, there will be a lot of wall games... the game is balanced for 8 jokers, not 2.
    Maybe these FAQs will be helpful, maybe...
    FAQ 7R, "I need jokers!"
    FAQ 7T, How to make joker stickers (if you have enough extra flowers with your new set).
    But your best bet is to just buy a proper set for American mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    7/7/21
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if I pick my MJ tile but it's the last pick of the game?

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 12:35:14 AM PDT, Karen L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Your last pick of the game gives you MJ. Can you call MJ even though you don’t get another turn.
    During the game if the tile you pick is MJ you have to wait for your next turn to call MJ.
    Karen
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Karen! Sorry I didn't respond yesterday, but your email went to my spam folder for no good reason. You asked:

    Your last pick of the game gives you MJ. Can you call MJ even though you don’t get another turn.
    Yes, do it as soon as you have mah-jongg. It would be grossly unfair for the rules to say you can't declare mah-jongg as soon as you have mah-jongg.

    During the game if the tile you pick is MJ you have to wait for your next turn to call MJ.
    What? No, you don't!* When your 14 tiles** are a complete mah-jongg, say "mah-jongg" and say it like you're happy!

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    7/7/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * You're not playing some sort of "picking ahead" or "playing with a future" table rule, are you? If you are, I can't tell you how your made-up rules are supposed to work. See FAQ 14 (the Table Rules FAQ).
    ** (assuming you're not playing a 17-tile variant or picking ahead)
    P.S. This Q&A prompted me to write Column #751 on 7/11/21. - Tom


    She said she wanted it, part 3

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 10:02:25 PM PDT, Susan M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:


    She said she wanted it, part 2

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 09:02:55 PM PDT, Susan M wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sorry Tom. I didn’t read the whole thing and didn’t mean to shout. I was just emphasizing.
    Sue

    We'll let it slide this time, Susan! (^_^)
    Tom


    She wanted it but didn't take it, then after it was too late to take it she said she wanted it

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 08:46:11 PM PDT, Susan M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Have the rules regarding racking and discarding changed???
    Player #1 picks a tiles, looks at it, doesn’t want it, DOESN’T RACK IT, calls it, let’s say it’s a 4 crack and discards it.
    Apparently next player, Player #2 to the right wanted it but didn’t say so….then continues to play; pick a tile, proceeds to discard……AND THEN SAYS SHE WANTED THE 4 CRACK!!!!
    The next player, Player #3 then says that because Player #1 didn’t RACK that Player #2 has a right to take the discarded 4 crack.
    Please advise if this is correct. I don’t see anything in the rules that says I MUST rack before discarding, nor that Player #2 can complete his turn and then decide he wants Player #1’s tile.
    Thank you

    Hi, Susan! You asked:

    Have the rules regarding racking and discarding changed?
    Um... hold that thought.

    [After player 1 discarded] next player, Player #2 to the right wanted it but didn’t say so….then continues to play; pick a tile, proceeds to discard……AND THEN SAYS SHE WANTED THE 4 CRACK!!!!
    That's weird. She could have just claimed it when she had the chance, but it's even weirder to tell the world what's going on in her tiles.

    Player #3 then says that because Player #1 didn’t RACK that Player #2 has a right to take the discarded 4 crack.
    These are unrelated things. Player 1 having kept or racked the picked wall tile has nothing whatsoever to do with another player's right to claim her discard. There is no connection whatsoever.

    I don’t see anything in the rules that says I MUST rack before discarding
    Right. See the Picking & Racking FAQs - especially FAQ 19-BL ("Am I required to put a tile in my rack?").

    nor that Player #2 can complete his turn and then decide he wants Player #1’s tile.
    Right. That's a weird idea. Anyway, let's get back to your opening question:

    Have the rules regarding racking and discarding changed?
    Wellll... maybe, sometime since 1937, there may have been some ruling tweaks from time to time. But I can't think of any archaic rules that affect the situations you described, discarding without racking, or claiming a discard after passing it up. I have a recommendation:


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't sell them, and I'm not paid to say this. Just sayin' it's important to have and read.
    Right: And then there's my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." - It's not bad, if I do say so myself.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is this considered pure?

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 03:10:10 PM PDT, Deborah H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    When playing:
    FF 2021 2222 1111 any 3 suits and you don’t use jokers is that considered pure !
    Deborah H

    Hi, Deborah!
    I assume "pure" means "jokerless." If you make that hand without jokers, it is indeed jokerless. You made two kongs without jokers, when you could have used jokers. If you're thinking you can't claim jokerlessness in the 2021 family, you can stop thinking that. Every hand in the 2021 section has pungs or kongs, where jokers could possibly be used. It's possible to earn the jokerless bonus in every hand in the 2021 section.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My set(s?)

    On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, 12:43:26 PM PDT, jolie wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    i picked up what i thought was a complete mahjong set at an estate sale, but when i got it home and tried to make sure i had all the pieces, i found that i have most of one set and pieces of some other sets. i'm trying to work out which pieces go together, how many different sets i have pieces from, and how old they are.
    i've attached three pictures:
    rounded_set.jpg is what i believe to be most of one set, missing the flowers. all have rounded edges, and based on your site, i'm thinking they're catalin. these are 1cm thick.
    rounded.jpg are more rounded catalin pieces that may or may not be from the set in the first image. the bottom row of flowers has a slightly different color palette than the top three rows of flowers, so i'm not sure if that makes them the same or different sets. then i've got two people that don't seem to match anything. these are 1cm thick.
    sharp.jpg have sharp/flat edges, which based on your site may be casein instead of catalin? i've scrolled through all the pictures of tiles on your site and did my best to match them with what i think are related tiles. these are 1/2in thick.
    i think all of the extra pieces i have are flowers, not jokers. since i'm struggling to figure out how many sets i have, i don't know how many flowers are in the set, and then can't use your handy chart to gauge age. when there are more than 8 flowers in a set, would i expect to see multiples of the same tiles (like four sets of four different flowers from rounded.jpg) or would i expect to see all different tiles like sharp.jpg?
    can you spot anything that i've incorrectly matched up or deduced from all the info you've shared? have any ideas what i've got my hands on here beyond what i've already figured out from your awesome resource?

    Hi, jolie. You did a good job matching up the flowers. The bottom line is, you have a set with a hodgepodge of flowers. That's not uncommon, especially with old American sets from before 1970. Some of those flowers can be used and some should be discarded, depending on what mah-jongg variant you are going to play with the set (you need only 8 flowers for Chinese or Western variants, -- you need 16 tiles for flowers and jokers for the American variant). The main consideration needs to be how well the flowers blend in with your other tiles when placed randomly in a wall. You get to decide that. Note that in Chinese and Western variants, you may need a set of 4 "seasons" that can be visually differentiated from 4 "flowers," each set numbered 1 to 4. Unfortunately, it looks like you would need to use tiles from your "sharp" photo (bottom right) to make 1-4 in two distinguishable sets. But if you want to play American with the set, the flower numbers are meaningless and you can just go by how well the tiles fit into the wall. It's very likely no combo will be perfect; just make the best match you can.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Appreciation and support

    On Sunday, July 4, 2021, 04:01:59 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
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    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
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    Thank you, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    July 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Flowers vs. Big Jokers, part 2

    On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 08:10:42 AM PDT, <shawnm wrote:
    Re: flowers as jokers - 1968
    Thank you (?) for responding – hoping the snarkiness was with a wink and a nod. I did read the back of the card, and went thoroughly through your site before asking – my confusion stemmed from (1) knowing that flowers were used as Jokers for a time, and (2) the 1968-1969 card uses the terms “Big Jokers” “Jokers” and “jokers”, which made it seem to me like there was some differentiation between them, and that perhaps Flowers were some sort of hybrid during this time. There also are some specific rules on flowers on the card that don’t seem necessary to spell out unless flowers had some special significance (for example, “Player is permitted to discard a Flower at any time during the game and call it “FLOWER”.” And “CHARLESTON (Flowers May be Passed During Any Pass Including Courtesy but Big Jokers may never be passed)”. Based on your answer, obviously not, flowers were flowers, and jokers were jokers, whether referred to as Big Jokers, Jokers, or jokers. Duly noted.
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    I'm just generally snarky, Shawn. You wrote:

    my confusion stemmed from (1) knowing that flowers were used as Jokers for a time
    Sure. But once jokers were introduced in 1960, flowers stopped being "wild" and became regular tiles.

    the 1968-1969 card uses the terms “Big Jokers” “Jokers” and “jokers”, which made it seem to me like there was some differentiation between them
    I don't know why they had to use the word "big" at all. And I don't agree with having to capitalize Joker or Flower the way the League seems to want to do all the time.

    and that perhaps Flowers were some sort of hybrid during this time.
    Interesting idea, but if that were the case, surely it would be mentioned on the card. The League (or League officers) did publish a rulebook, but then just as now, nobody wanted to buy no steenkeeng rulebook! And rulebooks are not and were not rewritten every year. A hybrid rule would certainly need to be spelled out on the card.

    There also are some specific rules on flowers on the card that don’t seem necessary to spell out unless flowers had some special significance
    Those rules needed spelling out precisely because the rules had changed after the introduction of jokers (changing the role - and rules - of flowers).

    for example, “Player is permitted to discard a Flower at any time during the game and call it “FLOWER”.
    That rule stayed on the card back for decades! And that rule is still in today's rulebook, too. When flowers were wild, there was a different rule. Once the rule changed, the new rule needed to continue to be put before the eyes of old players who still remembered the old rule. An elephant never forgets. And why won't the darn old thing get out of the room! Sorry, dumb joke.

    And “CHARLESTON (Flowers May be Passed During Any Pass Including Courtesy but Big Jokers may never be passed)”.
    Got a 2021 card? Look on the back - that concept is still on the card today!

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Flowers vs. Big Jokers, circa 1968

    On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 06:30:09 AM PDT, <shawnm wrote:
    flowers as jokers - 1968
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Tom!
    First, love love love your site, so informative, and easy to understand. Hoping you can help me with a question. For fun I bought the 1968 NMJL card – the year I was born.. According to the card, at this time the game had Flowers and Big Jokers, rules sometimes refer to Big Jokers, sometimes just Jokers, and some hands required Flowers – so could Flowers be used as EITHER Flowers or Jokers? And were the rules different for Flowers as Jokers vs Big Jokers?
    Any insight appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Shawn
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Hi, Shawn.
    What, I don't have enough to do, clarifying/explaining today's rules?
    [Sigh] Okay, here goes...

    I bought the 1968 NMJL card
    So, either the 1967-68 card or the 1968-69 card... Presumably the 1968-69 card (that card's "this year" hands are 1968 hands).

    According to the card, at this time the game had Flowers and Big Jokers
    Yes. Column 509 shows that in 1968 the standard shifted from 10F and 6J to 6F and 8J.

    could Flowers be used as EITHER Flowers or Jokers?
    Read the back of your 1968-69 card. Clearly, flowers were no longer wild. Jokers were wild, and flowers were just flower tiles.

    And were the rules different for Flowers as Jokers vs Big Jokers?
    The 1968 flower and joker rules are on the back of the card. If your question is, "are Big Jokers different from Jokers," the answer is "no."

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 27 (part 3 redux)

    On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 12:34:09 PM PDT, Rose V wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question is:
    Regarding the 2021 card: Under Consecutive Run, the 5th hand (FF1111 2222 333) (Any one or three suits, must the hand be played only as 1,2,3 or can it be any 3 consecutive numbers?
    Thanks for your help.
    Rose V.
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Any consecutive numbers, Rose. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the 2021 NMJL card, and FAQ 19 for rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 29, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    NEWS is a kong, isn't it? There are no spaces between the letters, so...

    On Monday, June 28, 2021, 01:48:48 PM PDT, Roy U wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question concerns "NEWS". I was playing a hand today that contained NEWS among its requirements. I had NW and S, and when someone discarded "E" I called for it. I was told I couldn't do that because the wind tiles were considered singles. I claimed that the way it was printed on the card, it looked like a Kong, i.e. no spaces between the letters to indicate that they were singles. Which is it?
    Roy U
    The Villages, FL

    Hi, Roy!
    Look at the back of the card, the first sentence of the first paragraph. A pair is 2 "like" tiles. Then the card says "Pung-3; Kong-4; Quint-5; Sextet-6." Because there is a ton of information that needs to be on the card back, the word "like" was not repeated 4 times. Only because space is so limited on the card. The word "like" is implied in each case. Implicit because there wasn't enough room to be explicit.
    Now look at the front of the card, Singles & Pairs #2. Is that hand a pung, a quint, and a sextet? There's no space between the first 3 numbers, and no space between the numbers in the 5-number group, and no spaces in the 6-number group. By your no-spaces reasoning, those must be pungs, quints, and sextets. But they're not. The bottom right corner section is called "Singles & Pairs" because those hands are all made of singles and pairs. Look at the bottom hand in S&P - three 2021s. Are those 2021s in fact kongs because of the lack of spaces? Or are they singles, since they're in the Singles & Pairs section?
    You can see where I'm going with this. If you need more explicit wording, read
    FAQ 19-E. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions, and FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    He had a change of heart.

    On Monday, June 28, 2021, 06:27:47 AM PDT, Kris wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    (We do not play competition rules.). A player had a tile in his hand, he called the tile, and touched the table with the tile. But he did not release the tile. It never left his hand. Can he change his mind and take it back? We are questioning the possession thing. If he physically didn’t let it go, is it still his active tile?
    Thank you so much Tom! You are our “go to” guru!
    Kris K
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Kris.
    I don't need to know what rules you don't play. I only need to know what rules you do play. The following answer assumes you play National Mah Jongg League rules.
    You say the player "called" the tile; he said the tile's name out loud. AND he touched the tile to the discard floor.
    That tile is down.
    And down is dead.
    In other words: no backsies.
    Please read FAQ 19-AM, which answers all the "change of heart" questions (NMJL rules). Please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions, and FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why can't I chow

    On Sunday, June 27, 2021, 10:47:37 PM PDT, hndickson2 wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I am from New Zealand and just play socially. We use The Mahjong Players companion by Pateicia Thompson and Betty Malony. We are unsure about Chows. One person says we can only play a chow on Ordinary Mahjong and that's all but I cant see why I cant chow on Windy Chows or Chop Suey or Chow Mein. Who is correct.
    Sent from my Galaxy

    Hi, hndickson2! You wrote:

    We use The Mahjong Players companion by Pateicia Thompson and Betty Malony.
    You have the wrong book. The "Companion" only describes the hands - it doesn't describe the rules. You need Thompson & Maloney's main book, "The Game of Mah Jong Illustrated," especially the section on chows on page 15.

    One person says we can only play a chow on Ordinary Mahjong and that's all but I cant see why I cant chow on Windy Chows or Chop Suey or Chow Mein. Who is correct.
    One person is correct. See page 15 of the "Illustrated" book: "In the Western game, only one Chow is permitted in the ordinary Mah Jong hand." Of course, if you're making a hand that actually calls for more than one chow, you can make more than one chow. Windy Chow, for instance. But since that special chows hand is Concealed, you cannot claim a discard to make a chow unless it's for mah-jongg.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. I also recommend Strauser and Evans' "Mah Jong, Anyone?" - especially the 2006 edition (I wrote the chapter on strategy, and touched up some portions of the book). - Tom


    The bettor notes that it is a wrong mah-jongg, part 2

    On Sunday, June 27, 2021, 04:58:26 PM PDT, barbara w wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you for your prompt response. I am glad that issue is now settled!

    You're welcome, Barbara.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    June 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you use a joker in NEWS or 2021?

    On Sunday, June 27, 2021, 02:26:58 PM PDT, gjl724 wrote:
    Re: 2021 Rules
    see below
    On Sunday, June 27, 2021, 02:20:09 PM PDT, gjl724 wrote:
    2021 Rules
    HiTom,
    One of the ladies in our group needs to see the answer in writing.
    2021 Card
    Can you, under any circumstances, use a 'JOKER' in NEWS OR 2021?
    Thanks,
    Gail

    Easy, Gail. Just show her the back of the card.

    Says it right there. 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.
    If your player is still not convinced, because she thinks NEWS and 2021 are kongs, show her where the term "kong" is defined, higher up on the card, in the 1st line of the 1st paragraph.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The bettor notes that it is a wrong mah-jongg

    On Sunday, June 27, 2021, 01:23:41 PM PDT, barbara w wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: If after a person is paid for a mah jongg, the bettor notes that it is a wrong mah-jongg, do they still have to pay what the person they bet on does? Thank you.

    Hi, Barbara!
    The bettor has zero say. Nada. Zilch. S/he is not permitted to speak while the payment tally is discussed, and s/he is bound by what the three non-winners at the table already agreed to pay the winner. After s/he pays, s/he can inform the group that it's a bad hand, but payment has already been made and it's not refundable. You can read these rules in the official rulebook, which every table should have.


    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.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do soaps make good joker bait?

    On Friday, June 25, 2021, 08:19:40 PM PDT, marsha c wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Are soaps risky tiles to hold as “joke bait" or is it OK to hold them as any other pair?"

    Cool question, Marsha. Joker bait is a ploy that should be used somewhere near the wall's halfway point. Using it before that is less likely to succeed, and using it after that increases the risk of throwing someone's winning tile, even more so for soaps, but not by a whole lot when you consider how few "2021" hands are on the card. (Consider: the only thing that makes white dragons stand out from the red and green variety is their use as zeroes, and there are very few of those on the card.) I wouldn't wait too long to throw a zero as joker bait.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 25, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do you make the game for Mac?

    On Friday, June 25, 2021, 09:28:47 AM PDT, Sue B wrote:
    Mahjong game
    Years ago I bought the mahjong game for my computer. I am now a Mac user. Do you make the game fir Mac?
    Sent from my iPhone

    On Friday, June 25, 2021, 09:34:12 AM PDT, Sue B wrote:
    Computer game
    I just see you have a new email from the one I used. Question do you still have your computer mahjong game? Back then I used a pc now I am only Mac
    Sue
    Sent from my iPhone

    Sue, I haven't made any mah-jongg software in two decades*. If you want true mah-jongg, see FAQ 5. If you're talking about tile-matching games, see FAQ 12.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 25, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * Well, there was a mobile game in 2003 and an IPTV game around 2006. Both tile-matching, not mah-jongg.


    Can I discard before picking from the wall?

    On Thursday, June 24, 2021, 01:05:05 PM PDT, Sharon L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    Can a player throw there tile and then pick

    No, Sharon.
    When your turn begins, you have 13 tiles on your rack. If you discard before picking, you have 12 tiles, and anybody can call you dead. You're supposed to hold 13 tiles when it's not your turn, and 14 tiles when it's your turn. Read the official rulebook, pages 14 and 15.


    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!

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Oops! Backsies! Do-over!

    On Thursday, June 24, 2021, 03:51:06 AM PDT, Louise D wrote:
    MJ QUESTION
    A player called a tile, exposed her tiles on her rack then said "Oops, I didn't want that tile" and started to put her exposure back in her rack. I said she couldn't do that. Once she exposed, she can't take it back. She said she didn't want the tile she called for. I said she had to take it and use it for the exposure and "just deal with and keep playing." (I didn't call her dead because it was possible that she could change her hand.)
    Is that correct?
    Lou D.

    You told her true, Lou. FAQ 19-AM lists the most common "oops, undo" scenarios, and indicates sources of League rules in writing. Most League rules are written in the official rulebook, but some rulings may be found in January newsletters. This one was covered in the 2007 newsletter. And another faithful reader sent me a picture of a ruling she got in writing from the league in 2015. The rule applies to the physical placement of tiles atop the rack, either from the discard floor or from the tiles on the sloping front of the rack.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if somebody picks from the wrong end, part 2 - Still teaching?

    On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 05:54:14 PM PDT, Donna E wrote:
    Teaching and a question
    Hi Tom,
    Your name is listed as a MJ Teacher on Where the Winds Blow and I have given your name out recently when people are looking for a teacher in the LA area. I was told today that you aren't teaching anymore so I won't give your name out.
    Also, I noticed on June 18, a person asked what happens when you pick from the wrong end of the wall?
    In Mah Jongg Made Easy, if you "pick and rack" your hand is dead. P. 22 21B, I think that's a different answer than what you indicated.
    LOVE your columns and all of your great info!
    Thank you,
    Donna E

    Hi, Donna!
    I'm not teaching at present. I have a lot going on but beyond that, I'm still leary of going into strangers' homes and breathing other strangers' air for hours at a time. I'll put my name back on my teachers list when I'm up for teaching again.
    As for "What if somebody picks from the wrong end," June 18 - I sit corrected. I don't think I read Star's question thoroughly enough. I also told her to read FAQ 19-AA. I concede that the FAQ doesn't specify racking the tile after picking it. Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call a single, part 3

    On Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 04:40:30 PM PDT, Dorothy P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I did not have any tiles exposed. In my rack I had N W S and an E was
    thrown, can I pick that up and expose it as NEWS?
    Thank you.

    Not unless it's for mah-jongg, Dorothy. Prior to mah-jongg, the only sets you can expose are pungs, kongs, and quints*. NEWS is none of those. See FAQ 19-E.
    Please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions, and FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 22, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    * There are no sextets on the 2021 card.


    Can I call a single, part 2

    On Sunday, June 20, 2021, 09:38:46 AM PDT, Norma K wrote:
    Re: single tiles
    Thank you for the quick reply. One of the players yesterday picked up the E and MonJongg immediately. Everyone at the table told her she could not do it.

    You're welcome, Norma.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    The day after Juneteenth, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call a single or pair for mah-jongg?

    On Sunday, June 20, 2021, 08:52:07 AM PDT, Norma K wrote:
    single tiles
    On 2021 card Winds – dragons last line the E W. Can I pick one up to MahJong?

    Yes, Norma. As it says in FAQ 19-E3, if you are waiting for mah-jongg (you just need one tile), then - no matter how the tile is used in the hand (for a single, a pair, to complete a NEWS or a 202x, NO MATTER WHAT - as long as it is not a joker), you can say "mah-jongg" if anybody discards it.
    Please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions, and FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Juneteenth plus one day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 26.b.

    On Friday, June 18, 2021, 06:35:44 PM PDT, <ktsharon wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. You provide a very nice service.

    You're welcome, ktsharon!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    June 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What if somebody picks from the wrong end of the wall?

    On Friday, June 18, 2021, 03:41:50 PM PDT, Star Fire wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Easy question, but I can’t find the answer. If a tile is knocked off the wall, and exposed, tile is returned to where it fell off, and the games continues. If someone accidentally picks a tile from the wrong end of the wall, is it returned, and the tile from the correct side picked? Penalty??
    Thank you
    Star

    Hi, Star!
    Picking from the wrong end of the wall is treated as a death penalty offense in tournaments and competitive games. See FAQ 19-AA.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Because the wrong end is so dangerous to pick from, a lot of players like to turn (rotate) the last stack as a visible barrier to errant hands. It's common worldwide, in fact.
    P.P.S. - Also, the death penalty mentioned above refers to picking and racking a tile from the wrong end or wrong wall. Thanks to Donna E on June 23, above. - Tom
    .


    My computer game is being very uncooperative

    On Friday, June 18, 2021, 03:33:27 PM PDT, melva j wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    How do I get my game to allow me to pick ANY matching tile? It use to do this for me and suddenly it stopped and I can only match very tiles!! My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from my iPhone

    I have no idea, Melva. You should ask the maker of your game. See FAQ 24.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. You may be playing a tile-matching game (one of many solitaire games inspired by the classic game Shanghai) - not an actual mah-jongg game. Still, if you say the name of your game (and which kind of computing device you play it on), maybe another reader can answer your question. Stay tuned... - Tom


    The 2021 card, part 26 (part 3 redux)

    On Friday, June 18, 2021, 02:09:00 PM PDT, ktsharon wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Under consecutive run, the fifth hand down is not clear. It does not specify whether it can be Any Consec Nos or These Nos. Only
    Our table felt it could be any consec numbers, but one person insisted that it must be the number one two and three.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Any numbers. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the 2021 NMJL card, and FAQ 19 for rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is this a legal play?

    On Friday, June 18, 2021, 01:55:42 PM PDT, Rose I wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: When a player is attempting to form an all pairs hand (concealed) is it legal for that player to exchange a tile for another player’s joker just to discard the joker? The player drew the tile from the wall, exchanged it for the other player’s joker & discarded the joker. Is this a legal move given that the joker could not be used in the player’s all pairs hand?

    Your reasoning is interesting, Rose, but any player may redeem a joker. Besides, how would anybody know that player is working on a Singles & Pairs hand? Not that what the player is holding has any relevance on joker redemption...
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Dragon/suit associations

    On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 09:36:49 AM PDT, Karen G wrote:
    Just checking--Honors
    Although it's obviously true in NMJL, please confirm that, universally, "Green" dragons go with Bams, "Red" with Cracks, "White" with Dots. I don't know much about the other versions....
    Thanks.
    Karen

    Hi, Karen!
    It's not universal. Not many variants use dragon/suit associations. But as far as I know, the variants (Western, and sometimes Hong Kong, there may be others) that do involve dragon/suit associations do associate them the way you describe.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When paying for the table...

    On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 06:37:52 AM PDT, andrea g wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When a player throws to an obvious hand and must pay for the table , does it include paying for the winner as well or just the losers?
    Sent from my iPhone

    When a player throws to an obvious hand and must pay for the table...
    ...Which is a tournament rule. Not an official National Mah Jongg League rule...

    does it include paying for the winner as well or just the losers?
    When your group makes up a table rule, your group has to figure out all the details (see FAQ 14). "Paying for the table" normally means that the offending player pays four times the value of the win, to the winner, and nobody else pays the winner. But since you are using a table rule, your group is free to set your rule however you all want.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Jade set, part 2

    On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 11:52:38 AM PDT, Pete S wrote:
    going maskless and a Jade set
    Hi Tom,
    It’s been a while since I’ve visited your Q&A page and the first thing I noticed is that you are back to your old maskless avatar. Yay. Of course I had to scroll down to see when you stopped being masked. As I was reading my way back up to the present I saw the May 17th post about the Jade Mahjong set.
    Boy I wish you would have asked to see some photos. I would surely be interested to see a stone Mahjong set. Some questions that spring to mind are; are they bamboo backed or solid stone? How ornate are the carvings? Are the tiles painted?
    Oh well, maybe Iris is a Faithful Reader and will see this and post some pix.
    -Pete-
    I’m going to tell you a story. Not all of it may be entirely factual, but all of it will be true.

    Hi, Pete, good to see you again.
    I would have like to see pix of her jade tiles, too. I had a stone set once. It was carved, not ornately, it was solid stone (no bamboo backing).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 15, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Proper tile naming, part 2

    On Monday, June 14, 2021, 05:03:42 AM PDT, jamescaboose wrote:
    Re: Proper Tile Naming
    Tom,
    Thanks for the response.
    It answered my question.
    One of the new players discarded and said "A dot."
    I was looking for a 1 dot to call and missed it.
    Thought he said an "8 dot."
    Jim

    I see.
    If you had simply looked at the discard, you would have seen which dot he discarded, and you could have claimed it.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 14, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Proper tile naming

    On Sunday, June 13, 2021, 01:50:45 PM PDT, jamescaboose wrote:
    Proper Tile Naming
    Greetings,
    We have several new players in our club that insist on using tile names that they used before joining us.
    This is causing problems.
    What are the proper names to use when discarding each of the tiles?
    Jim M

    Hi, Jim!
    Sounds almost like the "proper" names are the ones your club was already using, even if the newcomers use the same tile names that I do. What I'm saying is, my giving you a list of "proper" tile names probably isn't going to help the situation at your club. Besides, there are numerous popular nicknames that most players just accept after hearing them the first time. That said, I understand that a lot of players have plenty enough challenge trying to find a hand between the card and the tiles they were dealt, and resist any new complications. Heaven forbid they should look at the tile being named to understand what tile it actually is! Or take alternate names in stride with good humor...
    I wish you had told us what tile names were causing a brouhaha. "One bird" maybe? "Zero" or "white," perhaps? Somebody saying "circle" instead of "dot" or "stick" instead of "bam"? Back in 1998 the online mah-jongg community on Usenet exchanged their tile names. You can read that conversation on the mahjongarchives page. You can also read FAQ 6, where I examined the various terminologies used by mah-jongg authors.
    The standard terms in NMJL play are:
    One dot, two dot...
    One bam, two bam...
    One crak, two crak...
    North, East, West, South
    Green, Red, Soap ("white" or "zero" also okay)
    Flower
    Jim, if I have missed the sticking points in your club's current disagreement, just tell me what terms those smartypants newcomers are saying that are ticking off your longstanding members so!
    What about taking a vote?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 13, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Backsies! Do-over! Undo!

    On Thursday, June 10, 2021, 07:57:04 AM PDT, Joyce T wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you pick up a discard and decide you don’t want it, can you put it back.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Joyce. All the "change of heart" questions are answered in FAQ 19-AM. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for questions about National Mah Jongg League rules (assuming that's the mah-jongg variant you play). The overall gist of all the "change of heart" rules is that actions speak louder than words.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    There is no rule about announcing one's own joker exchange, so...?

    On Thursday, June 10, 2021, 07:25:03 AM PDT, Debbie B wrote:
    Hello
    Good day! Question, I know there is no NMJL rule about having to announce one's own joker exchange. However, do you feel it is courteous to do so? I suppose alerting everyone let's them know you "might" be one step closer to making mah jongg. Would love your take on this Tom. Thank you.
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie B

    Hi, Debbie!
    When redeeming a joker, it's only polite to speak to the player whose joker you are redeeming, to request the joker. It's impolite to just take the other player's joker and put your own tile on that player's rack. And in fact, rule 14 on page 23 of the 2020 edition of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook, "recommends" that you should never touch another player's tiles. And it says "The player should first announce that a Joker exchange is to be made."
    Maybe you're talking about redeeming a joker atop one's own rack (maybe that's what you mean by "one's own joker exchange"?). When Rule 14 says "The player should first announce that a Joker exchange is to be made", that only makes sense given that you are making an exchange with another player's tiles, hopefully without touching that other player's tiles yourself. It would be silly to talk to yourself and ask yourself for the joker. Also, "rule" 14 isn't expressing a rule, so much as a recommendation, right? Are we now in the gray area between rules and etiquette?
    So let's talk about etiquette. We all know that many of our players have their eyes locked on their own racks, and rely solely on their ears for information as to what's going on with the other players. It's polite to be respectful of those players, and verbalize pretty much every move, isn't it? Or should we be talking about strategy? Is it good strategy to take advantage of other players' bad habits? If I silently redeem a joker atop my own rack, isn't that just good strategy, even if maybe a little impolite?

    In sum, there are 3 ways of looking at this (rules, etiquette, strategy):
    Rules: All players are required to obey the rules. But rule 14 isn't worded as a hard-and-fast rule. Even the verbalization is not worded as a rule but as an etiquette "should," and in context the verbalization seems to apply solely to redeeming jokers from others' racks.
    Etiquette: clearly it is polite (good manners) to verbalize moves that can't be seen by players whose eyes are glued to their tiles.
    Strategy: clearly it is beneficial to one's own chances to limit verbalizations to only the moves that the rules say must be verbalized, to withhold information from players who only listen and don't look.
    So in this case, in the absence of a written rule that specifically addresses the question, we are torn between etiquette and strategy. Most of the time, I would favor etiquette over strategy, but I can imagine circumstances when I would go for the strategic move instead, like for instance if I'm playing against an opponent who values strategy over etiquette and annoys me and the other players with aggressive tactics.

    In closing, here's what I do: I say aloud something along the lines of "Lucky me!" as I replace the joker atop my own rack. The verbalization signals what is happening on my side of the table. It's good manners, even if it does give information to ears-only opponents (information that's freely and unavoidably available to opponents who listen and look).

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 25

    On Sunday, June 6, 2021, 12:00:36 PM PDT, Denise wrote:
    2021 Mahjongg card
    Hello,
    My Mahjongg group has a question about one of the 369 hands.
    The 3333 6666 999 999 (any three suits). Can you use 333 333 or 666 666 instead of 999 999? We assume you can’t. Just curious.
    Thanks,
    Sent from my iPad

    Just so we're straight on this: I am not the NMJL, and I have not seen a ruling from the NMJL on this. But let's examine the clues:
    - There is no parenthetical that says you can do that;
    - There is enough room, so they could have put a parenthetical there but they didn't;
    - If you use threes or sixes instead of nines, then there would be no nines in the hand.
    - The family name is "369", not "36."
    So my assumption is the same as yours. You have to use nines. Nobody asked this before but I'll add it to FAQ 16.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    6/6/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How to safely clean ivory tiles.

    On Sunday, June 6, 2021, 07:52:30 AM PDT, Mary W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How to safely clean ivory tiles.
    Thank you.
    Sent from my iPhone

    The same way you clean bone and bamboo tiles. See FAQ 7o.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    6/6/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mystery tiles

    On Sunday, June 6, 2021, 05:59:42 AM PDT, steven d wrote:
    Fwd: Help Identifying Mahjong Tiles
    Greetings,
    I purchased my wife a small chinese traveling mahjong set....though we play w american rules this older set had some really interesting looking tiles, we could identify almost all the tiles except the attached we were not totally sure about....can you help identify them for us please?
    I believe the first set is flowers and the second picture is a 1 Bam (Birdie bam),,,,but the third picture has us stumped....
    appreciate your expertise....Steve D

    Hi, Steve,
    As I wrote in FAQ 7E, "once you have identified and arranged all the suit tiles and the winds and the dragons (and there don't seem to be any of those basic tiles missing), then your other mystery tiles are probably either flowers or jokers." Your mystery tiles are flowers. Take a look at FAQ 7E-F.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    6/6/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are identical pairs okay, part 2

    On Sunday, June 6, 2021, 01:15:15 AM PDT, June G wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    G’day Tom
    Really appreciated you getting back to me….even tho’ I’m an Aussie and play differently from the American game(which I’ve seen when cruising) it was so good of you to look into games we play here. I’ve taught many of my friends to play in the last 20 years, but we prefer not to score so that we can play more games and don’t have to worry about the score….we’ve even made up games for fun!
    Since retiring I’ve found mahjong to have been such a great way to keep in touch with friends…so much fun!
    As you say may the tiles be with you
    June

    You're welcome, June. I, too, enjoy playing without the whole counting-up-the-points foofaraw.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    6/6/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 748

    On Saturday, June 5, 2021, 08:04:10 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    column 748
    Hi Tom,
    In column #748, number 9, I would keep the 9c and discard the 8b and either both winds or one wind and 2 c. It is a little risky to discard both winds in the Charleston, There are 7 friendly tiles for 3-6-9 section. A good beginning first dance step. Thoughts?
    Thanks, Linda

    Hi, Linda!
    Yes, that's a valid approach too. I would keep 2C so I can preserve a Consec option, and if I want to keep 5B (which is by no means a certainty) then I'd need to pass both winds. I wouldn't say that's "risky" so much as "less than optimal."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 5, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 24 (part 5 redux)

    On Friday, June 4, 2021, 12:05:25 PM PDT, Anne Marie C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Question- On the 2021 card in the wind section - second hand down - NS Odd and EW even. The bracket reads (Any Like-Odd -Even). Does that mean you can use even with N & S as well as odd. And odd with E&Was well as even?
    Anne C
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Anne. Please scroll down and see the answer I gave Diane W yesterday.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Friday, June 4, 2021, 05:23:31 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Profile status Active
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    PayPal

    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Strategies for flower pair hands, part 2

    On Thursday, June 3, 2021, 01:30:53 PM PDT, Craig J wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board Questions from CK
    Wow, Tom! Thanks so much for the fast and quality response that you posted on the Bulletin board!!!
    CK

    I'm glad it was helpful, CK!
    Tom


    Strategies for flower pair hands

    On Thursday, June 3, 2021, 11:59:55 AM PDT, Craig J wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board Questions from CK
    Hi, Tom,
    I have read your book The Red Dragon & The West Wind. I am now just beginning to look at your FAQ's, Strategy Columns, and Q&A Bulletin Board Questions. Thank you for providing these!!!
    My Questions:
    - Is there a Search function to look for where a specific topic is covered? I could not find it if there is one. For example, I am struggling with strategies for preferentially selecting or avoiding hands with a pair of Flowers if I am starting with zero or one Flowers. And if I have two flowers already, should I prefer a hand using them even if I have to abandon a slightly longer hand that doesn't use Flowers? (This would avoid discarding flowers for someone else to use. However, I did notice in one of the Q&A's that someone thought more were being discarded when using the 2021 card.)
    - If there is not a Search Function, could you tell me if you know of column #'s where Flower Strategies are already discussed beyond what is covered in your book?
    If not, I would be interested in thoughts on the Flower hand questions listed above.
    Thanks so much!
    CK

    Hi, CK! Always glad to hear from a RDWW reader! Your questions:

    Is there a Search function to look for where a specific topic is covered?
    If you use Google and ask your question and then tack on "sloperama.com" on the end, sometimes that'll help you find something on my site.

    For example, I am struggling with strategies for preferentially selecting or avoiding hands with a pair of Flowers if I am starting with zero or one Flowers.
    If you have zero flowers, don't go for a hand that needs a flower pair.

    And if I have two flowers already, should I prefer a hand using them even if I have to abandon a slightly longer hand that doesn't use Flowers?
    It depends. If I identify a flower pair in step 1 (of the four steps), then on step 2 I look to see what else in the hand works with the pair. If my flower pair is unsupported by any friends, then I look to see if there is something else in the hand.

    (This would avoid discarding flowers for someone else to use.
    Flowers are dangerous to discard in the second half of the hand. Best to discard unwanted flowers early. If someone calls your discard for exposure, that is information you can use in your defense.

    could you tell me if you know of column #'s where Flower Strategies are already discussed beyond what is covered in your book?
    No, I can't. Have you checked out FAQ 8?

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 23 (part 5 redux)

    On Thursday, June 3, 2021, 11:34:24 AM PDT, Diane W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: on the 2021 card under winds & dragons line 2, does NNN and SSS still have to be with like odds and EEE and WWW the evens? It reads like could be either.
    Thx
    Diane

    Hi, Diane. East and West are always even (just think East = Even), and North and South are always odd. Please bookmark FAQ 16 for questions about the NMJL card, and while you're at it, bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A discard was misnamed, causing confusion

    On Thursday, June 3, 2021, 07:19:51 AM PDT, Merle P wrote:
    Re: Mah Jong rule for Charleston
    Thanks, Tom. Another comment from that same new player: If a discard is miscalled (i.e. 9 dot for 9 bam), and another player needs 9 bam, can the discarded 9 dot be used as a 9 bam?
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    It depends, Merle. Is that other player calling that misnamed discard for mah-jongg, or for mere exposure? FAQ 19-AY answers the "misnamed discard" questions. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    3P Chas

    On Thursday, June 3, 2021, 04:40:47 AM PDT, Merle wrote:
    Mah Jong rule for Charleston
    When playing with 3 players at the table, is the fourth wall used during the charleston? If so, what is the procedure? We have always played without doing the charleston with 3 players, however, a new member of our group said the 4th wall is to be included during this part of the gam
    Thank you. Merle P

    Hi, Merle. Your new player is wrong, and the rest of you are right. The problem is that many players have never read the rulebook nor the Q&As in the yearly newsletter, and think the table rules they were taught are official and correct. Show your new player FAQ 13-A. Or, if you have the rulebook, show her what it says about 3 players (page 26 if you have the 2020 edition).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Observations playing the 2021 card...

    On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, 12:11:46 PM PDT, Deborah H wrote:
    2021 unintended consequeces
    * I notice that Soaps are discarded much earlier than other dragons therefore can not be collected unless you sacrifice Jokers very early as well. Why?
    * I have also noticed that Flowers are not as hoarded as last year. Why?
    * The Like #1 seems so simple. Is that because the W-D are more difficult?
    Just pondering. It's a small universe.
    Deb

    Hi, Deb! You pondered...

    I notice that Soaps are discarded much earlier than other dragons
    Understandable. Soaps become hot quickly because of the special demand put on them by the 2021 section and the 2021 hand in Winds-Dragons and the bottom hand in S&P. Soaps are dangerous to discard in the latter half of the hand.

    therefore can not be collected unless you sacrifice Jokers very early as well.
    That's an astute observation.

    I have also noticed that Flowers are not as hoarded as last year.
    What I noticed is that there are few flower kong hands this year, and no flower kong in Consec at all. Maybe there's a connection.

    The Like #1 seems so simple.
    Yes. Singles are easier than pairs.

    Is that because the W-D are more difficult?
    I don't see a connection.


    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 22 (part 3 redux)

    On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, 11:48:13 AM PDT, Jane P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2021 card in the consecutive run section, hand #5 (pair of flowers/kong/kong/kong), are only numbers 1,2, and 3 allowed, or can it be any three consecutive numbers?
    Thank you for your help. This question came up at our game today and the card is not clear.
    Jane P

    Hi, Jane!
    This question (and other frequently asked questions about the 2021 card) is answered in FAQ 16. Please bookmark it for any further questions that might arise about the 2021 card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When was the first automatic table introduced, part 2

    On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, 08:41:20 AM PDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Re: Hello
    Super and thanks for the great tip! Enjoy your day!
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie Barnett, Certified Mah Jongg Instructor

    You're welcome, Debbie.
    Tom


    When was the first automatic table introduced in the U.S.?

    On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, 08:02:49 AM PDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Hello
    Hi Tom, I hope you are doing well! Question, do you know when the first automatic mah jongg table was introduced in the U.S.? I'm doing some research for an article and cannot find a thing about this on the internet. Thanks!!
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie Barnett, Certified Mah Jongg Instructor

    Hi, Debbie.
    There's no way to know when the first one was imported. The mah-jongg parlor where I learned Japanese mah-jongg in the late 1990s had several of them installed, and I assume that the other parlors in the L.A. area also had some. There was no English-language site where one could order one at that time. Importers offering tables gave me their business cards when I went to tournaments in the early 2000s. Why don't you contact the manufacturers listed in FAQ 7F and ask them when they first imported automatic tables, or what they know about competitors' early activities.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    June 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Seeking a 3 bam

    On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, 10:52:27 AM PDT, Shelley Yukelson <shelley2shoes [at) sbcglobal.net> wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question is I have 1 missing 3 bamboo in my set. Do you know where I can purchase an extra Ivory cream 3 bamboo with the number 3 on the left.
    Thank you
    Shelley

    Shelley, your request has been posted on the Tiles Wanted board. But don't just sit and wait for sellers to come to you - get proactive! You should try the links atop that board, and you can also try reading the Tiles For Sale board. Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tile be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A link to add

    On Sunday, May 30, 2021, 04:14:57 PM PDT, Ron van 't V wrote: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I found this interesting website with rules for Singapore Mahjong:
    https://justanotherguysg.com/2020/05/21/how-to-play-singapore-mahjong-part-1/
    https://justanotherguysg.com/2020/05/26/how-to-play-singapore-mahjong-part-2/
    https://justanotherguysg.com/2021/01/03/how-to-play-singapore-mahjong-part-3/
    I couldnt find this one under Singapore mahjong (https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq04.htm)
    Greetings from the Netherlands,
    Ron vant V

    Okay, Ron, I'll add a link. Greetz.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are you supposed to do when someone denies being dead?

    On Sunday, May 30, 2021, 10:05:06 AM PDT, Hedy G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My question deals with calling a player dead.
    A player exposed 3 8 Bams, then went on to expose 3 9 Craks, I challenged her hand and she replied with “yes this is a hand” , I said she was dead she challenged again and no other player concurred with me. The only other player who knew she was dead was the bettor. I decided not to peruse my challenge and we continuously p,any. Since she had a joker with her 9 Craks, I exchanged her joker with my 9 Crak. The game ended as a wall game. We showed her why she was dead. She finally agreed. Had someone won, would there have been a penalty and is the bettor allowed to call a player. Should there have been a penalty for her refusal to be called dead? This is the third time the same player has been called dead and I think she became defensive.
    Thank you in advance for your response.
    Hedy G

    Hi, Hedy!
    All the frequently asked "death" questions (such as yours) are answered in the "You're Dead" section of FAQ 19. You asked:

    I challenged her hand and she replied with “yes this is a hand” , I said she was dead she challenged again and no other player concurred with me. The only other player who knew she was dead was the bettor. I decided not to peruse my challenge and we continu[ed to play]
    Yes, once the death challenge has been issued and replied in the negative, all players continue to play. The correct death determination can be made at the end of the hand. FAQ 19-AB.

    Since she had a joker with her 9 Craks, I exchanged her joker with my 9 Crak.
    YOU knew she was dead, so it can be argued that you were taking advantage of the other players' ignorance of the fact.

    Had someone won, would there have been a penalty
    Yes. FAQ 19-AB. She owes you a quarter.

    is the bettor allowed to call a player.
    Absolutely NOT. See the 5-player rules with bettors in the official rulebook. Or read FAQ 13-A. Or see the answer I gave you on June 13, 2020, at sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive49.htm#bettor.

    Should there have been a penalty for her refusal to be called dead? This is the third time the same player has been called dead and I think she became defensive.
    She owes you a quarter. FAQ 19-AB. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for rules questions.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Seeking Viola Cecil's "Maahj"

    On Saturday, May 29, 2021, 06:55:26 PM PDT, Sari Edelstein <sariedelstein5 (at] gmail.com> wrote:
    Book
    Hi Tom
    I am looking for the book Maahj by Viola L Cecil. Please let me know if you or anyone has a copy.
    Thanks
    Sari Edelstein
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Sari!
    Have you tried eBay? And maybe someone on the Mah Jongg Collectors Group on Facebook has one.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the book be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 747

    On Thursday, May 27, 2021, 04:46:35 PM PDT, Julia S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In Column #747, you say for hand #4 "Your opponent is making W-D #5. " Couldn't they also be trying for W-D #6 (with 2021 instead of the greens in #5)?
    Thanks,
    Julia

      囧   You are quite right, Julia!
    So the hot tiles are actually F G and 2021 in any suit. It's a question whether or not your opponent already has the flower pair. If they discard a flower, you can discard an unwanted flower too. If they discard G, you can eliminate W-D#5.
    Good eye, Julia. When I saw W-D #6 just now, I remembered seeing it when I was scanning, but apparently I forgot it when I was writing! :p
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    May 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Are identical pairs okay?

    On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 04:53:00 PM PDT, June G <j....@yahoo.com.au> wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing the game Hachi Ban, can you have 2 pairs of the same wind or dragon ie NN NN. EE. Or WW EE EE? Or do they have to be 3 pairs of different dragons or winds as is illustrated in the books?
    June

    Hi, June. Because this isn't addressed in your book, your table has to rule on that at the moment you declare the win. I know that Japanese rules permit two identical pairs, so I would say that's okay in Australian rules too. That's not a guarantee that you wouldn't get into an argument. If somebody thinks that shouldn't be allowed, there has to be a debate and a vote.

    By the way, I was confused at first when you referred to the "game" of Hachi Ban. For a moment, I thought you were asking about the game of Hachi-Hachi (played with Japanese flower cards). Then I remembered that I have seen hands referred to as games before, and that you emailed from Australia, and it clicked. I found the hand in Thompson & Maloney's "Improve Your Mah Jong." Anyway, I hope this helps.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Our tiles are less than half the thickness of the newer sets

    On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, 07:49:09 AM PDT, rita s wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    祍洠桡樭湯杧焠敵瑳潩牯挠浯敭瑮椠㩳
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    My wife found and older set and the tiles a less that half the thickness of the newer sets. Just curious if this set has any value due to its size? I have a picture looking from the side but don’t know how to send it to you. Thanks, Charlie S

    Hi, Charlie. You wrote:

    Just curious if this set has any value due to its size?
    If you're talking about those cheaply made skinny tiles that make a clinky-tinkly sound (sometimes referred to as "travel sets" because they're so lightweight), there isn't much collector-clamoring for those. Hard to tell without a picture.

    I have a picture... but don’t know how to send it to you.
    Well, maybe Google can help you figure that out. I don't do technical support.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    5/25/21
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Computer game technical support question, part 3

    On Monday, May 24, 2021, 01:41:32 PM PDT, Marsha C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    For Kathy N, RE: Real Mah Jongg question. When you open the game you’ll see “My Account.” Click on that and chose the “Change My Points” option. Also on that page is an option to contact them. My experience is that they will email you a response within 1/2 a day. Good luck.



    The 2021 card, part 21 (part 11 redux)

    On Sunday, May 23, 2021, 04:15:39 PM PDT, Marilyn G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: on the 2021 card on the second hand under 2021 hands, does the first set of 2’s have to be dots or can any suit work as long as it’s different from the second set?
    Thanks!

    Hi, Marilyn! Please find the answer in FAQ 16. Please bookmark it for future questions about the 2021 card, and please bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about NMJL rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Computer game technical support question, part 2

    On Sunday, May 23, 2021, 12:53:03 PM PDT, Kathy N wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    i wish. they never seem to be available. i was hoping you would try,,,,,,please...

    I don't do technical support. Maybe another reader knows.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    May 23, 2021


    Computer game technical support question

    On Saturday, May 22, 2021, 11:37:31 PM PDT, Kathy N wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is when playiing Real Mahjongg on line, :how do I reset 2020 points back to zero for new card 2021? thanks.

    I have no idea, Kathy. Can't you ask the people who run Real Mahjong?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    How to play 3 handed mahjong?

    On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 12:30:50 PM PDT, Ethel M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How to play 3 handed mahjong. I think there are 2 ways but I’ve forgotten both!! Thx
    Ethel M

    Hi, Ethel. How to play 3-handed is described in FAQ 13. When the FAQ opens in your browser, just select which mah-jongg variant you play (Chinese, Japanese, American...).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Give me a teacher recommendation, part 3

    The Find Players, Teachers, Events board is back online. The Teachers listings in FAQ 4a are back online. FAQ 15 has been reinstated as well. Let the games resume... cautiously!
    If you want to be listed on the board or on FAQ 4a, just email your listing to me and I'll post it, verbatim.
    Tom
    May 19


    My set has extra tiles

    On Monday, May 17, 2021, 09:50:08 PM PDT, margaret f wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Sent from Mail for Windows
    My Mahjong set came with 8 extra flowers (total of 16 - 8 with numbers and 8 without) and 2 extra jokers. Can they be added to the tiles for play or are they just extra?

    You can't use them in play, Margaret. Read the back of the card, top left corner, eight words in all capital letters. I discussed numbers of flowers and jokers in FAQ 7-B and column 509.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile?

    On Monday, May 17, 2021, 06:04:16 PM PDT, Sandy K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: If a player plays 3 7Bams with a Joker and another player later discards a 7Bam can the 7Bam be called and replace the Joker and put it in her rack?

    No. See FAQ 19-G.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Jade set

    On Monday, May 17, 2021, 06:36:07 AM PDT, Iris wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I bought a set at an estate sale and one of the employees informed me that the owner brought it from Japan back in1945. The owner of the set was in the Navy and he purchased it as WWII ended. The employee stated the tiles are jade and it is in very good condition and does not look like it was ever used at all. My question is how do I determine if it is jade and the value of the set?
    Thank you.

    I don't know, Iris. I don't know how to determine if something is jade and I have no idea how much jade is worth. Maybe make inquiries of antique shops, jewelers, see what they recommend. Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column dates

    On Friday, May 14, 2021, 06:37:00 AM PDT, Marsha C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Just some housekeeping. The heading on all of your 2021 strategy columns has the year as 2020 instead of 2021. Please don’t make me relive 2020!!! Be well. Be safe. Thanks for all your hard work.
    Marsha C.
    By Tom Sloper
    May 9, 2020
    Column #745
    American Mah Jongg (2021 NMJL card). An opponent has two exposures atop the rack. Defend!

    Thanks, Marsha. I wouldn't want to relive 2020, either! Those 2020s are fixed now, and I fixed the template too, so you might need to remind me in 2022 to fix the 2021s.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Give me a teacher recommendation, part 2

    It's now 6:30 - three hours after my previous post, below. I heard the news on PBS Newshour that the CDC has announced that vaccinated people can go maskless in "most situations" or something. (Must still mask in healthcare settings, transit, airplanes, for instance.) Sounds like Dr. Fauci and the CDC are OK with mah-jongg games between the fully vaccinated. Then President Biden came on, urging Americans to be patient with one another as people transition with varying levels of comfort or hesitancy. So I ask my readers to be patient with me.

    I went on covid.cdc.gov just now to see an up-to-date map. Turns out there are several ways to view the latest available data. I looked at two: Community Transmission, and Cases.

    The Level of Community Transmission map (which covers the past week) doesn't fill me with confidence.

    The Cases map looks a bit more hopeful, but given what I wrote at 3:33 today (below), I'm still not feeling joy.

    I'll come around. Be patient with me. But I am taking my mask off. Just for you, since you're vaccinated too. But tomorrow when I go out, I'm taking my mask along. But I'm not reinstating the teacher list yet.
    ...Was that a lot of buts, or is it just me?

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 13, 2021, 7:26 PM (it took me a while to write that)
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Give me a teacher recommendation

    On Thursday, May 13, 2021, 11:52:31 AM PDT, Emma A wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Dear Tom,
    I hope you kept well during the pandemic. Following CDC guidelines my ladies group including myself who are all vaccinated would like to start to learn mahjongg. I know how to play but I am rusty I would be grateful if you could recommend a teacher in the west LA Beverly Hills area.
    Thank you so much
    Emma A

    I'm in a real bind, Emma. Here in L.A. we're in "Yellow" alert. If we were in "Green," and if all the continental US was in "Green," I would totally just reinstate the teacher listings from before the pandemic. But the continent isn't all-clear, and I feel very very uncomfortable with being even remotely responsible for people getting into close contact with strangers, breathing one another's air for hours at a time. While Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act may protect me from being sued if somebody catches COVID-19 from a mah-jongg game or class that was matchmade on my website, there is also the moral responsibility I feel to protect my readers from preventable disease. If I republish the list now, I would not be able to rest easily. Just the mere possibility, however remote, that someone died, and it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't published the list... That would weigh on me the rest of my life.
    I also feel for the mah-jongg community that wants to get back to playing in person. I understand the desire. I, too, feel the pull. I wish and hope for the day to come soon when we are all free to enjoy life "normally." But we have gotten in trouble when people got together before it was safe.
    So, I'm in a bind.
    My mah-jongg services and this website are for public information only. I do not provide free private mah-jongg information. Thus, before the pandemic, I did have teacher information listed publicly on this site. People used to email me asking if I had any additional teachers not listed publicly. Those requests made me get angry, because I felt they were accusing me of withholding information. But now that the global pandemic keeps hanging on, I suppose it's ironic that now I AM purposely withholding information.
    This is the bind I'm in. I don't want to publish just the "Green" zone teachers and withhold the rest - that would force me to do the extra work of keeping up to date on what areas are clear, and update the listing every week or month... My life is going through big changes starting now, for one thing. And I don't want to publish the whole list again now, for reasons that are clearly spelled out above. And I absolutely do not and will not provide individual teacher contact information. I am not a matchmaker and I am not a messenger service, and I don't want to be treated like one (as stated in the website Terms of Service and Privacy Policy above). So I guess I'm saying, it's all (reinstate the entire teacher list) or nothing.
    There are surely other "Mahj" websites that ARE listing teachers. I cannot tell you what those sites are.
    I wish I'd never had to write this; I wish you'd never asked. I hope you can see why I say: I'm sorry, but I cannot help you at this time.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 13, 2021, 3:33 PM
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I claim a discard for a 2021? (FAQ 19-E)

    On Thursday, May 13, 2021, 04:37:34 AM PDT, Maryellen P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can I pick up a white dragon for the unit 2021 and lay it down during the game? Not at the last pick?
    Thank you.
    Maryellen

    No. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about NMJL rules, and bookmark FAQ 16 for future questions about the 2021 card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 13, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She constantly asks for a "moment"

    On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 03:59:31 PM PDT, Diana S wrote:
    Potential call for discard
    Dear Mr. Sloper:
    We have a player in our group who will often pause the game while she considers a discard, then says she doesn't want it. It's annoying, but not illegal. However, it turns out that she deliberately "calls" for the discard, knowing that she doesn't want it, solely to be able to take time to scan all of the discarded tiles in order to strategize her play. To my knowledge (and I love your website!) there is no rule for this. It isn't really covered under "etiquette" either.
    To me, it's one thing to "think" about whether or not you want the tile that was discarded. It's another, and poor sportsmanship, to pause the game just to get a better feel for what's been discarded, especially when it's not your turn. My argument to her was that what she was doing was bad manners and interrupts the flow of the game. If she needs to slow the play down, at least wait until it's her turn, draw and rack her tile, then take a moment to "think" before discarding. The obvious sticking point moving forward is when she asks for a "moment", we can't know for sure whether she is really thinking about the discard or if she is simply taking time to check out the table. We are not beginners here. I would appreciate your thoughts.
    Sincerely,
    Diana S

    Hi, Diana!
    I'd love to give you a quick answer, but there are points you made that I want to reply to individually. You wrote:

    it turns out that she deliberately "calls" for the discard, knowing that she doesn't want it, solely to be able to take time to scan all of the discarded tiles in order to strategize her play.
    I have to wonder how you know this. Did she admit that this is what she does? Because that is unconscionable behavior. If you just suspect that that's what she does, I call that "insufficient evidence" of unconscionable behavior.

    To my knowledge (and I love your website!) there is no rule for this. It isn't really covered under "etiquette" either.
    There's no rule, but it most definitely falls under etiquette. See FAQ 9 - I definitely list "Making everyone wait" as a "bad habit." Part of me wants to go on a rant about how bad that behavior is, but I'm not gonna.

    It's ... poor sportsmanship, to pause the game just to get a better feel for what's been discarded, especially when it's not your turn.
    Absolutely. But it's also unsportsmanlike to think unnecessarily long even during your turn. We are getting into the realm of "slow players," which have often come up in Q&As here, and FAQ 19-BA ("How do we handle a slow player?") and in my columns; see column 375 ("Dealing With Slow Players") and column 621 ("The Psychology of Slow Players").

    My argument to her was that ... If she needs to slow the play down, at least wait until it's her turn, draw and rack her tile, then take a moment to "think" before discarding.
    You're too generous.

    The obvious sticking point moving forward is when she asks for a "moment", we can't know for sure whether she is really thinking about the discard or if she is simply taking time to check out the table.
    I would ask her, every time. "Are you thinking about that discard, or not?" I'd follow after a few seconds, "Either take that discard or let it go." A 10-second sand timer may be the way to go. When I was a beginner, I just played to keep up and not interrupt the flow. Eventually, I sped up my thinking and became a better player. My Japanese mah-jongg friends called that learning period "paying tuition."

    I wish I had more helpful advice for you. See those columns and that FAQ. Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Mystery flowers

    On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 07:38:14 AM PDT, Paula H wrote:
    Mahj question -- Mystery Flower Tiles
    Hi. I really enjoy your website and book!
    Can you help me identify the meaning of the top row of flowers in the photo? They are part of a one bam bamboo shoot set, if that helps.
    Thanks so much,
    Paula H

    Wish you would have sent a larger photo, Paula. But I think I've found the answer in the Mystery Flowers FAQ. Since you're not asking about the bottom row, I assume you've already tried comparing your tiles to the tiles in the FAQ, and that you already know those in your bottom row (above) are Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. That would usually mean that the other four are the names of the usual flowers. But, when you were checking the FAQ, did you happen to see the entry titled "Another sort of flower tiles"? The characters and the graphics in the bottom row of this image look somewhat similar to yours:

    From the FAQ: "Edwin Phua says these tiles depict the Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar, zither, board game, calligraphy, and painting." 琴棋书画 ("qín qí shū huà"). I think the box depicted in your #3 tile is a calligraphy kit. I believe that's the answer to your question. If you ever again need to send me a photo, please make it larger than 240x320 pixels!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you score for Special Eyes when you have a Seven Pairs hand?

    On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 09:00:53 AM PDT, Richard W wrote:
    special eyes vs 7 pairs
    I haven't seen you address this but with the myriad of possible questions I may have missed it. Do the Special Eyes (2,5,8) score as a pair when scoring a Seven Pairs (Seven Sisters) hand? This would apply to several Asian styles so a general answer is satisfactory. Thank you in advance and thanks for being here! Rick W

    Hi, Rick.
    I think not. A pair is no longer considered "eyes" or "pillow" if the entire hand is all pairs. It could be considered special or rare for the one pair in a regular hand to be a 2 or 5 or 8, but it likely wouldn't be considered special or rare if one of seven pairs was 2s, 5s, or 8s. From the two books I checked on special eyes just now, both of them refer to "the eyes" or "the pair." It isn't stated that this doesn't apply to Seven Pairs, but if you have seven pairs, how could all at the table agree on which one is "the eyes"?
    Now you have my opinion, for what that's worth. If you use a book or website as your guide, and if this question is not addressed, your group can establish its own table rule.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 11, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I wrote a resource for MCR players

    On Monday, May 10, 2021, 11:58:06 PM PDT, Petr Maniakhin wrote:
    MCR Practicum
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    some time ago I wrote a small book with MCR problems - interesting waitings with ready hands, getting ready when you're 1 step from tempai. I saw nothing like it before, and I made it similar to chess problems: "white begin and win in 2", "black begin and win in 3". I developed this book and made it in 2 languages: English and Russian. Now it has 82 problems with detailed solutions. The latest version can be taken here: https://bit.ly/3vxm6wV (a Google Drive network folder). I hope it will be useful for people who begin their journey in MCR.
    With best regards,
    Petr ("Northern Peacock" Youtube channel)

    Very cool, Petr. I'll post a link in an appropriate FAQ or two.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 11, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Your brainiac approach, part 2

    On Friday, May 7, 2021, 08:44:06 PM PDT, Caryn M
    Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Caryn M
    <3


    Your brainiac approach makes Mahj make sense for me!

    On Friday, May 7, 2021, 07:21:26 PM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Caryn M
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $36.00 USD from Caryn M
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $36.00 USD
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    Contributor: Caryn M
    Message: Tom- I have followed you since I began playing - about 10 years ago. Your brainiac approach makes Mahj make sense for me! Now I catch you on FB and in presentations. I'm the one always defending your honor. . . . "Yes, Sloper is safe and his column is real!!!" Thank you! Stay safe. Caryn

    Thank you very much, Caryn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    May 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 745

    On Friday, May 7, 2021, 11:52:10 AM PDT, Daphne S wrote:
    Column #745
    Hi Tom-
    Love your columns!!! Re: Column #745- #6- Two Kongs of nines. Couldn't other possibilities be Like Numbers #1 or #2?
    Thanks-
    Daphne

    囧 You're absolutely right, Daphne. It would be a huge mistake to call someone dead after all! I am rewriting that entry for the benefit of future readers of that column. Hat's off to you!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A discard was misnamed, causing a problem

    On Friday, May 7, 2021, 06:48:16 AM PDT, Lorri B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player yesterday through a 1 Crack and called it 7 crack
    I called 7 Crack for Maj
    She had a 7 crack in her rack- is she obligated to give me the 7 crack as my Maj tile or am I responsible to be looking at the discarded tile
    Thank
    Lorri B

    Hi, Lorri! You wrote:

    Player [threw] a 1 Crack and called it 7 crack
    I called 7 Crack for Maj
    Congratulations, you won the hand!

    She had a 7 crack in her rack- is she obligated to give me the 7 crack as my Maj tile or am I responsible to be looking at the discarded tile
    She said the name of your winning tile. You won. She pays you four times the value of the hand, and nobody else pays. That's the rule when a misnamer says someone's winning tile. See the back of the card (middle pane, at the top).


    Every player should read the back of the NMJL card.
    Every player owes it to the other players to know
    all these basic rules of the game.

    And see FAQ 19-AY.
    Please bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about NMJL rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA



    When can a joker be redeemed? What's the procedure?

    On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 07:10:37 PM PDT, Carol G wrote:
    Mahjohn
    Hello,
    My question is...if a player calls a tile, lays down her pick, ie 7 crake (3 of them), can she then go and swipe a joker from another player’s hand? Or is that considered two turns? Someone said a turn does not end until a tile is discarded.
    Thank you, we are fairly new at this and trying to follow the rules.
    Thank you
    Carol

    That is when she CAN redeem a joker, Carol! You can only redeem a joker while holding 14 tiles on the rack. See FAQ 19-M for a complete description of the joker redemption rule.
    Please bookmark FAQ 19 for future questions about the rules of American mah-jongg.
    And please bookmark FAQ 16 for future questions about the 2021 NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And May the fifth be with you. ...If that's how you roll.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Thanks for asking a question today. I really wanted to use that "May the fifth" joke.


    Smelly tiles, part 2

    On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 09:00:48 PM PDT, Diane M wrote:
    Re: Smelly tiles
    Thanks for your quick response, Tom. I guess I should go buy some febreeze!! I made a donation. Be well.
    Diane

    On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 08:58:46 PM PDT, Diane M via PayPal wrote:
    dianeb sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $10.00 USD from dianeb...
    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.
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    Thanks, and good luck, Diane!
    May the Fourth be with you.
    Tom


    Smelly tiles

    On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 04:53:36 PM PDT, Diane M wrote:
    Smelly tiles
    Hi Tom,
    I got a set of mahjong tiles that were in a stinky (mildew) case. I cleaned the tiles gently with a damp facecloth and I replaced the case. Well, today I opened the old new not smelly case and realized that the tiles themselves are smelly (mildewy). What do you suggest I do to get rid of the odor??? Thanks in advance.
    Diane
    Berkeley, CA

    Hi, Diane!
    I suggest you take a look at FAQ 7-o. I made some markers at four entries about smelly tiles:
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/cleaning.htm#smelly1
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/cleaning.htm#smelly2
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/cleaning.htm#smelly3
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/cleaning.htm#smelly4
    But if you just go to https://sloperama.com/majexchange/cleaning.htm on a desktop or laptop and Search the page for "smell," all the entries should be highlighted for easier finding.
    I like the non-wet solutions (crumpled newspaper, used dryer sheets) over the liquid solutions. And it kind of depends on what kind of tiles you have. One or two of the entries in the FAQ is about smelly Hong Kong plastic, not mildew. So choose the entries about your specific problem. Extreme caution with liquids and bone tiles painted with water-soluble paint! With a slightly damp cloth, you can gently wipe a surface without removing paint down in the crevices. Modern plastic tiles do not use water-based paints, and are safer to clean with a damp washcloth.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And May the Fourth be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May the Fourth be with you, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    You received a payment

    On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 04:25:35 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    May 4, 2021 04:25:18 PDT
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Profile status
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
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    Thank you for your continued support, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And May the Fourth be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May the fourth, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 01:37:10 PM PDT, E 'two cents ¢¢' H wrote:
    Re: You received a payment
    You're welcome


    Thank you for your work.

    On Monday, May 3, 2021, 04:47:20 PM PDT, Andres P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi, I just want to thank you for your efforts with mahjong and tile matching games. I want to learn playing mahjong and your website will be quite useful. I love to play tile matching games since my old dead brother told me how to play them.
    I am playing shangai dynasty on the dreamcast and I got a diploma from you ;) I'm right now on stage 5 and I feel acomplished every time I beat a stage. That's how learnt about you.
    It was quite a surprise to learn that you produced games for the vectrex as I own one with 16 games, including bedlam. I'm looking to repair it because the vectors began mismatching.
    Thanks for your work.

    Hello, Andres!
    That's so cool. I don't remember if I even knew that the developer put my name on those certificates. I ought to have asked them to remove my name; maybe I didn't know. I guess in Japan it looks more "official" if it's signed by somebody with a title - would have been more impressive if it had Bobby Kotick's name instead.
    I don't remember if the Dreamcast version included mah-jongg. If so, maybe it's only Japanese riichi-dora majan. And the in-game manual (if there is one) is probably in Japanese, so if you have questions about the rules you can use the manual for Shanghai: Second Dynasty and FAQ 25. Somebody last August was asking questions about Japanese majan on the Nintendo Switch. It might be helpful for you to see his questions and screenshots in the bulletin board archive.
    As for the Vectrex, it's cool that you have one. If mine was showing the vectors off-position the only thing I would be able to try is to see if the yoke (the wire collar around the thin part of the cathode ray tube) is askew and can be adjusted. I don't know electronics - wouldn't be able to do much else (unless maybe a wire came loose and could be soldered back into place). Good luck with that.
    Anyway, you're welcome to come back with questions anytime.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can soaps be used as a universal dragon?

    On Monday, May 3, 2021, 08:22:53 AM PDT, Mike and Suzanne V wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: in a hand using dragons can soaps be used as a universal dragon. For example in a hand with 2s4s dragons 6s and 8 s, if you have bams for the numbers, do dragons have to be green, or can you use soaps?

    Hi, Mike and Suzanne. You wrote:

    can soaps be used as a universal dragon
    No, but jokers can.

    For example in a hand with 2s4s dragons 6s and 8 s, if you have bams for the numbers, do dragons have to be green
    You seem to be asking about a hypothetical/general hand of an uncertain number of colors. The answer is "it depends on how many colors the hand is on the card." If it's all one color, then yes. Otherwise, no.

    But perhaps you're asking about the specific hand at the #3 slot in the 2021 card's 2468 section. That's a one-color hand, so if your numbers are bams, your dragon must be green.

    or can you use soaps?
    Soaps go with dots only, unless they are used as zeroes, as described in red text atop the card. The Vietnamese rules include a "wild dragon" tile, but not the American rules.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 740, part 2

    On Monday, May 3, 2021, 06:27:53 AM PDT, Michelle P wrote:
    Question on 2021 card
    Tom,
    You said there were 15 new hands on the card. Could you please identify them for me?
    All the best,
    Michelle
    Pronouns: she/her/hers

    2468 #7, 2468 #8, Any Like #1, Any Like #3, Consec #3, Consec #4, Consec #8, Odds #2, Odds #7, W-D #3, W-D #7, 369 #3, 369 #4, 369 #5, S&P #3
    The 2021 hands I considered to be variations on previous hands. Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 20 (part 12 redux)

    On Saturday, May 1, 2021, 01:27:13 PM PDT, Catherine A E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment regards “2021” line 3 of NATIONAL MAH JONGG LEAGUE card:
    FFFF 2222 0000 21 (Any 1 Suit)
    How can 22222 be 1 suit?
    Thanks in advance!
    Catie E

    Hi, Catie!
    Keep in mind, it's not a quint of twos. It's a kong and a single. How is it possible to come up with more than four twos in the same suit? Like this:

    or these:

    I guess that's four ways 2222 2 (a kong and a single) can be 1 suit. If we were talking about 22222 (a quint), then there would be five ways.
    Please bookmark FAQ 16 for any further questions about the 2021 card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Help me to find full detailed rules for these variants, part 2

    On Saturday, May 1, 2021, 11:04:51 AM PDT, Никита К wrote:
    Re[2]: Having trouble with Mahjong variants
    And I’m terribly sorry to forget Sichuan variant where are no Honors and no flowers!

    Hi, Nikita.
    See what you can find via those links I gave you before. If you come back with a list of questions, please number the questions to make it easier for me to respond.
    Oh, and I just remembered another resource I have here: the manual for Shanghai: Second Dynasty includes information on rules for Japanese, Chinese, Western, and American mah-jongg.
    And another one: FAQ 17 describes Hong Kong rules.
    Oh, and FAQ 25 goes into some detail on Japanese rules.
    Then there's FAQ 22, about MCR scoring, with a list of links to complete MCR rules on other websites.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Help me to find full detailed rules for these variants

    On Saturday, May 1, 2021, 10:51:24 AM PDT, Никита К wrote:
    Having trouble with Mahjong variants
    Hello! I’m collecting game rules from all of the world. But although I am clear with Riichi Mahjong and a little of Chinese MCR version, I feel cloudy with the rest of Mahjong variants. Please help me to find full detailed rules for these Mahjong variants listed above:
    Chinese, modern Mahjong Competition Rules (with all numbers, Honors and 2 Sets of 4 Flowers)
    Riichi, Japanese Rules (without flowers, but two 5s of Dots, one 5 of Bamboos and one 5 of Cracks replaced by red tiles)
    Hong Kong, based on classic chinese Mahjong Rules (I wonder if flowers are used there or not)
    European (I’m really unfamiliar with that)
    American (how is that again? Basic rules, NMJL cards which are updated yearly and need to be paid for, 8 Jokers along with chinese tiles set)
    Siamese (is it like 2 players, with 2 hands for each?)
    Thai (I’m sure there is an official variant in Thailand which has its differences)
    Taiwanese (expanded hands: 5 sets and 1 pair instead of 4 sets and 1 pair, I guess)
    Vietnamese, modern (and this is the variant I’m the most unfamiliar with. I know the tiles set: with original 144, there’re extra 8 flowers: 1st-4th Princes/Princesses, and 3 sets pf 8 special jokers each: the first, I believe, has rectangles around symbols, the second has circles and the third has diamonds)
    Singaporean (I saw the link of scoring, but I haven’t found gameplay mechanics. And I’m not sure about tiles that are used in official version of this variant)
    Malaysian (no, not 3 players. I’m looking for 4 players version! I know 4P Malaysian differs from Singaporean!)
    Please help me refine my knowledge about some rules and expand it about others. Maybe there’re some links to them on your site you’re in possession of, so please send them to me. If there’re no links about one of the variants, can you please make more pages? I want:
    Sets of tiles for an official version of each variant;
    Gameplay rules, mechanics and orders;
    Scoring system for each hand or occasion.
    Thank you,
    Nikita K

    On Saturday, May 1, 2021, 10:59:54 AM PDT, Никита К wrote:
    Re: Having trouble with Mahjong variants
    Sorry. Can you not forget Filipino variant as well?

    Hi, Nikita.
    Please check all the following:

    • FAQ 4b (tons of links to mah-jongg rules sites)
    • FAQ 2b (some links to rules sites that might not be in FAQ 4b)
    • My mah-jongg downloads folder contains documents you may find helpful, including rules of some variants such as Vietnamese.
    • FAQ 3 lists books on several variants. Especially check out Scott Miller's MAHJONG FROM A TO ZHÚ and Jelte Rep's THE GREAT MAHJONG BOOK, both of which discuss numerous variants.

    After you have cross-checked those against your long list, you are welcome to come back with a shorter list. But note that I probably do not possess all the information you seek. Oh, and if you find a dead link, please let me know which link is dead (and which page you found the link on) so I can replace or remove it.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    May Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I say mah-jongg on a discard if I'm waiting for a single to fill in NEWS?

    On Friday, April 30, 2021, 12:24:24 PM PDT, Annie wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If you are using News in you mahjong play and have everything except the s in new can you pick it up if you’ll have mahjong
    Sent from miPhone

    Yes, Annie, you can call a single for mah-jongg. See FAQ 19-E3.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Confused on jokers, part 3

    On Friday, April 30, 2021, 08:42:02 AM PDT, Armin wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thanks so much.

    You're welcome, Armin!


    Is racking a picked tile mandatory?

    On Friday, April 30, 2021, 07:54:52 AM PDT, Andrew S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: is racking a picked tile from the wall mandatory? Some players are picking a tile from the wall and immediately discarding it.
    Thank you.
    Sent from Barbara' iPad

    No, Andrew. There is no such rule. See FAQ 19-BL, Picking and discarding without racking is perfectly okay.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Confused on jokers, part 2

    On Friday, April 30, 2021, 07:31:50 AM PDT, Armin wrote:
    Re: Jokers
    I meant kong not pong

    Oh.


    Confused on jokers.

    On Friday, April 30, 2021, 07:21:08 AM PDT, Armin wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Confused on jokers. Can you have even 3 jokers and one dot for a pong. Thanks

    I want to say "yes," but I'm confused by your question. Isn't "3 jokers and one dot" four tiles? Four tiles is a kong. A pung is three tiles.
    As FAQ 19-L explains, you can have 0, 1, 2, or 3 jokers in a pung, and you can have 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 jokers in a kong.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Thursday, April 29, 2021, 02:18:22 PM PDT, maureen m wrote:
    mmayh sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $40.00 USD from mmayh...
    To see all the transaction details, please log into your PayPal account. It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
    Transaction date
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    Thank you very much, Maureen!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Are you supposed to add 50?

    On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 11:11:39 AM PDT, Donna R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When playing chinese mahjong and counting up a basic hand, are you supposed to ad 50 to the score? Thank you

    WHICH Chinese mah-jongg rules, Donna? There are a lot of Chinese variants. What made you ask if you have to add 50?
    If you don't know which variant you play, maybe FAQ 2B will help narrow it down.
    Other ways to determine which variant you play:
    If you're learning from a book, what's the author's name? If you're learning from a website, can you send me the address? If you learned from a person from China, which part of China did they come from?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Conflicting claims for a discard

    On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 09:12:03 AM PDT, Donna R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When a player discards a tile and the next player picks it up and another player says pong, who is entitled to get the tile? Thank you for your help, Donna R

    Hi, Donna!
    It depends on (1) what the "next player" wanted the tile for, and (2) what mah-jongg rules you play.
    1. If "next player" said "chow" and another player says "pung," then the punger gets the tile. If next player said "mah-jongg" and another player says "pung," the winner takes it. If both players want the tile for pung, then the next player after the discarder gets the tile.
    2. This frequently asked question is explained fully in FAQ 20 if you play an Asian variant (any variant except American/NMJL), and in FAQ 19 if you play American/NMJL rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 27, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is she dead, part 2

    On Monday, April 26, 2021, 06:32:19 PM PDT, <judi at mahjonggfunla.com> wrote:
    bulletin board answer
    Hi Tom,
    Hope you are doing well and are staying safe.
    I saw an answer you gave to Barbara D on April 25th and I don't think it is correct. When taking a joker from someones rack whether for mah jongg or not you may put that joker in your rack. That is your tile. It might have even come from your rack.
    Judi Nachenberg
    Mah Jongg Fun L.A.
    818-764-6240

    Hi, Judi! Great to hear from you. I guess the part of my response to Barbara that you disagree with is when I said, "Should she have laid joker on her rack, and then added her other tiles to the joker? Yes."

    The League says that's "preferable" in the 2020 edition of the rulebook (page 14). The "preferable" rule is about putting a claimed discard atop the rack when declaring a win, whereas Barbara's question was about putting a self-picked tile (a redeemed joker) atop the rack when declaring a win. I think the two situations are comparable (two ways of declaring a win - in both cases, it's "preferable" to put the taken tile atop the rack, rather than into the hand). I also took into consideration the rules in other mah-jongg variants, such as the Chinese official Competition Rules and Japanese riichi/dora majan, where there may be penalties for mishandling the winning tile, or obfuscating which tile was won on. The League's "preference" is reasonable in the light of global precedents. Also, placing the winning redeemed joker atop the rack first cements the right to claim double payment for self-pick.

    You are right that the tile is hers once she's redeemed it. Just the same, the tile is hers once she says mah-jongg and picks the tile up from the discard floor or from the wall. (The exception then would be if a player between her and the discarder voices a trumping claim and exposes tiles, in which case the tile is not hers.)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Charleston strategy

    On Monday, April 26, 2021, 05:08:02 PM PDT, annk1 wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My friend and I are having a debate about a pass during the Charleston. She thinks it is OK to pass a pair during the Charleston. I say you should not do this unless you are just a couple of tiles away from mah jongg. What is your thinking on the subject? Thank you.
    Ann K

    Hi, Ann!
    Your friend is correct: it is "OK" to pass a pair in the Charleston. There's no rule against it. It never bothers me when somebody passes me a pair. I always assume there's a reason why they did that, and it means they're probably having a really good Charleston and don't have any other tiles they want to pass.
    And you are correct, too. You're right that passing a pair isn't the best way to go. But if ya gotta, ya gotta. It's not only about being "just a couple of tiles away" from a winning hand. It's about how you personally choose in the moment. You can form some foundational strategic principles for yourself, this many tiles to go that way, fewer tiles and I don't. Hard numbers for everything, if that's the way you roll. But sometimes really interesting options can create a situation in which you personally decide that you can try a little risky move. Venturing into new enticing territory.
    Or am I missing something in your point of view? Is it somehow detrimental to you if an opponent doesn't exhibit exactly the same strategies as you? Because I don't see that it does you any harm if she passes a pair once in a while. I mean, especially if it's a pair of something you can't use. Or is she being all "passing a pair means I'm close to mahj, I'm dangerous" but she's just bluffing?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A vote against dark mode

    On Monday, April 26, 2021, 01:22:18 PM PDT, Paula S wrote:
    Black background
    Tom:
    Love your column but don’t love the black background on your strategy columns: glaring and hard to read, plus would use up a lot of ink to print the page for later reference. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to reverse the background/foreground colors.
    Thanks for your consideration.
    .paula

    Thank you for your input, Paula. Yours is the first reaction I've had to my Dark Mode innovation. To date, here are the vote totals (including my own):

    White Mode
    Dark Mode
    1
    1

    I hope more readers will weigh in. Personally, I find white screens more glaring than dark screens (I find white-on-black more restful for my eyes). So all my devices have been set to dark mode when the option is available. TBH, I had not considered printing. Some print settings fix it so a page will print in black on white. Failing that, one could always just copy the text and paste it into Word or WordPad or Pages without the formatting (or remove the formatting if necessary), and copy/paste any images (if necessary).

    [Edit] After doing a little research, I find that indeed, pure black is not the best background. Now that I think about it, my old CP/M and MS-DOS screens weren't pure black. So I've gone into each of the existing Dark Mode columns and made the backgrounds dark gray. I may also need to change the font.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    April 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Where is my card?

    On Monday, April 26, 2021, 10:36:27 AM PDT, Joyce S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have tried to get in touch with some one about not receiving my 2021 card.
    are some still in the mail? My group are now starting to play again and i do not have my card. Can you help?
    Thank you for your time. Joyce

    I cannot help you, Joyce. As I said to the others before you (below), patience is a necessary quality in these trying times.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I enjoy your articles!

    On Monday, April 26, 2021, 09:32:05 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Linda G
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Linda G
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $20.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Linda G
    Message: I enjoy your articles!
    PayPal

    Thank you, Linda!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Please bring back the Find Players/Teachers/Events board.

    On Monday, April 26, 2021, 07:59:44 AM PDT, Rochelle S wrote:
    Restart find players
    Hi
    Please restart find players , since so many have been vaxed or are able to play outside. And because of Covid there has been a shakeup in a lot of games it would be appreciated if we could find new players.
    Thanks
    Rochelle

    I respectfully decline. You may notice that I'm still wearing my mask. There are other resources you can utilize.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 19

    On Sunday, April 25, 2021, 11:50:43 AM PDT, Celia W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:s2nd hand in 2021 card what are green0s
    Can you use a wild in 2021

    Hi, Celia! You asked:

    what are green0s
    They are zeroes. Zeroes are explained at the top of the card in red print.

    Can you use a wild in 2021
    No. The use of jokers is explained on the back of the card. Also see FAQ 19-E2.

    For future questions about the 2021 card, please bookmark FAQ 16.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 25, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is she dead?

    On Sunday, April 25, 2021, 05:38:44 AM PDT, Barbara D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If a player takes a joker from another player and says mahjong as she takes it from other players rack and then drops it in her rack before exposing it. Is the hand dead?
    Should she have laid joker on her rack because she said mahjong then add her other tiles to the joker?

    Hi, Barbara!
    Let me see if I get the sequence of events right:
    1. She redeems a joker from another player's rack.
    2. As she carries the joker home, she says "mah-jongg!"
    3. She puts the joker in among her concealed tiles.
    4. She exposes her hand.

    Should she have laid joker on her rack, and then added her other tiles to the joker? Yes.
    Is she dead? No. See FAQ 19-K. The FAQ addresses a related question, about putting a claimed discard into the hand when declaring a win, whereas your question is about putting a self-picked tile into the hand when declaring a win (win by joker redemption is considered self-pick). In other mah-jongg variants, such a move could be fatal, but the League says "it is preferable" to put the final tile atop the rack directly (p. 14).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 25, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Which variant does my family play?

    On Saturday, April 24, 2021, 07:02:18 PM PDT, Ruth W wrote:
    Rule variants - 1920s questions - sequence limitations and charleston?
    Hi,
    I'm using your site to understand the variant that my family plays.
    I looked at http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205d_3.html and we have two additional items that are in our rules I'm curious about. First, our rules are
    1. Yes, 2. Yes, 3 Yes, 4 Yes, 5 Not sure what this means, 6 No 7 Yes, 8 Yes 9 Yes, 10 No
    which don't exactly match any column but are close to 1920s CC. We don't play with special hands (no 13 orphans, etc). We play only 4 sets and a pair with scoring that matches what I see pictured with older sets - 2-8s 2 points exposed/4 concealed, 1s/9s/honors twice that, kongs 4 times a pong, 20 points for mahjong, 10 for no sequences, whole hand doubles for one suit+honors hands, double for pong of dragons, 3 doubles for clear/no honor, etc, etc.
    However, we also play with
    1. A limit of 1 sequence. I didn't find this discussed anywhere (I may have missed it). Are you familiar with a variant that limits to one sequence?
    2. An optional 1 round charleston. East wind decides whether to charleston. When I was a kid we would pass 3 tiles to the right, 3 times. Later, we switched to right, across, left after I read a book that talked about the American charleston, and we decided that right/across/left was better. I haven't found charlestons mentioned in the Chinese variants so I'm curious whether a charleston was done in variants in the 1920s-1930s and then evolved further into the American game, or if at some point later my Grandmother just picked up on it from American and added it to our family's Chinese rules. I have read about the "goulash" which is similar but different.
    For your background - I believe the rules we used were my Grandmother's and originally date back to the 1920s. During that time period, she played both in the Panama Canal Zone and in NY (Adirondack region). Whether she learned to play in the Canal Zone or NY I am not sure.
    Your input is appreciated. If you need me to reword these questions better for your forum, just let me know.
    Thanks,
    Ruth W

    Hi, Ruth. You wrote:

    our rules are 1. Yes, 2. Yes, 3 Yes, 4 Yes, 5 Not sure what this means, 6 No 7 Yes, 8 Yes 9 Yes, 10 No
    ... We play only 4 sets and a pair with scoring that matches what I see pictured with older sets - 2-8s 2 points exposed/4 concealed, 1s/9s/honors twice that, kongs 4 times a pong, 20 points for mahjong, 10 for no sequences, whole hand doubles for one suit+honors hands, double for pong of dragons, 3 doubles for clear/no honor, etc, etc.
    That's all too difficult to follow.

    A limit of 1 sequence. I didn't find this discussed anywhere (I may have missed it). Are you familiar with a variant that limits to one sequence?
    You mean one chow? Australian/British mah-jongg often enforces a maximum of one chow. Did you see FAQ 2b?

    An optional 1 round charleston. East wind decides whether to charleston. ... I have read about the "goulash" which is similar but different.
    You also said your family had made some changes to the rules. I still think you're probably talking about Western/British/Australian rules.

    I'm curious whether a charleston was done in variants in the 1920s-1930s
    Not in the 1920s. The early 1930s are a dark period, not much written. I'm thinking American players may have adopted a lot of different table rules in the 1930s.

    I believe the rules we used were my Grandmother's and originally date back to the 1920s. During that time period, she played both in the Panama Canal Zone and in NY (Adirondack region). Whether she learned to play in the Canal Zone or NY I am not sure.
    Might be the variant described by Eleanor Noss Whitney in A Mah Jong Handbook. She describes Chinese, Japanese, and "American" rules (her American rules are most akin to British/Australian/Western rules). You might want to see if you can get her book so you can compare it with your rules. See FAQ 3 for ISBN numbers.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Do I have to have a matching natural to call a discard? Can I use all jokers in a set?

    On Friday, April 23, 2021, 02:10:42 PM PDT, Carol C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can you pick up any tile with 2 jokers to make a threesome?

    On Friday, April 23, 2021, 02:12:59 PM PDT, Carol C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+Ae
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can you use three jokers in place of a threesome.

    Hi, Carol!
    The answer to both questions you asked is yes, you can. See FAQ 19-L, which answers both questions.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 18 (part 3 redux)

    On Friday, April 23, 2021, 06:09:26 AM PDT, Janet O wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the new card. Under consecutive run fifth line. To Flowers 123 anyone’s suit or any three suits but it doesn’t say if it Has to be one to three or can it be any consecutive numbers.?
    Thank you
    Janet

    Hi, Janet. As I told Cheryl yesterday (below), you can use any 3 consecutive numbers. For any other questions you may have about the 2021 card, please bookmark FAQ 16.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 17 - cont'd.

    On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 07:45:17 AM PDT, Cheryl M wrote:
    Re: Dear Mr. Mah Jongg Expert,
    Thank you for taking the time to write to us! The equilibrium of our illustrious group is restored!
    I wish you many JOKERS!

    You're welcome, Cheryl. Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 22, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 17 (part 3 redux)

    On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 06:07:25 PM PDT, Cheryl M wrote:
    cc: Jan K, Nancy M, Tammy E
    Dear Mr. Sloper,
    My Mah Jongg Group has been playing together for many years! We absolutely ADORE Mah Jongg and we have emailed you in the past with our questions! Because of COVID, today was our first time to get together in person in many months . . . and our first time playing with the 2021 card. And we have a disagreement regarding the new card and are split right down the middle. It has to do with hand five under CONSECUTIVE RUN. There are those of us who feel it should have read (Any 1 or 3 suits. ANY RUN.) And feel that perhaps the card did not have sufficient space on that line to indicate this? And there are those who feel the lack of the words "ANY RUN." dictates that ONLY the numbers "1," "2," and "3" should be used in that hand. And no other numbers.
    Can you please settle this disagreement once and for all?
    Thank you, Cheryl M, Mah Jongg Enthusiast

    Hi, Cheryl!
    You can use any 3 consecutive numbers. For any other questions you may have about the 2021 card, please bookmark FAQ 16.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 21, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is it illegal to mark up your card?

    On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 02:33:59 PM PDT, marsha c wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is it illegal to mark up your Mah Jongg card? For example can I put a small 5 before the three hands that require 5 flowers or a C next to all concealed hands?
    Thanks, Marsha C

    It's not illegal, Marsha. Mark it up all you want.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 21, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call that discarded redeemable tile?

    On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 09:15:15 AM PDT, val wrote:
    ask the Mahj expert
    Scenario: player missed opportunity to exchange a tile for a joker in let's say a Pung. that player discards the hot tile. now it's not your turn but can you call that tile for the exchange? if you don't, and no one else does then that tile becomes dead, correct?
    thank you Tom,
    Valerie

    Like I told Monika yesterday, you can't call that tile to redeem it. See frequently asked question 19-G2. Down is dead.
    Also, you're using the term "hot tile" incorrectly. A hot tile is a tile that an opponent needs for mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    4/21/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When are exposed tiles supposed to be returned?

    On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 03:39:43 PM PDT, Michelle S wrote:
    Calling mah jongg in error
    Hi Tom:
    First off thank you for your zoom meeting Sunday night. It was great!
    We keep going back-and-forth on this with some people. If someone exposes mah jongg in error with no tiles exposed, do they put all the tiles back on their slope rack? Second, if they had something exposed and they put a second exposure out that makes them dead do they put that second exposure back on the rack if someone calls them dead and then the joker that's possibly there from the first exposure is still available? The main thing is do you put the tiles back in the slope of the rack overall?
    Thanks so much.
    Michelle

    Hi, Michelle! You asked...

    If someone exposes mah jongg in error with no tiles exposed, do they put all the tiles back on their slope rack?
    Yes. See FAQ 19-CK.

    Second, if they had something exposed and they put a second exposure out that makes them dead do they put that second exposure back on the rack if someone calls them dead and then the joker that's possibly there from the first exposure is still available?
    If the first exposure was ambiguous (not a certain indication of a dead hand), then the first exposure stays atop the rack.

    The main thing is do you put the tiles back in the slope of the rack overall?
    囧 ... I don't know how to answer. See FAQ 19-CK. And follow the link to FAQ 19-AA.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    4/20/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A couple follow-up questions, part 2

    On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 02:02:52 PM PDT, Modern Mahjong wrote:
    Re: Follow up from our Zoom Talk
    HI Tom,
    As for the first part, we were interested in seeing the actual old rule that permits the calling of the prior tile.
    As for part two, we understand your "shock." We were not asking it for ourselves but it was a question brought up in the chat directed for you (not us) to answer.
    We were going to reply that if the Joker was available to everyone (even if the hand was dead) but you are waiting to try to get that tile, whether that is an ethical strategy/cheating.
    We were not considering that the Joker was already "dead" as well. We read their question as if they were it referring to a still a redeemable Joker.
    Thank you for clarifying.

    Hi, Dara and Donna. OK, you wrote...

    we were interested in seeing the actual old rule that permits the calling of the prior tile.
    That old rule is not in the newsletters I cited in frequently asked question 19-G3. FAQ 19-G3 cites the current rule only (I saw no reason to cite the source of the outlawed rule in the FAQ).
    Now you have asked a difficult question, requiring much digging through historic materials...

  • In Viola Cecil's 1939 edition of "Maajh; The American Version of an Ancient Chinese Game," on page 37 it says you can discard a flower (flowers were used like jokers then - there were no jokers) you could "dog" it and say the name of the previous discard.
  • My copy of the 1940 edition of "Maajh" includes an errata sheet. It says to ignore the paragraph on page 45 where it says you can discard a flower and name it the same as the previous discard; the errata sheet says "change to read 'A flower may not be discarded at any time during the play, either for defense or to clear hand for no flower premium.'"
  • Took me quite a while to find the next rulebook, written by Dorothy Meyerson, "That's It; How to Play Mahjongg" (1951). "Flowers cannot be discarded at any time during the play."
  • Jump ahead to 1979, "42nd Year; Let's Play Mah Jongg; Instruction Book." (By this time the standard had settled on 8 flowers and 8 "big jokers.") Page 9, rule 5: "The BIG JOKERS may be discarded at any time during the play and called the name of the previous discard. ... Exception: When second discard is a Joker, the first discard (Name Tile) must be taken. Joker remains on table as a dead tile."

    So there is the old rule in writing. That might not be the earliest statement of the old rule. That old rule also still existed in the 1984 edition of "Mah Jongg Made Easy" (the red cover). I hope that dredging up old rules does not cause further confusion!

    we understand your "shock." We were not asking it for ourselves but it was a question brought up in the chat directed for you (not us) to answer. ...
    Of course.

    We were going to reply that if the Joker was available to everyone (even if the hand was dead) but you are waiting to try to get that tile, whether that is an ethical strategy/cheating.
    "Ethical" - that's the key word that eluded me, thank you. Not calling someone you know is dead, so you can redeem their joker, is definitely not ethical. Perhaps I misspoke, using the word "cheating"? Perhaps one of your viewers would disagree that unethical behavior is necessarily the same as "cheating." I should have said "unethical," I suppose.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    4/20/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A couple follow up questions

    On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 12:36:27 PM PDT, Modern Mahjong wrote:
    Follow up from our Zoom Talk
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks again for sharing your card review and asking questions from our Mahjong Community. We have been getting many messages thanking us for hosting your for this event.
    The replay of our Modern Mahjong Zoom Talk with you is available on YouTube.com/ModernMahjong. The direct link is https://youtu.be/RwAjD6XhvLc
    We had a couple follow up questions from after our Zoom Talk.
    1. During the Zoom Talk, we had a question about calling the initial discarded tile before a Joker was thrown and called "Same." I thought I had read that this was allowed many years ago and couldn't find rules that covered it.
    Now that we had time to search, we see that on Sloperama you previously addressed the issue. Would you have the newsletters/rules where it mentions this old rule?

    2. During our Zoom Talk, the issue of knowing a player's hand is dead and not calling it and you referenced that as not strategy but cheating. We had a comment in the chat that we missed:
    Why would you consider it cheating vs strategy if you don't call a hand dead until you get the exposed joker?
    Can you share the rules and/or your thoughts on this?
    Thanks again!
    Peace Love Mahjong,
    Dara and Donna

    Hi, Dara and Donna. Thanks for the link to the video. Your questions:

    Would you have the newsletters/rules where it mentions this old rule?
    Yes, I have those newsletters I cited in frequently asked question 19-G3 (your screenshot). But what is it you are trying to find out?
    - You want to see the old rule, where the League said that when someone named the joker the same as the previous tile, that another player could claim that named tile (not the joker)?
    - Or you want to see the current rule in writing from the League?
    - Or you want to know when the rule was changed by the League?
    The rule is: When someone throws a joker and says "same," you can't have the joker. And you can't have the tile the joker was "same as."

    Why would you consider it cheating vs strategy if you don't call a hand dead until you get the exposed joker?
    Seriously? I go, "here, let me have that joker. Thank you. By the way, your hand is dead, and those tiles there have to be returned." If I knew your hand was dead, and I didn't say so just so I could redeem your joker which shouldn't be there, it was at the very least underhanded, an obvious sidestep of the rules.
    I'm shocked, SHOCKED! that I have to explain why someone who knows the rules yet tries to undermine/circumvent the rules to their own advantage is cheating.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    4/20/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    An opponent was holding these tiles. Is this allowed?

    On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 12:20:18 PM PDT, dkljag wrote:
    Mahj question
    Re: 2021 card
    Hi Tom,
    In a game I played today I noticed player on the left was saving 13579 #1 mixed suits. It appears she is saving the colors randomly, not as the card shows. Is this allowed can you mix up all the numbers as long as 3 suits are used? I have attached a screen shot.
    Thank you,
    Donna K

    Hi, Donna!
    Are you talking about the unfinished hand "Computer 3" was working on? If that's what you're asking about, why bother? The bot just has the tiles it has, and it organizes them the way it organizes them. None of that has any bearing on a viable winning hand. If I had those tiles, I might organize them the same way. I wouldn't be able to win with them, but there's nothing wrong with having a non-winning hand of tiles that don't make a valid winning hand, as long as you don't declare mah-jongg. What's weird to me is that the bot appears to be pre-assigning jokers.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    4/20/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 09:14:41 AM PDT, susan l via PayPal wrote:
    sel... sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
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    Thank you, Susan!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you!
    Tom


    Can I call that discarded redeemable tile?

    On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 08:40:28 AM PDT, Monika F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    about calling a discard
    I already have an exposure of a Kong of 7s using 2 jokers to make it the Kong.
    Another player discards a 7 without noticing that she could swap it for one of my jokers. Can I call that 7 and use it to swap it for my joker on the existing exposure?
    Thanks for checking into that.
    Monika F

    I don't have to check into that, Monika. It's frequently asked question 19-G2. (Answer: you can't.)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    4/20/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 742

    On Monday, April 19, 2021, 11:23:00 AM PDT, Jean G wrote:
    Charleston exercise, hand # 6
    I would consider the jokerless #4 - Pass Red, 5B, 7D, and hope the "tiles would be with me"....
    Jean G

    Hi, Jean.
    I admit I do tend to overlook Singles & Pairs. But S&P #4 is a very long shot with these.

    You have a couple of ways you can go. Your like pairs can be either twos or eights. If the like pairs are to be the eights, you have 6 tiles, and you have zero fours, sixes, or eights in craks (and you'll need pairs of each). If the like pairs are to be the twos, you have 6 tiles, and again you're missing several whole pairs. If you get jokers after committing to S&P, you have to discard them.
    If I go for Consec #6 or #7, I've still got just 6 tiles, but if I get jokers, I can use them. I have a lot more faith in Consec than S&P. But there is something to be said about going for the gusto!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is there an abbreviated/shorter version, part 2

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 11:38:26 PM PDT, Patti Shannon wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you for your speedy reply. I appreciate it and your info was valuable.
    Gratefully,
    Patti

    Happy to help, Patti.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 19, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 16

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 04:15:16 PM PDT, Molly B wrote:
    Mah Jongg card 2021
    Why in the new Mah Jongg 2021 card under the 2468 the 7th choice says:
    FF DDDD 2 4 6 8 DDDD why is the 2 4 6 8 separated?
    it is unlike the spacing of 2021 or NEWS. That is the only place on the card it is like that and does that make it different from:

    Hi, Molly! I anticipated that someone would ask me this question. See FAQ 16.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is there an abbreviated/shorter version?

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 04:27:11 PM PDT, Patti S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hello Tom,
    Is there an abbreviated/shorter game of mahjong-jongg or tips for speeding up play?
    We are not a beginner group and we play using “Mah Jong, Anyone?” as our guide. It typically takes us five or more hours to complete play. It would be great if we could reduce playing time to around four hours.
    Thank you for taking my question.
    Regards,
    Patti

    Hi, Patti!
    In Western mah-jongg, you play four rounds to make a complete game, and whenever East wins, they keep the dealership, further lengthening the game. Right? Well, the problem is those four rounds. You can play two (East and South) like the Japanese do, or say it's just always the East round.
    I wrote "Simplified Rules," if that's of interest to you. Another thing that might shorten your game some more is to abandon the flowers. Or you could adopt Hong Kong rules.
    Just have fun!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Lost my key

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 04:29:20 PM PDT, John K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I have a mahjong set from the twenties and I’ve lost the key to the case. Do you have any suggestions on getting a replacement? Thanks.

    A locksmith might be your best bet.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Saw you on Zoom tonight

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 04:58:23 PM PDT, G&L K wrote:
    Thank you
    Hi Tom
    I have been a fan of your website for years and have your book on my Kindle. That being said, this is the first time I was able to listen to you on Zoom! Nice evening...
    Thank you!
    Lynn

    Cool, thanks Lynn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Rule 3 on the back of the card

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 05:22:47 PM PDT, phyl c wrote:
    Question about calling a tile for exposure
    I just listened to you on zoom for the first time. So interesting! Thank you so much for taking all that time.
    My question:
    On the back of the card, (left side) #3 says When two players ant the same tile,,, EXCEPT when the other caller has begun to expose tiles.
    We always played, next in line gets the tile. What does the highlighted section mean?
    Aren't you supposed to call the tile and once you have it in your possession, you begin to expose the tiles for that part of your hand? Or does it mean if you already have a portion of your hand exposed and this is for the second exposure?
    Again, thank you I am looking forward to checking out your website,
    Phyllis C

    Hi, Phyllis. You highlighted the words "begun to expose tiles." As I said in the Zoom talk, the ideal way someone should expose is (1) speak the claim for the discard, (2) take the discard atop the rack, then (3) expose the tiles from the hand. What the rule says is if someone else wants the tile, she has to speak before the first caller reaches step 3. I explained this as well as I could in the Zoom talk, and that'll be up on YouTube in the next day or so. But I go into great detail on this in FAQ 19-H.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How do I get on the mailing list?

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 05:49:45 PM PDT, phyl c wrote:
    Is there a way to be on your mailing list for FAQ or your mahjong column?

    There's no mailing list.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you redeem a joker atop your own rack? Can you reverse-redeem?

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 07:51:55 PM PDT, Rosemarie Campisi wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you replace an expose tile from your own rack with a joker of your own. Say you need 5 of something as in 2021 section.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Yes, you can redeem your own joker. It says so on the back of the card (it says "any and all exposures"). FAQ 19-M3.
    Upon re-reading the question, I see that I misunderstood you the first time. No, you cannot reverse-redeem a joker. See FAQ 19-AL.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I change my mind?

    On Sunday, April 18, 2021, 10:14:43 AM PDT, Sharron C wrote:
    calling a tile
    Question
    I call a tile….if I start exposing from my wall and did not touch the thrown tile from the floor, can I change my mind and put my tiles back in the rack.

    Hi, Sharron. Here is a link to the "change of heart" FAQs. In most cases, "actions speak more loudly than words." You can speak and change your mind. But once you have taken action, you have committed to the move and you cannot turn back. Once you expose tiles from the sloping front of your rack, you have committed to making an exposure, and you may not put those tiles back.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Sticks

    On Friday, April 16, 2021, 06:30:03 PM PDT, Stephanie B wrote:
    Question about betting sticks
    Aloha Tom
    I have several older Chinese bone and bamboo sets and in the bottom divided drawer there is usually a mishmash of bone betting sticks. Each of my boxes has a random number of these sticks. My question is how many betting sticks originally came in these 1920-1940 era boxes and what denominations were included in that number. I have a variety of black dots, red dots, red and green dots, red and black dots. I don’t know anyone who has ever played with these sticks but it would be nice to have it right.
    A big Mahalo in advance for any information you can give me.
    Playing it safe,
    Stephanie
    "If you have a garden and a library
    you have everything you need"- Cicero
    Stephanie

    Aloha, Stephanie. You want to know...

    ... how many betting sticks originally came ... what denominations were included ... it would be nice to have it right.
    I believe you'll find the answers in the "extra bits and pieces" FAQ. If not, you're welcome to ask follow-up questions.

    But the sticks aren't for betting. They're for scoring. Players "pay" one another with them, but no bets are made with them.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 15 (cont'd.)

    On Friday, April 16, 2021, 09:55:18 AM PDT, Enid D wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you for your clear, quick response! ??

    You're welcome!


    The 2021 card, part 15

    On Friday, April 16, 2021, 08:43:29 AM PDT, Enid D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the 2021 card, the last hand under 2468, can the pungs be any of the numbers? For instance 222 4 666 8 666 666, with the sixes in two suits different from the first pong of sixes?

    Enid, you have to have a pung of twos, a single four, a single six, and a pung of eights in the first suit. Then the two "like pungs" in the other two suits can be either twos, fours, sixes, or eights. You can't mess with the structure of the 222 4 6 888 part of the hand.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When will I get my card.

    On Thursday, April 15, 2021, 10:30:05 PM PDT, Leesa C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: when will I get my 2021 card. I live in California and everyone that I know here has gotten their card. Both my aunt and my husband ordered it and nothing has arrived. Thanks, Leesa C

    Leesa, this is not the website of the National Mah Jongg League.


    How do I get the microphone?

    On Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 02:28:49 PM PDT, Gail wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How do I get the microphone?

    Gail, see FAQ 24 for how to get help with computer games. Good luck!
    Tom


    Please settle this argument, part 2

    Facebook
    Lance Lim Kah Hong
    Tom Sloper thanks so much for your reply! very helpful indeed


    The 2021 card, part 14

    On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 04:12:30 PM PDT, Stuart wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the new NMJL 2021 card 2468 #8 is confusing to me. It seems to say that you need nine 2’s with one 4, one 6 and three 8’s or nine 8’s with three 2’s, one 4, one 6 and nine 8’s. However, if the pungs are in 4’s or 6’s you don’t have to have a pung in those numbers in the other suit. So, for example, 222 4 6 888 444 444 would then be a winning hand. This would seem to be an easier hand to make than 222 4 6 888 222 222. Was that intended or is there another understanding.
    Stuart B

    Hi, Stuart!
    The hand looks pretty intentional to me. However you make it, you're making four pungs and two singles. That hand structure would be pretty easy, if the hand wasn't concealed. If you think there's a big difficulty difference between doing the hand with pungs of fours or sixes as opposed to pungs of twos or eights, then you can incorporate that theory into your strategy for the 2021 card. But if you ever get the right tiles to go for the twos or eights, I'd say go for it.
    If any other hands seem confusing, take a look at FAQ 16 - frequently asked questions about the NMJL card, updated every year.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation, part 2

    On Monday, April 12, 2021, 07:50:54 PM PDT, Marsha C wrote:
    Re: mic... sent you money
    Love all of your columns. I read your Q&A column almost daily. I can’t imagine how many hours you spend working on the New Card Column every year. Hopefully my donation will encourage others to consider donating $10 or $20 or whatever amount. Thanks again for a great job.
    Marsha C.

    Wonderful, thanks again, Marsha!


    Please settle this argument

    Facebook
    Lance Lim Kah Hong
    Hi I am trying to contact you to ask you a mahjong question, can you respond to my facebook message please? Thank you so much!
    Facebook Messenger
    Lance Lim Kah Hong
    Facebook
    You're not friends on Facebook
    1 mutual friend: Scott Miller
    Sun 3:09 AM
    Lance sent Yesterday at 3:09 AM
    Hi Tom Sloper, I am a Mahjong Youtuber based in Singapore https://youtube.com/c/MahjongKorkor
    I was recommended to you by Nicolas Giaconia, due to your wide knowledge of mahjong history. Hoping to get your advice on the following...
    Recently, I am addressing a serious misconception in the Singapore Mahjong Community and would like to seek your opinions. They claim that 13 Wonders should be allowed to snatch a self-drawn win, since it is already able to snatch a concealed kong.
    Now mahjong is a very "house rule"-heavy game in Singapore, but these people are claiming that this is an international rule! Very interesting, since most of them have never even played mahjong outside of Singapore. Is it true that such a rule exists in other variants of mahjong?
    Furthermore, in Singapore Mahjong, the rules do not require someone to display his self-drawn winning tile. And then these people claim that someone who is waiting for 13 wonders should be allowed to ask what is the self-drawn tile. And the person who self-drew must have integrity in answering the question. If he/she does not answer, then the 13 wonders hand can snatch any tile from the winning hand if it completes the 13 wonders.
    Just hoping to get your opinions on how illogical this is because I am so tired having to educate these jokers.
    Thank you so much!
    XMA Header Image
    Mahjong Korkor - YouTube
    youtube.com

    Hi, Lance. I'm sorry that I do not give private answers to mah-jongg questions. I answer mah-jongg questions in public forums only. You wrote:

    They claim that 13 Wonders should be allowed to snatch a self-drawn win, since it is already able to snatch a concealed kong. ... these people are claiming that this is an international rule! Is it true that such a rule exists in other variants of mahjong?
    It's true that 13 Orphans is a feature of numerous mah-jongg variants, and that a player can "chit" a kong tile to win on 13 Orphans in numerous variants. It's a codicil to the "Robbing the Kong" rule, it only happens at the time that the kong is being melded. It's mentioned at singaporemahjong.com/rules/
    But I don't recall ever hearing that someone waiting on 13 Orphans can "rob" or "chit" someone's self-picked winning tile in any variant. "I win." "No, you don't. I win. Give me that tile." My memory could be wrong. Can any of these people name a specific variant that permits this? Because if they name a specific variant, an investigation can ensue, and the argument can be proved or disproved.

    Furthermore, in Singapore Mahjong, the rules do not require someone to display his self-drawn winning tile.
    Interesting. And that does strengthen your point of view. In variants when it matters what the winning tile is, it's almost always a rule that the winning tile must be clearly specified by the winner. It's usually a rule that that winning tile must not be mixed in among the winner's hand but set apart when displaying the completed hand. The one rule necessitates the existence of the other rule.

    And then these people claim that someone who is waiting for 13 wonders should be allowed to ask what is the self-drawn tile. And the person who self-drew must have integrity in answering the question. If he/she does not answer, then the 13 wonders hand can snatch any tile from the winning hand if it completes the 13 wonders.
    You said mahjong is a very "house rule"-heavy game in Singapore, so it's certainly possible that some houses use this rule. In my opinion, some table rules cause bad feelings, so are therefore bad rules.

    If there's going to be a house rule that permits chitting a self-picked win, then there has to be a house rule that the winning tile must always be displayed separately from the winning hand. Rules have to be internally consistent and fair if the game is to be harmonious.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. The above was edited a couple hours after posting, to correct an error. - Tom


    Donation

    On Monday, April 12, 2021, 01:12:59 PM PDT, Marsha C via PayPal <service@paypal wrote:
    mic... sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
    You were sent $100.00 USD from mic...
    To see all the transaction details, please log into your PayPal account. It may take a few moments for this transaction to appear in your account.
    Transaction date
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    Buyer information
    Marsha C
    mic...
    Instructions from buyer
    Add a message to Sloperama Mah-Jongg Ans
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama
    Total: $100.00 USD
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    Wow, thank you very much, Marsha!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can she pick up that redeemable tile, part 2

    On Monday, April 12, 2021, 07:40:48 AM PDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from bonnie b
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $5.00 USD from bonnie b
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    Thank you, Bonnie!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Can she pick up that redeemable tile?

    On Monday, April 12, 2021, 03:40:10 AM PDT, bonnie j b wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: East had showing 2 five bamboo and joker. I was south. I was waiting for either a five or a nine (both were for pairs different suits). It ended up that my only discards I could throw were 2 five bamboo. I discarded one of the five bamboo. East was going to pick it up but the person who was north and was teaching myself and the person who was east said east could not pick up my discard to replace her joker. Could east have picked up my discard to replace her joker?
    Thank you

    Your teacher was correct, bonnie. See FAQ 19-G. A discarded redeemable tile may not be taken for the purpose of joker redemption. A discarded redeemable tile may only be taken to make a new exposure.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I never received card

    On Sunday, April 11, 2021, 09:07:05 AM PDT, Rosalie L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:I paid for a new Mac Jong card on Feb 19. The check was cashed and I never received card. Unfortunately I don’t have my membership number although Ive been a member for 50 years. What should I do?
    Rosalie L

    Rosalie, I can't help you. The card comes from the National Mah Jongg League, not from sloperama.com. I am not the person to complain to. I would assume that your card will arrive in due course. The League has a lot of orders to process, and I hear everyone there is still working from home. They can't just drop hundreds of thousands of cards in the corner mailbox, done and dusted - I imagine it takes time to fill all those orders. A little patience is called for, in my opinion.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 11, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column 741

    On Saturday, April 10, 2021, 09:15:04 PM PDT, Peggy A wrote:
    caught ya
    In today’s strategy column you had this sentence: “If nines: Consec #6 or 369 #3”. This is incorrect, of course, nines cannot be a pung in Consec number 6.
    Peggy A
    “Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” … Edward Abbey

    Quite right, Peggy! I'll make a fix to the column. But re-reading that part of the column, it appears I've missed Any Like Numbers #3, which is not a concealed hand. So there are 16 exposable non-wind two-pung hands, and I had to rewrite the paragraph. Thanks for spotting that error! It led me to another.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 11, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


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

    On Saturday, April 10, 2021, 09:13:21 AM PDT, Andrea Y wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    It was my turn and the player before me had just thrown a tile that I wanted to pick up for an exposure.
    But, I couldn’t pick it up unless I first exchanged another tile in my hand for a joker that was exposed on someone else’s wall.
    Am I allowed to trade my tile in my hand for the joker first, which then allows me to pick up the thrown tile and use it and the just-traded joker in an exposure on my rack?
    To be clear, if I can’t trade my tile in my hand for the joker first, I do not already have in my hand what I need to pick up the discarded tile. I need that joker in order to pick up the tile.
    Thanks!
    Andrea

    Hi, Andrea. See FAQ 19-M. You have to hold 14 tiles in your hand before you may redeem a joker atop anyone's rack. You can't have that discard you want so badly. Should have redeemed the joker prior, if possible.
    This is a thing that can happen at the worst possible time - you are one tile away from being ready for mah-jongg. You realize you could have redeemed a joker, which would have made you ready for mah-jongg. You think, "I'll catch it next time around." But you know you're in danger of not getting the tile you need (three of them are already out), if you're not ready in time. Then the player before you throws that one tile. And you can't have it because you didn't redeem the joker when you had the chance.
    It happens.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Donations appreciated
    April 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Why wouldn't the computer let me call?

    On Friday, April 9, 2021, 04:32:08 PM PDT, PAUL E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I was going for any like numbers
    FF 1111 NEWS 1111
    I had in my hand EWS and it wouldn’t allow me to call
    For N ? Why

    Did you also have your pair of flowers, Paul? Did you also have both number kongs complete? Read FAQ 19-CT
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A player doesn't want to dance the Charleston

    On Friday, April 9, 2021, 02:12:09 PM PDT, Anne Marie C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    When playing American Mahjogg, can the Charleston be eliminated if a player does not want to do it?
    Anne
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Read the back of the card, Anne. The first Charleston is "compulsory." Read the rulebook (latest edition): the only exception is if the dealer has a complete valid mah-jongg hand before the Charleston begins. I wrote about "Heavenly hand" in column #666.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are the boards for?

    On Friday, April 9, 2021, 04:51:42 AM PDT, Gayle S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: what are the boards for in Mahjong online? When I tap on one, nothing changes

    If you send me a screenshot, I might be able to answer, but that's not a guarantee. Might be better to contact the maker of your game software.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 9, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Might be a change in the tabletop graphics. You might see a different look after starting a new game. Just a guess. By the way, you never said which mah-jongg software you play. - Tom


    The 2021 card, part 13 (part 5 redux)

    On Thursday, April 8, 2021, 03:09:38 PM PDT, Saretta K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A 2021 Card
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Our group has a question about the second hand down under winds and dragons….do the odd number go only with NNN SSS and evens with EEE WWW or can you play all evens or odds with either NS or EW?
    Thank you.
    sk
    Saretta K
    “For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it…if only we're brave enough to be it.” – Amanda Gorman, 1/20/2021

    Hi, Saretta,
    As I told Cecile on March 31 (below): The old tradition is that East and Even both begin with the same letter, so East and West are always even, and North and South are always odd. So, no. You can't switch up odd or even.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. I've now added this to FAQ 16-2021. - Tom


    Rule 16 (Suzhou mah-jongg - the "dumpling" fan), part 4

    On Thursday, April 8, 2021, 08:17:41 AM PDT, Petr M wrote:
    Suzhou mahjong fan
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    I believe I solved this problem with "dumplings" fan finally (from Suzhou mahjong rules, see our February correspondence). I remind the text of that fan:
    16. "Making dumplings": one player pays triple sum for feeding into a kong, count "winning with replacement tile" here.
    My suggestion here is that "making dumplings" talks about winning after declaring a big melded kong ("da ming gang" in Chinese, "daiminkan" in Japanese). It happens when you discard a fresh tile (that was not discarded before, "shompai" in Riichi terms), and another player takes it for a kong, and then wins from the replacement for that kong. As long as winning with the replacement tile is treated as a "self-drawn" victory, each player must pay the cost of mahjong, but in this special case the total sum, i.e. 3 costs of mahjong, is taken from the player fed into that big melded kong. Think of it as kind of a penalty for discarding a fresh tile. I also noticed that Chinese like kongs and everything around them, that's why there are fans like "robbing a kong", "winning with the replacement tile", "winning from discard after declaring a kong", "winning with the replacement tile from the second kong in a row" etc. Maybe I will collect all these kong fans one day.
    With best regards,
    Petr

    Your suggestion makes a lot of sense, Petr. Thanks for this!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 03:29:36 AM PDT, service@paypal.com wrote:
    You received a payment
    paypal Apr 4, 2021 03:29:20 PDT
    You received a payment
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name: Evelyn H
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    Amount received: $10.00 USD
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    Thank you, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Donations appreciated
    April 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Where can I find other players

    On Thursday, April 8, 2021, 12:07:04 PM PDT, Susan M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    IMy mah-jongg question or comment is:WherecanIfindother MJ playersinFlorida?My email is [deleted]

    Not on my website, Susan. I am not facilitating meetups until Dr. Fauci tells us the pandemic is over.
    Play safely and stay healthy!
    Tom


    Why did they call it "The Charleston"?

    On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 09:14:42 PM PDT, Carol J wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:. I have never seen anything explaining the original of the "Charelston". Could you please explain how it was incorporated into the American style of Mah Jongg?
    Carol J
    Mah Jongg Enthusiast and Instructor
    Rock On

    As I explained on page 7 of my book, mah-jongg's popularity first arose in the Roaring Twenties (a hundred years ago) when the Charleston was popular. The intricate exchanges of tiles are like a dance. The Watusi hadn't been invented yet, so the founders of the NMJL called it the Charleston.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. If I didn't answer your question, please email me again and I'll give it another shot. - Tom


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win?

    On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 03:09:33 PM PDT, Eileen B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I had a beautiful mahjongg with a 50 pt score and Real Majongg would not let me call mahjongg! The last tile was one I drew. What could be the reason I couldn’t score the Mahjongg?
    Eileen

    囧 Sorry, Eileen, I can't possibly know if I can't see the tiles. Send me a screenshot, and I can probably tell what happened. By the way, this website is not associated with RealMahJongg in any way. But maybe FAQ 19-CV will offer other insights into your question.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Wagon peeler

    On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 01:19:47 PM PDT, Lorie M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What is the phrasing supposed to be for “WAAGON PPPLEEER” on the 2021 card?
    Thank you, Lorie

    囧 Sorry, Lorie. I'm not familiar with that card. Check the card's fine print for how to contact its creator.
    Oh, wait. If you were typing using a mah-jongg font, the font did not come through in your email.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the wagons peel for you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My card hasn't arrived

    On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 08:46:16 AM PDT, Judy S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: I still haven't received my 2021 card, although I ordered it quite a while back. I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
    My membership # is [deleted]
    I tried calling 212-246-3052, but got a recorded message saying I couldn't call from here.
    Is there a way to call from Canada?
    [Address details deleted]
    All my mail is being forwarded to my new address.
    Thank you

    囧 I'm sorry, Judy, but this website is not associated with the NMJL. I can't help you. I would assume that your card will arrive in due course. The League has a lot of orders to process, and I hear everyone there is still working from home.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the card be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    You can't use jokers in kongs of zeroes, is that correct?

    On Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 07:21:49 PM PDT, Pam E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Please confirm that under 2021 category, lines 2 and 3, “0000” can only be four soaps, no jokers....correct?

    No, that's wrong. Jokers may be used freely in any pung, kong, or quint on the card. It says that right on the back of the card. I strongly recommend that every player read everything on the card, every year.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 6, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We haven't received our cards

    On Monday, April 5, 2021, 05:29:43 PM PDT, Cindy B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My group has not received our cards yet and money and info was sent in on time. Thanks for your help.
    Cindy.b

    Wrong website. You should contact the League. Good luck!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the cards be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Column #740

    On Monday, April 5, 2021, 02:16:16 PM PDT, Libby S wrote:
    Column #740
    Hi, Mr. Sloper. I always look forward to your analysis of the card. I do think you should remove the following hand from your pung-kong, pung-kong list since it doesn’t follow that pattern.
    W-D #1
    Cheers,
    Libby

    Well, Libby, you're correct that W-D #1 doesn't show a pung at the left, then a kong and a pung in the middle and a kong at the right. But it is a two-pung / two-kong hand, which means it has no pair. In fact, re-examining the card just now, I find that I overlooked 369 #2, which is yet another two-pung / two-kong hand. I'll make a modification to the column to address your observation. For next week's column I'll go into some strategy implications, so I hope you'll enjoy that one. Thanks for the note!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 5, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 12 (part 10 redux)

    On Monday, April 5, 2021, 11:08:15 AM PDT, Ava L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: in the third hand down in 2021 section it says 1 suit.
    Therefore you must have at least one joker for the “2’s”?

    Yes. See the new FAQ 16 for the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the new 2021 NMJL card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 5, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I lost to a mystery hand

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 04:14:07 PM PDT, Regina W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I lost to this hand 77 8888 dots and 77 8888 bams there were a few jokers in the 8s
    I do not see this hand on the 2021 card.
    Regina W

    Hi, Regina!
    Well, that certainly is a mystery. For one thing, 77 8888 77 8888 is not enough tiles (that's 12 tiles, and a mah-jongg hand must always be 14). For another thing, are you sure your opponent was using the 2021 card? If this occurred on a computer, then maybe the app wasn't using the 2021 card. I would need to see a screenshot of what happened. I recommend learning how to make screenshots, and getting comfortable with their use. But anyway, I'm sorry that I don't have an answer for you.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    Easter Sunday, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are your thoughts on these dumb bot habits, part 2

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 09:04:24 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    Re: (No Subject)
    Hi Tom,
    I was thinking you would think what I was thinking-- there must be some higher purpose these designers would program these actions into the game. Like some psychic ability to look into the future to justify these moves. As far as I know, this is all voodoo black magic. Or purposeful to allow regular dummies like me a chance to win. Anyway, thanks for the info about computer design.
    Thanks, Linda

    Oh! You're wondering if the programmers intentionally programmed the bots that way. That thought never occurred to me. I doubt there is some higher purpose to making the bots sacrifice jokers like that. But yeah, sometimes we in the industry look at a flaw or bug and rationalize it as "a feature."

    P.S. Of course it is possible that the computer AI knows where all the tiles are. If you want to determine if there's a correlation between "possibly intentional poor joker strategy" and winning, you'd have to keep track of each bot's games. But my guess is that these particular habits you mentioned are flaws in the AI design, nothing more.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    What are your thoughts on these dumb bot habits?

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 07:04:22 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
    (No Subject)
    Hi Tom,
    I've been playing online at realmahjongg.com for about a year and wanted some insights from you, since you are an experienced game programmer. I've noticed that the computer opponents frequently perform actions I've instructed my students to avoid. E.g.
    1. Calling for flowers early in the game using jokers to complete the kong. Usually the next player will redeem the joker.
    2. Using one or two jokers to complete a pung early in the game, with the same result.
    I'd like to know your thoughts!
    Thanks, Linda

    I think those bots could have been programmed better. I mean, what were you thinking I would think?
    By the way, I would like to dispel a myth. I am not a programmer. I did write a couple of small programs in the early 1980s, but the vast majority of my experience in the video game industry was as a designer and producer. Je répète: I am not a programmer! (If you want to know what the difference is, see https://sloperama.com/advice/lesson7.html#jobtypes.)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Bunny Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 11

    On Sunday, April 4, 2021, 06:55:33 AM PDT, Kathi K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:On the 2021 card do the 2’s and soaps have to match in the second hand down in the 2021 section?

    Kathi, those are zeroes. The card doesn't say DDDD, it says 0000. Read the red text above the 2021 section: "WHITE DRAGON IS USED AS ZERO '0'. IT MAY BE USED WITH ANY SUIT. (CRAKS, BAMS OR DOTS)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
    Donations appreciated
    April 4, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 10

    On Saturday, April 3, 2021, 08:36:08 PM PDT, Rosemary B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    2021 third hand down FFFF 2222 0000 21 any 1 suit. It seems strange that they would force you to use a joker on a non-quints hand. Is that correct?
    Thank you.

    It doesn't seem strange to me, Rosemary. Forced joker use has been a feature of many past cards. Especially in the "this year" section of the card. For example, in 2015 and 2017, there were hands with two dragon kongs and a 201x, marked "2 or 3 suits," meaning one could use a kong of soaps (which necessitated at least one joker).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Donations appreciated
    April 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Is a player allowed to redeem a joker from her own rack?

    On Saturday, April 3, 2021, 02:24:50 PM PDT, Jane S wrote:
    Exposed hand
    If a player has exposed a Kong with two tiles and 2 jokers and later picks up a matching tile, can she put the tile down and take a joker back.
    I have seen rules for both no and yes. Please advise.
    Thanks. Jane

    As I wrote in FAQ 19-M: "you may redeem jokers from atop anyone's rack (including your own)." And read the back of the card: "JOKERS may be exchanged from any and all exposures..."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Donations appreciated
    April 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When do you start using the 2021 cards? (The 2021 card, part 9)

    On Saturday, April 3, 2021, 05:38:37 AM PDT, S, Garry wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When do you start using the 2021 cards? Thanks Garry

    All four players have to play from the same card. If all four players have the 2021 card, it would be silly not to go ahead and use it. If one or more of the players have only the 2020 card, then all four players have to use the 2020 card. Read FAQ 19-BV.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 8 (part 1 redux)

    On Friday, April 2, 2021, 11:15:49 AM PDT, Cindi Z wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: what is GGGG on new card?

    Read the back of the card, Cindi (where it says "G- Green Dragon"). And read the parenthetical right next to those green Gs - where it says "(Green Dragons Only)".
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A discard was misnamed (part 2)

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 06:31:33 PM PDT, Timothy A wrote:
    Followup to question from Randy L.
    Hi Tom - Looking forward to your comments on the new 2021 NMJL card.
    Earlier today a question came up very similar to that asked by Randy L. that you answered earlier this afternoon. One of the comments to the question was -
    "We play that the player who miscalled discard has to give the player the tile they named if it’s in their rack. So, player 1 would have taken the 2bam back and given her a 2 dot”
    Well, I know that is against the NMJL Rules, but didn’t see it clearly spelled out in their rule book or even here on your site. Where might I find the correct answer to what is written above?
    Thanks
    Tim A

    Tim, you seem to be asking "where to find the correct answer to [the table rule] written above?" I wasn't sure what the question was, so I just said to see FAQ 14.

    [Added later:] But upon reflection, Tim, I realized the question might be, "where do we find the actual rule in print from the League." I answered Randy with a link to FAQ 19-AY. When you follow that link you find the source citation: the League's official rulebook. Page 18, rule 6(b). Actually, it's page 19 in the 2020 edition. The "Miscalled tile" rule is also written on the back of the card. Middle pane, first section under the red line of text.
    Hope that answers the question better.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 7 (part 3 redux)

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 03:02:38 PM PDT, Randy L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Someone posted to you about the consecutive 1 2 3 hand wanting to know if it was "any" consecutive numbers since there are no parenthesis. Just wanted to pass on that someone from the Modern Mahjongg FB group contacted the NMJL and posted confirmation that due to space constraints, (Any 3 consec nos.) would not fit. And the NMJL intended for this hand to be any consecutive numbers.

    Thanks, Randy. As I figured. I'm sure the NMJL will post this FAQ atop their website shortly.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 6 (part 3 redux)

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 02:51:30 PM PDT, Karen wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: on the 2021 card consecutive runs line 5 it does not state any 3 consecutive numbers or only these numbers. What is the rule?

    It's in between all those "any consecutive number" hands, so I think it's safe to assume you can use any consecutive numbers.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She asks for double payment

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 07:02:53 AM PDT, Cindi U wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is this situation a cause for double payment?
    Player 1 throws a tile. Player 2 calls the tile and exposes a Kong. She then takes a tile from her rack and exchanges it for a joker, and calls maj. Claiming she “picked it herself” because her maj tile was in her rack, she asks for double payment.
    Is this correct? She didn’t pick a tile from the wall —she called a tile thrown by someone else, which wouldn’t lead to double payment. Does the maj tile in her hand justify the double payment?
    Thank you!
    Cindi

    Hi, Cindi! You asked:

    Is this correct?
    Yes. Win by joker redemption constitutes self-pick. Read FAQ 19-AN.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Clickity-click

    On Thursday, April 1, 2021, 02:20:45 AM PDT, Elaine M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Can a person pick up a new tile and immediately click the table without clicking on their rack?

    What is all this "clicking" talk? There is no "clicking" in mah-jongg. Whoever taught you that you have to "click" a tile is not teaching the real rules. After you pick a tile (from the wall), you can either rack it or discard it (or redeem a joker with it). Read FAQ 19-BL, the answer to the question "Must I place a picked tile in the rack? May I discard it without racking it?"
    Sounds to me like your table needs a copy of the League's official rulebook.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    April 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A discard was misnamed, causing a problem

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 09:50:34 PM PDT, Randy L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I have your Red Dragon & The West Wind book and did not find an answer. Checked your FAQ on your page regarding errors with discards but there is no exact answer to this particular situation and I have never had this happen in the 14 years I’ve been playing American Mahjongg. Its not the normal eyes and ears open situation.
    Player 1 names 2 dot on a discard. Player 2 calls to claim the 2 dot and PICKS UP the 2 dot that was just thrown. (Thought was just thrown). Racks the 2 dot and makes a kung exposure of 2 dots. Then, player 1 says, oh no, I meant 2 bam not a 2 dot and player 3 agrees she threw out a 2 bam even though she called it 2 dot. Player 2 says, I heard you call 2 dot and I picked up the 2 dot not for a second thinking it was anything other than a 2 dot. Player 1 said, the 2 dot was right next to the 2 bam she discarded. Now what? It was not an instant correction by the discarder as it would usually be, it was not for a mahj exposure but player 2 picked up the actual tile she heard discarded. Never had this happen before as the discarder has always made the correction before the exposure.
    We did not know if the player who made the exposure was now dead because she exposed tiles from her hand. Or if the 2 dot would just be put back and continue playing. The game did continue and we allowed the 2 dot to be played in the hand, but have never had this happen and not sure what the answer would be.
    What do you think?
    Randy

    Hi, Randy.
    This is a "misnamed discard, which cascaded into another error" case.
    Player 2 did not pick up the actual discard. It may seem unfair, but Player 2 is dead, and Player 1 is not. The reason is that misnaming the discard is only a costly error for the misnamer if the error causes someone to declare mah-jongg. Player 2 did not watch where Player 1 put her discard, and picked up a dead (covered) discard, not the actual live discard (a tile of an entirely different suit) - and put it atop her rack. Just as you have to be mindful of what you put into your mouth, you have to be mindful of what you put atop your rack.
    See the Discarding, Naming section of FAQ 19. Specifically, see "A discard was misnamed, causing a problem. What now?" (FAQ 19-AY). No penalty to the misnamer for throwing to an exposure (not mah-jongg).
    And as for Player 2, see RDWW page 97: If she exposes tiles from her hand... she commits to making the exposure.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 5

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 06:28:51 PM PDT, Lloyd L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Tom, on the 2021 card, in Winds- Dragons , for the 2nd hand,
    can we also use evens with NS and odds with EW ?
    Sent from my iPad
    Cecile F. L

    Hi, Cecile. No, you can't. The old tradition is that East and Even both begin with the same letter, so East and West are always even, and North and South are always odd.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 4

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 01:00:02 PM PDT, D Hurd wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    HiMy mah-jongg question or comment is: I just received the 2021 card & noticed a mistake. In the 2021 column, third row down:
    FFFF 2222 0000 21 (any one suit). That would be five 2’s in one suit!
    D. Hurd

    Yes, but there are jokers. So, not a mistake.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 3

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 12:27:02 PM PDT, Val F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    New 2021 card has an uncertain hand in Consecutive Run, 5th line — says any 1 or 3 suits but doesn’t say you can use any e consecutive numbers. Do you have to use 1, 2, 3?

    It's in between all those "any consecutive number" hands, so I think it's safe to assume you can use any consecutive numbers.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The 2021 card, part 2

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 10:16:28 AM PDT, Adrienne S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    2021 card. Last hand winds and dragons. Do dragons have to be greens and reds only? Can soaps be used as one of the pungs?
    Thanks,
    Adrienne

    They're not marked G and R, so they're any dragons. Oh, and then there's the parenthetical right there: it says "(Any 2 Dragons)."
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How many players, part 2

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 10:24:32 AM PDT, Paula J wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I was just curious. Nothing beyond curiosity.

    Aw.
    Tom


    How many players do you estimate play MJ in the US?

    On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, 09:37:50 AM PDT, Paula J wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    How many players do you estimate play MJ in the US?
    Thank You
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Paula. I have to wonder why you ask. If you're asking out of idle curiosity, and if you're asking about NMJL rules only, then "somewhere under or around 400,000" (because you're asking how many people are members of the NMJL). If you're asking because you want to embark on some sort of business venture (or if you are curious about more than just NMJL players), then see FAQ 23. By the way, my consulting services are available, if you're contemplating a business venture.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    March 31, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How much should I ask for it, part 2

    On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 05:52:04 PM PDT, Lindsey W wrote:
    Re: Mahjong Set Questions
    Thank you for your response! I did find it interesting that the tiles would be “loose” in the drawers. A Frankenstein set makes more sense. I think I probably paid like $5 for it at the thrift store, so no loss there. :)

    Maybe my valuation is a little high.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    What are the green G's? (The 2021 card, part 1)

    On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 04:29:47 PM PDT, Vickie H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    What are the green G’s on the 2021 card?

    This is explained on the back of the card, where it says "G- Green Dragon." And there's another hint to the right of those green Gs, where it says "Green Dragons Only" in parentheses. (^_^)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    is tom okay?

    On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 05:06:58 PM PDT, Leslie K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Is tom okay? He has not posted in a long time. Really miss his input.
    Leslie K

    Tom's okay, thanks for asking. I guess you're a return column reader looking for Tom's annual review of the card. Well, he just hasn't had a lot to say in the column lately, but he got the 2021 card today. You can expect to see a new column pretty soon now.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How much should I ask for it?

    On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 02:38:42 PM PDT, Lindsey W wrote:
    Mahjong Set Questions
    Greetings!
    First off, your website is incredibly informative to someone who knows nothing about Mahjong or Mahjong sets. I discovered it when trying to do my research, and I appreciate the knowledge you’re willing to share here.
    Second, I’m hoping to gather some information to questions regarding a set. I picked this set up at a thrift store probably 5+ years ago because I thought the box was pretty with the intention of learning to play. That hasn’t seemed to happen, and I don’t want to move with it again.
    After researching that people collect this sort of thing, I am thinking of selling it online. I don’t want to overcharge anyone or undersell my find, but if I did find something worth more than what I paid for it, I would obviously like to price it within the realm of fair valuation for my discovery. If it isn’t worth much, it is going to find its way back to the thrift store, so hopefully someone who plays can get use out of it. Either way, doesn’t hurt to ask someone who seems an expert.

    Following FAQ 7h to the best of my ability, with guesses on information on my end highlighted with question marks:
    Note, I have not cleaned the set, aside from brushing some dust off with a soft cloth, since obtaining it.
    Question (1): Do you recommend that sets be cleaned before you purchase them, or do you/other buyers prefer to purchase as-is to evaluate and do repairs/cleaning yourself? The tiles are not badly dirtied, mildewed, or smelly, based on my judgement. On the scale of things, they are clean enough that I’d be willing to put one in my mouth (though I wouldn’t, because why, and choking hazard). But, they do look like a wipe down would do them good. I am aware of your How-To Clean them page; I’m just not sure if it’s actually better to clean them or to wait if selling.

    Contents:
    Tiles – 144 total
    Three dice – one large transparent red one and two tiny white ones
    Box with five drawers, front cover, two unattached heavy metal (brass?) handles

    Detailed list of contents (condition):

    Tiles (Good) – Bone and Bamboo – Length (1 inch), Width (11/16-12/16 inch), Height (7/16 inch), Bone Thickness (2/16 inch in general, 3/16 inch at dovetail)
    Overall the tiles are in good condition, certainly playable. There is a slight yellowing to them, but as mentioned above, they do need a light cleaning and I can’t tell how much of the yellowing is just due to needing to be wiped off vs age/damage. The bamboo all appears to be in decent shape, though due to the natural variation of the bamboo (tiny ridges/valleys), there are thin white lines on the backs of some tiles which indicate them having been slid across the table/rubbed against something (maybe 20% of the tiles). The colors/paint of the tiles all seem in okay shape. Two of the Arabic numerals/Roman letters have smudged off the red dragons. It does look like some of the dovetailed bone pieces have air gaps between the bone and the bamboo (maybe 5-10% of the tiles). I’m unsure if this is actual damage or if this is just how they were made/common due to their age.
    Dots, Bams, Craks [one 6 tile has a small chip in the bone], Winds, Dragons [one white has a small chip in the bone], and Flowers are all complete for a total of 144 tiles. There are no extra tiles.


    Misc –
    One large (Very Good) (3/4 inch) translucent red die; potentially from a 1950s? Bakelite set? as it looks similar to ones I saw in a picture on your site. Very minor scuffs/scratches from use.
    Two tiny (As New) (5/16 inch) white opaque white die; they look and feel like modern plastic but it’s hard to tell. They don’t appear to have any defects I can see, nor are they slightly yellowed like the tiles.
    Set does not contain paper materials, sticks, chips, wind indicators, or racks.


    Box (Good/Fair) –
    Made out of a light colored, fairly lightweight wood that has been stained red/brown. It is decorated with a thin bone inlay/paint/enamel? of birds and flowers. That decoration has been rubbed off in some places. The wood has some minor indentations/scuff marks. The box has one of each handle’s mounting mount thingies still attached, but is missing the other half. I do have the original handles and one half of one of the missing mounting pieces.
    The drawers are secured in the front by a front panel that slides up. This panel has externally protruding Chinese? characters made of bone? that if I had to take a wild guess probably say Mahjong? There is a solid chip taken out of one of the corners, but it does not affect the sliding of the front.
    The drawer shelves inside are, intentionally as far as I can tell, half the depth of the box. The top two shelves are loose enough to slide backwards/forwards. None of them slide out. The drawers are removed by pushing from a hole on the backside and were not made with handles. The drawers themselves are lightweight, also stained/painted wood. One drawer has a small chip missing on its back part. Again, difficult to tell what exactly is damage and what just needs to be cleaned, i.e., the inside corners of the drawers.
    The box is still definitely within the nice realm from a subjective aesthetic view. If I had a reason to use it for something, since I don’t play Mahjong, I’d be tempted to keep it, but it doesn’t really fit with my décor and I don’t wear jewelry to turn it into a jewelry box.

    Question (2): Would you agree that my assessment, based on the assembly of the box and the nature of the tiles, that this set is likely from the early 1920s?

    Question (3): Does this set offer any unique or interesting features that you haven’t seen in many other sets from the 1920s, if that is indeed when it was likely made? (i.e., the protruding characters on the front cover, the ways the drawers are removed, the design of tiles, etc.) I ask because I haven’t see a box quite like this one listed on Ebay or your site so far, though I have seen similarish ones.

    Question (4): What valuation/estimation would you say this set is worth, given its condition, what it does/doesn’t include, and how it compares to other sets you’ve seen?

    Thank you so much for your time and expertise, and let me know if there’s any information I missed. I tried to be thorough. Also, please let me know if you have any trouble with the pictures. They were gigantic files when I first tried to upload them, so I tried to make them more manageable, but hopefully not too small.

    Hi, Lindsey! I've chosen to answer your questions out of order...

    Would you agree that my assessment, based on the assembly of the box and the nature of the tiles, that this set is likely from the early 1920s?
    Sorry, no. It was made recently, and then treated and made to look old. Above, you said: "there are thin white lines on the backs of some tiles which indicate them having been slid across the table/rubbed against something (maybe 20% of the tiles)." They look to me like they were soaked in clay or something. I've seen a lot of such sets since the 1990s. The design on the white dragon, and the Singapore animals tiles, are indications that the tiles were made in the decades after the 1920s.

    Does this set offer any unique or interesting features
    The box is ornately decorated. Unfortunately, the box is another problem with the age of the set. The box is of the type commonly used in the 1920s, drawers with a sliding front. But look at all the space in the drawers, with the tiles in place. The box was made for larger tiles. Your tiles are the smaller size, commonly found from the 1930s until? 1950s? Those smaller size tiles typically came in slide-top boxes, not the slide-front boxes. The set is a Frankenstein; made of parts of two sets.

    Do you recommend that sets be cleaned before you purchase them, or do you/other buyers prefer to purchase as-is to evaluate and do repairs/cleaning yourself?
    Depends. In your case, there's no cleaning to do. That's the way those artificially aged tiles are.

    What valuation/estimation would you say this set is worth
    I'm sure those sets sold fine at retail when they were new, in the 1990s. If it was in the same condition now, could be worth US$90 to someone who likes its artificially-old look. But it's not. The box needs repair, there are those two damaged tiles, and you are missing the other parts that probably came with that set - most likely a roll of colorful poker chips and the ubiquitous and incomprehensible "Directions" booklet.
    The real value is the box. A collector in need of such a box for an orphan set of tiles might pay tens of dollars for that (maybe even twenties).
    Still, not $90. Maybe $50, give or take ten. Or split the difference.

    Good luck finding it a new home! Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 30, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When is a tile "down"? When is it too late to pung it?

    On Sunday, March 28, 2021, 09:16:23 PM PDT, Bev M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Could you tell me please the answer to a situation which is causing a lot of angst among our members.
    Q1: When is a tile considered to be discarded.
    It is my understanding that it is when the discarder has taken their hand off the tile and not before.
    Q2: When a previous player has made a discard – when is it too late to pung it
    It is my understanding from reading the rules:
    A1: When the next player has drawn a tile and placed it on their rack – or
    A2: The tile which has been drawn by the next player has been discarded by placing that tile on the table face up and taking their hand from the tile.
    I would be grateful if you could clarify this please
    Regards, Bev.

    Hi, Bev! You've asked frequently asked questions 19-A and 19-C, about the Window Of Opportunity rule -- one of the most commonly-misunderstood and most-important rules in American mah-jongg.

    When is a tile considered to be discarded.
    The discard is "down" when EITHER the tile touches the table OR it is named in full - whichever happens first. See FAQ 19-A. The rule is on page 19 in the official rulebook.

    A discard going down opens the window of opportunity for any player (other than the discarder) to claim the discard.

    when is it too late to pung it
    The window of opportunity on that discard closes when next player either racks, discards, declares mah-jongg, or has announced a joker exchange. See page 24 in the official rulebook, or see FAQ 19-C, The window is also closed by a player claiming the discard and starting to make an exposure (see FAQ 19.H.3).

    I hope you'll click those links and share the rule with your group (safely, of course).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Lady Luck seems to be against me

    On Friday, March 26, 2021, 03:51:12 PM PDT, Kraig K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom, I don’t know what happened, but I used to dominate our Mah Jongg group. Much to the delight of the Ladies that I play with “The tiles are no longer with me.” I don’t think that my play has got worse or their play has improved, but it’s been a rough month. Do reasonably good players have periods where the game is not kind to them?

    Absolutely, Kraig. As I wrote in FAQ 8, "the more experienced/skilled player will win more often than less experienced players, but even the most highly skilled players are subject to the vagaries of chance." I've had lengthy periods of lousy luck. Sometimes it gets into your head. Gotta fight those inner devils.
    Still could be that your opponents have gotten better. Maybe the strategy FAQ could have some useful ideas for you.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Many players turn the last stack, part 2

    On Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 10:08:27 AM PDT, Joann F wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Thank you so much – you are the best and I LOVE your sense of humor
    Stay safe and well – cheers from Kelowna, BC, Canada
    Joann F
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    You're welcome, Joann!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 24, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Many players turn the last stack sideways

    On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 10:15:53 PM PDT, Joann F wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When a wall is pushed out many players turn the last stack of two tiles sideways. Is this a rule or just an option in order to identify the end of the wall and to ensure that players pick their next tile from the correct end of the wall?
    I know that picking and racking a tile from the wrong end makes the player dead. However, if I don’t turn the stack, players in my group will turn them if I don’t do it when I push out my rack and have tried to call me dead if I don’t turn them.
    thanks

    Hi, Joann! You wrote:

    many players turn the last stack of two tiles sideways. Is this a rule or just an option in order to identify the end of the wall and to ensure that players pick their next tile from the correct end of the wall?
    It's a harmless table rule ("an option," as you said). To keep people from picking from the wrong end. It's not a rule of the game, and it's not described in the official rulebook.

    if I don’t do it when I push out my rack and have tried to call me dead if I don’t turn them.
    In my opinion, that's carrying the table rule too far. Failure to mark the back end of the wall is NOT a fatal offense. But there's an old saying, "When in Rome..."
    Just saying, it's best to just go along with the prevailing table rule.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Oops. Undo! Can I take that back?

    On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 03:59:10 PM PDT, Penny E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I called a tile and had the pung partially exposed on my rack and realized I didn’t want it after all. Can I put it back and continue playing or am I considered dead or I just have to leave it and look for a different hand?
    Thank you.
    Penny

    Sorry, Penny. Once you exposed atop the rack, you committed to the move. See the "change of heart" FAQs. Your next step: expose the pung fully and discard.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA



    Can't access the voice chat

    On Thursday, March 18, 2021, 01:40:31 PM PDT, Carrie N wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I am wondering if you can figure out why I can’t access the voice chat on the real maj jongg computer game. Thanks. Carrie

    I'm sorry, Carrie, but I don't and can't provide technical support for computer games. I assume your system has a working microphone, and a working camera, which are not disabled in settings. Maybe the game website or app has a Help menu, with a way to ask the app's owner how to make their service work. Or maybe there is a subreddit for that. Or maybe another reader of this board will be able to offer some suggestions. FAQ 24 might be useful for you, if you need more suggestions...
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My mystery tiles are blowing my mind, part 4

    On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 11:35:06 PM PDT, Hugh o wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Thanks Tom from across the pond for your knowledge about the Atom weight tiles.
    Fantastic site. $10 donation sent. Cheers. Hugh

    It wasn't really knowledge so much as guesswork, but you're welcome!
    囧 <Awkward> The snail carrying the donation hasn't arrived yet, but thanks.
    Tom
    March 18


    My mystery tiles are blowing my mind, part 3

    On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 03:18:49 AM PDT, Hugh o wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom. Re Atom weight tiles.
    I have attached photo of full set in the hope you can help me identify the Atom weight tiles use/purpose.
    Great site btw. Very interesting and informative.
    Thanks. Hugh

    Hi, Hugh.
    Interesting. Aside from the regular 136 basic tiles, you have 4 flowers (Chinese figures from history and/or legend), the 4 Atom tiles, and 4 extra blanks. So you can use the Atom tiles as either flowers (albeit unnumbered) or jokers. If you play without flowers and without jokers, you would take out those 8 tiles and 4 of the blanks (the other 4 white tiles are, of course, your white dragons). Thanks for sharing your interesting set. Cheers!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    St. Patrick's Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you call a redeemable tile in order to redeem it?

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 07:46:48 PM PDT, Tracey P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: The player to my left discarded a 8 dot tile. I had 3 previously exposed 8 dot tiles and one joker in my rack. It was my turn after the tile was discarded. I called the tile and replaced the already exposed joker in my rack to make it four 8 dot tiles. I then discarded. Can you call a tile to retrieve a exposed joker in your own rack?

    No. Read FAQ 19-G.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    My mystery tiles are blowing my mind, part 2

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 12:20:47 PM PDT, Hugh o wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Thanks Tom for your super quick response re the Atom weight tiles.
    I will forward photos of full set Asap.
    Thanks again and kindest regards.
    Hugh

    No problem, Hugh. Standing by.


    My mystery tiles are blowing my mind

    On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 08:56:08 AM PDT, Hugh o wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom.
    Can you help me identify these strange mah-jongg tiles with bombs on. I'm not sure but think there may be english words on the side that I cant make out but one word could be atomic??
    Thanks for your time.
    Hugh

    Hi, Hugh.
    The Chinese characters 原子 mean "atom." It looks to me like the script writing says "atom weight." As for how the tiles are to be used, I can't tell you unless I see the tiles in context with all the other tiles of the set.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call without enough same tiles, part 2

    On Friday, March 12, 2021, 07:33:13 PM PST, Donna G wrote:
    Re: Calling for a discarded tile
    Thank you so much for the quick response and the clarification. I do have your book and bought one for my friend. I did find it in your book but wanted to be sure
    I read it correctly. The group I played with let us claim a tile when we just had a natural & a joker & we could expose it and add to it later. The game is certainly more difficult when you play by the rules. We don’t get to play as a group because of the COVID pandemic so I’m playing online and that’s why I got into trouble with trying to claim a tile when I wasn’t able to expose the whole set.
    Thanks again for your help,
    Stay safe,
    Donna

    Ah! The situation is clear now. An exposure cannot be changed after the caller has discarded. See FAQ 19-AF (in The Red Dragon & The West Wind, see p. 53 (rule 60f) and p. 100. Also, you can never expose a pair. See FAQ 19-E. It's in my book too - see p. 52 (rule 58b), and p. 57 (rule 81), and p. 87.
    I wouldn't say the game is "more difficult when you play by the rules," I would say "don't make table rules that make it easier to win."
    I really need to proofread this, but it's bedtime and I'm tired (had my 2nd Pfizer vaccine shot yesterday). Good night!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call without enough of same tiles?

    On Friday, March 12, 2021, 04:35:32 PM PST, Donna G wrote:
    Calling for a discarded tile
    Can I pick up a tile that the person on my left discards, to build my set without having enough of same tiles in my hand to expose for Mahjongg. I always thought that it was mine to take before anyone else calls for it? My group has been playing that way so we need clarification.
    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Donna

    Hi, Donna! Let's see if I can be of any help with your questions:

    Can I pick up a tile that the person on my left discards, to build my set without having enough of same tiles in my hand to expose for Mahjongg.
    If I stop reading that question after "in my hand" (if I ignore the phrase "to expose for Mahjongg"), the answer is clear: "No." To make a pung (3 of a kind) from a discard, you have to have two of same tiles (or one of same tile plus a joker, or two jokers, which all amount to the same thing). If you cannot pay the price, you cannot make the purchase.

    But you also added the phrase "to expose for Mahjongg," which confused me. If you don't have enough same tiles for an exposure, you aren't ready to declare mah-jongg. To win, the entire hand must comply fully with its description on the card.

    I always thought that it was mine to take before anyone else calls for it?
    If two people verbally claim the same discard (and no exposures are made), then the next-in-line gets the tile, yes... But she has to be able to make the purchase (she must expose the completed set, or the completed hand). That's assuming both callers want the discard for the equivalent usage (both want it to make an exposure, or both want it for mah-jongg). See FAQ 19-H for answers to the various "conflicting claims" questions that are frequently asked about various claims conflict situations.

    If I have not answered your questions or if I have misconstrued what you're asking, you are welcome to email me again. But please read FAQ 19-H first.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We made a website, part 4a
    Rule 16 (Suzhou mah-jongg), part 3


    On Friday, March 12, 2021, 07:45:29 AM PST, Petr M wrote:
    On Sites and Links
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    I saw your text at the Bulletin Board:
    ================
    Well, we'll see if he* comes back, Pete**. Did you set up an account, and there was still no way to ask support questions or otherwise contact the owner? That makes me suspicious. The day after I posted, I got an email from another site owner, wanting to do the same thing. That made me suspicious (are they an SEO network? how'd the word get out so fast if not?), so I didn't post that email exchange on this board. I did add his site to FAQ 5, though.
    ================
    My story about that letter is simple: I just came to see whether anyone answered my question about those "dumplings" in Suzhou rules, then I saw the link to mahjong.io, checked FAQ 5 and found nothing about MahjongSoft. I'm not an owner of MahjongSoft, just a user, but I know people who work on it, so I decided to write about MahjongSoft instead of them (knowing they would not mind). No SEO network involved.
    BTW, about links and my own resources: I started my own humble project about MCR, it's for Russian auditory mainly, but there are some games commented in English, here is the playlist: https://bit.ly/35KnEcu (Youtube, "Northern Peacock" channel, I add 1 more game weekly). I have not found a "video" section at your portal, though.
    With best regards,
    Petr (or Peter, it's all about translation from Russian)

    * Daniel T
    ** Pete S

    Hi, Petr! Welcome back.
    Looking back in my emails to February, I find that indeed, that "suspicious" email was from you, the "dumplings" guy! I didn't recognize your name at the time. My apologies for being suspicious and for making erroneous assumptions. I see now that it was a logical and useful thing for you to do, emailing me that time. I'll retroactively post your Feb. 27 email into the timeline below, referencing today's exchange. I did post the MahjongSoft link at the time (you probably already saw that).
    So you're the 2018 Russia champion? 3-year belated congrats! I don't have a video links section, you're right. Contemplating trying to set up such a thing gives me an instant headache! There would be SO MANY links, and the list would have to be updated SO FREQUENTLY, and if one is on YouTube, one can easily find such videos. So, with apologies, I decline the idea.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 12, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    I made an 8-9-10 hand, is that legal?

    On Saturday, March 6, 2021, 06:34:07 AM PST, Kraig K wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom, is this a legal winning hand for Mah Jongg? 2020 card, consecutive run, the concealed hand at the bottom. I had Crack 8’s and 9’s, Bam 8’s and 9’s and a 1 Dot with a soap. I declared Maj Jongg and of course the ladies that I play with said it was not a winner. I asked them to show me where I was wrong and they couldn’t and they did pay up.
    Thanks, Kraig K

    Your hand was dead, Kraig. The card calls for a pair of the third consecutive number, so you needed a pair of Ten Dot tiles. But of course there is no such thing as a Ten Dot, so there is no legal way to make a third consecutive number following eights and nines. Read FAQ 19-BH; you cannot make up novel places to use zeroes. The only time you can use a white dragon (soap) as a zero is where you see "0" actually printed on the card.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 2, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can you take jokers from a dead hand?

    On Thursday, March 4, 2021, 03:39:42 PM PST, Pat W wrote:
    Can you take jokers from a dead hand in Mah Jongg?
    Good afternoon Tom,
    When playing Mah Jongg using the 2020 National Mah Jongg game card, I called “Mah Jongg” and exposed all 14 tiles at the same time, including 4 jokers. The hand I exposed was 22 44 6J6 8J8 DJJD, not realizing the 4 Dragons were in the same suit as the 6J6 8J8 and not a third suit. Another player pointed out my hand was incorrect and declared it dead.
    Since all 14 tiles were exposed at one time, it was my understanding the jokers were no longer eligible to be redeemed by any other players. However the other players said the jokers could be exchanged. Can you please clarify?
    Thank you.
    Pat
    C

    The other players were wrong, Pat. You understand the rules and they don't. Show them rule 19 on page 24 of the 2020 edition of the official rulebook. If you don't have the rulebook, show them FAQ 19-P. And return all your tiles to the sloping front of the rack.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March Forth!, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How can this game be played without money??

    On Thursday, March 4, 2021, 05:07:17 AM PST, Gretchen M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is
    Do you have rules for scoring (no money involved)? I play with some newbies and they do NOT want to play for money Sad smile

    Hi, Gretchen!
    Use the chips that come with most mah-jongg sets. See FAQ 7-D for info on the how-to.

    You could also use Monopoly money, or chocolate coins. Or you can keep score on paper, or you can use the Chinese scoring sticks (if your set has those), or M&Ms. But most American sets (if you are playing American) come with plastic coins with holes in the center, even though most Americans don't use them and many aren't even sure what those things are for! Just work out a scoring system with your players. Personally, I enjoy playing without money. The "ooh" and "ahh" system is one of my favorites. Everybody say "ooh" when someone wins an ordinary hand, and everybody add "ahh!" when the winner has a high-scoring hand.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March Forth!, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Thursday, March 4, 2021, 03:46:48 AM PST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment
    Mar 4, 2021 03:46:36 PST
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer details
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Profile status
    Subscription details
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Outstanding balance
    Amount paid each time $10.00 USD
    PayPal

    Thank you again, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March Forth!, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    One of your FAQs needs to be updated, part 2

    On Monday, March 1, 2021, 12:41:09 PM PST, Laura H wrote:
    Re: Teacher Certification FAQ
    Good guess Tom. I am one of the Certified instructors by AMJIA. By the way I also teach online at the School of American Mah Jongg.

    Okay, cool! Did you already look to see the change I made to FAQ 19-co? It may have been updated again since you first saw the change (I updated the update a little while ago).

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    One of your FAQs needs to be updated

    On Monday, March 1, 2021, 08:50:24 AM PST, Laura H wrote:
    Teacher Certification FAQ
    On the FAQ page, there is a question about teaching Mah Jongg.
    CO "Q: Do I have to be certified to teach mah-jongg? Who certifies mah-jongg teachers' qualifications? A: There is no certification process or authority. People all over the continent teach their made-up table rules as if they were real official rules, so I wish you would at least own an up-to-date copy of the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy (and read it cover to cover) before teaching. You should also own my book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind. And there are more books on American mah-jongg in FAQ 3. And read FAQ 26 for some tips on teaching mah-jongg."
    The American Mah Jongg Instructor Association (AMJIA) has a Certification process now. It provides Certification for instructors who teach American Mah Jongg. Could you please update your answer to "Who certifies mah-jongg teachers' qualifications?" part.
    Your efforts to promote the official rules of American Mah Jongg is very much appreciated. My contact info is given below if you need to reach me.
    Mah-Jongg Teaching Tips
    Sloperama FAQ 19 - American Mah-Jongg
    Sloperama FAQ 19 - American Mah-Jongg
    LAURA [Full name and contact info omitted per Sloperama policy]

    You're right, Laura. I forgot about that FAQ.

    Could you please update your answer
    I will. What is your connection with the AMJIA? I know you're not one of the owners (I've been in conversations with them). Did you get a certificate from them?

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    March 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We made a website, part 3

    On Saturday, February 27, 2021, 09:42:01 AM PST, Pete S wrote:
    we made a website revisited
    Hi Tom,
    I read with interest the post from Daniel Tong about his new website. I visited to take a look and wanted to make a suggestion that Daniel consider making his Rule page as a PDF format so it could be downloaded and printed out, but was unable to find a contact page on his site. I’m hoping he revisits your website and reads this.
    Thanks
    -Pete-
    -90% of politicians give the other 10% a bad name.- Will Rogers

    Well, we'll see if he comes back, Pete. Did you set up an account, and there was still no way to ask support questions or otherwise contact the owner? That makes me suspicious. The day after I posted, I got an email from another site owner, wanting to do the same thing. That made me suspicious (are they an SEO network? how'd the word get out so fast if not?), so I didn't post that email exchange on this board. I did add his site to FAQ 5, though.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 28, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    We made a website, part 4b (retroactive post; see March 12, above)

    On Saturday, February 27, 2021, 04:48:28 AM PST, Petr M wrote:
    Another portal for online games
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    thank you for posting info about playmahjong.io, I'd like to tell people that there is another portal where you can play MCR (and DMCR - duplicate competition rules) and SBR (Sichuan Bloody Rules) - it's MahjongSoft: https://mahjongsoft.com . It is being actively developed now, but some big tournaments were already run there, including the first Online Europe Duplicate MCR Championship in November 2020.
    With best regards,
    Peter

    Thanks for the link, товарищ Peter.
    Sorry about the suspiciousness mentioned above in my reply to Pete S. The mahjongsoft link is now in FAQ 5, thanks to you. And thanks for coming back on March 12 to clarify my misunderstanding.
    Cheers,
    Tom


    We made a website, part 2

    On Friday, February 26, 2021, 04:35:35 PM PST, Daniel Tong wrote:
    Re: Competition Mahjong Website
    Thanks a lot! ?? You’re the best.


    We made a website for CMCR

    On Friday, February 26, 2021, 01:29:20 PM PST, Daniel Tong wrote:
    Competition Mahjong Website
    Hi Tom,
    I’m a big fan of your blog. It’s great watching you introduce and share the game of Mahjong to beginners around the world. You really help grow the Mahjong playing community!
    During the pandemic, some classmates and I who regularly played Mahjong together have had trouble finding a good website that lets us play Competition (Chinese Official) Mahjong together. As a result, for our graduation University project, we chose to make an easy-to-use website specifically for Competition Mahjong. I know that you typically don’t click on links, but we would really appreciate it if you would check us out at https://playmahjong.io. I also struggled finding a good website that comprehensively listed all scoring rules in Chinese Official Mahjong along with details about what rules are “implied” by the Non-Repeat Principle. Thus, after carefully reading the Green Book, we wrote https://playmahjong.io/chinese-official-rules.
    We would really appreciate it if we could be featured on your blog! We’re hoping to build a community and popularize Competition Mahjong in the west.
    Thanks for your time,
    Daniel

    Hi, Daniel!
    I'll add your site to FAQ 5. If you see any dead links there, feel free to let me know so I can update the page. Good luck with your site and with your post-graduation careers.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I pick up a discarded blank tile? Where can I get more blank tiles?

    On Friday, February 26, 2021, 12:34:06 PM PST, Karin O wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you pick up a joker off the board with a blank tile.We play with a twist, & use blank tiles.?
    Thanks, Karin

    On Friday, February 26, 2021, 12:35:29 PM PST, Karin O wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    How can I get blank tiles to add to my sets I can play Mahjong with a twist?
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Hi, Karin! You asked:

    Can you pick up a joker off the board with a blank tile.
    If you're asking "can you call a discarded joker," the answer is NO - if you're playing by American (NMJL) rules. See FAQ 19-G, please.

    We play with a twist, & use blank tiles.?
    I don't know what you're telling me, or even if I need to know in order to answer your questions. If you're using blank tiles as jokers, are you saying you're using more jokers than called for in the usual American (NMJL) rules (eight jokers is standard)? Or are you playing an Asian mah-jongg variant, and adding in blank tiles as jokers? There are no "official" rules for how to use jokers in Asian mah-jongg - each table makes its own table rules. But there are joker rules in American (NMJL) rules (if that's the variant you play).

    How can I get blank tiles to add to my sets
    As I told melissa w on Tuesday (scroll down to the next Q&A below), the most reliable way is to buy a second set that matches yours. You can see the blank tiles FAQ for everything I can tell you about blank tiles.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 26, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Where to buy blank tiles that match my set?

    On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 05:06:45 PM PST, melissa w wrote:
    Question about Japanese set manufacturer
    Dear Tom,
    I love your website! I'm learning so much!
    And I would love your advice... I have a Japanese set that is identical to what you pictured -- except my set came with poker chips instead of the orange rectangles, and the kanji on the flower baskets is in the upper right instead of top center:
    image.png
    The product info seems to say the manufacturer is MVC.
    I'd really like to get another 8 tiles in the same white plastic (urea resin?) with dovetailed bamboo backs to extend my set for American hands (figuring I'll use stickers for that).
    Do you have any advice for me as to how to find spare tiles that will match my set?
    Thank you so much!
    Melissa

    Hi, Melissa!
    I'm sorry, I'm not much help in that regard. My best suggestion is to buy a second identical set. Your options beyond that are very limited, I'm afraid. Everything I know about getting blank tiles to match your set is in FAQ 7Q. Good luck! (You're going to need it.)
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A marvelous mystery, part 2

    On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 04:36:16 AM PST, Ridgely S wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    I didn’t mention the color, I guess because all is in black and I realize black is optional. Carpe Diem seems too easy because it is 75 points. It is a sequence of numbers and all the instruction says is “#’s mix and match”. I copied all the rest of the wording in first email. I will attempt to take a picture and send in another mailing. Thanks for prompt reply.

    On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 04:45:00 AM PST, Ridgely S wrote:
    Photo of card
    The sequence in question is the next to last. Thanks again for your help.

    Hi, Ridgely.
    I suppose "mix or match" might mean you can use numbers of any suit(s) as long as you get all the numbers. If that phrase is used anywhere else on the card, that might be a clue. The person who knows for sure is the designer of the card, Kimberly. A walk through the marvelousmahjongg website turns up an email address (it might be somewhere on the card, too). You can email info@marvelousmahjongg.com. But she's in Houston, where they just went through a historic natural disaster. No telling how her home and business have fared, or how her response time may be affected. Good luck! Sorry I couldn't be more help.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 23, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    A marvelous mystery

    On Monday, February 22, 2021, 02:37:51 PM PST, Ridgely S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    On the Marvelous Mah Jongg 2021 card under Carpe Diem,” #’s mix or match, Ox Hill VA, the longitude and latitude” can the numbers in each sequence be a mixture of suits? Thank you.
    Ridgely

    I don't know, Ridgely, since I don't know what color the numbers are (I don't have a copy of that card). The color-coding on American cards is explained in FAQ 19-BY.
    If that doesn't help, then I would need complete information about the hand (exact wording and colors of the hand, including any parentheticals if any), or maybe another reader who has the Marvelous 2021 card will write in with the answer to your question.
    I suppose "mix or match" might mean any mix of suits, but I'd have to see the way the hand is written in full as I said above. Maybe there's an address or phone number somewhere on the card where you can get answers.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    2/22/21
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    When you have the flower wall

    On Sunday, February 21, 2021, 08:30:36 PM PST, Diane B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When you have the flower wall who is the first person that gets the tile And from there or do you go to the left or the right

    Hi, Diane!
    It sounds like you're asking how the deal starts in an Asian mah-jongg variant that has a flower wall. After the wall has been broken by dice roll, the dealer (also called East, the person who rolled the dice and broke the wall) takes four tiles to the left of the break. See this diagram from FAQ 20:

    The flower wall is to the right of the break. The stack immediately to the right of the break is the back end of the wall. You take flower replacements from the back end of the wall. The tiles are dealt going clockwise around the wall from the break. That's the front end of the wall.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    02/21/2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She didn't appreciate my little quip

    On Thursday, February 18, 2021, 08:50:29 AM PST, Joyce E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A player let a 7 dot go by when it was discarded. When my turn came I discarded the same 7 dot and she picked it up. I joked and said “oh, you didn’t want hers but you wanted mine” and she turned on me like a snake and took my comment personal saying that I only picked on her which I don’t.
    Please tell me, was I wrong to make a joke at the table? She is a friend but very sensitive.
    Thank you
    Joyce

    Hi, Joyce!
    I don't know the reason why she shot daggers at you with her eyes. You say she's very sensitive. Maybe she took your remark as criticism of her strategy (she may have passed on the first one intentionally), or she took your remark as an insult (she may have just been slow on the first one and felt dumb, and when you called her out on it she felt you were calling her dumb). I don't know. Since you know she's sensitive, you can just think a second about how she might take anything you say during play, before letting the words come out of your mouth.
    In mah-jongg, there are strategic reasons to, or not to, comment on what's going on in the game. "Sharing information" (like for instance pointing out when a player discards a redeemable tile, or when a player makes a second exposure that reveals what hand he's working on) is frowned upon by serious players. That's not what you were guilty of this time exactly, but who knows what was going on in her mind. When I play, I limit my comments and I also guard my body language. But now I digress.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 18, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How much do I collect if I win by redeeming a joker?

    On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 01:48:12 PM PST, Joanne P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I got mahjong by taking a joker from an opponent’s rack. Do I collect double from that person or is it considered picking the tile myself and collect double from everyone.
    Thank you
    Joanne P
    Sent from my iPhone Joanne

    Hi, Joanne.
    Winning by joker redemption is treated as self-picking the winning tile. See FAQ 19-AN here on my website. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for any future questions about NMJL rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Tonight my mic, part 2

    On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 12:39:17 PM PST, Pete S wrote:
    tonight my mic did not work
    Hi Tom,
    You’re brave to try to answer tech support questions with so little information to work from. As you mentioned, if the other players could hear irenesuem but she couldn’t hear them it was her speakers that were the problem.
    On my computer the built-in speakers sound tinny so I usually plug in an external speaker or headphone/earbuds. I recently was in a zoom call where I believed the other person had not turned on their microphone because I could not hear them. I came to discover that the plug for my external speaker had not seated properly. It was in far enough to cut out the internal speakers but not far enough to activate the external one.
    The Second Rule of Troubleshooting Electronics is “Always check the connections”. The First Rule is “Turn it off, then on (reboot).” If you’re interested the Third Rule is “Lift it 3 inches above the desk top and drop it.” Usually one of those will get things working again.
    Gung Hay Fat Chow
    -Pete-
    -It is true we cannot be free of sin, but at least let our sins not always be the same.- St. Teresa of Avila

    Thanks, Pete!
    Happy new year to you, too.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 17, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Tonight my mic did not work.

    On Monday, February 15, 2021, 10:01:19 PM PST, irenesuem wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:tonight my mic did not work. the other three players could hear me but i couldn't hear them we play realmaj 2020..2019. what should i do
    Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S10.

    Hi, irenesuem! Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I just found your email in my spam folder.
    1. You say your mic didn't work, but I'm thinking it did. The others could hear you, so your mic clearly was working.
    2. I don't know why you couldn't hear the other players. Maybe you had your volume turned down, or maybe another app on your device was hogging your audio services. Might be a bug in the system. Or maybe your earbuds weren't all the way in the jack. Or maybe it was a one-time fluke.
    3. You might want to check with the makers of your app for technical support. See FAQ 24 for some tips on how to obtain tech support for your mah-jongg game. I have no relationship with the makers of your game, and this is not a technical support website.
    Hope your technical issue gets resolved next time you play online. Who knows, maybe it'll just work next time! Or maybe another reader will have experienced the same thing and can offer some tips.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    She said its name and then she noticed...

    On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 10:46:30 AM PST, Penny E wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A player called a tile but hadn’t yet put it on the table when she noticed it could be exchanged for a joker. At the same time another player wanted it for man-jong.
    Who gets it?
    Thank you.
    Penny

    Hi, Penny!
    The National Mah Jongg League's rule is that once she has said the discard's name in full, she cannot take it back. See the "Backsies! Do-Over! Undo!" FAQ (FAQ 19-AM). The rule is on page 18 of the League's official rulebook.
    But then you say, someone else wanted it for mah-jongg. Mah-jongg trumps everything. The mah-jongger takes the tile and wins, regardless of the discarder's desire for backsies or any other claimants to the discard. See the "conflicting claims, one for mahj" FAQ, FAQ 19-H3.
    Please bookmark FAQ 19 for any future questions about the NMJL rules.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 16, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Conflicting claims for a discard

    On Monday, February 15, 2021, 10:03:47 PM PST, Jill p wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If one person calls a tile and it is not for mah jongg and another person whose turn is next casually says (after the person called for the tile) oh I wanted that tile- who does it go to?
    does it automatically go to the person whose turn is next-even though they said it way after the first person called it?
    Thank you,
    Jill

    Hi, Jill, so you're asking Frequently Asked Question 19-H. There are a number of ways conflicting claims can go, depending on seat position (as you say) and why the player claims the tile, and also who actually takes action. You're saying two players have merely spoken for the tile, and both want it for the same reason. In that case, it's not a race to see who speaks first. The tile goes to the next-in-line. Please bookmark FAQ 19 for the next time you have a question about American (NMJL) mah-jongg (assuming that's the variant you play).
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 15, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    The Year of the Ox

    My Lunar New Year wish is that this is the year when the pandemic finally relaxes its grip on the world. And that racist violence against our Asian friends, neighbors, and loved ones comes to an end. And that we all get along. Is that asking too much, ya big ox?
    恭喜發財
    Tom Sloper
    February 12, 2021


    Any info you can provide, part 2

    On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 01:56:13 PM PST, Brent M wrote:
    Re: My Mah-Jongg
    Its a simple question! I don't know anything about and want to learn what I have. Things you tell me about it are not "meanderings"...it is knowledge. But if I must give you a target, can you tell me what the tiles are made from? Can you roughly tell me the age? Does it look like all the pieces are there?

    Thank you for your direct targeted questions, Brent:

    can you tell me what the tiles are made from?
    They're made of bone and bamboo.

    Can you roughly tell me the age?
    It's ninety-some years old (made in the 1920s).

    Does it look like all the pieces are there?
    It's missing pieces. You're missing a 3-dot tile and a 1-bam tile. There are no dice or dice coffin, there are no wind discs or wind disc container. I don't know if all the scoring sticks are there. There is no rule booklet. The front panel is missing from the box (and part of the box front left edge is broken off, thus the front panel has nothing to hold it in place). The drawer pulls are all gone except for one. Those sets came with 8 blank tiles, and it looks like you may have only 7.

    If you want to know more about 1920s bone and bamboo sets, see column 610. If you want to know more about mah-jongg sets, see FAQ 7.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Any info you can provide

    On Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 11:40:56 AM PST, Brent M wrote:
    My Mah-Jongg
    Hi Tom
    Im hoping you can tell me about my Mah-Jongg set. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated
    Thank you
    Brent

    Brent, I don't do "tell me anything" meanderings. I need a target. You need to ask me a question. What do you want to know about your set?
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 10, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Rule 16 (Suzhou mah-jongg), part 2

    On Monday, February 8, 2021, 09:02:13 AM PST, Petr M wrote:
    Re: Question about a fan in Suzhou mahjong
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    thank you for publishing and answering. But we must admit that Google AI translator cannot make any sensible translation of mahjong texts. So it definitely would be better to consult someone with knowledge of the Chinese language. We also must remember that it's not "common speech" (putonghua), this Suzhou dialect may differ from the official Chinese language. Or it may even be some mix of Suzhou dialect and putonghua.
    Yes, the term "hua" (flower) was used for "points" in Suzhou mahjong. For different fans we see their cost in points: "5 hua", "10 hua". There are curious fans in this list. Let me translate them more adequately.

      1. "Bottom": 5 points (it's possibly "last tile in the discard", and it's not a cheap thing)
      2. "Flower replaced": White, Green, Red, 4 flowers and 4 seasons, 4 jokers "baida" and 4 "dabaiji" (not sure what it is, maybe some special tiles): 1 point for each (yes, dragons are treated as flowers here, if you pick a dragon from the wall, you replace it)
      3. "Melded kong": 1 point (in any suit: Bams, Cracks or Dots)
      4. "Concealed kong": 2 points (in any suit)
      5. "Melded pung of honors": 1 point (pung of winds, as long as dragons are flowers, it's called "peng" to show that it was melded)
      6. "Concealed pung of honors": 2 points ("anke" used here to show that the pung was concealed)
      7. "Melded kong of honors": 3 points
      8. "Concealed kong of honors": 4 points
      9. "Little concealed hand": 5 points (no declarations from other players were made: no chows, no pungs and no melded kongs)
      10. "Big concealed hand": 10 points (no flowers at all, no pungs nor kongs of honors - and possibly no melded sets, like in previous fan)
      11. "All pungs": 5 points (there is also some note about pungs and kongs, but not very clear)
      12. "Half flush": 5 points (one suit and honors)
      13. "Seven pairs": 10 points
      14. "Full flush": 10 points
      15. "Winning with a replacement tile": 5 points (when a tile taken as a replacement for a declared kong is your winning tile)
      16. "Making dumplings": one player pays triple sum for feeding into a kong, count "winning with replacement tile" here (reference to the previous fan)
      17. "Robbing a kong": one player pays triple sum (and if two or three other players claim victory on this robbing, the feeder pays triple sums to each winner)
      18. "Big crane": 5 points (single waiting after 4 declarations of pungs or kongs)
      19. "Heaven blessing": 50 points (winning with the starting hand for East)
      20. "Earth blessing": 50 points (winning with the first tile drawn from the wall - for a non-dealer, not East)
      21. "Getting the Moon from the sea bottom": 5 points (winning with the last tile in the wall)

    So it's not easy to decrypt this dialect even with some fan names already known, like "Winning with a replacement tile" or "All pungs". I still can't understand what is this "Making dumplings". I know a curious fan in Sichuan mahjong, where you may win with a tile discarded by another player right after he had declared a kong. I know no other mahjongs where this fan is used. Maybe "making dumplings" is something like this, but then - why also count "winning with a replacement tile"? I also remember a "twofold" fan when a player gets many points for declaring two kongs in a row and winning with a replacement tile for the second kong.
    I hope other readers may help, so we'll find an answer together.
    With best regards,
    Peter

    Thanks for the better translation, Peter. Hopefully someone will have an answer for you. I, too, don't see how this #16 "Making Dumplings" fan works.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Can I call a discard for a pair?

    On Monday, February 8, 2021, 05:41:32 AM PST, Colleen G wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can you table your pair at any time during the game or only at the end when you declare mah Jong
    I can’t find it in the rule book I have - an old one (by Max Robertson - 14th edition with a ‘Supplement 1957 Edition) My parents bought the game in Malaya in 1957/58 and there is also a ‘Directions of Playing the Chinese Game of Four Winds’ booklet that came with the set - it doesn’t state when to play the pair either.
    Hope you can help. Thanks.
    Colleen.
    Queensland, Australia.

    Hi, Colleen!
    The only time you can call a discard is when the discard gives you a pung or an exposed kong, a chow, or mah-jongg. You cannot call a discard to meld a pair.
    A better book on British/Australian rules would be the Thompson & Maloney books (there are several, my recommendation is "The Game of Mah Jong Illustrated") or "Mah Jong, Anyone?" by Strauser & Evans (I wrote some new material in that one in 2006, but older editions are still useful). I think the Max Robertson is too short, not enough.
    And that "Directions" booklet is famously incomprehensible. I have no idea what variant "Directions" is supposed to describe. "Directions" is useless and I wish set manufacturers would stop reprinting it.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Age and value of this set

    On Monday, February 8, 2021, 05:08:26 AM PST, Martyn H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi My Grandfather gave me this MaJong Set in the early 70’s.
    From memory he told me he had bought it in Hong Kong shortly after WW2 whilst serving in The Royal Navy.
    I have counted 140 Tiles which are coloured Red and Biege - I first thought they were plastic but if their age is correct I think they are made of Bakelite?
    There are numerous white coloured sticks I would imagine they are made of bone.
    The instruction manual says they wee sold by Kwong Fat Cheung 111 Wellington Street, Hong Kong. There is also a small grey coloured dice. The set comes in an ornate wooden box
    I have attached several pictures, please could you give me some idea of the age and value of the set?
    Many thanks
    Martyn H
    Oxfordshire
    UK

    Hi, Martyn.
    Looks like you and Lynne N (February 1, below) both have "Chinese Bakelite" sets from Kwong Fat Cheung. You should scroll down and read my conversation with her. You asked me two questions:

    some idea of the age
    Hard to say. Could be from the fifties, sixties, or seventies. I don't know when Kwong Fat Cheung was founded. I think your set is about as old as Lynne's, but your set was made as a "premium" set because of the carved wooden box, while hers was made as a cheapo set because of the cardboard box. Her tiles have green backs and yours have maroon backs but are likely made of the same stuff.

    and value
    I can't. You haven't given me any information on the condition of the set and its pieces. You say you have only 140 tiles. I don't know which 4 tiles are missing, and I don't know what condition your tiles are in. The box itself may be the most valuable part, depending on its condition.
    The sticks look like many are smudged. You didn't photograph the dice. You didn't even arrange the tiles.
    The "Directions" booklet is worthless due to the terrible writing (as I've said several times in the past few days, just scroll down and see the post just above this one). As I told Lynne on Feb. 1, I visited 111 Wellington Street some years back. I talked to the company's [president?], Linda Chan, and suggested to her that she needs a better instruction booklet to include in sets. That suggestion fell on deaf ears.
    The Chinese-language pamphlet from Kwong Fat Cheung is more valuable since these are usually thrown away. I assume it's a catalog of other KFC products. Your photo is very interesting in that I think it might offer a clue as to the composition of your tiles. I wonder now if "Chinese Bakelite" is pulverized reconstituted fishbone, dyed yellow.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old is it, part 2

    On Monday, February 8, 2021, 12:33:29 AM PST, Marianne D wrote:
    Re: Mah_jongg Age?
    Thank you so much!
    Your site is a gold mine of information, I'm sure we'll be coming back to it many times :)

    You're welcome, Marianne.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 8, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    If I have 3 pungs and a kong do I still need a pair?

    On Sunday, February 7, 2021, 08:46:20 PM PST, Siri M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jong question or comment is:If I have a kong do I still need a pair to mah jong? 3 sets of three and 1 kong?

    Hi, Siri!
    Three pungs and a kong is only 13 tiles. You need 14 to win. With 3 pungs and a kong, you still need a pair. Yes, that is 15 tiles, but your kong is just a glorified pung (4=3). Please read FAQ 20 (D), and bookmark FAQ 20 for any further questions you might have about Asian mah-jongg.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How old is it?

    On Sunday, February 7, 2021, 10:07:33 AM PST, Marianne D wrote:
    Mah_jongg Age?
    Hi Tom,
    I came across your site when searching for mahjongg rules regarding limit scores, and ended up falling down the rabbit hole of information! Problem is that I can't seem to figure out how old our set is. I bought it at a charity shop in Holland years ago, and assumed it was old by the appearance but FAQ 7g got me both intrigued and a little confused, so I decided to answer the checklist in the hopes you can help!
    1. 136 basic tiles: 4x9 Bams, Kraks and Rings; 4x3 dragons, 4x4 winds and 8 flowers. There are also 4 what I assume to be jokers, and 4 blank tiles in their original plastic wrapping (hard celluloid plastic, glued shut)
    It comes with bone wind indicators, 2 bone dice, and 40 sticks also made of bone. These are a second source of confusion as there are 4 denominations, and there are 10 of each - which doesn't seem to make sense given the usual usage of these. We don't actually use them so it doesn't disrupt play (just keep track of scores and who owes who in a notepad).
    2. The set came with three booklets, none of them dated.
    The first is in english, "Directions of playing Mah-Jongg" (no trademark), no authors name, although it does have "China Zejiang" on the cover, which ! assume indicates that it was printed there. It seems to have been written up on a typewriter, given the uneven lines, and the uncorrected spelling mistakes, and not by a native english speaker, given the grammar.
    The second two are in Dutch. One is titled "Mah-Jongg; Het Spel der 10000 wonderen" (no trademark, translates to the Game of 10000 Wonders), was printed by the Aziatische Kunsthandel in Amsterdam, no author mentioned.
    The last, also in dutch, is the only one I could find anything about. It is titled "Mah-jong als Gezelschapsspel", by M. Cordier. This was first printed in 1964, and ours is a tenth edition, so I'm guessing it's from the 70s - maybe a later addition to the set?
    3. The tiles are made of bone and bamboo (the Haversian system is visible in many of the tiles, as well as in the dice, wind indicators and sticks).
    4. As mentioned before, I bought this at a charity shop; I'm afraid I know nothing about its history.
    5. 2.1cm x 2.7cm x 0.9cm. The bone portion is 0.35cm thick at the thinnest portion, 0.5cm thick at the thickest part of the dovetail joint.
    6. Basic 136 tiles are all present (8 flowers), as well as 4 jokers and 4 blank tiles.
    7. I'm not sure what the box is made of. It's hard and covered in a fabric that I assume is a rough silk. It has a hinged top, metal clasps and a flexible plastic handle. It doesn't contain trays for the tiles, just a tray for storing the "bits and bobs" in. Clearest signs of age are in the clasps which have taken a battering over the years and don't close perfectly, and the silk (?) which is worn in many places.
    8. See images. Modern style kraks are used, which according to your website indicates 70's or later - in contrast to the bone material which would indicate 40's or earlier.
    9&10. See images.
    11. See images; 8 flowers.
    12. See images. 4 jokers, and they are carves just like all the other tiles.
    Hopefully this gives you all the information you need, I hope you can give me an age indication; and if anything about the set is interesting feel free to publish it :)
    Thanks,
    Marianne R

    Hi, Marianne!
    There are several key points from your photos:
    - The cloth-covered box is a type commonly found in the 1990s.
    - The style of jokers is a type commonly seen in cloth-covered boxes of the 1990s.
    - The 1990s tiles were not hand-carved; yours are. The carving is less elegant than most sets.
    - The 1990s tiles were made of pulverized reconstituted fishbone. You're probably right that yours are bone.
    - The surface of the tiles show tool marks, indicating that the tiles' manufacturing process was hurried (not the quality treatment granted to expensive sets).
    - The booklet is the usual infamously badly written instructions that come with many many sets from China over several decades up to today. Lynne N's February 1 set (below) contains the same booklet, with different cover art.
    - The 1990s boxes had cloth-and-bone closures, whereas yours has brass clasps.
    - The 1990s boxes had four trays for the tiles, whereas as you noted in your email, your box has none.

    Your guess of the 1970s is very much in line with my thinking: I'm thinking this set is a precursor to the 1990s boxed sets (same maker). Possibly 1970s or 1980s.
    By the way, your photo of the jokers and blanks was upside-down, so I flipped it. Chinese characters usually have "legs" at the bottom, not flat "bases" as we westerners might expect.
    Greetz! Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 7, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Donation

    On Thursday, February 4, 2021, 03:16:39 AM PST, service@paypal wrote:
    You received a payment
    Hello, Thomas Sloper
    You received a payment from Evelyn H for Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Customer name Evelyn H
    Amount received $10.00 USD
    For Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Next payment due Mar 4, 2021
    Please don't reply to this email. To get in touch with us, click Help & Contact.
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    Thank you for your continued support, Evelyn!
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Should we list Richi Doman mahjong, part 2

    On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 01:25:34 PM PST, Jennifer wrote:
    Re: richi doman style mahjong game
    LOL, you are master of your ship, truly :)
    Thanks and I'll have to explore Washizu majan. Sounds delectable. :) Jeni

    Still, you're absolutely right, those variants ought to be listed in the FAQ. It's on my Do list.
    Play safely and stay healthy, Jeni. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West 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, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Should we list Richi Doman mahjong?

    On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 11:40:50 AM, Jennifer wrote:
    richi doman style mahjong game
    Happy Year of the Ox, Tom!
    Should we include the Richi Doman style mahjong game from Final Fantasy somewhere in your sloperama? It requires that the player already have a final fantasy subscription, but it's fun to play.
    https://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/playguide/contentsguide/goldsaucer/doman-mahjong/special_rule/
    Also THANK YOU for the Mahjong Time link, you saved me from itsmahjong.com being removed. I was having withdrawals.
    Always your fan, Jeni

    Hi, Jeni,
    If we list Richi Doman from the FF video game, we would also need to list Washizu majan from Akagi. Where should those be listed? FAQ 2-B, surely. I'll consider adding them. And what's this "we" business? (^_−)☆
    Thanks! Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 3, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    Set value request, part 2

    On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 09:03:57 AM PST, Robert D wrote:
    Re: Requesting Mah Jongg Set Value Estimate
    Thank you so much, Tom, for the QUICK! reply.
    Bless your day,
    Bob

    You're welcome.
    Remember: more than one die is multiple dice.
    Tom


    Set value request

    On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 04:17:36 PM PST, Robert D wrote:
    Requesting Mah Jongg Set Value Estimate
    ~ Mah Jongg Set Valuation Checklist Responses ~
    Dear sloperama.com:
    I’ve attempted to follow your guidance in answering the Checklist questions from your website, plus eight (8) photos.
    The set belonged to my mother. I’m 80 years old and remember, as a child, her playing with this set often in our apartment with her friends. Therefore, I would estimate the age of the set to be at least 75 years old.
    I have no close relatives to give the set to, therefore I’d like to sell it for a fair price. Your help toward this goal will be greatly valued.
    Sincerely yours,
    Bob D
    [telephone number omitted]
    1. Write a factual detailed list of all the contents of your set. Describe all the contents, listing all dice, chips, racks, etc. If you do not know what to call the pieces, see our FAQ 7d .
    The set includes:
    a FAIR (outside condition) green leather-look case with dual brass key locks that are in working order (no key), and a plastic carry handle. Inside the case is in GOOD condition and contains an oval label with a crown insignia above the word “ROYAL” in caps; two VERY GOOD condition hard, lined tile containers, one with a compartment for die; five GOOD CONDITION tile racks, two yellow, two in different shades of green, one reddish brown; 152 tiles made of ??? (under magnification the tiles do not have the characteristics of ivory) in VERY GOOD condition, no chipping on any edges with only shallow scuff marks apparent under magnification; three die in GOOD condition, two matching, one not matching; a manual counter wheel in GOOD condition; a bag of assorted color chips, approximately 100, in VERY GOOD condition.
    152 TILES: there are 36 DOTS - four rows each of 1 - 9; 36 CRACKS - four rows each of 1 - 9; 36 BAMS - four rows each of 1 - 9; 16 WINDS - four rows each of E S W N; 12 DRAGONS - four rows each; four FLOWERS; eight JOKERS (pasted”JOKER” labels). Virtually all tiles are very clean, very smooth with slightly rounded corners, and possess a light butterscotch color, with no odor or evidence of any staining or mildew. The tiles are uniform in size and each measures: L = 31mm W = 21mm D = 10mm.

    Hi, Bob.
    To boil down what you wrote: it's a complete American set of VG tiles in a Fair case. The condition of the bits and pieces doesn't warrant any change or material difference in that assessment. A buyer of the set could well want to replace the case (we're not talking collectible here - we're talking a set to use in play, American-style) and maybe even some of the bits and pieces. You can probably get $150 for the set; you might be able to get more if you're patient and you polish the brass rack ends or otherwise make the set look shiny and clean.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Groundhog Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA

    P.S. Regarding "dice" versus "die" - "dice" is plural and "die" is singular. When you have more than one die, you have "dice."


    Age or value of this set, part 2

    On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 04:42:41 AM PST, Lynne N wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jong Q+A
    Hi Tom,
    Thank you very much for your help. Have a great day,
    Lynne
    Sent from my iPad

    You're welcome, Lynne!
    Tom


    Rule 16 (Suzhou mah-jongg)

    On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 03:27:58 AM PST, Petr M wrote:
    Question about a fan in Suzhou mahjong
    Hello, Mr. Sloper,
    several years ago I talked to a Chinese guy from Suzhou, and he told me they played their variant where Dragons are replaced like flowers (so they have 20 flowers in the wall: 8 usual and 12 "dragonian"). He even sent me a text in Chinese with fans of their variant. I read them, and one question remained after reading about one fan called "dumplings". But I haven't asked him about it in time, and now I can't reach him. Also, I think you'll be interested in this mahjong variant. I add that Chinese text in the end, and the fan I want to ask about is fan #16 "bao jiaozi" (???). I see that it has something with kongs, but I can't understand what it is exactly. Could you please help with it? Maybe you met something like it already? Thank you.
    With best regards,
    Peter

      ==========================================
      Suzhou Mahjong
      苏州麻将成牌后,给付多少钱由花的多少来决定,花是累计的;
      例如:有人清一色七对,5个花,自摸后,应该算花:
      清一色10+七对15+成牌5+花5*2+自摸=120;
      如果按5银子/花算,那么每人应该给付40*5=200银子;
      如果是谁出冲,则由他一人给付200银子;
      逃跑:玩家逃跑扣基础分(银子)*120个花
      具体算法如下:
      1、底:5花
      2、硬花:指中发白,梅兰竹菊,春夏秋冬,4百搭,4大白板,每个1花
      3、明杠:1花(筒万条)
      4、暗杠:2花(筒万条4个一样的在手上选择的杠)
      5、字碰:1花(东南西北碰)
      6、暗刻:2花(东南西北3个牌在手上)
      7、字明杠:3花(东南西北杠)
      8、字暗杠:4花(东南西北在手上选择杠)
      9、小门清:5花(不吃不碰不明杠)
      10、大门清:10花(没有风碰,杠,暗刻,没有硬花)
      11、对对胡:5花(以对子的方式构成胡牌,能碰出杠出胡牌,也能不吃不碰胡出,手上以暗刻方式)
      12、混一色:5花(一色牌加字牌胡出)
      13、七对子:10花(手上胡出,必须有7个对子)
      14、清一色:10花(一色牌)
      15、杠开(摸花杠,胡牌叫花开,明暗杠,胡牌叫杠开):5花(摸花和明暗杠,从杠头上摸上的牌胡牌)
      16、包饺子:一人支付3倍费用(放给玩家杠,此杠牌玩家杠开),算杠开

      17、抢杠:一人支付3倍费用(有玩家碰了一对,然后摸牌杠此牌,这时有玩家可以胡这个牌),可以多人抢杠,每家都付3倍费用,小牌遵循3花以上(包括3花,抢杠当自摸),才能抢杠。
      18、大吊车:5花(玩家碰杠后,手上只剩1张牌时胡牌)
      19、天胡:50花(庄起手14张牌,在没打任何牌之前胡牌)
      20、地胡:50花(闲起手13张牌,摸第一张牌的时候胡牌)
      21、海底捞月:5花(玩家摸最后一张牌胡牌)

    Hi, Peter.
    Unfortunately, I cannot read Chinese and I am not familiar with the Suzhou variant. 囧
    The word 包 (bao) is usually used for penalties in Chinese mah-jongg variants. Bao also means dumplings, so I figured that the Google translation "dumpling-making" was just because mah-jongg terms are obscure. But even when I remove 包 and Google just 饺子 I still get dumplings, so the name of the rule does seem to include dumplings.
    The full translation I get from your text is:

      After Suzhou Mahjong is made, the amount of money paid is determined by the amount of money spent, and the amount of money spent is cumulative;
      For example: there are seven pairs of all colors and 5 flowers. After touching, they should be counted as flowers:
      All 10+seven pairs of 15+made cards 5+flowers 5*2+self-draw=120;
      If you calculate as 5 silver/spend, then each person should pay 40*5=200 silver;
      If it is who is out of charge, he will pay 200 silver;
      Escape: Players will deduct basic points (silver) *120 flowers for escaping

      The specific algorithm is as follows:

      1. Bottom: 5 flowers
      2. Hard flowers: refers to white in the middle, plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum, spring, summer, autumn and winter, 4 wild, 4 large white boards, 1 flower each
      3. Ming bars: 1 flower (ten thousand tubes)
      4. Concealed bars: 2 flowers (4 tens of thousands of bars selected in the hand)
      5. Word touch: 1 flower (Southeast, Northwest touch)
      6. Dark engraving: 2 flowers (3 cards in the south, east, north and west)
      7. Clear bars: 3 flowers (Southeast, Northwest bars)
      8. Concealed Kong: 4 flowers (select the Kong in your hand)
      9. Xiaomenqing: 5 flowers (don't eat or touch the unknown bar)
      10. The gate is clear: 10 flowers (no wind bumps, bars, secretly carved, no hard flowers)
      11. Right-to-right Hu: 5 flowers (to form a Hu card in a pair, you can play the Hu card with the bar, or you can not eat without touching the Hu card, the hand is engraved in secret)
      12. Mixed one-color: 5 flowers (one-color cards plus name cards are out)
      13. Seven pairs: 10 flowers (there must be 7 pairs)
      14. All in one color: 10 flowers (one color card)
      15. Kongkai (touching the Hua Kong, Hu card bidding, bright and dark kong, Hu card bidding the kong): 5 flowers (touching the flower and bright and dark kong, draw the Hu card from the head of the kong)
      16. Dumpling making: one person pays 3 times the fee (the player is given a kong, and the player with this kong card opens), and the kong is opened.
      17. Kick grab: one person pays 3 times the fee (a player touches a pair, and then draws the card, then some player can use the card), multiple people can grab the kong, and each family pays 3 times the fee. Only if the cards follow 3 suits or more (including 3 suits, grab the kong when self-draw), can you grab the kong.
      18. Big crane: 5 flowers (after the player touches the bar, only 1 card is left in the hand)
      19. Tianhu: 50 flowers (the banker starts with 14 cards, and Hu cards before playing any cards)
      20. Di Hu: 50 flowers (13 cards in the idle hand, Hu cards when the first card is drawn)
      21. Haidilao Moon: 5 flowers (the player draws the last card Hu card)

    Note that your writeup uses the word for "flower" for "fan." Number 16 seems to have something to do with an exposed kong. It might mean there's a penalty if the dealer's (?) first (?) discard is taken by someone else to expose a kong.
    Or when a player is dealt a kong and melds the kong as his/her first (?) play. Then maybe another player can rob it if the kong tile is that player's winning (hu) tile?
    But that's the best I can guess.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Groundhog Day, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


    How does Robbing The Kong work, part 2

    On Monday, February 1, 2021, 06:59:30 PM PST, nadreb wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you very much for your answer Tom.
    Cheers
    Nadia
    Sent from my Huawei phone

    You're welcome, Nadia.
    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Age or value of this set

    On Monday, February 1, 2021, 11:06:01 AM PST, Lynne N wrote:
    Mah-Jong Q+A
    Hi Tom,
    I am helping my Mom downsize her home and we found this set that she recalls from her childhood. My grandfather travelled a lot during the 1920-1940’s and she recalled him bringing this home for her from China. I have been reading your message board as I don’t know anything about these sets so thank you for the great information. If you could provide any further information as to rough age or value of this set I would greatly appreciate it.
    1- it contains 130 tiles along with a green and red spinner, 6 small dice and some very small chips ...like poker chips but small in blue green and red
    2- tiles look in good condition except some of the green backs have come off ...maybe 10 percent of them
    3-tile material looks like Bakelite ...butterscotch colour on top and green on the bottom
    4- it contains one book callled Chinese game of four winds
    5- it is in a cardboard box that is marked Kwong Fat Cheung - this box has fallen apart on the seam and does show some water damage
    Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated...Lynne

    Hi, Lynne. I'm sorry that I don't have good news for you. You wrote:

    it contains 130 tiles along with a green and red spinner, 6 small dice and some very small chips
    Translation: a lot of tiles are missing. There is a disc-style wind indicator, 6 dice, and an uncounted number of chips (there are at least 3 chips, possibly more than that).

    tiles look in good condition except some of the green backs have come off ...maybe 10 percent of them
    We don't call it "good" condition when the tiles have come apart. We call that "poor" condition. See FAQ 7-H.

    tile material looks like Bakelite
    No. Bakelite (Catalin) tiles are shiny. What you have is what collectors these days call "Chinese Bakelite." I don't know what the plastic's actual name is.

    it contains one book callled Chinese game of four winds
    The full title is actually "Directions of Playing 'Chinese Game of Four Winds.'"

    it is in a cardboard box that is marked Kwong Fat Cheung - this box has fallen apart on the seam and does show some water damage
    Then the case is in Poor condition.

    information as to rough age
    I visited the Kwong Fat Cheung factory in Hong Kong (the company is still in business, as far as I know); see https://www.sloperama.com/hk/hkmj.html. I don't know when the company was founded. This cheap cardboard type of case may have been made in the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties... I don't know when manufacturers stopped making glued-together two-tone tiles that sometimes become separated. I don't know when manufacturers started making disc-style wind indicators. My best guess as to the set's age is maybe 40-50 years, give or take a couple of decades.

    or value
    The case is in Poor condition, and many of the tiles are missing or in Poor condition (the fronts are separated from the backs). Because so many tiles are missing, the set is useless for playing mah-jongg with. Its only utility is for someone who needs it for parts. Rough guess: maybe $10.

    Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    February 1, 2021
    Los Angeles, California, USA


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