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The Red Dragon & The West Wind

The Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board


Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg and get answers, usually the same day! But before you email, please check out the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).

  • The price of the information I give is that it is given only in this public forum.
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  • When you're ready to ask your question or send your comment, email your question to MJSloperama.com.
  • After you submit your comment or question, return to this board sometime later to see the response (below) - and keep coming back to see followup discussions. There is no newsletter, no notifications.
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  • If at first you can't see your Q&A below, you may have to Refresh your browser, or use a different browser. And scroll down; there may have been new Q&As posted since yours.
  • I do not provide technical support for computer games. See FAQ 24 for tips on getting technical support.
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    If you appreciate the free information on this site, your donation would be gratefully accepted, and would help keep this site running as a free service. Thank you!


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  • What kind of set is this, part 2

    On Monday, June 24, 2024 at 06:48:33 PM EDT, tsatterw wrote:
    Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you! I read what you wrote but still unsure how to find cards to play or instructions to play
    My goal was to learn to play with this set
    I have more photos I didn’t include and all drawers were filled so I believe I have a full set

    Hi again, tsatterw!
    There are numerous mah-jongg variants. The only one that uses "cards" is American mah-jongg (NMJL rules). Since your goal is to learn to play with that set, you should get a book (or read some websites) that describe an "un-American" mah-jongg variant. The set was designed for Chinese Classical rules (which has the most difficult scoring system to learn), but can be used to play any "un-American" variant except Japanese or Vietnamese.
    I wrote FAQ 2a to help novices choose which variant to learn. A lot depends on who you're going to play with. In the USA, you will have a hard time finding players to play "un-American" rules with you.
    I wrote about the different variants in FAQ 2b. You need a variant that uses 144 tiles or fewer, since your set has only 146 tiles.
    For information on books, see FAQ 3. For links to websites that describe rules for different variants, see FAQ 4b.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 24, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What kind of set is this?

    On Monday, June 24, 2024 at 05:46:03 PM EDT, <tsatterw wrote:
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Can you help me understand what kind of mah Jong set is this? Photos attached
    Family said it was Ivory and it was my grandmother’s maybe around 100 years old
    I have all the pieces
    I want to purchase the game cards but need to know what version it is first
    Thanks

    Hi, tsatterw!
    No, those tiles are not ivory. They're bone and bamboo.
    Yes, they are about 100 years old. It's a typical 1920s set, not suitable for playing American (NMJL) rules. You don't have enough tiles to play NMJL with that set.
    You can learn more about ivory in the "is it ivory" FAQ.
    You can learn more about 1920s sets in column 610.
    You can learn more about the different types of mah-jongg sets in FAQ 7a.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 24, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What do the letters mean on dragon tiles, part 2

    On Thursday, June 20, 2024 at 09:27:35 AM EDT, STORY E wrote:
    Subject: Tiles
    Thanks for your response. I should have known there was a FAQ to answer my question.
    Now to answer yours… I found this recommendation on the Mahjong That’s It website. Mr Stanley Kriss helps find and match tiles. I sent him a pix and he thought he could help. I mailed 2 of my blanks so he could match perfectly. He was able to find me the 4 additional blanks I needed.
    Then I found cute little joker stickers on Etsy. I couldn’t decide between these 2 so I bought both. But I liked the red with my set.
    I hope this info helps anyone who is searching. It is really fun to play with the old set. So I am grateful for the help I got!,
    Thanks again Mr Sloper!
    Story

    You're welcome, and thanks for the info, Story!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Summer solstice - June 20, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    She called, made an incomplete exposure, then redeemed a joker (part 2)

    On Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 10:39:39 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Subject: rz... sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    You were sent $20.00 USD from rz...
    Transaction date
    Jun 19, 2024 19:39:31 PDT
    Buyer information
    Roseanne Z
    Instructions from buyer
    None provided
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $20.00 USD 1 $20.00 USD
    Total: $20.00 USD
    PayPal

    Thank you, Roseanne! May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Juneteenth, 2024


    She called, made an incomplete exposure, then redeemed a joker to complete the exposure. Is that legal?

    On Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 06:05:31 PM EDT, Roseanne Z wrote:
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A - Joker Swap during a Pick Up of a Discarded Tile
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player 1 has one 2 Dot tile on her rack but needs three for the hand she’s playing. Player 2 discards a 2 Dot and player 1 calls that discard, makes an exposure with the 2 Dot she has and the 2 Dot she called, but then does a Joker swap to add the Joker to the other two tiles in her exposure to make three.
    Is that legal?
    Did she call a discard to make and expose a pair because she should expose right after she calls, and then in another move during her turn does a Joker swap to make her three 2 Dots, or can she do whatever she wants in any order during her turn from pickup to discard?
    I did look through the FAQs but couldn’t find anything that seemed to talk about this incident.
    Thanks for you answer and your support of this very helpful website.
    Roseanne Z

    It's not legal, Roseanne. See "When can I redeem a joker? What's the procedure?" (FAQ 19-M). Before one can redeem a joker, a player must either pick from the wall OR take a discard for exposure and make a COMPLETE exposure. Your Player 1 made an INcomplete exposure before making the swap. Not a legal play at all.


    FAQ 19 link

    The American frequently asked questions are answered in FAQ 19, and this is a Jokers question.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Juneteenth, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What do the letters mean on dragon tiles?

    On Wednesday, June 19, 2024 at 11:23:43 AM EDT, STORY E wrote:
    Subject: Tiles
    Hi Mr Sloper
    Earlier this year I sent you pix if an old set that was gifted to me. You thought it was 1930s.
    I was able to get four additional blanks and joker stickers to make it playable!
    One of my students asked me yesterday why the dragons had letters on them. I had not given it much thought ( since it really didn’t matter), but now I’m curious.
    Can you explain?
    Story

    Story, that's great that you were able to get those extra tiles! Care to share details about how/where you got them?
    I already explained the letters on dragon tiles, Po, Fa, and Chung, in the Mystery Tiles FAQ.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Juneteenth, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Errata error, part 2

    On Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 10:00:49 AM EDT, Amy M wrote:
    Subject: Re: New RD&WW errata dated 5/24/24
    Thank you!


    Errata error

    On Monday, June 17, 2024 at 11:40:13 AM EDT, Amy M wrote:
    Subject: New RD&WW errata dated 5/24/24
    Dear Tom,
    I've been trying to open the updated errata to RD&WW dated 5/24/24 and here's the message I get on my screen:
    404
    Not Found
    The resource requested could not be found on this server!
    It doesn't seem to be working and I'm not sure if it's just my computer or internet service. I lend out copies of your book to people that I teach and like to put a copy of the most recent errata in each copy. BTW, many of these people buy their own copy of your book too.
    Amy M
    Virus-free.www.avast.com

    Thanks for calling my attention to that, Amy! I've fixed the problem and am sending you the errata by return email. And I'm so glad to hear that your students use my book!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 17, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Two mah-jongg questions

    On Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 01:18:59 PM EDT, joanne b wrote:
    Subject: Fwd: 2 Mah jongg ??
    ---------- Original Message ----------
    From: joanne b
    To:
    Date: 06/16/2024 1:13 PM EDT
    Subject: 2 Mah jongg ??
    Amber, I have 2 questions re: MJ rules.
    1. When calling for a discarded tile, is it imparitive to say the word "call", or can I say "take" or "wait", or just indicate by raising my hand as a possible take?
    2. When only 3 people are playing a round of MJ, what is the proper tile setup? For > 20 years, I've used the 7 rows of 3 tiles as the fourth (missing)person. Six of those rows are used for 2 rounds of sequestional order, and the remaining row of 3 tiles is left for a remaining courtesy with the player across from those tiles. Is this correct?
    I would appreciate your response, as you've answered other questions I've sent to you. Thanking you in advance, JoAnne B

    Hi, JoAnne! Thanks for numbering your questions. Makes it easier for me!
    1. It's okay to use any reasonable words that declare your interest in the discard.
    2. The expected setup is the same as a 4-player table: 4 walls of 19 stacks each. But your question seems to be about the Charleston? Not the deal?

    See my conversation with Arlene T on May 25, below - it sounds like your 3-player Charleston process works like hers. My conversation with Arlene is in two parts - part 2 is above part 1 since these posts are in reverse chronological order (so the newest one is always on top).
    Column 532 describes some other non-traditional 3-player Charlestons.
    FAQ 13a describes the official 3-player process.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 16, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Can I sell all my 100+ mah-jongg sets at once or do I have to sell them piecemeal?

    On Friday, June 14, 2024 at 12:09:34 PM EDT, Henry I wrote:
    Subject: mah jongg
    Good morning,
    You may not be the appropriate person to contact, but I just found your website, so here goes.
    My wife and I have been collecting mah jongg sets and paraphernalia for over 50 years. We are currently in out late 70's, and have accumulated more than 100 sets. My college training was in music, theater, and art, and I have been a practicing architect for 50+ years. We don't like the American game, and find the old game difficult to score, so we could be described as non-players. We buy sets based on uniqueness and tile graphics. We have sets of all types of tile materials, and all types of case materials. I prefer bone and bamboo, my wife likes bakelite. We have only one bakelite enrobed set.
    We are at the age that our children are telling us that they don't want our stuff, and suggest (politely) that we divest ourselves of our collected possessions ( which, besides mah jongg sets, include vehicles, depression glass, games, musical instruments, etc.).
    Simply, I guess my question is this: are there collectors that might be interested in all of the mah jongg sets and paraphernalia we have, or do we try and sell the items piecemeal?
    Thank you for your time and patience, and I will totally understand if you choose not to respond.
    Henry

    Hi, Henry. I have the same problem. I was able to donate a few of my sets to the Strong National Museum of Play, but they only took the best and most unique sets. I'm still left with dozens of sets. And I will have the same problem with my comic book collection and my vinyl records collection when I'm ready to part with them.
    I expect you best bet is to contact Johni Levene. She's a mah-jongg collector and seller in Los Angeles, and she has 2 Facebook groups, "Mah Jongg, That's It!" and "Mah Jongg Collectors Association." The collectors group is private and hidden, but her other group is public. She's probably the best person to help you with your mah-jongg stuff. Please do not ask me to introduce you or give you contact information. I've given you all the help I can.
    Good luck!
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 14, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    1954 NMJL rules

    On Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 02:15:59 PM EDT, sharona626 wrote:
    Subject: 1954 MJ rules
    Hello,
    I was fortunate to purchase a1954 MJ card to surprise one of our ladies turning 70. We would like to play the card on our next meet up. According to the card you need 24 flowers in the set and each player is given 2 flowers to start with. Do you know if jokers are used? If so, how many? If no jokers, how does one obtain say six #2's and eight #8's on the first line?
    I believe I will have to combine 2 MJ sets especially in regard to the flower tiles.
    I have attached the 1954 card, any information on rules would be appreciated.
    Thank you!
    Sharon K
    Download all attachments as a zip file
    1954 MH card from FB 1.pdf
    501.6kB
    1954 MH card from FB 2.pdf
    488.5kB

    Hi, Sharon!
    1. There were no jokers in the deck in 1954. The 24 flowers were "wild" (they acted as jokers).
    2. You may need more than two sets! Everybody had that problem back in 1954.
    3. You should be able to find all the pertinent rules if you read the card thoroughly.
    And these links may also be helpful in your quest:
    FAQ 19-S - When were jokers introduced? Was it always eight jokers?
    FAQ 19-AI - more about the days when there were lots of flowers;
    https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq11h.html - by searching the page for "NMJL" you can find when rule changes appeared on the NMJL card...
    https://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive56.htm#history - but I collected all that info for Judy H last summer so you don't need to scour FAQ 11h;
    If you have questions about the 1954 rules that the card doesn't answer, you can just email them to me and I'll try to answer for you.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 13, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Did people used to start a game with two flowers on each rack?

    On Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 11:25:24 AM EDT, JUDY H wrote:
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I seem to remember a time when each player began each game with two flowers on their rack. I have been playing for 75 years so it was a long time ago. Am I correct?
    Thank you.
    PS If I give you a donation could you put it towards having a search function on the site? What would that cost?
    Sent from my iPad

    Yes, Judy. In the 1954 card, for instance, as Sharon K said above, there were 24 "wild" flowers in the deck, and every player started with 2 flowers in the hand.
    As for your other question, I do not know how much it would cost to hire a web designer to create a search function on my site. This bit about starting with 2 flowers in the hand was never asked before, so that particular information would not have been found on my site. Most of the time you can just use Google to find information on my site. Whatever information you're trying to find, Google can probably find it just as well as a site-specific search function. Last year when you wrote me about this (https://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive56.htm#history) I said it would cost money, but there's more to it than that. It would require me to take action myself, doing something I don't want to do (find web designers willing to help me, then coordinating with them to get the feature implemented) - I don't wanna go through all that trouble, when that's unlikely to work any better than Google anyway.
    Anytime you want to find something on my site and you can't find it using the navigation aids I've made, and Google doesn't help you, just email me your question. Okay?
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 13, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column #809, part 2

    On Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 10:06:53 AM EDT, Donna L wrote:
    Subject: Re: Column 809 Q# 1
    Sorry. I didn’t have my morning [coffee emoji] yet.
    Donna
    Sent from my iPad

    [laughter emoji]
    Tom


    Column #809

    On Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 08:01:42 AM EDT, Donna L wrote:
    Subject: Column 809 Q# 1
    2024 Hand Winds-Dragons #6 has 2 Dragon Kongs.
    Sent from my iPad

    囧 Yes, it does, Donna. But quandary #1 in column #809 shows kongs of 1B and 4B, so I don't follow. What am I missing?
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 13, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


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

    On Wednesday, June 5, 2024 at 09:56:21 AM EDT, Helene H wrote:
    Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you so much for the quick reply! I thought the rules said 2024 was the only grouping where you couldn’t use a joker. From what I read, you can exchange a joker when playing a concealed hand. So I thought why get a joker if you can’t use it? I never tried a concealed hand before. Thanks for letting me know before I tried it when playing with others.
    Helene
    Sent from my iPad

    You're welcome, Helene. I don't know what you read that misled you. Before you try playing with others, you might want to read more joker rules besides the ones on the back of the card.


    FAQ 19 link

    And you might want to get a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official NMJL rulebook. Or my book.


    Left: The League's official rulebook. Every online player should have an up-to-date copy!
    Right: And then there's my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." - It's not bad, if I do say so myself.
    The bots are depending on you to know the rules!

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Cinco de Juno, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Why wouldn't the computer let me win?

    On Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 07:32:02 PM EDT, Helene H wrote:
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: why couldn’t I pick up the seven Bam to go MahJongg?
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Helene!
    Looks to me like you've got a joker in an S&P hand. See the back of the card:

    Play safe out there! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 4, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 10

    On Monday, June 3, 2024 at 11:03:47 PM EDT, Ann K wrote:
    Subject: question about one of the 2024 consecutive run mahjongg hands
    Hello,
    Under the 6th hand under consecutive run, can i have fffff 456 333 333 (any 3 suits). In other words, do the pungs have to be in ascending order or do they just have to be consecutive numbers?
    I've just learned ...
    thank you, Ann

    Hi, Ann! The pungs have to be in consecutive order, as shown on the card. For your future reference, FAQ 16 answers the most frequently-asked questions about the 2024 NMJL card.


    FAQ 16 link

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 4, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


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

    On Monday, June 3, 2024 at 07:03:46 PM EDT, Jane S wrote:
    Subject: Mahjongg question
    When exchanging a tile for a joker can one also pick up a discarded tile from table. Or because one is to announce exchanging a joker and then draw before exchanging that is the only play that can be made.
    I would appreciate an explanation. Thanks.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Jane!
    Here's the procedure one MUST follow:
    1. To begin your turn, you can either pick from the wall OR call the current live discard and make a complete exposure from it.
    2. Then (while holding 14 tiles in your hand, counting your concealed and exposed tiles if any) you may redeem a joker. You may redeem up to 8 jokers, from any and all racks.
    3. If you don't have mah-jongg, you must discard (unless someone calls you dead and you agree that your hand is dead).
    The joker redemption procedure is explained in full in FAQ 19-M.


    FAQ 19 link


    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Is there a rule against this?

    On Friday, May 31, 2024 at 01:59:22 PM EDT, CAROL N wrote:
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    A player hovers over the tiles, at her turn , she picks a tile , names it and turns it over
    Very quickly. Thus shortening the time another player may want to call the previous tile thrown. Is this legal ? Must she “ rack it” each time?
    Please advise. Thank you
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi Carol, sorry it took me so long to reply, but I just found your email in my spam folder today.
    There is no rule that a picked tile must be racked. There is no "rule" against aggressive play, either, but the League does not support "poor sportsmanship" such as the inconsiderate behavior you describe.
    I seem to recall seeing something in an old NMJL newsletter/bulletin saying that a player should keep their hands on their side of the table until it's time to reach for the wall. "Hovering" over the wall is highly aggressive and unfriendly. She probably just wants the game to move quickly, and wishes you all acted the same way she does.
    Have you talked about this with your group? Do the other 2 players also object to her discourteous ungracious bad manners? If they don't mind her ill behavior, then you're just going to have to deal with it.
    I recently read something on Facebook about a player who got her hand slapped when she reached towards something she shouldn't, or reached too soon, or something. According to that story, the one whose hand was slapped changed her behavior.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    June 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Scoring information change

    On Friday, May 31, 2024 at 04:34:15 PM EDT, <deba... wrote:
    FAQ 19 W1: How does Payment Work?
    Hi Tom:
    I was reviewing your “FAQ 19 American Mah Jongg FAQs” and noticed that you still have the following sentence regarding payment: Complete scoring information is on the back of the card (the National Mah Jongg League card).
    I wish it was! I am wondering if you should remove that sentence in case some poor soul goes looking for it on this year’s card.
    Best,
    Deborah

    Good catch, Deborah! I'll edit that. Thanks!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 31, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Donation

    On Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at 12:27:45 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Elizabeth P
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Elizabeth P
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Elizabeth P
    Message: Thanks for all the info. Love your book and great sense of humor.
    PayPal

    Thank you very much, Elizabeth!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 29, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Looking for your opinion of my set's "sellingness"

    On Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at 01:30:17 AM EDT, david r wrote:
    Subject: Mah Jongg set query
    Hello Tom,
    Thanks for all the great information you post on the world of Mah Jongg. I have been doing some research to find info on an old set found amongst my late father's estate. I remember seeing the set in it's wooden box as a child during the 60's but since then it has been tucked away in the bottom of a large metal trunk until my father's death about 4 years ago.
    I wonder if you could confirm what the tiles are made of, and what your opinion is of the set's overall condition. Not looking for a valuation as such, but more of a gauge to this set's "sellingness", as I will list it for sale in the near future.
    I believe the set was either purchased or given to my parents as a wedding present mid 1950's - early 1960's when they had a short stint living in Fiji, and would have played the game often then, but once returning to Australia in the late 60's I believe they hardly ever played.
    I am assuming the tiles are Bakelite - they smell of chemical when hot water is poured over and the edges are more 'sharp' then rounded - and in the 60's I am sure i saw the tiles and they were more of a light butterscotch colour and the characters were coloured, now they are a solid tan/caramel colour and the characters are greyish. I am assuming its a result of oxidation? What is your opinion? I must say that I have yet to set a set on the internet that has tiles as dark as this set.
    Almost all the tiles I consider are good condition, being unblemished, even throughout in colour without marks, cracks or chips, except for some light scratching only seen when zoomed-in on a photo, and, the loss of colour (presumed) of the characters. There are about 5 tiles that have a "line" through them - if it were not for the fact it cannot be felt, the line might appear to be a crack, but these tile are solid as. The tiles are European numbered - on 5 or 6 tiles the numbers have faded altogether. Size of tiles is 29mm x 21mm x 9mm (give or take 1 mm).
    There are 148 tiles that is: 36 Dots, 36 Bams, 36 Craks, 16 Winds, 12 Dragons, 8 Flowers and 4 Blanks.
    There are 126 Chips all is good condition: consisting of 80 coloured 25mm (with 2, 4, 8 and 16 dots), and 46 brown 18mm chips plain (except for 4 having been penned with E, W, N or S). Dice are a pair of 10mm.
    The container they all come in is a nice plain old wooden lockable box with brass hinges and what looks like stainless steel handle, the key is included. There are a few scratches, but very good for its age and quite solid. The Tiles are housed within 4 compartment boxes, slightly too large for the tiles.
    I think I have used the correct terminology in this description and have included photos, so hopefully you have all the info to qualify this old set.
    Thanking you in advance,
    David



    G'day, David. I've never seen tiles this color before, and I'm not sure how good an authority I can be in this case. 囧
    You did a great job with your photos. Thank you for that. The only thing missing is pictures of the exterior of the case, and what the set looks like when you open the case. Be sure to photograph those for your sales pitch.
    Material - yes, I am pretty sure your tiles are Bakelite or Catalin (both are essentially the same chemicals; most Bakelite tiles are actually Catalin; maybe yours are actually Bakelite, not Catalin, but most people call Catalin tiles Bakelite anyway). They are an odd rusty orange color, which contrasts poorly with the faded paint. I hope you didn't damage the tiles by pouring hot water on them. I don't recommend repeating that test. You say the tiles used to be yellow (which is the normal color of those "applejuice" tiles). But it's odd that some of the tiles are painted with white details, which would have been done if the tiles were dark to begin with.
    The "cracks" you see in the plastic are caused by mixing (and not stirring) transparent and opaque plastic liquids together during the manufacturing process. Irene G sent me a couple photos of her applejuice Bakelite tiles on March 22, 2024, below (you can Search this page for "applejuice" or scroll down). And there is another email from someone asking about "olive oil" colored applejuice tiles in the Plastics FAQ.
    Your tiles are thinner than usual; Bakelite tiles are normally 11 to 13mm thick. See dimensions of different tile types in the Tile Types FAQ. It looks like the case was designed for somewhat larger tiles.
    I've never seen circular chips marked with the dots patterns typically used on bone scoring sticks. They're indicative of an "evolutionary" link between earlier bone and bamboo tiles and later plastic tiles. The brown discs not matching the colored discs with dots indicates some "Frankensteining" (incorporating bits from other sets). Unfortunately, the colored chips are not evenly divisible by 4 (note that there are only 6 of the light-green chips), which reduces the "sellingness." I have to wonder if all the chips fit in the middle tray.

    My assignment, you say, is an opinion of the set's "overall condition." That's an unusual and difficult assignment. The set is a quandary. Applejuice Bakelite tiles were normally sold in rectangular "trumpet" size cases including Bakelite racks (but maybe that's an American practice). The two types of chips, the tiny bone dice, and the mismatch between your tiles' size and the trays' size all indicate some mixing and matching. As you described the set to me, you used the condition terms "good" and "very good," but I have to assume you weren't using those terms the way those terms are used in evaluations or sales copy. When you write your sales blurb, you should take care to use standard condition nomenclature so as not to mislead potential buyers. Back to my assignment: I'd have to say that the set has some interest for collectors because of the unusual color of the tiles, but that its play value is diminished because the paint is faded. Possibly the paint discoloration is due to past cleaning attempts? It's hard to tell from photos what's going on in the nooks and crannies of your tiles. A purist might say you should not repaint the tiles, but I think they would be more pleasant for use in play if they were repainted. And I don't think the overall collection is all that "pure" anyway.
    Last point: if you offer the set for sale in the USA, you need to make clear that because there are only 148 tiles, with extremely poor odds of ever finding more (to make jokers), the set is NOT useful for playing American-style mah-jongg, and never will be.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 29, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    In a 2-player game, each player with 2 racks...

    On Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 09:26:30 PM EDT, Lior Z wrote:
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi, thanks for the guidance …
    If I play against only one other player, and we each have two racks and tiles..
    If we decide we can move tiles from each rack th=o the other in our control and “mix and match”
    Can I call and ‘disclose’different hands on the same rack (to mislead opponent in what I might be going for)
    Or am I obligated to put up each corresponding series on different rack on which it is being “built”
    Sorry if my terminology isn’t correct.. literally started yesterday.. so hope this is clear enough..
    I appreciate your time and help
    Have an awesome day..

    Hi, Lior! 囧 If you're making up your own 2-player game, you have to figure out the rules yourself (see FAQ 14). To me, moving tiles from one rack to another steps over a line... but for all I know, that's permitted in "Siamese" mah-jongg. If you're playing Siamese, then you should read the Siamese rules on mahjongg.org. Sorry that I can't be more helpful!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 28, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile? (Somebody discarded it and I want to use it to redeem a joker)

    On Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 10:50:50 AM EDT, Martin W wrote:
    Re: Question.
    If i have a pung containing say two three dots and one joker and a player discards a three dot, can it be picked up by another player to take the joker?
    Thanks, Wilma W

    No, Wilma. A discarded redeemable tile cannot be claimed for joker redemption. See FAQ 19-G.2.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 28, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Is there an advantage in only playing from one card, part 2

    On Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 01:30:25 AM EDT, Martin Walsh wrote:
    Re: Question.
    Thanks for the answer.

    You're welcome.


    Is there an advantage in only playing from one card over and over again.

    On Monday, May 27, 2024 at 11:14:45 PM EDT, Martin W wrote:
    Subject: Question.
    Is there an advantage in only playing from one card over and over again.
    Thanks W. W

    囧 Hi, W. You have to use the same card the other players at the table are using. It's customary in American mah-jongg to play the current NMJL card, as long as the majority of players at the table are not bored with it and looking to change things up. If you're playing against bots on a game app, you're free to set the game to whichever card you like best. And you can switch things up as often as you want to, for any reason whatsoever.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 27, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Are you still doing this, part 3

    On Monday, May 27, 2024 at 10:43:20 PM EDT, Maureen g wrote:
    Re: Analysis
    Hi Tom:
    You ask for an assignment. Here it is: In addition to your evaluation for value, can you possibly tell from these pictures what the set is made of, and, approximately how old it may be? Thanks, Tom.
    Maureen
    1--Contents: 5 racks, dice, an E, 152 tiles, plus case. There are no tiles missing. Nothing is chipped or cracked.
    2--The case handle works but it has unraveled. There are no paper materials. The tiles are clean and attractive except for the jokers. They appear worn. There is a smell to the set as you would expect from something kept in a hot Florida attic for decades.
    3--I presume they are made of bakelite. What do I know? You are the expert.
    4--The set came from an 80 year-old woman whose mother left it to her. The woman never used it, didn't know what to do with it, so gave it to me.
    5--Tile dimensions: 2 cm x 3 cm
    6--152 tiles
    7--There is one E
    PICTURES OF SET:
    0-40.jpg
    0-42.jpg
    0-41.jpg
    8--Container is wood coated in a brown vinyl material
    9--The brass on the case has blackened. It works.
    10--No paper materials.
    15--8 Jokers

    Maureen, you also asked for an assignment. Your assignment was to take good pictures and use standard condition nomenclature as defined in FAQ 7h. I need the standard condition terms to arrive at a valuation, so I'm translating your words into standard condition terms. You may correct me if I'm misinterpreting:
    The case: FAIR (Item is utilitarian but not attractive. All defects must be noted). It functions but it's ugly and smelly.
    The tiles: GOOD (Item is worn but reasonably attractive; any normal person would notice the defects without having to look for them. All defects must be noted.) The joker stickers are unattractive and the tiles are smelly. Maybe even FAIR. The photos do not allow me a better look at the condition.
    The racks: GOOD; the brass end pieces are oxidized. The bakelite might have some small chips and scratches.
    The extra bits: no chips, no wind indicator, and the dice may not be original to the set. FAIR.

    Value: someone anxious to get their first fixer-upper Bakelite set might pay in the high $100s for it. A collector or vendor who already has enough of this type of set in this type of broken-down case would probably not be willing to pay more than $80 or $90 for it. It needs fixing up.

    Its age: hard to tell if the stickered jokers are original to this set, or how many flowers this set originally came with. See column 509; the Flowers/Jokers table indicates it could have been made in the late forties or fifties.
    Play safe out there.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 27, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Are you still doing this, part 2

    On Monday, May 27, 2024 at 09:55:54 PM EDT, Maureen g wrote:
    Re: Analysis
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for your response. I see my question posted. I’m confused, though. Do I post the items you request on your evaluation checklist to this email or directly to the website?
    Maureen G

    By email, Maureen. There's no way to upload directly to the site. See instructions in FAQ 7h.
    Standing by...!

    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 27, Memorial Day, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Are you still doing this?

    Subject: Analysis
    On Monday, May 27, 2024 at 06:24:10 PM EDT, Maureen g wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    Love your site!
    I teach mah jongg in Miami, on the campus of the University of Miami, in private homes, in nursing homes, in country clubs and on cruise ships. I refer my students to your website as part of the lesson plans.
    It appears that you evaluate old mah jongg sets for estimated valuation. I was given a set that was found in an attic. You require information and pictures which I'm happy to send. My questions: are you still doing this? And, do you purchase these sets or can you direct me to someone in my county or state who might be interested in purchasing the sets?
    Thanks, Tom.
    Maureen G

    Hi, Maureen! So glad my articles are helpful to your students.
    1. Yes, I still do this. You can see some examples below. Sometimes people send me tiny photos and harbor unreasonably high expectations of a reasonably reliable evaluation. See FAQ 7h for my expectations re pictures and, especially, condition terminology.
    2. It's unlikely (but possible) that I might be interested in your set, since I have too many already.
    3. You can post your set for sale on my Sets For Sale bulletin board. But an auction site or app would be a better bet for you. Local charity shops might take it on consignment. See Tips For Sellers.
    Play safe out there. And (since you're looking to sell your set) may the tiles not be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 27, Memorial Day, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 1959 NMJL card, part 3

    Followup to Caryn's question from Saturday. This morning on the Facebook page "Mah Jongg, That's It!," I saw that Molly Hardy posted a photo of the 1959 card (the right panel of the card front) on Sunday. It shows the "Unlimited Flower Hands" section, using the same wording that I observed on the 1958 card.

    It says "discarded Flowers may be claimed twice, once to complete either Septette for Exposure and again for Mah Jongg." Normally, back then, since flowers were wild, the claiming of discarded flowers was subject to strict rules (see left panel of the back of the card). This sentence states an exception to those rules, just for these two-septette hands. As noted in column 509 (and on the 1959 card), there were 20 flowers in the deck that year, and no jokers.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Monday, Memorial Day, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 1959 NMJL card, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 09:34:19 PM EDT, carynh... wrote:
    Thank you!!!! I have been following you for about 22 years, I think...
    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    Wow, cool! Standing by for more information about the exact wording on that 1959 card. You've got me curious too!
    May the tiles be with you, Caryn!


    The 1959 NMJL card

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 07:36:57 PM EDT, carynh... wrote:
    My mah-jongg question is:
    On a 1959 card, what does it mean that flowerscan only be changed twice?
    Thank you.
    Playing over 52 years now. My mom made me learn.
    Caryn
    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    Hi, Caryn! I'm afraid I don't have a 1959 card. 囧
    I do have a 1958 card, though. On the front (not the back) it says a discarded flower may be claimed twice, but only for one particular hand - I didn't find anything about a flower being changed twice, as you say. You'll have to give me more information - preferably a nice crisp readable photo of the language you're questioning. I may need to see the entire back of the 1959 card, as well..
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 25, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    We have a problem with our three-person Charleston, part 3

    On Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 01:45:54 PM EDT, Arlene T wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you Tom for your great advise.
    Arlene

    You're welcome, Arlene!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 25, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    We have a problem with our three-person Charleston, part 2

    On Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 10:14:52 AM EDT, Arlene T wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    We stack the empty seat with 7- rows of three. One person will take the first right from the stacked, then over, from person sitting across, and so on with each of us getting 2 - stackes of three each leaving the last 3 tiles for the across person to do her option which most take 3, which she is getting three BRAN NEW tiles, with the possibility of getting a joker. Which isn’t fair to the other two people playing. I hope I explained it correctly.
    Thank You Tom
    Arlene

    On Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 11:34:02 AM EDT, Arlene T wrote:
    Mah Jongg
    Hi Tom:
    Regarding my latest message. Second position has the advantage.
    Thank You
    Arlene

    囧 Aw geez, Arlene, I wasn't seriously offering to help you guys fix your made-up rule! But I suppose it's poor sportsmanship not to play along...

    1. If the 7th stack of 3 tiles is a problem, why not just eliminate it? Just deal 6 stacks to the empty seat, and then skip the courtesy pass entirely? I'm sure you know that the official rule is to skip the Charleston altogether. It shouldn't be as big a deal to just skip the courtesy pass.
    2. If the problem is that the player seated opposite the empty seat gets the advantage every. single. game, then you can shift seats after every hand; like, say, keeping the empty seat always at East's right. Not only the dice move, but the empty seat also moves (in effect). That way the 7th-stack advantage gets passed around the table equally.

    When there are only 3 people playing, each player gets more picks from the wall, which is why skipping the Charleston actually works well for 3 players. When the 3-player Charleston has you stepping on each other's feet, you could consider skipping it altogether. Have you tried the other 3P Charleston techniques I mentioned in column 532? I never heard of your seven-stack method before, and the ones I had heard of never seemed to have this unfairness problem your method has.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 25, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    We have a problem with our three-person Charleston

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 04:22:27 AM EDT, Arlene T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    When we play with 3 and still do the Charleston, the player opposite the empty seat gets 3 unseen tiles when she does the option part of the Charleston which is unfair to the other players. How do we solve this.
    Thank you
    Arlene

    Hi, Arlene!
    I don't know how your three-person Charleston rules work. I mean, doesn't somebody get tiles from the empty seat on every pass? Why would that happen only on the courtesy pass? I played with a group that insisted on dancing the Charleston when there were only three of us, and the result was that sometimes somebody might get a joker from the empty seat. All kinds of weird things happen when you make up your own table rules. I couldn't possibly help you with your special 3-person Charleston unless you first tell me in exact detail how it works, step by step, and even then somebody in your group might find something to object to in my solution. Your group has to either live with the unfairness, or find a way to fix it yourselves, or skip the Charleston when there are only 3 players.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 25, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 9

    On Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 10:02:57 AM EDT, David M wrote:
    2024 card question
    Just found your board - thank you for maintaining this resource. I tried to look and find the answer to my question so if you have already answered please let me know.
    On consecutive run, 4th down - any two suites, any 3 consecutive numbers. Do the consecutive numbers need to be the same in the two suites? Or, can they be different? The card shows an example of them being the same but could you have 1 22 3333 in dots and 5 66 7777 in cracks?
    David M

    Hi, David! The numbers absolutely have to match. The parenthetical says "3 numbers," not six. See FAQ 16 (all the frequently asked questions about the 2024 NMJL card).


    FAQ 19 link

    See the color-coded symbols on the card - they show an example of what three consecutive numbers looks like if they start with the number one. If your three consecutive numbers start with 5, it would look like this: 5 66 7777 5 66 7777.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 22, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I would love to read that column, part 5

    On Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 12:27:31 PM EDT, HEIDI P wrote:
    Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Heidi P
    Hi Tom,
    How kind of Ray to take the time to translate and respond, and for you to alert me to posting of his translation (I very nearly did shout, but only with joy!). Many thanks to you both!

    Have a great day, Heidi!


    I would love to read that column, part 4

    On Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 10:56:36 AM EDT, Ray Heaton wrote:
    Heidi P's flowers
    Hi Tom, after a long hiatus from Mahjong I had another look today at your site and saw Heidi's flowers. These say
    青山不老,綠水長流 qīngshān-bùlǎo, lǜshuǐ-chángliú
    which means something like, "The blue mountains do not grow old; the green waters flow forever".
    Ray

    Wonderful, Ray! Thank you.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 21, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Two Questions

    On Friday, May 17, 2024 at 06:56:31 PM EDT, Joanne M wrote:
    Two Questions
    1. A player called for a tile, discarded , but never exposed her tiles on the top of her rack. What happens next?
    2. A player never picked a tile from the wall to open the window of opportunity. Instead, she simply discarded a flower. Two players claimed the flower for mah jongg. Does mah jongg trump all?
    Thanks for helping me out, once again. Your website is great!
    Joanne M

    Hi, Joanne!
    1. The player's hand is dead. Discarding before completing the play sealed her fate.
    2. Only one player can win. The player first in turn (counterclockwise) from the discarder wins. The thing you said about the discarder's error doesn't matter at this point, since someone has won. Discarder pays the winner double, other non-winners pay the winner single value.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 17, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I would love to read that column, part 3

    On Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 09:14:45 PM EDT, HEIDI P wrote:
    Re: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Heidi P
    My pleasure and thanks again! These are the flowers in my set...I think beautifully carved. I have no idea what they "mean," but lovely nonetheless.

    Yes, very nice!
    Tom


    I would love to read that column, part 2

    On Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 08:44:50 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Heidi P
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Heidi P.
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Heidi Pate
    Message: Thanks so much for sending me the link to updated "all about flowers" FAQ. I really appreciate your research and expertise. Best regard and may the jokers be with you! Heidi
    PayPal

    Thanks, Heidi!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 16, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I would love to read that column on flowers

    On Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 07:30:58 PM EDT, HEIDI P wrote:
    Column on flower tile varieties
    Hello Mr. Sloper,
    I have an old MJ set gifted to me by a friend (a non-player of course!), which I've gently cleaned and truly love. It is all intact, complete, and in beautiful shape.
    I was delighted to see your FAQ7b, this bullet in particular, because it sounds nearly exactly like my set (1 bams are identical to those in your photo below). And the box is just like this in column 610.

  • The particular type of peacock shown above indicates that this set was made in Shanghai, in the 1920s (or possibly as late as the 1930s). Other types of One Bams give clues as to where a particular set was made.

    (My question):
    A couple of bullets previous (cut/pasted below), you mention a column you wrote on flowers, but the hyperlink is broken. I would love to read the column if you care to reprint it. ??

    Flowers come in bewildering varieties and are used in many different ways. One of these days I ought to reprint the column I wrote in the AMJA Newsletter about flower tiles.

    Thanks for helping determine relative age of my set.
    Best regards,
    Heidi

    Hi, Heidi! I've deleted that broken reference in FAQ7b and replaced it with a link to FAQ 7e-F, all about the varieties of Flower tiles in mah-jongg sets. It covers everything that was in that old AMJA article and much, much more.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 16, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 8

    On Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 10:08:18 AM EDT, Beverly D wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Pertains to first game under 2024
    On the first line it says any two suits.
    does the first set of twos have to match the zero. So if you use green twos do you show green bams or soaps?
    I played bams for the first set group of twos My 0 were soaps. The remaining two groups were all cracks. I was told I was wrong.
    Thank you. Been trying it on real mahjong but the tiles won’t cooperate.
    Thank you. Beverly.
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Beverly!
    The first pung of twos does not have to match the zeroes, and zeroes are made from white dragons (soaps) ONLY. You were told wrong; you can make 2Bs and soaps and craks for the rest - that's one of several allowable combinations for that hand. See FAQ 16 and FAQ 19-BY.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 16, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What's the Cantonese term for calculating the points?

    On Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 04:33:12 PM EDT, JooFang J wrote:
    Non winning players needs to calculate their points to pay other non winning players
    I play Malaysian Mahjong (assume with its own house rules its different from HK version) and I am trying to re-fresh my knowledge to teach my friends.
    Perhaps yourself or your Cantonese speaking mahjong partner/ blogger in crime, Vincent Cheah could assist.
    After a game ends, the non-winning players will need to conclude on (calculate) their own points based on the exposed tiles. I am trying to find the words used (in Cantonese) for calculating the points.
    Is it referred to as "Kai Wu Mei"?
    Thanks
    -cindy

    Hi, Cindy! I haven't been in touch with Vincent for many years. I don't have his email address. But a couple of books in my mah-jongg library sprinkle some Cantonese terms throughout:
    ● The Book of MahJong, by Amy Lo
    ● The Chinese Game of Mahjong, by Samuel K. Perlmen and Mark Kai-Chi Chan
    But those books don't cover the Classical counting of each player's points - rather, they describe the Cantonese/HK method of scoring, in which only the winner is paid. And those books, being written in English, do not provide the Cantonese term for "settling up." I did try looking through them to find the term for you, but came up empty. Sorry! 囧
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 15, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 7

    On Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 07:32:05 PM EDT, Lynn C wrote:
    CR/4 Question
    Question regarding
    CR/4: consecutive single, pair, kong in two suits
    Does each suit have to have matching numbers or could you do: 1 22 3333 6 77 8888?
    Thanks! Lynn
    Lynn C
    Certified Mahjong Instructor

    囧 Sorry I didn't find your email sooner, Lynn. It wound up in my spam folder for some unknown reason. (-_-)
    The numbers have to match. The parenthetical says you can use only three consecutive numbers (not three and then another three not following consecutively from the first three). And the color-coded symbols show an example of what three consecutive numbers looks like if your run starts with the number one.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 13, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    About FAQ 19-AF, part 2

    On Sunday, May 12, 2024 at 12:12:09 PM EDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Re: Hello
    OK super and thanks Tom!

    My goal is to stay correct with the rules of the League. I don't make corrections based on hearsay, but I do make corrections when I can see a citable ruling in writing.
    Tom


    About FAQ 19-AF...

    On Sunday, May 12, 2024 at 11:08:46 AM EDT, Debbie Barnett wrote:
    Hello
    Hi Tom,
    Hope all is well with you. Someone asked me about a post they were following on FB where you were quoted using the below from Sloperama. I'm not sure if you made corrections to this since however, I do have it confirmed in writing by Joy Chimerine (see attached) from the League in February that, you can only amend the number of tiles in an exposure i.e. pung to kong, kong to quint and not the type of tile. I also called her this past Tuesday to be absolutely sure since it appears most people do not know this and before I put this out there, I wanted to be 100% sure.
    Can you please let me know your thoughts on this? Thanks Tom!

    Q: Can I add to an exposure later?
    A: Not after initially exposing and discarding, no. The time to add to (or subtract from) an exposure is before you redeem a joker or discard. Don't stop reading yet.

    Q: So you're saying I can make changes to my exposure if I haven't discarded yet?
    A: Yes. As I just said, the time to add to (or subtract from) an exposure is before you discard. For instance, if you claim a flower to make a kong, and you accidentally add a joker to it (making it a quint) and your targeted hand requires a kong, you can take the joker back - as long as you do it before you do anything else, like redeeming a joker or discarding.

    Likewise, if you make an error exposing the wrong tiles and you need to change it to expose the correct tiles, you can do that as long as you do it before doing anything else, like redeeming a joker or discarding.

    --
    Kind Regards,
    Debbie Barnett
    Director of Operations, MahjCon
    Creator/Owner, School of American Mah Jongg
    Author, Unlocking the Secrets of American Mah Jongg
    www.mahjcon.com
    www.mahjongteacher.com
    Letter re changing an exposure.jpg
    800.9kB

    Hi, Debbie! The League sets the rules, so I will change that FAQ (FAQ 19-AF).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 12, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Should we pay double-double for concealed hands?

    On Friday, May 10, 2024 at 12:53:59 PM EDT, Heidi B wrote:
    We play for quarters! :)
    So we pay up when we lose. We pay double if you discard the Mahjong-ing tile. We pay double if its a self picked tile. We pay double-double when the Mahjong is Jokerless.
    Our question is this: Should we be paying double-double when the Mahjong is a C? We are asking because ALL closed mahjong are jockerless!
    Thank you!! Your help will be appreciated!

    Hi, Heidi!
    Concealed hands are scored as shown on the card. And not all concealed hands are necessarily jokerless. See 2024 #4, for instance. Jokers can be used in the East-West pungs. That hand is worth 30 cents. It's just double 30 for the discarder, or double 30 for everyone if it's self-picked. The extra "C" points are built in. That hand CAN be double-double for jokerless. Same goes for 2468 #6, Consec #8, 13579 #7, W-D #7, and 369 #7.
    Singles & Pairs #1 is 5 pairs and 4 singles, valued at 50 cents. It's double 50 for the discarder, or double 50 for everyone if self-picked. The extra "S&P" (necessarily "C" by default) points are built in. Hands in S&P can NEVER be scored extra for jokerless.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 10, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Why are American walls 19 tiles long?

    On Friday, May 10, 2024 at 11:11:39 AM EDT, empress wrote:
    Wall question
    Greetings,
    Why does American mah-jongg build a wall of 19 tiles in front of each player? Why the 19? I researched about the 19 x 4 making the 152 tiles for American mah-jongg play, but why 19… What is the symbolism? What is the reason? Or is it simply because 152 tiles divided by four players is 19?
    Thank you!
    Kris
    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Hi, Kris!
    It's simply because there are 152 tiles in the American set. 152/4=38/2=19.
    In most variants around the world, 144 tiles are used. 144/4=36/2=18. There's no symbolic reason that I know of for 18-tile-long walls in most variants.*
    In Japan, they don't use flowers, so 136 tiles are used. 136/4=34/2=17. They just want the 4 walls (playing on square tables) to be equal length. No symbolic reason.
    When American mah-jongg was started in 1937, there were 144 tiles in the set, so the walls were 18 tiles long then. As they added tiles, walls got longer. Pure and simple. If any mah-jongg culture has a symbolic/numerological reason for doing things, it's the Chinese, not the American.
    *I've heard (and you may have, as well, since you ask this) that there is a symbolic reason in Chinese numerology for the 108 tiles used in the 3 suits (4x9=36x3=108). I don't know if that also explains why the fourth tray in Chinese sets also contains 36 tiles, but once you have 144 tiles and you want four equal-length walls, two tiles high (because bone and bamboo tiles don't stack nicely higher than 2), then you get 18-tile walls. If there's some Chinese numerological correlation with the number 18, it may be coincidence. For all I know.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 10, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 6

    On Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 11:17:56 AM EDT, Janet M wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thanks!
    Sent from my iPhone

    You're welcome, Janet.


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 5

    On Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 10:41:21 AM EDT, Janet M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    369
    4th hand down on card:
    333 DDDD 333 DDD (Any two suits, pungs, 3, 6, or 9 w matching dragons)
    The way it’s written, we thought it is ambiguous as to whether the numbers must also match each other. See below the hand that we questioned. Thank you.
    I.e :
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Janet!
    As I told Pamela Rose N on April 16 (below), you're supposed to have like pungs of 3, 6 or 9. The color-coded symbols are key here. You've put too much emphasis on the absence of a word in the parenthetical, when the color-coded symbols "333" and "333" clearly indicate that the pungs are supposed to match.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 9, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I hear you might be the one with the flowers/jokers chart?

    On Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 07:11:21 AM EDT, Barbara W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Do you have a link to the complete list of the # of tiles- particularly flowers- by year that the NMJL mah-jongg league rules used ? I have a printed version but it doesn’t acknowledge or credit the author. Thank you for your help and support. Barbara W
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Barbara! Yes, my Flowers/Jokers chart is from column #509.

    1937-1942 8F
    1943 12F
    1944-45 14F
    1946 16F
    1947-48 18F
    1949 20F
    1950-55 24F
    1956-57 22F
    1958-60 20F
    1960-62 14F/2J
    1962-66 12F/4J
    1966-67 8F/6J
    1967-68 10F/6J
    1968-71 6F/8J
    1971-Present 8F/8J
    by Tom Sloper

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 9, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    You are so patient!

    Monique Kaye B
    Facebook
    3 mutual friends including John Davis and Barney Gallassio
    Self-Employed at Successfully Speaking
    Tue 11:05?PM
    You are so patients with the questions. I read the basic book and the information is there. Have a scotch
    If you reply, Monique Kaye B will also be able to call you and see info like your Active Status and when you've read messages. Block Delete

    Thanks, Monique, but I'm more of a Pinot Noir guy. (^_^)
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 8, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Can you date a pre 1900 Mahjong set

    On Saturday, May 4, 2024 at 06:18:03 PM EDT, trishthetraveller wrote:
    Can you date a pre 1900 Mahjong set from China... not an expert set?
    Hi,
    Before I do all the forms I wanted to know if you have the experience or know anyone who can date a bamboo bone set from Western China.
    It is not comparable to the sets described on the website.
    No simplified characters, no Arabic, no flower tiles or white dragons but complete.
    Beautiful dovetails, signs of ancient or very old worm damage on the bone and bamboo.
    Box is hand made dovetailed in well worn condition.
    I purchased it at a farmers market in china in 1995 directly from the farmer who wanted a new plastic set. Some pieces have been replaced with newer bone bamboo tiles. The colour on the bone has yellowed, has signs of use, touch.
    It is older than the American sets described or well used and I would like to date it. The farmer said it was very old. He was selling his veg and not a dealer. He had nothing else but veg and no other mahjong sets. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to sell it because I didn't want to take a family set but he insisted. I'm very well travelled and felt he was legitimate.
    Regards Tricia

    Hi, Tricia,
    Yes, I believe I can tell if a set might be pre-1900s. Have you seen FAQ 11-E, information about pre-1900s sets? In my opinion, the pictures will be more of a challenge for you than the info requested in FAQ 7-G. I'll need good pix.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May the Fourth be with you, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Donation

    On Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 01:21:04 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Deborah F
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Deborah F
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Deborah F
    Message: Happy to make a donation. I very much appreciate your Mah Jongg site.
    PayPal

    Thank you very much, Deborah!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 2, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Need a dictionary of all your abbreviations

    On Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 12:31:27 PM EDT, Deborah F wrote:
    New to Mah Jongg
    Well, relatively. I’ve been playing long enough to have my second card and have just started reading your column. I get confused by all the abbreviations could you post a list of what they all are in one place? Thanks so much for trying to clarify Mah Jongg! Deborah
    Sent from home

    Hi, Deborah!
    Abbreviations from my columns? You mean, like 1D or 1B or 1C? Those mean 1 Dot, 1 Bam, 1 Crak. F means Flower, D means Dragon, and of course N,E,W, and S stand for North, East, West, and South. Or do you mean the abbreviations I use for sections of the NMJL card? S&P means "Singles & Pairs", and W-D means "Winds - Dragons." "Evens" means the 2468 section, and Odds means the 13579 section. "Consec" means "Consecutive Run." If I haven't explained an abbreviation that's confusing to you, just let me know what it is. I want the column to be useful for you!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 2, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Q about the timing of joker exchanges

    On Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 11:31:18 PM EDT, Ana T wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Today while playing the person next to me threw a tile.6 crack. I had 2 6 crack but no jokers. My hand required 4 of 6 crack. I did have an 8 dot that was exposed by someone else with a joker. Can I take the joker with the 8 dot then take and expose the 6 crack with the joker, my 2 6 cracks and the thrown 6. I never drew.
    Thanks so much.
    Ana
    Sent from my iPad

    No, you can't, Ana. The rule is that a joker redemption cannot take place until a player is holding 14 tiles. That means first you have to pick a tile from the wall (or claim a discard and make a complete exposure with it) before you can replace a joker. See FAQ 19-M.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May 2, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I need Jokers!

    On Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 12:21:06 PM EDT, Anne D wrote:
    Trying to find matching color (esp Joker) tiles
    > Hello,
    > I have a lovely older Mahjong set that is complete except that it only has two Joker tiles — the previous owner added some flower tiles from another set that are noticeably darker (see below) to be additional jokers.
    > I am trying to find more of the joker tiles on the far left that match. I am also willing to use stickers, but if I use stickers I would like to find more spare tiles that are of the lighter color, as the darker tiles are noticeably different and will be obvious to the player that they are being used as jokers.
    > Would you be able to help? I currently have 4 tiles in the lighter color that can be used as jokers (#1 and 2 and 6-7 from the left in the line below) so would like to find/purchase at least 4 more.
    > Many thanks,
    > Annie
    > Sent from Annie's iPhone

    Lots of luck, Annie! I have some resources for you here.

  • FAQ 7R is the "I need Jokers!" FAQ (frequently-asked question).
  • The "Tiles For Sale" Bulletin Board lists posts from people who have loose tiles for sale.
  • The "Tiles Wanted" Bulletin Board is for people to post their tile wants.*
  • FAQ 4a Links to Mah-jongg vendors who sell Joker stickers (but not loose tiles), and links to other excellent mah-jongg websites where you can do more research in your quest.
  • FAQ 7T discusses ways to make your own Joker stickers.
  • FAQ 7Q discusses the difficult matter of blank tiles.

    Note: On the Tiles Wanted bulletin board, read everything at the top -- there is information there about other sources for replacement tiles. Same on the Tiles For Sale board. Check out the links.

    * I wasn't sure you wanted your last name and email address made public, so I haven't posted your request on the Tiles Wanted board. If you want that, you'll need to provide dimensions of the tiles. See other posts on that board for examples.
    May the tiles be with you... Literally!
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    May Day, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Reverse joker redemption

    On Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 01:33:13 PM EDT, Louise D wrote:
    REVERSE JOKER EXCHANGE
    Hi Tom
    I saw this on Facebook today about Reverse Joker Exchange.
    It said "there is no joker exchange when a player takes a joker and exchanges it for a natural tile. This is not allowed"
    It was confusing. Did they mean you can't take a joker that was discarded (I know you can't to that) and exchange it for a natural tile? Because I'm sure you can take a joker from someone's hand, even your own, and replace it with a natural tile that you've picked from the wall.
    Lou

    Hi, Lou!
    I see it as part of my "job" (here on this site, anyway) to interpret the official rules of the National Mah Jongg League. I don't see it as part of my job to interpret the words of random people on Facebook. With that proviso, let's try adding some words to the FB post:

    There is no joker exchange [in which] a player takes a joker [from the sloping front of their own rack] and exchanges it for a natural tile [sitting atop someone's rack].

    That works now, does it not? As for your own last sentence, you have put the cart before the horse. This should fix it:

    I'm sure you can take a joker from [the exposed part of] someone's hand, even your own, [AFTER you have first serendipitously] picked [a suitable redeemable tile] from the wall.

    I think the FB poster used the word "take" in a way that misled you. I try to be very careful with my use of words, but I often mess up. Anyway, you can verify the rule if you see FAQ 19-AL.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 30, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Changing teacher info, part 2

    On Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 12:27:23 PM EDT, Giselle G wrote:
    Re: Changing teacher info
    Thank You!!!

    You're welcome, Giselle!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Charleston Q

    On Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 12:22:45 PM EDT, RICHARD A wrote:
    Mah Jongg
    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad ?During the Charleston what is the last pass that still gives me the chance to get a tile back that I passed earlier?

    Hi, Richard! I never thought about that before, but now that I do... I don't see why you couldn't get back one of your tiles during the optional/Courtesy exchange. Your opposite could have kept a tile you passed (could have gotten it from you or from another player) until then.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 2, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column #802

    On Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 11:51:34 AM EDT, Elaine G wrote:
    Column #802
    Hi,
    In reference to Column #802 and Consec #7, it seems to me that YEAR #1 should be included in the list of hands that can be confused for Consec #7. If the player has exposed 3 twos and 4 fours in two suits, you must consider in your defense that they might be playing YEAR #1, also.
    Do you agree?
    Elaine G
    Virus-free.www.avast.com

    囧 Yes! Very good, Elaine!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 30, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Changing teacher info

    On Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 10:55:18 AM EDT, Giselle Gibbs <mahjonggplay@gmail.com> wrote:
    Changing teacher info
    Hi!
    I'm in your directory under Connecticut
    and have a new email address
    mahjonggplay@gmail.com
    and under details please take out Greenwich Adult Continuing Education and website
    Thank you
    Giselle Gibbs
    Greenwich, Connecticut (Fairfield/WestchesterCounty)
    mahjonggplay@gmail.com
    203-536-2723

    The change is made, Giselle!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 30, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column 805

    On Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 12:49:01 AM EDT, SUSAN E wrote:
    Column 805
    Hi Tom,
    In example #2 , I was thinking there is 7 towards S&P #1 as well. I would pass 1C, a wind and 5C. I also don't like to pass two winds in the same pass.
    Thanks,
    Susie

    囧 That's a good thought, Susie!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 30, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Question about a KFC set, part 2

    On Monday, April 29, 2024 at 07:43:26 PM EDT, Brian B wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you so much!!! Sorry for the missing information in the question. Yes, she plays American mah-jongg, so it definitely wouldn't work sans Jokers! I took your advice and looked on CHarli's Museum and, based on what I saw there, (unfortunately) came to a similar conclusion.
    Thanks again for all your help, and I look forward to spending more time getting familiar with your site!
    -Brian

    You're welcome, Brian.


    Question about a KFC set, part 2

    On Monday, April 29, 2024 at 06:57:47 PM EDT, Brian B wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Additional pictures from the set - I did not want to chance the message not getting through due to the size of the attachments.
    Thanks again,
    Brian

    You sent me that while I was writing my response to the first question! I didn't need more photos, to tell you that it's an un-American mah-jongg set. (I only needed the one that I posted.) I could have used a narrower question, but maybe I've already told you what you needed to know? As before, see FAQ 7a.
    Tom


    Question about a KFC set

    On Monday, April 29, 2024 at 06:49:59 PM EDT, Brian B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Quick question (I hope!) about a Kwong Fat Cheung set :-)
    Hi, there! I am not sure if you are still answering questions/posting them on your site, but I hoped that you might be able to assist me with figuring out exactly what this might be. My wife was very interested in this set, but I want to make sure that I have a better understanding as to what it might be before driving a few hours and picking it up for her for our anniversary.
    Thank you very much,
    Brian B

    Hi, Brian! I'm fairly certain that you are already aware that it is, in fact, a mah-jongg set. I don't know exactly what it is you're asking me. But I think you need to find out if your wife plays American mah-jongg. Because if she plays American rules, that set won't work, since it has no jokers (and not enough extra tiles to make 8 jokers). Or, trying to see behind the question: If your wife doesn't play yet, and if she has American friends who play, and you are contemplating buying it so she can learn American mah-jongg on it, an American-style set would be more useful for her. See FAQ 7a.
    What else can I tell you...
    That set was old in 2021 when that photo was taken. ... Not antique old (it looks like it was more than 30 years old in 2021). Looks like the photo was taken in a collectibles shop, or a shop that sells old stuff, including toys and games. And I hope they aren't asking more than around $70 or $80 for it.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 29, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 4

    On Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 12:36:01 PM EDT, Carol Ann R wrote:
    Mahjongg question
    In last hand of Winds, is 'EW' a true pair? Can I call the 'W' for mahjong Can I call it at any time.
    Virus-free.www.avg.com

    Hi, Carol Ann!

    CAR: is 'EW' a true pair?
    TAS: No.

    CAR: Can I call the 'W' for mahjong
    TAS: Yes.

    CAR: Can I call it at any time.
    TAS: No. See FAQ 19-E1.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 27, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Confusing "conflicting claim" rules

    On Friday, April 26, 2024 at 10:56:48 AM EDT, Beth C wrote:
    Rules #5 and #6 under Claiming a discard
    Tom,
    Please explain the two new rules (#5, #6) under Claiming a Discard.
    #5. When two players want the same tile for Exposure, player next in turn for discard has preference except when other caller has exposed tile(s).
    #6. When two players want the same tile for Mac Jongg, player next in turn to discarder has preference, except when other caller has exposed tiles(s).
    My question is regarding #6: If I am playing a closed hand, and I call a tile for Mah Jongg, but another person, who has exposed tiles, also calls it for Mah Jongg, the player with exposed tiles gets the tile for Mah Jongg. Is this correct? If so, do you know why these rules were added?
    Thanks in advance.
    Beth C.

    Hi, Beth!
    You're talking about the rules on the back of the card (left panel, bottom). The word "prior" is not in either of those rules. Both rules are talking about actions that occur entirely during the conflicting-claims situation. Let me paint a picture for #6:

    0. No exposures are atop anyone's racks.
    1. Player A throws out a tile and says its name.
    2. Player C realizes this is a tile she needs for mah-jongg.
    3. Player C speaks: "Mah-jongg!"
    4. Player C starts to expose tiles from her hand, moving them to the top of the rack. Or she takes the discard and puts it atop her rack.
    5. Player B looks up from her tiles and speaks: "Wait, I'm next in line, and that's MY mah-jongg!"
    6. Player B is too late. Player C wins.

    I imagine the reason for the rule is so that a player who's paying attention, and acts, doesn't have the rug pulled out from under her when a daydreamer or indecisive player realizes after the move that the tile was one she needed too.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 26, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Sloperama support-a-rama

    On Friday, April 26, 2024 at 11:42:05 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    stelx@ sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
    You were sent $50.00 USD from stelx@...
    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 Apr 26, 2024 08:41:55 PDT
    Buyer information
    Stella E
    Instructions from buyer
    None provided
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $50.00 USD 1 $50.00 USD
    Total: $50.00 USD
    PayPal

    Wow! Thank you, Stella!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 26, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column 804

    On Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 07:07:11 PM EDT, deba... wrote:
    Column 804 #1 First Across WWYP
    Hi Tom:
    I finally had a chance to read your latest column. Looking at #1 (First Across. WWYP?) I counted 5 tiles towards W-D #5 (7B, 8B, 8B, 9B and W) and only 4 towards Any Like. Since this is relatively early in the Charleston when Winds are often passed around, I would keep W and pass 5D, 8D and 9C. Did you reject this option because the hand is missing the pair of 7Bs and 9Bs? The Consecutive option is still in play.
    Thanks for the quandaries; they are so helpful in becoming familiar with the card.
    Best,
    Deborah

    Hi, Deborah!
    The absence of the pairs is a huge reason to avoid W-D #5 when holding four jokers. It has happened plenty of times that someone holding jokers couldn't win because their pairs never came in.
    But I like your thought about winds going around. Still, better to target W-D #3, in which case one might want to hang onto 9C.
    Good comments! Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    4/24/24
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Please tell me the death challenge rules

    On Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at 05:35:42 PM EDT, Caryn P wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: please can you tell me the rules about calling someone dead or challenging another persons hand. Thank you.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Caryn! The death challenge ruels are described in FAQ 19. See FAQ 19-AA for starters ("What are the Death Challenge rules?"), and see also FAQ19-AB ("Called me dead but I'm not. What now?") and AC ("Can I call myself dead?") and CK ("I was called dead. Now what?"). It'll all be clear when you click that link.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 23, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column 803

    On Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at 08:22:05 AM EDT, Susan L wrote:
    803
    Dear Tom,
    I am just getting familiar with your website and I stumbled upon this set of practices for the new card. This will be my second card as I’m a newer player. I found it quite helpful. In just a few minutes I added a few more neurological synapse connections in the mahjong center of my brain. That part of my brain has been lighting up a lot lately as I love this card.
    Thanks a lot.
    Susan from Gaithersburg MD.

    Glad you found it helpful, Susan!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    4/23/24
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What if 2 players go dead in a 3-player game?

    On Monday, April 22, 2024 at 06:34:02 PM EDT, Sheila S wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: when playing three handed mahjong if two players go dead does the third player win if their hand is intact? the other two players pay him correct?

    Hi, Sheila!
    It depends on how the two players went dead. See FAQ 19-BW. The rule talks about 3 players going dead in a 4-player game, but the rule also applies to 2 players going dead in a 3-player game.
    Basically, it comes down to whether or not someone is responsible for the situation.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Earth Day (4/22), 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    A player mahjed but realized they had 15 tiles

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, April 22, 2024 at 05:06:09 PM EDT, Fran B wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: hi ! If a player declares mahjong puts their entire hand up on rack then sees they have an extra tile , I know they are dead but what tiles remain up on rack and which go back . They had 3 winds up and no jokers.
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Fran!
    All the tiles go back to the sloping front of the dead player's rack. See FAQ 19-CK.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Earth Day, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I was given mah-jongg, part 2

    On Sunday, April 21, 2024 at 12:27:33 PM EDT, Donald B. S wrote:
    Mahjongg during the Charleston
    On April 11, 2024, you answered a question dealing with the payout for getting a mahjongg during the Charleston optional pass. You called it an Earthly Hand.
    As extremely rare as that might be, I'm sure it's happened more than once. What if you're the dealer (having 14 tiles), and you deal yourself a Mahjongg or you get it after the first pass. I'm guessing you'd have to give it up since the obligatory part of the Charleston hasn't been completed yet. Is that correct?

    Hi, Donald!
    You've asked about two scenarios: (1) dealer having a complete hand before the first pass and (2) dealer having a complete hand after the first pass.
    1. As I wrote in column 666, having a complete hand after the deal and before the Charleston is "Heavenly Hand." Dealer declares win immediately. No Charleston will occur. Everybody pays dealer double for self-pick.
    2. Also covered in column 666. You are correct, the dealer MUST pass three tiles across. Then is allowed to blind-pass left, stop the Charleston if desired, pass as few as desired in the Courtesy, and so on.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 21, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Player A said mahj, part 2

    On Friday, April 19, 2024 at 02:07:25 PM EDT, wendyot32 wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Hi .. and thanks for your response .. another question
    if a player who has one exposure up calls a tile for mah jong is the player that threw the tile penalized ? what about if the player has 2 exposures ? Sent from my iPhone

    Hi again, wendyot!

    W: if a player who has one exposure up calls a tile for mah jong is the player that threw the tile penalized ?
    T: The discarder pays double. See FAQ 19-Y.

    W: what about if the player has 2 exposures ?
    T: The discarder pays double.

    I recommend you get a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL - or my book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." - It's not bad, if I do say so myself. Every table should have an up-to-date copy of the official rules.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 19, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Player A said mahj, and player B put up their own tiles for the obligatory post-loss kvetch. But then ... !

    On Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 10:38:55 PM EDT, wendyot32 wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If player A calls a tile for mah jong and only exposes the called tile and tiles from their rack to complete only that exposure then realizes they don’t have mah jong , I believe that player A can continue to play as long as they can still get a mah jong using that exposure.
    So now let’s say that when player A called for mah jong player B started to expose their tiles from their rack. Are both players now considered dead .. or does player A continue playing while player B is considered dead ?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, wendyot!
    Your belief is correct, as I told Fran B earlier today (below).
    As for your second scenario, Player A is not dead for something player B did. I gather you're saying player B threw in their hand (starting the usual kvetching period after another player has declared mah-jongg, putting up their tiles to show what they didn't win on)? Player B is dead for sure - they should have verified mah-jongg before destroying their own hand. See FAQ 19-BW Rule (b).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 18, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What's the timing for claiming a discarded redeemable tile?

    On Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 03:41:24 PM EDT, Coleen C wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    MAHJONG QUESTION: Player #3 has (3) 1 bams with a joker in middle-racked/exposed.
    Player #1: Took turn & discarded a 1 bam.
    Player #3 called immediately for discarded 1 bam to replace her joker.
    Does player #2 have to play first before discarded 1 bam is called (by anyone)?
    Thank you,
    Coleen C
    New York

    Hi, Coleen! Player 3's play was illegal. Once a redeemable tile has been discarded, it can only be taken to create a new set for exposure or mah-jongg. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker. See FAQ 19-G2.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 18, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    FAQ 19 link


    A player said mahj on a discard, but then...

    On Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 01:05:14 PM EDT, Fran B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    This has come up and I can’t find the entire answer. If a player picks a discard and calls mahjong and puts the tile on their rack exposed with other tiles from their hand , but only the tiles in that part (not their entire hand is put up .) then they see they do not have mahjong . No other player exposed their hand at this point . Are they dead?or can they continue as long as they use the tiles that were exposed ?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Fran! Since they have not exposed any other part of the hand but the one exposure, the player may discard and continue playing. The new exposure must remain atop the rack.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 18, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 3

    On Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 06:49:22 PM EDT, Pamela Rose N wrote:
    369
    333 DDDD 333 DDDD
    it says that the pungs and dragons need to match, but not that the pungs need to be like numbers.
    In other hands it does specify that they need to be like pungs (eg FF 3 66 999 333 333 [like pungs 3,6, or 9]
    Thanks Pam
    Pamela N

    Hi, Pamela! The way I read the parenthetical for 369 #4, "(Any 2 Suits, Pungs 3, 6 or 9 w Matching Dragons)", you're supposed to have like pungs of 3, 6 or 9. I suppose the word "like" would clarify that, but the parenthetical would have to use really small type! The fact that both pungs are shown as "333" tells you that they're supposed to be the same number, which (considering the parenthetical) could be sixes or nines instead of threes.
    I'll add this to FAQ 16.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 16, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How much is this one worth, part 4

    On Monday, April 15, 2024 at 12:13:14 PM EDT, Savannah T wrote:
    Re: Value of my set (1)
    Hello again, the saga continues with the second set.
    Box: Box has some flaws and broken metal structures. I would judge box condition to be about 60%. Trays stack on top of one another and appear to be in fair to good shape with minor fading of the rosewood color. The sliding door has some chipping on the side bottoms. The back of the door has the paper with the address attached to it. The bottom of the box is stamped with the "Made in China" information. Just noticed as well, the left side of the box's sliding structure is wiggly and will need repair. This likely brings it down to a 50%.
    Tiles: 140 tiles with 7 blanks. Dovetailing seems to be less precise in this set, with around 80-85% fully flush and the rest with varying space in between. The tiles are larger than the previous set and notably, the circles have more detailing. Bone is also slightly thinner, with the percentage sitting around 25%. Bone and painted details on the tiles are smooth and in fine/excellent condition. See photos for all of the details.
    Sticks: TENS (32), FIVES (8), ONES (36), TWOS (39). Sticks are thicker in bone with 98% no chipping. 75-80% of the sticks have paint smudged or rubbed away.
    Dice: Many dice included in the set, I'm sure they all do not belong. Found the dice coffin which is in great condition itself, the coffin dice as well being close to 75-85% in terms of painting.
    Wind Counters: Comes with black container, appear to be plastic like. Paint is smudged. I'd say 50%, but you can view in the photos.
    Booklet: None
    Thanks again Tom! Hopefully this provides a better estimate on the value of these sets. Will send additional email with more photos.
    On Monday, April 15, 2024 at 12:13:57 PM EDT, Savannah T wrote:
    Re: Value of my set (1)

    Hi, Savannah. Okay, so here's what we have:
    ● Two Babcock sets in sliding-front tray boxes (as opposed to drawer boxes); one in yellowish wood and one in reddish wood.
    ● Both boxes show considerable wear. As far as I can tell just from the photos, the yellowish box is "GOOD" and the reddish box is "FAIR." To clarify those terms (from FAQ 7h): FAIR - Item is utilitarian but not attractive. GOOD - Item is worn but reasonably attractive. I may be a little generous with the condition on the yellowish box, maybe?
    ● The tiles in both sets are in better shape than the boxes, the (slightly smaller) tiles in the yellowish box being VERY GOOD (Item has a few defects that any normal person would notice upon close examination) and the tiles in the reddish box being just GOOD, due to the dovetail gaps. The tiles in both sets were made about the same time in the same part of China, but by different carvers (see subtle differences in the One Bam and the bamboo stick designs in both sets). The writing in the One Dots say the same thing in both sets: 自由麻雀, which can be read as "freedom mah-jongg."
    ● Both sets have scoring sticks (counters); these bits are not of great interest to collectors, being fairly easy to replace. I'm not going to worry about how many of each denomination are present in the two sets.
    ● Both sets have all wind discs plus mingg (including lid). I don't know if the discs fit in the minggs or the lids fit nicely.
    ● You have four original dice in coffin, plus three matching plastic dice, and four mismatched darker-colored dice. You should put the four in the coffin in the set you like better, and put the three matching plastic dice in the other. Then the other four dice (the darker-colored ones) can be removed from the sets.
    ● Neither set includes the original Babcock little red booklet. You have the green MahJuck booklet, which can go into whichever set you like better.

    Now let's talk about tile counts. You said one set (yellowish box; smaller tiles with better dovetailing) has 144 tiles (including 4 blank white dragons) plus 5 extra blanks. And you said the other set (reddish box; larger tiles with poor dovetailing) has 140 tiles (without any blank white dragons) plus 7 "extra" blanks. All in all, you have 9+7=16 blank white dragon tiles. I contend that in the reddish box, four of your 7 "extra" blanks are your white dragons, leaving you with just THREE extras in that set, and five extras in the other. You can put all your 16 blank white tiles together, and rethink whether maybe you can't divide them equally, putting 8 into each set. I'm saying you could move one of your extra blanks to the other set, evening the tile counts out. Having four (extra) blank tiles in a set is normal and desirable.

    I myself would not pay $300 for these two sets. With their flaws, together they're somewhere closer to $180-250, but I hear reports of ordinary sets going for ridiculously high sums, so you should not think that you overpaid. The reddish box is cool for its labeling, but its condition detracts. Both your sets of tiles include the "phoenix and dragon" red and green dragons (see FAQ 7e), which are desirable. But the dovetail gaps in the reddish box's tiles detract. Both sets have interesting flowers; the carving on the yellowish box's flowers is more attractive. The booklet is worth maybe $25, give or take $5.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 15, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How much is this one worth, part 3

    On Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 02:31:21 PM EDT, Savannah T wrote:
    Re: Value of my set (1)
    Hi Tom,
    Sorry for forgetting to add that information.
    You're correct; they are trays. I'll also add that the other set seems to have been owned by the same person, and that their are many dice in that set; one dice coffin with four very small dice that slides open, two larger dice, and two other dice that I can recall. I'm going to surmise some pieces that belonged to this set went in that one. The booklet also may technically belong to that one as well, but I'm onlyaking that estimation based on the fact that the paper inside attached to the box has a San Francisco address as does the booklet.
    Yes, all of those tiles in the tray are blank.
    I will definitely be more careful with my photos and make sure they are all in one format.
    Looking forward to hearing back, and thanks again,
    -Savannah

    Savannah, the two sets have exchanged parts, and the valuation will have to wait until the two sets are reconciled. Let's see the other set. We'll sort them out.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 14, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How much is this one worth, part 2

    On Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 11:46:21 PM EDT, Savannah T wrote:
    Re: Value of my set (1)
    Thank you for replying!
    Forgive me, I accidentally conflated the seemlingly rosewood set with that address marking on the inside with this one. More to come on that set later. (I won both of these in an auction for $300 total).
    I've included the photographs you asked for.
    Thank you so much!

    On Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 12:24:14 AM EDT, Savannah T wrote:
    Re: Value of my set (1)
    Sorry, here is the measurement one. Not sure why it didn't come through.

    Hi, Savannah.
    I know more now than I did last night, but I still don't know enough. When all the "drawers" are in the box, can you pull out just the bottom one, leaving all the other drawers still in the box? Or do you have to pull them all out to get to the bottom one? If you have to pull them all out, then they're not drawers. They're trays. That's a piece of information I still need.
    I see from these photos that you have five blank tiles, not just four (assuming all the tiles in the bottom tray/drawer are blank), and that the dice and dice coffin are lost, and that the booklet was originally purchased separately from the set. And I see that the upper left metal corner of the front slide is bent upwards, and that the wind discs have some discoloration. And I see now that the length measurement you gave me yesterday was actually the thickness (depth) of the tiles.
    For your second set, it would look better if your photos are either all portrait or all landscape. The mix of horizontal and vertical looks awkward when displayed in this format.

    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 14, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How much is this one worth?

    On Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 06:06:19 PM EDT, Savannah T wrote:
    Value of my set (1)
    Hey Tom,
    I bought two sets. I'm going to ask you if you can help me break down the value of the first one.
    1)
    Counters: Set contains both thin long and thicker short counters. Missing 3 reds, but may be in other set, as it appears there's too many counters upon first glance. Some counters have some smudging on the dot values. Very few have chips within the bone. Condition: Good/Very good
    Tiles: Precise dovetailing, 45% bone, 55% bamboo. Tiles are in extremely good condition with zero cracks or chipping. Circles aren't as complex as the other set, but the artwork on the flower tiles seem to be very detailed. Near 98% of tiles show no signs of age. Tiles are half an inch long, likely 1/4-1/2 thick.
    Condition: Excellent/Mint
    Rulebook: 1922 Copyright. Blue ink on second page near list of inventory. Otherwise pristine. Smells like an old book, but no other smells throughout set. Condition: Good/Very good
    Dice: present and in good condition. No visible damage. Condition: FINE
    Season Counters: comes with little container with a top, all are there and in great shape. No chipping. CONDITION: Very good/Fine
    Box: Box is around 75-80% in quality. All metal details attached. Inside there is a paper attached with an address of where it was sold "112 Market Street, San Francisco". Chalk of some sort inside with Chinese character on inside bottom. Bottom outside has stamp that reads it was transferred from China. Four drawers, sliding top.
    CONDITION: very good/fine
    Photos attached. Thank you!


    Hi, Savannah!
    I notice you didn't tell me how much you paid. I guess you want a second opinion, without coloring my thinking. I also notice you didn't give me a look at your bottom tray (the one with the extra bits), nor the booklet.
    You say those are drawers, but it looks to me like they are trays (that they stack on each other in the box, rather than rest on drawer dividers) - I can't see into the box very clearly. It's important to know whether the trays stack on each other in the box or can be slid in and out independently.
    You say "Tiles are half an inch long, likely 1/4-1/2 thick," but when I zoom in on the picture with the ruler, I see that the tiles are 0.8" wide, which means they are longer than 0.5" long.
    The bits you call "season counters" are "wind discs." FAQ 7d.
    It's odd that the tiles are in such good condition overall, while the box is not. Makes me wonder if it's a Frankensteined set. That green booklet doesn't look familiar...
    I'm going to say that I don't have enough pictorial data. I need to see pictures of the paper you mentioned and the booklet: its cover, the copyright page and first page of mah-jongg information. I need to see the stamp on the bottom. And I need better measurements of the tiles; it's okay if you use that Avery ruler that measures tenths of an inch, I can deal with tenths of an inch.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 13, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Do you have instruction for two players, or a book?

    On Friday, April 12, 2024 at 02:48:26 PM EDT, Linda B wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q A
    My mah-jongg question
    Do you have instruction for playing 2 person mah-jongg? Or a book giving instructions?
    Linda B

    Hi, Linda!
    Yes, I have 2-player instructions. See FAQ 13A if you play American (NMJL) rules, else just go to FAQ 13 and click your mah-jongg variant. And yes, I wrote a book, "The Red Dragon & The West Wind." If you play American (NMJL) rules, I also recommend you get the National Mah Jongg League's official rulebook, "Mah Jongg Made Easy.”

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 12, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I was given Mahjong in the last step of the Charleston.

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 11:27:41 PM EDT, Sue W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In the last step of the Charleston, the optional trade, I was given Mahjong.
    How does the paying work in that case?
    Is it considered me making the mahjong , the person who passed me the tiles, other?
    TY
    We happen to play Atomic and the Mahj I made was an atomic hand.
    TY

    Hi, Sue! You wrote:

    SW: In the last step of the Charleston, the optional trade, I was given Mahjong.
    TS: Holy cow! (Or, as my ex used to say, "Cowly ho!") You had mah-jongg at the end of the Charlestons? That's an extremely rare occurrence called "Earthly Hand." Congratulations!

    SW: How does the paying work in that case?
    Is it considered me making the mahjong
    TS: Basically, yes. Everybody pays you double. See FAQ 19-BJ.

    SW: We happen to play Atomic and the Mahj I made was an atomic hand.
    TS: Everybody pays you double whatever "atomic" is worth, just as if you'd self-picked it. Incredible, Sue! Hope you took a picture.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 11, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Do I have to expose a pung before I can chow, part 2

    On Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 06:44:47 PM EDT, John and Valerie C wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you very much Tom for prompt response. Much appreciated.
    Valerie

    Happy to help, Valerie!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper


    Do I have to expose a pung before I can chow?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 05:47:47 PM EDT, John and Valerie C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I play the Western game of Mahjong.
    Can I pick up a chow as my first display of tiles? Or do I have to have a pung before a chow?
    I believe in Chinese game, one must have a pung before a chow?
    Thank you
    Valerie

    Hi, Valerie! You asked:

    VC: Can I pick up a chow as my first display of tiles? Or do I have to have a pung before a chow?
    TS: I have never run across such a restriction in any of the definitive books on Western (British/Australian) mah-jongg: Strauser & Evans, Thompson & Maloney, Whitney, Carkner, Headley & Seeley, Robertson...
    If you ask because somebody said something when you made a chow, you could ask them to show it to you in a rulebook. The Western restriction on chows is that in an "ordinary" hand (one not listed in the special hands), there can be no more than one chow. But there is no rule that an exposed pung is a prerequisite for making a chow.

    VC: I believe in Chinese game, one must have a pung before a chow?
    TS: No. No such rule exists. Is this perhaps a misunderstanding of the priority of conflicting calls for a discard? If next-in-turn wants the tile for a chow but another player wants it for pung, kong, or mah-jongg, it goes to the other caller (not next-in-line). But there is no rule that an exposed pung is a prerequisite for making a chow.

    I'm going to append this conversation to the Comments section of FAQ 20, which discusses frequently misunderstood rules of mah-jongg.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 10, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What does the bettor pay, part 2

    On Tuesday, April 9, 2024 at 05:00:04 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Odette L
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Odette L
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Odette L
    PayPal

    Thank you very much, Odette!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 9, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What does the bettor pay when the bet-on threw to three exposures?

    On Monday, April 8, 2024 at 07:39:27 PM EDT, obythec wrote:
    Bettor question
    I realize it should be a table rule but we need a direction to make one.
    If a person throws to a 3rd exposure and was bet on, the person who threw
    the mj tile pays for the table but does the bettor
    pay also, part or just the person who threw it?
    Thank you!

    Hi, obythec!
    Here's the deal:
    a. The bettor bet on a non-winner.
    b. The bet-on player threw the winning tile.
    c. The winner collects double from the bet-on player because they threw the winning tile.
    d. The bettor pays the same amount the bettor pays to the winner (double value).
    e. The other non-winners pay the winner single value.
    So you see, the "3rd exposure" thing is a non-issue, since that is not part of the official rules. See FAQ 19-Y and FAQ 19-W4 and FAQ 19-CR.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 8, 2024 (eclipse day)
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column 801, part 2

    On Monday, April 8, 2024 at 06:44:06 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Deborah A
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Deborah A
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $20.00 USD
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Deborah A
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    Wow, thank, Deborah!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 8, 2024 (Eclipse day)
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Oopsie in FAQ 16, part 2

    On Monday, April 8, 2024 at 12:15:40 PM EDT, Robert M wrote:
    Re: Error in FAQ for 2024 National Mah Jongg League card?
    And thanks for all your resources on Game design and publishing.
    All my life I have been an avid board gamer and have come up with many ideas throughout the years so are always interested in the topic.
    Robert

    Very cool! (^_^)


    Oopsie in FAQ 16

    On Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 07:21:17 PM EDT, Robert M wrote:
    Error in FAQ for 2024 National Mah Jongg League card?
    Just heard about your web site (some of us are late bloomers) and was reading the FAQ on the 2024 card. (https://www.sloperama.com/mjfaq/2024.html)
    I've only played Maj Jongg once before, so forgive me if I misinterpreted something.
    I noticed that for the item below, you mentioned "pairs" (see my highlighting) but I think you meant "kongs" in your explanation.

     FF 2222 44 66 8888 -or- FF 2222 44 66 8888 (Any 1 or 2 Suits)
     (2468 #5)
     Do the pairs in the 2-suit version have to be craks?
     No. It says "Any ... 2 Suits" in the parenthetical. That means, in the 2-suit version, the pairs can be any suit (just not the same suit as the pairs). The color-coding is never to be taken as standing for particular suits. Read Frequently Asked Question 19-BY and FAQ 19-J.

    From a, hopefully, future Mah-Jongg player,
    Robert M

    Good catch, Robert! I've fixed the typo. Thanks, and a tip o' the hat! 囧
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 8, 2024 (Eclipse day!)
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column 801

    On Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 09:48:37 PM EDT, deba wrote:
    Clarification RE Strategy Column #801
    Hi Tom:
    You write that “if you see two even exposures two numbers apart (4s with 2s or 6s, or 8s with 6s) you can't just assume the player is working in Evens; could actually be Consec #7”. I agree with respect to a pung of 4s with a kong of 6s (could be either Evens #1 or Consecutive #7) but with any other even combinations using 2s, 4s, 6s, or 8s the structure of the exposure would reveal the player’s hand possibilities. Three examples: an exposure showing a pung of 6s and a kong of 8s (in either one or two suits) could only be Consecutive #7; an exposure showing a kong of 6s and a kong of 8s in the same suit could be either Evens #1, or Consecutive #3 but not Consecutive #7; a kong of 6s and a kong of 8s in different suits could be Evens #4 or Consecutive #3 but not Evens #1 or Consecutive #7.
    If I have misinterpreted what you wrote, please correct me.
    I am a long-time reader of your columns which have helped me to both play and teach the game.
    Best,
    Deborah

    Hi, Deborah!
    囧 Confession time: I hadn't done a direct comparison between the biannual alternators when I wrote that. I was stating a general principle that applied to biannual alternators in past years, and perhaps not as reliably as I made it sound. You have a good eye, and my hat's off to ye!
    [Edit, next morning, April 8]: In that column, I didn't specify pungs and kongs. In future columns I'll examine some two-pung exposures and two-kong exposures, as well as pung-kong and kong-pung combos.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 7, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What's it worth?

    On Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 09:02:01 PM EDT, <robinp wrote:
    MAHJONG SET
    Good morning Tom. This is a query from Australia.
    I have a mahjong set that I would appreciate your opinion as to its value.
    There are 144 tiles including 8 flower/season tiles.
    The tiles are (I believe) bone and bamboo and measure 20mm width, 28mm length, 13mm depth. The bone part is 7mm thick.
    There are no Western numbers or letters. The tiles are obviously hand carved as there are slight variations in the pictures.
    I have no knowledge of the history of the set. I bought it some 20 years ago via Ebay.
    Thank you in advance of your interest.
    Best regards
    Robin P
    Mahjong devotee

    G'day, Robin!
    As I wrote in FAQ 7h, a set's worth depends on condition, rarity, beauty, and desirability. You sent me only one picture, and you didn't tell me about the condition, and you didn't show me all the tiles in a photo large enough so I could guess as to condition -- so I have to make assumptions. I see noticeable haversian system lines on the bone, and the paint looks a little worn on some of the tiles. I don't know what condition the box is in. The carving on the Bams is unusual (circles joined by single lines), which might be of interest to a collector. You say you bought the set 20 years ago on eBay? My guess is that the set is still worth what you paid for it at that time, assuming you paid somewhere between US$20 and US$70 for it.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 7, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 2

    On Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 05:57:44 PM EDT, j m wrote:
    2024 Quint Question
    Hello...question about the second quint, 'any 2 Non-Matching Nos'. Can both numbers be odd or even? And can they be consecutive numbers? (Not sure what is considered matching since odd and even and non-consecutive numbers are showing.)
    Thanks for your time and expertise,
    Joan

    Hi, Joan! As I wrote in FAQ 16, that hand must be "any 2 non-matching numbers," which means ANY two numbers that do not match one another. Both even, both odd, whatever, as long as the two numbers are not the same.


    FAQ 16 link

    Please bookmark FAQ 16 for the next time you have a question about the 2024 NMJL card.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 7, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    My card order hasn't come through, part 2

    On Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 01:13:01 PM EDT, [anonymous] wrote:
    Cards finally arrived
    Tom,
    No need to post this message, just as info for you.
    Please remove my earlier message about this.
    Thanks for the response to my earlier email about the 2024 cards not being delivered in a timely manner.
    I finally got mine on this past Saturday, 1 week after everyone else.
    The problem was in the postal service's centralized mail processing facility in Richmond, VA.
    And, the fact that I ordered so many cards that the League put them inside a large envelope that needed to be processed in another facility from the others and further delayed them arriving.
    Thank you,
    [anonymous]

    [anonymous], The price of the responses I give is that they are posted in this public forum. If you do not want your communication to be made public, just don't email me.
    I was confident that you would receive your order from the League, and I'm glad you did. Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 7, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column 802

    On Friday, April 5, 2024 at 01:52:56 PM EDT, Paula W wrote:
    Column #802
    RE: S&P #6
    I would argue that this hand is actually five pairs and four singles.
    Pairs of N, S, Soap, 2s in Suit 1, 2s in Suit 2
    Singles of E, W, 4 in Suit 1, 4 in Suit 2.
    And yes, probably overvalued. It took me awhile to get the “big hand” on the 2023 card. We’ll see how it goes on this one.
    Many thanks for your column! I enjoy reading it.
    Paula Wilson

    I agree, Paula. Five pairs it is. I think I didn't count the soaps the first time. Glad you enjoy the column!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 5, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The protocol for death challenges

    On Friday, April 5, 2024 at 01:50:06 PM EDT, Mary S wrote:
    Mahjong Q + A
    I am wondering about the protocol for calling a player’s hand dead. If a player notices that another player’s hand is dead, does the player make this call at any random point in the game, or is it only done during the caller’s turn? Thank you for sharing your expertise.
    MaryFrances S
    mf s

    Hi, Mary! I recommend calling a player dead as soon as you're sure you want to issue that challenge. Just not while another player is speaking. Don't wait until your turn (as I wrote in FAQ 19-AA.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 5, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    My card order hasn't come through yet

    On Friday, April 5, 2024 at 01:39:39 PM EDT, ████ wrote:
    Missing Maj Jongg Cards
    Tom,
    I realize that this may be a small, isolated issue, but I ordered my Mah Jongg cards from the League in January and still have not received them, even though most of my neighbors and coplayers have.
    My order was for 6 large and 2 small print cards and that may have caused the delay.
    My question is: Do you know of any distribution problems nationwide that may have caused this.
    In the past, my large order went through with no problems.
    Thanks for any insight.
    ███

    ███, I cannot help you with this matter. I imagine you will get your cards sometime soon. People on Facebook say that the cards arrive in the East coast first, and make their way west over time.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 5, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column 801

    On Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 11:25:39 AM EDT, Win D wrote:
    2024 Mahjong Card
    In your column #801, Consecutive Run #6
    Don’t you mean “quint chow pung pung” NOT “quint chow kong kong”?
    Love your column!
    Thanks,
    Win D.

    囧 Yes. Yes, I did. Thanks, Win.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 4, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Forgot to send the pictures, part 2

    On Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 03:50:44 PM EDT, Julius P wrote:
    Re: Forgot the pictures.
    Yes it looks like bamboo if I follow your instructions - is that correct? What do you think the entire set is worth?
    Med vänliga hälsningar, Julius P

    Yes, the tiles are made of bamboo. Condition is usually the main criterion for determing a set's value, but also rarity, beauty, and desirability. These bamboo sets were made very cheaply and sold cheaply. You didn't tell me the condition, and you didn't show me the outside of the box. I can't tell if the box is as old as the tiles. I see that one of the tiles was lost and replaced by drawing on one of the blank tiles. I don't know if all the wind discs are present. So, given that I have to assess the overall condition as FAIR, and based on my past purchases of bamboo sets, I'd have to say this is probably worth in the US$20-30 range.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Forgot to send the pictures.

    On Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 02:26:18 PM EDT, Julius P wrote:
    Forgot the pictures.
    Med vänliga hälsningar, Julius P

    囧 Hi, Julius! Looks to me like what you forgot to send was questions! I assume you wanted to ask me something about your set. Standing by...
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Donation

    On Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 12:04:28 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Burr H
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $10.00 USD from Burr H
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $10.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Burr H
    PayPal

    Thank you, Burr!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column #800 correction

    On Monday, April 1, 2024 at 11:30:35 AM EDT, Shawn M wrote:
    back of card - rule to verbalize call
    HI Tom - the rule about verbalizing a call hasnt been deleted, just moved to #2 under "Claiming a discard"

    囧 Right you are, Shawn! Thanks!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What's in a word, part 2

    On Monday, April 1, 2024 at 11:10:51 AM EDT, DebbiAnn L wrote:
    Re: The word "call"
    Hi Tom, I have answered all the points you brought up in your speedy response, and THANK YOU!
    I LOVE your website and promote it every chance I get! I think it's the best and easiest site to navigate, and teaches the game 'in real movement' through how the game is played, from beginning to end. People can get to it easily and find the answers quickly because you cover the game questions temporally. I'm a huge fan of yours!
    Q&A answers:
    1. I have all the MJME booklets through 2024 from when I started playing. I've purchased every new edition.
    2. In the chapter, 'the play' (pg. 14, 2024 ed.)
    3. Why? A player should have to take in the 14th tile, or they're playing with too few tiles. You can't initiate your turn with a joker exchange; it's improper procedure. So...
    4. OK
    5. Thank you
    6. Well, they finally made equality with moving a wall tile...lifting a (top) or sliding a (bottom) tile fair in that any movement of a wall tile away from the construct of the wall was requirement to follow through (which I also wrote to the league about back in 2017), so why isn't picking or calling treated equitably? Fair is fair.
    I really feel this would eliminate a majority of issues that do sometimes arise from this situation. It also reinforces proper play. It's unfair to try and teach people courtesy and proper procedure and have to explain that they may miss out because they didn't slam tiles up with one hand while going for the discard with the other. For all that's said about courtesy in the game, there should be rules that don't detract from harmony and fair play. Having to physically place the discard on the flat gives ample time for a player to overcall, and then the next in turn rule applies. Seems much more fair to me than an 'oops, I already exposed' at the time you were making a call challenge, even though the other caller was quick, putting up tiles from right in front of you is infinitely quicker than reaching, taking possession, and placement of a discard on your flat.
    Thanks for all you do!
    Debbi

    Hi again, Debbi.
    1. Take a look at page 2, bottom. Doesn't it say "revised 2023" there? I know we all didn't get them until 2024... just sayin'.
    2. What wording do you want to see there? Wouldn't it be at the top of page 15?
    6. I believe the difference between the two moves is that another player can easily see (just by watching) that the player moved the face-up discard and put the same tile back, but it could be possible (with sleight of hand) to cheat by moving a face-down wall tile. At least, that's the only reason I can think of. I've played Chinese (CMCR and HK) and Japanese and Indian rules, as you know, and there's no strict "you lift it, it's yours" rule in those variants. This level of fine detail typically depends on the table/house and the stakes. If playing for hundreds of dollars rather than quarters and nickels, the anti-cheating rules can be more strict.
    As for slamming with two hands, that's just rude and inconsiderate behavior that some tables/groups permit because they enjoy an in-your-face trashtalking aggressive style of play. You may recall that when the League first announced the "already exposed" exception, I pointed out that the door was opened for slamming. I am in agreement with you that rude aggressive moves are bad. All we can really do is teach our students well, and express our disapproval when rudeness comes up in play.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What's in a word? ("Call")

    On Monday, April 1, 2024 at 09:47:02 AM EDT, DebbiAnn L wrote:
    The word "call"
    Hi Tom!
    Glad you addressed the word 'call'. Now, if only the league would address the issue fully.
    In Mah Jongg Made Easy, they refer to the situation where the 'call' for a discard allows a player to put up tiles from their hand before taking physical possession of the called discard; effectively slamming (which they claim to not promote) and shutting out another player who wants the discard and has 'called' as well. Why does the league refuse to differentiate between the 'call' and the 'take' (physical possession) of the tile? Why is a player allowed to start their turn inappropriately, with too few tiles? Why does the call become the start of a player's turn? Why isn't it a rule that the 'call' is the mere halt to the natural picking order, and then the proper player has to claim the discard off the table FIRST and place it on the flat? This would give a fair amount of time for any other player to over-call (a couple of seconds) rather than promote slamming...putting up tiles from the hand first, which takes milliseconds...and effectively shutting out the proper procedure and harmonious flow to the process of the game.
    I've written to the league since 2017 on this very subject (with SASE); received no response from the league, and feel that in addition to the slamming and the incorrect procedure, and the refusal to update/codify this rule is an antiquated nod to older players who like to play a very fast game and not follow proper procedure. Some of these fast players also have played with futures (looking ahead), so if they want to continue to play that way they can elect to ignore the rule in their home game, but everyone should learn that whether picking from the wall, or taking a discard off the table, a player's turn begins with the taking in of the 14th tile to their hand and racking it, appropriately, in or on the slope. Why is there a disconnect between a wall tile and a called discard tile as to proper procedure?
    Am I missing something here...except the league refuses to do the right thing? I know you aren't 'the league', but I feel the need to vent since the league continues to ignore the subject...and I'd like your opinion on what I've written.
    Debbi

    Hi, Debbi! You're referring to column #800, but in fact, I've been harping on the multiple meanings of "call" since 2008. As to your other comments:

    DL: In Mah Jongg Made Easy, they refer to the situation where the 'call' for a discard allows a player to put up tiles from their hand before taking physical possession of the called discard; effectively slamming (which they claim to not promote) and shutting out another player who wants the discard and has 'called' as well.
    TS: I suppose the rule assumes all players are playing at a reasonable speed and not jumping to shut out any other players. At the bottom of page 14 (MJME2023), it says players must verbalize the call. I suppose the rule assumes players verbalize before acting. Which edition of MJME are you referring to, and which page?

    DL: Why does the league refuse to differentiate between the 'call' and the 'take' (physical possession) of the tile?
    TS: In what locations in MJME2023 do you recommend this distinction be drawn?

    DL: Why is a player allowed to start their turn inappropriately, with too few tiles?
    TS: You mean allowing a player to expose from the hand before taking the discard? I think it's drawing too fine a distinction to call that "starting the turn inappropriately."

    DL: Why does the call become the start of a player's turn?
    TS: Assuming nobody else is also calling the discard, I have no problem saying that the player's turn has begun with the call. Consider that the order of play has already been interrupted (if the discarder is not seated at the caller's left), and for a valid reason.

    DL: Why isn't it a rule that the 'call' is the mere halt to the natural picking order, and then the proper player has to claim the discard off the table FIRST and place it on the flat?
    TS: I can't explain why the League has not so codified the rule.

    DL: the refusal to update/codify this rule is an antiquated nod to older players who like to play a very fast game
    TS: Sounds right.

    DL: Why is there a disconnect between a wall tile and a called discard tile as to proper procedure?
    TS: I suppose "because the two actions are different" and calling a discard can happen out of turn. The dichotomy between calling and picking exists in all variants of mah-jongg, going back well over 100 years.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Does "Opp." mean “opposite” or “opposing?”

    On Monday, April 1, 2024 at 09:47:10 AM EDT, Natasha J wrote:
    Does the NMJL abbreviation “Opp.” mean “opposite” or “opposing?”
    Does the NMJL abbreviation “Opp.” represent “opposite” or “opposing?” It appears every year and I know it means the tiles described cannot be in the same suit as the other suit(s) used, but I’ve always wondered how to read this aloud to my friends, students, and beleaguered family members.
    Example from 2024 card:
    FFFF 33 66 999 DDD (Nos. Any 1 Suit, Any Opp. Dragon)
    (369 #6)

    Hi, Natasha!
    Yes, "Opp." Means "opposite" or "opposing." I usually read it as "opposite" but that bothers my anal-retentive side because when you have three things, are two of them really "opposite" the first? Say it whichever way works for you.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Will you host a webinar this year?

    Leslye G
    Facebook
    You're not friends on Facebook
    Hi Tom, Mah Jongg enthusiast here. If I recall correctly, you've done webinars following the release of the new card. If this is correct, will you be hosting one this year? Thank you, Leslye
    If you reply, Leslye G will also be able to call you and see info like your Active Status and when you've read messages.

    Hi, Leslye!
    I didn't think of it as a webinar exactly, and I didn't host it. Someone else set it up and invited me. When was that? During the height of the pandemic? I prefer doing my card analyses in writing. No plan to stream an analysis. And actually, I'm not done with the analysis yet (I don't like to rush it). But thanks for asking! btw, have you seen FAQ 16 and my recent columns?
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    April 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Backsies! Undo! Part 2

    On Sunday, March 31, 2024 at 08:31:11 PM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Kala P
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Kala P
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Kala P
    Message: Thank you
    PayPal

    Thank you, Kala!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 31, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Backsies! Undo! The "change of heart" rules

    On Saturday, March 30, 2024 at 07:16:11 PM EDT, Kala P wrote:
    Question?
    Hi again,
    Two scenarios.
    1. If “mahjong” is declared in error and the person has 4 6dots exposed and called for a 5 dot and exposed it with a joker and another 5 dot. Can she rescind her call, since she has 5 other?? jokers and can she change her hand from Quints to Consecutive and continue play?
    2. Also, if she did expose all the tiles before she realized her mistake. She played the Quints 2,3,4,5 by mistake with 4,5,6,7 not realizing that “it was these numbers only - 2, 3, 4, 5 - can she put her tiles back (the 4s and 7s) throw a 4 dot to change her hand and continue playing?
    I hope you can understand. It seems a little confusing ?? to say the least!
    Kala P
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Kala! You asked:

    1. Can she rescind her call...
    A: No. See FAQ 19-AM. Once tiles have gone up atop the rack, there are no "backsies."

    1½. can she change her hand from Quints to Consecutive and continue play?
    A: Yes. See FAQ 19-AF. As long as she hasn't discarded yet, she can change her exposure. She can change the hand she's targeting anytime she wants or needs.

    2. can she put her tiles back (the 4s and 7s) throw a 4 dot to change her hand and continue playing?
    A: No. FAQ 19-AM again covers this "change of heart" situation.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 30, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2024 NMJL card, part 1

    On Friday, March 29, 2024 at 08:29:15 PM EDT, Randy L wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi Tom, I read your 2024 Q&A on the 2nd quint with 2 non matching numbers but what also needs to be addressed besides 2 different suits, and 2 different numbers is can they both be odds or both be evens? Definitely not clear if that fits in the non-matching category. Does non-matching mean one odd and one even number?
    -Randy

    Hi, Randy!
    No, "non-matching" just means "not the same number." Odd, even... it doesn't matter. I'll add this to FAQ 16 (good job finding that, by the way).
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 29, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    FAQ 16 link for 2024


    Column #799, part 3
    On Friday, March 29, 2024 at 04:57:24 PM EDT, Lynn B wrote:
    Re: 2024 Card
    Hahahaha

    [LOL emoji]
    Tom


    Column #799, part 2
    On Friday, March 29, 2024 at 03:37:33 PM EDT, Lynn B wrote:
    Re: 2024 Card
    [thumbs-up emoji]
    Actually, since the 2013 card (when I started playing) that hand has been on the card 9 of those 12 years.

    So it has, Lynn! I guess we can call it an "intermittent biannual alternator!"
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 29, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Column #799

    On Friday, March 29, 2024 at 12:08:58 PM EDT, Lynn B wrote:
    2024 Card
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for your analysis.
    I'm thinking there are 5 biannual alternates on this year's card: Year 1, Even 1,CR 7, Odd 2, and 369 1.
    It's crazy how many new hands there are on this new card--so innovative.
    Take care...I sure do appreciate all you do for the American MJ community!!
    Lynn

    Interesting, Lynn! I never noticed that "year hands" biannual variation before, and I overlooked the others.

  • Year #1: I see now that it always begins with a pung of twos, but then the variation is in the zeroes: this year it's a pung, but last year it was a kong. It, too (like Consec #7) is a "2 pungs and 2 kongs" hand. This has been a biannual variation since 2021, and I hadn't noticed. Good eye!
  • Evens #1 and Odds #2 and 369 #1: you're right, the "2 pungs and 2 kongs" hands do alternate in Odds and Evens and 369. In fact, those hands are a major source of Consec #7's power.
    Anyway, I needed to revise my pie chart...

    Thanks, Lynn!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 29, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How old? Where from? Part 2

    On Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 09:05:53 AM EDT, Gerardo G wrote:
    Re: Question regarding age and origin of a Mah-Jongg set
    Hello Tom!
    Thank you for your quick reply. I appreciate the information about it and I am going to look further into the suggested column. :)
    Best regards,
    gerardo.

    You're welcome, Gerardo!


    How old? Where from?

    On Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 06:32:34 AM EDT, Gerardo G wrote:
    Question regarding age and origin of a Mah-Jongg set
    Dear Mr. Sloper,
    I hope this email finds you well.
    A couple of weeks ago I have purchased a Mah-Jongg set at an auction and while trying to find out a little more about its origin and date, I came across your site.
    Could you please provide some information regarding the age and origin from the included pictures when possible?
    Below is the question checklist from FAQ 7g.
    Thank you for your help!
    Best regards,
    gerardo.
    1- The set consists of tiles, and sticks, no other items like dice nor wind indicators or racks. It is packed in a wooden box with an engraved front vertical lid and it has five drawers, four slim for the tiles and a fifth of double height for the sticks. All sticks appear to be made of bone. There are: 33 marked with two dots, 34 marked with ten dots, 31 marked with 1 dot, eight marked with five dots.
    2- The set contains a small booklet in Spanish, referring to the game as Mah-Jongg. The wind tiles, however, are marked in English (E, W, N, S) and not in Spanish (E, O, N, S). There are no indications neither of author nor date.
    3- The set as well as the sticks appear to be made of bone. There are tiles that show signs of the Haversian system.
    4- The set has been recently purchased in an auction, so no historic information regarding the origin of the set is available.
    5- The tiles are 20x28mm. The depth is 12mm, 3mm bone and 9mm wood (bamboo?)
    6- The set has 144 tiles and two blanks. It appears that in its original state it had four blanks but two were used to replace 1 bams and 4 bams tiles, as these two pieces show a different and more rustic engraving style. The remaining two blanks have the name of a previous owner engraved.
    7- The container is made of reddish wood, fairly weathered. The corners have slim metal protectors that are incomplete. It used to have two handles on the top, but only one remains. One of the shelves appears to have been replaced by a newer one and also the bottom drawer might have some parts replaced. The drawers have bronze handles, some of which are missing.
    8- Cracks are of the older kind.
    9, 10, 11 - A picture of 1 bams, dragons and flowers is included.
    12- There are no jokers in the set.
    On Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 07:46:55 AM EDT, Gerardo G wrote:
    Re: Question regarding age and origin of a Mah-Jongg set
    Dear Mr. Sloper,
    I have just realized that I did not include any tile picture showing the sides. Please find one attached.
    Thank you!
    Best regards,
    gerardo.

    Hi, Gerardo! It's about 100 years old and it was made in China. Take a look at column 610.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 27, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I can't find info on the 2023 card, part 2

    On Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 09:17:01 AM EDT, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Diane B
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $20.00 USD from Diane B.
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $20.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Diane B
    Message: Thank you for all of your insight.
    PayPal

    Thank you, Diane!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 26, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I can't find info on the 2023 card.

    On Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 08:23:47 AM EDT, Pepper B wrote:
    ?
    Sorry, but I can't find info on the 2023 card.
    I have a question on the 2023 section.
    Diane

    Hi, Diane!
    The 2023 card FAQs is at https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/2023.html.


    FAQ 16 link for 2023

    As soon as the 2024 card comes out, the FAQs for that card will be at https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/2024.html. Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 26, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Why do my tiles look like this?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, March 22, 2024 at 09:01:06 AM EDT, Irene G wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: This mahjongg set is different from my others. It is shiny, vibrant, very smooth, and deeply engraved. It appears marbleized on the inside. Can you help me to know why this set looks like this?

    Hi, Irene! Those tiles look like that because the manufacturer thought that looked nice and would sell.
    I imagine you might be wondering not only "why" but "how." It looks to me like two mixtures were poured together into the mold: translucent, and opaque. As they mixed together, that marbleized "applejuice" look was achieved, much the same way cream poured into coffee or tea swirls around. But the difference with the plastic mixture is that it didn't homogenize the way cream totally combines with the coffee or tea, creating that marbleized look.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 22, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Wrong player rolled the dice, part 2

    Re: throwing in and starting over
    On Thursday, March 21, 2024 at 07:18:00 PM EDT, Dottie T wrote:
    Thank you for your quick response. I knew that rule however I took that to mean the game had already begun when the error was discovered as it says, "play continues" ie: Charleston complete and East threw at least the first discard bc 'play' doesn't really begin until first discard. My question had to do with what if it's discovered prior to "play" such as maybe incorrect player rolls dice, breaks wall, takes tiles and next player realizes that the player who rolled is not supposed to be East.
    I was trying to save the $1.36 it now costs to get an answer from the league. Thank you again for replying so quickly.
    Best Regards,
    DOTTIE T

    Hi again, Dottie - you're thinking that the rule might not kick in, depending on timing - how far into the incorrect deal the error is discovered. As I see it, the rule kicks in when the wrong player rolls and breaks the wall and other players take tiles. At this point, if you really think the tiles ought to be thrown in, and the others agree, then fine, you can do that. But most people wouldn't want to reshuffle and rebuild. Maybe the players can't perfectly "roll back" their moves. The lesser evil, then, is to just continue, and fix it on the next dice roll.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 21, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated

    P.S. I hadn't heard of this $1.36 thing.


    Wrong player rolled the dice and began the deal. What now?

    On Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 09:04:24 PM EDT, Dottie T wrote:
    throwing in and starting over
    Player A was East first and the hand is completed, tiles mixed and walls built. If player C rolls dice and breaks wall, begins the deal and all others follow bc no one is paying attention until finally Player B realizes they should've been East as the Charleston is either under way or not but no tile has been discarded when the error is noticed. Does the Charleston & play continue with Player C being East? If yes, is player B next East, then D or C?
    Thank you,
    DOTTIE T

    Hi, Dottie! This is rule 5 on page 17 of MJME2023.

    Player C "incorrectly assumed position of East." Play through the hand, and then the next hand Player B will roll the dice. After Player B's turn as East, skip Player C and give the dice to Player D.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 20, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Where can I find mah-jongg shops in either Okinawa or Kyoto?

    On Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 11:03:31 AM EDT, Shaun H wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Where can I find mah-jongg shops in either Okinawa or Kyoto?
    Sent from my iPhone

    囧 Sorry, Shaun, but I've never been to Okinawa and I haven't been to Kyoto in over 30 years (and did not do any mah-jongg shopping on that trip). If you can't do a Google search in Japanese, then maybe your hotel concierge can help.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    First day of spring, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    I'm trying to make my own tiles

    Riverside Woodwrights
    Facebook
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    Lives in Conway, South Carolina
    Tue 6:29 PM
    Hi there!
    My name is Glenn C, and I am a 23 year old woodworker from South Carolina. My aunt and I have embarked on trying to make our own mah-jongg tiles. She created some artwork, and I have a laser to engrave the custom designs on the faces of the tiles. There is a huge lack of information about the process of making the tiles themselves, especially without a giant factory somewhere to cast the pieces individually. I happened across your site while digging for info and saw that you had quite the understanding of different plastics and some of the processes that go into making the tiles. I am currently making them out of 1/2” acrylic but I’m struggling with the round over along each edge (front and back). I’ve tried using a rock tumbler and it only slightly rounds the edges- Nowhere near the degree of the round over on most of the tiles on the market. I’m sure you are busy, but if you happen to have any time to chat on the phone or via email or text, I would really appreciate it! I’ve been brainstorming, researching, and testing out different methods and materials for weeks and have determined I need an expert! So I guess that’s you!
    Hope to talk soon,
    If you reply, Riverside Woodwrights will also be able to call you and see info like your Active Status and when you've read messages.

    Hi, Glenn!
    I'm afraid you misunderstand my level of knowledge into making tiles. I did used to be a modelmaker (engineering processes, electronic toy prototypes), so I am familiar with acrylic. Worked a lot with plexiglas. So I gather that you're taking sheets of 1/2" material and sawing it into rectangles? Then you'd need to sand and polish the saw cuts, right? I have Chinese-made sawn tiles in my collection, complete with circular saw marks and sharp edges.
    I've never tumbled rocks but I assume tumbling would scuff the faces of the tiles. You want to fillet the edges, not chamfer or bevel them. The only thing I can think of for that would be a milling machine. It would be a time-consuming process. Or maybe you can set up a table-mounted router.
    I don't know for sure how the manufacturers do it, but I imagine they mold or cast the pieces to make blank tiles with rounded edges. In Hong Kong, I saw carvers take those blank tiles and actually carve the designs by hand. I don't know how well a laser would work on that material, so you're ahead of me there.
    I hope you find this reply on my bulletin board. Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you. Literally!
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 16, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Any thoughts on what happened here?

    On Thursday, March 14, 2024 at 11:36:56 PM EDT, Katherine G wrote:
    Mah-Jong Q+A
    Hello,
    I’m located in Australia and purchased this mahjong set on EBay from a seller in the UK.
    I during the shipping I was informed that it was a restricted item and it can’t be delivered. EBay refunded me the purchase price and postage.
    Maybe you have any thoughts on this?
    Thanks
    Kate

    G'day, Kate! I can only imagine 2 possibilities for why a mah-jongg set might be "restricted." Either somebody in Australian postal customs thinks mah-jongg sets are made of ivory, or they think it has real jade in it when "jade" is being used in the eBay writeup to describe the color. Ivory is a restricted material because of elephant poaching endangering the species. I just asked Google if jade is a restricted substance, and found that jade "may not be imported into the United States unless the importer certifies (see paragraph (d) of this section) that those jadeite or rubies were mined or extracted from a country other than Burma and possesses the documents" - so, maybe slave labor and/or child labor in the mines in Burma (Myanmar). I suppose there are similar restrictions in Australia. Your UK seller may have mentioned "jade" in the shipping documents. That's all I can think of.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Pi Day, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How to handle odd numbers of players, part 2

    On Saturday, March 9, 2024 at 09:03:59 PM EST, Shea W wrote:
    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Thank you!

    You're welcome. Wish my reply could have offered some solutions!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 9, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"


    How to handle odd numbers of players at our club gatherings?

    On Saturday, March 9, 2024 at 04:07:30 PM EST, Shea W wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I belong to a club that hosts American mah-jongg play on Saturday mornings. Our goal is all tables of four, but sometimes the numbers are odd. The organizer will set up a 3-person table and Siamese table over having someone sit out as a floater. However, some people have been critical of this approach when they rotate and go from a four-person game to a 3- or 2-person table. The group does not want to have a 5th person as a “bettor.” Do you have any recommendations on how to manage this situation?

    囧 I wish I had a magic solution for you, Shea. But the problem is people who are never satisfied with a reasonable solution to an unfixable problem. If the group doesn't want a bettor, then the 5th player doesn't have to bet. There are always selfish players who want their own play experience at maximum enjoyment, even it it's at the expense of someone else. They always want the full 4-player experience all the time, but dangit, that's just not always possible in a club setting.
    Personally, I'm not enough of a warm-and-fuzzy people-person to be able to mollify those people. I'd get impatient and frustrated at their insistence that they never have to change seats or move to another table with fewer players or (horrors!) sit out a round, and I'd want to give the thankless job of organizer to some other poor sucker.
    For what it's worth, I discussed table rotation in FAQ 27 and in FAQ 21. See if any ideas in there might be worth discussing with your club. But if it means anything, I think the idea of 3-player and Siamese tables are reasonable.
    Have you ever gotten all the players to sit and discuss the problem and arrive at a group consensus on this intractable problem? Getting them to agree and set rules for themselves may help. "This is what we all agreed to, now quitcher bitchin'!"
    But I know that would also be a challenge... [sigh!]
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 9, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Replacing flower tiles, part 2

    On Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at 07:26:11 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Patricia P
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Patricia P.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Patricia P
    Message: Thank you!
    PayPal

    You're welcome and thank YOU, Patricia!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 6, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"


    Replacing flower tiles after the deal (Chinese mah-jongg)

    On Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at 03:44:41 PM EST, Patricia P wrote:
    Flower wall replacements - Chinese Mahjong
    After the deal - the dealer has a flower and replaces it from the flower wall. Question: should the dealer look at her replacement before continuing to other players and their flowers ( in case it is another flower)?
    Two of our players are arguing about this. Thank you so much for your help!

    Yes, Patricia. The flower replacement procedure following the deal is described in my book on pages 132-133. I have played in China, and I guarantee that it's correct for the dealer to continue replacing flowers until they are completely finished, before gesturing to South to proceed. Then South does the same: replaces any flowers they hold or pick, then gestures to West, and so on. It sometimes happens that a player picks a flower and has to replace that immediately before gesturing to the next player. Players wait with good humor while this process plays out. There is verbalization during this process. The Chinese say "hwar" or "hwa" ("flower") each time a replacement tile is taken. Sometimes, as you said, another flower is picked, and sometimes another after that. "Hwar, hwar, hwar..." A group chuckle can be heard when a succession of flowers sprouts up like that. When a player has no flowers, they say "mei yo" (sounds like "mayo") so the next player can say whether or not they have flowers. Of course, you folks can say "flower" instead of "hwar," and "nope" or "nuttin', honey," instead of "mei yo."

    I have to wonder what process your opposing-view player imagines? Dealer replaces one flower, then South says "mei yo," then West replaces one flower, then North says "mei yo," and then East replaces a second flower, then go around the table yet again?? The Chinese way just makes more sense.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 6, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Do you think this set, part 3

    On Sunday, March 3, 2024 at 12:09:54 PM EST, Sarita N wrote:
    I think it’s missing tiles
    I haven’t a clue what P stands for but I see only 4 flowers. How old could this set be? It looks incomplete to me. It belonged to my step mother who today would be over 103. I’m thinking it’s from the 40’s. I don’t know what I could do with these tiles. Any suggestions?
    Sarita
    Download all attachments as a zip file IMG_2553 .jpg 164.3kB IMG_2554 .jpg 240.9kB IMG_2555 .jpg 210.3kB IMG_2556 .jpg 209.8kB


    Yes, Sarita, the set is incomplete. It cannot be used to play American-style mah-jongg. It can be used to play Chinese mah-jongg, but without flowers. It's pretty worthless as is. The only people who might want it are collectors who have similar sets, to use for its parts. If you enjoy long and slow torture, you could try to obtain replacement tiles.
    Sarita, if you have further questions, I recommend you take a look at some of the articles in FAQ 7. You can learn about mah-jongg sets, what they're made of, what mystery tiles they can contain, and lots more.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Do you think this set is from the 50’s, part 2
    On Sunday, March 3, 2024 at 09:06:58 AM EST, Sarita N wrote:
    Hope this better helps to identify the age of this set. Thank you for your help. The racks I assume are a marble plastic . I thought they were so different from others I’ve seen. For the age of this set I think it’s in decent condition. Your thoughts.
    Sarita
    Sent from my iPhone
    Download all attachments as a zip file IMG_2539 .jpg 210.3kB IMG_2540 .jpg 245.3kB IMG_2541 .jpg 234.6kB IMG_2542 .jpg 247kB IMG_2543 .jpg 241.4kB IMG_2544 .jpg 215.1kB IMG_2545 .jpg 247kB IMG_2546 .jpg 228.5kB IMG_2547 .jpg 209.9kB IMG_2549 .jpg 209.2kB IMG_2550 .jpg 114.9kB IMG_2551 .jpg 167.2kB IMG_2552 .jpg 229.6kB

    I only needed this one photo for the age question, Sarita. At 640x480 pixels, it's the second-smallest common size of digital photo. I needed to zoom in on it to count the flowers/seasons/jokers. It appears that the set came with 28 flowers/seasons. As you can see by the chart in column 509, the National Mah Jongg League required 24 flowers from 1950 to 1955. They never required more than 24, so apparently this set's American manufacturer was basing its inclusion of 28 flowers on the possibility that the League would again increase the flower count. So the answer is yes, surely the set is from the 1950s.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Do you think this set is from the 50’s? I wonder what material the tiles are made of.

    On Sunday, March 3, 2024 at 02:41:50 AM EST, Sarita N wrote:
    Mah Jongg age?
    This set belongs to a 90 yr old lady who said she played back in the 60’s. Do you think this set is from the 50’s?
    The tiles have a slight pale green tint to them. I wonder what the actual material the tiles are made of. Any info would be greatly appreciated. I put Joker stickers on 8 of the extra seasons tiles so that she could play American Mah Jongg
    Sent from my iPhone
    Download all attachments as a zip file IMG_2533 .jpg 106.4kB IMG_2534 .jpg 106.7kB IMG_2535 .jpg 108kB IMG_2537 .jpg 113.9kB

    Hi, Sarita!
    So, you asked two questions:

    SN: What are the tiles made of?
    TS: Plastic, probably Catalin. See FAQ 7c and FAQ 7c3.

    SN: Do you think this set is from the 50’s?
    TS: Probably, but you didn't tell me enough information, and you didn't send me a reasonable-size photo of all the tiles (320x240 pixels, the size you sent, is just about the smallest possible size of digital photograph). I need to see all the tiles laid out the way Barry P did on December 17, farther down this board (the way I asked for in FAQ 7g).

    With a view of exactly how many tiles there are, especially how many flowers and jokers, I can make a guess as to an American-style set's date of manufacture based on how many flowers and jokers the National Mah Jongg League required for playing NMJL rules in years past. I made a chart in column 509, and I shared that chart below, in the post titled "What's the history of jokers and flowers?" in response to Judy H on August 17. The only thing I can tell you is that, since you had to sticker 8 extra seasons/flowers, the set was probably made before 1960. And since there were at least 8 extras, the set was probably made after 1946. The set's date of manufacture could be narrowed down if it was known how many flowers the set originally came with.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Looking for a database, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Friday, March 1, 2024 at 04:58:12 PM EST, Wesley M wrote:
    Thanks for your speedy reply, and thanks for collecting all this content. It certainly helped me get into the game after numerous false starts.

    You're welcome, Wesley!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Looking for a database of past NMJL cards

    On Friday, March 1, 2024 at 02:47:52 PM EST, Wesley M wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Do you know of any database of prior mah-jongg cards? I haven’t been able to find any such record, and it seems a shame for that knowledge to be lost over the years. I know the NMJL takes copyright seriously — I’m only looking for cards that are no longer in play to see trends over time and understand the history.
    Thanks!
    Wesley May

    There is no such database, Wesley. What we collectors do is laboriously, year after year, scour eBay and other auction sites waiting for old cards to come up for sale.
    That said, I had an exchange with Judy H on August 17, 2023 about trends over time gleaned from my own collection of past cards (which definitely has gaps!). You can scroll down to the post titled "What's the history of jokers and flowers?" To a future reader: if that post has fallen off the bottom of the board, just click the left-pointing hand (very bottom of this board) to go back in time and find the post.
    So, Wesley, if the trends and history you're interested in is the evolution of NMJL rules, I think my August 17 reply to Judy H should be of some help to you!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Need someone to teach my group Chinese mah-jongg next week

    On Friday, March 1, 2024 at 03:49:05 PM EST, Christine <christine.berberiangmail.com> wrote:
    Looking for Chinese tile mahjong instructor
    Hello,
    I’m hosting a group of women on March 7 and looking for Someone to teach us the Chinese tile mahjong version. I hope you can help or if you know anyone who can.
    Thank you,
    Christine

    Hi, Christine! I have a list of instructors in FAQ 4a. They're listed by geographical location. Your query is also posted in the Find Players/Teachers bulletin board - maybe a teacher will see your query and contact you... maybe. But you didn't mention what city, state, zip code, or country you're in...
    Good luck!

    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    March 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    This happened in a tournament...

    On Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 01:25:31 PM EST, Joanne M wrote:
    Mah jongg Tile on the floor
    During our mah jongg tournament, as players played at two nearby tables, a 7 Dot tile was noticed on the floor. We did not know whose table it came from, and when questioned about it during play, each person claimed that the tile was not from their table. Play continued, and then one person from each of those two tables called mah jongg. ( at different times)
    But a person from one of these tables said that it was not a valid mah jongg since there was a tile on the floor. No one knew at what point the 7 Dot tile landed on the floor, since it was only discovered there (by me) until mid game at each table. So is the disputed mahjongg valid or not?
    The judges ruled that the mah jongg at that table was still valid because no one claimed it was from their table when they were asked about it. We learned later that the 7 Dot tile was from that disputed mah jongg table.
    I LOVE your site! It has helped me many times. Perhaps your answer will help me again. Thank you, Tom.
    Joanne M

    The judges ruled correctly, Joanne. The time to call a game invalid is upon discovery of the problem, not after the [possibly-ruined] game is played through to the end. The players at both tables chose to continue playing - thereby validating the wins.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Leap Year Day, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How old is it and what's it made of

    On Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at 05:24:08 PM EST, Sierra N wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Inquiry
    Hello there! To start I just wanted to say what an amazing website you’ve created and put so much time and energy into! I’m new to the world of Mah-Jongg but your site was an amazing source of information and answered questions I didn’t even know I had. I found a set at a thrift store that I couldn’t live without and am hoping you can help me identify how old it is and the materials it’s made of.
    My set includes 144 playing tiles and 4 blank extra tiles. It has 88 point sticks (x36 single, x35 8 dots, x5 8 dots that have been marked with an additional dot using a marker, x8 5 dots, and x4 with 9 dots) and 4 very small dice with a large red dot marking #1. It has a red velvet fabric wrapped case and trays for each suite of tiles the counting sticks and dice. It looks like the back of all the tiles could be bamboo and the tiles themselves appear to glow green under UV blacklight (picture attached of this). The 1 of bamboo is a peacock and the set has season and flower tiles. The manual suggests this set is meant to be played as the four winds version and goes into very detailed rules and different scenarios you may encounter while playing. The manual is in English, but I felt like I was reading another language lol.
    I would say this set is in nearly perfect condition. Other than the 8 counting sticks that were intentionally marked it has clearly been well looked after. The instruction manual looks brand new and the case has some wear on the outside corners but inside is in very good condition.
    My best guess is that the tiles are bone based on how they look under UV light and that I can’t identify any patterns that ivory tiles would contain. When they are all in the case it has a pretty good weight to it.
    I cannot find any other sets online that are manufactured by the same company as this one and therefore am unable to find anything about when it could’ve been produced. Which is exactly what led me to you!
    Height: 5/8 inch total but the white part is exactly 1/2 inch
    Width: 3/4 inch
    Length: 1 inch
    This set consists of the complete suits of dots, bamboo, craks, winds, x8 flowers, dragons and x4 blank tiles.
    (see above)
    The case that the set came in is like a briefcase. It has red velvet fabric on the outside and is made of wood. Inside the case are cardboard trays wrapped in similar fabric as the case. On the outside of the case there are two metal folding locks and a plastic handle.
    The container has some damage on the outside corners where the fabric has begun to separate a bit but inside the case is clean and overall is in good condition.
    It came with an extremely detailed manual on how to play “Mah-Jongg Chinese game of Four Winds” that is in excellent condition.
    The craks appear to be more modern in style.
    This set does not have any jokers as far as I can tell.


    Really looking forward to hearing back from you!
    -Sierra :)

    Hi, Sierra! Sorry for the delay. My webhost hadn't renewed my site's certificate, so I couldn't post this last night.

    You asked "how old it is and the materials it’s made of." It was probably made circa 1990 (give or take a decade), and the tile fronts are made of plastic (not bone). The tile backs look like bamboo but are really plastic. I have several similar style sets. They're slightly different from most sets made in Japan; they might be of Korean manufacture.

    You said, "When they are all in the case it has a pretty good weight to it." Right, plastic is heavier than bone, and some Asian manufacturers add some metal inside for weight (and for working in an automatic table).

    You also said, "The manual is in English, but I felt like I was reading another language lol." Yes, that is a ubiquitous and infamous manual, much despised in the English-speaking world because it's frankly unintelligible.

    You said, "The manual suggests this set is meant to be played as the four winds version..." Nobody can tell what variant is being described. But there is no "four winds version."

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 28, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Where can I find out the rules and penalties for certain actions?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 11:04:53 AM EST, stephanie k wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Where can I find out the rules and penalties for certain actions? For example, touching a rack. I’ll but changing your mind and wanting to call a tile. I know that’s not allowed because once you touch it, it’s yours. Another example, if you throw a tile and miss call it what are the repercussions? I’m looking for scenarios and situations and the explanation on how they are dealt with.
    Thank you so much !
    From Stephanie....Sent from my iPhone??

    Hi, Stephanie! You wrote:

    SK: Where can I find out the rules and penalties for certain actions?
    TS: There is an official rulebook published by the National Mah Jongg League, it's called Mah Jongg Made Easy ("MJME"). And I wrote a book that describes the official rules, too. It's called The Red Dragon & The West Wind ("RDWW"). There are other books, too. They're listed in FAQ 3.
    If you would rather find answers online, my FAQ 19 answers the most frequently asked questions about NMJL rules.

    So, that's where! I recommend you buy the official rulebook at least, and bookmark FAQ 19.

    SK: For example, touching a rack.
    TS: In MJME2023, you'll find a recommendation that a player never touch another player's tiles. In FAQ 19, that recommendation is cited in FAQ 19-CF. As for RDWW, this is mentioned in the errata (page 58).

    SK: I’ll but changing your mind and wanting to call a tile. I know that’s not allowed because once you touch it, it’s yours.
    TS: I've gathered all the "change of heart" rules in FAQ 19-AM. This one is listed in MJME2023 on page 18, rule 13. And your understanding of it is wrong. You can move a discard, and you can change your mind about taking it as long as you didn't put it on your rack. FAQ 19-AM-2.

    SK: if you throw a tile and miss call it what are the repercussions?
    TS: That depends on what happens after you misname the discard. See the back of the card ("MISCALLED TILE", middle top of the card). Also, FAQ 19-AY lists all the frequently-asked errors resulting from misnaming a discard. In MJME2023, see page 16, rule 3.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    2/22/2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The unwritten rule that you should have 8 tiles towards a hand

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 04:21:50 AM EST, Mark C wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Hi with regard to “special” or “limit” hands I have seen somewhere that the unwritten rule is that you need 8 or your initial 13 tiles to be in place in order to make it worth going for one of these even if they are still likely to fail. Any thoughts on this ? (British rules)
    Mark C

    Hi, Mark.
    Just to be clear, rules are completely different from strategy principles. And etiquette is a third completely different set of guidelines. The British game has rulebooks that spell out the rules. It's also likely that the rulebooks mention some but not all strategy and etiquette principles. In fact, many of the rules, strategies, and etiquette guidelines in the British game are also applicable to other variants.

    This concept you mentioned, having 8 tiles towards a particular hand, is a strategy principle, not a rule. And it has a counterpart in American and Japanese mah-jongg (two of my favorite variants). Some people say you should have 7 tiles towards a hand before attempting that hand. Some say 8. Strategies are for the individual player to work out for themselves over time, trying them, to varying degrees of success. If I have 7 tiles towards a special hand in my initial deal, I'd probably go for it, at least starting out, but I'd keep my options open for a regular hand. If I have 8 tiles towards a special hand, I'd definitely want to go for it. And I'd probably still keep my options open for as long as practical.

    If you're interested in more strategy principles, check out FAQ 8.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    2/22/24
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Why are the S&P hands marked C, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 10:10:23 PM EST, Donna D wrote:
    Tom,
    Thanks for the fast response.
    Donna
    Sent from my iPad

    You're welcome, Donna! Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom


    Why are the S&P hands marked C?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 07:09:36 PM EST, Donna D wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    You cannot draw a tile to complete any part of any of the hands in Singles and Pairs - why are those hands still designated as Concealed?
    D D
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Donna! Those hands are the very meaning of Concealed! The entire hand is concealed on the sloping front of the rack until it's exposed all at once. In the case of the S&P hands, the hand can't be exposed until then anyway. If that isn't concealment, I don't know what is.
    There are also hands on the card (often at the bottom of a family of hands) that are "arbitrarily" marked Concealed, intentionally by the card designers, often to force the hand to not be ridiculously easy (like all 4-pung hands). Those ex-S&P hands aren't Concealed by definition but rather by design (they're Concealed only because the card says so).
    I usually don't try to justify rules I didn't make. But I can see another reason why the C designation makes sense: Given that the S&P hands have to be marked either X or C, you couldn't mark them X, since it's not possible to make exposures. Nothing can be exposed in an S&P hand, so by definition, it's a Concealed hand.
    So what do you think? Make sense?
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 21, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Question about the 2023 NMJL card, part 26

    On Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 04:02:28 PM EST, Carol P wrote:
    111 2222 111 2222
    Greetings,
    under consecutive run
    this pattern says any 2 suits - clear
    any 2 consec nos - question
    doesn't each set have to matching nos ?
    example : can 444 5555 with 222 3333 be a mah jongg?
    thank you
    Carol

    You are correct, Carol. If the card shows 111 2222 111 2222 (as it does in Consec. Run #6 on the 2023 card), then the two pungs must be the same number but two different suits, and the two kongs must be the consecutive number after the pungs, in the same two suits.
    But the example you gave, 444 5555 222 3333, is a different legal hand, Consec. Run #2 (since the 4s and 5s follow consecutively after the 2s and 3s). You can't claim Consec Run #6 if you make Consec. Run #2.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 21, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated

    P.S. I've now added this hand to FAQ 16.



    FAQ 16 link


    Shouldn't I have won, part 2

    Re: Mahj ?
    On Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 12:54:08 PM EST, Robin P wrote:
    Hi Tom.
    Thanks for your fast reply. The lady clearly heard me, but felt i should have said “wait or hold up”. Therefore she just kept going w her turn.
    You’re the best!
    Thanks!

    Robin, you wrote:

    RP: The lady clearly heard me, but felt i should have said “wait or hold up”. Therefore she just kept going w her turn.
    TS: Well, then, on the face of it, that wasn't very nice, was it?

    RP: You’re the best!
    TS: Aw, shucks.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 21, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Banned during the Cultural Revolution, part 2

    Re: question re "original" Chinese rules of play
    On Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 08:10:26 AM EST, Gregg Swain wrote:
    Dear Tom
    Thank you so much for all of this information. I’m delighted you’ve added this question and answer to your site.
    All best
    Gregg
    PS: All those calculations original to the game took away from the number of games that could be played. Hurrah for simplicity!
    Sent from my iPhone

    May the tiles be with you, Gregg!


    Shouldn't I have won?

    On Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 08:21:53 PM EST, Robin P wrote:
    Mahj ?
    Hi.
    Player across from me plays a 2crack. I say what did u say? The player to my left proceeds to scoops up her next tile from the wall and discards it…..JUST as i say again, Susie, what did u say?
    Susie says OH 2 crack.
    I say mahjong.
    Player to my left goes u can’t take that i already drew and discarded. I said I asked her twice what she said.
    Player to my left says no u have to say wait a minute or hold up.
    I know the rules on when ur turn starts and ends etc. I think in this situation I had mahjong.
    What do you think?
    Thanks ?????
    Good health and peace to you??Robin P

    Hi, Robin!
    Sorry that your emojis didn't survive the conversion from email to web.
    The player at your left was correct. You should have spoken more forcefully when you could not hear the name of the discard. Going forward, I recommend that you keep an eye on what the other players are doing at all times. If it ever happens again that you miss your mahj tile, it's recommended that you not say or do anything that clues the other players as to what you need.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 21, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Banned during the Cultural Revolution

    On Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 10:52:01 AM EST, Gregg Swain wrote:
    question re "original" Chinese rules of play
    Hi Tom
    When I was giving a talk at a library the other day, someone asked if the "style of play" banned during the Cultural Revolution was played anywhere these days. I didn't see the answer to this in your book.
    Hoping all is well.
    Best
    Gregg

    Hi, Gregg! Nice to hear from you.
    I checked FAQ 11-H to see if the Cultural Revolution was mentioned there, with hopes of finding out when that was. My mah-jongg timeline didn't say (it just said "China's Cultural Revolution briefly spilled into Hong Kong with street riots." Wikipedia says the Cultural Revolution started in 1966. So I'll add that to FAQ 11-H.
    I'm pretty sure Chinese Classical had already splintered into numerous regional variants by 1966. Chairman Mao didn't outlaw just one variant. He outlawed all gambling, and I'm sure mah-jongg players lived in fear of being tattled upon if they even played solitaire games as long as the Chairman ruled the Middle Kingdom.
    The variant that held sway in the 1920s is referred to today as "Chinese Classical," but it is not "the original." The rules went through an evolution from the 1860s and leading up to the 1920s. FAQ 11-F discusses the "original" rules, based on historical discussions on the old rec.games.mahjong newsgroup, and writings found by historian Michael Stanwick and others.
    Certainly, Cantonese rules had evolved by the 1960s, and surely there must have been other regional variants extant at the time. I imagine that whatever variants were played before Chairman Mao's edict ARE (yes) still played today in China. The Chinese weren't big on writing books about mah-jongg - some of the earliest ones are listed in FAQ 11-D.
    The asker of the question at your library talk might be wondering if 1920s style is still played in China today. My best guess is "probably not," since it has a tedious scoring system in which all players tally their scores and pay one another after each hand. A lotta math! I do hear occasionally from Western players of Chinese Classical, who use books from the twenties.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 20, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Frequently Asked Question 19-BU

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, February 19, 2024 at 09:23:28 AM EST, Rob O wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Why is April the month that the National Mah Jongg League changes the card? What not at the start of the calendar year?
    Rob

    Please see Frequently Asked Question 19-BU, Rob.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 19, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Is this a legal play, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, February 12, 2024 at 10:19:13 PM EST, Judy H wrote:
    Thank you, I will check it out.


    Is this a legal play?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, February 12, 2024 at 10:01:02 PM EST, Judy H wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Player A is going for a concealed hand. Player A has an 8 bam in her hand. She needs an 8 crak and a joker for Mah Jongg.
    Player B has three 8 bams with a joker exposed.
    Player C discards an 8 crak.
    Player A calls the 8 crak for Mah Jongg, places it with two other 8 craks on the rack, and exchanges the 8 bam for the exposed joker, exposing her entire concealed hand.
    She is called dead because it was a concealed hand and the called tile did not complete the Mah Jongg, even though she exchanged the 8 bam for the joker in the same turn.
    Is the hand dead?
    Thanks in advance!
    Judy H

    Hi, Judy! The hand is dead. The crucial bit of information was "it was a concealed hand." She made an exposure before completing the hand, and that is illegal. You can't first make an exposure and then claim mahj on a Concealed hand.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 12, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    A tile fell off the wall, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 03:54:37 PM EST, Barbara W wrote:
    Thank you!!
    Sent from my iPhone

    You're welcome, Barbara!


    A tile fell off the wall and she put it in her hand

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 11:44:34 AM EST, Barbara W wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Here’s a new one A tile accidentally falls from the middle of the wall The player thought it fell from her hand. She picks it up and puts it in her hand Now she has 14 tiles. (It’s not her turn) Is her hand dead? What happens to the wall with a missing tile in the middle? Player is not sure which tile she put in. Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Barbara!
    That's pretty funny. This illustrates why the League can't foresee every possible weird thing that can happen when you have four fallible humans at a table.
    Yes, her hand is dead. In addition to making her hand illegal, she also created a quandary at the table by not being able to accurately repair the wall (if she could have just put it back, then all would have been well). The game will just have to play through that wall with the gap in it.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 10, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What if the player who took the tile for mah-jongg turns out to have been in error, and now she's dead? Does the other claimant get to take the tile now?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 09:53:03 PM EST, Kathy S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If a person calls a tile for mahjong, displays their tiles only to realize she played the hand wrong and is therefore dead, can another player (who did actually say CALL) when the tile was thrown) call that tile from a now dead hand? Most of us said no, dead is dead but one player argued so we are going to you!!
    Thank you
    Kathy S
    Happily playing in NJ
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Kathy! If the other player can use the tile to declare mah-jongg, she can take the tile and win. But if she wants it just to make an exposure, then she's out of luck. See FAQ 19-H4.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 8, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How many points do I get, part 2

    On Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 06:15:36 PM EST, JooFang J wrote:
    Re: Tally up one's scores - A set (meld) of one Dragon
    Hello Tom,
    I am not getting the answer I need, its my bad, its probably my use of the word "expose hand" in my inquiry, so let me try again.
    I am not referring to Pung from a discarded tile - I am referring to a self drawn Pung in my concealed hand.
    1) In Malaysian Mahjong, if I am the non-winning player, I have a set of one of these Dragon tiles in my CONCEALED hand ....so to tally up my scores (to pay the other non-winning players), am I allowed to include as "points" as well as fann (double).
    2) As a non winning player - I assume is same for the Winds (Tung Nam Sai Pak) - if its the Tung round and I am Seat#4 (Pak) and I have both sets of Tung and Pak (self drawn) in my concealed hand, am I allowed to include them (points and doubles) when I tally up my scores?
    Thanks
    -cindy

    囧 Hi, Cindy!
    I knew you were asking about a concealed pung of dragons. It's in the hand, so it's concealed. I understood that.
    1. As I said before, I only know what Vincent Cheah told me. He did not say a concealed pung counts as more than an exposed pung. He only said it was worth 1 fan. Then he also said 1 fan was 20 points. He never said a fan actually doubles the score. If it does, maybe 10 points is doubled to get 20 points. Maybe 20 points should be doubled to 40. You need to figure out your scoring system yourself, since Vincent's detailing doesn't seem to jibe with what you remember.
    2. Since all players count their scores and compare them for the paying-up tally, yes, you score points for your sets, whether concealed or exposed. See what Vincent said. You get 1 fan for East (Tung) and 1 fan for Own Wind (Pak). You should also get 1 fan for North (Pak). (In many mah-jongg scoring systems, fan are additive like that - you can have your cake, AND you can eat it, too! Double-dipping is a real permissible thing in the world of mah-jongg.) That's 3 fan for your two wind pungs, 1 fan for your red dragon pung. 4 fan = 80 points, according to Vincent's stated scoring system. He doesn't mention doubling.
    Vincent told me table rules may vary among Malaysian players. He says before beginning play, make sure you know the fan counts at the table (see FAQ 14 for more about table rules). This means you can set the scoring system the way you want. You'll just need to adapt to others' scoring when you play at their table, and you have to tell newcomers how your scoring works. It's all good.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 8, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    How many points do I get for a concealed pung of dragons in Malaysian mah-jongg?

    On Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 04:13:07 PM EST, JooFang J wrote:
    Tally up one's scores - A set (meld) of one Dragon
    I play Malaysian Mahjong (assume with its own house rules its different from HK version) and I am trying to re-fresh my knowledge to teach my friends.
    If I am one of the non-winning player and I have a set of 3 of example a Red Dragon (concealed). When its time to tally up my scores, do I move my set of complete Red Dragon (3 tiles) out to "expose" and this will give me a "double"? How points will I get?
    Thanks
    -cindy

    囧 Hi, Cindy! I've not played Malaysian rules myself. All I know about Malaysian scoring is what Vincent Cheah emailed me twenty years ago ( https://sloperama.com/mahjongg/malaysian.html). He wrote that a pong (pung) of dragons is worth 1 fan. And later in the page he says 1 fan is worth 20 points. Vincent never said a concealed pung of dragons is worth more than an exposed pung of dragons. He did make a distinction about concealed vs. exposed kongs (gongs) - but kongs are rarer than pungs, and are scored instantly during play, he indicated.

    So in my opinion, you should take his "1 fan = 20 points" concept, and see how that fits into the way you remember playing.

    When you are tallying up your points, you say "I have a concealed pung of dragons," while you show everyone your concealed pung. You don't ruin the "concealment" when you reveal what tiles you were holding. You score for it being concealed. It's necessary to reveal your tiles to prove your claim for points.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 8, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Why is THAT player punished but not the other?

    On Friday, February 2, 2024 at 11:59:30 AM EST, Michael R wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    Greetings Mr. Sloper
    This question comes from your article American Mah-Jongg FAQ’s, under ‘JOKERS’, question # M4. You give a source as the NMJL p.20, rule 14…. “An incorrect exposure makes the player’s hand dead.
    In the January, 2024 newsletter of the NMJL, question #10, it is stated that if the mistake is made before a discard is made, no penalty is incurred.
    Once the redeemer has discarded and the incorrect tile remains atop the rack, you state the “player who has the incorrect exposure atop their rack is dead.”
    My question: it seems that the player whose joker was taken and then that player is called dead is being inappropriately punished. Are they being punished for having an incorrect meld on their rack following the exchange?
    Thanking you in advance for clarification,
    Regards
    Michael R

    Hi, Michael! I understand why you might think that the holder of the illegal/incorrect exposure is inappropriately punished. But consider: what was the holder's part of that move? Let me paint a picture:
    1. Player A has a joker exposure atop the rack. Let's say it's 1B. Player B wants to get that joker, and on his turn he hands a tile to Player A, saying "I'd like that joker, please." Player A is reluctant to look up from her card (much less hand over the joker) but she takes the tile and hands over the joker and goes back to studying her card. Player B discards, sealing Player A's fate. Player A has 1Bs and a Flower atop the rack. It's an incorrect exposure, and she played a part in the making of it.

    Now let me paint a different picture:
    2. Same setup as before. Player B hands a tile to Player A, asking for the joker. Player A takes the tile from Player B and looks at it. She says, "Hey, this isn't a one bam." No problem for Player A!

    I like to get carried away with these hypotheticals...
    3. Same setup as before. Player B takes a tile from his rack and puts it on Player A's rack, taking a joker and leaving a Flower among the 1Bs. Player A is a 2nd Amendment advocate, and she lives in a Stand Your Ground state. She pulls out her revolver and shoots Player B dead on the spot. "Nobody touches my rack," she says, as she blows the smoke out of the end of the barrel.

    The real point is that the recipient of the natural tile is responsible for what's atop their own rack. And nobody should ever put anything on (or take something from) someone else's rack.

    As for why the exchanger/redeemer is not punished, I can't say. For further reading, you might want to scroll down to the December 30 post from Kathie W.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    Grundsaudaag, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    When can I chow down?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, February 1, 2024 at 12:44:19 AM EST, Frances S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is: can someone pick up a discarded tile to complete a chow when it’s not their turn? Thank you
    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Hi, Frances! The answer is no. As I wrote in FAQ 20-B1, you can take a discard to make a chow only when it is thrown by the player at your left. That means it's your turn, and you can start your turn by taking the discard. I don't think I mentioned in FAQ 20 the reason why: because the game would be too easy, not to mention too chaotic, if anybody could interrupt the flow to chow willy-nilly.
    FAQ 20 explains the most commonly misunderstood rules of Asian forms of Mah-Jongg. You might want to bookmark it.


    FAQ 20 link

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Re: The 2023 NMJL card, part 25

    Re: ? on 2023 card
    On Thursday, February 1, 2024 at 05:55:55 AM EST, Carol P wrote:
    Thank you for answering my questions.

    You're welcome, Carol.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    February 1, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    The 2023 NMJL card, part 25

    On Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at 11:48:39 AM EST, Carol P wrote:
    ? on 2023 card
    under consecutive run
    FF 1111 2222 3333 OR ...
    DOES NOT SAY ANY 3 CONSECUTIVE NOS NOR THESE NOS ONLY
    how to interpret ?
    THANK YOU

    Hi, Carol!
    No need to shout! (^_^) Your email got waylaid to my spam folder for an unknown reason, but I found it before heading off to bed.
    You're asking about Consecutive Run #5. As I wrote in FAQ 16, the hand can be any 3 consecutive numbers. The only hand in Consecutive Runs that has to be specific numbers is the top one. You can see plainly that there wasn't enough space to write any more in the parenthetical on that line.


    FAQ 16 link

    FAQ 16 answers the most frequently asked questions about the 2023 NMJL card. You might want to bookmark it!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you, Carol!
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 31, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Can we use dragons as wild?

    On Monday, January 29, 2024 at 05:43:31 PM EST, Barbara S wrote:
    Dragons
    We’re learning the Chinese version…..kinda/sorta, I think! We were told dragons are wild in their set, but nothing I read confirms that. Are they only for melding their own pairs, Pungs and Kongs, or can we use them as wild? There are no other wild cards in the Chinese version.
    So many different rules!
    Thanks,
    Barb
    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS

    囧 Hi, Barb! When you emailed me on Saturday (below), and said you had my book, and asked about "wildcards," I assumed you were learning American rules (the mah-jongg variant described in the first half of my book), so I gave you the American answer to your question.
    Wildcards are not used in Majiang Competiton Rules (the Chinese version described in the second half of my book).
    It sounds like you have a friend who plays some Chinese variant, using dragons as wildcards as a table rule. In that case, much of what I wrote in my book may not gibe with how your friend plays. My book describes the same basic play procedure, but the scoring differs from version to version (there are numerous regional Chinese variants, each with different scoring).
    FAQ 2-B describes all the variants known to me. You might want to show that to your friend so you can find out which variant they play.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 29, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Is there a limit to how many jokers I can use in a set?

    On Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 11:24:59 PM EST, Barbara S wrote:
    Wild card question
    I have your book, but couldn’t find the answer to this question:
    In a Pung or Kong, can there be two wildcards (2 jokers OR 2 dragons), or is only one wildcard permitted? Thank you!
    Barb S
    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS

    Hi, Barb! Always nice to hear from someone with my book! See rule 83 at the bottom of page 57. "When using jokers to build a set concealed in the hand, the player may fill the set with as many jokers as she wishes. There is no requirement that the player must have any minimum number of natural tiles to complete a set."
    I should add to the errata one more sentence about making exposures with multiple jokers: "An exposed set must include at least one natural tile (the called discard that initiated the exposure), since a discarded joker may never be claimed. "
    (The term "natural" is defined in the glossary on page 239. A "natural" tile is sometimes also called a "symbol tile.")
    So that answers where in the book you can find the answer to your question. Here on my website, you'll find that answer in FAQ 19-L.
    Play safe out there, Barb! And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 28, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Re the legalities of "finessing" and "slamming"

    On Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 03:52:19 PM EST, Sally C wrote:
    Finesse Move
    Is the finesse move a legal move only in tournaments according to the National MahJongg League?
    Is "slamming" a legal move?

    Hi, Sally!
    Yes, "finessing" is legal. It says so right in the rulebook. Page 23, rule 7.


    Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook.
    Every table should have the new 2023 edition!

    If you don't have the rulebook yet, you can see the rule in FAQ 19-AN.


    FAQ 19 link

    As for "slamming," I assume you mean an aggressive play like very quickly exposing tiles from your hand to prevent another player from calling a discard that you want. There is no rule that prescribes a specific amount of time a player should wait before calling a discard. When a discard goes out that you want, it's a rule to speak your desire for the tile, then it's best etiquette to reach and take the tile, put it atop your rack, and then expose the tiles from your hand. There is no penalty for consequence for doing it differently. You are required to speak the claim. That's stated right on the back of the card. But there's no rule per se against slam-exposing; if there was, it would be very difficult to enforce. As a general principle, aggressive play is not nice, and therefore is frowned upon.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 24, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    If a discard has been named but not yet touched to the table...?

    On Monday, January 22, 2024 at 06:03:11 AM EST, Service Mails wrote:
    mah jongg question
    If a tile being discarded has been named but not touched the board, can it be used instead to replace a joker on someone else rack of the same name ? Thank you,Frankie

    Hi, Frankie! The discard is "DOWN" (and cannot be un-discarded) if the tile has been EITHER named OR touched to the table, whichever happens first. See FAQ 19-A.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 22, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Have you published any updates to “The Red Dragon & The West Wind”?

    On Friday, January 19, 2024 at 04:12:11 AM EST, Kelly G wrote:
    Your book updates d
    Have you published any updates to “The Red Dragon snd The West Wind”?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Yes, Kelly, thanks for asking! At the bottom of https://sloperama.com/mjfaq/rdww.html there is a PDF file of errata for the book. The file not only contains corrections, but also includes updates based on rule changes that have occurred since the book's publication. It was last updated February 3, 2023, and now it needs a couple more additions, since the National Mah Jongg League has updated their rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy. You can download the errata file now, but do check back in a few weeks for the updated version. You can just click the link to read in your browser, or right-click and "Save As" (Firefox/Chrome users: "save link as" - IE/Edge users: "save target as") to download the file to your computer.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 19, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Is this a legal play?

    On Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 06:26:16 PM EST, Carol C wrote:
    Question regarding discarded tile missed exchange
    Thank you so much for helping our relatively new Mahjong group w. a situation:
    3 players at table: Player #1 discards 5 Bam and misses her opportunity to exchange as she realizes too late that Player #3 had Laid-up 3 - #5 Bams with a joker to make exposure of Qnty 4 - #5 Bams. Player # 3 now calls for the discarded 5 Bam/exchanges it for the joker on her exposed tiles and then calls Maj as she is able to complete her final play by using this now just-acquired joker. Is this a "Legal Play" that counts as a winning Maj? Hope I explained clearly.
    Many thanks for your insight Carol

    Hi, Carol!
    Please allow me to rephrase what you told me...

    1. Player 1 discards a redeemable 5B.
    2. Player 3 calls for the 5B and uses it to redeem a joker....

    That is an illegal play. See FAQ 19-G2: a redeemable tile can only be taken to create a new set for exposure or mah-jongg. It is NOT permitted to take the tile in order to redeem it for a joker.
    Please allow me now to show you how to find that answer in FAQ 19.


    FAQ 19

    At the top of the FAQ, you see that "JOKERS" is the third category of questions and answers. Click that and you see a list of the most frequently asked questions about jokers. Your question (this time) is "Can I claim a discarded redeemable tile? (Somebody discarded it and I want to use it to redeem a joker)." You just click that and there's your answer.
    In case you're interested, the next question that might come to mind is, "can somebody win by redeeming a joker? Is that legal?" The closest thing to that question in FAQ 19's "Jokers" section is "What's my score if I win by redeeming a joker?" - FAQ 19-AN, which question inherently implies that winning by redemption is, indeed, legal.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 18, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What if 2 players go dead in a 3-player game, part 2

    On Thursday, January 18, 2024 at 07:07:56 AM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    suzic... sent you money
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
    You were sent $25.00 USD from suzi...
    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
    Jan 18, 2024 04:07:47 PST
    Instructions from buyer
    None provided
    Description Unit price Qty Amount
    Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Item #: MJ@Sloperama $25.00 USD 1 $25.00 USD
    Total: $25.00 USD
    PayPal

    Very generous donation, Susan! Thank you!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 18, 2024


    Does it have great value?

    On Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at 07:18:22 PM EST, M E wrote:
    Mah-jongg set
    After she passed away, I found my mother's mah-jongg set and wondered whether it had great value. They had given us ivory pieces [in the family from long before the ban] and, at first, wondered if these were vintage. However, after reading your information and directions, I organized the tiles and looked at ebay as you suggested. The set is clearly an American Mah-Jongg set with plastic tiles [whatever process]. I have attached a picture of the complete set and here are details you require:
    The basic 136-tile set [dots, bams craks, winds, dragons] is complete and there are 20 flowers [8 of them are seasons] plus 10 jokers and 2 blanks. Total is 168 tiles, all in excellent condition [no obvious defects to my untrained eyes];
    The tiles are 13/16 in. by 7/8 in. by 7/16 in
    Hard case [vinyl covered] with 5 plastic racks; a pair of ordinary dice.
    I welcome your evaluation, but after reading your FAQs and looking at ebay as you suggested, I'm not sure that this set has great value. After I started the process of organizing the set, reading your information and preparing to contact you, my daughter informed me that she is starting to learn the game with some new friends and would like her grandmother's set. Still, I'd like to let her know what this is worth, other than just the family connection.
    Thank you for your help,
    Michael

    Hi, Michael. It's a standard American-style mah-jongg set, made in China by an unknown manufacturer. It's worth about $150, maybe $200, if it's in like-new condition. Please give it to your daughter. It would be a nice starter set for her beginner group to use when they come to play at her place. By the way, nice job on the picture.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 17, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    What if 2 players go dead in a 3-player game?

    On Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at 03:12:22 PM EST, Susan Z wrote:
    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    My mah-jong question or comment is: When playing with 3 players and two of them reveal they are dead, yes I know we should not call ourselves dead, what happens to the third player? Does the single legal player continue to draw and play alone until she possibly makes Mah-Jong? Or is the game over. If the game is over is the single player paid anything?
    I did look but could not find this question.
    Thanks for all of your knowledge and sense of humor!
    Suzi
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Susan! Two things first, and then I'll tell you the answer.
    1. It would be very silly for one player to play alone while others sit there. So let's forget that scenario forever and never may that idea rise again.
    2. The rules for a 3-player game are exactly the same as the rules for a 4-player game, once the deal is done and the Charleston skipped.* Once play has begun, the game progresses with the same rules as a 4-player game. It's as if one of the (4) players was declared dead and now only 3 are left playing (except there are more tiles in the wall, since no tiles were dealt to a 4th player). So you don't have to find a special rule for "in a 3-player game...." The rule you're seeking is "what if 3 players go dead in a 4-player game," which is never worded with "... in a 4-player game" on the end. Because then we'd have to take that onto the end of just about every question.


    FAQ 19 link

    So now if we go to FAQ 19, and then scroll down to the "You're Dead" section, we find "What if three players go dead?" (FAQ 19-BW).
    And we find that the answer is, of course, that the game ends. As for whether the single player is paid anything, "it depends." It depends on how the others went dead. Quoting from 19-BW:

      Did one or more players declare mahj in error? Did somebody throw in the hand or destroy the wall before verifying that the mahj was erroneous?
      (b): One player declares mahj in error, another throws in the hand. Two players continue playing. If one of them declares mahj in error, that player pays the survivor double the value of the hand the survivor was attempting.
      (c): One player declares mahj in error, and two players throw in the hand. The erring declarer pays the survivor double the value of the hand the survivor was attempting.
      (d): One player declares mahj in error, and a player destroys the wall before it's realized that the mahj was erroneous. Wall destroyer pays 25¢ to the two surviving players.
      (e): If the three players went dead by any other means, then the survivor throws in her hand (nobody gets paid). Shuffle, deal (next dealer takes over), and play another hand.

    Happily, you don't have to read (b) through (d), because nobody declared mahj in error, and nobody threw in or destroyed the wall.
    So rule (e) applies. Nobody gets paid. Tiles are thrown in, shuffled, and built into walls. Next East rolls the dice and starts a new game.


    Mah Jongg Made Easy
    A 2023 edition is now available!

    These rules came from Mah Jongg Made Easy. In the 2020 edition, these are Mah Jongg In Error rules 4(b) through 4(e). In the new 2023 edition, these are rules 5(b) through 5(e). I still have to go through all of FAQ 19's rule citations and update them according to the newly revised rulebook. Procrastinating on that... 囧

    Update, 1/18: I relooked, and found that I didn't need to cite the Mah Jongg In Error rules; the "3 dead" rule is also stated elsewhere in the rulebook. It's unknown why Susan's two players called themselves dead - we know it wasn't mahj in error. If it was wrong tile counts, rule 6(c) on page 17 of MJME2023 states that if 3 players are dead (in a normal 4P game, it should go without saying), the game is "replayed," which is a different thing from the dice moving to the next East for another game. To me, "replay" means East rolls again. If two players call themselves dead because they realize their hands are unwinnable, they both erred significantly (unwinnability is not a justifiable cause of death unless the unwinnability is visible to all players - and of course, it must be another player who issues the death challenge). So whether the dice should move to the next player or not is the only remaining question. Again, that "depends" - on how the 3 players all managed to go dead! Sometimes it's a do-over and sometimes it isn't.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 17, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated

    * Or not skipped, as many are wont to do...


    Corian® mah-jongg tiles, part 3

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 15, 2024 at 12:15:43 AM EST, Sandra T wrote:
    Thanks for answering my question and you can be assured I’m not headed to Western New York any time soon!
    I just saw you posted an addendum to your first answer. I’m guessing my friend doesn’t have a set made of Corian after all. She’s definitely not a Crazy Rich Asian! lol
    The set must be plastic, but it’s definitely made by a different manufacturer than any other set I’ve ever played with. The sides of the tiles are more squared off—not as rounded and they have a different heft.
    Sandra
    Sent from my iPhone

    You're welcome, Sandra.
    Okay, so we're not talking about a crazy expensive material after all. I have some Chinese sets with very squared edges and sharp corners. Squared sides sounds like so-called "Chinese Bakelite." There's no consensus among collectors as to what material "Chinese Bakelite" actually is.
    If you're still curious about what your friend's tiles are made of, you could read FAQ 7-C. And you could check the "other excellent sites" listed in FAQ 4-A. But if you want an opinion from me, I would need pictures. Good pictures.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 15, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Corian® mah-jongg tiles, part 2

    囧 In hindsight, dear readers, I should have done some research before replying to Sandra a short while ago (below). A Google search* does, in fact, easily and immediately turn up mah-jongg sets made of Corian®:

  • artemest shows the "Fa'I' Mahjong Chinese Game Table" for USD 12,325. I don't think it's actually a table, since the site says you can display it on a coffee table or "tucked away on a shelf."
  • 1stdibs lists the same set for $9,335.80
  • 2modern also lists the Fa'I' set for $12,522.00, starting at $1,131/mo
  • mahjonggandme describes a limited numbered edition Corian® set made by Cartier, for £37,100 including VAT tax - about $57,268.12. I briefly looked through the Cartier site and couldn't find the set. Sold out?

    Personally, I don't care for the look of the Fa'I' tiles' designs. I don't know what the tile designs look like in the Cartier set, but the panda-themed box is undeniably gorgeous.

    So, there you have it. If you're morbidly rich, you can buy one of these to play any Asian variant (except Japanese or Vietnamese, and maybe also excepting Singapore style). The Cartier set has 148 tiles, not enough to play American rules. The Fa'I' set contains an unknown number of tiles; the set was designed by the Chi Wing Lo furniture company, so it's unlikely their set contains enough tiles to play American/NMJL rules either. In case you are morbidly rich, and play American rules only, this would just tuck away prettily and not get played with. These luxury items seem to have been intended for morbidly rich ... sorry, momentarily forgot the cultural reference... Crazy Rich Asians. I can just see Eleanor and Rachel playing with the Cartier set. But that imaginary scene needs the Awkwafina character at the table, too. And I'd like to see James Hong fill it out as the fourth. (He wasn't in the movie but he should've been.)

    As far as I'm concerned, the SEOs and SMMs can knock themselves out shilling these exorbitantly gaudy doodads. ;op
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 14, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated

    * After posting, I got to thinking, "When Sandra Googled it she didn't find anything. But maybe I can find something, if it's there, if I try Googling it?" - Duh, I slap my forehead. Shoulda Googled it in the first place. - Tom


    Corian® mah-jongg tiles

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Sunday, January 14, 2024 at 12:56:52 PM EST, Sandra T wrote:
    Hi Tom,
    I apologize in advance if the answer to my question is on your website and I missed it. Assuming it’s not too expensive, I am interested in buying a modern American mah jongg set made out of Corian. A friend of mine was given a mah jongg set when the owner of the set died. We have no idea where the set originally came from, but I like it very much and would like to purchase a similar set. After doing some research on the internet, I have determined my friend’s set may be made of Corian. Do you know where I might find a set made of Corian?
    Sandra T

    囧 Sorry, Sandra, but I would be surprised if the material used for kitchen countertops is also used for manufacturing mah-jongg tiles. But I could be wrong. I can point you to my lists of vendors in FAQ 4a (short list) and FAQ 4b (long list), if that helps.

    Or you might want to contact DuPont de Nemours, Inc.®, the chemical company that invented Corian®. You could ask them if they know of any companies that use Corian®, or any of DuPont®'s other polymers, like Vespel™, neoprene, nylon, Teflon, Mylar, Kapton, Kevlar, Zemdrain, M5 fiber, Nomex, Tyvek®, Sorona, Corfam, or Lycra, for making mah-jongg tiles. According to the Corian® Wikipedia entry (which Wikipedia says is "written like an advertisement"), Corian® is manufactured in only three thicknesses: 6 millimetres (0.24 in), 12 millimetres (0.47 in), and 19 millimetres (0.75 in). The 6mm and 12mm thicknesses are too thin for mah-jongg tiles, so if the material is, in fact, used for mah-jongg tiles, it would have to be the 19mm sheets, and that would still make the tiles non-standard thickness (see the standard tile sizes in FAQ 7a). Most Corian® is manufactured at a DuPont® facility near Buffalo, New York, where they're having very wintry weather currently, if you're thinking of going there to ask in person. I should mention that travel in Western New York State is inadvisable this weekend.

    I fear that your internet research may have misled you, most likely due to the shenanigans of SEOs (search engine optimizers) or SMMs (social media marketers). Do you know about SEOs and SMMs? They're scurrilous tricksters who go to inordinate lengths to disguise themselves with fake names, and disguise their paid advertisements to look like genuine conversations in social media (forums, bulletin boards, chat boards, etc.). So I think there's no such thing as Corian® mah-jongg tiles, and that you've possibly been misled by SEOs or SMMs. They're sneaky, and they're everywhere! These tricksters have been around since the 1990s. I remember on America OnLine seeing posts saying something along the lines of "Hey everybody, I wanted to share a great product I just ran across!" Early SMM wasn't as sophisticated then as it is nowadays in the misInformation Age.*

    If you do find a vendor of Corian® mah-jongg tiles, or tiles made of any other DuPont de Nemours, Inc.® polymers, please by all means, do share the information with me, and with any SEOs or SMMs you come across in your travels, so that the word can be spread far and wide. (^_^)
    Good luck with your search! May the tiles (literally) be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 14, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated

    * Which makes me think, should we call our current phase of mankind's existence "misinformation" or "disinformation"? Misinformation is just incorrect, either by accident or misunderstanding. Disinformation is intentional false information intended to achieve a predetermined result. - Tom


    Where can I find your famous Charleston-stop chart?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Tuesday, January 9, 2024 at 01:14:44 PM EST, Minda M wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I watched a Zoom episode on YouTube where you mentioned a chart which tells when to stop the Charleston. I looked on your bulletin board and was unable to find the chart. Can you tell me where to find it? Thank you.

    Well, Minda, I had a hard time finding that myself. I thought to myself, "I ought to find it and put it in FAQ 8.e (the Strategy FAQ)." Then I wondered if maybe I already had. And guess what, I had! Anyway, here it is so you don't have to click anything:

    You can right-click that and save it to your computer if you want. Hope it helps!
    I should mention that this is not a hard-and-fast or definitive "rule" - you are free to stop the Charleston if you want to, no matter what the above decision flowchart suggests. I myself do not use this thought process; but I think most people would find it a helpful guide when facing a difficult on-the-spot decision. At some tables, "disharmony" could result if you stop the Charleston, no matter that the rules say you have the freedom to stop. Some people begrudge freedom for anyone but themselves....
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 9, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Is it a rule you have to rack.

    On Tuesday, January 9, 2024 at 11:23:11 AM EST, JoAnn S wrote:
    Racking
    Does a player have to rack a picked tile from the wall, some players pick a tile, look at it, call it, then discard it with out ever actually racking it. Is it a rule you have to rack.
    Thanks
    JoAnn

    No, JoAnn. As I wrote in FAQ 19-BL: There is no rule that says a player must rack before discarding. The NMJL says it is "best practice" to rack, but it's not a rule. (Source: the 2021 newsletter.)


    FAQ 19 link

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 9, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Does win on a replacement tile count as self-pick in Chinese Classical rules?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Monday, January 8, 2024 at 02:52:50 PM EST, Francis N wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    In traditional Chinese mahjong, if a player picks up a discarded tile to make a kong and then on the same turn goes out with that replacement tile, do they score 2 for going out on a self-drawn tile? In other words, does a replacement tile count as “self-drawn” if it enables you to go out (as well as giving you a double)? Or does the initial pick up from the discard mean no?
    Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Francis! Actually, winning on a replacement tile counts a lot more than 2 measly points! Per A.D. Millington in the seminal The Complete Book of Mah-Jongg (1993), "Opening a flower on top of the mountain" (AKA "winning on the roof") doubles the score! Page 64, rule 117 (h).

    But it might depend on which author you use as your bible. I checked an older source too. According to Milton C. Work's Mah-Jongg Up-To-Date (1924), it's 2 points for replacing a flower and either 10 points or double score for replacing a 4th kong tile, "depending on which style of game is being played." Note that Work was trying to reconcile the classical game with "the American Code of Laws" (which incorporated both the One Double and the Cleared Hand games, two different rule sets expert players came up with to prevent beginners from winning with cheap easy hands).

    Having found competing rulings on your question, I needed to check other sources. I checked two other books: Foster on Mah Jong (R. F. Foster, 1924) and An Advanced System for Playing Mah Jong by Chung Wu (1973), and they both agree with Millington: winning on a loose tile (Wu calls that "Picking a flower on the kang") indeed doubles the score.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 8, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated

    P.S. Jan. 12: I may have missed the question. No, you don't get 2 points AND double the score. Just double. - Tom


    Can I promote an exposed pung, part 2

    On Monday, January 8, 2024 at 12:09:32 PM EST, Elizabeth M wrote:
    Re: Question
    Thanks Tom!
    I'll be sure to donate!
    Liz

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


    Can I promote an exposed pung to a kong in American mah-jongg?

    On Monday, January 8, 2024 at 11:17:00 AM EST, Elizabeth M wrote:
    Question
    Hello Tom!
    I have a question about American Mahjong.
    If a player has an exposed pung from the card and they draw the fourth identical tile, are they able to add it to their pung to make a kong (and therefore change what they're collecting?)
    Thanks!
    Liz

    The answer is no, Liz. See FAQ 19-AF. Once you make an exposure and discard, the exposure will remain, as is, for the duration of the hand. You cannot later (after discarding) change a pung to a kong, quint, or sextet. If you want an authoritative source, see MJME2020, page 15.


    MJME2020 = Mah Jongg Made Easy (2020 ed.)
    A 2023 edition is now available! I've ordered it.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 8, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Can you give me an idea of when, part 4

    On Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 11:08:38 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Malayna T
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    Donation Received
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    On Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 11:14:18 PM EST, Malayna wrote:
    Re:
    Thanks so much, it was very helpful!

    Yee-ha! Thanks, Malayna!
    Tom


    Can you give me an idea of when it was made, part 3

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 08:09:59 PM EST, Malayna T wrote:
    Here are some more pictures. I’ll just paste one at a time so it’s not too big.

    On Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 08:15:40 PM EST, Malayna T wrote:
    Mah-jongg set
    A few have an ink marks on them.

    On Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 08:33:59 PM EST, Malayna T wrote:
    (No Subject)
    Last one. Both sides look the same.

    On Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 08:38:47 PM EST, Malayna T wrote:
    (No Subject)
    This one has a chip out if it. But maybe you can tell what it’s made of.


    Well, Malayna, your question is a little tricky. I can't tell you when the tiles themselves were made, but I can tell you approximately when the tiles were packaged in that box: in the late 1990s or early 2000s, most likely. At least, that's the timeframe when I saw a lot of these artificially-aged sets being sold in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

    A manufacturer (yes, in China - possibly in Taiwan but probably not) bought up a lot of old sets of tiles and ran them through some sort of aging/dirtying process, and got hold of fancy antique-looking boxes, lined them with paper printed with those patterns and then applied shellack or some other coating for an antique look. The pattern printed inside your box's bottom half (vertical columns, numbered from right to left) is identical to the pattern printed inside the lid of a boxed set of bone and bamboo "playing card tiles" in my collection. So I guess the manufacturer printed the paper to line the boxes with because it looks kind of mah-jonggy.

    The front exterior of your box has (I'm guessing) Hindu writing, Sanskrit, on it, and what could be an Indian design on the top (Buddha and two of his disciples). The gaudy box is a dead giveaway of fairly recent Frankensteining. Your set has no dice, no scoring chips, no wind indicator. Just tiles in a box (and no compartments in the box for those extra bits and pieces). That indicates that the box was not originally manufactured to contain an entire complete mah-jongg set: just the tiles - and not so that the tiles could fit attractively. It's customary and proper for tiles to store in 4 rows of 9 in a properly-made mah-jongg case; observe the rattling-around space in the box when all the tiles are in it).

    The sets I saw around Y2K were bone-and-bamboo, "aged" in mud or something. Your plastic tiles may have been soaked in yellow dye to improve their looks, or maybe they're actually made of yellow plastic (perhaps Catalin/Bakelite). If you ever accidentally chip one of those tiles, I wonder if you'll find they're white inside.
    I took a close look at your 6th photo above:

    Your set of tiles includes Singapore "animal flowers" (top right of the left photo above), which indicates the tiles were probably carved in the late 20th century.
    In sum: Could be anytime after ~1950 for the tiles, anytime after 1990 for the box. That's the best I can do. Maybe another reader might know more about the writing on the box or the paper lining, but that information isn't likely going to narrow down the set's date of manufacture for us.

    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 4, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Can you give me an idea, part 2

    Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Thursday, January 4, 2024 at 12:23:24 PM EST, Malayna T wrote:
    Thanks so much! I will send more pictures when I get home from work. I bought it from someone in Hong Kong off of Ebay about 15 years ago. They don’t speak English so I just went off the picture they had posted. No paperwork came with the set, but it is in a pretty box.

    Okay, Malayna.
    Tom


    Can you give me an idea of when it was made?

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 10:46:16 PM EST, Malayna T wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    I have a mah-jongg set that has orange tiles. No western markings. There isn’t any color. All of the tiles only have black ink. I believe it’s a Chinese set. 144 pieces. Can you give me an idea of when it was made?
    Thank you,
    Malayna T

    Maybe I can, Malayna, if you send me more pictures. I need to see all the tiles, all the extra bits and pieces that came with the set, the case, and what the set looks like when the tiles and other pieces are packed attractively in the case. It looks like an interesting set, but I can't possibly be helpful based on just one photo. Looking forward to seeing more...
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 4, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Conflicting claims, two scenarios

    Mah-Jongg Q+A
    On Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 02:09:49 PM EST, Ann S wrote:
    My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    If two people call for a tile, one abit faster than the second one, who has priority? The person next in turn or the fastest call? If it is for Mahjongg, does that take priority over all?
    Ann
    Sent from my iPad

    Hi, Ann! To answer your two questions:
    1. MJME2020, p. 20 rule 13.(a) and
    FAQ 19-H1 and H2: It's not a race to see who speaks first. When two players claim a discard for exposure, the player whose turn would be next in order of play (counterclockwise from discarder) gets the tile. Likewise when two players claim a discard for mah-jongg.


    MJME2020 = Mah Jongg Made Easy (2020 ed.)

    2. MJME2020, p.20, rule 13.(c) and FAQ 19-I1: When one player claims a discard for exposure, and another claims it for mah-jongg, the player who needs it for mah-jongg takes priority. New, 2020: even if another player has begun to expose tiles, the mahj claim takes priority.

    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Conflicting claims, one claiming the discard for exposure and one claiming mahj by self-pick... non-simultaneously

    On Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 08:21:00 AM EST, jamesc wrote:
    Mah Jongg call timing
    Greetings,
    This came up the other day:
    4 players (A to D) around the table in that order.
    Player A needs a 1 dot to Mah Jongg.
    Player D discards a 7 crack.
    Player B calls the 7 crack for exposure.
    This is where it gets tricky.
    Once Player D named the tile, Player A lifted the next tile from the wall (a 1 dot) and said Mah Jongg.
    There was much discussion about timing.
    Player B said she called the 7 crack tile prior to the 1 dot being lifted and before the Mah Jongg words being spoken.
    Player A said no he had seen it first before saying Mah Jongg and recognized it as his Mah Jongg tile.
    Player C agreed with Player B and Player D remained silent.
    We need the rule number or info about this type of situation and how does the timing affect the outcome?
    What should have happened in this case?
    Thanks for any help on this.
    Jim M.

    Hi, Jim! As I interpret what you wrote:

      1. Player D discards and names a tile.
      2. Then, simultaneously, Player B calls the discard for exposure and Player A picks from the wall and SEES his mah-jongg tile.

    From what you described, it sounds like Player A spoke AFTER Player B spoke.
    If I have interpreted your words correctly, then Player A should have kept his mouth shut. Player B declared a claim for the current live discard, which means Player A can't take his turn. He has to put the tile back on the wall. Secrecy as to what he saw (NOT claiming "mahj") could result in him getting that tile anyway if the next picker discards it.

    I know you wanted a "rule number," but there is no rule in the 2020 edition of MJME that covers this exact situation.


    Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the NMJL. The 2023 edition is available now!

    FAQ 19-CL says the caller gets the tile if a call for a discard is spoken at the exact precise instant that the next-in-turn racks his picked tile from the wall. But your Player B was not racking and was not speaking at that exact precise instant - he was just SEEING the picked tile. FAQ 19-CL is based on an October 25, 2016 letter to Donna E from the NMJL. I suppose the case cited by Donna E in her original query to the League involved a call for exposure and a pick that wasn't for mahj.

    Is this a case where "mah-jongg trumps everything" (FAQ 19-DK)? I don't think so, because it seems (from your description) that player A spoke AFTER Player B spoke; that player B only SAW his mahj tile at the moment that player A spoke her claim. Player C, you said, "agreed with Player B" that Player B's verbalization came first.

    If the above doesn't satisfy, and you want an official ruling from the League, I recommend you send them your question in a snailmail letter, not by telephone. Then when you get a written reply, you could share a photo of it with me and I can share it here on the board, and in FAQ 19, for future askers of the same question.
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 3, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


    Make, material, value, age or anything else, part 2

    On Monday, January 1, 2024 at 09:18:56 PM EST, service@paypal wrote:
    Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Melanie C
    Hello Thomas Sloper,
    PayPal
    Donation Received
    This email confirms that you have received a donation of $25.00 USD from Melanie C
    You can view the transaction details online.
    Donation Details
    Total amount: $25.00 USD
    Currency: U.S. Dollars
    Quantity: 1
    Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    Contributor: Melanie C
    PayPal

    Thank you, Melanie! Happy New Year!
    Play safe out there. And may the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    Rochester, New York, USA
    January 2, 2024
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind"
    Donations appreciated


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