|By Tom Sloper
February 17, 2013
American (2013 AMJA card). This week I received the American Mah-Jongg Association's 2013 card from my friends at the AMJA. (Note: the AMJA card is an alternate card -- I am not talking about the NMJL card, which isn't due until April 1st.) Longtime readers may remember that in past years, I was the editor on the AMJA card. This is the first AMJA card I wasn't involved with (for personal reasons I prefer not to go into, I had to give up my editorship of the card) -- and I think this year's card looks good.
The "families" of hands still have clever names. That is to say, instead of "2468" or "13579" we have "Don't Get Mad - Get Even" and "Isn't That Odd." But gone, thank goodness, are the names of grandkids (or whoever those names belonged to, in recent years' cards). Now any player (not only the close personal friends of Lois Madow, the AMJA president) can understand and appreciate the wittiness of the family names on the card. The other family names on the card are "Happy New Year" (2013), "Blowing In The Wind" (Winds-Dragons), "Word Game" (see below), "Gotta Run Now" (Consecutive Runs), "Threes Not A Crowd" (369), "Quints (Gimme Five)," and "Go No Jo" (Singles & Pairs).
Another hallmark of the AMJA card is the way some hands spell out words. The numeral 1 can be used in place of the letter I, and the white dragon can be used as the letter O. Some examples:
J R1NG 1N 2O13 NOW
WWW 111 NN GGG SSS (WINGS)
SEE ROWS OF FFFFF
FF RR 11 EE NN DD SS (FRIENDS)
As per AMJA tradition, this card uses jokers in ways that differ from the NMJL card. Jokers may be used as singles or pairs, but only when the card calls for them. For example:
J NNN EEE WWW SSS J
JJ 111 222 333 444
Under AMJA rules, a discarded joker may be called, but only if it's the first discard in a game.
It's always been a philosophy of the AMJA card that hand values (worth) should be higher than those on the NMJL card. The lowest-scoring hand on the card is 35, and the highest is 1.00 (yes, a whole dollar!)
As I always say, the AMJA card is a fun alternative to the NMJL card. Get some for your group, and give it a try, why doncha.
Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.
Question or comment about this column? I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.
Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.
Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book in existence about the American game. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3). Linda Fisher's website is the only website that describes American rules: http://sites.google.com/site/mahjrules/.
© 2013 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.