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The Mah-Jongg FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)

19. American Mah-Jongg
16. The NMJL Card

1. "Mah-Jongg 101"
2a. Which MJ Rules To Learn?
2b. Which MJ Rules Do I Play?
3. Books on Mah-Jongg
  3b. 1920s Books
4a Selected Links
4b Lots O' Links!
5. Computer MJ
6. "Rosetta Stone"
7.
  7a. Types of Sets
  7b. Is It Complete?
  7c. What's It Made Of?
  -   7c2. Is It Ivory?
  -   7c3. One Word: Plastics
  7d. Bits And Pieces
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  7f. Playing Tables
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  7i. Cards... and Kards
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  7k. Where To Buy (US/Eur.)
  7m. Where To Buy (Asia)
  7n. Tips For Sellers
  7o. Cleaning & Restoring
  7p. "Tell Me Anything"
  7q. "I Need Blank Tiles!"
  7r. "I Need Jokers!"
  7s. Tiles 4 Sight-Impaired
  7t. DIY Joker Stickers
  7u. Manufacturers
8. Strategy
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10. MJ For Dummies
11. History of Mah-Jongg
   11a. Definitions, sources
   11b. Precursor games
   11c. Who created MJ
   11d. Earliest MJ writings
   11e. Earliest MJ sets
   11f. Proto-MJ & CC
   11h. History timeline
12.
13. Fewer Than 4 Players?
   13a. 3P/2P/5P/6P American MJ
   13b. 3P/2P Asian Forms
   13c. 3P/2P Japanese MJ
   13d. I Dunno, I'm Just Starting
   13e. Solitaire Tile-Matching
14. Table Rules
15. Finding Players & Teachers
16. The NMJL Card
17. HKOS
18. MJ Symbolism
19. American Mah-Jongg
20. Misunderstood Asian Rules
21. How To Run A Tournament
22. Chinese Official Scoring
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25. Can't Win Japanese Majan
26. Teaching Tips
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The Mah Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION.

Hi. I'm Tom Sloper. Welcome to my bulletin board. Here you can ask questions about Mah-Jongg, and get answers, usually within hours!
  • But BEFORE YOU ASK YOUR QUESTION, PLEASE CHECK THE FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and please scroll down and see if your question has already been asked and answered on the board.
  • PLEASE READ FAQ 19 BEFORE ASKING ABOUT AMERICAN / NMJL RULES. Your question has probably already been answered there.
  • IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE NMJL CARD, PLEASE READ FAQ 16.
  • IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A MAH-JONGG TEACHER, PLEASE READ FAQ 4A and check the Find Players/Teachers Bulletin Board and check FAQ 15.
  • When you're ready to ask your question, email your question to TomSloperama.com. I answer mah-jongg questions that are submitted by email only - telephoned questions are not welcome.


    Ask "Mister Mah-Jongg" a question!

    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.

    Rules: No shouting, please. Typing in all capital letters is considered "shouting." Nobody is allowed to shout here but me! (^_^) If your question or comment is typed in all capital letters, it will be converted to all lower case before being posted here with my reply.
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    If you are seeking a "Mah-Jong Solitaire" tile-matching game, please read FAQ 12.
    For reader enjoyment, humor is sometimes used in the responses that I give. Please don't be offended by a response given in the spirit of reader enlightenment and entertainment.
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    The first time someone asks a question here, I send a reply email to let you know that you should come back and see your answer. If your email address is protected by a service that wants me to click a link and prove myself to be human, I don't click the link. You'll need to check back here to find your answer.
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    Please note that this site is NOT associated with the National Mah Jongg League. Although questions about the League's card and rules are welcome here, please read FAQ 16 and FAQ 19 to see if your question has already been answered. Also, you can click here to learn how to contact the NMJL directly.

    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!


    Not tax-deductible

    Keep scrolling - the Q&As are below.

    But before we get to the Q&As, this needs to be said:

    Answer to THE Most Frequently Asked Questions of 2018:
    "NEWS" is not a kong (it's four single tiles, or singletons) - just as "2018" is not a kong but four singles.
    1. Jokers may NEVER be used for a single tile, or for a pair.
    2. A single tile can not be called for exposure - only for mah-jongg.
    For more about NEWS, read FAQ 16. You can link to the FAQs above left. And read the back of the card!

    FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers questions about NMJL rules.
    There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.

  • She realized she was making a mistake. Can she undo her mistake?

    >From: Bonnie D
    >Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 2:32 PM
    >Subject: American MahJongg Question
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for the many questions and answers on your site.I couldn't find the answer to my current question.
    >If a player takes a tile and starts to expose some tiles but realizes the exposure is wrong,can they put the exposure back in their rack since they haven't discarded yet?
    >Thanks very much.
    >Bonnie

    Hi, Bonnie!
    I wish I could make it easier to find that answer, but there are so many ways a person can word the question (and word a page search). Anyway, this is answered in the "UNDO, UNDO! I changed my mind, can I take it back? ("CHANGE OF HEART") section of FAQ 19. Specifically, you want FAQ 19-AM (see the 2nd question, "Calling a discard."). Once she took the discard and put it on her rack and started exposing tiles, it was too late to undo her action.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 11, 2018 3:00 PM


    Teaching kids

    >From: Elaine D
    >Sent: Monday, December 10, 2018 8:33 PM
    >Subject: Teaching Kids American Mah Jongg (ages 7 - 10)
    >Hello Tom - First, I love your book The Red Dragon and the West Wing. I used it as a text book when I taught American Maj Jongg to senior citizens as a volunteer at the San Pablo Senior Center, San Pablo, CA from July 2015 - July 2017.
    >Now I would like to teach American Mah Jongg to elementary school children, grades 3 to 5, ages 8 to 10 years old. Although I have no research or evidence to support this, I believe that their skills for reading and arithmetic will be greatly enhanced by learning and playing American Mah Jongg. Needless to say, no money will be involved with the children, but rewards they appreciate, e.g., stickers.
    >Since you are my expert regarding American Mah Jongg any information and advice you share will be greatly appreciated. In return, I would love to share with you any evidenced based results from the classes with the children.
    >With respect (for your skill) and gratitude (for the sharing of your knowledge),
    >Elaine D
    >Former American Maj Jongg Teacher (2015 - 2017)
    >President of the Friends of the Richmond Public Library (CA) (2018 - 2019)

    Hi, Elaine! Gosh, such high praise!
    With only a few exceptions, I have not taught the game to children. The conclusion I have reached from the few kids I have taught is that you will probably find that the kiddos learn the game MUCH quicker than adults. I wish you success, but I don't have any tips for you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 11, 2018


    What does "any" mean? (FAQ 19-J)

    >From: Marie F
    >Sent: Saturday, December 8, 2018 7:42 AM
    >Subject: The Word "Any"
    >We feel the word any refers to the numbers but not dragons. What do you say "any"means
    >thank you

    Good morning, Marie! Dictionary.com defines "any" thusly:

      adjective
      1. one, a, an, or some; one or more without specification or identification:
        If you have any witnesses, produce them. Pick out any six you like.
      2. whatever or whichever it may be:
        cheap at any price.

    That definition perfectly defines the word, in my opinion. The word applies to anything! That's what it says in any dictionary of the English language (see, "any" even applies to dictionaries!). Obviously you play American mah-jongg, and your group is having some kind of argument about how to interpret one or more hands on the 2018 NMJL card. You didn't say which instance of the word "any" on the card your argument is about, so I get to pick any "any" I want.

    But first I want to draw your attention to FAQ 16, where I have answered the most frequently asked questions about the 2018 NMJL card. If your group's argument is based on how to interpret a particular hand, you'll probably find that I've already answered the question in FAQ 16. And I also want to draw your attention to FAQ 19-J, the "what does 'any' mean" FAQ. FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers questions about NMJL rules. You might want to bookmark them.

    Now then, let's test the notion "the word any refers to numbers but not dragons" by considering 2468 #3.

    22 44 666 888 DDDD (Any 3 Suits)

    There's the word "any." This hand includes both numbers and dragons. The parenthetical and the color-coding both indicate that this is a three-suit hand. The hand is properly made in a number of ways, among them these:

    If the word any really refers to numbers but not dragons, then how exactly could my illustration above be incorrect? "Any" refers to both numbers and dragons, since dragons are suited. If I make the hand with bams and craks, then the dragons have to be soaps. If I make the hand with dots and bams, then the dragons have to be reds. If I make the hand with dots and craks, then the dragons have to be greens. "Any" is including (not excluding) dragons in that example.

    Now let us consider Quints #1:

    NNNNN DDDD 11111 (Quint Any Wind & Any No. in Any Suit, Kong Any Dragon)

    As I explained in FAQ 16, the dragon can be any dragon (it actually says that in the parenthetical). And the number quint can be any number (it says that in the parenthetical), and the wind can be any wind. So: not just Norths, not just green dragons, and not just ones (and certainly not just one craks). Because of all those "anys" in the parenthetical, this hand may be made in one suit or two suits.

    See? ANY number. In ANY suit. With ANY dragon. And even any WIND! "Any" can refer to anything. I stand by for someone from your group to argue that I'm wrong. But I am not the National Mah Jongg League. If your group needs an official answer, I recommend you write a letter to the League. But your question should probably include specific examples from the card, so the League can't just pick any example they want, like I did.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 9, 2018


    A discard was misnamed, causing a problem. What now? (FAQ 19-AY)

    >From: Beth D
    >Sent: Friday, December 7, 2018 7:12 PM
    >Subject: Misidentified tile
    >I was playing the other night and the player to my left discarded but misidentified the tile. No one realized it and i picked up my
    >Tile and racked it. After I racked the player to my right said the tile had been misidentified and she wanted the tile. I put my tile back and let her pick up the tile but was that the right thing to do. I had already racked the tile before she called out the mistake. Please let me know what was the right thing to do
    >Beth D
    >Sent from my iPhone

    Hi, Beth!
    Let's follow this step by step.

    the player to my left discarded but misidentified the tile. No one realized it
    Yes, that's what happens when everybody gets lulled (and sometimes misled) by the vocalizations. Everybody just focuses on her tiles and the card, and trusts what is said and so doesn't bother watching what's going on at the table. (Hint: there's a lot going on at the table that bears watching.)

    and i picked up my Tile and racked it.
    For clarity's sake, for my readers: you picked from the wall.

    After I racked the player to my right said the tile had been misidentified and she wanted the tile.
    Doh!

    I put my tile back and let her pick up the tile but was that the right thing to do.
    No.

    I had already racked the tile before she called out the mistake.
    Exactly. She spoke too late. The window of opportunity on that misnamed discard closed when your tile hit home on your rack. If only she'd spoken up a second earlier! Read FAQ 19-AY for an explanation of the misnaming rule, and FAQ 19-C for an explanation of the Window of Opportunity rule.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Pearl Harbor Day, 2018 7:50 PM


    That's your vinyl warning! (Was: Puzzling set)

    >From: inkyno1
    >Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2018 6:27 PM
    >Subject: That's your vinyl warning!
    >Hi Tom,
    >Me again :D
    >Just wanted to say thanks for the responses! Also you said that you have never encountered vinyl tiles before? Well then either you are lying or the website is.
    >In 7c "How To Identify What Your Tiles Are Made Of" there is a section that refers to "Vinyl Plastic" tiles. So either that is incorrect or maybe your memory is leaving you, haha.
    >An just for fun I got a couple more questions for you:
    >How long have you been playing/studying Mah-jongg?
    >And what is the most expensive Mah-jongg set you have sold or evaluated?
    >And thank you again for your previous responses :)

    My memory has a gap there. That section was written by the previous owner of the domain. I've never seen or owned any vinyl tiles myself; they might exist, I suppose. I started playing/studying mah-jongg in 1993 or 1994. I've heard of beautiful and rare sets, and sets of exotic materials, going for as much as $2,000.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 6, 2018 7:20 PM


    You wrote a book, I hear

    >From: Claudette G
    >Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2018 5:46 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jong question
    >I did not see these question on the list.
    >Question: On the first Charleston if a player steals a tile to pass to the left are they then allowed to say they can do a second Charleston even though they stole the tile to make their left pass. Or is the Charleston over.
    >If a person hasn’t racked their tile, and they discard with the other hand , is there hand considered dead because of not racking the tile?
    >I noticed while looking on line you have a book of rules where can I purchase that? What is the cost? The Red Dragon and the West Wind
    >Thank you, Claudette G

    Hi, Claudette! You asked:

    On the first Charleston if a player steals a tile to pass to the left are they then allowed to say they can do a second Charleston even though they stole the tile to make their left pass. Or is the Charleston over.
    There is no rule that says otherwise, and this is the first time I ever heard of this concept. Blind passing (it's not properly called "stealing") does not obligate a player to any further actions or inactions. Anyone can blind pass anytime it's permitted; no complications or prohibitions pursue thereunto.

    If a person hasn’t racked their tile, and they discard with the other hand , is there hand considered dead because of not racking the tile?
    That is not a death penalty offense. In Japan, you would be called out for using two hands and not one. But in American mah-jongg, once she has discarded a tile, her turn is over. It's impolite to continue holding the picked tile; she needs to rack it (actually, the rules can be interpreted as meaning she must rack it).

    you have a book of rules where can I purchase that? What is the cost? The Red Dragon and the West Wind
    I have numerous banners and links to my book, on many pages of my website (there's a link in this sentence, and there's one in my sig, below). I don't sell my book here; it's surely available through all the major book outlets.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 6, 2018 7:30 PM


    Concealed kongs, part 2

    >From: Kent P
    >To: Tom Sloper; Peter Gregory
    >Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2018 5:41 PM
    >Subject: Re: Declared Kongs 2
    >Tom,
    >Thanks for your prompt reply. The issue appears to be a matter of using the correct terminology to match the concept. I was not aware there are two variants for a displaying a declared-concealed Kong.
    >We have been relying upon the BMJA sanctioned book "Know The Game, Man-Jong". On page 23, the box labeled "EXPOSED AND CONCEALED" appears to describe the second of the two variants, which I prefer not to use.
    >I prefer the first variant, where during play (1)"Undeclared Kongs" (which are not fully formed Kongs) in the hand can be distinguished from (2) melded "Declared-Concealed Kongs" displayed face down on the rack. I will cease to use the term "Concealed Kong" to describe an "Undeclared Kong". I recognize that the display for scoring a melded "Declared-Concealed Kong" is changed from its display during play.
    >Furthermore, the four tiles of an Undeclared Kong can be (A) converted to a melded Declared-Concealed Kong, or broken apart (B) to make a Pung plus a tile for a Chow, or (C) to make two pairs for an All-Pair-Honors special hand.
    >I hope I have that right.
    >Thanks again.
    >Kent P

    You have that right, Kent! If Know The Game doesn't go into enough detail for you, I list other books about British and Western and Australian rules in FAQ 3. The more books you have on your variant, the better armed you are (they fill in gaps for one another).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 6, 2018 7:40 PM


    Puzzling set (Well, to me at least)

    >From: inkyno1
    >Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2018 3:00 PM
    >Subject: Puzzling Mah-jongg set (Well, to me at least)
    >Hello Tom,
    >My step-dad gave me this Mah-jongg set about a week ago and I'm was trying to figure out what kind of set it is. Upon finding your site (Super informative btw) and doing some research, I think I got some of it right, but I knowing me I'm pretty sure I got it wrong. So I thought I would ask you rather than false advertise if I choose to sell it.
    >And sorry for the picture quality, my phone is pretty garbage. If you need me to retake any just say, I can do them in better quality if needed, which I don't doubt x)
    >So to start off with the set has 148 tiles.
    >36 Dots
    >36 Bams
    >36 Craks
    >16 Winds
    >12 Dragons
    >8 Flowers
    >4 Blanks
    >Each tile is 2.7 cm in length, 2 cm in width and 1.3 in height
    >The underside of the tiles are a jade green and have a small lime gradient going into the white
    >There are 3 dice with a cube and cube holder Wind Indicator.
    >There is a pink instruction manual (Most of it is in somewhat broken English).
    >The manual has no noticeable damage but is misaligned slightly.
    >The case has what I believe to be leather surrounding wood. It has two brass brandishings on each corner of the lid and a brass button to keep the lid in place. It has "MAH JONG" on the front in a custom Broadway engraved font.
    >The tile count matches with a 1920's Chinese set but the White dragons are not blank so I am unsure. Also looks to modern.
    >As for what the tiles are made of I'm not too sure. I'm stuck between fish-bone or vinyl.
    >I think it could be fish-bone as the proportions of the tiles match up almost perfectly to the "Bone and Bamboo" Size averages, as well as the tiles being almost completely white with a faint beige-ness to them, cream almost. This lines up with the visual example given, the fish-bone ones are slightly more beige compared to the newer vinyl ones. On the other side, their edges are curved rather than sharp and are lacking any bamboo.
    >I think they could also be vinyl as they do look similar to the older vinyl tiles. They also don't feel like bone. Though I have never felt processed bone before I'd imagine it would be rougher or dry and not as smooth as these tiles.
    >There is also something that could go both ways. One of the West Wind tiles doesn't have a "w" on it. I would assume that vinyl have stamps that are used to place the pattern on, so it would be very weird to see one without it in place. This could mean that the w is a separate stamp or each tile is done by hand, and one was forgotten about either way.
    >So my questions are:
    >What do you think the tiles are made of?
    >What kind of set do you think it is?
    >What price do you think it is roughly? (Feel free to skip this one as I can look on eBay once I know what kind of set it is, but would be nice regardless).
    >Sorry if a question here is answered in your Q&A, I have read it all but just in case I do ask an already answered question, my bad. I can be an idiot sometimes :D


    Hi, inkyno1. You asked:

    What do you think the tiles are made of?
    Plastic. High-density polyethylene, most likely. I don't think I've ever encountered or heard of vinyl tiles. Your instinct (that bone would feel different) is spot on.

    What kind of set do you think it is?
    A bog-standard Westernized Chinese-style set. I have one just like it except my tile backs are blue and my case is black. Yours even comes with the infamously useless yet omnipresent "Chinglish" instruction booklet. The missing corner W on one tile is surely just a manufacturing error of some kind.

    What price do you think it is roughly?
    $50 new; adjust as appropriate for condition. You sure work hard for your Ebay sales! Very commendable.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 6, 2018 4:00 PM


    Concealed kongs (in all forms of mah-jongg except American)

    >From: Kent P
    >To: Peter Gregory <MahJongBritishRules...>; Tom Sloper
    >Sent: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 9:05 PM
    >Subject: Declared Kongs
    >I teach a course "Learn & Play Mahjong" in the OLLI program at Sierra College in Grass Valley, California.
    >A minor disagreement has surfaced, the source of which appears to be a difference in rules put fourth 1) by Tom Sloper and 2) by Peter Gregory
    >Background basic: A kong is created by adding a fourth tile to a pung, all tiles being of the same value and same suit.
    >There are four types of Kongs, depending upon the location of the pung (concealed or revealed) and the source of the drawn tile (wall or discard pile).
    >The following table can be constructed:

      Tile from wall. Tile from discard pile
      Pung concealed in hand 1) "Concealed" Kong 2) Revealed Kong
      Pung revealed 3) Revealed Kong 4) Illegal

    >Furthermore, Kongs exist in two states:
    >A) During play, before any player goes Mahjong
    >B) Displayed for scoring, after any player goes Mahjong
    >The. question is, "How is a "Concealed" Kong converted into a "Declared" Kong and how are these to be displayed in state A) during play and in state B) for scoring?
    >Note: A concealed Kong may be:
  • >immediately declared
  • >held and declared at a later turn
  • >never declared but used for some other purpose.
    >☞ According to Tom Sloper:

      >"FAQ 20. When you have a concealed triplet in the hand, and you pick [draw from the wall?] the fourth tile, you are permitted to declare a "concealed kong." You certainly have to MELD it, not just tell the others. They have to see why you've got the right to have an extra tile in the hand. But the way most Chinese variants do it, the meld is face-down.
      >
      >"The players can all see that you have a melded kong, but they can't see what it is. It is "concealed." Once you've made the meld, you are permitted to take a replacement tile from the back end of the wall. Now you have 15 tiles in the hand, and that's OK because you've got a kong."

    >☞ According to the British Mahjong Association website:

      >"Q. How should you show an exposed kong? A. An end tile is shown face down. [When? During play of the hand or after a Mahjong is achieved?]
      >"Q. How should you show a concealed kong? A. The two end tiles are shown face down. [Again when? During play of the hand or after a Mahjong is achieved?]
      >"Q. Must I always show a kong that I have in my hand? A. Only if you intend to keep the kong [concealed?]. If you pick up a tile from the wall to make a concealed kong you must then lay that [the kong?] down and get a tile from the kong box. However, you are not forced to declare a concealed kong if you decide that you don’t want to keep it or if you are saving pairs for the special hand “All pair honours”. Note: A concealed kong has 2 tiles face up and 2 face down.
      >"Q. Can I add a tile to an exposed pung to make a kong? A. Yes, but only if you pick it up from the wall. You cannot claim a discarded tile to add to an exposed pung.

    >Note: The answer to the third BMJA question appears to be confused and ambiguous. Should a kong be kept concealed by showing? Is that a non sequitur?
    >According to Know The Game Mah-jong, page 23, " …when a kong is claimed the tiles are placed three face up and one - usually at one end to the set - face down. Once someone has gone Mah-Jong, concealed…Kongs are shown with both end tiles face down."
    >Which of these disparate rules should be followed? Should I make the choice? In which case, I would choose Tom Sloper's rule for declared Kongs, i.e., place the declared Kong face down during play of the hand.
    >Kent P

    Hi Kent, and hello Peter.
    Kent, in your table, you used the term "concealed kong" as definition #1 (pung concealed in hand plus a fourth picked from the wall), and I disagree with it.

    In all forms of mah-jongg except American, the term "concealed kong" has a specific meaning: it's a displayed kong, either with all tiles face-down or with the two middle tiles face-up, depending on the variant being played. I disagree with calling a fully concealed kong just "concealed" - I would rather call that "undeclared." But correspondents on the old newsgroup used the term "fully concealed." I think the wrong use of the term "concealed" in your table is what's behind your question.

    An undeclared kong is not conceptually the same thing as a pung plus a fourth tile used in a chow. The former is one set, and the latter is a set plus part of a set. It's also not conceptually the same thing as two identical pairs (as mentioned on the BMJA site quoted above). If you have an undeclared kong in the hand (the only thing the four tiles can do is form a kong), you cannot declare mah-jongg. You don't have enough tiles. You have the undeclared kong, and you have ten additional tiles (when it's your turn and you haven't discarded yet) - you need at least eleven additional tiles (not ten) in order to form three sets and a pair to go with your kong. So in that case you have to declare the kong, if you ever want to make mah-jongg. For this reason, I would discourage the use of the term "concealed" to refer to an undeclared kong. The BMJA description was not wrong in calling it "keep[ing] the kong," and did not use the term "concealed kong" to mean a kept kong which might be used as two pairs. I see no discrepancy between the two, given the proper usage of the term "concealed kong" as something that has been declared (and melded).

    The reason for declaring a concealed kong is so that one can draw a kong replacement tile from the back end of the wall - so that it's possible to use the four as a kong and still have enough tiles to declare mah-jongg.

    Sorry if that was belaboring the obvious, or came across as rambling! And I hope it satisfactorily explains things.
    Cheers!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 5, 2018 10:40 PM

    December 6, 2018 3:00 PM
    Kent, a followup. I just noticed I didn't reply to some of your questions (placed within the quoted sections) last night:

    "FAQ 20. When you have a concealed triplet in the hand, and you pick [draw from the wall?]
    Yes. That's how I define "pick" in the glossary of my book.

    "Q. How should you show an exposed kong? A. An end tile is shown face down. [When? During play of the hand or after a Mahjong is achieved?]
    When melding and declaring the kong.

    "Q. How should you show a concealed kong? A. The two end tiles are shown face down. [Again when? During play of the hand or after a Mahjong is achieved?]
    At the moment of melding and declaring the kong.

    Finally, a question for you: I'm curious which variant it is you teach to your Sierra College students. British rules? Chinese competition rules? Or another Chinese variant?
    Cheers,
    Tom


    I called you dead but you're not. What now?

    >From: Barney G
    >Sent: Thursday, December 6, 2018 10:36 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hello Tom. Happy Holidays.
    >I call your hand dead. You say no it’s not and we all continue to play. You end up getting a Mah Jongg on a 30 cent hand. So clearly I was wrong in my death challenge. I believe I owe you BOTH the 30 cents for your winning hand and a quarter for my incorrect death challenge. Is that correct? Thank you! Barney

    Yes, Barney. Exactly correct.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 6, 2018


    Column #710 oopsie

    >From: Margaret S
    >Sent: Monday, December 3, 2018 3:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom , # 3 in your new column could also be Consec. #5 any run ???
    > thanks for all your wonderful help. Peggy

    Quite right, Peggy! So another hot tile is 6C.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 3, 2018


    New column

    It's been two months since the last one! I've been going through some stuff lately, but I know people value my columns, so there's a new one today. Defense puzzles. Did I get something wrong? Let me know, and get a tip o' the Sloper hat! - Tom


    Is 1123 like NEWS or 2018, part 2

    >From: Polly B
    >Sent: Saturday, December 1, 2018 7:41 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you very much for your timely input.

    May the tiles be with you, Polly!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 1, 2018 10:50 PM


    Is 1123 like NEWS or 2018?

    >From: Polly B
    >Sent: Saturday, December 1, 2018 4:15 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: The card for 2018 does not allow selecting a discarded tile for completing NEWS or for the date 2018, unless it's for Mah. Does the same rule apply under section quints for 1123?


    Same rule applies, Polly. For a more detailed answer, all the frequently asked questions about Quints #3 are answered in FAQ 16 (which also answers all the most frequently asked questions about the 2018 card - you might want to bookmark it).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    December 1, 2018


    "Paying double" vs. "Bonus" (part 2)

    >From: Peggy G
    >Sent: Friday, November 30, 2018 5:46 AM
    >Subject: Re: Paying double vs Bonus
    >Your prompt response is much appreciated!

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


    "Paying double" vs. "Bonus"

    >From: Peggy G
    >Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2018 7:56 PM
    >Subject: Paying double vs Bonus
    >Q: In a Singles & Pairs Mah Jongg, does someone(s) always pay double? (Either just the discarder, or everyone when player picks own Mahj tile?)
    >...in other words, does paying double only refer to discarding the Mahj tile, and Bonus only refer to no jokers?
    >Thank you.

    Hi, Peggy! You asked:

    In a Singles & Pairs Mah Jongg, does someone(s) always pay double? (Either just the discarder, or everyone when player picks own Mahj tile?)
    Someone always pays double, yes. Not only in the S&P hands - the entire card. Someone always pays double. See FAQ 19-AN.

    does paying double only refer to discarding the Mahj tile, and Bonus only refer to no jokers?
    That's a pretty good interpretation of the wording on the card, Peggy! Really, they're all doubles: the discarder double, the self-pick double, and the jokerless double (also called "bonus").

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 29, 2018 8:40 PM


    I need a part for one of my Bakelite racks

    >From: Deborah Y
    >Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2018 8:48 AM
    >Subject: Bakelite rack stopper
    >One of my racks is missing a Bakelite stopper
    >Do you have instructions on how to take the rack apart and install them?
    >Do you have a link for buying a stopper ?
    >There seem to be two types-one with holes and one cutouts
    >Thank you!

    Hi, Deborah!
    Sellers of orphan tiles often have bits and pieces and parts. Try contacting the sellers on the Tiles For Sale bulletin board. (And no, I have no repair instructions, but you can search the Cleaning/Restoring FAQ.) Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 29, 2018 3:20 PM


    Goulash wild tile rules

    >From: Ngaire
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 8:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: What are the rules regarding wild tiles in a goulash. Can a player who has an exposed pung containing a wild tile claim a discarded tile representing the wild tile then put the wild tile back in her hand and the discarded tile she has picked up replace the wild tile???
    >Thanks for your help
    >Ni Rowley

    Hello, Ni!
    Sounds like you play one of the Western variants, or maybe Wright-Patterson. Neither has well-documented wild tile rules - there are no official wild tile rules. So you get to make them up! (With the agreement of the others at your table - see FAQ 14). If you want to see wild tile rules for another variant, the only variant with well-defined and -documented joker rules is NMJL. You're asking about joker redemption. Those rules are explained in FAQ 19.
    May the tiles be with you!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 28, 2018 9:45pm


    Called her dead but she's not. What now?

    >From: Lucille B
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 9:01 PM
    >Subject: American Mah Jongg Question
    >Hello Tom:
    >Your site is extremely helpful and I have passed a great deal of your information on to my group.
    >My name is Lucille and I’m a Canadian from southwestern British Columbia.
    >However, I couldn’t find an answer to to the following situation.
    >“A player called another player “out” by telling her that the tiles she had displayed where those of a concealed hand”.
    >“The player disputed her and said that in fact her tiles were also part of a non-concealed hand (as well as a concealed hand) and she was right”.
    >QUESTION: “What happens to the player that made the incorrect call of saying she was “out”?
    >Is her hand now dead and is she now out of the game?”
    >Your help is greatly appreciated.
    >Sincerely,
    >Lucille
    >Sent by Lucille

    Hi, Lucille!
    Death challenge disputes are explained in FAQ 19-AB. If a player denies a death challenge, she continues to play. At the end of the hand, it can be determined who is right. Payment for death challenge disputes is explained in the FAQ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 28, 2018 9:50 PM


    Playing with beginners, part 2

    >From: Nadine S
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 6:22 PM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you very much for clearing this up for us.

    You're welcome, Nadine!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 28, 2018 8PM


    How did they make sextettes before there were jokers?

    >From: Merrily L
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 1:09 PM
    >Subject: Vintage hands
    >I teach mah jongg and one of my students showed me a 1942 NMJL card. Some of the hands called for quints and/or sextettes (e.g. 111111 999999 DD ). Since there were no jokers then, my students and I want to know how a player can win this hand. I did tell them there were many more flowers then than there are today and we all surmised that that was what they used. But inquiring minds still want to know the truth?
    >Merrily Lewis

    Hi, Merrily!
    Flowers were wild back then. That means flowers were jokers. Take a look at FAQ 19-AI and column 509.
    May the tiles be with you, Merrily! ♪♫Life is but a dream... ♪♫
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 28, 2018 1:45 PM


    Playing with beginners, saw stuff happen I never saw before

    >From: Nadine S
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 9:50 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Today I was playing with beginners. Someone wasn’t paying attention & they discarded a tile that another player had an exposer with a joker. That person picked it up from the discard pile & exchanged it with the joker & put the joker with their unexposed tiles. Can they do this or not since they did not get the tile from the draw pile?
    >Second question - another game someone only needs one more tile to go Mah-Jongg. They drew a tile they didn’t need, but that the next person had an exposer with a joker for that tile. As the first question - can the next person pick it up to replace their joker & put the joker in their unexposed tiles. If the next player can do this, would it be better for the person that originally drew it replace the tile with the next person’s joker & then discard the joker so that the next can have the joker to use with the rest of their unexposed tiles?
    >Never had this happen before.
    >Thanks for your help,
    >Nadine

    Hi, Nadine!
    Your email came in at bedtime last night but I was tired. Fully rested now, so here goes. You wrote:

    Someone wasn’t paying attention & they discarded a tile that another player had an exposer with a joker. That person picked it up from the discard pile & exchanged it with the joker & put the joker with their unexposed tiles. Can they do this or not
    Absolutely not. Next time you see them, show them the rule in the 2018 rulebook, on page 20. Or, if you look at the source citations under FAQ 19-G, you'll see that it's also spelled out in my book on p. 58 (rule 85), p. 59 (rule 89c), and p. 91. A discarded redeemable tile cannot be taken for the purpose of joker redemption. It's a well-documented rule.

    someone only needs one more tile to go Mah-Jongg. They drew a tile they didn’t need, but that the next person had an exposer with a joker for that tile. As the first question - can the next person pick it up to replace their joker & put the joker in their unexposed tiles.
    It took me a while to realize you might be saying that the person who's waiting for mah-jongg discarded a redeemable tile - am I reading this right?

    can the next person pick it up to replace their joker & put the joker in their unexposed tiles.
    If you're saying that the player who's waiting for mah-jongg discarded a redeemable tile, and you're asking if someone can pick it up to use it to redeem a joker, I believe this is exactly the same thing as your question #1. So I give it the same answer.

    would it be better for the person that originally drew it replace the tile with the next person’s joker & then discard the joker so that the next can have the joker to use with the rest of their unexposed tiles?
    Nobody can pick up a discarded joker. Ever. A discarded joker can never be picked up, and a discarded redeemable tile cannot be claimed for the purpose of joker redemption. See FAQ 19-G.

    If you mistyped your question and meant to say "so that the next cannot have the joker," all I can say is "it depends." I gather that the player who's waiting for mah-jongg can't use a joker to complete her hand? It doesn't matter whether she discards the redeemable or a redeemed joker, since neither is available for another player to use. It's sneakier to discard the redeemable tile and feign ignorance - it's "in your face" to discard a joker. So it depends on what's going on, and the level of play.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 28, 2018 9:00 AM


    What if the player who took the tile for mah-jongg turns out to have been in error, part 2

    >From: Ellen C
    >Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2018 9:57 AM
    >Subject: RE: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for the quick response. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. I am Canadian so we celebrated last month, although I do smell turkey cooking in the oven so I guess we are celebrating again today.
    >I will reference the Q&A bulletin board.
    >Cheers,
    >Ellen


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

    >From: Ellen C
    >Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2018 9:37 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >Hello Tom,
    >Sorry I did not see the answer to this question in FAQ19 or the Q&A board – hope I did not miss it.
    >Last week, near the end of play, two players called for the same tile and both for Mah Jongg. The entitled player, after exposing her Mah Jongg had miscalled the Mah Jongg (no such hand). The second player needed the tile for her Mah Jongg pair.
    >Is the entitled player’s hand dead and the natural tile is no longer available to the second player?
    >We are a friendly home group, so the players allowed the second player to call the tile for Mah Jongg.
    >Thank you and looking forward to your response.
    >Cheers,
    >Ellen

    Hi, Ellen! You're asking about conflicting claims for mah-jongg. FAQ 19-H3 answers the standard question, "Who gets the discard if two want it for mah-jongg?" but FAQ 19-H4 answers the question you're asking: "What if the player who took the tile for mah-jongg turns out to have been in error, and now she's dead?" The answer is: the second claimant takes the tile to win. Sorry it was so hard to find your answer in FAQ 19; thanks for looking! I hope you have an enjoyable day today.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Thanksgiving, 2018 9:50 AM


    Dead link

    >From: D N
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2018 3:15 PM
    >Subject:
    >Hi Tom,
    >Was just poking around your site and one of the sites is no longer doing business, closed in 2017. Didn't know if you were aware, and that you may want to remove it from the page:
    >Arkay Engravers' website is www.arkayengravers.com/tiles/
    >If you just go to the main page it says they retired last year.
    >Happy Thanksgiving!
    >Debbie

    Giving thanks to you, Debbie. I deleted all the links to Arkay.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 21, 2018 7:10 AM


    My wafer tiles

    >From: Nancy W
    >Subject: Fwd: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Date: November 19, 2018 at 8:35:23 AM EST
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I recently acquired an incomplete set (142 tiles) of wafer tiles…..thin wafer of black on the back. Tiles appear to be made of catalin. They are smaller than the typical sets and I haven’t seen any on eBay since. (L 15/16” x W 11/16” x D 7/16”)
    >Can you answer questions below?
    > - are there any racks? or case?
    > - if not, how are they displayed?
    > - how do you build the wall?
    > - is this a travel set?
    > - where can I find replacement tiles?
    >Any information would be appreciated.
    >Nancy

    Hi, Nancy! You wrote:

    wafer tiles...
    Your tiles look reasonably thick to me (not very waferlike).

    Tiles appear to be made of catalin.
    No, Catalin is shiny. Your tiles are what American collectors call "Chinese Bakelite." (The yellow portion anyway. Not sure what plastic the black backs are made of. Possibly Bakelite.)

    are there any racks?
    In the 1920s (Edit: your tiles may have been made in the 30s or 40s), racks were sold separately. Most players did not use racks when they were playing the Chinese game. Racks became standard in the Americas when women took over the game.

    or case?
    It would appear that the box and/or box cover has been lost.

    how are they displayed? how do you build the wall?
    I'm sorry. Your questions are unclear.

    is this a travel set?
    No. So-called "travel sets" were made with lightweight, wafer-thin tiles. Your tiles look reasonably thick to me.

    where can I find replacement tiles?
    There are vendors listed atop the Tiles Wanted bulletin board (you can post a Tiles Wanted announcement there), and vendors have posted at the Tiles For Sale bulletin board. You need two tiles to restore the set - I would not hold out for 4 extra blanks (which pre-1960s sets often came with). Those two-tone tiles are very hard to get. If you plan to play American mah-jongg with it, you'll need a total of 10 extra tiles, and that's a very tall order! Good luck!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 19, 2018 12:00 PM


    A tile was misnamed, causing a problem. What now? (Frequently Asked Question 19-AY)

    >From: Detlef H
    >Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2018 9:00 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question is:
    >Our ladies play ‘American mah-jongg’ and cannot resolve a frequently occurring dispute:
    >If a player calls a tile wrong by giving it an incorrect name and another player has a mahjong with that incorrect name, does that person (making the incorrect call) have to pay the mahjong winner and also pay on behalf of every one else, or is it just a mistake without any penalty/consequence?
    >Please advise.
    >Thank you very much.

    Hi, Detlef!
    That is a big mistake! Somebody's winning tile has been revealed - of course there has to be a penalty. The penalty is spelled out on the back of the card. Center pane, "MISCALLED TILE."

    I recommend everyone read the back of the card every year. Recent years have seen changes.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 18, 2018 9:40 AM


    What are the blank tiles used for?

    >From: "ctbcook
    >Sent: Friday, November 16, 2018 8:16 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: what are the blank tiles used for?
    >Thanks,
    >Beverly

    It depends, Beverly. If your set has blanks AND white dragons, then the blanks are for you to use to create replacements for lost tiles. If your set has blanks but no white dragons, then four of the blanks are your white dragons. This is explained in FAQ 7E (the "mystery tiles" FAQ).
    Just a few days ago, Sherrell S wrote about a novel use her group has for blank tiles. Scroll down to read it (Wednesday, November 7)!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 16, 2018 8:35 AM


    Special tiles in some variant sets

    >From: Johni L
    >Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2018 9:58 PM
    >Subject: Set variations
    >Hi Tom. I think your pretty much the only person on earth who might know this.
    >I’m trying to figure out all the set style variations. Singapore has the 4 capture tiles, and one version has 4 red 5’s, American has 8 jokers. Any other tile variations that you know of??

    Hi, Johni!
    I'm not the only person who knows about set variations. Scott Miller, Michael Stanwick, and Jelte Rep are three (among others) who know about this stuff. More on these fine folks below.
    FAQ 7E shows examples of "mystery tiles." Red fives are from Japan.

    Malaysian mah-jongg has special tiles "Fly" (a joker) and "Face" (a flower).

    FAQ 7E grew too big and messy, so this year I reorganized it and split it into three pages. FAQ 7E-F illustrates "mystery flowers" (including 8 different Singapore animal flowers)

    and FAQ 7E-J illustrates "mystery jokers." If you haven't looked at FAQ 7E-J, do so - check out Vietnamese jokers (there are a lot of different kinds of jokers in that variant in particular).

    And Chinese jokers are not uncommon these days.

    Scott Miller wrote a book, "Mahjong From A To Zhú," which describes every known variant. Jelte Rep's "The Great Mahjong Book" describes numerous variants, and historian Michael Stanwick has a website you should see as an important part of your research, at https://www.themahjongtileset.co.uk/.
    May the tiles be with you, Johni!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 16, 2018 8:30 AM


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

    >From: Barbara F
    >Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2018 5:13 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: If a player discards and calls the tile name, is his/hers turn over or can he/she continue by picking up a joker from another player’s rack to replace it with the tile for the suit.
    >The reason I am asking this is at a game recently, we had a situation where a player discarded and called the tile name. The player then went on to request a joker from another person’s rack since the player had the tile to replace the joker.
    >I always thought that when a player discards, the player’s turn is done and the play continues with the next player to the right. I thought the player should of asked for the joker
    >before she discarded.
    >Regards,
    >Barbara F

    Good morning, Barbara!
    You thought right, and she did it wrong. Read FAQ 19-M. Did you know about my FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and particularly FAQ 19 (American/NMJL rules)? Bookmark it!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    The Ides of November, 2018 7:00 AM


    When were jokers outlawed in pairs in American mah-jongg?

    >From: Annette S
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 1:41 PM
    >Subject: Mahjong rule
    >When did the mahjong rule start about not being able to use a joker for a set of one or two tiles

    I believe it was in 1984, Annette. See FAQ 19-S. If you have more questions about the rules of American mah-jongg, please check FAQ 19.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 14, 2018


    How long has mahjong been around?

    >From: Annette S
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 8:36 AM
    >Subject: Mahjong
    >How long has mahjong been around

    Hi, Annette!
    The game we now know as mah-jongg originated in Ningbo, China, sometime in the 1860s or 1870s. Mah-jongg was given the name "mah-jongg" by Joseph Park Babcock when it was introduced to the United States in 1919/1920. American mah-jongg originated in 1937 with the formation of the National Mah Jongg League. For a lot more information on mah-jongg's origins and the development of different mah-jongg variants, see FAQ 11.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 14, 2018


    Can the last discard be claimed for mah-jongg?

    >From: Suzi V
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 10:15 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Hey Tom,
    >Thanks for taking my question. I looked in the FAQ and didn't see it; apologies if I missed it.
    >Here's the question:
    >The last tile is chosen and a discard is made. It could be the chosen tile or another tile from the rack. Can another person claim the discarded tile for Mah Jong if it was the last tile thrown?
    >Thank you.
    >Suzi

    Yes, Suzi. The last discard is available to be called. Calling it for mere exposure (pung, kong, quint) would be silly and a waste of everybody's time, but calling it for mah-jongg is perfectly fine. It's rare to win on the last discard, but it happens.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 13, 2018


    Is the "tail" discontinued?

    >From: Freda S
    >Sent: Monday, November 12, 2018 7:25 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Is the tail on the wall discontinued

    Hi, Freda!
    You're asking about a table practice used by some groups as their way of dealing with the fact that American 19-stack walls are longer than most racks. As far as I know, the "tail" was never an actual rule. I can only assume you played in a group that used a tail, and now you've joined a group that doesn't. You might find further enlightenment on this if you read FAQ 14.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 12, 2018


    How old is it?

    >From: James D
    >Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2018 1:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-
    >Image
    >How old is this set please can you tell me
    >jongg question or comment is:

    I can't know, James. You didn't show me everything. It appears that you have 152 tiles, but I can't see them all. Can't tell you its age without that. Also you have 5 racks, 2 dice, and a wind indicator, but apparently there is no case. The 1971 NMJL cards don't tell me anything definitively. I suggest you read FAQ 7G and column 509.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 10, 2018


    Using blank tiles in play

    >From: Sherrell S
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 7, 2018 7:50 PM
    >Subject: [No Subject]
    >Are white dragons to be used in playing an actual game? My group has begun to use them . The rules are: 1. you can exchange a blank after you draw for any exposed tile on the board except for a joker or another blank. 2. If asked, you do not have to tell what you exchanged for (this seems rude).
    >So, my question is, are blanks a part of mah jongg or has my group made additional rules on their own just to use blanks? They are rather fun to use this way.
    >Thank you.

    Hi Sherrell!
    Since you mentioned jokers, I assume you play American (NMJL) mah-jongg. There are several different questions you're asking:

    Are white dragons to be used in playing an actual game?
    White dragons are also called "soap." But I gather that you are referring to the blanks as "white dragons" (and all other white dragons as "soap"). See the image below. These tiles are all "white dragons," and in American mah-jongg they're all "soap."

    I gather that what you're saying is that you have a set with all four soaps (with a rectangular design), plus some extra blanks, and your group is using the blanks as special tiles more powerful than Jokers - call them Queens, why not. Plastic American sets that come with blanks usually come with just two. In the early days of mah-jongg in America, the Chinese sets usually came with eight bone-and-bamboo blanks (four of which were to serve as white dragons).

    are blanks a part of mah jongg
    When you have white dragons with printed designs AND blanks, most players of American mah-jongg save the blanks for replacements in the eventuality of a loss.

    or has my group made additional rules on their own just to use blanks?
    You'd have to ask your group. They ought to know where they got the idea from. I never heard of this particular table rule before.

    May the tiles be with you, Sherrell!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 7, 2018 8:35 PM


    Column 709, puzzle #1

    >From: Joanne
    >Sent: Wednesday, November 7, 2018 8:45 AM
    >Subject: Re: Column 709
    >Hi Tom,
    >On example #1, I would also keep the 3D and the White dragon for a 2222 333 4444 DDD hand. You have as many tiles for that as for the even bams hand with no pairs needed and only pungs of 3s and Ds.
    >MJ on,
    >Joanne C

    That's excellent, Joanne! And so, to preserve that option, the Charleston pass should be chosen from 1D, 5D, 7D, E (keeping 3C in case a Red might come in, increasing the options). I'll append this to the column.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    November 7, 2018 7:30 PM


    Passing flowers

    >From: Grace B
    >Sent: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 6:24 AM
    >Subject: Passing flowers in the Charleston.
    >Is there any official rule concerning passing a flower during the Charleston? I am hearing that this is not allowed. I have been playing for quite a few years and had never heard this discussed. Thanks for your input, and a special thanks for your website.
    >Grace B

    Hi, Grace!
    A lot of players are confused about the difference between rules, strategy, and etiquette. Many players adhere to the strategic principle "never pass a flower" - it's even written that way in Elaine Sandberg's book. I said that is a "strategic principle" -- IT IS NOT A RULE. In fact, if you read the back of the card, you'll find that the printed official rule from the NMJL's mouth says "flowers may be passed during any pass including Courtesy."

    It's in the left pane. Look for "CHARLESTON" and you'll find that it's even printed in bold text. Every player has a duty to the other players to know all the rules printed on the card.

    "Never pass a flower" is a STRATEGY that is taught to new players without the teacher making a distinction between strategies and rules. Strategies are playing principles that each player uses as her own guide. Strategies are not to be forced upon other players.

    Next time you play with that lady, show her the actual rule on the back of the card. As a preemptive defense against further rule pronouncements, I recommend you buy yourself a copy of the League's official rulebook, Mah Jongg Made Easy. You can order it directly from the League's website. Then when somebody tells you some weird "rule," you can look for it in the actual rulebook!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Election Day in the USA, 2018 7:20 AM


    Do you have a newsletter?

    >From: Sherri Z
    >Sent: Thursday, November 1, 2018 10:49 PM
    >Subject: Do you have a newsletter
    >I am on your fabulous website...Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to? I am unable to find a link.
    >Thanks!

    Hi, Sherri! No, sorry. I don't have a newsletter.


    Whalebone and baleen, part 2

    >From: Nancy B
    >Sent: Thursday, November 1, 2018 7:45 AM
    >Subject: Re: Bone Mah Jongg set
    >Wow! What a treasure-trove of research to sift thru. From a brief perusal, I will zero in on 1890’s to 1908 where there are references of an American Quaker woman (my ancestors were Quakers) and changes to the red and green dragons which seem to match my set. You have given me lots of resources. When I know more, I may turn over the set to a forensic lab along with my Scrimshaw collection to verify and date the materials. Thank you!
    >Nancy

    You're welcome, Nancy. I sure wish I could see what your set looks like, though. I think you're taking my "it's possible" and magnifying it into "yes, they very well could be made of what you say" when all I'm saying is "anything is possible -- except time travel to the past, and the Star Trek Holodeck." What's possible is a very different thing from what's probable. I doubt very much that your tiles are whalebone or that your sticks are baleen. Pictures would be very helpful. And the fact that the inventor of "The Landlord's Game" (in the leadup to the creation of "Monopoly") was a Quaker has no bearing on your questions. Best not to get too carried away.
    Tom


    Whalebone and baleen set

    >From: Nancy B
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2018 3:05 PM
    >Subject: Bone Mah Jongg set
    >Hi!
    >I totally understand your adamancy regarding “no western numerals on bone tiles prior to 1920”. However, if American’s traveled in Asia numerous times between 1820-1920, is it not possible a set could have been custom made for an American to bring back? And, could the bone be whale bone and the score sticks baleen?
    >The set I have looks very much like the 1920’s bone and bamboo sets on your site. It is in a front-opening 5-drawer wood case, brass fittings and handles with Mother-of-pearl inlay cover. The tile bone is about 75% of the thickness and the carving is ornate but not as much so as the continuous scenes on some of your samples. I was told it was whale bone and baleen. Ever hear of such thing? Possible?
    >Between 1820 and 1833, an ancestor FIVE generations before me was a Nantucket whaler/scrimshaw artist who made 4 whaling voyages (each lasting over 3 years) to the South Pacific with multiple stops in Asian ports before he was drowned near Hawaii by an angry whale. The set I have came down through the family. I learned to play as a small child with my grandparents. My Grandfather was born in 1903 and told me he learned to play with this same set with his grandparent’s when he was my age — about 6 — making his first recollection of using this westernized set about 1909. My G-G-Grandfather, nephew of the whaler, traveled to China as a gem and pearl buyer the first time in 1874. His son, returned two subsequent times and my grandfather several times between 1929 and his retirement. I went after that....
    >Would like be to know about how old my set is, so I can figure out who is responsible for getting it to America in the first place...and how much it should be insured for....
    >Thanks,
    >Nancy B

    Hi, Nancy!
    Your story is very interesting. I'll answer bit by bit:

    I totally understand your adamancy regarding “no western numerals on bone tiles prior to 1920”.
    There's an exception to everything I say, including this sentence. I haven't seen Westernized pre-20s sets in museum collections, to my recollection. That doesn't necessarily mean that none exist.

    between 1820-1920, is it not possible a set could have been custom made for an American to bring back?
    Certainly. Anything is possible.*
    * Except time travel to the past, and the Star Trek Holodeck.

    could the bone be whale bone
    It's possible.

    could the ... score sticks [be] baleen?
    I don't know if baleen is a good material or not, but I suppose it's possible.

    The set I have looks very much like the 1920’s bone and bamboo sets on your site. It is in a front-opening 5-drawer wood case, brass fittings and handles with Mother-of-pearl inlay cover.
    Those inlay front panels are valued by collectors, especially if the rest of the case is similarly inlaid.

    I was told it was whale bone and baleen. Ever hear of such thing? Possible?
    Yes, I have. Yes, it's possible.

    My G-G-Grandfather, nephew of the whaler, traveled to China as a gem and pearl buyer the first time in 1874. His son, returned two subsequent times and my grandfather several times between 1929 and his retirement.
    Your set would surely have been brought back by one of them, then. Not the whaler uncle. Figure out the years of the whaler's travels, and the travels of the others, and see how they fit into the timeline of mah-jongg in FAQ 11-H.

    Would like .. to know about how old my set is,
    I'll need some more information. See FAQ 7-G.

    and how much it should be insured for.
    I don't know about insurance. What's the rule, to insure for more than an appraised value? Or less? But I'd need information on the condition of the set and its parts before I could make any estimate. See FAQ 7-H.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 31, 2018 8:40 PM


    Must you draw a tile before exchanging a joker?

    >From: Ed P
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 4:23 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: must you draw a tile before exchanging for a played joker

    Hi, Ed! That is one of the two ways you can make yourself eligible for redeeming a joker. As I wrote in FAQ 19-M, you can redeem a joker only when you have 14 tiles in the hand. There are two ways you can obtain a 14th tile, and yes, picking a tile from the wall is one of them. The other is to claim a discard and form a complete exposed set from it. Once you have done one of those two things, you are holding 14 tiles -- and you may then redeem a joker. I recommend you read FAQ 19-M.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 30, 2018 5:30 PM


    What can I price it at?

    >From: Robin
    >Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2018 12:13 PM
    >Subject: Set to sell
    >Hi Tom! I enjoy reading your site. Thank you!
    >I have a Cardinal Mahjong set of 166 tiles (some with gentle wear) with 5 Crisloid racks (from late 40's). (After doing some research I am making a guess that the set is from the late 40's, early 50's, although not sure.) Tiles are Catalin bakelite, measuring 1-5/6"x 1/3" x 1-1/4"; 8 jokers (2 with stickers, can't find replacements..do you have some?); 20 flowers, 2 blanks and betting discs. The one crack has a tiny-tiny dent is a corner, barely seen by the naked eye. The faux blonde alligator case is in good condition, although worn.
    >Can you advise what I can price it at?
    >Thanks for your help. I am attaching some pictures to assist this request.
    >Thank you.
    >Robin S

    Robin, as I wrote in FAQ 7H, value is all about the condition. The six levels of condition are:

      POOR - Item is not usable, or is only just barely usable, or is unpleasant to use. All defects must be noted.
      FAIR - Item is utilitarian but not attractive. All defects must be noted.
      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.
      VERY GOOD - Item has a few defects that any normal person would notice upon close examination. All defects must be noted.
      FINE or EXCELLENT - Item has only very minor defects which only a purist or expert would notice or care about. These defects must be described in detail.
      AS NEW or MINT - Item looks the same as when it came from the factory. No defects of any kind (your description should so state).

    But we'll come back to that. You wrote:

    I am making a guess that the set is from the late 40's, early 50's, although not sure.)
    I would check how many jokers and how many flowers the set has.

    8 jokers (2 with stickers, ... 20 flowers
    So, 6 jokers and 20 flowers (possibly 22; not sure if the stickers cover flowers). Checking my table of flower/joker (F/J) usage on NMJL cards throughout time (column 509), your set is more likely from the mid-to-late sixties.

    can't find replacements..do you have some?)
    Your best bet is to try the Tiles For Sale bulletin board and the Tiles Wanted bulletin board. But as I wrote in FAQ 7R, perfectly matching jokers are ridiculously hard to get, and another (better) choice might be to make your own joker stickers.

    The one crack has a tiny-tiny dent is a corner, barely seen by the naked eye.
    So, if all else was mint condition, this would make the set Fine or Excellent.

    The faux blonde alligator case is in good condition, although worn.
    So you're saying the case is Good. A Fine/Excellent set of tiles and racks and accessories inside a Good case. But I saw a lot of missing paint in those photos (the one bams, many of the dots, and many of the flowers). All of which reduces the tiles to somewhere between Very Good and Good. It's not unusual for the tiles inside to be in better condition than the case. I don't know what condition the racks are in; I'll have to assume Good.

    Can you advise what I can price it at?
    I lied when I said condition was everything. In addition to condition, we need to consider the buyer, and what he or she will do with it. Will it just go into a collection? Will it be played with? Will it be remodeled and resold? Will it be displayed in a museum? Disassembled and sold piecemeal? Each of those buyers has a different value they might place on it. Because the set has plenty enough flowers, it is highly utile. But because of all the missing paint, the set's attractiveness is decreased. I honestly do not know if the Cardinal brand name adds value to a Good set. I think you could hold out for $130 or so. I mean, you can ask for more, but it's probably worth $130. I mean, if I had one just like it, and someone offered less, I'd just say no. If you got the paint touched up, that would add to the value. I've heard that people who do such painting charge a lot, though.

    I kind of wonder about those chips in little baggies. Are those original to the set, or were those added later? If they came with the set, were they originally in little zipping baggies? And if so, when did zipping baggies come into existence? Maybe the sixties? It probably wouldn't affect my estimation much anyway.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 25, 2018 4:15 pm


    How the Asians build walls quickly

    >From: Pete S
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 8:48 PM
    >Subject: Building a wall
    >Hi Tom,
    >I read through what I thought were the relevant FAQs and didn't see this
    >mentioned anywhere. I recently played Riichi and was stunned by how fast
    >the kids (I'm old, what can I say) built their walls. Then I read a
    >description of wall building in "A Mahjong Handbook". The technique
    >involves using both hands and grabbing three tiles in each hand, laying
    >them in front of you. The next double grab goes on either side of the
    >original six, the third handful consists of two tiles in one hand and
    >three in the other for a total of 17. Repeat the steps and your wall is
    >built, well, except for lifting one stack on top of the other, which can
    >be tricky, but easier if using large tiles.
    >It can be adapted for other variations by grabbing either 6 or 7 for the
    >final step. It's probably something that is so obvious no one thinks to
    >include it in the instructions or maybe it's something you pick up from
    >more experienced players. Either way I thought it was something that
    >warranted mention.
    >-Pete-
    >Remember to always trust your cape!

    I recently played Riichi and was stunned by how fast
    >the kids (I'm old, what can I say) built their walls.
    I know. I was always the slowest wall builder when I played in Asia without dealing machines.

    I thought it was something that warranted mention.
    OK! Thanks!

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 23, 2018 9:00 PM


    Does the winner have to declare her score, or do we just pay her what we know she's due?

    >From: Judy P.
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 5:17 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If a player declares mahjongg and its jokerless...must the winner herself declare it's a jokerless hand to get paid double or do we automatically pay her double?

    Hi, Judy.
    The winner is required to score her hand and tell each player how much to pay. The players are required to pay only what the winner asks for, unless the winner asks for too much and the non-winners dispute her claim. From the January 2014 newsletter:

      If a player declares Mah Jongg without jokers, she/he must announce it as jokerless. If not announced, the player would NOT be entitled to the bonus.

    I'm going to add that to FAQ 19.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 23, 2018 7:40 PM


    Conflicting claim, and a player has already put the discard atop her rack

    >From: Zoe G
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 3:27 PM
    >Subject: American Maj Jongg question
    >Two people call for the same discard, but the first person who called it has placed it upon the top of her rack already without putting any of the matching tiles on her rack, the second person who wanted it was the person who had priority, either to make the exposure or to declare Maj Jongg. Did the person end the window of opportunity by placing the discard upon the top of her rack?
    >Thanks, Zoe green

    Hello, Zoe! Great to hear from you. Putting the discard atop the rack does not shut out the next-in-line. "Slam-exposing" shuts the window, by exposing tiles from the hand atop the rack. Your player didn't do that, so the next-in-line claimant gets the tile. See FAQ 19-H3.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 23, 2018 7:45 PM


    We pickandrack, part 3

    >From: Belinda - Frontier
    >Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2018 3:30 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >In reference to Wendy's scenario where West took and racked a discard before it was named: wouldn't the rule that is on the card apply? "A tile cannot be claimed until correctly named". While this is under the section "Miscalled Tile" I think it would still apply as the tile was not named at all before West took it. Even if the tile was named AFTER West took it but BEFORE it was racked, it seems that West should not be able to keep the tile as she took it before it was named.
    >Bee

    THAT's where I saw that rule! You're absolutely right, Bee. I knew the rule but couldn't cite the source at the time. So what I told Wendy the first time was right. Just needed to remember what I'm always harping on everybody about - read the back of the card! Hat's off to you, Bee.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2018 5:30 PM


    Can I use four jokers to make a kong?

    >From: Janet S
    >Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2018 2:58 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >One player has four green dragons exposed. I am doing first hand in 369 ( FFF 33 666 99 DDDD) - can I use four jokers to complete my hand and say they are green dragons?
    >I am sure I can't but this has never come up and I am confused.
    >Thanks so much - I love your book!
    >Janet Schmidt

    Yes, you can use four jokers to make a kong, Janet. See FAQ 19-L. Did you know about my FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and particularly FAQ 19 (American/NMJL rules)? Might be a good idea to bookmark them!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2018 5:40 PM


    I enjoy your column and Q&A.

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2018 9:55 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Julia S
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$5.00 USD from Julia S. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >/Note
    >Total amount: $5.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Julia S
    >Message: I enjoy your column and Q&A. Julia
    >/Note/Note/Note
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you, Julia!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 21, 2018 5:45 PM


    Can I call to expose soaps, part 2

    >From: Jamshid R
    >Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2018 12:05 PM
    >Subject: RE: Mah-Jongg Question
    >Thanks for your quick reply.
    >Jam

    You're welcome, Jam.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    October 20, 2018 2:40 PM


    We pickandrack, part 2

    >From: Wendy O
    >Sent: Friday, October 19, 2018 10:22 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thx for the quick reply. Understand that 98% of the time we discard and name a tile simultaneously, do the gap doesn’t exist. But we are old. Occasionally our thoughts may lag a tad. No matter. Mostly we just put the tile back if someone calls. This was unusual. My call was a little late. He rack a little early. Bottom line, it’s the audible that makes the tile available and the premature racking before the audible is out of line. Correct?

    Hi, Wendy! You wrote:

    it’s the audible that makes the tile available and the premature racking before the audible is out of line. Correct?
    That is my opinion, yes. But I am not the authority on NMJL rules. If you want the official rule, you should send a snailmail letter to the NMJL. Their address is on the card. See FAQ 19-BN.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 19, 2018 7:20 PM

      Wendy, I had an afterthought. If any player is experiencing hearing or vision impairments, an appropriate accommodation ought to be applied (as determined by the group at its own discretion).
      Tom
      October 19, 2018 8:40 PM

      Followup. See post from Belinda on Oct. 21 above. Yes, it is the audible that makes the tile available. It says so on the card. Nobody can take the discard until the discarder's fingers are no longer on it and it "has been correctly named."
      Tom
      October 21, 2018 5:35 PM


    Hanafuda in Seattle

    >From: Pete S
    >Sent: Friday, October 19, 2018 9:26 AM
    >Subject: Hanafuda in Seattle
    >Hi Tom,
    >I have something for you to add to your Hanafuda FAQ. The cards are are
    >available at the Daiso chain of stores. We have two here in Seattle. The
    >deck will set you back $1.50 ($1.65 with tax). It is made for Daiso by a
    >Korean company. The deck comes with 6 blank cards and are made from PVC
    >so they are very stiff and the package recommends "Do not throw cards to
    >person. It might cause hurt." They come in a plastic storage box. I am
    >very happy with them and they are so inexpensive I bought two decks and
    >marked one with months and points to help learn/teach the game to newbies.
    >Later
    >-Pete-

    Great, Pete! I'll add that to the More About Hanafuda/Go-Stop page. Thank you!
    May the tiles be with you (and not flung at another person).
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 19, 2018 7:20 PM


    We pickandrack before the discard is named

    >From: wendy o
    >Cc: ME
    >Sent: Friday, October 19, 2018 3:00 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: having looked everywhere, and not finding an answer, let me explain what happened yesterday. A tile was discarded on the tabletop by north. West immediately picked and racked. I was south and did not see the discard because I was looking at my hand. The audible occurred after west racked. They would not let me claim.
    >Is it acceptable to pickandrack before the audible? The group I play with is fast (me too) so it is not uncommon to pick between discard and audible. We usually just put the picked tile back if someone claims. But this player racked so fast, it wasn’t possible.
    >Thanks
    >Wendy o

    Good morning, Wendy! You wrote:

    A tile was discarded on the tabletop by north. West immediately picked and racked. ... The audible occurred after west racked.
    That's not playing "fast" -- that's playing "aggressively."

    ... having looked everywhere, and not finding an answer...
    This is the first time I ever heard of a practice of picking before the discard was even named. So it does not surprise me that you couldn't find anything about such a practice, certainly not on my website.

    Is it acceptable to pickandrack before the audible?
    Not to me! But you also wrote:

    ... it is not uncommon to pick between discard and audible.
    So in YOUR group, it IS acceptable to pickandrack aggressively, even before the discard is fully "down." Your group wants the game to move QUICKQUICKQUICK, and you've always been good with that until this one incident occurred.

    We usually just put the picked tile back if someone claims.
    Sounds to me like your group needs to codify your table rules. I wonder how much time can occur between placing a discard on the table and saying its name. 5 seconds? 10? 30? How about I discard and wait 10 minutes before saying its name? (Of course, the hand could be over by then.) Maybe your group needs a 3-second rule. The Chinese Majiang Competition Rules say that a discard may be claimed within 3 seconds - if someone picked, he or she must put it back. I wish the NMJL would adopt that rule.

    I was south and did not see the discard because I was looking at my hand.
    Not watching the discards is clearly not the way to go in a super-aggressive group like yours! I'm afraid I got very preachy-teachy about "not watching the discards" last week (in my reply to kiawahbarb8 on Oct. 10, below). I don't want to repeat.

    The way I interpret the official rules, the next player should not pick until the discard is on the table and named completely. When it's my turn and the previous player has put the tile down and hasn't yet said its name, I wait for the name to be said before I pick from the wall. But then I'm the guy who wrote: "... it's ungracious and aggressive. This practice, which can be called 'pick & rack,' makes it extremely difficult for anyone to claim the current live discard" (page 109). In its 2008 newsletter, the National Mah Jongg League's late president, Ruth Unger, quoted me (paraphrased) and added, "The League is in agreement." So of course I'm sort of on your side in this one.

    Let's take a look at what the official rules say (in the most recent edition):

      [The] tile is discarded face up, calling it by name."

    This implies that naming the tile should be simultaneous with the placement of the tile. Waiting 1, 2, or 3 seconds before saying the name invites discord.

      To claim a discard the player must verbalize their call by letting the other players know that they are claiming that discard. They may say "call," "take," "I want that," etc. The claimant must then expose on the rack the [set] which has been completed by the discarded tile. When exposing, it is preferable to place the called tile on top of your rack before taking the tiles in your rack to make the exposure.

    As I interpret this, the order of things is supposed to be:

    Player discards tile while saying its name simultaneously.
    Player who wants the discard verbalizes the claim.
    Claimant takes discarded tile and puts it atop the rack.
    Claimant then exposes the rest of the set.

    Your group doesn't do that. Your group makes step 1 into two steps, and step 3 can happen between steps 1A and 1B. Not sure where step 2 falls. Scenario: player 1 takes a tile from her hand and puts it on the table. Somebody says "I want that" and grabs it, and then player 1 says "two dot." It makes no sense to me! And it's no fun for someone who wants a reasonable chance to call a discard.

    I'm not saying your group should abandon its table rule. But I think your group needs to discuss and reach agreement on its table rule, as I wrote in FAQ 14.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 19, 2018 7:55 AM


    Seven Pairs of terminals and honors

    >From: Peggie C
    >Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:05 AM
    >Subject: 7 pairs
    >sorry to take your time but if i have 7 pairs that are only terminals and honors....is that extra points plus the 24 for the pairs? thanks,

    Hi, Peggie!
    Since you mentioned 24 points for 7 pairs, I have to assume you're asking about MCR, Majiang Competition Rules. I assume you have a list of the scoring fan. And I assume you saw All Honors is worth 64 points, and All Terminals is worth 64 points. But you don't have all honors (there are also terminals in there), and you don't have all terminals (there are also honors in there). So, what can I tell you. It's Seven Pairs, 24 points, and that's pretty good. You also earn some "oohs" and "aahs" from the others who surely appreciate the beauty of what you made - as well as sympathy points for the nonexistence of an All Terminals and Honors fan in MCR.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 18, 2018 12:45 PM


    If East has mah-jongg when the Charleston is finished...

    >From: Janie G
    >Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2018 8:27 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If east has a mah jongg at the end of the Charleston, does he/she automatically win? Or does he/she have to discatrd to start play?
    >Janie G
    >Telluride, Colorado

    Of course she doesn't have to discard. Read column 666.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 18, 2018 12:45 PM


    Can I claim a discarded joker?

    >From: jdbassoc
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:17 PM
    >Subject: mahjongg question
    >If a player needs a tile for mj and the last tile discarded is a joker, can that player claim it for mj? Thank you.

    No, jdbassoc. Never. Read FAQ 19-G. Please bookmark FAQ 19 so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 16, 2018 4:00 PM


    Can I call to expose soaps and then discard a soap?

    >From: Jamshid R
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:41 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Question
    >Dear Tom,
    >Here is my scenario question: We are playing a game and I am contemplating one of 2 hands, both of which need “3 soaps.” I “already have 3 soaps” in my rack. Before my next turn comes up, one of the players discards a soap. Is it legal for me to claim the discarded soap and expose 3 soaps and then discard the remaining soap in my rack? In other words, I have claimed a discarded tile, then exposed that tile, and then gone ahead to immediately discard the same tile. My reason for doing this is because I didn’t want to be forced to discard any of the other tiles in my rack, since I wished to keep the option of switching to the other possible hand as the game progressed.
    >Thanks for answering my question.
    >Regards,
    >Jam R

    Hi, Jam!
    It makes no sense whatsoever to call for exposure and, in the same move, discard the same tile you called. It does not get you any closer to mah-jongg, AND it gives other players information about your hand.
    With a pung of soaps, there are only four possible hands on the 2018 card that you could be making: 2018 #1, Consec #6, Odds #4, or 369 #5. If you show any other exposures, the chances are very high that the other players will know what hand you are making, so they can defend against it (refuse to discard what you need). I realize you are maintaining two of those options, but why give the other players ANY clues, when you don't have to?
    I tell my students that a concealed complete set in the hand is your "happy secret." Beginner students think that exposing a complete set is a sign of progress, even if it's hidden in the hand, and from playing rummy they think a complete set is supposed to be exposed. I teach them to think of a concealed set as a "happy secret," to show them the strategic benefit of keeping concealed sets concealed.
    Making an illogical move such as you propose will raise eyebrows; someone will surely comment on it at least, maybe question it. Strategically, it's better to play in a manner that does not raise eyebrows or elicit commentary or questioning. All you had to do was let that fourth tile go unclaimed and keep your "happy secret" pung secret. Your hand would be just as close to mah-jongg as it would be with the exposure, and nobody would know what you have. There is value in that.
    The NMJL rules do not forbid calling a discard and then discarding the same tile. The Japanese rules DO forbid it, but, well, this isn't Japanese mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 16, 2018 7:30 AM


    While the tiles are being dealt...

    >From: JoAnne B
    >Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2018 6:28 AM
    >Subject: RE: Mah Jongg
    >Can I ask one more question? When the tiles are being dealt out, is it ok to spread them out face down in front of your rack? Or should the tiles not be touched until the dealing has been completed? Thank you!

    Good morning, JoAnne!
    There's no rule that says you can't "spread them out." But I like to put each 4-tile take on one of the panes of the card. That way, it's totally clear when I've taken 2 stacks 3 times.

    I have to wonder why you ask. Is another player objecting to your ways of doing things? The only reason I can think of to not spread out your tiles is because something might go wrong in the deal, meaning you have to put your 4 tiles back. If you've spread them out, do you know exactly which 4 tiles have to go back? That's also why it's a bad idea to rack your tiles during the deal (see FAQ 19-BI).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 13, 2018 7:30 AM


    2 FAQs

    >From: Perla
    >Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2018 7:32 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >1. Can a player change her mind about a tile she discarded?
    >2. When two people 'Call' for the same discarded tile, who gets the tile?

    Hi, Perla!
    I'm assuming you are asking about American (NMJL) rules. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19.
    The "change of heart" FAQ is FAQ 19-AM.
    The "conflicting claims" FAQ is FAQ 19-H.
    Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 11, 2018 11:35 AM


    Which claimant should win?

    >From: kasamax
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 4:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Please help with this scenario
    >Player 2 and player 4 both need a 6 for for Mahjong.
    >Player 4 is also waiting for her next turn to redeem a natural tile in her rack with player 2's exposed joker.
    >Player 3 throws out the 6 dot.
    >Player 4 calls the 6 dot as well as redeems the natural tile which gives her Mahjong . Since she was to go next does player 4 win or would player 2 win.
    >This actually happened today and we let player 2 win but since player 4 was next and it all occurred in one move really not sure please help.
    >Sorry so wordy...
    >Thank you from kasamax

    Hello, kasamax! You wrote:

    Player 2 and player 4 both need a 6 for for Mahjong.
    No, that can't be true. Because you also said:

    Player 4 is also waiting for her next turn to redeem a natural tile in her rack with player 2's exposed joker.
    Therefore Player 2 is ready to go mah-jongg on the 6D, but player 4 is not.

    Player 4 calls the 6 dot as well as redeems the natural tile which gives her Mahjong .
    Your story is missing important details right at this moment. Did player 4 say "I want that" (for exposure), or did she say "mah-jongg"? Because she CAN say the former, but she CAN'T say the latter. AND, did player 2 say anything? Because if she said "mah-jongg" now, SHE would get the tile.

    Player 4 has to first call the discard and make a complete exposure before she is permitted to redeem the joker. As spelled out in FAQ 19-M. She cannot say "mah-jongg" when 6D goes out, if she still has to redeem a joker in order to make mah-jongg.

    we let player 2 win
    Sounds right to me (assuming I've followed your story correctly).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 11, 2018 11:20 AM


    「トムスローパー」は何ですか?

    >From: "lindaz
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 6:01 PM
    >Subject: what's it mean?
    >Hi Tom---
    >I enjoy reading your column regularly but I just noticed (duh!) the Asian symbols you display under your name.. What do they mean? I assume it's your name in Chinese? Japanese? A secret message?
    >Thanks for all your help, Linda

    Hi, Linda! I just looked in my most recent column, and I don't see any Chinese under my name there. If you mean at the bottom of each column, that's the word "mah-jongg" as used by Babcock in his Little Red Book.
    If you mean the characters beneath my name here on the bulletin board, yes of course that's my name. Japanese at top, Chinese beneath.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー (Japanese: "Tomu Suro-o-pa-a")
    湯姆 斯洛珀 (Chinese: "Tom Sloper")

    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 11, 2018 11:20 AM


    Erroneous joker replacement wasn't noticed until some time later

    >From: kiawahbarb8
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 12:48 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I've been playing 46 years and this is a new one for me.
    >Situation :
    >Some one calls for exposure, let's say a ping of 8 cracks,with a joker
    >Play moves around the table and player across (on her turn) takes the joker but places a 6 crack instead of the 8 crack. No one takes notice at this time and play continues. At some point this error is noticed. My question is, who is dead? The person who made the illegal exchange? The one who made the exposure? Or both? I think both as they both were at fault. What do you say?
    >Confused mahjteacher.
    >Barbara

    Hi, Barbara!
    Somebody else asked me this once before, but I can't find it now. (I wanted to make sure I answer it the same way I did last time.) The official rulebook doesn't address this specifically. We have to use logic and common sense instead of the rulebook.
    The player with the illegal exposure atop her rack is dead. Her rack is her responsibility. If she allowed someone to put an illegal tile on it, that's her own fault.
    It would be unfair to permit someone to give another player a tile that makes her dead (a possible way of intentionally killing off opponents who don't look at what's going on), so it's logical to call the erring redeemer dead as well.
    But when you come down to it, there was a lot that went on afterwards, that shouldn't have happened, because there were four people who erred. You have a table of people who never point their eyes at anything except the tiles on the sloping front of their own racks. Rather than calling anyone dead when this cluster-mistake is finally noticed, the game should be thrown in. Have a good laugh at all the silly mistakes and start over.
    A good mah-jongg player uses not just her ears but also her eyes. Look at every discard, make sure what you see matches what you hear. Watch every exchange, make sure it's done properly. Speak up the instant you see something wrong. When someone wants to redeem a joker, she should hand the tile to the joker-exposer, who should look at it and make sure it actually replaces her joker properly before handing the joker back. It is bad practice to place a tile on someone else's rack and take a joker therefrom. See FAQ 19M.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    10/10/2018 1:20 PM


    It's NEWS to me (part 15)

    >From: Judith S
    >Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 10:46 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Can you pick up a discarded wind to make NEWS?
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:

    Hi, Judith! Only if it's for mah-jongg.


    Answer to one of THE Most Frequently Asked Questions of 2018: "NEWS" is four single tiles (it is not a kong). A single tile can not be called for exposure - only for mah-jongg. For more about NEWS, read FAQ 16.
    FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers questions about NMJL rules.
    There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.

    For more about NEWS, and 2018, and jokers, you should read FAQ 16, and the Jokers section in FAQ 19. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. I am standing by for follow-up questions, but please read those FAQs first.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    10/10/2018 12:00 PM


    How should betting work with our table rule?

    >From: Marilyn C
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2018 4:20 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >We have a table rule that if you throw Mah jongg to an obvious hand
    >you pay for the table. If bettor bet on that person who threw the Mah jongg tile does she also pay for the table? Also do they pay from their wallet or from pi?
    >Thank you,
    >Marilyn C

    Hi, Marilyn! You asked:

    We have a table rule that if you throw Mah jongg to an obvious hand you pay for the table.
    Table rules can be fun, if everybody at the table enjoys playing that way. TBH, I'm not so certain I'd enjoy playing at your table! Pretty harsh rule, IMO.

    If bettor bet on that person who threw the Mah jongg tile does she also pay for the table? Also do they pay from their wallet or from pi?
    That's the downside of table rules. You made the rules, so you have to figure out the rules. Your group will have to work out a solution to the matter of bettors under your special rule. For more about table rules, please read FAQ 14.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 9, 2018 6:00 PM

    [Internetspeak Glossary. TBH="to be honest." IMO="in my opinion."]


    Fourfold Plenty has too many tiles in it!

    >From: Dhirajlal M
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 9, 2018 2:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question is about:
    >Sheet 25: Special hands 4 “Fourfold Plenty”. What are the reasons for 4 Kongs and a pair to complete the hand, requiring 18 tiles. All other combination is 14 tiles to end the round. Will appreciate your explanation.
    >Regards,
    >George

    Hi, George!
    I don't know what "Sheet 25" is, and I can't give you a reason for the hand, but I can explain how it's possible to have four kongs in a mahjong hand. As I wrote in FAQ 20 (D), a kong (four of a kind) is a special-case pung, in all forms of mah-jongg except American. Clearly, you aren't playing American mah-jongg. When you make a kong in your mahjong rules, you have to take a replacement tile from the back end of the wall. Yes, if you count the kong as four tiles, your total goes over 14. Just count a kong as three tiles. So if you have four kongs, that's physically 16 tiles - but count it as four pungs ("special" pungs), so four kongs would be regarded as twelve tiles. See FAQ 20 (D). FAQ 20 answers the most frequently asked questions about Asian and other (non-American) forms of mah-jongg.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 9, 2018 5:15 PM


    Need some mah-jongg dialogue for my screen play

    >From: Joseph N
    >Sent: Monday, October 8, 2018 7:23 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I’m writing a screen play and have a scene in which women are playing mahjong
    >What are standard bids? (Like one dot, two bam etc)

    Hi, Joseph.
    Those aren't bids. There is no bidding in mah-jongg. "One dot" and "two bam" are the names of tiles (it's like saying "ace of clubs" or "deuce of spades"); players of American mah-jongg name the tiles they are discarding. Are your women all American, living in America, in the present? Because if you saw Crazy Rich Asians, you didn't hear any players saying the names of tiles. There are regional variants, and the rulesets have evolved over the decades. Yesterday at the Homestead Museum's annual "Ticket to the Twenties" event, I had people who were familiar with American and Filipino mah-jongg, but I was teaching the basic Chinese rules that were popular in the 1920s.
    If you live in Los Angeles, email me again and invite me to lunch and you can get more helpful info than you can get by this method.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 8, 2018


    Some FAQs about the 2018 NMJL card

    >From: Alice D
    >Sent: Friday, October 5, 2018 5:27 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Myopic on mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On the addition hands the first loins on the right. Do we have to play
    >4flowers 3333 in bamboo. 9999 in cracks and 12 in dots
    >And what does any run really means?
    >Alice D

    Hi, Alice! You wrote:

    On the addition hands[,] the first [one,] on the right. Do we have to play 4flowers 3333 in bamboo. 9999 in cracks and 12 in dots
    This question is answered in FAQ 16.

    And what does any run really means?
    This question, too, is answered in FAQ 16.

    FAQ 16 answers frequently asked questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers frequently asked questions about NMJL rules. There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 5, 2018 6:30 PM


    NEWS (part 14)

    >From: JoAnne B
    >Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2018 1:50 PM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg
    >In playing Mah Jongg, can you pick up a tile from the wall to make “NEWS”?
    >If they are considered stand alone tiles, are there other times you cannot pick up the direction tiles?
    >Thank you. JoAnne

    Hi, Joanne! You wrote:

    can you pick up a tile from the wall to make “NEWS”?
    Yes. That's the ONLY way you can make NEWS (picking it yourself from the wall). Unless you're claiming a discarded tile for mah-jongg.

    If they are considered stand alone tiles, are there other times you cannot pick up the direction tiles?
    Wind ("direction") tiles are not special tiles. The thing that's complicated about NEWS is not that it's made of winds, but that it's made of four single tiles (it is not a kong). Just as 2018 is not a kong (it's four singles, too).

    You can make anything if you pick it yourself from the wall. Calling a discard is another matter - when you call a discarded tile, you have to make an exposure (or expose the whole hand and declare mah-jongg). The same restrictions that apply to jokers also apply to exposable sets. You can only call a discard to expose a set of 3, 4, 5, or 6 identical tiles (pung, kong, quint, sextet) - or to complete your hand and call mah-jongg. Similarly, you can only use a joker in a set of 3, 4, 5, or 6 identical tiles.


    Answer to THE Most Frequently Asked Question of 2018: "NEWS" is four single tiles (it is not a kong). A single tile can not be called for exposure - only for mah-jongg.* For more about NEWS, read FAQ 16.
    FAQ 16 answers questions about the NMJL card - and FAQ 19 answers questions about NMJL rules.
    There's a lot of info on the FAQ 19 page, but you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords.

    For more about NEWS, and 2018, and jokers, you should read FAQ 16, and the Jokers section in FAQ 19. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. I am standing by for follow-up questions, but please read those FAQs first.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 4, 2018 2:30 PM

    [* Apologies, Joanne - I just realized I initially answered your NEWS question with the wrong NEWS answer. I answered "no, you can't use jokers in NEWS," but you asked "can I call a discard for NEWS." Sorry for the inexact response the first time around. It has been corrected. - Tom 10/10/18]


    When are you going, part 2

    >From: Pete S
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2018 7:40 PM
    >Subject: Siamese Mahjong
    >Hi Tom,
    >Sorry for asking an obvious question. I just learned about the "Siamese"
    >variation and naturally came to sloperama to see what you had to say
    >about it. I kinda expected to see a new FAQ and didn't spend the time
    >scrolling through the existing FAQs. Now that you have pointed them out
    >to me I have read them and can see that you have indeed "weighed in" on
    >the topic. I was excited to find this two-handed varient because my wife
    >and I play MCR but every game I can find in my area is NMJL. At least
    >this way we can keep our skills up until we can find a group.
    >Cheers,
    >-Pete-
    >Remember to always trust your cape!

    OK, Pete. Let us know if you get the details figured out (adapting MCR with the Siamese concept) and if you have fun! - Tom
    P.S. I trust that my cape is still in the closet.
    P.P.S. It would be quite a caper if it isn't.


    When are you going to weigh in?

    >From: Pete S
    >Sent: Tuesday, October 2, 2018 12:29 PM
    >Subject: Siamese Mahjong
    >Hi Tom,
    >I was just wondering if/when you are going to weigh in on this
    >two-handed variation?
    >-Pete-

    Hi, Pete.
    I don't know what you mean, "weigh in." I've mentioned it several times on this board (if not on this page, then on previous pages archived below), and it's mentioned as an option in FAQ 13A, and it's also listed in FAQ 2B. There's a link in FAQ 4A, and it's mentioned in FAQ 15. All that doesn't weigh enough?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    October 2, 2018


    New column is up

    This week's column offers some Charleston problems to solve!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 30, 2018 8:30 AM


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2018 8:35 AM
    >Subject: Reference: MJ@Sloperama Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Jean G
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$25.00 USD from Jean G. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Total amount: $25.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Jean G
    >Message: I've been reading your columns and answers since I began playing over 10 years ago. A long overdue thank you.
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thank you very much, Jean! Glad my work has been useful. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 29, 2018


    Donation

    >From: "service@paypal
    >Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2018 3:14 PM
    >Subject: Reference: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers - Donation from Barbara T. W
    >Hello Thomas Sloper ,
    >This email confirms that you have received a donation of$2.00 USD from Barbara T. W. You can view the transaction details online .
    >Donation Details
    >Total amount: $2.00 USD
    >Currency: U.S. Dollars
    >Reference: MJ@Sloperama
    >Quantity: 1
    >Purpose: Sloperama Mah-Jongg Answers
    >Contributor: Barbara T. W
    >Sincerely,
    >PayPal

    Thanks, Barbara!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 28, 2018


    The hand is shown in one color. Do I have to use one suit?

    >From: rebjab
    >Sent: Monday, September 24, 2018 11:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >On 2018 Mahjong card in singles & pairs the fourth set with 2 flowers & 5 conse numbers & 2 dragons. Do they all have to be one suit?

    Hi, rebjab!
    Well, let's see. You're talking about this hand:

      FF 11 22 33 44 55 DD (Any 5 Consec. Nos.) C 50

    The hand is shown in one color. If you look at the back of the card, you'll find this cryptic note (left pane, under the bold all-caps line of text):

      1 color--any 1 suit;

    One color always means a one-suit hand. So there's your answer, right there on the card. I always recommend that every player read everything printed on the card, every year. Sometimes there are rule changes or clarifications. And the basic rules are always there.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 24, 2018 1:10 PM (edited 8:00 PM)


    Asian Mahjong scoring? Call me!

    >From: 832yankee
    >Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2018 4:02 PM
    >Subject: Asian Mahjong scoring?
    >[Telephone number redacted]
    >Dee

    Hi, Dee!
    I'm sorry, but I do not do telephone mah-jongg Q&A.
    You will need to ask your mah-jongg question by email. And if you have a question about scoring, I need to know which Asian variant you play. Look at FAQ 2B - there are literally dozens of Asian scoring systems. If you don't know which scoring system you use, then give me clues (tell me how your game works). FAQ 2B can help you identify your variant too.
    Standing by to answer an emailed question, here on this bulletin board (as it says in the boilerplate above).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 24, 2018 9:00 AM (edited 8:00 PM)


    Looking for a teacher

    From: "nancyq52aol.com"
    Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2018 5:07 AM
    Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    Where is there a beginners or instructor to learn Mah-Jongg in IslandPark, Ny or Long Beach , Ny thank you

    Hi, Nancy!
    Try the Find Players & Teachers bulletin board. Also check the teachers listed in FAQ 4A. If you don't find anything in either of those, then read FAQ 15.
    Good luck!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 22, 2018 6:40 AM


    Can I call a discarded flower in NMJL rules?

    >From: KZ B
    >Sent: Friday, September 21, 2018 12:57 AM
    >Subject: New to NMJL rules
    >Can a discarded flower be picked up in the same way as other tiles?
    >Kay

    Yes, Kay. A flower is just like any other tile. It's only jokers that have special rules. The NMJL card used to include the following:

      A discarded Flower may be claimed to complete Pung, Kong, Quint or Sextet of Flowers for Exposure or Mah Jongg in an exposed Hand.
      A discarded Flower may be claimed to complete the required number of Flowers for Mah Jongg in a Concealed Hand.

    Starting in 2015, these lines of text no longer appear on the card. Before then, I occasionally received questions about those lines - people asked why those lines were deemed by the League to be necessary. My point is, these lines were not necessary, since it's only jokers that have special rules. The deletion of those lines from the card does not mean the rule has been changed; you can call a discarded flower.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 21, 2018 7:45 AM


    Scoring Chinese Classical for 2 players

    >From: M_SD
    >Cc: Marilla S
    >Sent: Friday, September 21, 2018 6:36 AM
    >Subject: Scoring Classical Chinese Mahjong for Two?
    >I have learned a lot from your excellent website and the FAQ -- thank you!
    >I still have three questions about scoring in Classical Chinese Mahjong for two please:
    >1) If the player going Mahjong has the lower scoring hand, is there no exchange of money (points), as the one who went Mahjong doesn't have to payout? In that case, as there are no other players to settle with, the points in the second player's hand have no effect?
    >I have seen suggestions online that either should payout, but then there seems little incentive to go Mahjong, which changes the dynamic of the game. Unless perhaps one got to double the worth of the Mahjong hand or something?
    >2) Do you recommend that East still pay/receive double?
    >3) Do you recommend that the players just switch back and forth between East and West or should they progress through all four winds?
    > (Since our sons left for college and beyond, my husband and I have been unable to find anybody to play with us on a regular basis in our rural area, despite trying to introducing friends to the game. We realized we had not gotten to play in years and decided to try to play each other.)
    >Thank you so very much!
    >Marilla

    Hi, Marilla!
    Rules for two players are not well codified in the true classical rules. Mentions can be found, with a lot of digging, I suppose, but the great authority A.D. Millington doesn't even mention two players in his book. Eleanor Noss Whitney also does not mention two player rules. Americans did create 2P rules in the 1920s in the "Laws," and I can tell you about those.

      A discard cannot be chowed.
      The non-winner pays the full amount of the winner's score. East does not pay or receive double.

    So, to answer your questions:
    Yes, pretty much.
    Only the winner collects. In my opinion, when there are just two players, it makes no sense to do anything but "winner takes all."
    No.
    The two players are E and W. Wind designations flip with each hand, no matter who wins (the Laws say so).

    Another thing you could try is to adapt Gladys Grad's "Siamese Mah Jongg" to CC rules - each player plays 2 hands. You can read about it at http://www.siamesemahjongg.com/. Gladys' variant is based on American (NMJL) rules, which uses a card that lists the hands a player can make from April to March. Just don't ask me to reconcile the "Siamese" concept from American/NMJL to Chinese Classical for you. You know your game, and you can ignore stuff you don't understand (which surely would be due to oddities of American rules).

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 21, 2018 7:45 AM


    Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong, part 2

    >From: Duncan C
    >Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:34 AM
    >Subject: Re: Curious About Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong
    >Thank you for your response, Tom! I had entirely forgotten that Foster had published a Twenty Point Mah Jong book, so I’ll have to amend my search to look for that.
    >By the work entering the public domain, I had thought that there would have been a digital copy online, but I can see how that wouldn’t make a difference.
    >I was looking for the book mainly because I was curious about the rules he chose to include outside of scoring such as the size of the dead wall, paying the winner and etc. I really appreciate you answering my question and helping me with my search!
    >Thank you again!

    Hi, Duncan.
    I suppose if Google Books is still ongoing and they're still engaged in scanning every book and magazine ever printed, then they just haven't gotten to that one yet.

    I was curious about ... the size of the dead wall,
    Checking his book in a cursory skim, it appears to me there is no dead wall. Just the wall.

    I was curious about ... paying the winner
    Apparently, everyone scores. There are certain bonuses that apply only to the winner. The foregoing I inferred from the score card (I was unable to find anything in the book about paying). From my knowledge of mah-jongg as it was played at the time: Non-winners all pay the winner what the winner is due. Then the non-winners compare scores and exchange payment with one another.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 20, 2018 11:30 AM


    Can a joker be redeemed from a dead player's rack? (FAQ 19-P)

    >From: Rosemary R
    >Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2018 8:46 AM
    >Subject: Question
    >Couldn't find an answer in FAQ, so please answer this for me.
    >One of the players called MajJongg. After exposing her hand, it was noted that it was a concealed hand and she had been claiming tiles throughout the game. Yes, she was dead, but are any of her jokers available to the others as they continue the game.....or are they all dead as well?
    > (You answered another question for me years ago, so I'm not giving you any personal info this time. Please ask if you need it...no secrets here!)
    > Thank you! Rosemary Ries

    Hi, Rosemary! You wrote:

    it was a concealed hand and she had been claiming tiles throughout the game. Yes, she was dead, but are any of her jokers available to the others as they continue the game.....or are they all dead as well?
    This is explained fully in FAQ 19-P. Since the last time you visited, FAQ 19 has been revised to make it easier to find answers by category - and the Jokers category is right up top of FAQ 19.

    (You answered another question for me years ago, so I'm not giving you any personal info this time. Please ask if you need it...no secrets here!)
    This puzzles me, but I won't pursue it. There's no need for any personal info of any kind.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 20, 2018 9:45 AM


    Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong

    >From: Duncan C
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:01 PM
    >Subject: Curious About Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong
    >
    >Hi Tom, I’ve been an avid reader of your website for years and I would say you have been a major help in allowing me to find resources on different variants. Recently, however, I've been attempting to find information regarding a specific variant that had been mentioned on your bulletin board a couple years back in a conversation with Dawn B.
    >This variant is Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong and I’ve attached a picture of the scoring card below. For some time, actually, I’ve been attempting to find the full rules for Foster's ruleset, but it seems as if the later publications of Foster's Complete Hoyle are incredibly rare, specifically the 1937 version. Although it seems to be in the public domain, I cannot find any information regarding where I can find it.
    >Since you mentioned that you had a copy of the book, I was wondering if either you might have any information on where I could find a copy. Otherwise, I was curious if you had any other information about the ruleset because I am interested in the errata that Foster may have included and the specific rules that he chose to use. I have been incredibly interested in this variant, because it is so unique versus most other rules and the history behind it seems to be very intriguing. Attached below is the picture used in the aforementioned bulletin post. Thank you so much for your website and I hope to hear from you soon!
    >- Duncan C

    Hi, Duncan.
    It took me a while to find that exchange with Dawn B, (I wanted to find the original image). It's at http://sloperama.com/majexchange/bulletinbd-archive32.htm and it was  October 24, 2014.
    You mentioned not only Foster's Twenty Point Mah Jong but also Foster's Complete Hoyle.


    You wrote:

    For some time, actually, I’ve been attempting to find the full rules for Foster's ruleset, but it seems as if the later publications of Foster's Complete Hoyle are incredibly rare, specifically the 1937 version.
    Okay. Checking FCH 1937, I see that yes indeed, TPMJ is indeed described therein. One strange thing - the chapter on TPMJ is in the back, with a few other games (Whist, Patience Poker, Russian Bank), after the chapter on "Technical Terms" (which makes an obvious end-of-the-book section). Perhaps these chapters were simply appended to the back in the 1937 edition, so as to preserve the page numbering used in previous editions. TPMJ is at the very end, just 11 pages. Since TPMJ is his own creation, and he was an authority on existing games, it seems odd to me that he doesn't include Chinese Classical rules.
    But why do you put so much effort into finding a condensed version of his Twenty Point rules? You said you want the full rules. Makes more sense to seek his Twenty Point book instead.

    Although it seems to be in the public domain, I cannot find any information regarding where I can find it.
    I don't follow. Printed copies would not be made easier or harder to find once the work enters public domain. Or are you saying it ought to be available, scanned, on Google Books? If Google hasn't scanned it, maybe they just haven't gotten around to that one yet (assuming they're still scanning books).

    Since you mentioned that you had a copy of the book, I was wondering if either you might have any information on where I could find a copy.
    I don't even remember where I got mine! Probably eBay. Honestly, I have no idea where to obtain a copy.

    Otherwise, I was curious if you had any other information about the ruleset
    Only what he wrote in his books.

    because I am interested in the errata that Foster may have included
    I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you're looking for.

    and the specific rules that he chose to use.
    Twenty Point Mah Jong is his own creation. He created it to try to solve the problem that had become evident by 1924 - the Chinese rules were flawed. His design didn't save mah-jongg; it had been a fad, and all fads fade. One thing he added with these rules was the use of flowers within the hand. I don't know if Foster is due credit for this practice, which the women of America adopted, since the women took it much farther - they made the flowers "wild."

    If you have any questions I can answer, I'll try my best. May the book be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 20, 2018 9:45 AM


    My friends cut me some slack, but I don't think they should have

    >From: Ellen P F
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 11:42 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >During a recent American Mah Jongg game, I picked out of turn and my friends reminded me that it was not my turn and allowed me to return the tile to the wall. Something did not feel right and so I mailed the question to the League. The League responded with a letter that stated that I would be dead after picking out of turn. The MJL respondent cited a rule from the Mah Jongg League’s rule book.
    >When I shared the League’s response with a couple of people who play in my group, I was surprised when one of my friends answered “we’re all friends” and the other replied “the game is supposed to be fun, not cut throat”. They were implying that this rule was over the top. I usually advise my friends of the rules. Over the years I have found adhering to the rules contributes to continuous harmony, a goal that you highly recommend. I have earned the respect as the rule advisor and frequently access your site. We have become a very harmonious group over the years. Before it was like the “Wild West”.
    >What would you advise me to do in this situation?
    >Thank you,
    >Ellen

    Hi, Ellen!
    I was just going to say: that was really nice of your friends to let you just put the tile back, since the official rule is death.
    You wrote (with some paraphrasing in italic brackets):

    I usually advise my friends of the rules. Over the years I have found adhering to the rules contributes to continuous harmony, a goal that you highly recommend. I have earned the respect as the rule advisor and frequently access your site. [But now my group has rejected a rule as too harsh.] ...What would you advise me to do in this situation?
    It's not unusual for low-stakes ("friendly") games to be a little relaxed about some of the rules. If you happened to pick out of turn 5 times in an evening, I expect that they would become less forgiving! Perhaps they just want a little slack, for rarely occurring low-impact errors. They cut you some slack, you cut them some slack. If too much of that goes on, I'm sure you can see that it can get Wild Westy again.
    Letting a small error go unpunished, once in a while, won't turn your game into Tombstone, Arizona on October 26, 1881 all over again.
    But if you want to make sure it doesn't backslide to the bad old days, just write down (privately, without telling everyone) what happened and when it happened. Keep a record of all the times the rules are not adhered to, and if it starts to show a pattern of backsliding, then you could take action.
    Talk to the group about harmony versus "anything goes." (Unnecessary side story: this summer I spent time with my mom, playing Upwords, which is a great game a little like Scrabble but not. There was an "incident" when a word was challenged, and the one whose word was challenged was unhappy. So we tried an "anything goes" game, making up nonsense words. We thought it would be fun. But it wasn't. Guess what: rules actually make games fun!)
    Reach agreement on exactly what rules they want to ignore. Majority rule is fine. Just keep FAQ 14 in mind - your rules are just your rules, and do not apply at other tables, or at tournaments.
    I further recommend that you have a copy of the 2018 rule book at hand during every game.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 19, 2018


    Discarder had no money, part 3

    >From: enid e
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 7:07 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >thank u very much

    You're welcome, Enid. I'm glad one of my shotgun pellets found the target.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 19, 2018


    Discarder had no money, part 2

    >From: enid e
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:05 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment
    >thanks,for answer but does game continue until someone wins and do u put ur tiles,back on rack and if thrower wins she pays u and bettor if she does not lose your money .what donu mean plsy with pie we,just put a quarter in a,cup if therr is a wall game.
    >r

    Hi, Enid!
    Well, let's see if I can help. Note that when table rules are involved, I may not be of help. You wrote:
    but does game continue until someone wins
    I thought you said you won. The game ends when someone wins. The game can also end if the wall is destroyed, or if all the tiles of the wall are used up, or three players go "dead."
    and do u put ur tiles,back on rack
    I'm sorry, I have gotten lost in the question. Are you saying "I didn't win, since she had no money, so the game should go on"? That's wrong, if that's what you're thinking. Everybody knows your tiles now, and it would not be feasible to continue playing your hand from that point.
    if thrower wins she pays u and bettor
    A discarder can't win. A discarder has 13 tiles after discarding, and a complete hand is 14 tiles. After picking a 14th tile, a player cannot be called "discarder" or "thrower," not until after he or she discards.
    what donu mean plsy with pie
    I misconstrued your situation, and I made an assumption. You can forget about "pie," and you can ignore my previous answer, since it was based on an incorrect assumption. (But if you really want to understand "pie," see FAQ 19-W2.)
    we,just put a quarter in a,cup if therr is a wall game.
    But you said someone won. I'm sorry but I can't help without a clearer statement of your question(s). And if your question is based on your use of a non-standard table rule, I can't help - see FAQ 14.
    One last try: you said you won on a discard but the discarder had no money. There is no rule for this situation - the rules assume either (1) everybody has money, or (2) nobody has money. Your group will have to decide what to do.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 18, 2018


    Discarder had no money. What a ripoff!

    >From: enid e
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:12 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I declared,mah jonng a flower was thrown the person who thrrw the flower had no money and it bet on and it was a ovious hand what is the rule for that situation

    Hi, Enid!
    I hope I follow the situation correctly:
    I declared,mah jonng a flower was thrown
    I assume you mean the flower was thrown first, and then you declared mah-jongg.
    the person who thrrw the flower had no money
    I assume you mean your group plays with a "pie," and although she had lost all the money in her purse, she was still playing and she was the discarder who threw your mah-jongg tile.
    and it bet on
    I assume you mean the fifth player had bet on you to win.
    and it was a ovious hand
    I don't think this piece of information is important to the question, is it?
    what is the rule for that situation
    The discarder was "pie," so she pays nothing. To anybody. Assuming your group uses the standard pie procedure commonly used (but not documented in any official rules), then her purse stays empty until the next time she wins a hand. Combining pie with betting doesn't change the way pie works.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 18, 2018


    Has the NMJL changed this rule?

    >From: Jan K
    >Sent: Monday, September 17, 2018 8:40 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Has there been a rule change by NMJL on two people calling for a tile. I always used your statement first in line unless for Mahjj.
    >On line this came up by way of a friend.
    >NMJL SPEED RULE-Page 19 - #13(a) - 2018 Guide Book - when two players simultaneously call the same tile for an exposure, the player nearest in turn to the discarder gets the preference UNLESS the other player has started to expose their tiles.
    >I couldn’t find any update from you on this rule. Hope I am not asking a question that has already been answered.
    >Thanks for your help,
    >Jan

    Hi, Jan!
    Yes, that rule (about a player "slam-exposing" to shut out next-in-line) is discussed in FAQ 19 and in the errata for my book. And as one could deduce from the previous sentence, I've also come up with a name for the practice. I call it "slam-exposing" (I envision the possible scenario of two players rushing to claim the tile, and one shutting out the other by acting faster). This rule isn't all that new, by the way. It's been around since 2007. See FAQ 19-H (especially FAQ 19-H2 and H3), and column #696.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 17, 2018


    Only 2 of us are left alive, part 2

    >From: Ellen C
    >Sent: Saturday, September 15, 2018 5:47 AM
    >Subject: Re: Dead hands in a 3 player game
    >Dear Tom,
    >Thank you for your prompt response. (I have copied my attachment for your review) I have read FAQ 19-AC - thank you for the answer. I missed the answer on page 101 of your book RDWW - which I find a great resource for MJ rules of play and strategy.
    >I agree with you that it felt like a hollow win, but did collect the game winnings anyway!
    >Cheers,
    >Ellen

    >ATTACHMENT:
    >3 players - I'll use their names. 3/4 way through game, Carol declares Mah Jongg and then realizes that she has 15 tiles. Remaining players called her hand dead.
    >Then Rosalie calls for her 2rd exposure which make it obvious that she is playing the Consecutive Run - upper portion. Ellen has an exposure of a Kong in the 6's of the suit for Rosalie's consecutive run (3 6's and 1 joker). Spoiler for Rosalie as she has an unwinnable hand as she cannot get her pair of 6's. If Ellen calls her hand dead would she automatically win being the only player left? or would Ellen's hand have to be thrown in and a new game started?
    >I told Rosalie I could but that I would not because I was not sure of the rule. At this point Ellen only needs one tile (a natural tile or joker) for Mah Jongg and feels confident that she will pick the winning tile. Rosalie and Ellen continued to play and Ellen picked a Joker for her Mah Jongg.

    You're welcome, Ellen.
    You mention page 101. I should mention that there's an erratum on that page. It's wrong to say "it's not recommended to call oneself dead" - the actual rule (included in the errata file) is "it's not permitted to call oneself dead," although the League has not specified any penalty for doing so. It's an unenforceable rule, as it stands.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 15, 2018 7:50 AM


    Only 2 of us are left alive, but I can see that her hand is dead

    >From: Ellen C
    >Sent: Friday, September 14, 2018 11:47 AM
    >Subject: Dead hands in a 3 player game
    >Hello Tom,
    >I have read your rule (FAQ 19 - BW) in regard to dead players and only one survivor in a Mah Jongg game. In my circumstance (see attachment), the rule would penalize me if I were to declare Rosalie's hand dead. Am I obligated to call her hand dead??? Can she call her hand dead so that the game is over and a new one started?
    >Looking forward to your response.
    >Ellen
    >Attachment: Mah Jon...docx

    Hi, Ellen!
    I'm sorry, I don't open email attachments (docs, pdfs). In the body of your email, you wrote:

    the rule would penalize me if I were to declare Rosalie's hand dead. Am I obligated to call her hand dead?
    No. You don't have to call someone dead.

    Can she call her hand dead
    Read FAQ 19-AC ("Can I call myself dead?")

    I suppose the situation you were in was such that you had a chance to win, and had just one "live" opponent - but her hand was hopeless, and you could see it, so you legally could call her dead. If so, you were the only person who could legally call her dead. Personally, I think it's kind of a hollow victory to win in that circumstance - even though there's a chance she could thwart you, resulting in a wall game.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 14, 2018


    Malaysian 3P scoring, part 2

    >From: Nikolay M
    >Sent: Friday, September 14, 2018 7:37 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Dear Tom,
    >I ordered a new set with all tiles and plan on playing chinese classical with them first. I have one question about dragon pungs.
    >Q) If I have two pungs and a pair of dragons do I get :
    >1) X double(s) for three little dragons hand
    >2) 1 double for each dragon pung
    >So this hand scores at least 2^3 from the doubles?
    >In 3P Malaysian I found out that you get 1 fan for each animal/face whereas I thought you need 1 face to score , and only if you have all 4 faces then you get the second point.
    >By the way I discovered there is an app for iphone(hint : type mahjong 3p) which is also free and people play there 24/7. They use exactly those rules I asked you to help me with. Also there is kong multiplier for the winnings and I wondered if this is something from the original Malaysian rules or something exclusive to the app.
    >http://site.goplayplay.com/games/m3p/en/m3p
    >Best regards,
    >Nikolay M

    Hi, Nikolay.
    The score for Little Three Dragons already includes the score for the dragon pungs.*
    As I understand Face and Animal tiles, they are used exactly like flowers. If you have three faces, you get 3 fan. If you have four faces, you get 4+1 fan (one each, plus one for having the foursome). This is for matched foursome sets only - you can't call a face + a flower + 2 animals as a foursome.
    Your kong multiplier question is unclear. If you are playing the game on your iPhone, you should be able to closely observe how its scoring works to get your answer.

    * Wait, I don't see Little Three Dragons listed at http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/malaysian.htm - how much is it supposed to score? Have you seen it in your app?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 14, 2018


    What are my tiles made of, part 3

    >From: Danielle B
    >Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2018 8:29 PM
    >Subject: Re: What is mine made of?
    >Hi Tom,
    >I appreciate the answer.
    >Have a great weekend!
    >Dani

    You're welcome, Dani.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 14, 2018


    What are my tiles made of, part 2

    >From: Danielle B
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 5:43 PM
    >Subject: Re: What is mine made of?
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for responding to me email.
    >I have included a photo in this email, completely forgot to attach it
    >Yes, I reviewed all the FAQ and many more of the questions to the left of your site.
    >I love your "may the tiles be with you"
    >I am a fashion consultant and my tag line is: Fashion is Art, wear it well"
    >Thank you
    >Danielle

    Hi, Danielle!
    Nice tag line, words to live by. Everybody should have a slogan of their own!
    Your tiles are made of plastic.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 12, 2018


    What are my tiles made of?

    >From: Danielle B
    >Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2018 8:29 PM
    >Subject: What is mine made of?
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thank you for being available to answer my question.
    >I just received a MahJongg set of 152 tiles.
    >After reading all the information on the website, I cannot determine what they are made of.
    >My question is what are my tiles made of?
    >They are white on top, then blear then peachy pink on bottom.
    >Thank you
    >Danielle

    Hi, Danielle!
    It looks like you forgot to attach the photo to your email. And when you say "all the information on the website," do you mean you read all of FAQ 7?
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 11, 2018


    How is this scored in MCR?

    >From: Elaine L
    >Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 5:13 PM
    >Subject: IMG_6632.jpg
    >Hi Tom
    >My friends and I are learning Chinese mahjong and are studying your book. We are having problems scoring this hand as it does not fit into any of the hands in your book. Is the hand below a mahjong in Chinese mahjong? If so, how is it scored?
    >Much thanks
    >Elaine

    Hi, Elaine!
    Well, let's see, there's a pung of dragons, that's worth 1 point. Then there's... um... a flower. That's worth 1 point. That's two points, but you didn't say under what circumstances the hand was made. I see the dragon pung was made from discard, but I can't tell if that was the winning tile. If it was, then was the dragon the last of its kind, or the last tile in the wall? If not, then it looks like just two points. The minimum allowable score in MCR is eight points.
    The 123 doesn't make a short straight (the next nearest chow is 678, and in a different suit). The hand has all three suits, some dragons, but no winds. So it's not missing one suit, and it's not all five types. No pretty pattern at all. There's nothing but the dragons and the flower.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 10, 2018 8:00 PM


    Can you win before the Charleston is finished?

    >From: JOAN D
    >Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 4:06 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can you claim mah Jongg before the Charlestown is completed?
    >Joan

    Hi, Joan!
    Yes, it is possible. There's a short description of "Heavenly Hand" in FAQ 19-BJ, and there's a detailed look at all the possibilities in Column #666.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 10, 2018 8:00 PM


    Clockwise, counterclockwise? I'm so confused!

    >From: Gail & Alan
    >Sent: Monday, September 10, 2018 11:11 AM
    >Subject: Mah Jongg question
    >Hello,
    >Have a question in the Mah Jongg Made Easy book. On page 11 in capital letters it says picking from the Walls goes to the left. PLAY TO THE RIGHT, PICK TO THE LEFT. I understand when East wall is completed, the player to the left pushes out their wall. But doesn’t picking from the wall continues to the right? What does it mean play to the right and pick to the left? I thought it was always play to the right, pick to the right. Most confusing.
    >Best regards
    >Gail from Canada

    Hi, Gail!
    Yes, it confuses a lot of people! It's Frequently Asked Question #19-Q. "Play to the right" means "after my turn, the person to my right plays." "Pick to the left" means "after this 2-tile stack is done, the next one to be used is the one to the left." This is one of two illustrations I made to answer FAQ 19-Q.:


    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 10, 2018


    She called me dead but I'm not. What now?

    >From: Marty F
    >Sent: Friday, September 7, 2018 7:48 AM
    >Subject: Rules check
    >Hi Tom,
    >This was a strange one.
    >I had exposed 3F 4 dragons and my pung of of 6’s. Had my pair of 3’s and single 9 still in my rack. I picked another 3 and discarded it....knowing it would tell the other players that I only needed the 9.......no choice.
    >Next player wanted to call me dead because she had the tile I needed for MJ (all 3 of them) in her hand. Saying she wouldn’t discard them....knowing it would give me MJ....so that made me dead.....
    >The kicker to this “story” is that, she assumed that, once I agreed I was dead......guess what....that would then leave her free to drop those tiles and proceed to trying to get MJ herself.!! ??
    >So I said “as long as the tiles were in her hand, they were still in play, and that I wasn’t dead!”
    >Who is correct? And how do I explain this to her.
    >Thanks
    >Marty

    Hi, Marty!
    Clearly you are playing American (NMJL) rules. And your dispute involves the harsh American "death challenge" rule. Go to FAQ 19 and scroll down to "YOU'RE DEAD." Click it. There you find several Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the death challenge rule: "Can a player call another player dead?" (FAQ 19-AA), "I was called dead. Now what?" (FAQ 19-CK), "Called me dead but I'm not. What now?" (FAQ 19-AB). Read them all. You'll see that your opponent was wrong to call you dead in the circumstance you described.

    But you said you want to convince your opponent. Showing her what some guy posted on the worldwide web is not as convincing as showing her the printed rule from the NMJL. Open your official rulebook to page 20 and show her rule 19 (b).


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

    After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. You can search the page for keywords, or you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 7, 2018 8:00 AM


    Is this a glitch/bug, part 2

    >From: Kelly N
    >Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2018 10:51 AM
    >Subject: RE: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Hi Tom!
    >Thanks so much for the quick response. My apologies, I did not explain my question correctly. It is an online Mah-Jongg solitaire game that I’ve been playing. I’m a total rookie at Mah-Jongg, but quickly falling in love with it and trying to learn more about it. Let me try and pose my question more concisely:
    >In playing am online solitaire version of the game, the game system shows you (in the top of your screen) a section of “Open Matches” with a number next to it. I assume this number is showing how many possible matches are available during each move of the game. My rookie question is this: I watch this Open Matches number while I’m playing and have noticed that it will sometimes (for instance) be showing “10” (again, my assumption is that this means there are 10 possible available matches showing at that moment). I will then make a move (match two tiles) and sometimes, the number will stay the same (I assume this means that I took away one match, and then created one, by revealing a tile or putting a tile in play – therefore keeping the number at 10), sometimes the number will increase (I assume this means that I took away one match, and then created more than one more possible match by the same method I just described). However; sometimes the number will decrease by several (say go from 10 Open Matches down to 3 Open Matches). I’m unsure how that can happen. If there were 10 open matches and I match two tiles, how could I have made LESS matches available? In my rookie mind, I came up with two possibilities – either there is a bug in the software of the game – or, more likely, I’m not understanding something about the way the game works.
    >The game pauses when you click away from it, but here is a screenshot showing the “Open Matches” at the top:
    >I’m sure this is about as clear as mud now! Any answers will be greatly appreciated.
    >Kelly N

    Kelly, you wrote:

    It is an online Mah-Jongg solitaire game that I’ve been playing. I’m a total rookie at Mah-Jongg
    You are NOT playing mah-jongg. You said it right the first time - your online game is solitaire mah-jongg. It is not mah-jongg. Sorry, I just can't stand it when people call solitaire tile games "mah-jongg." This is what a real mah-jongg game looks like:

    sometimes the number will decrease by several (say go from 10 Open Matches down to 3 Open Matches). I’m unsure how that can happen.
    I understood you the first time (in your previous email). But I still have never played the particular game you are playing - I don't know its title, I don't know its features. When I was designing and producing Shanghai games at Activision, I never had an "open matches" feature like this.

    I assume you clicked "Hint" to get those highlights to show up. Maybe that's why all the tiles are face-down? I can tell you that the blue-highlighted tiles in your image gives you an indication that if you match the two open blue tiles, you'll later on have to find and remove the mate to the closed blue tile. It's surely under the layers, somewhere, no idea where. I have no idea what the game is trying to tell you with the green-highlighted tiles.

    I don't know the special features of the game you are playing. I can't help you. Maybe the answer to your question (how the Open Matches feature works) is explained somewhere on that website. If not, you can either keep playing until you figure it out, or contact the creator/owner of the game you are playing, as I wrote in FAQ 24.

    I repeat - I cannot help you. First, I would have to know the specifics of how the Open Matches feature is intended by its maker to work. All I have are my own assumption of how it should work, and how you think it should work - and all I see in your screenshot is face-down tiles with a few of them highlighted. And I would need to see before-and-after screenshots - after you remove exactly one pair while it says 10 matches, now it says 3 matches - with all the tiles face-up.

    I'm just a guy who did not make the game you're playing, and I don't have enough information. Hope you figure it out!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 6, 2018 11:25 AM


    can u pick up discard from anyone to make a straight if it makes mah jong for u.

    >From: Dana G
    >Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2018 9:59 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:can u pick up discard from anyone to make a straight if it makes mah jong for u. I know it only comes from player on left otherwise. Thank you.

    Yes, Dana. As I wrote in FAQ 20-B-1. Please always check FAQ 20 before asking me a question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 6, 2018 10:17 AM


    Is this a glitch/bug?

    >From: Kelly N
    >Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2018 8:04 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I have a question about the game Mahjongg Solitaire. I may be looking at something wrong or perhaps not understanding how the game works; but when I play the game, I'll be in the middle of it and I'll look at the "Open Matches" and that might read, for example "8 Open Matches", I then make a move, and that will drop to "3 Open Matches". I can't seem to understand how clearing two tiles could make it so instead of 8 open matches (I would understand it dropping to 7, since I cleared one) could drop by so many? There were 8 open and now there are only 3? What am I missing here? Is it the way the game works, or is this a glitch/bug in the game?

    I can't possibly know, Kelly. I have not played this computer game or mobile app you're talking about, and you didn't send me a screenshot of the exact situation you were in. Sorry!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 6, 2018 10:15 AM


    Should I sacrifice my game?

    >From: Dolores M
    >Sent: Thursday, September 6, 2018 4:28 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: if I only need one more tile? to win and I know what my opposite needs should I sacrifice my game?

    Hi, Dolores!
    Based on the way you worded your question, I would have to say no. The way you worded your question, you would sacrifice your game even if your winning tile comes to you. Like Rachel did in Crazy Rich Asians. Have you seen Crazy Rich Asians? In the mah-jongg scene, Rachel sacrifices her game - throwing her own lucky winning tile to Eleanor, who promptly won on it. Then Rachel revealed her own tiles, proving that she was a lot smarter than Eleanor gave her credit for - and earning Eleanor's begrudging respect, after which Eleanor stopped undermining Rachel's relationship with Eleanor's son. See, I just said you shouldn't do it, but Rachel did, and she got her man. So maybe I should say "no, don't, unless your impending engagement can be won thereby."

    You posited a situation in which you "only need one more tile." I assume that means you are holding 13 tiles, none of which are expendable, and you are waiting for your mah-jongg tile. You furthermore said your opponent is in the exact same position, and you even know what tile she needs. You and she are therefore in equal positions - you are both waiting, and you are equally dangerous to one another. Exactly like the situation between Rachel and Eleanor. It would be silly to throw your hand if you don't have to. And assuming you are not being thwarted in your desire to continue your relationship with your opponent's son against her wishes, it would furthermore be silly to knowingly give her her winning tile.

    Or maybe you are holding 14 tiles (you just picked one), and you have 13 non-expendable tiles. If your expendable tile is your opponent's winning tile, then you are in a classic quandary. Paul A asked about that situation on May 9 (below), in "One away from mahj but picked another player's hot tile."  I told Paul: "It all comes down to a very simple calculation that will probably not give you a useful answer: either you are going to pay 2x value (I assume you play American rules...)." In Paul's case, he wasn't positive that his expendable tile was definitely his opponent's winning tile. It makes no sense to knowingly discard an opponent's winning tile. Which is what makes Rachel's play in the movie so extraordinary. In my reply to Paul in May, I went on about the possibility that his expendable tile was not his opponent's win: "... or you might win, 4x value if by discard, 6x value if by self-pick. There is also a chance that another player might win, not from your discard (in which case you pay 1x value)."

    Earlier in the movie, Rachel teaches her Game Theory students that playing to win is better than playing "not to lose." But when your "best" move is to break up your hand so as not to give a winning tile, maybe not losing is a form of winning. It's not unusual to take a lot of verbal abuse from the other non-winners if you throw the winning tile, and who wants that? As I wrote in column 704.

    So. The short answer: you shouldn't discard your opponent's winning tile, if you know what it is. If what you're discarding is one of her hot tiles, you take a chance. You can weigh the cost of losing versus the amount you could win, if your discard doesn't give her the win. But all rules (not that this is a "rule" per se) can be broken, depending on other circumstances.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 6, 2018 9:15 AM


    How to play 3-person mah-jongg?

    >From: Lorraine M
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 6:42 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: how to play 3 person mah Jongg

    Hi, Lorraine!
    That's explained in FAQ 13. If you play American mah-jongg, you could check FAQ 19-AS (since all of the most-Frequently Asked Questions about American/NMJL rules are answered in FAQ 19). FAQ 19-AS also points to FAQ 13(A), but also importantly points to column 532 (discussing the 3-person Charleston). Of course, if your variant is not American/NMJL, forget FAQ 19 and just read FAQ 13. Please always check the FAQs before asking me a question.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 5, 2018


    What if the window of opportunity closes just as a player calls? (#2)

    >From: Emily Z
    >Sent: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 5:38 AM
    >Subject: window of opportunity
    >Caller and racker can not come to agreement about which came first. Is there a way to settle the dispute? Does the table vote? I have heard tie goes to caller, then I was told tie goes to racker. Scene is open game one step below tournament. Thank you.

    Hi, Emily! You wrote:

    Caller and racker can not come to agreement about which came first. Is there a way to settle the dispute? ... I have heard tie goes to caller, then I was told tie goes to racker.
    I searched this board for the word "simultaneous" to find the last time this question was asked. It was May 11. Then I found FAQ 19-CL, which links to http://sloperama.com/mjfaq/mjfaq19.html#simultaneous, where the League gave the answer in writing. When it's simultaneous, caller gets the tile.

    Scene is open game one step below tournament.
    Then you need to have a 2018 NMJL rulebook at hand. Maybe even my book!


    This is the League's official rulebook.
    Every table should have a copy!


    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 5, 2018


    New column is finally up - and I finally saw Crazy Rich Asians

    It's been a dry spell, I know. But I just posted a new column about Charleston strategy. Between writing the last two problems, I went to see a matinee showing of Crazy Rich Asians. I wanted to see that mah-jongg scene for myself!
    I saw something that made me think I might have seen a small mistake in the deal (after Eleanor rolled the dice). Maybe I'm too stuck on Japanese and MCR. Since the movie takes place in Singapore, it's reasonable to assume they were playing Singapore rules. So I refer to Celia Ching's book (the only book in my library that describes Singapore rules).
    Eleanor rolled a ten. I was expecting her to break the wall to her right, but that's Japanese. She broke the wall in front of her, but she did not count ten before the break; after she broke it, the short wall was shorter than ten tiles (ten tiles would be more than half the wall remaining, and it was a short short wall). According to Ching, the dealer-choosing dice roll is supposed to be added to the dealer's dice roll, to determine where the dealer's wall (or the wall to dealer's left, if the count exceeds 18) will be broken. I don't recall seeing a number showing before Eleanor rolled - and Eleanor did not seem to have seen a prior dice roll (the dice were handed to her so she could have the honor of the deal). I may need to watch the scene again. Reading the blog post breaking down the mah-jongg scene helped me appreciate that scene in a way I couldn't have without all the pointers.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 2, 2018


    Typo

    >From: Julia S
    >Sent: Sunday, September 2, 2018 9:53 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Column #705 shows as:
    >By Tom Sloper
    >July 20, 2018
    >Column #705
    >This should be May 20 unless you have mastered time travel J
    >I hope you feel better soon from your surgery.
    >Julia

    Thanks, Julia. I fixed the typo, and I'm feeling fine.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 3, 2018 7:45 AM


    Errors in the MCR, part 6

    >From: "jafcmx5
    >Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2018 1:31 PM
    >Subject: Re: MCR errata
    >Hi Tom,
    >Thanks for passing along the suggestion. I went to the mahjongnews.com website but after quite a bit of searching I couldn't find how to contact the editor, past editor, or anyone from the site. I saw that there is a logon area but I couldn't find a way to generate an account user name and password. Did I miss it somehow?
    >Thanks for the help,
    >Jeff C

    Scott's address is visible a short distance above - see where it says "Call for players, 2nd World Mahjong Sport Games." It's scott at mahjong news dot com.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 3, 2018 7:50 AM


    Can I redeem a joker, part 2

    >From: R W
    >Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2018 4:56 AM
    >Subject: Re: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thank you for your quick response. Can’t wait to share!

    You're welcome, Rosanne. (^_^)
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 1, 2018 8:40 AM


    How can you double the score, part 4

    >From: Valerie T
    >Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2018 1:23 AM
    >Subject: Re: Doubles for losers
    >I will come clean and confess that I play a solitaire version of Mahjong - that is I am 2 players. This is an infinitely superior solitaire game to cards or (sorry!) computer games. I play about 12 variants, sourcing the rules from J Rep, yourself and Scott Miller. Obviously there is no need for all the bothersome preliminaries before the actual deal and no penalties! Many thanks for clearing up my little query. You're doing a grand job! Maybe I'll give the four player game a go sometime!

    Interesting, Valerie!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    September 1, 2018 8:40 AM


    Can I redeem a joker atop my own rack?

    >From: R W
    >Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 4:57 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I called a 4 crack to expose a Kong. I already had 3 other 4 cracks in my hand but mistakenly put out two 4 cracks and a joker, leaving a 4 crack in my hand. Was I able to exchange the joker with my 4 crack on my next turn?
    >Thank you for your help!
    >Rosanne

    Hi, Rosanne!
    The answer is yes. Read FAQ 19-M3. You can link to the FAQs above left. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Then you can search the page for keywords, or you can scroll down through the index of American FAQs and click the FAQ to jump to your answer. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2018


    Dead link

    >From: Pete S
    >Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 4:36 PM
    >Subject: Dead Link
    >Hi Tom,
    >The link for NineDragons.com accessible from Faq. 5 "Windows (Offline)
    >Games", while not exactly dead, does not lead to offline Mah Jongg
    >goodness. I wish I knew enough about programming to write a Mah Jongg
    >game. There seems to be a niche here for someone. I've been playing the
    >Four Winds demo but it doesn't support the display size on my laptop
    >resulting in a small window which is hard for these old eyes to see. Oh
    >well...
    >-Pete-
    >Remember to always trust your cape!

    Hi, Pete.
    Thanks for the heads-up about Nine Dragons. I deleted the link.
    I guess that specifically you're interested in Hong Kong style mah-jongg, playable against computer opponents on your laptop. There may be something else in FAQ 5 that can provide that for you. If not, then yes, there is "a niche" there "for someone." Unfortunately, making games costs money, and creating good mah-jongg A.I. costs even more.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2018


    We don't wanna roll dice

    >From: Maureen S
    >Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 1:13 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >Can we play, if all players at table agree, without rolling dice and breaking the wall?

    See FAQ 14, Maureen. While you're reading FAQs, make sure to also read FAQ 19-AP, and column 403.
    If your group all understands that it's very easy for a dealer to cheat when dice are not rolled, then every time any dealer has multiple jokers, or wins a hand, the rest of the group may begin harboring suspicion. If you all think that fostering mutual mistrust is a good idea, then sure, don't roll dice!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2018


    How can you double the score, part 3

    >From: Valerie T
    >Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 12:59 PM
    >Subject: Re: Doubles for losers
    >OK. Thanks!

    (^_^) I was kind of expecting a follow-up question, but you're welcome!


    How can you double the score, part 2

    >From: Valerie T
    >Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 11:41 AM
    >Subject: Re: Doubles for losers
    >Thanks. I see now that "the hand" refers only to setted tiles as far as losers are concerned.

    I'm sorry that I somehow gave you the wrong impression, Valerie. "The hand" refers to all the tiles being held by a player.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2018


    How can you double the score of a non-winning hand?

    >From: Valerie T
    >Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 3:54 AM
    >Subject: Doubles for losers
    >Some mahjong g variants allow losers doubles for half flush and full flush hands, eg Dutch classical, Wright-Patterson. How does the player calculate entitlement when the hand is necessarily incomplete. It may comprise only one or two sets at the end of the game.

    Good morning, Valerie!
    Checking Jelte Rep's book, my assumption that Dutch Classical is derived from Chinese Classical (the ruleset that prevailed in the 1920s) is confirmed.
    The scoring rules for CC-derived rulesets and for W-P are specific as to what points apply to "all hands" (including winners and non-winners), what points apply only to winners, what doubles apply to all hands, and what doubles apply to winners only.
    In CC (and DC) and W-P, the player adds up all basic points (flowers*, complete pungs, etc.) and then applies any earned doubles. When you say "half flush" and "full flush," you mean that the hand contains suit tiles of no more than one suit. Whether the hand has 14 tiles or 13 tiles, it's easy to see whether there are tiles of more than one suit or not - and it's easy to count basic points. If, as in your example, a non-winner has only one or two complete sets, then he or she gets the usual basic points for those sets. If an examination of the hand reveals the presence of only one suit, then the basic points are doubled once if there are any honors in the hand, or doubled three times if there are no honors among the tiles of only one suit. If the hand earns no basic points, then there's nothing to double.
    * I noticed in Jelte's book that flowers are not used in DC.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 31, 2018


    Malaysian 3P scoring

    >From: Nikolay M
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2018 6:44 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >3P Malaysian Mahjong
    >I can’t quite get the scoring.
    >1) During the game if a player gets a Gong each other player should pay him 100 pts if it is concealed.(Concealed GONG)
    >Small melded kong - both players lose 50 points
    >Big melded kong - the player who discarded the tile pays 100 points to kong player
    >revealing set of four flowers/seasons from the initial hand.. does this count any additional flowers you may draw from the back of the wall while revealing flowers?
    >2) If dealer wins on a self-drawn tile all other must pay double to him, but how many are the winning points? Consider the following example:
    >If Player A won with 5 fans and player B and C both have 5 fans also how many are the winning points? 0 or 100?
    >If Player A won with 8 fans and Player B has 5 fans, Player B must pay 3 * 20 = 60 point to Player A and double that if Player A is a dealer?
    >I see in other rules the dealer wins and loses double points but in Malaysian it seems dealer only wins double.
    >3) If I get max fan + any additional points from flowers for example, how many fan do I have for scoring purposes - 10 ?
    >3) I bet at the end of the game Fly are counted in the concealed hands of all players, correct?
    >Best regards,
    >Nikolay

    Hi, Nikolay.
    I am sorry, but I have never played 3P Malaysian mah-jongg myself. A fellow offered to send me rules, and I shared what he sent me, posting it at http://sloperama.com/mahjongg/malaysian.htm in 2003. I helped clean up the English a bit, but I really don't know the ruleset intimately. To respond to your questions:
    I would assume so.
    In rulesets where dealers win double, dealers pay double.
    I don't know.
    I don't know.
    You can also try the rules at http://thewriter2006.blogspot.com/2010/04/malaysian-mahjong.html.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 29, 2018 7:45 AM


    List of etiquette stuff?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 5:06 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Pertaining to American Mah Jongg: Do you have a list of Etiquette Recommendations for playing American Mah Jongg? I know how to find the “Rules of NMJ” but come upon etiquette recommendations every so often in your columns and questions and answers section. I would like to have a list of these to include with suggestions for playing Mah Jongg in one ditto. Funny how players don’t consider etiquette to be that important in the game as long as they are winning. I have looked through all the dittos I have pertaining to etiquette and checked your columns and have some recommendations but am sure there must be some more I am missing. Still can’t make that F key work with control key but did find what I needed from last email. Again many thanks for making game of MJ fun and challenging and also providing me with all info needed for smooth playing. Lynn P.
    >BTW I saw the movie about the Rich Asians today and explained to the others the significance of the 8 Bam being discarded. Nice girlie movie but sometimes hard to understand what was being said. I was surprised there was no talking during MJ play even to calling MJ at the end.

    Hi, Lynn! You asked:

    Do you have a list of Etiquette Recommendations for playing American Mah Jongg?
    Just what I have in my book (pp. 103-110) and in FAQ 9 (the Etiquette & Philosophy FAQ).

    I... come upon etiquette recommendations every so often in your columns and questions and answers section. I would like to have a list of these
    That's how I would have to make such a list - by going through my book, columns, FAQs, and the Q&A BB, plus the official rulebook, and then picking out the etiquette stuff.

    Funny how players don’t consider etiquette to be that important in the game as long as they are winning.
    Yes. Hilarious.

    I have looked through all the dittos I have pertaining to etiquette and checked your columns and have some recommendations but am sure there must be some more I am missing.
    I would feel the same if I made a list! Just saying, your feeling is normal.

    Still can’t make that F key work with control key
    I'm sorry, but I spent enough time giving technical support to my computer game customers by email, back when I worked at Activision. It's a lot of work and back-and-forth, getting information about the customer's operating system, software version, and precise steps and wording of error messages, etc. I just don't want to do that again. All I can tell you is (assuming you are on a Windows PC) press the Ctrl button and hold it down while you press F, then release them both. Then look to see if a little text box has appeared (might be at the top right, or top left, or bottom left, maybe even bottom right corner, depending on what browser you use). Type your search words in the box and hit Enter. This only searches the page you're on, so you may have to do Ctrl-F on a number of pages to find what you're looking for. See what I mean, though -- three browsers all put the Search box in a different corner. That kind of variation makes tech support complicated.

    but did find what I needed from last email.
    Good, I'm glad.

    [In "Crazy Rich Asians,"] I was surprised there was no talking during MJ play even to calling MJ at the end.
    American mah-jongg is very different from the game played by Asians, crazy or not, and rich or not. Asians use their eyes. Americans use their ears.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 28, 2018


    Duplicate Mah-Jongg

    >From: Julie L
    >Sent: Monday, August 27, 2018 3:19 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >I just heard about duplicate Mah Jongg. When I go online to find out more about it I can’t find any set up rules.
    >It appears to be only tournament set ups.
    >At home how would one set up the walls? I watched play on you tube and I don’t see anyone with a playing card?
    >Thanks for any info.
    >Julie L

    Hi, Julie!
    I am in the same place as you on this. You wrote:

    I can’t find any set up rules.
    I know, right? I mean, what's up with that? I've tried to get info on that too; no success.

    It appears to be only tournament set ups.
    Yes. Precisely. The whole idea is to get mah-jongg included in the Mind Sports Olympiad. The principle of that olympiad is that the game(s) must be purely intellect, no random chance of luck. Skill is the focus. So the idea is that one table has the exact same arrangement of tiles as another table. What I don't know is how one player isn't going to get luckier tiles than another.

    At home how would one set up the walls?
    You wouldn't, unless you had at least eight players playing. I assume somebody who isn't playing builds random walls, and then the tile composition is noted precisely, and a team of helpers (who aren't playing) build identical walls for the other table(s). It's rather labor-intensive, seems to me.

    I watched play on you tube and I don’t see anyone with a playing card?
    American mah-jongg is not the only mah-jongg variant in the world. In fact, American mah-jongg is the oddball of the mah-jongg world. It's the only one that uses a card. You could play Duplicate American Mah-Jongg, but the people in that video obviously weren't. If you want to know more about "un-American" variants, see FAQ 2B.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 27, 2018 8:40 PM


    Is there a rule against touching someone's tiles or rack, part 2

    A follow-up to Louise D's August 20 question (below). I was checking the rulebook and discovered this, which I'd forgotten:

    So, it's not a "rule" - it's an etiquette "recommendation." Don't touch another player's tiles. Top of page 22.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the
    Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 26, 2018 2:30 PM


    Winning by joker redemption

    >From: Margie A
    >Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2018 11:41 AM
    >Subject: Two questions
    >In the American version of Mah-Jongg:
    >1. I had a tile waiting my turn to exchange for a joker. A player played a tile that I called, I exchanged the tile since it was then my turn, and I won the game. Does the player who played the tile I called pay double?
    >2. In the same game, I drew a tile to exchange for a joker, that let me win. Does everyone pay double since I drew the tile I exchanged for the win?
    >Thank you for your help
    >Margie A

    Hi, Margie! I'm rewording your questions:

    I won on joker redemption. Who pays me double?
    Everybody. Read FAQ 19-AN. The fact that you called a tile and made a complete exposure in the same turn before redeeming your joker does not have any bearing on your question. The move that gave you the win was redeeming the joker, so everybody pays you double.

    I picked that redeemable tile from the wall. Does everybody still pay me double?
    It doesn't matter how you got that redeemable tile (whether it was dealt to you or you picked it from the wall). If your winning move was to redeem a joker, it counts as self-pick, and everybody pays you double. Read FAQ 19-AN. This rule (win by joker redemption = win by self-pick) has been stated in several yearly NMJL newsletters.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 26, 2018 1:30 PM


    Errors in the MCR, part 5

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2018 2:29 AM
    >Subject: Errors in the MCR...
    >Hi Tom,
    >I wonder if Jeff approached Scott Miller via the Mahjong News website he may have more luck in progressing his suggested changes and corrections to MCR. It's Nicole Haasbroek editing the news site now, but she could perhaps refer Jeff onward.
    >https://www.mahjongnews.com
    >Ray

    Good suggestion, Ray!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 25, 2018 7:35 AM


    Errors in the MCR, part 4

    >From: Jeff C
    >Sent: Friday, August 24, 2018 7:31 PM
    >Subject: Re: MCR errata
    >Hi Tom,
    >I remember, I’m not frustrated with you, it’s the WMO. Thanks for all your help.
    >Jeff C

    Right. I shouldn't have taken it personally. As I said before, I had my own frustrations with the MCR and WMO.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 25, 2018 7:30 AM


    Errors in the MCR, part 3

    >From: "jafcmx5
    >Sent: Friday, August 24, 2018 4:15 PM
    >Subject: Re: MCR errata
    >Hi Tom,
    >I tried the email address you provided, it bounced. I also tried the one posted on the website. It didn't bounce but I also have not gotten any reply. These were just test emails introducing myself and stating that I wanted to suggest improvements to the rules.
    >I have continued to mark up my version of the rules with what I believe are corrections. If I ever find a way to submit them I will. I really wish there were an easy way to share them. Wiki pages make collaborative improvements much easier to implement.
    >Thanks for your help,
    >Jeff C

    Hi, Jeff!
    When you previously emailed me in March ("Errors in the MCR," March 12, 2018, and "Errors in the MCR, part 2," March 17, 2018, below), I told you I had not been involved with rules discussions with the WMO in over 10 years. I told you in March that I was not involved in the 2014 revision effort. And I told you that I don't even know if Mr. Wang Yingfu is still active in the official rules organization. I cannot tell you what to do at this point. Sorry!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 24, 2018 7:20 PM


    How do I find a particular column?

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, August 24, 2018 8:39 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Help!!! I have tried for more than 2 hours to find your comment about Table Talk re American Mah Jongg. Begins ‘Table Talk: What does that even mean?” Also “Unrelated chattering” and ‘Passing information”are other paragraphs I am looking for. Some players think it is “FUN” to be a motor mouth when others are trying to plan their hand, etc. ? I have info printed on a sheet in my folder but I want to email the info to some of the MJ players. The F whatever key doesn’t work for me or I can’t make it work. Please point me in the right direction so I can get this info into an email and send to those who need to read it. Maybe Mah Jongg players have to take a vow of silence when they actually begin play-or at least only talk at certain times. I think that my being a former teacher influences my views on when to talk and what voice to use. Players often don’t remember they have an “indoor” voice and an “outdoor” voice and when to use each of them. Again thanks for making my Mah Jongg experiences happy enjoyable ones. I appreciate all your hard work in helping every Mah Jongg player be the best they can be! Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn!
    Control-F (or Command-F for Mac users) only searches the page you're on. So you won't find my Table Talk column by using Control-F here on the bulletin board. Google can help you find a page on my website. If you Google "mah-jongg table talk sloperama," you will find the Table Talk column (it's there but not right at the top), but a faster way is to click a purple banner on my site (go to the columns front page), then hit Control-F and type "table talk." It leads you directly to column 654. If you want to see the column by itself, without the navigation frame at left and the columns index at top, hit the little mobile icon () atop the column. Good luck increasing the etiquette and harmony in your games!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 24, 2018 9:11 AM


    Crazy Rich Asians' mah-jongg scene, part 2

    >From: heaton.ray
    >Sent: Monday, August 20, 2018 12:19 PM
    >Subject: Hu Shi
    >Hi Tom,
    >This document also refers to Hu Shi's views on mahjong, and includes the source in the "References" section towards the end.
    >Regards,
    >Ray
    >final_gree....pdf

    Wow, great, Ray! You inspired me to try Googling it myself, and there it was, at https://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/e-journal/articles/final_greene.pdf. I've added the reference to FAQ 11H, thanks to you.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 23, 2018


    What is the purpose of the posts on the end of the rack?

    >From: Susan Y
    >Sent: Monday, August 20, 2018 9:29 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:why do some mah jongg sets have four posts onthe end of the rack?

    Hi, Susan! Those posts are designed to hold chips.

    Most mah-jongg sets are manufactured in China, and the Chinese manufacturers do not know that hardly anybody in America uses chips anymore. You and your group probably play for coins, not chips, just like most players of American mah-jongg. When I was in a group that played in a public venue, we were advised not to exchange cash, so we played with chips and settled up afterwards.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper

    Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated!
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 20, 2018 10:55 AM


    Is there a rule against touching someone's tiles or rack?

    >From: Louise D
    >Sent: Monday, August 20, 2018 5:07 AM
    >Subject: MJ Question
    >Hi Mr. Sloper,
    >I have more of an etiquette question than a rules question.
    >When I call for a tile, a woman I play with will put the tile on my rack instead of just moving it closer to me so I can pick it up myself. Others will also take a joker off of someone's rack when they are retrieving it instead of asking for it.
    >I don't think it's a rule not to touch someone's tiles or rack, but I believe you shouldn't do it. What are your feelings on this?
    >Louise

    I agree with you, Louise. See FAQ 19-CF (touching someone's rack), 19-CG (touching someone's tiles), and 19-M (proper procedure for redeeming a joker).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 20, 2018 6:20 AM

    Follow-up posted on August 26. It's not a rule, but it is an etiquette recommendation in the 2018 rulebook. - Tom


    What if I have a complete winning hand after the deal?

    >From: Jason R
    >Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2018 10:56 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    >If I’m dealt a mah-jongg can I declare it without going on whith the rest oif the game?

    Hi, Jason!
    Yes, a dealer can declare "heavenly hand" if s/he has a complete winning hand immediately after the deal, before exchanging tiles (if you play American mah-jongg) or before discarding his/her first discard (if you play a non-American variant). If you play American mah-jongg, you can read more about it in FAQ 19-BJ.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 19, 2018 4:45 PM


    Crazy Rich Asians' mah-jongg scene

    I haven't seen the movie myself, but I just read this really interesting blog about the symbolism behind the mah-jongg scene: http://blog.angryasianman.com/2018/08/what-was-really-happening-in-crazy-rich.html?m=1.
    One thing I wondered about was this 1927 paper or quote by Hu Shi - I'd add it to FAQ 11H if I could confirm it.
    May the tiles be with us all!
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 18, 2018 12:30 PM


    NEWS and 2018, part 13

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Friday, August 17, 2018 5:29 AM
    >Subject: Re[2]: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >Thanks Tom!

    You're welcome, Lisa.


    NEWS and 2018, part 12

    >From: Lisa B
    >Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2018 10:20 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Greetings. If a players has a combination of tiles that includes NEWS or 2018, and one of the tiles is discarded, can they pick up the discard to complete one of these combinations and unconcealed it, and or use a joker for one of the 4 tiles? My understanding is these two examples are like 4 single tiles so the only want you could use a discard is if for mahjongg and you could never use a joker.
    >Thanks for your help.
    >Lisa


    Hi, Lisa! Sounds to me like you understand the rule - and apparently you need to convince others. You could show them my FAQ 16, but I am not the League, so if you want to convince somebody authoritatively, you should show them the NMJL's own FAQ. It's at www.nationalmahjonggleague.org (click the FAQs link).
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 16, 2018 10:45 AM


    She spoke up after the other one exposed her tiles

    >From: Pat V
    >Sent: Monday, August 13, 2018 1:14 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: I understand that when two players call for a tile to declare mahjong the next one in line for their turn is able to collect and win. However what is the ruling when only one person calls for the tile and picks it up and declares mahjong exposing their tiles. Then the person who was next be in line says they need the tile for mahjong. Is there a time limit for calling for the tile and declaring mahjong?
    >Thanks.

    Hi, Pat!
    Your next-in-turn waited too long to make her claim. The time to make her claim was before the first claimant exposed her hand. This is from the League, stated in the 2007 and 2013 yearly newsletters. And I stated it in FAQ 19-H3. I just discovered that FAQ 19-H3 was hard to discover through search words or the index, and so just now I made some changes to fix that.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2018 6:10 PM


    No columns lately?

    >From: Nancey C
    >Sent: Monday, August 13, 2018 6:50 AM
    >Subject: Hope you're doing well
    >I enjoy your column. I've noticed you haven't posted in some time and just want to wish you well. Hope you'll be back soon.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, Nancey! Just taking it easy over the summer. Last week of vacation.
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2018 4:00 PM


    Putting a taken discard atop the rack

    >From: Timothy A
    >Sent: Monday, August 13, 2018 3:51 AM
    >Subject: Your Errata file
    >Hi Tom, I was recently involved in a discussion about when a person can change their mind on taking a discard and looked into you Errata file for the updated answer you had written there.
    >As I continued reading your book ‘The Red Dragon and East Wind’ on page 100 which the Errata file directed me to, I see what I think might be an error that should be addressed.
    >Under ‘Winning’ the book has ‘Picking up a discard, and even putting it atop her rack, does not commit her to keeping it.’
    >With the actual rule you show in the Errata file regarding taking a Discard, again page 100, this line now appears to be error.
    >TimA

    Hi, Tim!
    I definitely need to make sure that RDWW with its errata file, and the FAQs, both tell the correct up-to-date rules - so I'm glad of an opportunity to correct an error or inconsistency. You are right - I need to correct that erratum, which I believe was brought about by some confusion over a League rule in a yearly bulletin. The rulebook didn't go into fine points, like the difference between touching a called discard versus picking it up, and whether lifting the discard or placing it atop the rack crossed the line of no return. Eventually, clarity was added to the rulebook. This erratum in my book, though, has gone undiscovered until now, thanks to you!

    On the matter of a change of heart about taking a discard for a win, the book says:

      Winning - A player can withdraw a spoken mah-jongg claim only if she has not yet exposed tiles from her hand and nobody else has made a fatal error as a result of the vocal mah-jongg claim. Picking up a discard, and even putting it atop her rack, does not commit her to keeping it.

    Clearly needs correcting. As I opened the errata file to take action, I found something else I ought to edit. The errata file was saying:

      P. 100 - Top of page (Taking a discard). The actual rule, direct from the NMJL: After claiming a discard, you can change your mind provided that you have not yet put the discard atop your rack or exposed tiles from your hand as part of the claim. Do either of those things and you're committed to taking the discard. Merely lifting the discard from the table does not commit you to taking the discard (this being a different case from picking from the wall).
      But, says the NMJL, that's the hardnosed rule used in tournaments. In a home game, the player might be permitted to put the discard back, even if she's put it atop her rack, so long as she hasn't exposed tiles from the hand as part of the claim.

    The League has restated the rule, so that portion of the errata was now in error. Today I've changed it to:

      P. 100 - Top of page (Taking a discard). The actual rule, direct from the NMJL: After claiming a discard, you can change your mind provided that you have not yet put the discard atop your rack or exposed tiles from your hand as part of the claim. Do either of those things and you're committed to taking the discard. Merely lifting the discard from the table does not commit you to taking the discard (this being a different case from picking from the wall).

      P. 100 - 3rd paragraph (Winning). Should read as follows: A player can withdraw a spoken mah-jongg claim only if she has not yet exposed tiles from her hand or placed the taken discard atop her rack, and nobody else has made a fatal error pursuant to the vocal mah-jongg claim. Picking up a discard does not commit her to keeping it, as long as she has not touched it to the top of her rack.

    I'll be posting updated errata soon (look for August in the file description). Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Tim!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 13, 2018 4:00 PM


    If I misname a discard...?

    >From: Carol S
    >Sent: Monday, August 6, 2018 9:39 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >If I discard a 1 Bam and call it a 1 Dot by mistake do I need to return it to my rack and replace it with the 1 Dot?
    >Thank you
    >Carol

    No, Carol. That's an all-too-common misunderstanding of the NMJL rules. Read FAQ 19-AY. It's in the "Discarding, Naming" section of FAQ 19. On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!
    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 7, 2018 10:00 AM


    Can I declare myself dead?

    >From: "areier
    >Sent: Tuesday, August 7, 2018 6:39 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is:
    >Can I declare myself “dead”
    >during the game and if I can...can I do it prior to the “hot wall”? Do I still have to pay if I really am dead? Everything I read says only the challenger can declare you dead! Thank you!!

    Hi, areier! You asked:

    Can I declare myself “dead”
    No. Read FAQ 19-AC. It's in the "You're Dead" section of FAQ 19.

    can I do it prior to the “hot wall”?
    The official rules do not define any kind of "temperature" or any special characteristics of the last short wall in front of the dealer. Read FAQ 19-Y3. Your group is using a table rule, and I cannot help you with anything in conjunction with your group's table rules. See FAQ 14.

    Do I still have to pay if I really am dead?
    Yes. You were one of the players at the table, and your debt to the winner is not negated by a death challenge, successful or not. Read FAQ 19-CK.

    Everything I read says only the challenger can declare you dead!
    Let's define "challenger," shall we? A "challenger" is a person who issues a challenge. In other words, the "challenger" is the person who calls you dead. Only the first person (other than yourself) who calls you dead gets recognized as the "challenger." Other people can call you dead too, but they don't get or pay 25¢ if there is a dispute as to whether you are, in fact, dead or not. Read FAQ 19-AB.

    On the FAQ 19 page, you can click a link in the index to jump to your answer, or search the page for keywords. After you've landed at the FAQ 19 page, please bookmark it so you can easily return to it anytime you have a mah-jongg question. Answers to all of the most frequently-asked questions about American (NMJL) mah-jongg are found in FAQ 19. Please always check the FAQs first, before asking me a question. Thanks!


    This is the League's official rulebook. It was revised in 2013, and again in 2018.
    Every table should have an up-to-date copy!
    I don't get a cent from sales of that book. Just sayin'.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2018 10:00 AM


    She called herself dead, part 3

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Sunday, August 5, 2018 9:05 AM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Thanks for checking your spam folder as I remembered that sometimes my emails to you ended up there. I did check in the places you told me concerning playing Mah Jongg with 2 people and I also came across something you wrote a few, maybe many years ago. Not verbatim but basically if you can’t find item in NMJL Rule Book then “it” is NOT a rule.” When I mentioned playing with 2 players I was referring to the final 2 of 4 players when 2 other players were dead. They were planning to continue the game already started until one made Mah Jongg or they ran out of tiles.
    > The directions I found on the page you mentioned were for 2 players beginning a game. I remember many years ago when 2 players were left from a game, we just threw in our tiles and started over again. I am in the process of looking through my many Mah Jongg “dittos”(I was a teacher) to find the one that tells about 2 players left in a game. I did find in “RD&WW”p. 100 under Death * Too few or too many tiles –“or player is holding 15 or more tiles (14 or more between turns), once Charleston has ended and dealer has begun to play. I was holding 14 tiles because it was my turn and I had yet to discard after redeeming that joker.
    > I did find your comments on “Table Talk and Etiquette” and an essay called “MJ Going to the Dogs!” by a Mah Jongg lady. Your comments and her essay can be used as a refresher to players in my MJ groups. So glad I copied all the info I did since much of info is coming in handy now. I understand there is a new method of playing Mah Jongg with 2 players called “Siamese Mah Jongg” which a player in my Thursday bimonthly group taught some of the players. I was at a table for 4 so didn’t learn how to play.
    > Glad you found my emails and thanks for answering them so quickly. Hope the fires are not near you in CA. Always looking for jokers, Lynn P.

    Good morning, Lynn!
    Not to worry, I'm not near the fires. The fires are really getting bad! You wrote:

    I did check in the places you told me concerning playing Mah Jongg with 2 people and I also came across something you wrote a few, maybe many years ago. Not verbatim but basically if you can’t find item in NMJL Rule Book then “it” is NOT a rule.”
    Some rules trump other rules. There is an exception to every rule, including this one. I believe it's a flaw of the NMJL rules that they are not written down in sufficient detail.

    When I mentioned playing with 2 players I was referring to the final 2 of 4 players when 2 other players were dead. They were planning to continue the game already started until one made Mah Jongg or they ran out of tiles.
    > The directions I found on the page you mentioned were for 2 players beginning a game. I remember many years ago when 2 players were left from a game, we just threw in our tiles and started over again.
    In my groups and at tournaments I've attended, the game doesn't stop when 2 players go dead. For scoring purposes at tournaments, the game must be allowed to play to its conclusion. A game is solidly concluded when 3 players are dead, or when someone wins, or the wall runs out of tiles. Since rules for 2 players exist, there's no reason to assume that when 2 players have died, the game cannot continue. Just because your group in the past did something else does not mean that's the way it must go.

    I understand there is a new method of playing Mah Jongg with 2 players called “Siamese Mah Jongg”
    Yes, it was designed by Gladys Grad. She has a website promoting it and describing its rules. I have links to it somewhere, and it's easy to find with Google.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 5, 2018 9:35 AM


    She called herself dead, part 2

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Friday, August 3, 2018 7:36 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Hi Tom, per chance did my part 2
    >“She called herself dead, and a problem ensued” fall through the cracks of your emails? Thanks for checking. Lynn P.
    >Me again, Tom. Is there any place in writing in your online columns or in your book where it says 2 players can continue to play Mah Jongg game if other 2 players are dead (which I shouldn’t have been called!). I should have acted as the “challenged player” and continued playing as per your book, “The Red Dragon & The West Wind”, p. 64 #104. I couldn’t find anything saying 2 players could continue playing, etc. in book and didn’t know how to find that information online in Q&A. I like to have a hard copy of the rules, your Q&A and other info regarding Mah Jongg in a folder so others can read correct answer to any question they may have. Let me tell you that folder’s contents have come in handy many times during Mah Jongg games. “Have Mah Jongg folder, will travel to play!” Thanks again for all your guidance and help in past years. Both are certainly appreciated. Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn!
    Found this email from yesterday in my spam folder this morning (so it didn't languish in there too terribly long). Oh wait. And there's the one from Thursday, also in the spam folder. So yes, your Thursday email had indeed fallen thru the cracks. I know we've been thru this before. That's one reason why I always check the spam folder now and then.

    The answer: No - I don't expect there is anything that specifically says, in so many words, that if 2 players go dead, the remaining 2 keep on playing. There's probably nothing that says, in so many words, that when somebody goes dead, now you have to count the remaining players to make sure there are more than 2 so you can keep playing. I don't believe you'll find any mention of what to do if 2 players go dead. But there ARE rules that say what to do if 3 players go dead.
    So you have to "infer from context" (as the brainy guys on Big Bang Theory would say). If you look at page 24, you'll find rules for 2 players. You'll also see rules for 3, 4, 5, and even 6 players. You won't find rules for 1 player, or for more than 6. Based on the fact that there are no mentions of having to stop if 2 remain alive, and the additional fact that there are rules for 2 players, one can infer from context that 2 people can continue playing if 2 go dead.

    May the tiles be with you. And may your emails stop getting waylaid by my spam filters (and yes, I have written filters to try to prevent your mails from going to spam but they are overridden or something).
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 4, 2018 9:00 AM


    Check out the new video

    Dear readers,
    A new film is out, telling the tale of last year's World Riichi Championship in Las Vegas. It's at https://vimeo.com/281080150.

    May the talking heads be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 4, 2018 8:00 AM


    Flowers don't count as part of the hand??? Huh?!?

    >From: Melinda S
    >Sent: Thursday, August 2, 2018 8:39 AM
    >Subject: counting flowers...
    >Hi, Tom-
    >Just found your site and am in shock at its density and thoroughness. Quite an achievement! I'm sure my friends and I will be buried in it for months. There's one who is almost as precise as you. I sent him the link and will bring over provisions in a few days...
    >Meanwhile, I wish it had a search function in it so I wouldn't have to bother you, but I'm sure that's a whole 'nother level of programming. Maybe you can add a FAQ labelled "Flowers." I was stumped when I saw this paragraph in FAQ #20: "Speaking of flowers... Flowers don't count as part of the hand. When counting your tiles (either to see if you need to pick or to discard, or to check if your hand is dead or not), count only your exposed groupings and your concealed tiles - don't count the flowers."
    >Can you please direct me to where the rules for flowers are spelled out? I know you've got it somewhere, but haven't found it yet. We can't figure out how you don't count them as part of the hand.
    >Thanks much-
    >Melinda

    Hi, Melinda! Glad you found my site. You wrote:

    Just found your site and am in shock at its density and thoroughness. Quite an achievement! I'm sure my friends and I will be buried in it for months.
    Aw shucks. Thanks!

    I wish it had a search function in it ... but I'm sure that's a whole 'nother level of programming.
    So do I! I use Google; it always finds what I want, but then I often know what words I used (and that helps type a good search string).

    I was stumped when I saw this paragraph in FAQ #20: "Speaking of flowers... Flowers don't count as part of the hand. When counting your tiles (either to see if you need to pick or to discard, or to check if your hand is dead or not), count only your exposed groupings and your concealed tiles - don't count the flowers."
    What mah-jongg variant do you play? FAQ 20 covers only commonly-misunderstood aspects of Asian variants. Do you play one of the many Asian variants - or do you play American (NMJL) mah-jongg?

    Can you please direct me to where the rules for flowers are spelled out? I know you've got it somewhere, but haven't found it yet. We can't figure out how you don't count them as part of the hand.
    I do not define rules for every mah-jongg variant on this site. I just have answers to the most frequently asked questions here. You can find flower rules in a book that describes your variant. Books are listed in FAQ 3. And there are also websites that describe rules for many variants - see FAQ 4B. But if you tell me which variant you play, maybe I can tell you what you're trying to find out. If you don't know what your variant is, try FAQ 2B. You can link to the FAQs above left.

    May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 2, 2018 10:00 AM


    She called herself dead, and a problem ensued

    >From: Lynn P
    >Sent: Wednesday, August 1, 2018 8:08 PM
    >Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
    >My mah-jongg question or comment is: Playing by rules of the NMJL, I picked from the wall, placed picked tile on my rack, redeemed a joker with a 2 bam from another player’s ( player A) display of 3 bams and a joker. After I put the joker on my rack player A declared that she only had 12 tiles and she was dead. Player B said that she was dead and then counted my tiles and said I too was dead because I had 14 tiles. I told her I had to discard a tile since I hadn’t finished my turn. Player B said that I couldn’t discard and we were both dead. Then she told the 4th player that she and #4 should continue to play to see who gets Mah Jongg first. I told them that I thought we all had to throw in our tiles since 2 players don’t play with each other. I didn’t know if I was right but still thought I should have continued my turn and discarded my 14th tile. We all threw in our tiles and played the hand again with me dealing again.
    >As I see things player A should not have stated she only had 12 tiles after I redeemed her joker and I should have just discarded the tile I had picked from the wall despite what Player B said. Player A cannot declare herself dead nor should she have told us the number of tiles she had. Can 2 players continue to play the game until one gets Mah Jongg or tiles run out?
    >I have been following your column even though I haven’t emailed you for the past couple of years and am sorry you had some medical issues. Hope you are on the mend or OK now. Thanks again for your years of Mah Jongg info and thanks for info on above situation. Lynn P.

    Hi, Lynn! Nice to see you! You wrote:

    After I put the joker on my rack player A declared that she only had 12 tiles and she was dead. Player B said that she was dead
    Since player B said that, player A is indeed dead. Since I don't know if her exposure was made before or after her hand lost a tile, I don't know if her exposure should remain exposed or not. Since it's now without a joker, though, it doesn't matter much.

    Player B said that she was dead and then counted my tiles and said I too was dead because I had 14 tiles. I told her I had to discard a tile since I hadn’t finished my turn. Player B said that I couldn’t discard
    I don't understand player B's reasoning. Every player acquires a 14th tile each time it's her turn - and sometimes she can take a turn out of turn (claiming a discard). You acquired your 14th tile by picking it from the wall. You traded one of your 14 tiles with player A's exposure, leaving you with the proper 14 tiles, made perfectly legally. I don't know why she thinks you were dead, but you weren't. The fact that player A called herself dead has no bearing on the legality of your play. [Italicized portion added next morning upon re-reading.]

    I told them that I thought we all had to throw in our tiles since 2 players don’t play with each other. I didn’t know if I was right
    You weren't. Two people can indeed play one another, if 2 players went dead. It's only to finish out the wall, and one of them might win.

    As I see things player A should not have stated she only had 12 tiles after I redeemed her joker
    Yes, but she did, and once that happened, any player can count player A's tiles and confirm the death diagnosis.

    I think I covered everything. May the tiles be with you.
    Tom Sloper
    トム·スローパー
    湯姆 斯洛珀
    Creator of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
    Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 1, 2018 10:00 PM


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